Sunday, March 29, 2020

Introverts Arise, Virus-Induced Science Hair, I Was Push-up Shamed

Well, here we are in Seattle, many of us locked in our domiciles for the foreseeable future. As someone in health care, I am considered an “essential worker” (it even says so on my badge!) so I don’t have the option of not going in to work. It’s such a wasted opportunity. As a life-long introvert, I could rock a good house-bounding. My whole life has been leading up to me being a proper-shut in, and now I can’t even take advantage of the legal mandate. I know that extroverts are genuinely struggling right now and I don’t mean to diminish their pain, but a small, mean, wounded part of myself is thinking, “Hmmph. Now you know how it feels to be the outlier, extroverts.” I’ve complained more than once on this blog about the constant pressure I’ve experienced to be more outgoing, to express myself, to speak up, to put myself “out there,” and other introvert horrors. Introverts have been dismissed and overlooked numerous times both in the workplace and socially, and I feel like this is our time to shine. We shall rise (quietly), our noses in books, silent heroes of the apocalypse, and the world will gasp in awe at our twin superpowers of Holing Up and Staying Put.

Since Mr. Typist’s barber is (sadly) out of business and Seattle is closed, he’s had to manage his own hair-cutting, to mixed results. He took clippers to his head recently at my...suggestion, and I have to say the sides and back don’t look bad at all. But the top looks like a cross between Thomas Dolby and that Greek guy on Ancient Aliens. It’s all high and wavy and disheveled and wild-looking. I don’t hate it because it makes me laugh, and he’s having a marvelous time finger-combing it to see just how high and mad-sciency he can get it. He’s always had his naturally unruly hair cut and styled with ruthless control, so maybe this virus is ushering in a new era of uncultivated man-locks for him. Anything could happen.

My home workout adventures continue. Since I can’t cope with the enormity of my feelings about what is happening in this world and what is to come for my hospital soon, I have instead become obsessed with why I can’t do a push-up. I was push-up shamed by YouTube fitness guru Jeff Cavalier on one of his recent home workout videos. He said in no uncertain terms that a push-up does not count if you don’t get your chest all the way to the floor. I was completely deflated by this. I’ve never once accomplished single push-up all the way from the floor. I’ve been weight training four to five days a week for almost a year now. I can (or at least I could) lift and even rep an unloaded 45-pound bar on the bench, but for some reason a single full push-up continues to elude me. I can get myself down, but I can only lift myself up about two inches at the most before I collapse. Mr. Typist thinks this is due to my above-average height making it harder because “fulcrums” or something, but I don’t know. I do those stupid chest presses all of the time and it hasn’t translated into being able to accomplish a simple and basic exercise. It’s very frustrating. By the way, do not Google “why can’t I do a push-up.” The internet is cruel, my friends. At any rate, if any of you fitness-y people might have some advice (that doesn’t involve calling me fat, old, or a hopeless weakling) I’d be happy to listen.

A quick update on the hospital: We are preparing. I am managing. I got two full days off this weekend with only few calls and e-mails to field, so I feel slightly less frazzled at the moment. The calm before the storm. There’s not much new to convey at the moment, but I will update you each week.

In honor of Mr. Typist’s hair, enjoy this 80’s throwback video. Always a classic.

--Kristen McHenry

6 comments: said...

Most enjoyable post, Kristen. Love the video, too. Haven't seen it in ages!

Dale said...

Why do you think you ought to be able to do a pushup? It's just a thing to work up to, in all the normal ways. Being able to bench a 45 lb bar doesn't make you able to turn over and do approximately the same motion pushing half (roughly) of your body weight. Unless you weigh 90 lbs.

Lose the shame, load progressively -- knee pushups! knee pushups! -- and you'll get there. Just have to build the muscle.

The Good Typist said...

Thank you, Masterpoet! And thank you, Dale. Yes, you make a good point that those two exercises use different muscle groups. I let ole' Jeff Cavalier get into my head a little bit, I guess. It "counts" if it's the best push up I can do, even if I can only get a little ways up and I have to do them from my knees. :)

Dale said...

You can do wall pushups (pushoffs?) too. The farther away from the wall you stand, the harder they are.

For almost any muscle group, I generally do three sets, dropping the weight/intensity each time, so I can do about twelve reps in each set. So you might do as many knee pushups as you can, catch your breath, do a set of as many wall pushoffs at four feet from the wall as you can, catch your breath, and do third set of as many wall pushoffs as you can at three feet. If I can do sixteen in a row, I need to do a harder version next time; if I can do six or fewer, I need to do an easier version next time. So I just start wherever I am and let how many reps I can do dictate what version I'll do next time. (There's no science to my cut-off numbers: they're just what seem to work for me.)

(Or pushoffs from a kitchen counter, if the wall's too easy, or if the knees are too hard.)

Steven Cain said...

Great post. Agreed. Work up to the real deal. Knee push ups first. Stay safe out there!

The Good Typist said...

Thank you, Dale and Steven! Dale, I will try that technique. I kind of work that way with my other reps anyway--figure out where I can go harder and where I need to pull back a bit. I will let you know how it goes!