Posted by: twistsoffeet | April 27, 2011

Walking Contradiction


In some ways, I am physically a mess.

I am overweight and out of shape, kind of.

I have three types of arthritis, including Rheumatoid, and the thyroid “thing” along with missing a spleen.

Thirty-five separate bones have been broken in me at least one time.

I have been stabbed, beaten with a baseball bat, and have let the doctors cut on me several times.

Okay… I didn’t just let them cut on me, it was usually necessary due to injuries.

I have mesh in my abdomen from a hernia repair, several pieces of steel in one leg and one piece in the other.

But I am also very physically active.  I love and really miss working out in a gym.  I get a rush from throwing iron around. I mean, I really get a rush from throwing iron in the gym.

Before I left on my most recent sojourn, I benched 415lbs/ 2 rep minimum without a spot (some say this was foolish). My preacher curls, dumbell curls, squats and military presses were comparable in scope. I would swim two miles three times a week– not fast– I wasn’t racing, I was slow, methodical and just plodded along or swam along until completing my goal.

And if my health is not in direct contradiction to that fitness routine, I am also a rock climber.

I started climbing over 40 years ago and have done semi-high altitude mountaineering, traditional rock climbing, ice climbing, big wall aid climbing, and sport climbing.

I have climbed in about 35 states, as well as Canada, Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Republic of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Puerto Rico.

And I was pretty good at all of this.

This is what makes me somewhat of a walking contradiction.

Very few climbers are power lifters; sure lots of them lift a little, but mostly for tone, not to get really strong. The reason is that climbing is a sport where you do not really want to haul a large mass up the rock.  The less weight the better, and less strain on your fingers, arms, joints, and legs.

Less weight also means less mass volume, and that frequently translates to more flexibility.

And now I am going to ride my bike half across the country.

The problem is that while burning calories, and probably reducing my body fat percentage, I’ve been building my quadriceps and hopefully providing benefits for my cardiovascular system.

This journey is not going do much to strengthen the rest of my body.

I am not complaining because the benefits mentioned are individually worth this trip. But this is not going to do anything to maintain or build my back, arms, shoulders, abs, or hamstrings– not to mention obliques and hip flexors.  I may do some good for my gluts, but I don’t expect to have ass cheeks that can crack a walnut like a vice.

So… right now I am trying to come up with a fitness plan for on the road. It has been a long time, but I used to enjoy yoga.   Therefore, I am downloading some yoga books.

I can always do pushups and sit-ups without equipment. I can do crunches and even oblique crunches without equipment. My back, biceps, and shoulders will probably need some sort of equipment. I can stop at schools and parks that have jungle gyms or rings, or whatever equipment I need to make work for pullups.  I can turn many objects or even buildings into passive resistance training equipment with a little thought.

The most problematic issues will be finding schools and parks where the playgrounds are deserted. I am a little bit shy and except in a gym, I don’t really like to have people watch me work out.  Also, as a parent, if I saw a 50+ year old man playing on the jungle gym without a child of his own on the playground while my little one was playing on it, I would be a little protective and suspicious of said 50+ year old man.

Oh well… Where there is a will there is a way, as they say.  I can and have actually put together a pretty good program, but even this program is designed to accept many variables.  I just have to be open to opportunity and be willing and able to adapt.

Fortunately, I am fairly accomplished in adaptation. It kinda looks as though I have gotten myself into a fun little challenge here. I will let everyone know how it goes and what or how I am doing it.

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