Hello everyone! Wow. I took an entire week off from posting – a few of you have emailed to make sure I’m okay. Yes, all is well – I was on the road alot last week, and wasn’t able to post in that time. But I’m back now, and I have a few ideas up my sleeve.
Tomorrow I will have a posting about Swinging Richards (a good one, don’t worry!), but before I address it, I want to go through the process of explaining better how I got to this point (in terms of what I will tell you later about Swinging Richards).
People remark with some frequency about the level of fitness I have, and sometimes they will even acknowledge how difficult it is to achieve/maintain; however, for the most part I find that people think there is some magic/science that gives me some advantage that they will never have. This is simply not true: For people without metabolic disorders and other health scenarios that preclude fitness, I would venture to say that the lion’s share of people can achieve their goals to whatever measure they are willing to invest in doing so.
I have been working out (not necessarily properly) since I was 15 years old. To quote “Hamlet 2:” “It doesn’t matter how much talent we lack, as long as we have enthusiasm!” I was spinning my wheels for the most part. What you simply must embrace in your fitness adventure is that DIET IS 70% OF SUCCESS. Exercise is 20% and rest is 10% of success. If you do not eat properly, you simply will not achieve visible (and in some cases, practical) gains. While I was anorexic I was doing nothing but putting myself at risk of injury.
So, the results I have achieved are not only recent, but lately they are also sudden. This has been a very long journey (with no end in sight just yet), so what I want this entry to do is bring attention to a fact that most patrons don’t always appreciate, but which most adult entertainers struggle with constantly: Achieving and/or maintaining the look demanded by our profession requires us to have a job to have a job. Fitness, and the various means people use to attain it (or the semblance of it), is an enormous undertaking. When people use the metaphor “carved in stone,” they are right: It is a slow, painstaking process. The rock evolves slowly into the statue, the landscape erodes over eons.
I’m not going to go back to when I was 15. For one, I don’t have digital copies of the pics to do so, and for two, I have experienced enough changes since 2005 to make the point that even three years is sometimes only just barely enough time to get results. I say this not to discourage people on their fitness journey, but to emphasize that patience, consistency, and discipline are the means by which you gain advanced results.
In November, 2006 I was still at the beginning of my total recovery from anorexia. I still weighed only 125 pounds or so, but I wasn’t obsessed with mirrors and calories anymore. I was very lean and cut, but I just couldn’t add any mass. I was still working out too frequently with the same body parts, and not eating anywhere near enough (though more than I had been). This is a picture (click to enlarge) from a theater production I was involved in at the time. You can see that I’m thin and strong, but rather shapeless and out of proportion in some ways. This is a very honest look at how Dysmorphic Disorder (there, I finally said it!) brings a warped sense of priority to some parts of the body, while ignoring others.
By February, 2007 I was trying to gain weight. The problem is that I was doing the workouts by Cathe Freidrich, which (in the series of workouts I was using for the most part) focus on very, very high numbers of reps. You cannot gain muscle if you do high reps with high weight for a long period of time (the muscles don’t get enough of a chance to heal and build). Tone = high reps, low weight. Mass = low weight, high reps. Athletic training = a wide VARIETY of challenges. Match this with the fact that I was living off of protein bars and shakes, and you have a recipe for disaster. I went to the hospital four times in 2007 because of exhaustion, malnutrition, dehydration, and infections. I have never been sick so much or so often as when I was living off of whey protein products. You must have a balanced diet. In addition to illness, I gained fat, not just muscle. By November, 2007 I was up to 165 pounds, but I was sick, lethargic, and hurting. My body frame does not comfortably support that much non-lean weight.
In 2008 I finally started getting on track with what would become the various programs that helped me begin to achieve my fitness goals. January-March, 2008 I improved my diet (with immediate improvements to my health) and went to see a personal trainer. She helped me bring balance to my workouts, and her sessions were so demanding that I had no choice but to eat properly. However, I was still eating too much sugar (in the form of fruit), and although I was getting stronger, I wasn’t getting leaner. The lighting in this picture is flattering – but if you look closely around my abdomen, you will see that I still have a girdle of sorts around my lower abs.
April-June, 2008 I did P90X religiously. It is a fantastic program for those who are already at an intermediate level or higher, in terms of fitness. I saw all sorts of incredible gains in strength and definition. I leaned back down, and I went from doing 10 sets of 20 push-ups and 7 pull-ups to 10 sets of 30-32 push-ups and 18-22 pull-ups. However, there is something you need to know about P90X: Its philosophy is that you need constant variety. That means you also need variety away from P90X. July-September, 2008 I did P90X again, but only sporadically. It was beginning to hurt me. All the calisthenics was creating repetitive injuries. Remember, you need rest, so that you can rebuild. I hit a plateau around September, and that’s when I finally had to go to the gym (something I had always, up to that point, loathed and feared, because of the over-machismo horseshit I’ve always experienced in them).
The new variety of exercises immediately began paying off. October-December, 2008 I was able to allow my body to heal from the P90X, which although amazing, is far, far too intense to maintain without variety for more than 90 days. If you are going to do P90X I would suggest doing it for a rotation, then going away from it for a rotation. By taking a break from the calisthenics and moving to heavier freeweights and machines, I was able to work muscles from angles new to my body. I had never used gyms before with any consistency, because I find them dirty and intimidating places where rude people socialize too much and workout too little. I also was always afraid that people looking at me were thinking, “Who is that little turd, and why is he bothering?” What I find now is that when people watch me, I get the impression it’s because they’re interested in what I’m doing. Switching to the gym allowed me to fill out some more, and to continue improving my body composition (lean mass to fat ratio).
January, 2009 has been pretty low-key. I’ve needed to rest, and I’ve not been allowing guilt to bother me (too much) about taking my time getting back to it after the holidays. However, I’m about to start going back to my trainer again. I’ve done a rotation at the gym by myself, but the exercises weren’t as complicated as what I need to shock my system. I’ll go see Carrie again, because she’s brilliant at plyometric training. When I saw her last year, I was working out only with her. This time I’ll see her, but still go to the gym as well. What has surprised me is that recently, although my working out and caloric intake are both DOWN, I have had a growth spurt and filled out anyway. That’s the power of rest. The pic to the left was taken January 23, 2009. The one on the right was taken January 25, 2009. I hope you will understand now why I said in various posts recently that my pics on this site no longer look like me.
Going forward I think I can finally say that after well over 10 years of working out, I am getting to the point where I am looking the way I’ve always wanted to. I eat what I want, when I want: The anorexia is completely gone. I don’t even have the inkling anymore of thinking that not eating is okay. I’m proud that I’ve done all of this without steroids. I’m still working through the process of being able to look at myself and see me as I am, but I do feel more confident and relaxed in the presence of the Swinging Richards gods. Which brings me back around to why I wrote this long entry: I have some good news to share with you tomorrow.