Vote Charlie!

I joined my first gym and started working out!

Posted at age 24.

It’s been a while since I’ve written an actual blog post. Years, maybe, I don’t know. I’ve done a few of the “catching up” type posts where I try to summarize a chunk of time. Well, I guess that’s what this is… but here, at least, I’m writing up till the present, not pretending I’m writing up till some point in the past when I intended to write the given post. So anyway, the point is, bear with me while I get back into the swing of this. :-)

About two weeks ago, I finally decided to pay for a gym membership. Aside from the gyms at University of Wisconsin-Madison that were huge and wonderful and free, this is my first gym membership. I haven’t thought much about joining a gym much since I have spent so much of my time over the past couple of years running long distances, outside. While of course it would be nice to have more muscle definition, it’s never been my priority.

Well, a month ago I completed what was supposed to be my last big running event for some time, the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge, where participants run both the half marathon and the full marathon, for a total of 39.3 miles over two days. It was brutal, and it was supposed to be the end of my running for a while. I was going to focus on interval training, and maybe join the gym. But I was considering doing the AIDS LifeCycle biking event in June, which features about 550 miles of biking within a week.

But long story short, I’m now not planning on doing that, probably thanks to my heretofore hesitancy or perhaps unwillingness to figure out what I actually need to do to buy a road bike.

But, I signed up for the LA Marathon that’s in five weeks. I blame an e-mail from the SF Marathon mailing list promoting a special medal you can get if you run the SF and LA marathons consecutively. Ugh, why, why, why am I doing this?!

Anyway, back to signing up for the gym… I had e-mailed with one of the recruiter people a few times about prices, and finally went in to start a membership after they made a reasonable offer on my desired plan: $36.95 per month with no money upfront and no contracts. Most of their other plans involved paying $100-200 up front for a monthly discount, but I decided not to try a plan that would save me money a year or two down the line when I’ll possibly not live in this neighborhood and possibly be making way too much money to care. Well, hopefully. Hopefully.


My key to the gym across the street from my apartment

I’m trying to stay focused on the fitness thing, but I’ll just mention briefly: Around Christmas I went on three wonderful two hour dates with a guy. He is pretty remarkable. But of course, he suddenly got really close with the guy he met before me… so it didn’t work out like that. But we’ve managed to become friends or something. And I don’t mean in the gay “friends” sense where you become acquainted with bodies before minds. We’re strictly platonic. Hard to imagine, living in the Castro. Or maybe I haven’t gotten very good at making friends yet.

Anyway, he is pretty well defined, and mentioned he’d help me out at the gym if I were so inclined to get a membership and arrange it. Well, I did, and it’s been great! So far he’s shown me roughly two of his routines. He does this three days on, fourth day off rotation, with each of the three days focusing on different muscle groups. I couldn’t name the muscle groups since he’s only shown me arms and some other stuff, though. So I’ll have to report back.


Derek can bench a lot more than me, and he is doing much less than usual since he was injured recently.


This is Derek, my main gym trainer friend.


My first time doing “skullcrushers” roughly following Derek's training program. I was doing 20 pounds in this photo, which was enough to wear me out after three sets of eight reps. The next time, I did 30 pounds, and it was fine. Then last time, I did 30 again, but it was way too little. I’m amazed how fast some of these things progress.

Aside from Derek, I’ve been going to the gym with Brad quite a bit. He was actually the first person who showed me around the gym, so I should have mentioned him first… but I sometimes get stuck following the order of the photos I selected, and now I don’t want to rearrange the entry. Somehow my first iteration of these blog posts always seems best. And I’ve only discovered this after having accidentally deleted what I’ve written the first time. OK, I realize this paragraph started with the word “aside,” but I didn’t intend for it to get so far off track.

Brad is amazing, and helps me come out of my shell a bit. Or, I use him as a stepping stone. I’m not sure; it sure sounds less nice put that way. But the bottom line is I’m getting acquainted to the gym and comfortable going there on my own because of Brad, and I thank him for that.


Brad doing some squats

Along with this gym thing, which I’ve been doing almost every day for two weeks now, I have also been focusing on my diet more. Before I started at the gym, I was going to embark on a mostly vegan diet, especially focusing on eliminating dairy.

Well, the sudden need for extra protein has caused me to adjust a bit. I am still mostly not eating meat, but I’m not stressing out about eliminating it completely. I am OK with some chicken, as that’s better for the world food supply than eating beef. I still try to eat vegetarian, and avoid dairy whenever possible.

I also started eating a lot of Cliff protein bars, and I also got some whey protein powder to mix with my almond milk, or just with water. It’s delicious either way. And now I’m worried I’ll get fat. But I’ll give this a chance and see what happens over the next couple of months. But Derek tells me I need to eat more. And stop running. So since I’ve not stopped running, I’ll probably be fine… maybe.


An Indian wrap from Herbivore, a vegan restaurant at which I've eaten twice now. Their menu is quite large, and aside from the restaurant name itself, unknowing diners might have no idea they don't mean actual “chicken” or “beef” in the descriptions. And my skeptical friend said it was delicious, so much so he didn't want to believe it.


I've been getting a butternut squash with my vegetable deliveries every week lately, so it's a good thing they are delicious roasted with some spices!


I've been making a lot of meals like this… I don't really know what I'm doing, I just randomly roast or steam vegetables and throw it all together with some spices. The same spices, over and over.


I love getting these vegetarian burritos with no cheese or sour cream at La Fajita next door to my apartment. Derek and I went there to dine after the gym once, as he hadn't been there. He liked it!