[Rowing Machine] 2018: Week 09 {239.5}

How do we build positive routines? My method consists of two halves. First, I define then refine the routine to its most essential elements: if I want to row twice daily, then I try many different routes, learning what works, what doesn’t, in order to find my most efficient route. Second, I omit free will or opinionated subjectivity from the routine. I simply must row twice daily. Unless my health will suffer, then… row lightly?

  • My Weekly Stats:
  • Tuesday 20 Morning: time “5min” 69 rows. Not every set is a good set. My left knee started hurting at 60 and by 64 I knew I should stop, so I stretched until picking back up. Got to 69 and the buzzer went off. I should take it easy today.
  • Tuesday 20 Bonus: No additional exercise.
  • Tuesday 20 Evening: time 5min, 168 rows. Took the day off and slept through most of it. Feeling better than this morning certainly. I shouldn’t have pushed ahead into the day with stats like that… Now I know for future reference that I should consider my rowing as my health stats.
  • Wednesday 21 Morning: time 5min, 150 rows. I’ve been doing better with sets overall by starting off light then, in these morning sets, tempering my pace to avoid overexerting myself. It’s hard hitting the right pace. Sometimes you just wanna take it further, especially when it feels OK.
  • Wednesday 21 Bonus: No additional exercise.
  • Wednesday 21 Evening: time 5min, 166 rows. Good set. Pulling the bar underhanded is starting to feel more natural, and I’m noticing when my left knee starts to ache that a little readjustment of my form will help that. I might be sitting a bit wrong causing it to hurt a little later on.
  • Thursday 22 Morning: time 5min, 187 rows. Stayed home due to snow/ice, so after sleeping in, clearing off the snow, and napping, I put in a good set. If you’re constantly feeling sick, it might be a reaction to something. My casual thoughts, not as a doctor… more as a troubleshooter.
  • Thursday 22 Bonus: About 30 minutes clearing off snow.
  • Thursday 22 Evening: time 5min, 171 rows. Good set. Better than the lighting on my monitor. I just need to figure out some sort of easy lighting option. If only things were as easy as rowing – catch and release, 1 and 2, and 1 and 2.
  • Friday 23 Morning: time 4:50min, 150 rows. Part of going at a lighter pace of 30 SPM is to learn the other half of the discipline that comes from regularly exercising. Doing it is half. Not overdoing it is the other half. Fortunately it wasn’t by much, so today will be about pacing.
  • Friday 23 Bonus: Two 15-minute walks.
  • Friday 23 Evening: time 5min, 164 rows. Were it not for my process of getting home, changing into my rowing clothes, eating dinner [oatmeal with chia seeds and assorted nuts], decompressing, stretching, then rowing, before changing into my pajamas, I might have gone straight to bed.
  • Saturday 24 Morning: time 5min, 177 rows. Just finished writing a 4000-word essay. Naturally, I felt like relaxing or sleeping. The only problem is I hadn’t rowed yet. Now I feel mentally rested and physically exerted. Good set. Switched up over-the-bar and under-the-bar forms for fun.
  • Saturday 24 Bonus: 10 minutes of moving stuff around to reorganize my workbench area and 45 minutes of additional stretches while reading Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink.
  • Saturday 24 Evening: time 5min, 170 rows. Switched off every 10- over and under for pulling the bar, and crouched in deeper to get in more of my core muscles. A little bit of sweat on my cheeks and forehead. Good set. Figuring out plans to expand my home gym, maybe even reading “sets”?
  • Sunday 25 Morning: time 4:21, 162 rows. Held such a good pace until my body just couldn’t go any further and after 39 seconds of recovery, the buzzer went off. Now that was a good set! I didn’t break 200, I couldn’t hold past 5 minutes, but I pushed myself further than I have lately.
  • Sunday 25 Bonus: Vigorous 20-minute mile walk followed by a more casual 30-some minute mile walk.
  • Sunday 25 Evening: time 5min, 163 rows. Legs are sore and the muscle from my neck to my left shoulder is a little raw, but good set overall. I’m starting to feel stronger and more capable than months back, and trying to learn ways to improve, which are good signs of forward momentum!
  • Monday 26 Morning: time 5min, 150 rows. Started with a 5min leg stretch warmup while reading. This helped; my natural inclination was to speed up, having warmed up some of my muscles, subconsciously, I was thinking back to that, and slowed down. Still went too fast at 3 or 4 points.
  • Monday 26 Bonus: About 15 minutes of light walking.
  • Monday 26 Evening: time 5min, 170 rows. Good set. Good pacing throughout. I really have been benefiting from a 5min stretch before rowing and stretching throughout the day. Sitting all day is not good for my muscles, so I’m looking into ways to stretch more leg muscles, particularly.
  • Weight: 239.5 pounds (down 1.5 pounds)
  • Liquid Consumption (my goal: >1 gallon of water [[L * 0.26417]]):
      • Tuesday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
      • Wednesday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 2.5 liters of coffee
      • Thursday: 5.3 liters (1.4 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee
      • Friday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 2.0 liters of coffee, 0.2 liters of juice
      • Saturday: 4.75 liters (1.3 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee, 0.2 liters of juice
      • Sunday: 4.0 liters (1.06 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee, 0.2 liters of juice
      • Monday: 4.5 liters (1.2 gallons) of water, 1.5 liters of coffee, 0.2 liters of juice
  • Vitamins: 14 of 14
    • Multivitamin; Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc; Fish Oil; Vitamin D; Vitamin E.
    • Placing the vitamin container, in the photograph above, on my rowing machine forces me to remember if I had taken vitamins prior to rowing, and if I’m not certain, it forces me to go take my vitamins before it’s too late. Soon, it’ll be muscle memory.
    • Ideally, taking my vitamins should be part of my process for changing into or out of my exercise clothes. Maybe: change clothes, take the vitamins, see the vitamin container, row, ask: did I take them? Check, I did, OK, cool. Then refine from there.
  • Last Week’s Goals:
    1. Weight: [succeeded] I’m surprised I dropped back down in weight after eating 5 bowls of Final Fantasy-branded junk ramen. Not eating quick snack bars, no matter how seemingly healthy, was the way to go: so if I’m hungry, I’ll eat more.
      • Addendum: I weighed myself after eating two hearty meals and I gained 4 pounds. That should normalize back down based on exercise and such, hopefully.
    2. Consistency: [succeeded] The nice thing about omitting free will from certain tasks you’ve deemed positive is that you quickly build or reinforce routines. There are times when I don’t feel like rowing. Well, I have to do it, so might as well do it, right?
    3. Health: [succeeded] I’ve been feeling better all the way around this week. Maybe it’s because I didn’t put in a full 5-day work week? I can normally do it just fine, even when the commute is 4 hours per day, it just really starts to drag you down.
  • This Week’s Goals:
    1. Weight: No weight gain. The plan for that is to continue with the same concept of not overeating, to drink more water instead, and when I’m hungry, instead of getting a quick snack, prepare more of a meal that will sustain me more than a few minutes.
    2. Consistency: Keep it up! The vitamin container trick should work with some more practice. The biggest trick is to make sure that when I put on my exercise clothes, I don’t forget to take my vitamins then, otherwise, I’ll have to remember later.
    3. Health: Take it easy. My success this week may have come down to resting when I needed it and not pushing it too far. Easier said than done, sometimes, but most of the time you know when you’re redlining it. Push until you’re tired, not broken.
  • From Good to Better
    • Tuesday 20 Morning’s set was an example of pushing myself too hard. Part of the reason why I row as much as I do, without “rest days,” is because I’m really not going as hard as I could. If I break down after a few rows, now it’ll be a huge red flag alert.
    • I have noticed that after I rest up, I’ll have objectively better sets, so there is some value of taking “rest days.” I just think that’s more about how you stretch or rest when you’re not exercising. If you sit around all day for work, that’s your rest period.
    • I’m also planning how I can build my home gym up more properly, so I can get the remaining 20% of the muscles that aren’t worked through rowing. Like Bruce Lee said, “it is not daily increase but daily decrease, hack away the unessential[1].”
  • Sober Living
    • I don’t know if I could live in complete sobriety. Caffeine is just too nice of a stimulant. It’s also a great litmus test for me. If I drink enough coffee to get more than a good buzz, then my impulse control is still weak yet therein lies my strength.
    • By experiencing minor weaknesses like this, I can strengthen my resolve. I can more fully conceptualize how even minor weakness can drag me under, so I can act quicker, to the point where if I even notice a tug, I’m jumping away from that drag.
    • The dangerous thing that any addict creative will say as well is: ‘It was also good for writing fodder.’ “Way Too High” did receive 5 likes on WordPress. Not just that, it was a nice way to encapsulate that overall positive experience as a benign warning.
  • Confronting Cortisol Circumstances
    • Last week’s biggest stressor was that phone call with my former recruiter, summarized in “Let’s Say No,” led to my new one’s first question: ‘how can I prevent that from happening?’ Good, but I have my backup plans with over 5 other agencies.
    • The weather’s been cold enough to snow, with patches of ice, so I’ve been avoiding driving through that. When there isn’t snow/ice, it’s been cold enough to give me stiffer joints, aches, and the general sense that I’d like it a few degrees warmer.
    • I’m also a stress eater, so when I eat more junk ramen or overeat more oatmeal (in moderation) or nuts than the normal amount to satiate, then I know that I’m subconsciously working through some stress: is it just work uncertainty? Or more?
  • Disengaging from Stress
    • I played a little bit of Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town. Either it’s not as intuitive as the original Harvest Moon or I’m out of the loop when it comes to playing videogames. I need to print out and refer to a thorough walkthrough strategy guide…
    • Reading Discipline Equals Freedom while doing my laundry was a nice reminder that I should read more. Even a page of something is nice. What if I introduced 5-minute reading sets into my exercise routines? That’d require significant restructuring.
    • I’m also figuring out ways to introduce other positive routines into my rowing routine. The vitamin container is just the start. Next is place the book I’m currently reading on my rowing machine, so if I have the time, I’ll read a page or for 5 minutes.
  • Rowing Machine Maintenance
    • Did some cleanup! I ran some tissues a few times across the chain to get the biggest chunks of crud oil. I’m on the fence whether or not I should just replace the chain, since it gets dirty quickly. I just have no experience doing anything like that.
    • So I’m doing the low-impact surface cleaning. Just a few drops of 20W motor oil in my “oil pan” is enough for maintenance, since it’s just enough to blot up a few cotton swabs with fresh oil to run down the length of the chain for fresher lubrication.
    • I still need to plan a more structured maintenance schedule plan. Lubricating the chain with a few cotton swabs weekly should be a good way to go, or if not weekly, then at least fortnightly. Monthly, I could study more maintenance techniques…
  • Photo and Outro
    • Colossus hanging out in front of the vitamin container was a natural fit for the photo. It’s not quite clear that the two wood blocks on either side are the rowing machine itself, and there’s no real sense of intent with the photo, so it’s just nice looking.
    • Even so, I like how it looks, and the idea popped up maybe around Friday or Saturday? I’m having an easier time coming up with photo ideas and themes than I was six months ago, and part of that might just be accepting non-perfection.
    • Good fitness week. Normalizing a longer commute with less free time has enabled me to figure out how I’ll do more during future gigs. Without free time, you quickly figure out your most efficient routes. Without free will? Well, that just sucks- mostly.
Sources: None

Quotes: [1] Bruce Lee, “Hack Away The Unessentials

Inspirations: None

Related: None

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.