Cruised

The shower area of the gym is steamy, warm, and a most welcome feeling with the chill of winter’s approach outside. I towel off in the shower stall so I don’t track a pool of water into my private changing area, before I notice the tanned, dusty-haired, blonde that had been making eyes at me across cardio equipment. He’s an attractive guy – beefy, with body hair in all right places, and an ass that looks like it could feed a small family – but I tend to lean more towards dark-haired men, and let’s not forget that I’m off the market.

Our shower and changing rooms were right next to each other, and there are only three showers so the space between the two is small. Removing his towel so only his front was covered, he offers carnal grin. “Good morning” he says, still holding the towel with only a couple fingers just under his navel; revealing a wet torso and thighs. “Good morning. Did you have a good workout?” I know exactly what he’s up to, so I slip into my changing room and calmly close the half door.

Making sure the door doesn’t slam, I leave him alone and exposed in the small area between shower and changing room. I begin to dry off as he answers my question, and the small talk continues the entirety of my getting dressed. Fully dressed I make my way out of the changing stall. “See you tomorrow” he flirts with another grin. “Later! Have a good day.”

My inner Beyonce tends to surface after all of my workouts – various songs of hers play in my head (complete with choreography) when I notice changes in my body as I’ve already lost 100 lbs – making me feel strong, awake, and confident going into the work day. The influence of Scorpio season and the fact that I had just been cruised at the gym had my inner Queen Bey slaying the stage; dropping it like it was hot all the way to the car. It wasn’t even 7AM yet! I can’t wait to tell S what happened.

Back on Track

It’s Saturday! And I’ve managed to successfully stick to my set fasting windows. This was the reset I needed. The beer last weekend was delicious, but my body KNOWS when intruders – carbs – are strolling through my system.

Outside of sticking to fasting windows, ranging from 16-37 hours this week, I’m patting myself on the back for making every planned workout. As of late, I’m unable to pop right up and be gym ready in the morning. Lifting weights before work was convenient because I like to go STRAIGHT home after work. I’ve never been a fan of errands or veering too far off any scheduled plan; and yes, a scheduled plan includes my drive home (haha).

This week I decided to step outside of my stubborn-overly-scheduled mindset and just wing it. If I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t eat. This is largely due to keeping my healthy fat intake at 75% and my protein and carbs at good ketogenic levels. I had two, half-hour lifting sessions this week, and did yoga for 25 minutes two mornings. Every workout was focused, calm, and productive. I say calm because my body felt rested; even in the act of ripping my muscles apart and working on inversion poses.

How much a sweat comes out of a workout has never been a marker of success for me. With that being said, however, I’d never sweat so much during a workout. TMI, sorry, but I’m not sure what that could mean. Maybe it means nothing. I’ve never been a heavy sweater in the gym, but could working out in a fasting state be serving as some form of detoxification for me? The day after each lifting or yoga session, I felt as though I’d worked out, but the recovery period was much faster.

This morning we made these amazing breakfast sandwiches. Almond flour biscuits, egg, ham, extra sharp cheddar, jalapeno, and a bit of mayo.

breakfast-sandwich

 

They were so bomb. It’s been ages since I had a breakfast sandwich and we were both too excited to eat them. S and I are looking into local butchers so we can level-up on healthy fats, our cooking, and culinary creativity. Whatever you eat, you’ve gotta have fun with it. Can you imagine this sandwich with some freshly sliced, thick-cut bacon? My weekend has been made already 🙂

Namaste n’ Chill

S studies in the loft while I debate any further activity. “I should workout. I should do something… not dishes.” My shoulder seems to be healing alright, but it’s still a little sensitive at times. Leave it to me to injure myself in a way that requires what feels like all the time in the world to recover.

“Yoga it is, sir.” I think to myself as I consider hitting weights in the morning. “No. Patience, Jamal.” Having a free workout facility is a perk many don’t have at their workplaces, but to be honest with you I’ve been feeling a tad anti-social in the gym. I’ve always preferred working out alone and being on the injured list these past couple months has reinforced those feelings. The times  I did make it into the gym at a crisp 7-o-clock in the morning, there seemed to be another body flexing in the mirror; using the equipment I needed. Blerg.

I resolve that S will probably be in the books for another hour and a half and set my yoga session up in the living room.

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I spark-up a simmering cider incense – because I’ve killed almost all my large candles – roll out my mat, and turn on some mellow tunes. Iman Omari has been haunting my earbuds and speakers around the house for a few weeks now. I can’t get enough of the guy! This session would be somewhat of a date with myself. Good music, subtle lighting, a peaceful atmosphere and a little bit of sweat.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my husband while he’s busy studying – working so hard during the hours we usually spend together after work – but this evening was about me, myself, and I. My yoga sessions are usually a little more intense and happen before 6 AM. I wanted to take my time in each pose tonight to boost my focus in breathing while moving on the mat. I’ve been working up to handstand poses, so a little bit of crow pose action gave my arms and shoulder a safe test.

Remember to take some time to yourselves. I get so busy at work and tend to hit a wall (of boredom) if I don’t have anything to keep me busy at home – especially if I’m avoiding chores. Tonight I chose to hit the mat and I feel awesome. This will be a more regular occurrence while I heal and while S completes this last semester of classes.

Alright. Time for some headphone music in bed before the Zs catch me.

3 Reasons Why I Dig A Smith Machine

 


1. I don’t need a spotter. When it comes to lifting weights, I’m fairly antisocial. I workout just before work, and am the king of keeping a schedule. I don’t have time to switch out between sets and chat leisurely during this time.

2. Focus and awareness. Because smith machines only allow vertical motion, I’m forced to pay extra attention to my form while lifting. It’s extremely easy to sacrifice your form on a smith machine because of the built in spotting design. Just because the bar is supported by a giant metal frame, does not mean you get to let your core slack off, or your feet chill wherever you’d like. Bend those legs, get that butt down, and let the bar touch your chest before you push that weight back up. Stay challenged.

3. Variety. Three out of my five lifting days, I follow a stronglifts routine. Lucky for me I get into the gym early enough to hog the smith machine – knocking out the first few lifting sequences in peace and undisturbed. I always start with squats (because they suck), then bench, and finish with some barbell rows; this takes me about thirty minutes. If I can sweat my ass off without having to move very far, I’m all in.

It’s Like Crack…

…stepping on the scale! So I broke my weight loss plateau, I’m feeling sexier than ever, and it’s Scorpio season! I’m below my September progress report weight, but I will not be posting another progress report until later this month. I’m one who gets very stuck on what the scale reads. I’m one who dreads hospital weigh-ins because they make you step on the scale with ALL of your clothes on, and with EVERYTHING in your pockets. So what is it that makes me – and plenty others in the world – step on the scale knowing that a person’s weight shifts up and down throughout the week?

The morning I weighed myself, out of pure curiosity, I was feeling light, and my stomach looked like it had shrunk a bit. “Let me get on this damned scale” I thought as I read the refreshed numbers under my feet.  Success! The plateau was broken. It’s been just under a week since that morning, and every morning since then, I’ve been tempted to get on the scale. This is why I’ve learned to avoid scales and monitor my weight based on how my clothes fit and feel. There’s no reason I need to be weighing myself every single day. I mean I could, but I’d only be pissed, discouraged, or overly motivated to lose weight.

For me, I know how I react to any weight gain, and it’s not terrible, but I definitely have my downer moment if the numbers don’t read how I hoped they would. Lifting weights regularly will make your weight go up and down, and I hit the weights pretty hard during the week. I remind myself of these things constantly, but still, there’s an itch that almost leads me to the scale most mornings. Does this happen to any of you? If you know you’re following your preferred diet well, getting in some exercise, and feeling generally positive about your body and progress, then why do we long for daily validation from these devices that haunt our bathroom floors?

Talk to me in the comment section, and shout out to all my Scorpios!

Progress Report 1

As promised, I have my first month’s results of maintaining a low carb and ketogenic lifestyle; sticking to my only drinking on Saturday rule:

Data collection #1, August 24, 2015:

Weight – 245.5 lbs

Body fat – 30.5%

BMI – 33.3

Data collection #2, September 26, 2015:

Weight – 237.9

Body fat – 27.5%

BMI – 32.3

Now, remember, I lift weights and do body-weight exercises regularly. Weight-loss is not important here, and is just another benefit of the lifestyle. I’m focused on lowering my overall body fat percentage. If I’m being completely honest, my workouts definitely have room for more intensity. I’m getting comfortable with my current routine, so it’s time to mix things up with some new workouts, and slightly tougher yoga sessions. With that being said, expect the next report a couple weeks early! October 17th is Indiana University homecoming, and I will be enjoying some not-so-low-carb-treats on that day, so expect the next report to come in on October 16th. I’ll eat low carb and keto, but I MUST have a couple beers that day with my fellow Hoosiers 🙂

Lord of the Dance Pose

Yoga and strength training go hand in hand. Stretching equals blood flow, and promotes healthy, strong, loose muscles. Tight muscles lead to injury down the road. Remember to stretch after every workout, people!

You do you. We’ll Do Fat.

FATboys: A Mostly Ketogenic Health Journey. I named this category of Gays in the Life “FATboys” because the lifestyle we follow promotes a low carb, high fat diet.  We love butter, coconut oil, bacon, and all the (good) fatty things in between. When people hear “low carb,” they tend to freak out, and I’m not sure why. My husband and I have been following this lifestyle for almost two years, and have witnessed amazing results in each other. We have energy throughout the day, we don’t get that two-o-clock feeling at work, and weight loss is just a bonus. Like any diet out there, you can over consume, but when you’re living a ketogenic lifestyle – rounding out your day’s meals with a 70-80% fat to 15-20% protein to less than 5% carbohydrates – you don’t get hungry. Your body fills up on gloriously healthy fats, and you just don’t get hungry. Don’t believe me? Add a half cup of heavy whipping cream to your coffee, and see how long it takes before you’re hungry again. Try it! And keep in mind that the feeling of thirst is notoriously confused for the feeling of hunger.

We’ve learned to listen to our bodies, and not rely on the “calories in, calories out” concept. We don’t plan on counting calories for the rest of our lives, and with low-carb/keto living, we grasped a way to do just that. I know it’s hard to be open and change what we’ve been taught as a society; how we’ve been programmed as a society. When S first told me he was going low carb, I resisted. It took me a month before I got on board, and decided to try it out. Low carb is all I know now. I’ve seen the science in my own health. I’ve seen the change in my body – with weight loss not being the goal, but an added bonus – and am more and more hypnotized with the various stories I find on the internet, and in podcasts we follow. I work out for a half an hour each day, and do yoga whenever I feel like it, and see plenty results. We feel good, our bodies respond crazily – keeping us energized and sexy – and we aren’t killing ourselves with hours and hours a week on an elliptical or treadmill.

I won’t get into all of the science just yet, because my goal here is not to convert anyone. If you’re reading this, it’s because you enjoy Gays in the Life, and you’re taking a peek into another room in the house that is our life. Everything presented in FATboys will apply to our life, and our lives only. I’ve received some pushback on social media from old high school associates and close friends regarding the low carb world, and to them I say – and to any comment or reasoning that I’ve lived, read about, studied, and researched – “That’s fine. You do you, and I’ll do me. We’ll see who’s healthier in the long run.” I say that with humor, because we as a people are so stubborn; myself included. I’ve learned to listen to others, to give ideas a chance, and if the pro-carbohydrate police showed up on my doorstep, trying to sell me on their views, I’d listen and think. The science of the life I’ve been living for the past two years is too rich for me to seriously leave it now, though.

Today my husband shared this TEDx talk with me, and it made my day. Watch it if you want, and be open. We FATboys were pretty excited to see another doctor helping the low carb and keto communities spread awareness. The proof is in the (carb-smart) pudding!

Bored.

Tuesday nights he has class. Any other night, he gets home about an hour after I do, and the usual weeknight routine of hanging out and decompressing on the couch together commences. Best Coast plays in the background as I sit here at the kitchen table; trying my best to think of something to do, or decide which band I should listen to next on Tidal. Boredom hits me pretty hard every once in a while, and most of the time will guide me in a very unproductive and lazy direction. This was almost one of those instances, but some nagging energy from within managed to place my ass in this chair in front of this computer screen.

“What to do, what to do?” Tonight was the first night I went walking, solo, on the trail near our condo. The weather was too charming for me not to get an extra workout in, and despite violent winds, I enjoyed my hour stroll around Eagle Creek. “Now what?” I’m glad we canceled our cable, because even the streaming services were failing me, and YouTube was not piquing my interest in the slightest. “I guess I’ll shower.” I showered because I was bored, and continued to avoid cleaning the refrigerator; something I’ve been meaning to do for the past few weeks. The intensity of my walk was no more than that of walking a dog, so a shower most definitely was not a need, but it was something to do. “I wish he were home… then at least he could be in charge of picking what show we watch… or we could play Mario Kart… Do I want to play Mario Kart?

Significant others, boyfriends, or girlfriends make the time pass easier during these bored moments. I can’t stand being bored and alone, because I can never decide what I want to do.  “What do you want to do?” is a common response to him asking me “What do you want to do?” At least if he were here, being lame and bored with me, I’d have someone to interact with while scrolling through Netflix listings. No activity, show, or chore sounds remotely appealing at the moment, so sitting here listening to music and attempting to write something seems to be the best way to battle boredom’s persistent energy. I have one hour or so until S walks through the door. Let’s see if I can finish this post by then.

Workout for What?

When one is single, working out and staying in shape is important for the wrong reasons. Most will say that it’s for their health and wellness, and mask the fact that they’re sweating it out to better their chances of hooking up come time to play the field.  I recognize that there are people who take their health and fitness seriously, but during the partying years?..  Let’s be real, everyone has ass on the mind.  If not for health and wellness, does the reason for exercise change when you land that special someone?

Something happens when you become one with another; at least it did for me. Before S, I was a heavier guy, and legitimately began working out and dieting to add years to my life. Now that I’m married, I find myself working harder than I had before on my health and overall fitness.  My reason for working out, in addition to general health, is to maintain my attractiveness for my husband. I get off knowing that I look good, and even more so when I know it’s for him and our relationship. Hey now, I work out for me too! I love working out in the morning, and gain so much energy going into my day. I even workout on weekends to keep my energy on the up and up.

I’ve come a long way from refusing to run in gym class back in high school, to doing cardio, yoga, and strength training five to six times a week. S has gone through his own fitness transformation as well, but doesn’t possess the cocky confidence that I do. Even when I was a bigger guy – pushing three hundred pounds – I could work with what I had and still pursued guys without hesitation.  I love when I catch guys eyeing my husband, and how he doesn’t even notice. What I love more is when other, thirsty, guys realize what they have to get through before they can get to S.

I find it entertaining that even after you’ve entered a serious relationship, you still have to maintain what you had once worked so hard to obtain, to keep your prize. By no means am I saying that you need to be in shape to keep a partner. We share numerous cheat days and battle the scale together now – after falling off our low carb wagon here and there – and gain great pleasure when we notice changes in each other physically.  Earlier I said that working out, as a single partier type, was done for the wrong reasons. When it comes down to it, maybe working out (then) for the approval and validation of others is just practice… We say we do it for ourselves, to make ourselves feel better, but eventually all that nonsense, worry, and stress turns into the very elixir that provides us the power to keep a comfortable grip on what we’ve achieved.