Saturday, December 03, 2005

People Are Strange

New bench press personal best for me on Friday: 41.5 Kg or 91.5 lbs for six reps. I am happy because bench press is by far my slowest progress exercise. Another happy gym moment was when I realised I could finally do some full push-ups following my bench press sets. Can't wait till I'm doing these with a weight plate on my back.

I went to sleep at 9:19pm on Friday and woke up Saturday morning at 7:48am. This is slightly over 10 hours, and I needed every minute as I have been averaging under six hours of sleep per night. Not good, but there is nothing I can do about it. My program is intense and I have made it more intense by taking extra courses at the university. Why? Because I like learning, and because this is my last chance for a very long time to study at a university with some generous foundation picking up half the tab.

My mom might be coming to visit from Canada this month. I haven't seen my parents in nearly ten months. Apparently there is a seat sale going on right now for the Toronto-Tel Aviv flights, as this is the between-holidays season.

Over the past couple of weeks I have received comments on my weight loss from various people. My weight has been relatively steady for at least a month, so this is due to the fact that I am no longer wearing my old baggy clothes but rather my new, well-fitting/tight clothes.

First it was one of my teachers from last year. I headed out of school for lunch, and he said:
"Are you going to disappear?"
"No," I said, "I'm just going across the road for lunch,"
"I mean you've lost a lot of weight," he said.
"Thank you for noticing," I said. This is my new standard answer to weight loss comments from people I know AND like. If I don't know you or like you the answer is likely to be much less nice.

Later that day, one of my schoolmates motions me over and whispers:
"You've lost a lot of weight, haven't you?". I laughed and gave a similar response as I did the above teacher. It was sensitive of him to whisper, but really wasn't necessary. With the new clothes the weight loss is in the "obvious" category. And I have no problems discussing how I got there. Who knows, I might get some people off treadmills and into the weight room. I've even created Harris Benedict spreadsheets for two of my classmates this past week.

Then last week I happened to be sitting at the Coffee Mill when one of the women who was in my Jewish Medieval Bible Commentators class last year walks in. I said Hello as she passed by my table, but she didn't recognize me right away. When she did recognize me, she said:
"You've lost like a zillion pounds. How did you do it?" I laughed. (Later on I decided that if I get that comment again, I will answer it with "Actually, it is a gazillion, not a zillion") and said:
"Eating five times a day and working out." She stared at me.
"Working out five times a day?"
"No," I said, "Eating five times a day".
I gave her the address of this blog. I hope she comes by. She seemed very stressed about weight.

People are strange. At the gym, I was asked to translate a program (from English to Hebrew) that one of the guys had brought in. It is a silly program taken from who knows what dumb fitness magazine. It is beyond me why anyone would want to use this program when they have access to a gym owner who has years of experience with real live athletes, has competed in weightlifting, powerlifting and sambo, and who customizes each program based on the client's goals, starting point, and frequency available to train.

I saw the loveliest picture at the gym on Friday. TanktopGuy was doing military presses at the Smith Machine and Shoulder Guy was standing behind him, watching his form. (I need to find a more creative naming system.) ShoulderGuy, whose biceps are impressive even when relaxed, was resting his hands on the top cross bar of the Smith machine. As TanktopGuy pressed the bar, there was a single moment when the two sets of biceps made a perfect picture, one above the other. Even if I had had my camera with me, I would have missed that shot due to the shot delay. In defense of TanktopGuy, I've never seen him use the Smith before. On Fridays the gym is only open from 8am to 3pm, the place is packed, and someone else was using the squat rack for good mornings or some such.

Later on, another guy was doing military presses at the now-free squat rack. I have to do my 2 minute step jumping intervals between my rotator cuff exercise sets, and the only free space is in front of the squat rack. I asked him if my being there bothered him, and eventually we worked it out so that I would do my mini-cardio in between his sets, so that he could have a mostly unobstructed view. The funny thing is that he asked me "Don't you rest?" and I said, pointing at the step, "This is the rest". I've come to the conclusion that the step jumps are a mental exercise rather than a physical one. They are there to show me that I can gut out six two-minute intervals of sideways jumping even when they are supersetted with the last exercise in the training session. Whether that last exercise is rotator cuff work (on chest-triceps day) or deadlifts (on biceps & ham-dominant day).

Last week was a good training week overall. Five sessions: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I am going to try and do the same thing next week, but no pressure. The goal is four, five is a really nice bonus. The attractive part is that if I do manage five it will mean two squat sessions next week, one Sunday and one Friday.


At 1:12 PM , Blogger chaos said...

I'd like to hear the not-as-nice responses as well, though I like the "thank you for noticing" response. It's tricky. Sometimes I get frustrated that people don't say anything. Most of the time I am angry that my body becomes conversation. Sometimes I bring it up myself. Congrats on the bench press and push-ups!

At 4:50 AM , Blogger K said...

Yes, congratulations, and thanks for the tips; I've been shying away from wrist curls because of my tendency to overextend, but maybe if I start with very light weight I won't.

It must be difficult to know what to say in those situations. The only people who've commented to me are my mum, my boyfriend and his mum, all of whom I love and who meant well. But I don't know how I'd take it from someone less close.


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