My Lunch, Let Me Show You It

This is a picture of a Bento LunchI’ve been doing the No S Diet for a few weeks and wanted something cute for lunch today.

Technically I’m supposed to have three meals a day, and keep portions to whatever will fit on a plate — one plate per meal, no seconds.

You can’t really screw up portion control using a bento, though!

I had onigiri wrapped in nori, tuna salad, apples and carrots. Yummy.

The gym was cool today. There’s this huge bodybuilder type with a friendly face, but otherwise pretty intimidating-looking. He’s a grunter, but I think I’d grunt, too if I were trying to do dumbbell flys with 80 lbs.

When I got in and got started with my deadlifts, he was working with this little old lady (I hate the cliche, but it would have been the first thing that came to mind to anyone who saw her) who had baby blue dumbbells. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t work for the gym. I think he was just helping the woman out to be friendly.

I like seeing stuff like that.

No Pressure

When I signed up to do the whole 50 mile swim, I didn’t think anything of it.  I swim a specific yardage three times a week without really being too concerned about it.  Habit.

When your name is on a bulletin board and there’s a mileage increment chart where you’ll be getting a marker when you reach a certain number of miles, it puts it into another perspective.

There are people who’ve already swum 10 miles since this started on May 1.  I’m so nuts I actually considered trying to swim a mile every single day.

The thing is, that’s absurd.  My workout routine of swimming three days a week and lifting three days a week works out fine.  I don’t need to add more just because I’m feeling competitive.  I might quit or get discouraged.  Quitting bad.  Working out good.  I only “win” if I keep the workout habit.

Certainly I could choose to make swimming my sole workout.  But I really don’t want to.  I like lifting, want to continue with it and don’t want to devote more time to working out than I already do.  Yes, the option’s there, but I don’t want to.

Not “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t”  or “I have to…”   That’s it’s just a choice with no big moral attachment to it feels really good.

You Can Choose Not To

I don’t usually discuss something as personal as a dream publicly, but this one I really wanted to share.

I had a quasi-nightmare last night. There was this virus that turned you into this ugly, violent creature (probably inspired by zombie stories, NIght of the Comet, I Am Legend, and the reavers from Firefly). The people that had been turned were mostly big, powerfully built men at first. It was their job to spread this virus to other people.

I was in this large building with a huge meeting hall and several smaller rooms intended for other purposes. The one I was in was a basic meeting room with another refugee I’d never met before. She and I got caught by the creature and injected with the virus. We ran, thinking that at least we could get out before we were given instructions or turned into tools.

As we were running my companion was starting to turn. A greenish warty substance started snaking a line down her face, showing the change. She was really scared, and looked at me as we ran.

“You’re not turning!” she said, out of breath.

“Oh, that,” I said, as if I’d just remembered. “Well, you can choose not to.”

“Oh, yeah,” she said, and her face cleared up.

I woke up after that.

But I found it a pretty powerful dream.


I have a bigger contract and a little article to work on today. I really, really enjoy being a writer when I have work! LMAO.

One of the neat things about what I do is that I often have to do research on subject. Basically, my job is learning stuff, then reporting on it. There are days when I feel like the main character in Friday during her Pajaro Sands days1. This is not a bad thing.

The gym was fun today. Workouts were all good, people were just… friendly today. I always like it when people seem to be in a good mood.

There was a new woman doing weights and was doing most of the same exercises I do, but using dumbbells. She looked at me a little funny when I was doing bench presses. I have to chuckle, because she was using almost exactly the same amount of weight I started with back when I started lifting in the summer of ’06. If her goals are to get strong, in a couple of years, she’s gonna look back amazed.

I tried a new exercise, the Vertical Leg Raise. This is hard, friends. I was getting bored with incline situps. It’s not that they’re not a challenge. I was just sick of them. So, I went ahead and did the new exercise, then commented to the woman who’d just come in for the first time today that I finally got up the guts to try that exercise2.  She laughed and said she was surprised I had to get up the guts to do anything.

I told her that for the first year I was lifting, I was using a set of adjustable dumbbells at home, and that at  my weight, I was actually a little scared to step into the room with all the free weights.

‘Course the real answer is that unless you’re goofing off and hogging equipment, you’re probably gonna be plenty welcome in the weight room, no matter what your fitness level or size.

1Though without nearly as much sex, dammit!
2Yeah, there really are times when I have to work up my courage to try stuff.

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

My local gym has a 50 Mile Club for swimmers.

After I got out of the pool today, a lifeguard approached me and asked me if I wanted to sign up and do it.

They count in 10 lap (500 yard) increments.  My usual swim is a 1650, but I think I’m gonna bump that up to a 2000…

Stop looking at me like that.    I’m only doing it for the t-shirt.

The Comparison Trap

One of the fitness writers I really like is reluctant to post her numbers much.  You know, how much weight she’s lifting.  With her position as a fitness educator, it makes a lot of sense.  Either you’d look at them and be too intimidated to want to start lifting, or as an experienced lifter might say, “She ain’t all that.”

I posted my numbers recently to a board where exercise was under discussion and got called a powerlifter, or had people really surprised I could lift that much, or compared themselves and what they could do to what I am doing and feeling discouraged –especially when they find out how much I weigh.

I like the ego boo of “Damn, you’re strong!”  I’ll admit that.  But I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a powerlifter.  Nor should anyone look at my own weights and be discouraged.

The comparison thing can be just gawdawful stupid.  I do it in the gym, myself.  What’s worse, I don’t tend to compare myself to the female lifters, I compare myself to the men.

I was lifting this morning and there was one other person lifting there, too.  This guy really was a powerlifter.  He was working out with 250lbs on the bench press.  I felt apologetic about my pitiful 70 lbs on my own bench.  Dumb?  Of course.

Chances are slim, indeed, that I’ll ever be working out regularly with 250 lbs benching.  Well, okay, let’s rephrase that.  That’s not even a goal for me.   There are women who can bench 200+ and most of them are professional bodybuilders or weightlifters.   (These are the drug-free stats.  There are enhanced women who lift more than twice that).

For ordinary fitness (rather than as a competitive athlete), comparing yourself to anything but your last (recent) workout is absurd.

I had a martial arts instructor once who put it this way, “Don’t worry about whether or not you’re better than the guy next to you.   Worry about whether or not you’re better than yesterday.”