Friday, February 19, 2010

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

As I believe I explained at one point, I actually started this whole blog thing to record my progress. I guess I envisioned something like:

"January 15. Did 3 sets of 20 reps with 10 more lbs. on each machine. Men applauded; women swooned. 6.34 oz. sweat lost. Noticeable growth in left deltoid."

Or some such drivel.

Anyway, you can see what it's become. But in the spirit of trying to keep some of the original intent alive, I will report that I have seen some numbers on my bathroom scale that I haven't seen in a very, very long time.

Now, I happen to know that my bathroom scale is a lyin' sack of spit.

The Common North-American Prevaricating Scale

I no more weigh what my bathroom scale says I do than I can fly to the moon. I know this because I am always shocked and annoyed when I go to my doctor's office and his scale adds 10 lbs or so to what I weighed just that morning. "Clothing, water-weight, breakfast," I tell myself, but I am also a lyin' sack of spit. I know my scale measures light. About 8 pounds lighter than the scale at the gym, as near as I can tell.

Oh, but it's a sweet little lie, and it is so encouraging. I like to think that somewhere, in an alternate universe, that number is correct, and I'm actually somehow really that weight. So I keep the scale around for the little lift it gives me. And I use the scale at the gym for a little dose of reality.

But all of them agree I'm down somewhere around 15 - 20 lbs from when I started working out -- more, if you count a few weeks before that. And that is the unvarnished truth. So, hats off to J, and J2, and M, and the rest of the crew. It's working, and I'm happy. No lie.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dazed and Confused

Muscle Confusion. That's the key to building muscles, apparently. You gotta shock your muscles into growing. Keep 'em guessing. Don't let them get complacent. You want your muscles to sleep with one eye open, and even then, you want them to be thinking "No, that's just what he WANTS us to do." You want them jumpy, nervous, constantly on guard. No sleeping at their post.

Enough metaphors.

Anyway, I'm assuming all this was the theory J2 was enacting yesterday when he introduced me to about 4 dozen or so new exercises, all of which were described using phrases such as "a more advanced version of that one you already don't like, you know, the Killer Deltoid Atomic Grunt." It seemed fitting that one of these new exercises had me on my knees, with my hands behind my head -- sort of like just before the cuffs go on and the cop asks you "What were you thinking, boy?"

Well, it worked. My muscles are confused, to say the least. As an illustration, this is how skeletal muscle looks under a microscope, assuming your microscope produces images taken from science Websites:

On the other hand, this is how my muscle fibers would look under a microscope today:

Clearly, we've gone past confusion to utter chaos. These muscle fibers are obviously asking, "What happened? Why me?" Other muscle fibers might look like this:

These muscle fibers have circled the wagons, and are hoping they'll just be left alone for a while.

So anyway, it worked, J2.

I'm sure if you were to read Chapter 7 ("Getting Out Those Frustrations") of the Personal Trainer's Guide to World Domination, you would see something like:

Should your trainee show the least bit of comfort with their training regimen. and particularly if they should ever yawn during a training session, explain about Muscle Confusion and the importance of Shocking the Muscles, and initiate Shock and Awe Campaign #6 (See Chapter 9, "Destroying the Will to Live").

Well, you did a good job, J2. You can be King of the Gym for this week. And I'm working on that yawning problem. Really.