Tag Archive for strength training

Course Correction

Despite an impending deadline for The Pack: Lie with the Dead (sequel to Winter Kill — shill, shill), I’ve spent most of the week obsessing about health and fitness.

I started by thinking about diet again, both what I eat and the quantity I put in. It’s a lot better than it used to be, but it’s still not what it should be. I’ve stalled out on weight loss since my first couple of years in karate, and my doc would like to see my cholesterol figures improve. Make no mistake, my karate training keeps me fit for my size. If I lost a few extra pounds, though, it would help prevent future problems.

I also need to put running off for a bit. While I did get a run in the other night, I woke up the next morning and discovered my plantar fasciitis had gone into overdrive. I’m working on some stretches out of a Men’s Health sports injuries book to correct it, but I see no sense aggravating it in the meantime, especially because it will interfere with my karate training. I’m going to wait until late Spring or early Summer to reevaluate. (In the meantime, I did pick up another Nike+ sensor and it’s ready to go when my damn foot is.)

That’s when I started thinking about my body type. I’m short and stumpy, not built for speed at all. I can fool myself into running when my foot’s up to it, but I can accept it’s not something I’ll ever be good at. I am, however, built for power. I’ve been doing well with the One Hundred Push-ups plan again, and in karate I can pick up a 220-pound classmate, spin him on my shoulders, and set him down to mimic a throw without dropping him. My karate instructor and I have been talking about supplementing our karate workouts with strength training, and this week it occurred to me strength training may get the best benefits for me for the time being.

Unfortunately my karate instructor and I couldn’t make our schedules jive, so he joined a gym near his home. I checked out two local gyms, but they were all about machines. To get a full range of traditional weight gear, I’d have to drive a half hour or so and I wouldn’t have 24-hour access. I have a bad habit of waiting until late to get my home workouts done. It’s not uncommon for me to be doing karate in the living room at 10:30 or 11:00pm, and I’ve even been out for runs at midnight the last two summers.

So, it’s time to look at getting my own bench. I found a folding bench set on Amazon, and the Wife and I measured my office and it will just fit.

Bench Set

If I turn it into a coat rack or book shelf, she'll shoot me.

We’ll be ordering it soon. I don’t need to get huge or buff, but if I can tone things up and trim off some more fat like I did when I worked out with a pulley machine in my old garage, I’ll be happy. It’s also right here in the house, putting off excuses like having to travel, going out in the rain, etc. I just have to fit it into my existing home workout schedule.

Of course, it reminds me of the Joe Piscopo reference in Family Guy. I’ll just work out when I’m not writing. D’oh.

I guess that’s my long, rambling way of saying it’s time to change things up. If I can’t run without threatening the primary exercise, it’s time to find another way to supplement it. I can always use more strength for both karate and judo, and as artist and gym rat Mike Henderson tells me, I can still get a good cardio workout if I do it right.

I’m not giving up on anything, just making a course correction. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some more push-ups to bust out before I get back to the keyboard to write.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Push It

I’ve decided to take another crack at the One Hundred Push Ups plan, a six-week course designed to get you able to do 100 pushups. I can do enough pushups that they recommend I start on week 3, and I’ll start tracking it again tomorrow.

This will be my second time around. Last time, results were mixed. I did match the timing of the program, but I hit a plateau near the end and then moved on to other things. I was still happy with the gains I made, but I didn’t officially complete the program. Let’s see if I can’t fix it this time around.

Trimming the Fat


I’ve been meaning to get started on this again for a few weeks now, but Charles Goodin’s “Get in Shape” post on his Karate Thoughts Blog helped me pull the trigger. I don’t believe my weight has hampered my karate in terms of things I can and can’t do, but there’s no doubt I would look and perform better without it. Swapping muscle for fat and toning up would be a big help, and I need to work some cardio.

I have also decided that if I were to move away from my current karate school, I would probably start my own karate program at a gym or community center. It’s a lot more motivating to work out with other people, and I’ve found teaching others is a huge help in retaining everything that I have learned. I’m thinking it would be a lot easier to attract students if I didn’t look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in my gi.


I had myself a bad food binge this weekend. Between UFC 126 on Saturday and the Super Bowl earlier this evening, I put away more wings and beer than I would on a normal weekend. I shudder to get on the scale tomorrow. However, this was partially by design as I’m revisiting The Abs Diet and will be saying goodbye to that stuff for a little while. Despite the stupid name, The Abs Diet is a solid plan of eating right and exercising, and it’s easy to follow. It’s the book that first got me motivated to start working out again, even before I started karate.

In fact, the push-up picture above was taken right before I signed up. That was nearly four years ago and I was twenty or thirty pounds heavier. I’ve done a little bouncing since then, but have stayed mostly consistent since completing my first year of karate. I’m fit for my age and weight, but I keep telling myself I need to step things up and correct that one final, nagging issue.

It’s time to push it.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.