The Bradlands

Keep Moving

In just the last month I've had 3 friends tell me they injured themselves (slightly) when trying to throw a ball. When the first told me I laughed. The second I thought was peculiar. The third… what the hell.

How my body ages has been on my mind for a while but little conversations like these make me wonder if I'm further down this path than I thought. Are we that old? Are the dreams of playing with nieces, nephews, rug rats in general going to be accented with a yelp and grabbing for the pulled muscle?

To address this I could get all scientific and research the human body, common ailments when getting older and yaddy yaddy yaddah because that's what this procrastinator does. But for this one I'm going to stick to the one thing elementary physical education teachers try to get through our heads: the idea to keep moving.

Running

I loathe running. It has always been the most dreaded of physical activities for me. In grade school I never actually ran a full mile. I'd always walk part of it because I was breathing too hard but really I was just too much of a wuss to try. I had asthma and that was enough of an excuse for me to not feel bad for not trying.

As a result I've been terrible at cardio all my life. My heart and legs are in terrible shape. I have a lot to make up for.

My current goal is to run 5 days in a row before work for 2 miles each day. That's all. No marathons. No 5Ks. I want my body to be in a shape that I can feel comfortable getting out and exercising my heart whenever I desire and to be able to continue to do so as I get older.

In my month off between jobs I decided to take another shot at running. I was running midday in the heat and humidity. It kicked my ass but I kept at it. I'm now running in the mornings before work when I can. I got to the point that I was doing 2 days on 1 off. It was too much too fast as I slightly injured/pulled something in both heels. I had to take a week off but I'm getting back at it now, just a little slower than I had hoped.

My progress is available on Strava. My watch records distance, pace, location and heart rate (from a separate heart rate monitor). It's uploaded when I connect my watch to my computer regardless if I'm proud of how I did or not. Somedays I'm quite embarrassed but it keeps me honest and motivated.

Wing Chun (martial arts)

As a kid I loved martial arts movies and the idea of being able to stand up to Johnny and the evil Cobra Kai dojo. For whatever reason I never asked my parents to pursue it, I just stuck with the movies and the occassional book.

Thinking about movement I thought martial arts would be a good choice. I'd be lying if I said I didn't care about self defense. The confidence boost alone I think is worth it. Not that I want to be able to fight but just not being intimidated by others seems nice, yep nice. More importantly it's a way to focus on fine controlled movement which I know I will never perfect. Working hard and long has always been intriguing to me as I like the learning process and the process of constant refinement.

I've played sports for a lot of my life and thus thought I was coordinated but didn't realize how much I lacked in simple controlled movements until I stepped into that first class. When discussing how to instruct me a common theme between the other students was how uncoordinated I was and how they're trying to keep things simple. It was humbling and I'm fine with that.

The reason I chose Wing Chun was because of the focus on technique and not strength. I like the scientific approach to it and how it focuses on efficiency and exacting technique. We're expected to practice forms every day and I look forward to it every morning. It's 5 minutes to focus me and get me heading in the right direction.

I practice the forms every day and attend a 3 hour class every Saturday down in Lenexa, KS. When I'm bored in the evening or just tired of sitting I'll get up and practice.

Rock Climbing

Climbing was something I started later in life. Seattle is filled with great rock climbing gyms and surrounded by mountains to climb. You can't live in Seattle and not been asked to go climbing.

I got hooked early on with rope climbing but didn't fully realize my love for it until I started bouldering. Gym bouldering can be very social but also a solitary activity. The fact that I can go to the gym on my own and not need someone to belay (hold the rope, save my life) is freeing. There's no one waiting on me for their turn which allows me to practice over and over on a single move to get it right. A move will seem impossible for days or even weeks. But then, without warning, it clicks and becomes so simple it's hard to fathom why it was so difficult to begin with. This brings me to the mental side which is just as challenging as the physical side. Bouldering is a body puzzle. The holds are pieces and you use your body to connect them. In bouldering the routes and referred to as "problems", an apt name.

I found a gym close to my apartment just last week here in Independence. It's hard not to sound snobbish but it's no where near the quality of a gym or route setting I'm used to. Seattle spoiled me. I get that. Regardless I'm happy to have a gym just 10 minutes from my place.

I'm trying to climb at least twice a week or just when I get the hankerin'.

Body Weight Workout

Body weight workouts are something I started while climbing. The name explains it: use body weight for resistance. This means no weights and no need to go to a gym. I do my workout at home. My equipment is as follows:

  1. Yogo mat.
  2. Pull up bar suspended in a door frame.
  3. Rings hanging from the pull up bar.
  4. Floor.

That's it. I've spent money on books too but all that's really needed to get started is the FAQ on r/bodyweightfitness.

As a result of climbing and my workout I'm as big as I want to be muscle wise and don't want to get any bigger. Losing some weight is a higher priority but that has nothing to do with this workout.

Current Workout

Warm Up/Core

Dynamic Wrist Mobility Stretches
Plank
45 seconds, 15 seconds rest
Left Plank (on elbow and forearm)
45 seconds, 15 seconds rest
Right Plank (on elbow and forewarm)
45 seconds, 15 seconds rest
Hollow Body
45 seconds, 15 seconds rest
Superman
45 seconds, 15 seconds
Reverse Plank
45 seconds, 15 seconds rest

Skill Work

Floor L-sit 1 foot supported
As many reps as possible to get in 60" of the hold
Head Stand
15" x 3
Crow Pose
10" x 3

Strength Work

Diamond Pushups
10 x 3
Pike Pushup
10 x 3
Rows on rings
10 x 3

My strength work looks a little weak in regards to activities but at this point in the workout my body is pretty worked. Also since I'm climbing again I'm no longer doing much pulling in my workout as climbing works that pretty well.

And…

that's it really. Seems like a lot but what else do I have to do? I'm 36 and single. Oh, I walk Rita too. Not for the fitness aspects but because if you're not picking up the poop of another living being you're missing out on an opportunity to be humbled daily.

-bradrer on Jun 20, 2014