Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Healthy Teachers

As a single subject: history student I got a letter from my professor telling me the score for the next month or so.  In the letter he recommended building a habit of waking up early and working out to keep your energy levels up (that always seemed counter-intuitive to me.  Wake up early, work out and have more energy?) for when I start student teaching.  I already to a fair amount of working out (running, medicine-ball, body weight, stretch chords) but usually at night.  Night is a much better time for me because I am much looser then, in the morning my muscles are very tense.  The times I have gone running in the morning my legs feel like they have rubber bands attached to them.  Aerobic workouts are hard to do early on because of this tenseness.  I decided to build an early morning routine (I had it in high school from 6 am waterpolo and 5:15 swim, but lost it afterwards) around weight-lifting and swimming to take advantage of UCSB’s impressive rec center.

Going to a weight room is a strange social experience, especially if you have not been in one in five years.  Not only am I rusty at the lifting exercises (my squat is too embarrassing to mention!) but I am also rusty at the weight room etiquette.  How close are you allowed to get to people doing free weights?  Can you take barbells off of some equipment to use for other lifts if you cannot find one elsewhere?  And apparently no one wipes down their machine (a courtesy that the lifting websites I visited for workout ideas said was a big deal).

Another awkward thing about the weight room is the differing levels of weight training ability.  I do not consider myself a serious lifter; I am just putting in some time increasing the maximum force my muscles can generate because I think I am reaching the limit of what my body workouts can get me.  In the weight room, however, there are a lot of guys who are very into it.  They do curls with weights I would have trouble benching.  I tend to start things out casually and then dive in when I have something to compare myself to.  I started running 3 miles a week after college just to get a little sweaty and in two years started marathon training when my friend got into running too.  Am I going to end up diving in to this?  Imagine being a kid walking into class on the first day and seeing his teacher with biceps as big as his waist.

Are you having trouble imagining?  This may help.
It's probably a tumor.
I also do not like the feeling that I am losing something.  People have found that martial arts experts who harden the bones in their hands to punch have softer skulls than non-martial artists.  It is possible that bone hardness is a zero-sum game and if you build it in one spot you lose it in another.  I have worked hard to be a flexible, fast-twitch, quick moving sort of athlete, not a power lifter or anything like that.  Is there a zero-sum game involved in agility and strength?  Will I have to give up my tree-climbing if I get into weight lifting?  Can I bring myself to casually participate in the weight room culture and not get completely sucked in?

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