Fitness and diet, part 1

Here are some excerpts from my book Righteous Seduction, which I’m posting in serial form.  I’m presenting this to you for free, because this information is valuable to the public.  Being fit and healthy is a good thing; being better-looking is a cool side effect.  Stay tuned for more.

Hit The Weights

When I was in high school, I thought it was pretty superficial whenever I heard the girls say, “Ooh, he’s got musssscles!”  Looking back on it, that was a bit silly of me; they like muscular guys, I like gals with all the right curves, and it’s all good.  Really, I should have paid more heed and figured out the weightlifting thing when I was a teenager.  Grown women are usually too sophisticated to put it in quite those words, but that doesn’t mean they stopped liking musssscles.  Think of it this way – if a woman has a great figure, you pay attention to her instantly.  It works that way for women too; they notice guys who are well-built.  Looks are less important to women than they are to us, but still, it’s obviously an advantage if you can cause physical attraction on sight.  The more you can do so, the better.  Try it out and see if this makes a difference in how you get treated!

I know, being hung up on body types is shallow, and elsewhere I encourage guys not to be shallow themselves, but there’s no reason not to look as good as possible.  Back in the day, I did calisthenics, which gained me some strength.  I rode my bike quite a bit, which kept me skinny despite the occasional junk food binge.  Still, I didn’t have the first clue about how to do serious weight training.  It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I did the research.  The following isn’t a complete treatise about how to lift weights, but it’s enough to get you started.

How I porked out, and what I did about the problem

Ready to start your fitness adventure?  Awesome!  This is where I was in my early 30s.  In the beginning, I was a skinny kid.  In college, I put on the “freshman fifteen” and ten more pounds after I got into beer and McNuggets in a serious way.  During my 20s, I started to gain weight like Elvis after he finished his hitch in the Army.  I had become a sofa spud.  This doesn’t happen overnight – it really sneaks up on you – and after several years, my health was starting to suffer.

I was often very hungry, and to my surprise, a carbohydrate-laden snack only made me hungrier.  I’m quite certain that I was developing insulin resistance, on the road to developing type II diabetes.  People often think of obesity as a self-discipline problem, the deadly sin of gluttony and all that.  To some degree it is, but you really are crazy hungry all the time if your metabolism is off kilter.  You just don’t know when to quit pigging out.  I was tired constantly, even in the morning.  Also, I was rather depressed, which I could temporarily set aside with junk food – definitely not progress.  This is one of several destructive feedback loops in obesity.

Being fat isn’t easy; I know.  I went to the beach once, and some environmentalists tried to push me back in.  I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland, but now I was afraid of being harpooned.  I had to take out a restraining order on Captain Ahab.  Seaworld offered me a job, but I had to turn it down because they wanted to pay me in fish.  My gut started creating its own gravity well, threatening to create a rift in the fabric of space.

So I realized I had come to a crossroads.  I could go on doing what I was doing, fighting the blues with junk food, and keep walking down the primrose path, finally to sink into that “good night” of death prematurely.  Then I had a vision – almost palpable – of what would happen in the coming years if I continued to let things slide.  I’d gain a hundred pounds, I’d look like a beach ball, I’d acquire some significant health problems that required daily medications, and my dick would stop working.  (The most rational explanation is that it was my subconscious mind dropping myself some valuable hints.  Hopefully that’s not me in an alternate universe; that would truly suck.)  Fighting inertia is hard, but I chose another path.

After some months, with a good amount of time and effort, I had dropped 40 pounds.  Since a larger fraction of my body weight was muscle mass, I looked 20 pounds lighter than my scale weight.  Also, I was stronger than I ever had been in my life.  I could have gone far in athletics if I had made this transformation earlier.  Back in the day, I could have become a high priest of the football religion.

Introductory notes

Now for some preliminaries:  first, the obligatory disclaimer.  The information herein is meant to supplement, not replace, proper weight training.  Like any sport involving speed, equipment, balance, and environmental factors, weight training poses some inherent risk.  I advise you to take full responsibility for your safety and know your limits.  Before practicing the skills described here, be sure that your equipment is well maintained, and do not take risks beyond your level of experience, aptitude, training, and comfort level.

You may have seen some of the guys on the covers of the fitness mags, and might not want to look like that.  Granted, some of them are rather ugly.  Not to worry; you don’t bulk up overnight, even if you want to.  You won’t look quite like a top-tier professional bodybuilder unless you take the same amount of steroids and human growth hormone, which I recommend not to do.  Some others also inject “tanning oil” into their muscles to make them bigger, which not only looks hideous, but it also carries significant and potentially catastrophic health risks.  So don’t do that either.

If you’re a proud nerd but have the notion that nerds can’t or aren’t supposed to be strong, that’s a false dichotomy.  I never got too much hassle from the jocks in school, but I understand that some of us have.  If that describes you, don’t let the bad experiences sour you on athletic accomplishment.  By the way, nobody is going to rough you up for stepping into a gym; we’re all adults now.

This does take a lot of time and effort.  First, we’ll cover the time factor.  Sure, I know a lot of us have busy schedules, but the truth is that we often waste a lot of time too.  Let’s flip this around – instead of thinking you don’t have enough time to go to the gym, ask yourself if you have the time to be weak and unhealthy!  You can make things efficient too.  In just twenty minutes, you can do a 10X10 superset of deadlifts or squats with two plates (45 pounds each, and the bar is also 45 pounds).  That’s not too distant of a goal for a beginner to work up to.  The total weight moved is 13,500 pounds.  That’ll burn off a few potato chips.  Once you hit your stride, the same superset with four plates is within reach.  That’s 22,500 pounds moved in twenty minutes; eleven tons and change.

As for the effort, the amount you’ll need to put in may seem discouraging, but every little bit helps.  If you’ve gone from an unhealthy appearance to a normal appearance, then you’ve already done yourself a lot of good, both for your health and your looks.  First, de-couch-potato-ize yourself and lose the spare tire; that by itself is a big improvement.  If you keep at it, you’ll get a warrior physique.  Chicks dig musssscles, so why not give them what they want?

Do I have you convinced yet?  Good!  Now here’s what you don’t need:

  • You don’t need lots of supplements.  Creatine in the powder form works (liquid preparations break down quickly).  It boosts strength, and likely allows for a prolonged workout, though it’s a bit up in the air about whether or not it gives lasting benefits.  Still, you can make progress without it.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to get a good multivitamin.  The ones you can find at a grocery store or any pharmacy will be quite suitable.  Other than that, the vast majority of supplements are 24 karat bullshit.  Don’t believe the ads in the magazines.  The scientific studies they quote might be proven for mice but not tested on humans, or might be studies on old ladies with nutritional deficiencies, or might just be crap they made up.
  • You don’t need steroids.  You can get a good physique without them, and you’re not training for the East German Olympic weightlifting team.  Charles Atlas is a good example of an all-natural bodybuilder.  One problem with steroids is that you have to get them from the black market, and often that’s fake.  Not only do you waste your money on a rip-off, but you’ll be injecting yourself with vegetable oil packed in possibly unsanitary conditions.  Also, there are side effects, such as gynomastia.  That’s “bitch tits” in gym-speak, like Meatloaf from Fight Club.  I’ve seen it in the gym and it ain’t pretty.  That requires surgery to correct.  There are countermeasures, but don’t rely on your drug dealer to educate you about how to do a steroid cycle properly and follow up with estrogen blockers to mitigate the rebound.  If you have a low testosterone issue, go see your doctor and you’ll get the real stuff.
  • You don’t need a personal trainer.  You can hire one if you want, but that may be cost-prohibitive unless you’re wealthy.  You can motivate yourself and do your own research.  If you do get one, be aware that quality varies (what I’ve seen didn’t impress me much) so feel free to shop around and get another one if needed.
  • You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment.  I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the upper body just with a couple pairs of dumbbells that I keep under my desk.  You’ve probably seen machines hyped on TV and in magazines, but the dirty secret is that after purchase, often they just collect dust.  You can pick them up at a discount from stores carrying used equipment.  Also, look in the want-ads, or keep your eyes open for bargains at garage sales.  Don’t let it collect dust in your place, of course!  If you have minimal pipefitting skills – and basic knowledge of physics – you can make your own equipment, such as squat cages.

Lastly, here are some benefits from lifting weights that have nothing to do with causing a hottie to coo “Ooh, he’s got musssscles!” in your general direction:

  • You’ll have a lot more energy.  I wasn’t expecting that, but I was glad for it.  Actually, that alone made it worthwhile.
  • You’ll have more physical confidence.  I used to feel intimidated by bigger guys, but I don’t see many of them any more.  From what I’ve seen in the gym, even those who do have more musculature aren’t necessarily stronger.  Thus, no unarmed individual scares me these days.
  • Physical labor becomes easier.  Before, unloading a truckload of dirt left me wiped out for the day.  After, it was a workout but no big deal.
  • It boosts glucose clearance, which can improve or perhaps even reverse blood sugar problems and metabolic syndrome.  Before I started working out, I was with my LTR girlfriend who had type II diabetes.  Since I was eating the same way she was and also had a sedentary job, after a few years I was well on the way to getting the same condition.  Lifting weights fixed that, and I’d probably have a foot in the grave by now if I hadn’t started.
  • It reverses age-related muscle deterioration.  After you’re 20, you lose about 2% of your muscle mass every year unless you do something about it.  The yearly change isn’t much, but over decades, it’s very significant.  It’s sad that there are so many seniors who are deathly afraid that they might fall down at home and not be able to pick themselves up off the floor.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Old age sucks a lot less if you’re not frail.
  • Lifting weights is so beneficial that I definitely would recommend it to women as well.  For them, it has another benefit, namely that it helps prevent osteoporosis from setting in, because moderate stress on bones makes them stronger.  This is a common problem especially for skinny women who’ve never had to support a heavy frame.  Hitting the squats and deadlifts hard might save them from bent backs in their old age.

If you’ve read this far, then I’ve got you sold.  Awesome!  We’ve established that chicks like musssscles.  So get some!  The following isn’t an exhaustive guide, but covers some of the basics.  If you’d like to know more, then I encourage you to do further research.  All that being said, I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice; please see your health professional if questions arise.  Also, see your physician before starting a workout program.

If you want to find a gym, there might be one at your place of employment, so you can get a workout at lunch instead of stuffing your face at the cafeteria.  If not, there will be a wide selection if you live in a big city.  Look around and do your research; you might discover that the gym has an alarm that goes off whenever someone (horrors!) shows signs of exertion.  When you first walk in, expect to be greeted by someone in a designer shirt and shorts who will be glad to get you signed up.  Sales tactics and upselling are to be expected, but fortunately not as bad as the average car dealership.  Know your budget and what you can afford.  Some gyms might let you pay a large sum up front and get discount renewals (I did this and my renewal fee is under sixty bucks a year.)  Some offer month-to-month plans where you pay two months up front and once a month thereafter, which is good if you’re unsure if it’s for you or might have to move.  Be aware that if you sign up for a long term – a year or two – then it’s basically like a car note, and it will go to collections and likely show up on your credit report if you flake it off.

If you’ve never stepped into a gym before, the experience might be a bit intimidating at first.  Don’t let it be.  Everyone starts somewhere.  If I see a guy weighing 400 pounds, I am not laughing at him behind his back; rather, I have nothing but respect, as he’s made the conscious decision to improve his health.  Anyone who’s not a douchebag stuck in junior high mentality will feel the same way.

Posts in this series

  1. Fitness and diet, part 1 – My journey, and why you should get the body you want
  2. Fitness and diet, part 2 – How to get started lifting weights
  3. Fitness and diet, part 3 – Nutrition 101
  4. Fitness and diet, part 4 (final) – How to avoid diet pitfalls

See also my first 50 posts and the main page

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Fitness and diet, part 1

14 thoughts on “Fitness and diet, part 1

  1. […] It took them long enough, but researchers finally started making the connection. Partially hydrogenated oil molecules don’t fit into cell membranes well, and it’s been implicated in a number of problems including insulin resistance. We might consider obesity as a problem caused by gluttony and lack of discipline, but the crap in our food might be playing a major role. I’ve had my own struggles, but fortunately I researched it, got wise, and did something about it. […]

    Like

  2. […] It took them long enough, but researchers finally started making the connection. Partially hydrogenated oil molecules don’t fit into cell membranes well, and it’s been implicated in a number of problems including insulin resistance. We might consider obesity as a problem caused by gluttony and lack of discipline, but the crap in our food might be playing a major role. I’ve had my own struggles, but fortunately I researched it, got wise, and did something about it. […]

    Like

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