What draws us to chaos? Boredom? The itch to do more, be more, and have more? Maybe we think constant effort over long periods of time could only be difficult. Maybe we yearn for the easy road to success? Unfortunately, the only way to truly achieve anything is to constantly work toward achievements. After being constantly athletic, I gave it up for overindulgence and hedonism, now, I’m applying constant effort to achieve good fitness again.
- My Weekly Stats:
- Tuesday 16 Morning: time 5min, 159 rows. Forgot that I should have went at a lighter pace in the morning. Felt good! I was focused on my shoulder muscles, since I so often just focus on my leg muscles, and it went really well! More practice and I could drastically improve my output.
- Tuesday 16 Evening: time 5min, 171 rows. Professionally, I don’t tolerate much variance. If you estimate 10 SPM, great; 40, good; just don’t tell me 30 then lazily go at 5. Maybe that’s a lesson I learned from rowing? Do not stop and do not slow down suddenly. If you do, you overbid.
- Wednesday 17 Morning: time 5min, 148 rows. The weekly work grind is starting to kick in now. What’s nice about knowing the average stats, pace, and limitations is being able to see subtle variances. Something seem different? The sooner we know about any changes, the sooner we can adapt.
- Wednesday 17 Evening: time 5min, 171 rows. Nothing like fully recalling moments, including today, of getting chewed out by management for stupid shit to really inspire an extra boost in your stroke. Those thoughts have passed and I no longer respect those people, so what’s to worry?
- Thursday 18 Morning: time 5min, 146 rows. Went at a good, light pace, focusing on proper form and feeling my muscles. When you start out, focus on form. Speed, like any skill, will increase as you refine your technique and get more comfortable. If you go too fast, too early, you crash.
- Thursday 18 Evening: time 5min, 167 rows. With the chaos of life, where people change their minds seemingly without consequences, rowing is a nice constant. It’s all about good form. Quality of form over quantity. It’s better to do 1 good stroke than 10 strokes that hurt your back.
- Friday 19 Morning: time 5min, 193 rows. When your stress demons rattle your cage, knock ’em out! I’ve found respite in writing and rowing. If I wake up pissed at the world, with these, I channel that negativity into something positive. Let’s make today better and focus on positivity.
- Friday 19 Evening: time 5min, 173 rows. “You get to a certain point when you row where you don’t feel it anymore. You’re just completely lost in the moment.” I’ve been enjoying bringing up rowing in casual conversation. One suggestion: using carburetor cleaner for my Model B’s chain.
- Saturday 20 Morning: time 5min, 173 rows. It was only 6 months ago where I’d stop, couldn’t go as strong, and had a lighter pace overall. Nothing wrong with that. We all, rowers and anyone, started at zero. Didn’t know the form and couldn’t get it. If it calls your name, stick with it.
- Saturday 20 Evening: time 5min, 163 rows. Along with consistency, I like the efficiency of rowing. You get a good average of many types of workouts all in one go. It doesn’t work out every major or minor muscle, but twice daily 5-minute sets for months have given me positive results.
- Sunday 21 Morning: time 5min, 166 rows. Slept in and spent some time cleaning the rowing machine’s chain. Maybe it was the self and erg maintenance, or maybe it was taking my mind off work, but this set felt really good, even when my knees stiffed up a little around the 91st stroke.
- Sunday 21 Evening: time 5min, 169 rows. Normally by forgoing any pretense or sense of not wanting to row, I will just naturally go row. This time, I was more hesitant. Maybe my stomach ache was reaching my subconscious? Maybe I’m more tired than I thought? Maybe I’m just distracted?
- Monday 22 Morning: time 5min, 166 rows. Slept in and spent some time cleaning the rowing machine’s chain. Maybe it was the self and erg maintenance, or maybe it was taking my mind off work, but this set felt really good, even when my knees stiffed up a little around the 91st stroke.
- Monday 22 Evening: time 5min, 169 rows. Normally by forgoing any pretense or sense of not wanting to row, I will just naturally go row. This time, I was more hesitant. Maybe my stomach ache was reaching my subconscious? Maybe I’m more tired than I thought? Maybe I’m just distracted?
- Weight: 243.2 pounds (down 1.2 pounds)
- Liquid Consumption (my goal: >1 gallon of water [[L * 0.26417]]):
- Tuesday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 2.5 liters of coffee
- Wednesday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 2 liters of coffee
- Thursday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
- Friday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 2 liters of coffee
- Saturday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 2.5 liters of coffee
- Sunday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
- Monday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 2.5 liters of coffee
- Vitamins: 11 of 14
- Multivitamin; Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc; Fish Oil; Vitamin D; Vitamin E.
- Multivitamin; Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc; Fish Oil; Vitamin D; Vitamin E.
- Last Week’s Goals:
- Weight: [succeeded] My primary goal is physical fitness rather than weight, although I still track this weekly in case it gets too out of control. I was almost going to give myself a failure because I weigh in the morning with different variables…
- Consistency: [failed] …so if I’m going to give myself a failure on one goal, it’s having not taken better care to be constant with my goals. I only wrote 180 words on Thursday, missed some vitamins, and haven’t been as astute in getting enough sleep.
- Health: [neutral] I’m going to give myself a neutral (amber) on this one. If I consider my overall health in project management terms, the week usually starts in the green (good), before ending in the red (bad) thanks to the work, people, and traffic, I guess.
- This Week’s Goals:
- Weight: no weight gain
- Consistency: keep it up!
- Health: no feeling sick
- From Good to Better
- Closing my eyes more often throughout the day to rest my eyes, even for five seconds at a time, has been helpful. I either go hard or go fast, so it’s nice to find those respite moments where I can chill out before proceeding back into my normal pace.
- I’ve been diverting some of that stagnant stress into my writing. If you’ve noticed a recent uptick in urgency, that’s been me funneling that energy into my writing instead of letting it sit around and make me anxious about this reason or that.
- I’m figuring out strategies for stealing back seconds and minutes of time to write. I might not always write an entire article or post in one go. For instance, I wrote this column’s introductory paragraph Sunday night, minutes before going to bed.
- Sober Living
- Thrifting is one of my biggest decompression methods. When I first got sober, my sponsor and I would go thrifting to take my mind off life without things to alter my stress levels and find fun things. That might have been the key to my success.
- I’ve noticed that when I’m under continual pressure for days and weeks at a time, it’s easier to write Sober Living column entries. That’s a clear indication that I really need to downshift life more to avoid pushing myself back to any of those points.
- I’ve also noticed that when I forgo writing or rowing for hedonistic activities like overeating or binge-watching shows that it’s in a direct response to the stresses of life and that I’m allowing my addictive tendencies to express themselves negatively.
- Confronting Cortisol Circumstances
- Traffic has been a bigger stress than I thought, even as a passenger. It’s just so overwhelming sometimes to think about how light traffic is when everyone’s at home for a holiday compared to a normal day: I saved one hour in traffic on Monday.
- This project gig is distinctly in the amber right now. We’re probably more than halfway done but they’d like us to work quicker and with more stipulations. There are rumblings of layoffs, but fortunately, my resume is always polished and ready.
- On a positive note, I’m more capable of responding to stress with a positive solution now more than say five or ten years ago. I might have been less capable of letting it roll off me then. I’m still not great at it; we, as imperfect beings, improve slowly.
- Disengaging from Stress
- Focusing more of my idle thoughts toward writing has been helpful, because then I can write more in my head, so when I get to the keyboard, tablet, or phone, I can just dump all my prerendered thoughts down, edit as needed, and upload to schedule.
- Maybe I’ll pick up a portable Harvest Moon game? This gig doesn’t allow the same downtime I’d have if I took the bus or had a shorter commute, and I don’t know when we’ll wrap up, but still, it’ll be a nice occasional decompression and stress reliever.
- I’ve shifted my sleep schedule. I’m up in the mornings to do what most do in the evenings before heading into work. When I get home, I row, maybe write, and then go to bed. Logic: I can sleep off all that stress and work through it subconsciously.
- Rowing Machine Maintenance
- I’m getting good ideas for maintaining the rowing machine’s chain. Everything from gasoline to paint thinner to carburetor cleaner. Ammonia might be the eventual way to go, with some caution. I think I’ll start slow before I bring in the big guns.
- Otherwise, I have felt a vast improvement after cleaning the chain, as you could see from my increased stats. There’s less of an internal slowdown from all that crud oil. Applying 20W oil does make the chain feel lighter and easier to pull, so that’s nice.
- Aesthetically, I’m keeping the machine clean, especially the monitor. The 11mm bolts holding the seat to the rail don’t seem to become undone that easily, so I just do a quick spotcheck rather than go in with the wrenches. Everything else feels solid, too.
- Photo and Outro
- One eventual thing I’d like to do is track my 5-minute stats through the months. The photographed chart was just the last few days of numbers, drawn quickly to get the point across, rather than to make it “to scale.” Seemed to work out well enough.
- The cool thing about any hobby is that once you really get into it, there are aspects of it that can apply to many different areas. Rowing is just a physical activity, yet writing about it and collecting data on my stats enables analysis in different areas.
- Rowing helps me express myself, like writing, in ways that might otherwise be underdeveloped. When I do both constantly, the bad blood circulates out, leaving me with feelings that I can do anything, mentally and physically. That’s why I love it.