Muscle Still Interrupted

In December 2020, I posted Muscle Interrupted.

It has been 10 months since I last stepped foot in my gym due to the COVID lockdowns. Although my gym did reopen for a period during the late summer and early fall, I didn’t return. I had concerns about being inside a smaller gym that I already knew had issues with their HVAC system. The weather outside was great, so I figured I could wait a bit longer. Now that wait has been extended by months. I’d be surprised if my gym opens before April.

Seattle had a few months last summer with no indoor mask mandates. And while the rest of the country (except Hawaii) has returned to or is returning to normal, the state of Washington hasn’t. It looks like my state may drop the mask mandate at the end of March. But my county (King) has already hinted that it could extend the date further.

Once the indoor mask mandates returned at the end of last summer, I stopped going to the gym. I may have gotten 10 workouts in during that brief window of freedom.

I could return to the gym anytime, but I have no interest in wearing a mask while lifting or being surrounded by others wearing masks. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my gym keeps the temperature too high and I get exertion headaches easily when adding higher levels of intensity. Wearing a mask just makes that process happen immediately.

Plus I have a lifetime of positive associations with going to the gym. I love going to the gym. I love stretching and lifting. I love chatting with the SilverSneaker members. I don’t want to be one of those people that dread going to the gym. Getting headaches and trying to understand mumbles from behind masks has made the gym an unpleasant experience. It may have been good for my physical health to continue going, but wasn’t good for my mental health.

Someday I’ll be free, be it here in Seattle or somewhere else. Then and only then will I return to the gym. I am also not going to state a political opinion on what should or shouldn’t be done. Too many great health and fitness voices have been ruined in the last few years by going political.

HIT or Something Else?

I was asked recently in a comment about my current HIT views. My views have not changed since my 2018 post The Case For High Intensity Training Seems to be Getting Weaker.

What I love about HIT is the selection of safe exercises combined with controlled slower movements. However, I don’t care for the efficiency of shorter and fewer workouts. I like lifting and spending time at the gym. And now that I’m 11 years old than my first HIT workout, my recovery times are worse, so going to failure and feeling like crap for days isn’t appealing to me.

When I return to the gym, I plan to start with a basic lifting plan. Get some of the muscle memory back. Regain some lost strength. Then I plan to do a modified version of Tall Man Training by Alexander Cortes. I purchased the plan when it went on sale a few months ago. It is for lifters over 6 feet tall. I can’t believe after all these years, I never specifically sought out a plan designed for taller lifters. The plan not only discusses exercises to favor but also ones to avoid. I knew some of it but learned a few things as well. I’m excited to try it out. When I do, I’ll post my results.

I am also interested in what KneesOverToesGuy is doing. I’ve already started walking backward uphill daily along with doing slant board squats at home.

The hill that I was running up in 2012 is now the hill I walk backward up. It’s only been a week and I feel my ankles getting stronger.

In the meantime…

Body By Amazon Prime

Once it was clear that I wouldn’t be returning to the gym for several more months, I decided I needed a new plan. Doing yet another set of pushups or bodyweight squats had become less enjoyable than flossing.

I decided to finally take yoga seriously. In the past, I would do a few minutes a few times a week and then forget about it for months. Because I am a master of creating new habits, I made the decision to do an online yoga class every single day as soon as I completed my morning Duolingo course. (current Duolingo streak is at 2,262 days 😎)

After buying a yoga mat, yoga blocks, and a foam roller, I discovered a bunch of courses on Amazon Prime Video that are included in the membership.

On October 28, 2021, I started with my first yoga class and I haven’t missed a single day. I completed the following courses. Instead of listing the order that I did them, I’ll list them from easiest to hardest.

  • Yoga Therapy – Lindsey Samper
  • 30 Days of Yoga for Beginners – Eliz Fitness
  • 30 Day Yoga For Weight Loss – Julia Marie
  • Couch To Confident 14 Day Yoga Challenge – Julia Marie
  • 10 Day Yoga for Weight Loss Challenge – Chelsey (too advanced for me, stopped halfway, will return to this series later)

I’m on my 2nd pass through Couch to Confident now and then I’ll repeat the Eliz Fitness course. I’m also doing single yoga lessons on YouTube as well as beginner pilates.

I love it. I feel great. My balance, strength, and flexibility are improving every week. I only wish I had started and kept with this many years ago. I probably would have had a lot fewer lifting injuries.

I’m also still walking over 10,000 steps a day.

Last Words

I’m about 70% confident things will return to normal soon here in Seattle. However, if by late April it appears that Seattle decides it wants to remain a Fear city, I’ll need to move. My lease ends in late May.

I have no idea where that place would be. The Free cities are also the most unhealthy. I have no desire to move to a place full of obese people spending their days indoors with a shared HVAC system.

If there is a healthy walkable outdoor city where the cost of living is no more expensive than Seattle (ideally lower), let me know where it is. And it can’t be colder either. When I stare at the map all I see are healthy cities living in fear and Free cities living indoors.

9 Comments

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  1. cxc consulting

    Feb 21, 2022 — 1:11 pm

    Miami-Fort Lauderdale. I do most of my workouts standing/running/dancing at water’s edge

  2. @cxc – I did Florida for 4 years. Total indoor culture. Good place for partiers, not for me. Now Miami rents have exceeded Seattle.

  3. @MAS
    Nice roundup.
    Watching KOT guy get popular has been interesting. He’s the only social media fitness guy I can recall who isn’t primarily promoting abs, fat loss or big muscles. I think we may be at an inflexion point with how fitness is viewed.

  4. Knees Over Toes program is quite effective – theme is strength through length, which to me makes one more mobile and bulletproof especially as one ages. He has a lot of different levels and adaptations/regressions to the exercises, and getting that body of knowledge and inspiration for what exercises to do in my workouts has made the monthly fee worth it. exercises that seem silly like the tib raise I have come to see the value of by following the program.

    KoT has a “Zero” program which is designed to need only a minimum amount of equipment while still getting all of the movement patterns in. That might fit your situation until you can get into a gym.

    I consider KoT a very good template to work from for someone who believes working towards athleticism will help with longevity. As with any program, it’s not perfect for everyone in every situation, but it covers enough bases across the different sub-programs that I use it as a foundation and add/delete from there for my chosen leisure activities of golf and squash. Not enough inspiration for rotation exercises or club head / racket head speed, so I have other people I look to for that and add those in.

  5. I will be interested in your follow-up to thee Tall Man Training. I am not tall (6’2″) but lanky and have crunchy unstable shoulder issues (acromio-clavicular joint) that make push-ups feel dangerous with the grinding I feel. I don’t know how to train with elbow tendinitis limiting pull-up ability (assisted only) so I have not been doing much training. All done at home to avoid gym memberships, but if his program offers some possible solutions I might be ready to give it another go. Best of luck! I look forward to your results before I buy a program that I might not be physically able to do based on my injury history.

  6. @Rod – Tall Man Training is for lifters over 6 ft, so you qualify.

    I’ll keep you posted if and when Seattle emerges from Fear.

    My lifting injuries were almost all from the barbell back squat. Over the years, I gravitated to the goblet squat, which turns out to be his recommendation. Wish I had know this 20 years ago. ‍♂️

  7. Thanks for the update, MAS. I have the opposite problem in that machines are usually not built for petites. So I usually end up with bodyweight, free weights or resistance bands. Thanks for the KOT recommendation, I’m checking out his content and just bought his Knee Ability Zero book. I need to address some injuries and back issues for myself and also to help my kids who play sports. Currently looking into Sarno’s work as well as some Foundation Training.

  8. @Essleyfit – I am a fan of both Sarno and Foundation Training. Best of luck!

  9. Greetings again, fellow ectomorph. Seems that 2021 has mostly been about maintenance rather than gains, I presume? The same was true for me last year since action figure hunts and in-person browsing in stores made me do a lot of walking, running, and standing. All that shopping left me with little time to lift and I slowly grew bored with lifts even though they slowly improved. Slowly. I’m still at a measly 135 pounds and I wonder if I have to live with that, too. Hope to hear from a fellow ectomorph, if possible.

    Happy new year, by the way.

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