Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I'll spare you the details...

but, I'm at the point now with my pushups that I'm doing 200 every other day. I do fifty straight, then work my way up to one hundred in tens and fives, without ever taking my hands or feet of the floor (though I can raise or lower my hips to stretch my pecs). Then I stand up and cool off a little while. Then it's time for another 40 straight, followed by alternating sets of decline and incline pushups (though my declines are more like semi-handstand pushups, wherein I bend at the waist, basically like an A without a cross-bar). The idea is, of course, to train the whole pectoral/triceps muscle area, not simply concentrate on the particular muscles for doing-lots-of-pushups. All of this takes me 13-15 minutes.

My buddy, Craig, who's joined me in this escapade, said the hardest thing about it, "besides the searing pain" (haha!), is the time spent. I told a few days ago 200 would probably take me ten minutes, whereupon he asked, "What are they feeding you over there?" Monday night, I timed myself and it turned out 200 took me about 15 minutes. Tonight, I told him this, and then 20 minutes later, I emailed him again that I had just done 200 in 14 minutes. He replied: "You frighten me." Eh, it's a living. Ultimately, the goal is to do 200 pushups straight. From there, I hope to do at least a hundred semi-handstands within that set. And then, like cresting Everest, I aim to do multiple handstand pushups.

In less somatic news, I've taken up reading Butler's Lives of the Saints! Since becoming a Catholic, as the name "Butler" kept brushing my ears, it's become a desire of mine to learn more. Well, due to a sudden windfall of books, I have all four volumes on my bookshelves! Each day features a handful of saints, sometimes at great length, sometimes very briefly. It's an annual reading plan. I began May 22 and hope to keep going all the way till next May 21. It may be a project I undertake every year or every few years. I just love portioned reading programs.

Indeed, not only am I wading through Butler's Saints, but I also came across two handy booklets: a daily Catholic Bible reading plan (1-, 2- or 3-year plans) and a guide for reading the Catechism throughout the liturgical year. These things are probably on the Net somewhere, but I love having them in my bag wherever I go. Between these three august undertakings and slogging (pleasurably, make no mistake!) George Weigel's biography of dear John Paul II, I wonder how I could read anything else.

Tomorrow is Ascension Thursday. I hope to go to Mass (oh, it's so early) and then afterward to start day 1 at my neeeeewww job! That's right, it's all but signed and sealed that I'll be working at All People Publishing, beginning full time July 17. I'll be an editor, writer and recorded voice for their English magazine (GEPT preparation). It's so liberating at work right now to know the squabbles and "history" I face at Viator are not my destiny. I am free to go and I shall move on. The melodrama and navel-gazing that once churned up my ulcer now only wins a peaceful, knowing smile from me. One more month. Just one more month. (I love my students and will always miss them; but teaching is, sadly, only, perhaps, 50% student time, the rest being office and ego-clash time.)

I have been tired lately, mainly because I've been so busy. (But, I'm convinced, because of my fitness regimen and new "caveman diet" (based largely on this program i.a.), I have not been ill. Praise God!) For example, we (ie., I and some Christian friends) did an evangelism outreach this week for the debut of The Da Vinci Code. I have chosen not to see the movie, not only because that's paying yet more money for asinine blasphemy, but also because I hear it's quite a stinker (how many of the high viewer reviews are dogged DVC fan boys, I wonder?). We did some spiritual surveys, asking people if they'd seen the movie or read the book, why, what they thought, "where they were" spiritually, and then presenting the gospel based on a two-sided "puzzle themed" tract (that, uh, I designed) with additional resources (in English and Chinese) for people to learn more. It was a great time; great to interact with people, great to tell so many of Jesus as life's missing piece!

Finally, it wouldn't be a proper update if I dind't mention the fact that next Thursday evening, at Providence University, I'll be getting confirmed. The Sacrament of Confirmation (as the name suggests), is a strengthening (a con-firming) of the supernatural endowments granted us at once in baptism. It is the sacramental step in which we rise from the waters of baptism as disciples and new heirs, and more radically enter the fray of living, proclaiming and defending the Faith as prophets and princes. Biblically, it is the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" wrought by the laying on of hands (ie., the bishop's). Accordingly, I have been focused on God the Holy Spirit for several weeks now and hope to meet this sacrament during a ten-day devotion to Him, which I will begin tomorrow.

I could mention other plans and goings-on, but enough is enough for now. Good night!


Anonymous said...

I'm only up to like 50 in one day... I'll get there.


Anonymous said...

Very inspiring, on all fronts.
Thanks much.

Anonymous said...

I was just recalling though that many experts have written that there is little benefit to multiple sets of the same exercise. I understand that you are aiming to do one set of 200, but based on what they've written, you might reach 200 sooner by performing other exercises after having performed your max number of push ups.
What do you think?

Michaelk Borussia

Anonymous said...

All best wishes on the occasion of your upcoming confirmation! I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

the Cogitator said...

Dear Michaelk,

I am aware of the hazard of "monkey training" your muscles (ie., training them repetitively to do a specific task), but, as you say, the goal is just to do the big set. As far as cross training goes, I do mix my pushup styles, so, technically, the range of muscles used is more than just pectorals (e.g, traps, tris, shoulders, serratus anterior, etc.). Also, I do try to cap each big set with a set of pullups on each end, finishing off by holding gong fu stances for a few minutes. Once I accomplish the pushup goal, I hope to move on to general strength calisthenics (handstands, hindu pushups, wrestler bridges, etc.).

Apropos my gong fu, you're right: I'm in the heartland. Just this afternoon, I had a lunch banquet for the Taiwan Taiji Association, and seated behind me at the central table was none other than a direct "descendant" of Zheng Man Qing, who, as you may know, was the quite famous "inventor" of the short yang form (the 37). And the coach I go to every Saturday is his own student. I can't really get any closer to the source, eh?! (Though I sure do miss judo!)

Anonymous said...

The only thing I can say here re: the opportunity to study, is: great!
On Tamir Katz's exercise programme: these kinds of diets which refer to early Man's nutritional patterns seem to idealise our ancestors in the style of Rousseau. I don't think their health (to the extent they were healthy) rested in their diet as much as in their stamina derived from daily physical activity.
I think TCM is on to something here; their emphasis is on a balance (between yin and yang--but not dogmatically so as are those in the Macrobiotic school) and avoiding over-indulgence.
But since you report good results, carry on!
michaelk borussia

fidens said...

Remember: pain is just weakness leaving your body.