Dunh da dadadadadadadadada...
Dunh da dadadadadadadadada...
Da dadadadadadada bwah bwah dadadadada...
As you might have guessed by Bill Conti's horn - or that typed interpretation of Bill Conti's horn - Rocky With A Blog has begun in earnest. Started Thursday, actually, as I was put through the paces of my first session with personal trainer Shawn Richardson. How can Podcast Jones afford a personal trainer, you ask? Well, I'm going to tell … wait, you didn't ask? Why not? Don’t you care? You don’t? What the hell? Why are you even here? You know what? I’m gonna tell you anyway, and all you can do is sit back and take it…
My friend Tyler of the Battleship Pretension and More Than One Lesson podcasts first referred me to Shawn around four months ago; Tyler listens to 40YOB and knew of my ever-spiraling descent into candy hell, heard me moaning about my plight and offered up Shawn as a solution. Of course, he also thought I would become a paying client, which indicates that he maybe doesn't listen to the show as often as he says he does. The only thing I talk about more than being fat is being broke, so there was no way in hell I could pay a guy to yell at me while I sweat. Not that I didn't want to; I LOVE working with a trainer, and find it increases my chances of hitting the gym by about a thousand percent. Much like myself, however, trainers would like to get paid for what they do; attaboys are great, but they ain't making the car payment. Shawn and I agreed we would revisit the situation when I became an adult who could actually pay for goods and services.
Cut to the Battleship Pretension live show in June; I do a set and burn the place down ... only to have the Sklar Brothers follow me by rebuilding the place and burning it down a second time. After the show a fan approaches me, as so often happens at these sorts of things. I steel myself for awkward small talk, an eye on the open back door just in case I say something stupid and need to make a run for it. I go to shake his hand, waiting to be showered with compliments ... and he introduces himself as Shawn, Tyler's trainer friend. Great - I just killed onstage for the first time in months and I get to sit through a sales pitch about how to bounce back from all of my failures. Can't wait for that ... not to mention my plan of running for the back door is completely out. This guy's a fucking personal trainer, like he's not going to be able to run me down? I'm fucked, might as well just settle in for the hard sell. And then ... and then, nothing like that comes out of his mouth at all. No "I could really help you", no "have you given any more thought to training with me?” He only mentions training as a way of refreshing my memory of who he is, then goes on to rave about the show. He's very complimentary, introduces me to his wife, she enjoyed the show as well ... and now I'm feeling weird about having turned down his training offer. Why?
BECAUSE I'M FUCKING CRAZY, THAT'S WHY!
That’s how my stupid head works; this guy likes what I do, so now maybe I owe him something. That’s my thing, either deflecting accolades or trying to top the other person, sending double the praise back their way. It’s a good thing I’ve never had any real success, as I’d have to work twice as hard just to repay the people who helped me achieve it.
Because I’m a scramblehead, their compliments make me feel awkward - so what do I do? Why, I increase the awkwardness by apologizing for not taking Shawn up on his training offer! I can always be trusted to ratchet any weirdness up a few notches. He says it’s not a problem, we get to talking about training, my experiences at the gym, my weight … and because I’m now interacting with a human being for longer than five minutes, I try to cut it short. I tell him about “Rocky With A Blog”, and direct him to my website to read the “340” entry that kicked it off. In fairness to me, I was sending EVERYBODY to my website at the time, as I still couldn’t get over how great it was, and is…
By the way – have YOU checked out mikeschmidtcomedy.com? When you’re done reading this, you really should go check it out.
Shawn says he’ll give it a read, and I’m finally free of any further pleasant interaction. God forbid I enjoy a stranger’s company, right? I make my way into the night, sure I’ll never hear from Shawn again.
(I should take this time to mention that I don’t really feel weird talking to people, and welcome any and all well wishers to feel free to approach me any time they would like. Believe me, any chance I get to have someone call me great is going to be welcomed with open arms. Just be prepared for me to erect my Praise Shield, bouncing any and all pleasantries back at you at twice the speed.)
The next day Shawn sends me an e-mail saying he was moved by the entry, and after having prayed on it he wants to offer his services as a trainer, free of charge. I’m stunned, as training can run upwards of … wait a minute – did he say he PRAYED on it? Why yes, he did – turns out Shawn is not only a personal trainer, but also a man of deeply-held religious conviction, and the Lord instructed him to help me in my quest to become – at least physically – the man I want to be. You probably have the same questions I did…
1. Isn’t the Lord too busy with deciding the outcomes of sporting events and award shows to get involved in my nonsense?
2. Does the Lord listen to podcasts? And, perhaps most importantly…
3. Does the Lord listen to “The 40 Year Old Boy”?
The podcast questions are up in the air, as I have no idea how Shawn approached the Lord. He couldn’t have mentioned the show, right? I have to think the Lord hears that story about the adult book store in Wisconsin and puts the kibosh on the whole thing before it even starts. Although, doesn’t the Lord already know about that story? When you think about it, at this point doesn’t He know ALL of my stories? Maybe He’s a fan; He listens to the show every Thursday morning like any other listener does, hears me start a story and says, “Dude, I’ve been WAITING for you to get to this one!” In fact, He knows I’m typing this right now, doesn’t He? Man, the Lord sure does things in a confusing fashion; one could say that the Lord tends to do His work in an uncommon or puzzling fashion, making every one of His works a mystery. Of course, one could probably say that in a lot less words than I just did.
When it comes down to it, Shawn may have just asked if he should help an idiot, something I’m sure the Lord gives the green light to most of the time. Either way, he obviously received the thumbs-up from God Central and made the offer. I won’t lie, I hesitated; I want to get into shape, but not with some proselytizing Rip Torn throwing bibles at me while I’m sweating off the shame. I also have this annoying habit of chasing off anyone who wants to help me by explaining to them EXACTLY what they’re getting into, and why they should probably run as fast as they can in the other direction. So I felt I needed to give Shawn The Gospel Of Mike and see if he and the Lord wanted to stick it out.
He did … or, they did. I’m still not sure if the Lord is an active participant here, or just someone Shawn can turn to when I’m being a dick.
After a previously scheduled two-week vacation Shawn and Christ returned this week, ready to exorcise the fat right off of me. We settled on a two-day a week plan to start, with me filling in cardio/lifting on the off-days. Shawn’s training is … uhh, unconventional is the word I’d use. We’re outside on one of the days - The Lord’s Gym - and in the secular gym on the other. Instead of conventional weights/treadmill stuff, we’re using kettle bells, sledgehammer/tire, slosh pipe, TRX bands, as well as sandbags and rocks. Yes, actual boulders - I’ll call them The Lord’s Weights, and why not? It’s not like I’ve been shy regarding blasphemy up to this point.
As I mentioned, I hit The Lord’s Gym on Thursday, and it was great. We didn’t weigh in or take any measurements – as beautiful as it is, The Lord’s Gym is woefully inadequate when it comes to equipment – but we’ll be getting those numbers at our Tuesday session. It was just an hour of putting me through the paces, getting a feel for what we would be doing and making sure we’re both comfortable. I have a feeling our comfort level is only going to be increased by the fact that Shawn won’t be listening to my show, or reading this blog. It was his decision, saying that it would be best for him to deal with the real me … which is a great way of saying he’s not interested in me showing up every week going “Did you hear the show? What did you think? I’m funny, right? How about when I said fuck for the three thousandth time? That was great, right?” Good for him. He’s in charge of the body; I’ll need to find someone else to do the head.
I am definitely feeling the effects of being inert for the last two years; it’s Sunday morning, and I’m still having trouble walking/standing up. My quads are the main culprits, as the six sets of squats we did left my legs feeling like pounded veal. Tweaked a muscle in my neck as well, courtesy of poor form and a 42 (Soon to be 43)-year-old body that’s been less active than some corpses. Doesn’t matter, though; I’ve gotten myself in this position, I have to fight through and endure whatever I have to in order to get myself out. And yes, I realize that those are the most inappropriate uses of “fight through” and “endure” in the history of language, but after almost two thousand words I’m running out of verbs.
I’ll be updating regularly – not with fucking novels like this one, but there will be consistent entries. Working with Shawn is just one part of this process; I still need to get my food choices under control (I’m including a picture of my after-workout sushi just to mock you all), not to mention get my ass off the couch and into the gym on the days when Shawn and the Lord aren’t around to clap and yell encouragement. I can feel myself struggling with this already, the ghosts in my head telling me that I’m getting older, that it’s normal to let yourself go as you age - which might be true. Unfortunately, that theory is negated by the fact that I let myself go while I was young, and now it’s time to dig out. Seems appropriate; I’ve always done things fucking backwards anyway, why not this?
If you’re looking for a trainer, you can contact Shawn through his website at http://realworldfit.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/realworldfit. If you’re looking to follow me, it won’t be hard; I’ll be the guy limping like Rick James after he fucked up Eddie Murphy’s couch.