197 lbs.: Breaking the 200 Barrier

For the first time in years — actually, probably a decade — I weigh less than 200 lbs. I wish I could say some great feat of willpower brought me to this point, but it was more likely the nasty hacking cough and sinus infection that I’ve been fighting for the last two-to-three weeks that did the trick. As I’ve written before, I almost always lose weight when I’m sick as my appetite evaporates, and I’ve already upticked a few pounds from 195. That said, as I felt better I started walking to work again, and this week I returned to the gym, so I expect I’ll be able to stay in sub-200 land.

The Fitness Paradox

Sickness remains the greatest challenge to my ongoing quest for geek fitness, which seems paradoxical. In my mind, it seems like the fitter I get — the longer I can run or bike, the better I’m eating, the lower my cholesterol is — the less likely it should be that I’ll get sick. But it doesn’t seem to work that way for me, undoubtedly because the kids bring home a steady stream of germs that easily overwhelm my sleep-deprived defenses. Being sick, rather than a lack of willpower, is usually what ends up keeping me home. Yes, a crazed work schedule can do that as well — and I made that mistake last month — but over the last year I think it’s been colds and other assorted bugs that have derailed me the most. The good news is that I haven’t let it keep me down — eventually I get well again, and then I’m right back at the gym.

The Next Fitness Frontier

Now that my weight is about where I want it — I’m shooting for the low-to-mid 190s now — I’ve been thinking about what I should do next. Obviously keeping up the exercise routine is critical, but I’ve also been thinking about doing a little more weight training to actually build up some upper body and lower-back strength. I already do some crunches and free weights, but I’d like to kick that up a notch. I’m not looking to go nuts and suddenly have arms like pythons … but I’d be nice to be a little less, well, scrawny.

Of course, this brings on a whole new set of mental challenges, because frankly the weight-lifting side of the gym can be a little scary. Its the realm of bronze-gods wanna bes and the notorious meatheads — the natural enemies of geeks and nerds. To enter their territory, even as a mostly-confident thirty-something dad nearly two decades out of high school, well, it’s still not an easy thing to do. I may ease into it by going later at night, when the gym isn’t quite so packed, and my hide-or-flee instinct isn’t nearly as strong.