2014-01-21

Easy Come, Easy Go

As readers of this blog know, I spent the better part of the previous eighteen months building muscle mass and pursuing all-around fitness, as opposed to focusing on being a strong distance runner. I had some success, and managed to significantly change the shape of my body from being predominantly ectomorphic to being... well, more muscular, anyway.

I stopped lifting weights for mass during the summer of 2013. By October, I was doing some body weight exercises and investing the rest of my workout time in distance running. It was a lot more difficult than I expected, and I suspect the main reason was the added muscle mass I'd acquired. Even as late as mid-December, I was still receiving compliments on how muscular I looked. (I'd better be clear about this - we've all seen my YouTube videos, and we all know that I'm no Hercules. However much muscle I'd put on, it was comparatively substantial for me. That's my point.)

A couple of weeks ago, during a business trip, I wound up with a bad case of food poisoning. Instead of making me queasy for a couple of days, it stuck with me for over a week before I decided to get help from the doctor. The doctor predictably gave me a 7-day prescription of some intensive anti-biotics, and they managed to work most of their magic during the first day of therapy. Since then, I've been back to my old self again.

Back to my old self again, that is, with the exception of my muscle mass. In the course of two weeks - one of which consisted of my subsisting on a diet of green salad and chicken soup - my body managed to unload all that extra muscle mass I'd been carrying. You can see the result on my body. My arms are smaller, my shoulders have fallen forward a little, my abdominal muscles have disappeared...

In the interest of good health and effective running, I fully intend to build some of these muscles up a bit. I don't mind the small arms, but the bad posture is reflective of underdeveloped muscles in my back and abdomen, and weak stabilizing muscles are a recipe for running-related injury. But I won't be putting on an additional ten pounds of muscle like I did over the past year.

I mention this to underscore to my readers the fact that physical fitness is a fleeting thing. It disappears shortly after you make a decision to stop nurturing it. As anyone who has seen an elderly relative disintegrate can attest, it is very easy to "let it all go" and wind up injured or worse. It's important to maintain good health or risk losing everything.