For the past year, my body has suffered from neglect and abuse while I struggled to regain my mental health. Grief and loss threatened to consume me and I responded to that threat in some pretty negative ways. Ate too much. Drank too much. Exercised too little. The bottom line is, I gained almost 50 pounds since finishing my marathon in the spring. I wan't just running away from my sadness. I was building a fortress of fat where I could hide from it.
2013 had been a hurricane, and it had left my house in a pile of rubble. I was going to have to rebuild from the ground up.Late in the year, some things happened to help me reset the foundations. The time I was spending with my therapist was starting to make sense to me. I was coming to understand just what my values were, and to learn ways to make choices that were more consistent with the things that mattered most to me. I got the opportunity to play with an inspiring group of young actors whose energy and wisdom helped me to see just how destructive my behavior and my thinking had become. Important time spent with my dearest friend, though soon to be ex-wife, reminded me that though the nature of our relationship might change, true love abides. I spent a long, largely solitary Advent in prayer and contemplation, renewing my friendship with God, whose love and guidance I had taken too much for granted. I actually met some new people and started new friendships. And I squeezed into the workout clothes that used to fit me so well, and waddled my big, big butt back into the gym. On Facebook, I called it my #evolutionresolution
In spite of the extra weight, my cardiopulmonary fitness was still pretty good. Thanks to the classes I teach, I get about four hours a week of moderate exercise, and that was enough for me to maintain a strong heart and lungs, even with the surplus pounds. I was tempted to pick a race... always a great motivator for me... and start hitting the road hard. Then I mounted the treadmill.
Too heavy. Way too heavy. I was slow, my muscles screamed after just a mile or so, and my knees and hips let me know that banging them with such a big hammer was going to end very badly for all of us. I was not going to be able to run my way out of the fortress of fat. I was going to have to start somewhere else.
My old iron friends were calling me home. It was time to get back to the weight room. We had just launched a new program called MobileFit at the YMCA, and I had the Wellness Director type in my information. All the shameful numbers. Primary goal: Weight loss. Secondary goal: Strength gains. A magic combination. I should have seen it coming.
The computer giggled softly to itself, and started spitting out daily workouts that would make a Spartan cry for his Mamma. Cruel, hour-long weight-lifting sessions. Daily doses of cardio. I took the recommendations and amped them up even more. I shortened the prescribed rest periods between sets to keep my heart rate up and jump start my metabolism. I increased the progression of weight and reps to encourage muscle growth. I intensified the short walks to long jogs. I've been at it for about a month now, and when I stepped on the scale yesterday morning, I was almost ten pounds lighter than I was at Thanksgiving.
Now that's a lot of weight to lose in a short amount of time. I know that. And I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. But I'm a big boy. And I had been very sedentary. Given those two factors, it is predictable that the first few pounds would come off quickly. I don't expect to maintain that pace for long. But I am encouraged. I can do this. I can be strong again. The fortress of fat will fall. The Fat Man will run again.
I love to tell my people at the Y, "If you can slide back, then you can slide forward, too." Barbells and treadmills have no feelings to hurt. They will always welcome you back. Yes, I have failed myself. But that doesn't mean I can't try again.
Give up? I'll give up when I'm dead. Today, I have a date with a squat rack. And before I'm through the poor thing isn't going to know what hit it.
The Long Road... #2014reboot
Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods
mrs p Cancer running lifting weights LIVESTRONG at the YMCA treadmill weight nutrition depression God Living Strong at the Y injury YMCA dogs mom walking radiation Weight Lifting cardio friends program theatre body fat long slow run love One for the Five aches elliptical race resistance bands stretching 5K Acting Jeff Galloway chemo doctor family mental health Church Pittsburgh Marathon bluegrass fundraising inspiration patience personal trainer recovery Flying Pig Marathon Jesus Johns Striders Race Report Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon bipolar frustration kentucky knees measurements morning promatx yoga Christmas Marathon Pennsy's Greatest Hits cats clothes heart rate hope lance armstrong life molly poetry rest side effects steelers swimming 10K Actors' Guild of Lexington Blog CT Scan Coach Carrie PET Scan cross training exercise fear feeling good groin healing ice cream livestrong nausea powerlifting run/walk/run stair climber surgery Cancer Fighter Cold Gear Hills Iron Horse Half-marathon Job LSR Mum Nike+ Shamrock Shuffle 3K achilles advent arboretum bmi bodyweight exercises changes charity circuit training cycling dad deadlift diabetes encouragement experts give up goals horses interval training jake kettlebells lean body mass new rules of lifting pacing personal best plateau prayer recumbent bike research shoes sleep strength teeth therapist toe video Blood Easter Endurance Funeral Garmin 405 Homecoming House Insurance Juicing Keeneland Legacy Night PR Pennsyltucky Pittsburgh Relapse Run This Town TRX Training Values aflac arnold ben-gay bench press chafing christian compression shorts dentist dreams faith fat fatigue foreclosure good day half marathon hospitality javarunner john's run/walk shop lou schuler new year nurse pains peg tube powercage progressive resistance. racing rain rapture reboot runners world squat sun block supplements team pennsy tired weather will rogers work #3rightThings 9-11 ACSM AIDS Aquaphor Blessings Bluegrass 10K CSN Cancer Boy Cedar Hill Charles Dickens Class of 82 Classes Colby Road College Compassion Courage Crowdrise Cystoscopy Dee Diet EFM Epiphany Fall Fartlek Fat Man Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Frankfort Gadgets Gramma Grampa Gratitude Grete Waitz Guest HITT HIV Hell Holding Hands Holy Saturday Homer Horse Capital Marathon IVP Ice bath Jacuzzi James Taylor Jesus wept Joe Cross John Izzo Joy KY LaDonna Leg Day Lent Lessons Lexington Little Pennsy Mental hospital Midsummer Night's Run Mindfulness MobileFit Negative Splits Old Frankfort Pike Pilates Podrunner Pre-race Priorities RICE Railrunner 10 Miler Random thoughts Resurrection Reunion Run Bob Run Run Report Run Review Run for the Gold 3K Running Form Running for Sabrina STUPID Shakespeare Skip Brown Speed Spinning Summer Of Speed Sunrise Supersets Tao Te Ching Thank You The Wall Three Right Things Toxic Passenger UK UK basketball Urine Urologist Victory Walk of Shame Warrior Westminster Whole Foods Wind Words Zumba ace bandages addicted agony alwyn cosgrove america anger antibiotic anxiety awake back baseball blood clots blood pressure body glide bonhoeffer books brad calories chinup colonoscopy consistency crazy cycles dentures dip dr. google dumbbells elevation facebook failure farts feet fight for life fitness forgiveness frankenpennsy fun getting started glucosamine glutes goal gremlin grenz grumpy hair hamstrings hiccups high school hot ice incarnation indian food jogging john lennon joint legacy trail liniment lunges machines maker's mark mapmyrun.com medicine ball meds mercy motivation motley fool music nature neighborhood new balance nike noah numbers pennsyltuckian periodization persistence phlebitis postmodern prison professional boundaries progress psychiatrist pullups pushups quads ramble rememberance renewal road running ronnie coleman rowing safety sauna scan-ziety sexy shopping shorts shower sick sleepless snow socks spandex star trek statistics steam room steroids stiff strained muscle strap strength training supination support surgeon survive swackett swiss balls table technology tempo terry bradshaw testicular torsion text thai food that's fit the five thighs walk breaks warm up water fitness water jogging weak wedding ring wellness wife winter workout writing yardwork