Today I jumped the gun. I was planning on beginning my new workout tomorrow and just resting this Sunday. And then, while enjoying a leisurely lunch at my mother-in-law’s house, my wife said “Do you want to go to the gym today? They close at five so we better head home.” OK, I thought, I guess I’ll just give this a shot today.
First I want to talk a little about my trainer. Kyle Langan is a young man who graduated from the school where I first worked as a teacher. Although he was never my student, we knew each other and became “Facebook friends” over time (after his graduation). In the intervening years, he has graduated from the same college I attended and works as a personal trainer. I reached out to him for advice recently after seeing pictures he had posted of a milestone in his life. He had just completed an Ironman triathlon. I was impressed. “I tend to think that if you want fitness advice then you should turn to people who seem to know what they’re doing,” I opened. He was not only receptive but also extremely professional. He even emailed me within hours of an email I had sent him simply to acknowledge receipt of my email.
He wanted some of my stats so I shall share them with you as well. To start with, I am 6’2″ tall and currently weigh in at 202.6 lbs. Believe me, I only wish it was all solid muscle. I told him about my struggles over the past ten years; of being able to put on muscle quickly but never being able to lower my body fat percentage without also losing muscle. I told him all about my spinal fusion and how I am slightly limited in my range of motion and in what my body will actually let me do in a gym. Finally, in answer to his question about my ultimate goals, I looked up at the TV. The news was on. “Have you seen that Paul Ryan guy?” I asked half-jokingly. His response and his plan for me took everything into account and even addressed my vice presidential aspirations. He told me about how when he was a kid his father had asked him what kind of haircut he wanted. His response was to point to a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio on a magazine. His father explained that you kind of had to be born with that kind of hair. I got the point right away. I might not get to a particular “look” but I can certainly make the most of what I’ve got.
I got to the gym and, as expected, there was no one there. Well, no one other than the old man carefully and deliberately lifting small weights off to the side. It’s nice to see people trying to stay fit at any age. I looked at the email Kyle had sent me yesterday. It was on my phone. I had been studying it. In fact, I had some questions about it so I emailed him last night and he responded promptly today. He had broken it into two main directives. First there was the fitness plan, then there was a nutrition plan. All of his phrasing, by the way, was thoroughly sourced and made sense. The diet stuff was common sense and, once I decide to vehemently stick to it, should be a piece of cake (cake that I won’t be eating for a while). The fitness stuff looked a bit, well, um, grueling. In fact, it hurt to even think about doing this stuff. And yet it was glaring in its simplicity. He wants me to work my body like a machine by using gravity for resistance. If you’re able to put that together it means a lot of push-ups and pull -ups.
Primarily, I am to do what amounts to ten sets where each set consists of as many push-ups as I can do in a minute followed by as many pull-ups as I can do in a minute. There should be a slight rest period and then this gets repeated nine more times. This is done, by the way, three times a week. I don’t remember the last time I did a push-up but I remember that I was able to do them pretty well. Pull-ups, too, were never excruciatingly hard for me. I just couldn’t imagine doing all that many the way he described in the plan. Oh, and I was supposed to record everything that I did. So without further delay, I’m including screenshots of my notes.
Don’t ask me why I thought an alien skull looked better than a zero. If you cannot make sense of the chart, what you’re looking at is the list of sets in order from 1-10 in the format “push-up/pull-up”. So the first line is my first set. In that first minute I did 45 push-ups (not bad but could have been better) followed by five pull-ups. As you can see, Kyle, I gave up on the pull-ups around set number 7. Literally, my arms were about to fall off.
Toward the end I was actually thinking that I would give up. Then I remembered that he had told me to do 100 core movement exercises to round things out. So I did 100 crunches on the machine. How I am not dead right now is beyond me. Clearly, toward the end I rejoiced that I had completed ten sets.
So, how did it go on day one otherwise? Well, I don’t know if it’s cheating or not but about halfway through I could not get down on the floor anymore so I started doing my push-ups using a weight bench. It was still torture. I know I could have picked up the pace a bit and not rested so much between sets. I’ll have to work on that and start recording the rest times as well. But all in all, I’m thrilled to have gotten through the first day. Now there’s just three more months of us; but then again, I did ask for it! Still there was a time about a third of the way through were I thought that one of us would die — either me from exhaustion or him because I was going to kill him.
Now the serious stuff… If any of my incredible readers are in the market for some one on one training with Kyle and would like to contact him, by all means, please do so. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Hopefully he’ll have more to work with in you than he does with fusion-boy, AKA: me. So far, I think this remote training is going to work but only because the trainer’s excellent and the trainee is nothing if not dedicated.