Those who know me know I generally keep fairly active. I do triathlons and running races, train in martial arts, lift weights, things like that. I also enjoy beer and wine and love good food. Lots of good food. Consequently, though I’m in pretty good shape in terms of strength and endurance (my resting heart rate the other day at the doctor’s office was 56), I’ve always had more of a twelve-pack than a six-pack, if you know what I mean.
Hell, in 2008, when I checked off the submarine at the end of my Department Head tour, I had more like a pony keg. I got a big wakeup call when I transferred to that shore duty, let me tell you. I had the trifecta of anti-fitness occur, all at once: I went over 30, served as Department Head on a submarine, and got married. Any one of those three might have been easily overcome, but all together? *headshake*
November 2008 – Ugh
I weighed in at 240 lbs when I checked in to my new command in November of that year, and measured something like 26% body fat. Unsat. So I hopped on Weightwatchers, got back into running more, really started hitting the weight room, and by April I’d dropped to 215 and gotten back within the Navy body fat limits.
October 2009, while sailing my sailboat from Annapolis, MD to Charleston, SC – much better
At that point, I figured I should keep going, get back below 200 lbs for the first time since 1999. But I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to do so, so I didn’t. Subsequently, I transferred to Upstate New York for a couple years, then here to San Diego. I put some lbs back on (depends on the time of year), but by and large I’ve stayed at the same overall place since 2009. Except I’m in much better shape now than I was then. Not as good as when I was Junior Officer on shore duty (3 marathons in 24 months and five days a week in the dojo will have a good affect on a body), but still pretty darn good. I beat much younger guys at the Navy PRT (not that this is all that difficult a feat…the PRT ain’t exactly hard).
But, all the same, a few things have been nagging at me.
I’ve always sucked at pull-ups. Situps? I make sit-ups my bitch. Pushups? I can crank out a lot. But Pull-ups… Oy, pull-ups. Back in 2009, I managed to get to the point where I could do 3-4, but that was the best I’ve ever done with pull-ups. Well, I guess a month and a half ago, I got to thinking I was sick and tired of sucking at pull-ups, and I found this guy’s website where he described how he made his own pull-up bar using materials from Home Depot. I thought, “What the hell,” and built one myself the next week, drawing off his plans.
At the time of it’s completion, I could maybe do 2 pull-ups at once. But that’s ok. I decided I’d do 10 sets of 1 every day. Doing that would inevitably enable me to up my reps, over time. And sure enough, it worked. Within a week I was doing sets of two. Now, I’m doing sets of 3 or 4, depending on the day. I intend to continue working on them until I’m up to Marine Corps standards (technically I’m past their minimum spec, which if memory serves is three or four pull-ups for the PFA. Or is it 5? Regardless, I can do that minimum now. But they get max points at 20, so that’s what I’m shooting for). I figure I can be there by the time I get back from deployment in April.
Yes, deployment. More on that later.
Anyway, I’d been making such good progress on the pull-up front that I got to thinking about the the second thing that keeps irking me: the twelve pack. And I started thinking about what I’m going to do on deployment. Obviously I’m going to write a lot. Read a lot. Work a lot. But also work OUT a lot. And that led to thinking about what manner of workout I wanted to do onboard ship, since i hate – and I meant HATE – treadmills and stationary bikes.
And then I remembered Insanity.
I heard some of the guys at work talking about Insanity and P-90X and the like, but never took part in them. I had no interest. But for whatever reason, the middle of last month I got to thinking about it, and I went online. I found some articles reviewing the Insanity workout, watched some YouTube videos that people made documenting their Insanity experience (he series of videos I enjoyed best was by this lady named Nkechi Kwenu – she’s pretty funny).
And, again, I thought, “What the hell,” and ordered the DVDs.
The Admiral here at home wanted to participate as well, but she had a half-marathon to finish training for and run last weekend, so we didn’t start until this week.
I’m here to tell you, I’ve done some intense workouts over the years. Conditioning and Sparring at Masters Studios of Self Defense in Charleston (my all-time favorite dojo) kicked my butt thoroughly. As did each marathon I’ve run, and the Olympic length triathlons. So I know how to deal with a hard workout. No lie, Insanity is legit. A good, hard workout, across the entire body.
It’s hard. Totally doable, but hard. And that’s good.
Today (it’s past midnight now but it’s still Saturday night so I’m thinking of today as Saturday even though technically it’s really Sunday) was day 6, and it was a repeat of the circuit workout we did on Tuesday. Already I can tell it was just a little bit easier than it was just a few days ago. Easier in that I was able to push a little bit harder before failure, if you know what I mean.
So that’s what I’m up to now. I’m back on weight watchers, cranking on pull-ups, and working Insanity. All with the goal of really getting back below 200 lbs by the end of my deployment. After all, the Admiral at home, post kid #4, has become a PT machine and trimmed down to a size 2, which is smaller than she was when we met in bygone days of yore. I should probably return the favor.
It’s going to be a lot of fun. And now that I’ve finished blasting The Pericles Conspiracy at you, I figure I’ll bother you with workout reports for a while.
Hope you don’t mind.
Now, it’s time to hit the rack. Later.