[Rowing Machine] 2018: Week 15 {240.0}

Accomplishing any goal requires internal motivation and external motivation. My internal motivation to burn 60 pounds in 6 months nearly 10 years ago was my desperation to get out of terrible health. My external motivation was a convenient gym membership. Similar desperation rekindled that internal motivation last year. Unfortunately, internal motivation disappears without external motivation. That was initially just this weekly column, then daily social media accountability, now, a natural addition to my home gym. (…And eventual set?)


  • My Weekly Stats:
  • Tuesday 3 Morning: time 5min, 159 rows. What I like most about rowing is it gets me out of my head. Exercise forces me to do something other than sit around and feel anxious about this, bitter about that, or depressed about something else. Each set is a fight against those stressors.
  • Tuesday 3 Bonus: No additional exercise.
  • Wii Fit: 15 minutes
  • Tuesday 3 Evening: time 10min, 328 rows. I kept a good pace throughout and am feeling back in my stride now. Phew. Took some time to relax, write, and Wii Fit helped. I didn’t get much sleep last night, but if I work on it tonight, then I should be back to normal soon. Just a funk…
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  • Wednesday 4 Morning: time 5min, 165 rows. Good set! If I hit a healthy margin above 150, where I briefly forget whether I used my 5- or 10-minute timer and am ready for that longer set, then I know all systems are firing. If I barely make it to 150, exhausted, then I know I’m tired.
  • Wednesday 4 Bonus: 30 minutes building two shelves.
  • Wii Fit: 15 minutes
  • Wednesday 4 Evening: time 10min, 341 rows. Good set! Sweaty, my stomach muscles hurt, and most importantly, I kept a consistent pace! The home gym area is coming along after setting up new shelves. I’m closer to moving everything together, stringing up lights, and making a gym “set.”
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  • Thursday 5 Morning: time 5min, 161 rows. The nice thing about not rushing into action is realizing you didn’t envision your goal. Rowing is just four motions with the goal of doing well. Arranging a home gym area involves space limitation and the nuance of figuring out ideal goals.
  • Thursday 5 Bonus: No additional exercise.
  • Wii Fit: 15 minutes
  • Thursday 5 Evening: time 10min, 337 rows. Hard stopped at 277 for over a minute. Ran out of willpower to press on. Timer went off at 295. Didn’t want to give up there so I rowed until the timer said 10. Rough day. Big interview. Feeling sick still, but it’s less apparent overall now.
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  • Friday 6 Morning: time 5min, 172 rows. Better pace and set than the average batch, but still not feeling like I’m making much progress. Maybe that’s where I gotta be less self-critical and just remind myself that I’m fortunate to achieve this pace, do this set, and have huge goals.
  • Friday 6 Bonus: Some minor cleaning…
  • Wii Fit: 15 minutes
  • Friday 6 Evening: time 10min, 321 rows. Went with a light, consistent set this time. Nothing fancy, just zoned out and rowed. I should have more progress toward my home gym this weekend. I need more space for the Wii Fit, so I should try to consolidate more stuff. Making progress!
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  • Saturday 7 Morning: time 5min, 171 rows. I took the first 50 to get warmed up. I used to do 50 warmup rows last summer on a cheaper rower. Sometimes I find that to be beneficial. Other times, it was more distracting, since I just wanted to do the set. Maybe a “good set” vs “best set?”
  • Saturday 7 Bonus: 10 minutes of cleaning and sorting.
  • Wii Fit: 15 minutes
  • Saturday 7 Evening: time 10min, 373 rows. I knocked into my right knee, or overextended it, while running in Wii Fit, so instead of doing my regular full motion rows, I went for shorter strokes, less leg extensions and accidentally went for a fast set. At least now my arms hurt, too!
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  • Sunday 8 Morning: time 5min, 164 rows. Kept a light pace throughout. Since I wrote over 800 words this morning, my thoughts were clear, and I was able to focus [mostly, other than noisy neighbors] on the set. I wouldn’t say good set… I only tried hard during the last 10 seconds.
  • Sunday 8 Bonus: 10 minutes of reorganizing.
  • Wii Fit: 15 minutes
  • Sunday 8 Evening: time 10min, 361 rows. Good set! Sweaty, tired, and the most important attribute: ready for another… after I cool down. The Wii Fit yoga stretches helped, along with just getting into a good groove, though my seat distractingly rattled for the first 120-some rows.
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  • Monday 9 Morning: time 5min, 169 rows. These stretches are working! As I practice in Wii Fit more, I think I’ll devise my own routine that encompasses all the ones I find most useful into a 1-minute warmup, even if that exists. I even got in some extended back stretches in this set!
  • Monday 9 Bonus: 90 minutes of yard work.
  • Wii Fit: 15 minutes
  • Monday 9 Evening: time 10min, 314 rows. Hard stopped at 115 for about 30 seconds since the timer went off when I was at 298. Turned off the alarm, turned on the light to see my progress, and kept at it until I broke 10. This isn’t about scores or good sets. It’s about better health.
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  • Weight: 240.0 pounds (up of 0.5 pounds)
      • I’m not too worried.
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  • Liquid Consumption (my goal: >1 gallon of water [[L * 0.26417]]):
      • Tuesday: 5.26 liters (1.4 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
      • Wednesday: 5.26 liters (1.4 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
      • Thursday: 3.8 liters (1.00 gallons) of water, 3.0 liters of coffee
      • Friday: 3.8 liters (1.0 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
      • Saturday: 5.26 liters (1.4 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee, 1 cup of green tea
      • Sunday: 5.26 liters (1.4 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
      • Monday: 5.26 liters (1.4 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
  • Vitamins: 13 of 14
    • Multivitamin; Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc; Fish Oil; Vitamin D; Vitamin E.
    • I must have distracted myself enough to forget Saturday night’s vitamins. I’ve had success with placing all of my vitamins on a plate, because typically, I like to take my vitamins after drinking all my coffee in the morning and getting in some water, which I hadn’t done that evening.
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  • Last Week’s Goals:
    1. Weight: [neutral] I’m not going to punish myself for putting on a half a pound. Sure, I’d like to see faster weight loss progress, but since my main goal is improving the functionality of my body as an instrument to accomplish tasks, and I’m doing well there, I’ll give myself a pass.
    2. Consistency: [succeeded] Remaining vigilant is part of remaining consistent. I did everything even if I wasn’t quite feeling it, pushing through, resting when I needed to, and now I’m back to normal. I’m not harsh enough to give myself a failure because I forgot to take one vitamin set once this week.
    3. Health: [succeeded] I was feeling sick for most of the week. I started feeling back to normal on Friday, better on Saturday, and by Sunday I was plugging away like nothing had really happened. If only I could better track these ups and downs. Maybe that’s the compulsion to post this publicly?
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  • This Week’s Goals:
    1. Weight: No weight gain. As I start to track more of the activities I do throughout the day, that will encourage me to do more. On the diet front, I’m trying to drink more of my gallon of water during my meals, so I get fuller quicker. Maybe those will help?
    2. Consistency: The Wii Fit is a good addition to rowing. I’m not sure if I can keep it up when I go back to working full time. It might work for decompression time after work. Maybe I should get other Wii games for that inevitable “I don’t feel like it” day?
    3. Health: I’m going to start blocking in time each day to unwind. I think this will help with my overall stress levels and health. I figure between a 30-minute and 1-hour block daily to decompress, not even writing, should be helpful. It may also avoid the occasional binge entertainment consumption cycles.
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  • From Good to Better
    • I’ve been playing Wii Fit for about 15 minutes per day. This was what I’d been looking for to learn stretches through the yoga section. I appreciate the game’s blunt honesty of telling me I’m obese and that my balance is terrible. I can stand mostly straight, and that’s about it.
    • Setting this up properly necessitated rearranging my home gym area, clearing out space, and honestly assessing the clutter I’ve accumulated. If I easily acquired a project printer to test or repair, for example, and haven’t worked on it for years, isn’t it time to drop off that unintended heavy weight?
    • I’ve maintained a good writing pace throughout the past few weeks, and when I reach my 70-post milestone, I’ll outline how I’ve ironed out my writing process. The key reveal is to brainstorm writing ideas just like stretching throughout the day. We have more downtime than we think for both.
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  • Sober Living
    • This wasn’t a good week for sobriety as I wrote about in “Relapsing on Diphenhydramine.” It’s terrible stuff to abuse. I still don’t really have a good idea why, but it was probably depleted willpower that contributed: stress, sickness, and self-doubt. It’s weird how suddenly I just said fuck it.
    • Maybe it was confronting some of my demons in “Breaking The Characters” that broke me? I wrote that, dumping out all my fears and limitations, about two hours before that first round of diphenhydramine. Even four days later, that emptiness is still there; that lingering sense of wanting to return.
    • I wouldn’t say writing that caused that. It’s partially true but not entirely. Externalizing those internal thoughts, which might have tweaked in another way, or, by writing those deep thoughts, I realized just how messed up I’ve been this whole time. It’s terrible to realize how far you haven’t gone.
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  • Confronting Cortisol Circumstances
    • The biggest stressful situation was an important interview after combating heavy traffic, unintentional low blood sugar, and the lingering affects of diphenhydramine withdrawal. I was outwardly anxious. It took several hours after getting home to fully decompress from that, which is unusual for me, maybe because I actually wanted it?
    • If the most stressful thing about that interview were actually low blood sugar, and the need to not overeat to compensate, then I wonder if I can truly tackle this fitness thing on my own? I would prefer to because then I could make long-term, internal changes, but it’s difficult.
    • The other deeper stressor might be continual failures on multiple fronts: not making any fitness, career, or writing progress. Things seem to be waning with all three fronts. I’ve briefly considered making the jump over to video, and dropping the writing here, but that could just be short term success…
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  • Disengaging from Stress
    • Going thrifting is always a useful destressor for me, and now I’ve reached a point where I’m not buying stuff just because it looks neat. I passed on some acceptable items immediately following the interview. If I were less stressed, maybe I would have photographed them all for an essay?
    • I’m reading through Earthbound by Ken Baumann. I set a timer for one hour on Saturday and found that reading session helpful to destress. I might try to do this more often, maybe with a notepad to take notes if I want to write a review, or to punctuate thoughts.
    • The escapism that anime, videogames, and reading enables is good for those big waves of anxiety, but don’t often help resolve the root of the issue. Still, I should try to schedule time for them more regularly, so I won’t binge consume the media, like not eating causes binge eating.
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  • Rowing Machine Maintenance
    • Since moving the rowing machine to accommodate some shelving units, it’s felt more natural to work on the rower. It is where my workbench used to be, under a light, so that could be it. I do need a clamp shop lamp to suspend over the monitor for brighter photos.
    • I’m becoming more comfortable with blotting some motor oil, dabbing a shop towel, and rubbing down the rower’s chain. It’s not a messy process, if done correctly. If I stretch the bar behind my shoulder, I can get in deeper, too, so that should help with increasing the maintenance frequency.
    • The soapy-water spray bottle is working well for cleaning off the rower’s monorail. Spraying it down directly is too messy. Instead, I’ll spray a regular towel, rub it down thoroughly, get the rollers under the seat, and get another towel for drying. I’m not doing this daily, yet. I should.
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  • Photo and Outro
    • Colossus sitting in front of the second draft of my Wii Fit setup area. (I have it in a bookshelf that Patrick-puppy used as a pillow, so I don’t want to use the bottom part of it, but maybe I should eventually.) The lighting isn’t that great in this area.
    • All the lighting options I tried didn’t work well. For next week’s photo, I’m going to take a similar shot, although if I can move the bookshelf to where I think it could fit, then I might be able to get better lighting in the area. Logistics, time, and effort…
    • Bouncing back as quickly as I did led to a good week in fitness. It was unchecked depression, really. I wasn’t keeping my normal tight reign on my work schedule, but now I’ve doubled down on that, I should be good going forward. The daily Wii Fit check-ins might help…
Sources: None

Quotes: None

Inspirations: None

Related: None

Photos: First is an in-progress shot of my Wii Fit setup, with the second being where I’m at in fitness.

Note: These additional photos would be in-line – Wii Fit kudos, daily weight totals, and two views of the Fit Credits – but the code is just too complicated for me to insert them without breaking the bullet marks. Maybe it’s time for a new version?

My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)