Stayin’ Alive

I’ve been pushing myself a little harder last few days. I keep this up, I’m going to need to show my wife the Vinnie Jones CPR instructional video in case I have a grabber.

Incidentally, I’m CPR certified through my karate school and we were also told to do chest compressions to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive”. Even better, we were told “Another One Bites the Dust” works. Not sure I’d want to be singing that one alongside someone who collapsed. At least, not in front of witnesses.

Anyway. I’m digging lifting again. My body’s always responded well to it, and it’s a good complement to my karate training, which doesn’t come so easy to me. Sure, I memorize the terms and movements just fine, but getting my body to move the way it’s supposed to is a whole ‘nother matter.

Weight lifting and cardio should especially be handy when I start hitting Judo classes regularly, so long as I keep stretching. Neither judo nor karate will be effective if I turn into one of those guys who lifts so much he can’t even wipe his own ass. I’m too big and my legs are too short for moves like the triangle choke, and I may not be able to pull off fancy taekwondo kicks, but there are still plenty of moves available to me.

Triangle Choke

Breathe deep the gathering gloom!

I’m trying to concentrate on my weaknesses, too. My ab/core conditioning isn’t terrible, but I find what foils moves like sit-ups are my hip flexors. I tacked the P90X Ab Ripper onto the back of today’s lifting workout, and wow, did it exaggerate that shortcoming. I’m pretty sure that dude is the Devil. As torturous as those fifteen minutes were, I’m going to keep at it and see if I can’t make some improvements. Tacking it onto the end of a lift group incorporating squats and such may not have been the smartest move, but nevertheless, it will become part of my routine.

As for the rest of P90X, it’s pretty much like any other fitness video, and it follows the structure to a T. I borrowed the DVD set from a friend who saw some success from the program and surfed through the videos. I didn’t see anything I couldn’t get out  of a solid karate workout or my current weight lifting program, but if you’re not one for hitting the gym (or you don’t have a decent gym nearby), it may be worth a shot.

But hey, this is a writing blog, so let’s bring this around to writing.

Writers, get out of your chairs once in a while. Many of you may already know from your aches and pains that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t doing you any favors. Nobody says you need to train to be a fighter like Wrath James White, but at least get the blood flowing and break a sweat over more than your bank account once in a while. Exercise has several benefits, including improving your mood and sharpening your mind. You going to tell me neither of those will help any as you pound the keys?

Sure, writers got by on coffee and cigarettes in the old days, but they didn’t know better. Doctors prescribed thalidomide to pregnant women back then, too. Do you want your book to be a flipper baby?


Or worse. Though at least Kuato will sing to you.

Also, how many of the full-timers out there have health insurance? Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of. Part 1 of my day job exit strategy was to have the Wife back at work. This gives us a steady income and health insurance for the family when I get to the point I can live off such ethereal things as royalties, options and advances. Getting into some semblance of shape will ideally prevent or delay my needing health insurance at all, but I at the very least don’t want to find us crippled by medical expenses because I sit in front of a keyboard all day.

Which reminds me, I should probably have my life insurance plan reevaluated. I know my blood chemistry is better and my weight is lower since we set it up. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could save money now by getting in shape?

If nothing else, exercise is a distraction from the drudgery at the desk. As much as our friends and relatives think writing is easy and we’re just playing games and surfing porn all day, we know better. It’s hard work. Like any other job, you need a break once in a while. If not, the pressure builds, and, well, we all know how that turns out.

Finally, grinding out reps or turning laps on a track frees up the mind and lets the ideas flow. I’ve solved more than a few plot problems between sets because my mind is disengaged from the process of creation. The pressure is off. If lifting weights and running isn’t your thing, fine. Just get out there and do something. Go golfing and walk at least nine of the holes. Shoot some hoops at the park. Join a softball or soccer team. Swim. Ride a bike.

Remember Bo Jackson? Just do it.

Which leaves the dilemma for those of us with full-time, non-writing jobs: balancing that free time between writing, working out, and family. I’m working on it. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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.

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