Thursday, December 2, 2010

#284: Mind, Body, and Mouth

Today started at the dentist. My mouth has changed a little bit, and we needed to adjust my dentures to even out my bite. These changes are partly because of the radiation and partly because of the weight I'm losing. Who knew my mouth was so fat? I'm hoping today's tune up will help me to keep my teeth in my head when I'm singing. Beth, the dental assistant suggested I might try to use a little powdered adhesive when I perform to help keep them in place. They're pretty adamant about not using stickum on a regular basis. If they slip, that means they don't fit properly and I need to go get them adjusted. I'm cool with that. The less chemical goo in my mouth, the better.

It took me a while to finally get to the gym, but I had a good workout once I got there.

* Warm up - 5 minute walk
Woodchoppers - 3 sets by 10 reps each side @ 50 lbs
Dumbbell Deadlifts - 3 by 5 @ 70 (two 35 lb weights)
Curl to Arnold Press - 3 by 10 @ 12.5
* Rest - 5 minute walk
Single Leg Press (seated) - 3 by 20 each side @ 80
Lat Pull - 3 by 12 @ 50
Dumbbell Row (Single) - 3 by 10 each side @ 15
* Cool down - 5 minute walk

The Deadlift. Do it right or you're dead!
I tried to work at a good pace, keeping rest breaks to a minimum. The exercise I had the most trouble with was the Curl/Arnold Press combination. Here's a link if you're want to learn how that movement goes. I had trouble getting my right arm all the way up. That's the side where they took muscle out of my neck, so I'm trying to strengthen whats left of my deltoids over there. I had to start over on the last set, but I did finish. We'll see how I feel in the morning, but right now my muscles feel good, no soreness or aching. That tells me I'm getting stronger and I didn't do anything to hurt myself. That's a big deal, especially when you do deadlifts, even at the light weights I'm lifting. Form is everything when you do this exercise. Do it wrong, and your back can be shot for a long, long time.

On the other hand, the fact that I'm not hurting  may mean that I didn't work hard enough. On the other hand, I've always been a member of the "No Pain, No Pain" school of thought. I think I'll leave the weight levels where they are for now, and try increasing my rep counts for the next workout.

I left squats out today. I considered doing them, I really did, but deadlifts and squats on the same day can really wear you down. The truth is, you could probably make a pretty good workout only doing one of these exercises. Both engage a lot of muscles at once. I don't feel bad about splitting them up on separate days. I'll get squats in on Saturday.

Driving home from the gym, I realized something interesting. I hadn't thought about my teeth the whole time I was there. Usually I am so self conscious about my mouth. Whether the teeth are in our out, I'm always running my tongue over them, making sure they're tight. Checking for sore spots. Being careful not to bite myself. Keeping them moist. In the weight room, I never thought about them once. I hardly ever thing of anything when I'm lifting weights. That is one of the things I love so much about it. You have to be so present when you're moving iron around, even the light weights I'm starting with. When you're doing it right, completing the movements takes everything you have, and that includes your mind as well as your muscles. It is such a great way to spend an hour.

Running/walking is different for me. Most of the cardio exercises, really. My mind tends to drift around when I walk or run. I take in what's around me. I count laps. I fantasize about running a marathon or scoring a touchdown. Sometimes I sing. Sometimes I plan the rest of my day. It's a different kind of relaxation, a more contemplative experience. I'm sure that if I were a real long distance runner, or a sprinter, I would experience the kind of intensity that I get from weight lifting, but I'm not really that advanced. For now, I'm happy with the two different states of mind. It's a nice balance.

On the nutritional front, we had a nice dinner today at a Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood. Lots of chicken and vegetables. Tonight I'm having a piece of thin crust pizza. The pizza commercials used to drive me crazy when I was on the feeding tube. It seemed like every ad was either about pizza or cheeseburgers. I don't over indulge, and I haven't even tried to get my choppers around a burger yet, but it's nice to have a slice now and then. Even if I do have to cut it up into little pieces. Still have to supplement with Ensure-type shakes though. Eating has become much more of a necessity than a pleasure for me. Considering my physical condition, that's not the worst thing in the world.

I haven't weighed myself since the last trip to the doctor. I know my new jeans are getting baggy and my belt is on the last hole. It will be interesting to see how my exercise affects the weight loss. It may actually slow down as I start to replace muscle mass, but I noticed in the locker room mirror that there's still plenty of fat to burn off. That's fine. Let it burn. Besides, my gums are getting thinner!


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