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A “seasoned” athlete – part 1

I believe that I am completely nuts.

After getting to a (measured) 30% body fat and a BMI under 24 – the classic definition of “skinny fat” – with a pair of aching surgically repaired knees and terrible stamina, I began a fitness journey that is now midway through its 7th year. Starting at a local Crossfit box – and under the guidance of the awesome Paul Southern – I jumped headfirst into being ready for the second half century of my life.

In addition to finding out about my awful body composition, I learned how 50 years of bad diet, bad posture, and bad time management decisions were not consistent with my desire to lead an active, athletic, and healthy life.

Crossfit fed my competitive fire. Originally working with a “40 and older” semi-private class, I eventually graduated to regular WODs. Given that I’m an ectomorph – not the classic male Crossfit physique – I looked at the high performing female athletes as a baseline in executing WODs. I found myself performing activities that I had only imagined – in particular bodyweight exercises such as rope climbs and pullups. The rush of PR’ing a WOD kept me returning. Despite my physical limitations in Crossfit (impinged shoulders, knee range of motion, tight hips, and a tight posterior chain), I was drawn to the indoor rower (erg) – a machine that matched my body type and engineer’s obsession with data and telemetry. I decided to purchase a Concept2 Model D – the gold standard of indoor rowers.

After years of chronic knee pain – which was not alleviated by weight loss or the improvement in muscular strength driven by Crossfit – I searched for a solution which I found at the Stone Clinic in San Francisco. At a significant (and uninsured) expense, I had partial replacements of both knees performed over a 6 month period in 2014. The improvement was immediate and dramatic. After overdoing the 1st rehab – with a setback – uninhibited recovery for both replacements took about 12 months.

Moving to a new town led me to a new box and new acquaintances. I continued to challenge myself in the box but found my interest beginning to wane. The 15 minute commute to the box became a barrier as did a change in programming at the box. I began to flesh out a garage gym. With the rower as my starting point, I added kettlebells, a pull up bar, dumbbells, and rings – my favorite parts of the local box.

However – the rower began to dominate my fitness goals, especially after washing out in an online rowing competition.

Continued in part 2


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