Monday, December 21, 2009

I think I'm starting to sound more like Moriarty than Sherlock Holmes.

I have been lazing off on the Batblog for a while, and this may be just because things that until recently seemed so novel—my shiny new muscles, my diet, my ability to climb stairs with neither huffing or puffing—all seem sort of normal now. This will change soon, for reasons I'll get to in a minute.

So, had a good rest of the week, exercise-wise, although I didn't work out at all on Friday, due to a work holiday party during my lunch and then a show to play in the evening. While my workouts generally only take up about two hours a day, they occasionally run head-on into my work or social life, and I get unreasonably irked every time this happens. But Friday was an altogether okay version of that; playing music is something I'll never, ever stop doing, even if it sometimes steps on the toes of my regimen. Maybe I'll make a Bat-band.

Another kickboxing class on Saturday (remember when I said I'd do it three times a week? Yeah, now I feel lazy if I don't get four or five in). On my way out, the owner of the place asked me, "So how is this working for you?" I grinned and told him, "This has been just amazing. I've lost 25 pounds and I'm getting all muscley and I really couldn't have done it without you guys." He and his co-owner were amazed and pleased and asked me if I'd write them a testimonial. And then Tony said that I'm probably ready to start Combat Conditioning.

Combat Conditioning is, you'll remember, the very first class that I ever took, the one for hardcore fighters, that Tony let me sit in on once while then shooing me over to kickboxing because of my sissiness. While not as cardio-heavy, Combat Conditioning is muy intense, and leans a lot more toward the personal-training side of things, with a ton of strength, flexibility, speed and technique instruction. I'm flattered that he thinks I'm ready for it, and I have yet to decide if I'll give it a shot today or go to the regular gym for a half-hour of elliptical and Deadwood-on-my-iPhone instead. CC will up my toughness considerably, and I hope I'm ready to take it on.

Today's my last day of work before I hop in the car and troll northeast to Minnesota for Christmas. I'm wondering if there's an unhealthier holiday than Minnesotan Christmas, which is analagous to mainlining gravy with one hand while pouring a mixture of beer and half and half down your throat while giving yourself a ham enema and snorting cinnamon rolls. And will I partake in this because of tradition? Bet your ass, I will. But I'm also keen on spending a lot of time doing outdoorsy exercise: ice-skating and skiing and running in the snow a lot like in Rocky IV. And, failing that, I can always make my wife count out 30-second increments in a bored tone of voice while I do cherry-pickers or burpies or V-ups or baby bounces or any of the catalogue of little floor exercises I do and she watches What Not to Wear. I know I'll regain some weight in Minnesota—there's simply no way I can't, given the folksy gluttony that is my birthright. But I can do my best to minimize that, and you know what I've kind of figured out? I'm not in bad shape. I would daresay my shape is okay.

Friday, December 18, 2009

We impose meaning on the chaos of our lives. We create form, morality, order. It's a choice we have to make every second of every minute of every day.

Had a great kickboxing session yesterday. My kicks are getting fast and hard and explosive, a quick pivot on my front foot, swivel of the hips, then my foot totally shows up in a place it wasn't a moment ago, presenting itself with a loud, loud SMACK on the bag. My form and technique are improving, and my knee problems from a few weeks ago have disappeared as I've gotten better. Likewise for my punches; yesterday, the instructor had to keep dragging my bag back onto the mat from my surprisingly effective left hooks. All of this is stuff I never would have thought I'd be thinking or writing about, a few months ago. Me? Punching? Weird.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This isn't a mud pit. It's an operating table, and I'm the surgeon.

Well, I've apparently powered through my 20-pound-or-one-month malaise. After Friday and Saturday kickboxing—both of which were just brutal and made for a sore n' hobbling sort of weekend—I found that I was losing weight again. And I've continued to do so since, at sort of ridiculously fast rate. Since Friday, I've lost five pounds, and that's with a weekend of light-ish drinking and not-so-great eating (I made tacos on Sunday night. How many did I have? Six. That's how many). I'm to the point where I'm unembarassed to share my actual weight with you, dear Bat-Readers: 196. That's with me having lost 25 pounds. Let's do the math together. Let's see: five plus six, carry the one—that adds up, let me figure. Oh, yeah, it adds up to: fucking fat. 196 is too fat for my frame, too, let's not have any illusions about that. But that 196 has been hard-won, and it also means that I'm past the halfway point for my goal weight.

My workouts have long become habit, but now they're also something I really miss, and it says something about my retarded resolve that if I miss a day of kickboxing, I'm overtaken with the same kind of guilt generally meant for child-murderers. A great deal of this does, I think, have to do with the fact that I'm becoming simply fascinated with what's happening to me, like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly.* It's like going through a second, more bad-ass puberty. Where did these bulges come from? What does it mean? What is happening to me? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?

It sort of goes without saying that I'll be punching and kicking the shit out of things again today. Then a regular gym workout, then I'm going to join a friend for a drink, because I can do that and what are you gonna do? Try to stop me? Ha.

*Apologies to Patton Oswalt.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not you, Robin. They have strict licensing laws in this country. A boy of your age is not allowed in a drinking tavern.

Feeling great today, and against all odds, I've shed another pound.

Kickboxing was excellent yesterday; normally the class is run by one of two female instructors, but yesterday, Tony, the co-owner of the place, ran it. Instead of the usual workout, we were treated to a while of technique instruction. I can honestly say my kicks are coming with more force and accurary than they were yesterday morning. After that, it was a long period of dancing around the bag on the balls of our feet, keeping our heads forever moving, while Tony yelled out things for us to do. A great workout and more fun than doing, say, ladders. But damn, am I sore—all that time on the balls of my feet is like college for my calves. Calf-college, we'll call it.

I'm getting impatient with myself. I figure, weight-loss-wise, I'm about halfway to where I need to be. And I want to be where I need to be, you know, now. But I'll just take a breath, keep working hard and stay on the trolley. Regular gym and kickboxing again tonight, and again-again Saturday, and then I'll probably take Sunday off. Good times.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's called a compound fracture, rapist. It'll never heal. Not right it won't. You'll remember me every time the air goes wet and cold.

It is -11° here. Last night with windchill is was -30°. Clearly some supervillain has travelled from the future, built a weather machine and tried to forestall my training by making it so cold I want to do nothing but stay inside and eat great bowls of pasta, thereby fattening myself up. You won't win, Hypothetical Supervillain From the Future.

Anyway, I am stalled at the same weight as last week, missing my goal by two pounds. Several people have told me that this tends to happen, roughly twenty pounds or a month in, and to just keep plugging. My body, in other words, has wised up to me, and is trying its damndest to hold onto its fat stores like Scrooge McDuck onto his gold. So I will keep on plugging and work through this.

I missed Monday kickboxing because there was a bout of layoffs at my company, and instead of kickboxing, I felt like drowning my survivor's guilt in drink. So I did. This was obviously a weak move, and even as I drove to the bar to meet some friends after work, I felt guilty. About an hour later, I got a text from the owner of the combat gym, but by then I'd already had a vodka. Mas de guilt.

I did, however, have a great workout yesterday, and discovered a neat little inner reserve that lets me throw my punches with a great deal more speed and force. It wasn't that I was necessarily pulling punches before—although after half an hour of nonstop punching they certainly didn't have a lot of weight behind them—but that I never really felt it necessary to punch as hard as I can. The combat gym has hardened and given ridiculous heft to my arms, and with my newfound punch, that'll only grow.

Getting out of the shower this morning, I looked in the mirror and was amazed to find that you can actually see the outlines of stomach muscles on my torso. Not down where my slowly-melting gut still is, of course, but higher up, there's the phantom of six pack growing. There's still plenty to be done, of course, but my pear-shaped body is gradually taking on the a V shape. Or, failing that, maybe an H.

Non-punchy workout today at lunch, and then pub quiz tonight. Since I missed Monday kickboxing, I'll go tomorrow, see if I can fit in a session on Friday night, and then hit it Saturday, as well. No rest for the tubby.

Friday, December 4, 2009

But wherever my grave is... someone's standing on it ... waiting on it ... stomping the hell out of it. Someone who wants me to eat ice cream.

Google totally stole my idea! (Yes, I, too stole my idea. Shut up or I'll throw you off a cathedral.) Google is now my archnemesis, and will soon be thrown off a cathedral.

It is far too ridiculously cold out: -3 before windchill according to my iPhone. This is Colorado, not Minnesota, so you'll excuse me for knitting my bat-brows together in consternation that I have to worry about my van starting. Snow is fine. Dump it all day every day as far as I'm concerned. But this kind of weather? It's horse-hockey, is what it is, and I'm going to throw Old Man Winter off a cathedral.

So, I discovered yesterday that kickboxing is a terrific cure for a mild hangover; my tiredness and vague sense of ill-being just melted right the hell away after an hour of punching and kicking. I would not recommending using this cure for anything more than a mild hangover, however, as it's likely to end in copious vomiting.

So yes, I drank at pub quiz the night before last and ended up having more than I'd planned to. My reasons for this are certainly not good, but I was in sort of a celebrational mood, what with the full moon and the wintery weather and the Christmas tree with which I shared the stage. Seasonal joy turned into not enough sleep, but I'm pleased with myself for going to kickboxing despite my tiredness.

I am stalled at the weight I've had since Wednesday, no doubt in part to alcohol consumption and my desire to hibernate given the weather. This means I have three pounds more to go before Monday. I think I can do it; I'm going to Saturday kickboxing tomorrow, and I might stick around for Big Boy Boxing if I'm not too wrecked after that. A few runs, eating decently and some gym time today should get me there. Otherwise, if I'm looking for someone to throw off a cathedral, I might as well look in a mirror. [Pause for effect.] Let's do this.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

They say that when you kill a man you not only take away what he was, but all he will ever be. Gross.

Another two pounds down. This week has been pretty productive one, although at kickboxing and the gym yesterday I felt like I was moving slowly. That might have been due to the fact that I didn't really eat much until later in the evening.

I have quiz tonight, so I will only get a regular-gym workout in today during my lunch, and then back to punching and kicking things again tomorrow. I need new gloves; the 14-ounce Walmart ones I bought are hopeless uncomfortable, cheaply made, and ridiculous. I'll scan the TOTALLY XXXXTREEEEME! MMA outfitter catalogue I took from the gym and get something a little more appropriate. Yes, I am now mail-ordering fighting apparel.

I am trying to sublimate the gorge of smugness that overtakes me whenever I come back from the gym. "Oh, look," I think. "Here I am, all sweaty and doing good for my body, while the drones eat their Carl's Jr. and grow like flabby fungi under the florescent lights." This is lousy of me and I have to cut it out.

Example: A few weeks ago, a Chik Fil-A opened up down the street from where I work. Since the day it opened, there's been a line of cars snaking from the drive-through out and into the next parking lot. People cannot wait to get their hands on a chicken sandwich! So, coming back from the gym one day, I commented on it and one of my coworkers said, "Hey, I like Chik Fil-A."

"Oh yeah?" I snorted. I then went to my computer and called up a picture of mechanically separated chicken, which I pointed out looks exactly like strawberry soft-serve. I will now share that picture with you and ensure that you'll never eat another chicken nugget:

Gross, right? Anyway, the grossness is not the point. The point is that I can't let myself become alienated from these people I am supposed to be protecting. Or, more succinctly: stop being an asshole, me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You needn't be out there on the edge anymore. You needn't be alone. We don't have to kill each other ... for Muscle Milk.

My training continues. The form of my terrible shadow is coalescing. I accomplish this through coughing.

A post-Thanksgiving workout and kickboxing session reduced me to splinters last night, if splinters sweated and coughed a lot and spluttered. This is due to either: A) My excessive smoking over the holiday weekend; or B) The tiny salad I ate about an hour before kickboxing because I was ravenous and I figured, hey, an hour should be long enough so that my meal digests to a point where I don't throw up all over my bag gloves. Whatever the case, a not especially rough workout had me light-headed and weak, and then I got to hustle off to band practice, unfed but for Muscle Milk.

I've grown accustomed to the slightly more svelt silhouette I now throw, and my stomach muscles have grown hard beneath the slowly-melting gut. My wife delights in prodding my brand-new muscles, and she said the other day, "You know, you look substantial." "As opposed to what? As opposed to just fat?" I asked her. She sort of blushed, but I took her meaning.

I peeled off two pounds yesterday, so I'm well on my way to my goal for this week. My other goal is to have, from yesterday, another 20 pounds gone by Christmas. This is ambitious, but totally doable, as long as I take care of myself and keep pushing. In a few weeks, I'll be in shape enough to start actual sparring, which will be of further good to me, if bruising can be construed as a good thing. But I'm excited to get some real combat experience. Remember, the supervillains of Coz ain't gonna punch themselves into oblivion.