[Rowing Machine] Two Four Three

I dropped all fitness excuses when I started this weekly column back in March. While it’s been demanding, I’m seeing results I haven’t seen in years! This time last year, I could barely do 22 rows in one set, and now I’m averaging 165.9 rows per 5-minute set. It’s not all physical, either. I have more mental focus, resilience, and I’ve made some friends along the way. Let’s drop the excuses and get inspired to exercise more!

  • My Weekly Stats:
  • Wednesday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 156 rows at a light pace. Didn’t want to wear myself or my back out, so I focused on keeping a slow, steady pace.
  • Wednesday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 130 rows. Took a long pause at 66 rows to catch my breath. Kept a light pace, focusing on stretching my shoulders.
  • Rest Day. I was uncharacteristically exhausted after seeing Death Grips. I could have done more to recover quicker, such as doing a float tank session, lightly exercising, or maybe having a big meal. Just stayed home, instead, which is most comfortable I guess.
  • Friday Evening: time 5 minutes, 156 rows. Haven’t been well, so I went at a light pace, except between 140 and 150 to make sure I could pass 150.
  • Friday Evening: time 5 minutes, 188 rows. Light pace from 0-100, then increased the pace through 150. Felt like stopping after that. Kept going!!
  • Saturday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 165 rows at a light pace. I’ve been distracted and unfocused today. Rowing helped but I’m still not laser focused.
  • Saturday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 164 rows at a light pace. Felt tired at 100 and after 150 it felt like a trek, but it was rewarding to keep going!
  • Saturday Evening: time 5 minutes, 174 rows at a good pace. I’m exhausted now, but getting in there and doing my best always feels rejuvenating!
  • Sunday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 174 rows at a solid pace. I was exhausted at the 84th row but kept going, using some minor frustration for drive.
    • Question: At what stroke numbers did you get a second and third wind?
    • Answer: There was just the second wind at 84 carrying me to 174. It was that feeling like you want to stop, and might, if you lose focus.
  • Sunday Evening: time 5 minute, 182 rows. 1-150: moderate pace. After that I went at such a fast pace that my rowing was heard “across the house.”
  • Monday Morning: time 5 minutes, 168 rows. Noticed my seat rattling from 120 rows on; tightened the bolt. Otherwise kept a good pace without stops.
  • Monday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 169 rows. I felt mild discomfort at 118. I kept going because if it’s mild and passing, it’s a mental hindrance.
  • Tuesday Morning: time 5 minutes, 158 rows. Went at an incredible pace from around 80 to 110 overusing my arms, but must have been slow otherwise..
  • Tuesday Evening: time 5 minutes, 173 rows. Furious pace from go, paused at 75, and the pang on my right side stopped me just temporarily at 101.

  • Weight: 243.6 pounds (down 7.0 pounds!!)
  • Liquid Consumption (my goal: >1 gallon of water):
    • Wednesday: 5.25 liters (1.38 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee, 4 cups of tea
    • Thursday: 3.5 liters (0.92 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee
    • Friday: 8.75 liters (2.31 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee, 3 cups of tea
    • Saturday: 3.5 liters (0.92 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee, 3 cups of tea
    • Sunday: 5.25 liters (1.38 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee
    • Monday: 5.25 liters (1.38 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee, 2 cups of tea
    • Tuesday: 6.75 liters (1.79 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee
  • Vitamins: 14 of 14
  • Last Week’s Goals:
    1. Weight: [succeeded] I was dehydrated at my weigh-in. I’m still counting it as seven pounds because I’ll pee off most or all of the water weight.
    2. Consistency: [failed] I would have given myself a “neutral” pass if it were only the one skip day. I almost overdid that threshold of acceptability on Friday, so, failed.
    3. Vitamins: [succeeded] I keep a spare vitamin container out to remind me to take my vitamins.
  • This Week’s Goals:
    1. Weight: no weight gain past 250 pounds
    2. Calories: I’ve been eating too much oatmeal
    3. Consistency: row twice daily, if not more?
  • From Good to Better
    • I’m a hardline guy. When I hold myself up to rigorous standards, like posting (and therefore writing) new content daily, I find myself achieving much more than when I don’t. I’ll now visualize my goals with handy colors: red (failure) and green (success).
    • It’s important to accept and embrace your failures. If you hide from your mistakes, you will continue to be their victim. I showed my scars of weight gain in “Two Five Three [2],” which led to weight loss last week, and further weight loss this week.
    • While studying fitness and burning off 60 pounds in 6 months with a professional trainer, I learned that losing more than 10 pounds per month could be unhealthy. I’ll keep my head in the game so I don’t accidentally gain 20 pounds or something.
  • Sober Living
    • I’ve held back this well of emotion around sobriety for years. I haven’t been to an AA/NA meeting in years, not since I really needed it, and even then it was more to listen than to say anything about my situation which seemed trivial in comparison.
    • I felt like a sham. I hadn’t been to jail, hadn’t bounced against recovery programs, and hadn’t had an intervention. I caught myself just in time, of my own free will, which surprised everyone. I only saw the intoxication guillotine before it struck.
    • There’s still friction. There always will be… for every “Libraries Altering Minds,” there’s a hungover naïve acquaintance that asks just a little too intently about my thoughts on how much alcohol is normal to consume during a night out on the town.
  • Confronting Cortisol Circumstances
    • I firmly believe the longer you hold onto stress, the more it consumes you. It’s like if you drink too much water and need to pee, yet you hold it in until it’s uncomfortable, then rush to the restroom. Why not go before you feel like you’re going to burst?
    • Similarly, I sent a message along to that hungover friend saying “I didn’t care for that,” even after shutting down the conversation in person. Acknowledged. I can’t really go back and tell the librarians to talk to the cannabis carrier. Maybe next time?
    • That’s the thing: reaction time is based on practice. The first time something new strikes you wrong, it might linger for a day or less before you want to act on it. It should almost instinctively become an immediate ping to someone’s pressure pong.
  • Disengaging from Stress
    • In previous weeks, I allowed the temptations of relaxation to reign perhaps too much, so I overindulged in anime or other passive activities. With the “I won’t take a break until I sweat” approach, you earn that relaxation after achieving your goals.
    • Now I’m trying one main daily goal. Each day, I’m targeting something specific that will help alleviate pressure in one area or another, whether it’s something like a necessary chore or one of those stacking round tuit things that never get done.
    • If I accomplish that goal, great. If not, it’s not a terrible thing. What might have been important yesterday might not be important now, or maybe it was too big to tackle. Still, that goal, that “keeping your eye on the prize” mentality, helps me out, at least.
  • Title and Photo
    • I’ve been going with numbers as the titles for these rowing machine column posts for a while now. The weigh-in weeks are easy. The other weeks are rather tricky. Maybe I’ll go with a year week format for 2018 so it’s easy to see the chronology?
    • Colossus is joined in this week’s weigh-in photo by Spider-Man, like they’re gym buddies meeting and shaking hands. I have trouble with these photos since it’s like seeing how far the theme of “childhood representation of fitness” can go.
    • That said, until I get the newer Marvel Legends Colossus or run out of ideas, I’ll keep finding gratuitous ways to photograph random action figures as a fun distraction from serious rowing stats, fitness, and displays of physical strain and pleasure.
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.