Posted by: L1H | July 7, 2009

L1H: Update

Obviously the death of the King of Pop has been dominating the news and inter-webs lately: his funeral/memorial service is playing out as I type this at work.

Last night I was watching a special on television and one comment, offered as an editorial, was that MJ’s death has liberated his art from the “weirdness” that surrounded him in life.  In other words, now that he’s “out of the way” the world can enjoy and celebrate the amazing talent of Michael Jackson the musician and not be distracted by Michael Jackson the oddity.

Imagine that.  Getting in the way of your own legend – by being alive!

I have been drafting the outline of an upcoming RL quest.  Essentially it’s about setting a goal to drive my workouts until DragonCon.  Without a goal you tend to get lost or worse: become complacent.

I’ve cut my weight-lifting to three days a week with 2-3 days of some kind of cardio mixed in.  I’m not going to name the system I’m using, but I will mention that I’ve increased my strength significantly.

Strength isn’t something that I cared much about before, losing body fat was my only focus, but strength is an exciting metric to watch grow.  

Getting stronger without injury is a delicate balance, but watching the number of plates grow on a barbell kinda reminds me of MMO character advancement.

Out of context the amount of weight you can bench is shallow, meaningless, and irrelevant.  However, if I told you that an 80 year-old man can bench 225 lbs. then your ears might perk.  Likewise, if I told you that I can bench twice the amount of weight I could a year ago, then you might be persuaded to appreciate this growth even if you’re not interested in fitness.

Another thing I enjoy about strength training is that every time you work-out you learn a little about yourself, you get familiar with your limits. 

We all have fantasies of how strong we “think” we are, how we could fend off a gang of thugs with our superior “speed” and “agility”.  What’s interesting is that the iron doesn’t lie to you: you can push with all your might and sometimes that barbell stops moving.  

The reality, the gravity, of such as simple task like preforming a squat, washes away the fantasy and leaves you feeling more “real” – which is usually less than He-Man – but at least it’s you.

It’s humbling to have a dead piece of stupid iron turn you into a quivering mass of pain, but the joy of watching the weight grow, of pushing past a weight barrier that used to hold you up: it’s amazing.

I can almost see the fly text hovering over my head: Strength +1

Yeah it’s a little hokey, but hey: it’s me.


  1. I’ve been following your blog now for a few months, off and on.

    I’d like to know what system you are using, if you don’t mind. Job+family takes most of my time, but I do try to get in a little gaming and exercise time in when I can.

    I don’t know if you do martial arts, but I think you would enjoy Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, if you haven’t tried it already. It’s often described as physical chess, and that is a pretty good description.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting reading 🙂

  2. @Jeff

    My starting point was BFFM, an e-book I purchased that you find the link to under health/fitness.

    I participated in martial arts from age 16 to 25. I’ve studied Bujinkan Taijutsu, Aikido, and casually trained with a very talented Wing Chun instuctor who was a friend of mine. All that training and a high school wrestler can still kick my ass, hehe.

    I’ve always wanted to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since I first watched Royce Gracie dominate in UFC back in the day: I mean, watching this thin tall guy take apart bigger more aggressive opponents like a chess master was very inspiring.

    I still enjoy watching MMA fights and am totally blown away how much martial arts have changed since I was a kid. I mean, it used to be enough to be able to kick a door frame or hold a horse stance. Now you have to actually be able to fight, lol, grapple, strike: these guys (and girls) are amazing.

    Bruce Lee is probably smiling from Heaven.

    My biggest concern of getting involved with martial arts again is injury. I can’t $afford$ to be injured and miss work. Training, as you already know, is a two way road, and while safe training is always the goal, accidents do happen.

    I wish I could get over this hang-up, but that fear is real and stops me from finding instruction in BJJ.

    I was thinking of something along the grain of martial arts that’s social, competitive, and physical but with less of a chance of injury like Kendo or Fencing.

    Gosh, I sound like a big fat wimp.

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