October 26th, 2016

visor sneer

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I should be studying, but instead I'm procrastinating by writing this post. Woo!

I'm actually almost two weeks late, but I recently passed my one year anniversary of signing up at - and actually going to - the gym. There have been various periods in the last year where, due to traveling (January, June/July) and illness (surgery in February, broken toe in July/August, more surgery in August) I haven't been able to go, but as a whole I've gone 2-3 times a week for the last year.

I signed up at gyms a couple times in the past. When I first came to Korea, back in 2009-10, I signed up at a gym near my place. I went 5-6 days a week, worked out (mostly cardio) for 1-1.5 hours a day, and dieted ridiculous amounts. I proceeded to lose a shit ton of weight that I gradually gained back. I actually only went to the gym for roughly 4-5 months in that time. I joined the university gym when I moved to Jeonju, and then... proceeded not to go. Oops. Haha.

This time around, things have been a little different. Due to my broken arm/surgery/recovery period, I spent a good portion of last year angsting over the possibility that I'd gain weight. I started by taking regular walks, then twice a day walks, then long walks. I did a few exercise videos at home. But when I moved to Seoul and started grad school, things were... different. I was super stressed out, my eating habits had gotten 50x worse, and it was just kinda a lousy period in my life. On the end of a walk (read: break from studying) in mid-October, I dropped by the gym in my neighborhood and signed up for 3 months. The next morning I went to the gym, started Couch to 5k for the fiftieth time, and did some upper-body weight machines.

You know, the interesting thing this time around is that I really haven't lost a lot of weight, period. Until April I hadn't lost a single pound/kilo - because of my eating habits. All in one go I dropped my nut habit (nuts aren't good for you in large quantities, guys, if you weren't aware) and started eating more veggies. Since April I've lost- I want to say 6kg now. That's what, 13 pounds? In general I look a bit slimmer, but it's not as drastic a change (in as short a time) as it was the last few times I dieted/exercised. That's because I'm not dieting this time. I'm trying to watch what I eat, and eat lots of vegetables and fruit/not overeat/not eat unhealthy things frequently. It's a gradual process. Very, very gradual. Practically glacial, in fact.

But you know what? I AM seeing a difference. It was in the last two weeks or so that my face shape finally started to change, thank god. For a good chunk of time there I hated virtually every photo taken of me. Now, I only hate 90% of the photos of me. Hooray! But yeah, besides that, I'm also seeing a difference in my legs/arms. My gut (and manboobs) have been permanent parts of my physiology for my entire life, so I'm not really expecting them to vanish fast, but it IS shrinking. Slowly.

The other big change has been happening in the last few weeks- I'm starting to get stronger. I know it's silly to say that, after a year of going to the gym, but for a good portion of that time it's felt like I've made absolutely no progress. I would try to lift heavier weights, but it never worked out. Recently I've changed how I do my weight lifting and I'm actually seeing a difference. Yesterday I managed to squat 20kg. I mean, no, that's not super badass or anything, but it's a HUGE improvement over struggling to squat 5kg, or 10kg. I've also started to do more exercises outside of the weight machines. I'm still working my way up to doing unaided deadlifts/bench press/squats, but I'm doing a lot of free weights, which is pretty cool.

My big focus this whole time, however, has been running. I'm not going to go into my sordid history of running, but needless to say, it is my favorite sport and the one I've tried to get into over the years, with failed results, most of the time, thanks to injuries from overtraining (or "too much too fast" syndrome). This time around, I haven't injured myself at all. I mean, let me rephrase that. When my knees hurt, I use my foam roller. That has been a life-saver, to be honest. I've been running for a year now and I'm quite pleased with myself! My goal has always been to run farther and farther, so hopefully one day I'll be able to run a half- or full-marathon. That being said, my goal this winter is to continue running 4 days a week, steadily increasing my run distances, and not injure myself in the process. If I can manage to do this, I'll be thrilled.

Anyways, exercise exercise exercise woo. In the last year, I haven't changed physically as much as I was expecting, or would have liked, but I'm pleased with myself because I AM changing. I am making a difference. This is a gradual process. If I can manage to continue this for another year, I wonder what my body will be like then? Hopefully I'll manage to shrink my belly/manboobs...

Time to get ready for class.
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