Thursday, July 11, 2013

Functional Muscles - A photo heavy blog

There is a lot of talk about 'functional muscle' in strength training. I mean, doing sit ups until the cows come home is great, but what do sit ups do for you other than get you one step closer to that fashionably flat belly? Well, building your core gives you better posture, better stamina for most activities, and help with stability and overall balance. AND they make your waist smaller. Handy, huh?

So, yes, I can dead lift over 200 pounds but what does all this gym time give me other than well-earned bragging rights?

Sure, races and recreational events are fun, but there are some really handy things about building this kind of muscle. Yes, handier than enjoying arms that stop waving when I want them to, rather than when the flab decides it's done.

It's no secret that My Sailor's schedule is packed, leaving him too exhausted on his days off to do much other than fold laundry, brush the Odin, and catch up on some video games. So when things come up that can't wait, it's my job.

Yesterday, our mail box officially died.
The previous owners had kept it alive as long as possible, propping it up with rocks to keep it alive once the post rotted out from under it... but when the mail man delivered mail yesterday, it fell over (not for the first time) and broke.

Doh! I had bought 10lbs of concrete and a bucket to mix it all in, in an attempt to save it. My Sailor wanted to help on his day off, so I was waiting. Well, this week he had the weekend off, then no day off, and last night he said he has Friday off, but, ya know, the safest course of action is just to take charge and do things myself, rather than try and wait for the random day off for him to do it. Sure, it's not 'fair', but whoever said life (and any long term familial relationship) was 'fair' was nuts. Sometimes ya just gotta step up.

Things wait when they can, but this could no longer wait. My Sailor propped it back up last night, but it was indeed unusable.

So this morning I got up, made breakfast, and headed to the hardware store to buy a new mail box, .5 cubic feet of river rock, and a couple of shovels to tackle the job.

In case you're wondering, a bag of .5 cubic feet of river rock weighs 50lbs. I had to look this up, it wasn't printed anywhere on the bag.

When I picked up the bag from the shelf, it tore a little bit and was a little heavier than I expected, but I got it into the cart with only the tiniest bit of difficulty.

The guy ringing up the bag didn't lift it or move it to get it out of the cart. I moved it into the back seat of the car without a problem. I carried it from the car, across the driveway, to the mail box without a problem.

I pulled the mail box up, carried it away, a few feet away, and noticed that the rest of the old concrete and pieces of the post was still in there. So I grabbed a shovel and dug it all up, and pulled out the old concrete to start from scratch.

Once I used about 10-15 handfuls from the bag, I did a little squat (learned it in the gym), and was able to easily lift it into my arms, stand, carry it to the shed, and put it down.

In thinking about it, it was pretty close to a really awkward power clean.

Mission accomplished.

However, it wasn't only functional muscle (or a mail box) that I was building.

I was building heart too.

See, today was 'one of those days' where I would have LOVED to have pulled the covers over my head and ignored the day. You know, one of those days when the to-do list seems unconquerable and you want someone else to appear and magically put all the effort required for the day so I don't have to.

But it's funny how a simple thing (like this minor home improvement) works to lift the spirits. Not only did I discover that my muscle is going to be REALLY useful on my fence building project, but I got to start my work day feeling pretty accomplished. It got me thinking, "Ya know, this fence isn't going to be impossible to build myself." I was seriously thinking of hiring a contractor to do the work, but ya know what? I got this. Little by little, every day this summer for an hour or two, I think I can get this done.

I was building the guts to get up and get at it. It was just one step at a time. Sure, the dishes need to be done, 8-9 hours need to be done, the yard needs to be cleaned up (2 dogs, 1 pooper scooper), and my car needs to be taken into the shop for some new tires. Putting up the mail box reminded me that I don't need to do everything all at once. I got one project done. Now on to the next! 8-9 hrs of work! Sure, it's gonna be a late night for me, but it'll be productive!

Just like I didn't build the physical muscles overnight, sometimes ya gotta work out the other functional muscles in life too. Ya know, like the heart.

That's something Clydas has figured out already... check out his doggy yoga -

Clydas found my yoga mat I used for my lunch break work out on Tuesday afternoon.

Would this 'Salutation to the Sun' or 'Downward Dog'?
 Maybe both?

 ***EDITED after mail delivery: Apparently my mail box is 4 inches too low... I guess I'll be starting from scratch and flexing those muscles again this weekend!***

1 comment:

  1. Fervent fans contend that weightlifting has been an Olympic game for quite a long time, so why not working out?