Thursday, February 16, 2012


Scales? We don’t need no stinking scales…Well, not today, anyway.

The “between the toes” number, which has been my focus for over a year now has lost some of its importance lately. Part of not getting on the scale is the idea of not letting the number get to me if it’s not to my liking.

 There are other means of measuring progress.

For instance, on Saturday night, I dressed up for a party and wore one of my favorite garments: a silk blazer (size 13) I’d gotten from Limited Express nearly 20 years ago. It’s been sitting untouched for at least 10 years because, even if I could get my arms into the sleeves, I couldn’t move them for fear of ripping the jacket from the strain. Saturday, it fit and I could move freely in it. All the planks in yoga, the skull crushers with the free weights and working on pushups is paying off. Far less jiggle around the arms.  I’m still doing pushups against the wall, but I’m still doing 3 sets of 15 every other day. Next step: incline pushups.

While getting adjusted last week, Dr. Best noticed that I have “the beginnings of a vee” along my spine. This means the lower back muscles are developing. He also checked the development of the triceps and pronounced it “coming along.”

I’m wearing size 13 and size 12 Calvin Klein jeans. For years, I’ve worn “stretch denim” jeans with elastic waists. I’m wearing the standard denim and the waists are unforgiving. But they’re fitting.

Nerd Fitness promises that by cleaning up your diet (No processed food, no dairy, no sugar, no grain. Okay, well, if you insist on dairy, make it grass-fed) and weight training, you’ll be able to increase your strength. I’ve begun shifting my workout from the Nautilus type machines to free weights and using my body weight which are less forgiving and greater resistance (you don’t have a bunch of pulleys making it easier for you). I took a reconnaissance tour of the various free weight devices (The kind you add weight plates to, rather than just moving a pin in an enclosed stack) and I can do them. Of course, with the wonky right knee, I’m not going to be busting out like Ms. Olympia, but I can work with very light weights and a lot of repetitions (There seems to be a lot of bad knees going around in my circle). Lunges may be great for the lower body and the glutes, but the right knee clears its throat, so to speak, if I attempt anything high impact or that puts pressure behind the kneecap. Even though I’m not pushing big weights, I think the legs are pretty good. You tell me.

 (Actual leg)

Still, the Great White Belly is not changing as quickly as other body parts. However, it’s cooperating in the strength department. The muscles aren’t shaking nearly as much as they did when I finally “got it” on how to properly hold a plank (and even though you’re not moving, those things will work you). When I started focusing on the oblique muscles (those are the gems down your sides that allow you to twist) I had to mentally focus on the muscles and will them to contract. As  I have continued to practice, it’s become easier to command them to move and have them respond. I can hold the Boat pose (balance on your butt with your body in the shape of a V. Not easy) for (relatively) longer periods.

(Not actual me)

It’s progress. And, unless you're Rick Santorum, progress is a good thing.

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