Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Get Ripped Abs In 3.12 Weeks: Part I...

A Meatless Maine Crow original cartoon, drawn in
under eleven minutes, using 'Paint'.

Yesterday, Abby and I were about two miles into our three-mile dork-walk, when she turned to me and paid me a compliment.

     "Dave," she said, as we crunched through the snow.  "I need to thank you."

     "Thank me...  For what?"

     "For getting me into better shape," she said.  "Back when we started walking, I'd be out of breath on the way back.  I couldn't even talk.  Now I feel much stronger."

     "That was just just over three weeks ago.  You already feel that much better?"

     "Yeah, I do."

     "Good," I said.  "Tomorrow we start running."

And then, I lost her.  Abby had been a soccer player in high school, and she had run on the track team for several years.  But her longest event was the 200, or 400, or some other shorter distance sprint.  She didn't think her body would be able to hold up over longer distances.

     "You don't need to run marathons," I assured her.  "Just try two or three miles."


     "Besides...  you've been doing yoga for over two years.  Your body and joints are a lot stronger."


And so, I've stopped trying to convince Abby to run longer distances.  I know that she could do it if she really wanted to.  But there's no point in pushing it if she doesn't want to go there.  Besides, I'm just happy that I've been able to help her get stronger during a three-mile dork-walk.  (I'm kind of known as the 'unofficial fitness and nutrition guru' around the office).  As long as she's noticing a difference, that's all I can ask for.

And it only took a little over three weeks for her to notice that difference.

Mookie learned how to play 'Uno Stacko'
in just over three weeks.

As for me, I've also noticed a difference in my way of thinking, in just over three weeks.  In my case, it's the evolution of my lunchtime routine.  As I mentioned in previous posts, most of the lunch hours of my working life had previously been spent in the car, as I headed towards the nearest caffeine dive.  This is a routine that had been well-established within my daily rhythm over the previous ten years.

And yet, it took me just over three weeks to not only change my routine, but to not feel the urge to relapse.  When you set three weeks on the plate next to ten years, it seems like table scraps.  But really, that's all the time it took.

The key for me was to not only make myself change, but to really WANT to change.  I had tried to cut down on my lunchtime travels in the past, but it never really worked.  And I think it's because I never gave myself a concrete reason to change.  After two or three days, I'd get bored with my goal.  I wasn't necessarily craving a lunchtime coffee run, but I couldn't really find a good reason NOT to go on a coffee run.  So, I'd go out and get coffee, and I'd bring myself back to square one.

Why has my latest attempt been successful?  This time around, there was a concrete reason for me to start walking on my lunch break.

Once I had to stop running for awhile to rest my sore Achilles tendon, I needed to find alternate cardio to fill the void.  During most of December, I was able to swim laps at the local college pool.  But the pool was closed for two weeks during the Christmas break.  (Yes, I did say 'Christmas break'.  How 'bout them apples?  ...  )  Since I don't have an elliptical machine or an exercise bike...  or even a Thighmaster, I needed to find some sort of an exercise to get my heart going.

But Indy still doesn't know how to play.

I wouldn't have even considered plain-old walking, if Abby hadn't mentioned it to me one day at lunchtime.  On that particular afternoon, her regular walking partner from Accounting had let her know that she'd be retiring to the comfort of the indoor treadmill for the winter.  So Abby needed to find a cheap replacement.

     "So what you're saying is that I'm your second choice.  You really just want to use me."



Once we got going, I remember thinking how refreshing it was to actually have a walking partner.  That first walk led to another walk during the next day...  which led to a walk the following day.  We walked every day the following week, along with the week after that.  And Abby's lone absence during that second week led to my discovery of the benefits of dork-walking, and how the proper form and intensity can actually get your heart going pretty quickly.

And a little over three weeks later...

My attitude and priorities have changed.  Now, I feel guilty when I miss a day of walking.  And I no longer miss the drive to the coffee joint for a cup of mid-afternoon slop.  I know it sounds horribly cliche, but the exercise and fresh air are invigorating.

And there are several reasons for me to continue walking during my lunch hour.  I'm saving gas, I'm getting good exercise, I'm saving money by drinking my own tea...  I suppose I'm helping any other co-workers who eventually decide to start walking with us.

Basically...  I'm moving, instead of staying put.  And it make me happy when I happen to inspire others to do the same.

He's really ashamed of his underwhelming
motor skills.  What a disaster!

You see, I don't think our species wasn't designed to sit around all day.  I'd hate to think that we've evolved over thousands and thousands of years, just to hunch forward and stare at a computer screen for nine hours, while turning our heads to curse at the printer to the left of our keyboard, now and then.  No matter what type of lifestyle each of us has lived on our own, I tend to think that we'd all be better off if we moved around just a bit more every day.

This is precisely why I leave my cubicle once every eighty-seven seconds and go to the break room for a snack.  As one of my co-workers pointed out, I've worn a trail in the carpeting, which runs from my cubicle to the door of the break room.

And the lunchtime dork-walking will continue, even when my Achilles gets better, and I can resume my running.

And the amount of time that I needed to change was just over three weeks.

As for the ripped abs...  just get one of those huge, inflatable exercise balls and do some Pilates several times a week.  Oh, and eat more fruits and vegetables...  And, you'll probably want to stop having eight helpings of dessert every night after dinner.  Mix in some cardio while you're at it.  Also, stop eating at Burger King four times a week.  Aside from jacking up your cholesterol and clogging your arteries, eating too many Triple Bacon Whoppers with cheese will make gassy.  And you'll probably poop your pants when it's least convenient.  Nobody wants that...

And three weeks?  It's gonna take you MUCH longer than three weeks to get ripped abs.  Where did you ever get the idea that you could get ripped abs in just over three weeks?

You really gotta stop believing everything that you read on the Internet...

No, you won't be able to get ripped abs in only three weeks.  BUT...  it shouldn't take you much longer than three weeks to establish a 'First-Class-Get-Ripped-Abs-And-Maintain-Them' program.

Stick with it for three weeks...  and you'll be well on your way.

Stay tuned for Part II, in which I'll discuss cable television.


  1. Stackable Uno!!! What tha......?????

  2. Yup... It's a Jenga rip-off. In theory, it's a good idea... but the plastic, stackable pieces just don't hold up as well as good old-fashioned wood blocks. So, if the cat upstairs sneezes, the whole thing comes crashing down.

  3. Ala Tiger the Dog in the infamous House of Cards Brady Bunch episode.

    And I agree with you about the three week, baby steps thing.