Thursday, May 18, 2006

This week’s adventures. So far.

After spending the last few months of 2005 logging 80-hour weeks at work and none at the gym, I was starting to look like Ann Coulter. Except with less back hair. So when I reclaimed my life in January, I also revamped my workout philosophy and my diet, trading the moderate-intensity, one-body-part-a-week program I’d been using for at least 10 years for one that involves maximum weights, lifting to failure and hitting every body part at least twice a week. My diet was already pretty good for what I was trying to do, but I amped up my lean protein consumption, packed the majority of my carbs into the mornings and afternoons, and started chugging creatine and Muscle Milk. Just like the vapid circuit boys big boys at the gym. Oh, and I switched to diet soda. Even though I hate it. But I couldn’t justify all those empty calories. And once in a while I just crave that caustic blend of chemicals and carbonation.

The result? I quickly regained what I’d lost in November and December, followed by a lengthy plateau … and then on Monday I hit three big-boy milestones:

Big-Boy Milestone #1: I hopped on the scale at the gym and discovered I’d finally crossed the 10-new-pounds-what-I-hope-is-muscle plateau. (You can expect to gain about 1.5 pounds a month on a good workout program, and I’ve averaged out to 2.5.) So I’m now tipping the scales at 195 pounds! And the crowd goes wild! I’d never really done squats before January, so the majority of that new muscle is in my legs and in my still kinda sad little butt. And as marathon training gets more intense, I’ll probably lose most of what I gained by July. But still. 10 pounds! Woo-hoo!

Big-Boy Milestone #2: I bench pressed 225 pounds ALL. BY. MYSELF. You get 225 by adding one 45-lb bar and four 45-lb plates. The big boys bench press at least 225 all the time, but us trying-to-be-big boys see it as a pretty major landmark. After years of nothing more impressive than 185, I’d been benching 225 with the help of spotters for at least a month. But on Monday I couldn’t find anyone I wanted an excuse to talk to to spot me, so I did it on my own. And I got three sets of three reps with no trouble at all. And the crowd goes wild again!

Big-Boy Milestone #3: I survived my one thousandth listening-to of Kelis’ tender love ballad, “Caught Out There.” My gym apparently has one CD in its sound system, so at least once a workout I get to hear Kelis’ clever wordplay and thoughtful insights into the human condition, a fine example of which appears in every chorus: “I hate you so much right now! I hate you so much right now! Ugh. I hate you so much right now!”

I joined MySpace last week just for fun. While Rupert Murdoch found enough value in it to buy the site for $580M last July, I found little more than an interesting diversion in it—a way to post pictures, write goofy things about myself and link to legitimate friends and fake muscleboy profiles alike. (It’s amazing how many 21-year-old supermodels with removeable tattoos there are in the world—and how many of them really, really really want to be my friend.)

So I was pleasantly surprised when two of those attractive strangers emailed me and quickly proved themselves to be articulate, intelligent and fun to talk to. One of them lives half a continent away, but the other lives just a couple blocks from my office. So we met for dinner on Tuesday. (A Norwegian and a Jew walk into a Thai restaurant…) And we had an awesome time together. Even though I felt compelled to order a diet soda. After three hours of conversation just flew by, he walked me to my bus stop and waited for my bus with me. Such a charmer. Best of all, our next dinner date is already on the calendar.

After last night’s freakish hailstorm had cleared and the frog-size chunks of ice had melted, I ran five miles hopped over five miles of giant puddles with a guy in my marathon pace group. On the way back to my place we stopped at my friendly neighborhood Dominick’s (motto: The bare minimum is often too much to ask) for dinner supplies, then we invited a guy from a different pace group (fraternizing! with the enemy!) who lives a few blocks from me to join us for spinach-raspberry salad, stuffed chicken breasts and what was left of my homemade low-fat custard after most of it boiled over onto the stove. Stupid low-fat custard.

Then the three of us spent the evening solving the world’s problems over white wine while we gazed out my window and enjoyed my spectacular view. Which might not be mine much longer, because I’ve been condo shopping. And I may have found The One. Stay tuned for all the super-expensive details …

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