Monday, January 31, 2011


During my skateboarding days, I searched out nothing but that long ride to get the endorphins pumping. Once I got a good amount in my system, I would get a natural high and would be unable to complete a single thought and depending on how hard I would be going, I would not even be able to complete a sentence. I had become an animal craving nothing but what my body can naturally produce. After many hours and finally wearing myself out, I would get back home, pass out on the floor of my apartment to wake up many hours later to find that I did not even bother closing my door. And there were the nights where I would skateboard with friends, going until I have a good buzz and we would head back to the dorm room or apartment to play video games for hours in total silence while feeling great. Those were some great times.

And there were the days when I would attend the punk rock, the hardcore, and the emo shows. Again, I will go more into this later but I did not always leave a fulfilled man. Some nights, I left just feeling like I had been run over. But somehow the extremes of emotions were what I needed. The times with people who shared the straight edge lifestyle were, in theory, awesome. In practice, not so much...I am getting off topic a bit, but again this was something that really filled my life with joy for some years.

I don't know what changed in me. Skateboarding somehow lost its appeal. Taking a ride down to campus became a chore. Nights spent alone riding for many hours dwindled away. I stopped getting that natural high after a few hours. I went to a skateboard demo to see one of my favorite skateboarders in his new company. Kris Markovich was amazing to me, but to stand less than five feet from him felt odd. Somehow I knew that I was facing a finality. After the demo, I went to the gym and worked out in a quiet bewilderment. The man I was had given way to the man I plan on becoming.

As for the many nights at the punk rock shows, I just grew tired of all of it. The bands started to suck, as did the music. The people became more about the politics of the scene rather than getting together for a great time. I started to become very selective of the shows I went to. There were always some 30-40 year olds in their punk costumes who never changed. I felt like I was no longer evolving, like I had hit my wall. I was going to become that punk dinosaur that strongly held on to ideals that were no longer relevant to the world we live in. I usually left the shows feeling like someone sucker punched my soul. What was usually a good time always turned into me falling into a short bout with depression. I had most certainly outgrown the entire thing.

But that leaves me here, still, many years later trying to put it all together. Where did I go right? Where did I go wrong? Where do I go from here, and why it is so hard to get there? Nothing gives me that high that skateboarding once gave me. A good hard weightlifting session leaves me swollen up twice my size and renders me unable to complete a sentence, but that is about as close as it gets. Is there something that will bring the joy that I once had with skateboarding? Is heavy weight training as close as it is going to get, and will that be enough once I realize it? While I deal with the remaining days it will take to heal up my abdomen, I am going to spend it lost in very deep thought. And job searching, let us never forget that.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On sports

I have never been a fan of team sports and I feel that most, if not all of it, stems from an experience I had when I was in middle school. Because I have always been very tall, people have always thought that I have an interest in basketball. I have never had an interest. But in middle school, the basketball coach, his wife, and many others very actively tried to get me to join the team. They never saw me play and told me they would just put me on the team. I wouldn't even face the prospect of being cut from the team or never allowed on in the first place. It was mine and all I had to do was accept it. This posed a bunch of problems for me. I was not athletic in the slightest. I couldn't at any point muster up enough of anything to care or apply myself. I seriously did not want to be seen in a tank top. Why would I, clearly having no athletic ability, be appointed to the team without question when others actually do want to be there and try and I would be taking their spot. And finally, I was never a real popular kid. I was the skinny, geeky, video game fan who seriously would mainline video games if it were possible. With joining the basketball team, I would be accepted among many groups of people throughout the school. And in doing this, I would be turning my back on myself. So despite the fighting and how ugly things got, I didn't join the team. I paid for that decision all the way to the end of 12th grade. Many years later, I still have found myself unable to play basketball under any circumstances. Some scars run real deep.

I have not been able to understand the pull of watching team sports on television or even participating in them. It just seems as though I am supposed to love them out of virtue of being a man. And since I do not like them at all, I am somehow unable to be understood by other human beings. It's very strange to me.

I enjoy sports that are basically a solo act. Skateboarding, climbing, and weight lifting are in essence me against myself. I can push myself as I feel the need to in order to progress into the sport, build a better body, or just even work through my issues and frustrations. But I am not so much a fan of watching them. Skateboarding is very much the thrill of the experience. Climbing and weightlifting are for the strength building, be it of body, mind, and character. Those things do not translate to a spectator sport to me.

You all go ahead and wear your sports jerseys emblazoned with your favorite teams and players' names. Remember your player stats. Enjoy your games. Just know that it is simply not for me.

Friday, January 28, 2011


As far as workout supplements go, I only take whey protein and a pretty good amount of that. The rest of the stuff is too expensive, doesn't work, or doesn't produce a lasting result beyond the use of that product. I want my muscles to be real, lasting, hard muscles that are the result of hard work.

But I do have to admit that I get curious sometimes and want to experiment with supplements purely for academic purposes. I tried creatine monohydrate back when I started working out and put on a ton of weight in a short amount of time, only to lose every single ounce one I got a cold and stopped taking the stuff. That pretty much was enough to discourage me entirely.

I had wanted to try N.O. Xplode for some time as the weightlifting magazines make it sound like the greatest thing since peanut butter. And they started to produce this product in an a small single shot. Couldn't be easier. So I bought one and took it before climbing. It tasted like disgusting sugar water and was hard to get down. I gave it a little bit of time to take effect but nothing happened at all. I was promised MONSTER PUMPS!!!11!!1 and it didn't happen anywhere beyond how pumped I normally get. Now climbing is and lifting are two different things entirely, so I decided to give N.O. Xplode one more shot just for lifting as hard as I can. Again nothing happened. So enough was enough. Glad I wasted five dollars and not sixty five dollars.

I was in the store buying some whey protein and a shaker cup, making me strongly believe that all my cups will one day become shaker cups. I can't stop buying them. They are so handy! I noticed that Jack3d was on sale for $25 but I wanted to try some first. The sales rep had a sample so I took it and tried it the next day for my chest/shoulder/arm day - my heavier day. I grabbed out my most cut up workout shirt in preparation for whatever could happen and headed out to start with the pushups I do for warm-ups. On chest days, I always do two or three variations on pushups and one of those sets is always to failure. I always mix up which type of pushup and which set is the one I fail on. I have this thing down to a science. After about forty regular pushups, I got this tingly feeling like I was getting heat rash. The feeling didn't subside for a while but I wasn't breaking out either. So I did about twenty five diamond pushups. Then it was like someone flipped a switch. I was unbelievably focused and ran through every chest exercise I could think of. I got pumped up way more than I normally get. An hour later, my chest was shot. So I moved into arms and did the same thing. An hour into that, I had to force myself to leave. Under normal circumstances, I am finished at the hour and a half mark. I do not want to do more harm than good, and the hour and a half really seems to work for me for putting on size. Anyway, I couldn't stop at the two hour mark. I moved into abs a little bit and then had to force myself to leave. Knowing I likely couldn't fit back into the shirt I wore into the gym, I just stayed in my workout shirt and headed off to Moe's for a gigantic burrito. After mowing that one down, I wanted a second one but knew far better than to do that. So I got home, did some abs, and ended up staying up all night because this crap wouldn't ever wear off.

Again, I will extrapolate on this one further down the line, but that really messed with me psychologically. I know that a real good lifting session means I've burned enough energy to be able to have a good night's sleep. But with Jack3d, I couldn't even have that. So yeah, that was a real head game. I can't recommend Jack3d or any pre-workout other than for the occasional experience. I just don't like pumping up larger than I normally do and the feeling of knowing that I can get a good night's sleep is far too important to me to give up in pursuit of size. 

The Six Month Change

I managed to strain a muscle in my abdomen this week doing lat rows at the end of my workout. I felt a pull run down the right edge of my abs and while it has not hurt, it just does not feel right. As a result, I have taken the rest of the week off to heal up and next week I will go very light on the weights and therefore my abs in order to finish the healing process. The silver lining here is the time off has given me time to think about how I am going to change up my routine. I love my routine - it is a real muscle builder and works out perfectly for me, but there is one flaw I have been trying to fix. You see, basically my workouts go: Monday, Wednesday, Friday are chest, shoulder, and arm days with a couple light ab exercises thrown in at the end. Tuesdays and Thursdays are legs, back, and abs days. And since I've been really trying to pack on the size, Sundays are basically wild card days where I workout the parts that I feel are lacking. I will not go into the actual detail of the workouts for now, but my biggest complaint with this set of exercises is that I basically work my shoulders out every single day. I did strain my shoulder out like I did my abdomen a few months back for this very reason.

So my new six month routine? Sundays are still wild card days. Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays are for legs, chest and abs. And Tuesday and Thursdays are for back, shoulders, and arms with a couple light ab exercises for posterity. This gives my shoulders a break. And most importantly pairing legs with chest will help me fill out my chest the rest of the way I have envisioned. Will I like it? I think so. It is very hard to change up your routine as it is very easy to just stick with what has been working, but your muscles need the change in order to continue to evolve. I can not wait to get healed up and really go at this new routine.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Found this on a message board today. Pretty much sums up my gym life:

The last thing I ever want to do at the gym is socialize. There are people that I see there regularly—months on end, years on end—people I see more regularly than friends or family or even roommates, and I don't know their names. When I'm there, I kinda just want to be left alone for an hour and a half while I exorcise my demons...

It's true. I don't ask people's names at the gym. I workout because I need to get my frustrations with my life out. I need this time for myself. I'm surrounded by the familiar faces of people I don't even know and I am perfectly fine with that. This is something that will be greatly expounded upon soon. I am just planting the seeds.

Second go-around

What can one expect from this particular blog?

You can expect a whole lot of me blathering on about myself and my own experiences as I continue to work to become the person I have always wanted to be.

You will get a whole lot of my punk rock/skateboarder years and the events that lead me out of them.

You will get some idea as to the maturation I have undertaken and my journey into the world of fitness.

You will get bad movie reviews, and some may even be taken from the old blog.

You will get me discussing whatever is on my mind - be it talks of existentialism, book reviews, academic talk, or the silliness that I face in my own life.

With this in mind, you can take this trip with me. Or not. It's your choice.

Stare Into the Firesea

This being my first blog in nearly three years, I somehow find it appropriate to be pretentious and post the lyrics of my favorite song "Stare Into The Firesea" by the short-lived band Picturesque.

Melts my eyes into the sun
Rain it pours soul pours out my nose
Beauty grasps the skin, so soothing
Just when pain never seems ceasing
No ironfist
Beauty grasp the skin, get past this

Days left holding empty stomachs
Screaming for, searching for fulfillment
The body embraces, souls catch a glimpse
Of tattered, torn, torments

Stare into the fire sea
Burns up as a piece of me
Goes up, goes up in language

Melts a life, into stone
Rain it pours scrapes across the soul
Beauty basks in sun, so soothing
Just when pain, never seems ceasing
Pours sweet shades gently flowing
No ironfist
Beauty basks in sun, get past this

Turn to wait, and wait to roll
Roll with the punches, wait to roll

Stare into the firesea
Burns up as a piece of me