No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Starting over

Posted by Ben on Saturday, January 24, 2009

It sucks to start over, especially if you’ve put in countless days, weeks, months, who knows (name that character), planning, enthusiasm, research, woken up early, stayed up late, blown off a get-together here and there, and generally committed yourself to seeing something through, felt you made a lot of progress, and got deeply invested in the endeavor. Now, I could be talking about the general direction of our society in many ways, but I’m not. I could be talking about any one of the many girlfriends I’ve had over the years, but I’m not. I could also be talking about my (lack of) religious conviction, but I’m not. No, I’m talking about my training.

That’s right. I’m starting over. I’ve trained regularly since August 2000 with only one or two hiccups lasting more than a week. That’s not to say I’ve trained intelligently over that time. I’ve run across several good—and a couple great—programs that, if approached correctly, did/do exactly what they say they did/do. The problem for me was that, like most people, I wanted to jump in with both feet right away. “Beginner” phase? Not four years into the game. “Break-in” weeks? Please, I’m beyond that. Well, I’m not. Very few people are, and those few are already highly trained individuals who most likely wouldn’t even be looking at some of the programs I’ve done over the years.

The constant push over the course of time has produced some good results in general—I’m a lot stronger and better developed in many ways that I was before I started training—but the reckless abandon that typified my approach to trying this or that program (always to its conclusion, mind you, with one lone keto exception) also produced a couple chronic/overuse injuries, one or two acute problems, and several general biomechanical imbalances (some as a result of the other two issues). As these problems have become more prevalent, I’ve attempted various (p)rehab protocols either in addition to or in place of my habitual training schedule and methods; however, these problems persist to varying degrees, seemingly regardless of everything I try short of hauling up to Indianapolis or Boston for six months to get everything put back in place (I wouldn’t be opposed to either trip, but there’s the whole fee-for-services thing—people and their livings *sheesh*). At this point, when it comes to self-treatment, I’ve gotten so far along the path of perpetuating biomechanical problems that it feels like I’m running around trying to plug holes in the dike instead of just letting the flood waters burst through, do some (temporary) damage, and just start over by building a much better dam from the ground up.

The past month-plus has coincidentally been just that: letting the flood, well, flood. It’s largely a mental thing—I’ve researched and experimented with different things over the past several months, aske for (and gotten) some great advice from knowledgeable people (none local, unfortunately), and thought I could eventually fix myself up. Instead, I’ve had to accept that this long layoff has been a good thing, both physically (rest and rehab) and mentally (re-adjusting my approach to training), and that it’s way past time to back off, stop working on the eaves and overhangs, and instead go see why the basement still gets water seepage after a moderate rainstorm.

Over the past week, I’ve been re-reading material from Ross Enamait since I most enjoy his approach to full-body strength and conditioning. In doing so, I ran across an arbitrary fitness benchmark test that, knowing I couldn’t come close to matching, I ran through anyway just for comparison’s sake (results and commentary here). As you can see, there are a couple things I can’t even begin to attempt due to mitigating conditions, let alone perform to anywhere close to the benchmarks. I know there are far more people who can’t safely and successfully complete even one rep of one movement on that list than there are people who can finish the test, but I’m not comparing myself to “far more people.”

I started out writing this to discuss the idea of starting over in some regard; instead, it looks like it’s become more of an exercise in affirmation and accountability. Hey, I can’t be on my game all the time :P I won’t go in-depth here about what exactly I’ll be doing to start over—I’ll be doing that in my training log (look to the left)—so don’t worry about slogging through too much more of this mess.

Inauguration 2009: gallery of past inaugurations (this one from space), inauguration tech, Flickr’s story, as seen in multisynth, rebooting the White House (and a look at its tech standing), the First Limo in the wild, the First BlackBerry, interactive beginnings.

Body bits: to deadlift is to live, executing the inverted row, training through injury, Eric enters 2009, shoulder stories, neoprene knees, endurance under CKD and recovery, the six-pack illusion, Tony gets caned, behold the coregasm (welcome back to blogging, Adam), why weight loss matters, a couple random videos.

Edibles: do something different, nommy eggs, Brad does pizza, you really can go without fruits and veggies, makin’ salsa, Primal Blueprint sample menu, mac-n-cheese as a veggie, some (mostly) dietary thoughts from Eric, introduction to genomics, the cell phone in the kitchen, tainted peanut butter highlights food industry complexity.

Mind matters: good explanation of why I don’t train with a partner, own your movements, a look at consistency, true north, spectre of the workout DVD, science attempts to cure racism, coffee may buffer dementia.

Kiddie corner: TigerWoodsAmongUs syndrome, going against the norm, child health insurance to expand (a local blueprint), don’t endanger your kids over your beliefs (do what you want to yourself, though), what we’re up against.

Fiscal fitness: joining a gym or not, recession diet, what that as-seen-on-TV exercise gizmo really does, never a bad time to check your VISA records.

General health: human stem cell trials approved (spinal tap), low-carb may promote lower liver fat, more on the effects of low-carbing round #2 (further here), some design flaws, senior self-defense, why obese people lose less on low-cal diets, the “warrior” gene.

Geek-out:
—Transportation: electric Shimano shifters, a TED.com-inspired EV, Tesla raises prices, Shelby goes electric, a Fiat-Chrysler deal, Aptera’s car of the future, closer to airborne gridlock (not in eighty years).
—Mobile tech: location-aware lifestyle (some apps), a phone for Facebook, QWERTY typing enhancer, last.fm hits Android.
—General tech: funeral webcasts growing, a quarter-century of the Mac, Mozilla wants to watch your clicks, a search engine for video, Pandora goes commercial (Slacker is still better), Google goof may expose your documents (fodder for its enemies), migrating from Google Notebook, DIY USB, Vatican joins YouTube, Europe’s pretty satellite.
—Nature: paleofantasies in perspective, Cassandra tackles trash, news flash – air pollution is bad, heads-up for space junk, tweets from Monterey Bay (pictures), some planets that suck.
—Miscellaneous: a language extinct, scientists spurned and vindicated, Mexico saves NY Times for now (Google didn’t help), road to discovery, revisiting the Anthem Project, Hollywood needs a new model, saving the developing world.

Git r dun:
—MLK revisited.
—Pick your passion.
—Exercise should make you smile.
—Ideas for a changing world.
—What’s the measure of your worth?
—A meditation on hope.
—A look at Fedor Emelianenko.

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2 Responses to “Starting over”

  1. michelle said

    you should totally take a trip up to CP. as I’m sure you know, your time and money will be well spent!

  2. Ben said

    Oh, I’m sure it would be. It’s just that whole money thing right now. However, Fenway has long been on my list of places to go. Don’t y’all go tearing it down before I get up there, ya hear?

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