Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Little Set-Back

The plans for sculpting my new physique hit an unexpected snag last week. Monday morning on the way to work I dutifully stopped at the gym to do some cardio while the Divine Ms. B did her weight training. She went on ahead of me and I was just opening the back door of the car to get my clothes before going in when --

A Great Disturbance in the Force

BAM! -- down I went on the ice. OK, the above picture may be a little over-dramatic. But that's what it felt like. It probably looked more like this:

-- but without the briefcase.

Anyway, my wife heard my noises, and went to get help, and J came out helped me in, and determined from where I said it hurt like #@!! that I probably tore my hamstring. Anyway, he iced it up, and after a while the Divine Ms. B took me to the Insta-Care for X-rays and all.

Yup. Torn hamstring. Maybe a torn adductor, too. The doctor and nurse became my very best friends by offering me some drugs before the X-ray. Three shots in the opposite hip. I loved each of them.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, and to do honor to the many forensic-medical shows currently on the air, if my body were to be examined at this point the report would read:

Significant bruising on right posterior thigh, consistent with tearing of hamstring and adductor muscles. Also some bruising of left gluteal muscle, consistent with being shot in the A$$ with a pack-saddle.

Anyway, it took me out of circulation for a couple of days, and although I'm now up and around, limping on my right leg from the hamstring, and on my left from the injections, I still can't operate a brake or gas pedal. So I'm pretty much at the mercy of the Divine Ms. B to get me around.

Tomorrow, I'm going back to the Gym to start some rehabilitation, and to keep my upper body in some kind of shape. Can't say I'm looking forward to it. If they're not nice to me, I'll show 'em my bruise.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Protein Jungle

It's a jungle out there.

Protein supplements are an essential part of building muscle, as near as I can tell. So if you've embarked on the Odyssey, you'll be in the market for protein powders, bars, salves, sprays, whatever, to get you the total daily allowance of protein (after the regulation six servings of chicken breast, of course).

And there are a LOT of people out there who want to sell it to you, with come-hither ads:

Any health-food store worth its Black Cohosh capsules will have 20 or 30 different brands of powdered whey protein.

They might even have a few protein bars.

Heck, any supermarket will have at least a dozen protein bars.

There are choices to be made, folks. My object has been simple: find the protein source with highest ratio of protein to carbs or fat. Shakes are better than bars in general, but sometimes bars are just quicker and more convenient.

But there's one more variable to be factored in. The Divine Ms B brought it sharply into focus a couple of days ago. We had purchased an assortment of bars to sample and examine carefully their various offerings of protein, carbs, fat, etc. As she took a bite of one, she said,

"You know, if someone gave this to me, and said, 'Here, I found this, but I'm not sure if it's food or not,' I wouldn't know what to tell them."

Yeah. Not all of them are what you call tasty.

I'm happy to report that, for the time being, we found one that has pretty good ratios and would probably be identified as food in a blind taste test. So we're happy. And you can get it at Costco.

The research continues.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Beyond My Poor Power to Add or Detract

Sometimes, someone comes along and just writes a perfect blog entry for you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stress Relief

I've heard that exercise is good for stress relief. It makes sense that lifting weights can help you get out your aggression, nervousness, anger, or frustration. Something about working those muscles as hard and fast as you can just eases the adrenaline surplus and ups the endorphins. Running can do the same thing, or biking hard, or beating the living daylights out of an old toilet with a baseball bat.

OK, maybe too much information there.

But anyway, the point is that exercise is good for your mental health. It can make you feel better.

See? All these happy people are exercising!

But what I didn't know until today was the emotional benefit of helping other people exercise. I learned this today in my weightlifting session with J2. Early in our session J2 shared with me that he was somewhat preoccupied with a thorny personal issue which, I had to admit after his description, would give any man pause. Maybe even rewind (rimshot!). Anyway, I certainly commiserated with him and hoped things worked out favorably for him.

Then, about forty-five minutes into the workout, I happened to look at the clock and noticed that only 25 minutes had gone by. Something was wrong with the clocks at the gym. Making a mental note to mention this to J, I pushed on forward through the haze of fatigue rapidly building up around me.

After another 25 minutes or so, I looked up and found that only another 10 minutes had registered on the clock. I started to feel a little panicky. I began looking at my own watch after every set. Time was slowing down. It had to be that the hour was up. And yet, J2 just kept going, room to room, adding some weight to each machine, oblivious to the time warp that had enveloped the building.

Finally when my watch actually said 45 minutes had elapsed, and I was lying in a pool of my own sweat on the prone leg curl, refusing to move, J2 said, "Oh, I'm sorry! Am I taking out some of my frustration on you today?"

Just a little, there, J2. Just a little.

But it's OK. It was a hard morning, but I felt better about it all two hours later, when my doctor told me I'd dropped 14 lbs since November.

I hope J2 has some good news coming, too.