[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 25 {205.5} “Leveling Up Fitness”

How can I level up my fitness? Let’s look at how I’ve done so since I started writing about fitness over three years ago, starting with what’s helped me the most: counting calories. For the first two years, I didn’t count my calories, but I was active enough and restrictive enough of my diet to not frequently binge-eat. Now, I use a calorie counter to balance my consumption of nutrients and predict my energy levels.

I love adding up data, so counting calories is easy for me.

I use a free service called Cronometer because I can either scan a barcode into the app or type in the name into a search and it will spit out nutritional information for me. It will help me avoid eating too much of a certain nutrient, where say I eat 1000% of my daily allotted amount of X, that might not be healthy. More usefully, however, I can track to see if I’m deficient in carbohydrates or protein. I’m usually good with my fat consumption.

There are many other services; this was the one my dietician recommended.

If I can keep my diet under control, everything else will follow. I try to break my addiction to foods by not immediately yielding to every hunger pang and focusing on my work. I’m a stress eater, so if I’m eating a lot more than I need – and by need, I mean, my focus is drained or I’m fatigued because my brain or body is under-nourished – then I shouldn’t treat the stresses in my life with more food. That won’t help fix the stress in my life, even if temporarily, it can lull me into a state of comfort.

That’s where there’s a thin line between these Rowing essays and my Sober Living essays.

It’s no accident that I post a Sober Living essay after a Rowing essay. Sometimes, like today, they’ll even be related. That’s because if you don’t treat the psychological or emotional pains in life, they can manifest as physical pain. I’m currently on medical leave because my lower back was strained through standing significantly longer than I normally would with my work-from-home standing workstation. I didn’t have a sitting workstation option. The thing is, though, that was caused not because of me standing too much but because of the stress of my job compounding day after day until it manifested as physical pain.

The problem is this pain hasn’t gone away in the over a week since I last worked.

Instead, I’m just doing what I can to sort through the physical side of things. I’ll go to my physical therapist tomorrow. My impressions or what I learned will appear in the essay I’ll publish next Wednesday. This past week, I couldn’t even imagine getting on my foam roller to stretch out my spine, let alone get on my rower, so hopefully things won’t hurt too much tomorrow. If they do, then I’ll need to take more time off from work.

I’d been working night shift for about seven months; that will probably stop soon.

Another thing I’ve learned over the past few years is respecting my fatigue levels. Both when I had terrible mindbender headaches earlier this year and now back pain, I can feel when something is wrong, and it’s up to me to decide not to ignore that because I want to stay up later, whether it’s writing another essay, playing a videogame for a few more minutes, or for whatever reason. It’s OK to get to sleep earlier and try again the next day. It’s only not OK if you’ve achieved nothing in the day and instead are trapped in escapism, which, is more of the psychological/sober side than the physical/rower side.

I haven’t yet diversified my workout routines.

I still mainly prefer rowing or exercises I can do without thinking of them too much. I try to stretch my neck and spine more often now. I try to be careful of how my back feels, because that can control the rest of my body and mind.

So, how can I level up my fitness?

When gyms reopen, I don’t think I’ll get a membership, nor am I interested in going to another personal trainer. If the gym were convenient, then yes, but I have no gyms that are convenient for me. I could enroll in some online course, but for now, I think my best way to go is to continue decreasing my weight until I’m under 200 pounds. That should make any fitness easier for me, and decrease potential health problems, from sleep apnea to diabetes.

I should want to study rowing form once I get more things cleared off my plate.

The biggest thing I learned to help my shoulders was when I pull the rowing bar close to my body, I’m aiming for my belly button instead of my chest now, which my PT said would put less pressure on my shoulders. I’ll ask either tomorrow or over my next sessions whether there’s anything I can do to help my lower back when I row. I imagine there are exercises I can learn there, too.

Oh, I should start studying yoga, whether that’s through Wii Fit or an online class.

There should be some basic stretches I can do to prevent my body from getting too stiff to the point of breaking down again. It should be worthwhile, even just a stretch or two, but like I said before, there’s only so much you can do to address one side of the problem without addressing the other part of the problem. In the next essay, I’ll consider what I can do to fix the mental/psychological aspects of my life, and how I can cope with them, like how here I’ve learned to cope with my physical pain by resting and decreasing my addiction to high-calorie foods.

I could have leveled up my physical fitness more, but there’s only so much I could do before reaching fatigue.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 205.5
Last week’s weight: 205.0
Difference: What this weight increase of 0.5 pounds doesn’t show is a week where I was physically weak from being in poor physical health. This is being sorted out, as essays over the next few months will detail, but it’s nice returning to some better health, and, hey, accidentally hitting my weight-loss goal six months early, I suppose, is a silver-lining, huh?
Inspirations: While writing “Level Up Yourself,” I thought about leveling up my physical and psychological fitness, which meant a rowing and sobriety essay.
Related: Past weekly column entries.
Picture: Generic.
Written On: 2020 May 03 [4:46pm to 5:15pm]
Last Edited: 2020 May 03 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
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.