In training (again)

Mathias Steiner of Austria completing a lift @ Athens Olympics (photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Mathias Steiner of Austria completing a lift @ Athens Olympics (photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

I’m a big guy. By that I mean that I’m 6’3”. I am a mesomorph and generally look athletic.  I generally carry excess weight well, perhaps too well.

Like many people, as I got older and passed into my late 30s, I had gained a considerable amount of weight compared to what my weight was in high school. A more sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise were major contributors, as well as an American-style diet tilting towards processed foods. Heck; I like to eat, what can I say?


Back in 2009, I was sick of being fat and after jumping on the scale one morning in June that year and realizing I was heavier than I’d ever been, I shed 58.5 pounds in about five months. I actually wrote a decent post about this period and the subsequent time spent in maintenance, during my 500 X 30 blog-a-thon in 2011.

The weight that I lost got me down to 201, the lightest I’d been since my high school athletic glory days back in the late 70s and early 80s. Even during the summer of 1993 when I got the cockamamie idea at the age of 31 that I could still fling fastballs by college kids, my weight was up around 220. That summer, I was in incredible shape. I biked to work 2-3 times a week, hit the gym three more mornings, and pitched late into the evening once or twice a week in the Twilight League. Crazy, I know, but it’s an experience I’m glad that I had. We often surprise ourselves when we launch out into deeper waters.

As much as I liked being 201, this is a tad too thin for the level of fitness and discipline that I’m willing to embrace a bit more than two years down the road. I like an occasional cheeseburger and a beer (and a slice of pie) too much to lose the weight required to get back to that near-fantasy BMI. At the same time, I’m no longer in denial and can now admit that the excess of the holidays have pushed my weight back up over 230 pounds. That’s unacceptable and I’m now ready to do something about it.

When I wrote the following in May, 2011, I didn’t know how prophetic my post was at the time.

Being healthy in an unhealthy culture requires diligence and persistent vigilance, or else you’ll slide back into old patterns. It’s sad, but Americans are just too heavy and our disease statistics bear out that fact, as well as the obesity tables.

Mary and I have made a pact to get healthy and lose 20 pounds each. I’m also planning to join my tri-athlete wife and complete the Pirate Sprint Triathlon in June at Point Sebago. Being lighter should aid my biking and running. Not dragging that extra baggage around the course is advantageous, even if I don’t approach any land speed records.

The one sticking point for me in completing a triathlon has always been the swimming.  I can’t swim a lick. Well, not much more than about 25 yards without getting tired and wanting to head back to shore.

Mary, on the other hand, is a skilled swimmer, a former AAU mermaid, and she’s always telling me I need lessons to improve my technique. I’ve resisted because I really don’t like the water and I didn’t think I could swim the 750 meters (slightly longer than eight football fields long) required for sprint triathlons.

I’ve recently recanted and have made the decision that beginning in February, it’s swim lessons for the JBE—one more reason to trim my waistline and shed a few pounds. Ryan Lochte, I’m not, but I’ll struggle through. While my fans shouldn’t expect to see me in a Speedo anytime soon, I also don’t plan on rockin’ rolls of fat, either.

One day doesn’t make a summer, or something like that. One day can be the start of something meaningful, however.

After wrapping up a mid-afternoon appointment in Lewiston, I drove across the bridge to my gym in Auburn, Planet Fitness. I haven’t been to the gym in months, spending the fall biking outside, doing some trail running before the snow flew, and then after the past two snowfalls, enjoying my exercise perched atop my snowshoes.

The problem with the winter and the cold is that it’s tougher to exercise consistently. In order to lose weight and begin training for future competitions, a return to indoor workouts two to three days per week will be necessary, at least during January, February, and probably early March.

It’s really not that bad. With my partner in crime, Mary, we’re in this thing together.

All part of our plan for continuous improvement in 2013.

4 thoughts on “In training (again)

  1. You’re welcome to join me at the Belfast triathlon in May. 500yd pool swim, 12mi bike, 3.5 run. Great atmosphere and event.

    Good luck with the training.

    • Hey, Josh. Sounds like a fun event. I’ll have to keep that in mind. Excited to be back at it. Gym day tomorrow!

  2. 201 is, for you, manorexsic. You need about 15lbs more muscle, easily.

    I started lifting in 2008. I was doing crossfit and realized I had no strength, and that crossfit (nor P90X nor any LSD) was ever going to get me the strength. Squats, deadlifts, presses, power cleans. I was 207 and fat. I ended up in the 230s and chubby because you have to eat to grow muscle. But the chub comes off quickly, and I’ve been settled in the 220s ever since. I’ve barely lifted over the past couple of years because of Navy BMI insanity, but I will again soon.

    • I agree. Even at 201, my BMI said I was heavy, but I felt weak.

      My initial goal is getting down to 220 and then tweaking from there. I’m doing cardio with some weights, mainly the machines at the gym. I do some free weights at home. Dead lifts and bulky weights don’t work for me.

      Thinking back to 1993, attaining the fitness (or some proximity at 50) I had that some to be an effective pitcher would make me happy. Basically, lean and mean. I’m not looking for a tight end’s build.

      Swimming should help, too, if I can attain some form and technique.

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