Wednesday, October 22, 2014

the double (or maybe triple?) double-summit

I'm meeting and having dinner with some former students from my Sookmyung days this coming Friday evening (not the best day to meet, really, given that I'm supposed to be grading a pile of midterms, all of which will be administered tomorrow and Friday). As a result, I need to cram the miles in before then. Another reason for cramming is to make up for a piss-poor showing from, oh, about last Thursday until this past Monday. Because I spent so much time in the office crafting review materials and tests, I really didn't walk much over the past week, and my October average suffered mightily for it. Yesterday, I began to make up for that lapse by double-summiting. I wasn't sure I had it in me to do a double-summit: a few days off and I began to feel distinctly de-conditioned. But the cold night air helped me greatly, and I ended up doing just fine. Last night's step total was a cool 24K.

I'll be double-summiting tonight as well, and possibly Thursday night, too. Friday, I'll be with my former students, but since we're meeting in Jongno that evening, I know I can walk there from my office, which means I won't be completely slouching when it comes to my step count. Three walks in a row, each over 20K, ought to do much to rehabilitate my average. I'd like to end October at around 15K, but I'll settle for a modest 14K. An improvement's an improvement. Perhaps I'll do 15K in November.

As for ramping up my routine: I'm going to start pushups and planks. Planks (or "planking," but not to be confused with the photographic prank also called "planking," which is a close cousin of "owling") are now considered a core-toughening replacement for situps and crunches. The problem—so the plankistas say—is that situps and crunches (1) don't work the entire core and (2) can cause imbalances in the overall hardness of your abdominals, leading to posture and back problems. Planking relieves pressure on the spine; it can be done facing the ground, and it can also be done on one's side. I've never been a fan of situps, anyway, so I'm happy to give planks a try. Given my general weakness in the arms and chest, my early pushups will more likely be "puss-ups." I'm going to combine the manly down-angle pushup (feet higher than head) with the girly on-the-knees pushup by bracing my knees on my bed while placing my palms on the floor. Once I can blast out several dozen of those with a fair amount of ease, I'll graduate to harder, more legitimate types of pushups.

Then, come December (and vacation), I'll see about finding a local boxing gym and signing my fat ass up. Imagine me, Mister Floppy Tits, doing the Stallone routine from the early "Rocky" movies, jumprope and all. Okay, don't imagine the floppy tits.



Charles said...

I do planks as well; it's a heck of a lot harder than you might think at first. After thirty seconds you really start to feel it. I used to do them regularly when I was doing BJJ, then stopped, and I've recently gotten back into them. Right now I'm at forty-five seconds, but I hope to work back up to a minute soon (what I was doing in the BJJ days).

As for pushups, I've gotten up to fifty and figure I'll stay there for a while until it becomes noticeably easy, then I guess I'll work my way up, maybe in sets. No manly pushups for me, though. Just the normal kind.

Good luck with the new regimen!

Kevin Kim said...

You're a self-motivated guy, but if you seek inspiration, here's a crazy young Chinese woman leading us through a 5-minute plank routine. I got tired just watching this.

This particular video of hers wasn't bad, but I've seen other vids in which she seems to advocate spot reduction, which is a proven myth: you can't "burn" the fat from specific areas of your body by exercising those areas. This comes from a faulty understanding of the way lactic acid is produced and disposed of by the body.

In any event—five minutes! And she even does a plank while facing toward the ceiling.

Charles said...

I never knew there were that many different types of planks. I usually do the regular, and I've done the side planks as well. What we used to do in our BJJ warm-up was 1 minute regular and 1 minute on each side. We also did bridges, which are similar to the upward facing plank.

The up-and-down looks pretty brutal, though.

Charles said...

I decided to push myself a little this morning, and I'm now up to a minute plank. Now to work in the side planks.

Have you started on the planks yet?

Kevin Kim said...


I haven't started yet, except for the one attempt, just to test out how it felt. Definitely harder than it looks, and I think I lasted maybe twenty seconds before I lowered my knees to the bed. A minute might be possible for me, but I'll be a shaking mass of blubber by the end, and I won't be able to do another plank again right away. You're supposed to do sets of these, ja?