The Gym For 30 Days

I finally went out and got a new gym membership yesterday. I had a gym membership at this great gym in Downtown Louisville, but it’s still closed due to the pandemic. My membership was only for a short time before the shutdown in March and I’d barely figured out any sort of routine before. I maybe went a total of four times so I still don’t know that much about the gym. Now that I have a new membership, I’m going to go to the gym every day for 30 days.

I tried Krav Maga a few weeks back, but it doesn’t seem like something I’d be too interested in continuing if I had other options, like a gym. This downtown gym isn’t charging me anymore until they reopen, though I still have the membership. They have not indicated when they’re going to reopen. I have a sneaky suspicion that they won’t reopen. I know the coronavirus is a real thing and I’m not criticizing them. If they can’t open safely, they shouldn’t.

Anyway, I need a new gym. Yesterday I did some googling and found another gym that has 24/7 access and is within walking distance, sorta. It’s a 20 minute walk according to Google, maybe a 10 minute bike ride. So now, for whatever reason, I’m ready to try the gym for real.

Why I’m Going To The Gym For 30 Days Straight

Is starting my gym experience out by going to the gym every day for 30 days extreme? Probably. However, it’s the only way I know of to get myself into the habit of going to the gym on a regular basis. 30 days is a good habit-forming period of time for me. I got a month-to-month membership so that if my preferred gym does reopen, I can go back to it, maybe. Who knows, I might like this gym more. It’s not as big, but it’s accessible 24/7. My previous gym wasn’t. With all the stuff I’m doing, having a gym that is 24/7 seems like a great idea to me.

There is the issue of me not knowing much about the gym at all, even though I had a gym membership for a few months before everything shutdown because of the coronavirus. I can’t bring a guest to the gym with me, so I’ll have to either go it alone, or make a friend, or hire a personal trainer. For 30 days, I’m going to try going it alone to see what I can accomplish.

My Gym Fears

I do have a few fears. Well, it’s a lot of fears, but they mostly stem from two categories. The first set of fears are based on me being gay and being in the gym. The gym is in The Highlands in Louisville, which is a very gay-friendly area of Louisville. However, I still worry about homophobia in the gym. What if it’s the one business in the area that is super homophobic or something? Then there’s the shower room fears. Different from straight guy shower room fears only in the sense that, once or twice, something might actually pop up awkwardly. There may be a distracting cute guy every so often. I don’t plan to use the gym for dating or anything, and would never act on anything. At least not at the gym.

Then, there are the high-school-like fears. Friend-clicks, acceptance, the possibility of making a friend or two, or the possibility of no one liking me at all. All of that stuff. None of it is the end of the world or anything. But, I’m human and those fears are there. Another big one is the fear that maybe the gym just won’t work for me at all. Like, what if, you know, it just doesn’t work? My body doesn’t change? I don’t get any healthier? Stupid fear, but it’s there.

How Will I Measure My Progress?

I suppose it would make a lot of sense to take a photo of my body so that I can look back on it. Of course, I’m not going to show that on here. Subjective physical attractiveness isn’t the ultimate way to track gym progress, but maybe it’s a place to start.

I suppose I’m not the worst looking guy I’ve ever met or anything. However, there is a lot of room for improvement. My belly is a little bigger that it should be. I don’t have abs. My arms are small. My chest is, um, not right. I don’t think it’s realistic to tackle everything all at once, so I’m starting small. For now, I’ll settle for a bigger chest and arms. Chest mostly, for now. I’d like it to be more proportional to my gut. Again, I don’t have abs, but if I can make my chest a little bigger, I’ll feel better about my belly.

So, for 30 days, I’m going to focus on building a habit of going to the gym. My target area is my chest, though I know I need to do other things besides chest stuff. I’d also like to do some cardio to help lose a little weight, but I’m not stressing about that right now. Honestly, if I actually make the trip to the gym every day for 30 days, I’ll put it in the win column.

Let Me Know If You Have Any Gym Tips

Hopefully, after 30 days, I’ll keep going frequently. 30 days worked well for my blog. I blogged for 30 days and I’m still blogging every day. While I may stop blogging on the weekends at some point, 30 days helped me form a habit that I’m super into now.

I’ll tweet some about the gym and probably blog about it, too. Comment below and let me know if you have any gym tips for newbies.

You can follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Eric Shay Howard 30 Days Gym
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On The Gym

Everything I currently know about how the gym works can be summed up in this short story I drafted last night. If you know more about how the gym works, please comment below.

On Gyms

Jack followed Ronald into the gym while I held the door. The receptionist welcomed us and asked if we were members. Ronald took out a card from his back jeans pocket.

“These two are my guests. It’s my mom’s account,” he said. He cleared his throat and pulled his shirt tail down over his belly. “I’m Ronald. I come in here all the time,” he said. He brushed his hair back. She looked the pass over and handed it back. We went further inside. Women in shorts ran on treadmills. I saw one blonde-haired guy running at the one in the back corner. There was an empty one next to his. I stopped there and looked at the buttons.

“No. That’s what you need,” Jack said. He pointed to the chest press machine. Between the treadmills and the chest press were yoga mats. Ronald stared at the girls on the floor.

We passed a pull-up bar and a leg press machine. I studied the muscles on the arms of the guys on the way through the room. Once we were at the chest press, Jack sat me down and adjusted the weights. He pulled the bands out with his skinny arms and reattached them.

“Lift,” he said. I pulled the arms in towards my chest and then pushed them back out.

“Was it hard?” Jack asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Ronald, sit,” Jack said. Ronald did a few sets. Jack adjusted the weights. Ronald did a few more sets.

“You should try this one,” Ronald said. I sat back down and pulled.

“It’s not hard,” I said.

“Do it again,” Jack said.

The second time was harder. I could only do five reps. I stopped midway through the sixth.

“Do 4 more,” Jack said. I let go of the handles.

“I can’t,” I said. When I stood, I nearly fell over. Jack sat down in the seat.

“You’re supposed to wipe it,” Ronald said. He went searching for a towel. Jack started his set. He did 7 reps quickly, then pushed through three more. He released the handles and breathed out.

“You think we’ll get as big some of the guys in there?” I asked. A muscular guy in green shorts over at the free weights had my attention.

“I think if we want girlfriends, we’re going to have to do something,” he said. He watched a blonde girl over on the pull-up bar.

“Better quit staring. You’re in athletic shorts,” I said. Jack punched my arm and laughed. “How many was that? ten?”

“I’m resting between sets,” he said. I nodded. “You’ve really never been in a gym before?”

“No.” Jack licked his lips and scratched his thigh. I looked at my feet. Jack worked on his other two sets of reps. I stared at guys for brief moments. When Jack was done, I did four more reps.

“Where’s Ronald?” Jack asked. We found him in the hall near the entrance. He was staring towards the front of the gym holding a towel. He turned around when we got closer to him. His face was red.

“The receptionist?” Jack said.

“Heh, yeah,” Ronald said. Jack pulled him away by the towel. We went to the free weight equipment. There were more women than men lifting. Jack watched them all for a moment. Ronald fixated on a bigger black-haired woman doing curls. Both of their faces were too red to do the free weights.

The doorway to the men’s locker room and showers was just before the free weights. We peaked around the corner inside and then ran back out.

“You guys ever?” I asked.

“No,” Ronald said. I looked to Jack. He shook his head. We walked back past the free weights, through the pull-up bars and the leg and chest presses, past the treadmills, and past the receptionist.  She thanked us. Ronald thanked her back, smiled, and giggled until we pulled him out by the towel in his hand.

Short Story Notes

I drafted the story last night. I didn’t worry about it too much. When writing, you have to just get it down first, right? I may rewrite it a few times. Reading it the next morning, I can already tell you that I need ramp up the tension in this story a lot. I’m not sure if I’ll post new versions or not. Maybe sometimes. However, I tend to just let things stay as they are on here, other than light touch ups every now and then. I’ll fix the typos eventually. I don’t usually care about typos that much with early drafts. I’d rather just move on to asking you how you figured out the gym?

How does exercise work?

I know exercise is important. I mean, I went to the gym a few times at the beginning of the year before the pandemic and everything closed. Recently, I checked out Krav Maga classes at another gym, but I’m not sure about it. It was okay, but it didn’t feel right.

When my gym opens back up, or when I find a new one, I think I’ll focus on the chest press for a while. I also need to work on my arms, abs, legs, and butt. However, I think I’d like my body more if I had a bigger chest. I already know how the chest press works because it was the one machine I used when I started my gym membership at the beginning of the year. Well, that and the treadmill.

How did you learn the gym? Did you teach yourself or id you learn in a class, like a high school with a weight-lifting class for instance? Did your friends or family show you? Comment below!

I’m probably going to have to end up getting a personal trainer or something to help me figure out the gym.

I may not be a gym goer, but I bike almost every day. At least that’s SOMETHING.

You can follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook. Seriously, let’s help each other figure out the gym.

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I Want To Cut Down On Eating Meat

For a few months, my roommate and I have been exploring ways to cut down on eating meat. Mainly we’ve been eating too much red meat, but we do eat way too much meat in general. He gets these vegan burger patties from Whole Foods and it’s my job to cook them. It turns out, vegan burgers are pretty good.

Also, did you know that you can get groceries from Amazon now if you live near a Whole Foods? Here are the burgers we get. They’re “Beyond Burgers”. I’m not a strict vegan so I haven’t done that much research into the brand or anything. Just so you know, I’m a member of the Amazon Associate program and I earn from qualifying purchases with the ad below.

No, they don’t taste like a beef patty, but they taste good anyway. I try not to over-season them, but I do season them a little bit. I usually just throw some simple sea salt and black pepper.

I like hot sauce on mine. My roommate hates hot sauce. I put cheese on mine mine. My roommate doesn’t like that, either. One day he’ll just have to deal with it probably, because I’m not a professional chef and will forget one of these days.

I’m going to try to cut down on eating meat a few times a week.

Anyway, I could see myself eating vegan food a few times a week. I guess it’s not actually vegan food if I put cheese on it, and a lot of other stuff, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’m also starting some Krav Maga classes so I can get more physically active. Exercise is important, but so is eating right. I still like meat, but I think the trick is moderation. It seems that we’re finding we all just eat way too much meat. Of course, everything about food changes all the time because there’s still a lot we don’t know about it.

Vegan food is also very expensive. Some of the prices are starting to come down a little bit, but it’s still not at the price it needs to be. I suppose there’s other ways to not eat as much meat besides getting expensive vegan food? I think pasta dishes cut down on it a lot. There are also some really interesting things you can do with Cauliflower and peppers that I want to try.

Leave me a comment and let me know what are some of your preferred meat-cutting meals? I could always do pasta every day of the weak. I also don’t require meat in my spaghetti. My roommate does, though. You can contact me via my contact page, follow me on Twitter, and like my page on Facebook.

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I Make My Coffee With A French Press

I haven’t talked about coffee very much on this blog. Coffee is good. I try not to drink too much of it, but I go through periods where I definitely drink way too much. I’ve tried lots of different coffee makers, contraptions, and gadgets. I still prefer making my coffee with a French press.

eric shay howard using french press

When I don’t have the extra funds for coffee from a local coffee shop here in Louisville, I generally use my French press. I prefer the raw flavor of the coffee without the paper filters. The coffee is usually a little stronger than it is when I use a drip coffee maker, but not quite as strong as espresso. I also prefer how simple it is to use. I heat my water on a stove and pour the hot water into the French press with the coffee grounds. Wait 4 minutes. Done.

I make my coffee with a Bodum French press.

I use this Bodum French press that I bought from Amazon. The link below is an affiliate link; I earn from qualifying purchases.

About the only draw back I have found is the soot in the bottom of the cup I drink from. I don’t mind it, but some people don’t like that. To reduce the soot, I try to set my grinder to a decently-sized coarse setting. Depending on the grinder, this setting will vary. It definitely takes some experimentation.

eric shay howard drinking coffee red mug

Reducing The Amount of Coffee I Drink

Anyway, I’m blogging about coffee today because I’m trying to actually reduce the amount of coffee I consume. However, I’m also trying to not eat as much. Working from home has really let in some bad habits. I’ve found that if I don’t drink coffee in the morning, I over-eat instead. I try to keep the coffee black in the morning.

Usually around the afternoon, I go out for a latte so that I don’t over-eat during lunch, either. The last few days I’ve been going earlier than that because of what’s been going on in Louisville.

Anyway, I’m trying to reduce the amount of coffee I’m drinking because I’m trying to lower my blood pressure. It’s all about moderation, right? When I do drink coffee, I try to drink it black (except for when I get a latte). I know this won’t help as much as exercising, which I’m also working on. Finding an exercise routine that works for me has been very difficult. I wasn’t a gym goer as a teenager and I have no friends who prioritize the gym, either. I’ve signed up for some Krav Maga classes next week. I’m hoping being around others and trying to learn something new helps me at least stay more active.

How do you like your coffee?

Do you prefer drip-coffee? A French press? Something else? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’m open to trying out all sorts of new coffee things.

You can contact me via my Contact page, follow me on Twitter, or like my page on Facebook.

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Should I Try Martial Arts?

I’m 33 years old. I’ve never done any martial arts training or even been in a fight. I mentioned in a blog post recently that I’m exercising more at home. The thing is, it’s not really working for me. I mean, I’ve not been doing it that long but I feel like I need more structure. I think the reason the gym (or home gym) isn’t working is because I’m trying to teach myself, and I’m just not inherently good at the gym. I’ve taught myself lots of things. HTML. Blogging. Twitter. Video editing. But the gym just isn’t in the cards on my own. A personal trainer could definitely help. It would be the least disruptive choice. It’s not the most exciting thing, but it would work.

Or I could do something super crazy and try to learn Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, kick-boxing, or Karate, or something. It would be a lot. I work full-time and I’m in grad school. But, let’s say I could work it out to where I go twice a week to learn whatever martial art. That’s about as often as I should really be going to the gym, and it might be more fun. One of my professors in my graduate program takes Jiu Jitsu and she seems to really like it.

I said it MIGHT be more fun. I don’t know.

Eric Shay Howard thinking

Louisville has a lot of martial arts places.

Right. So, I’m looking up Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga classes in Louisville and I’ve found a couple of places. One place looks super professional and nice. I sent them an annoying email inquiring about classes for adults who are complete beginners and don’t even know which end is up on the pullup bar at the gym. They haven’t responded yet. I might call them sometime tomorrow and just ask my weird questions all awkward like over the phone.

I’m fairly certain I’ll need some new wardrobe and maybe some guards for various body parts. I think also some gloves? That might also be jumping the gun. I have no idea. These MMA gloves seem popular on Amazon. Just so you know, I’m a member of the Amazon Associates Program and may earn money from qualifying purchases with the ad for the gloves below.

I looked up belt progression because I think that Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga have belt systems to track progress, but I wasn’t sure if that was real or just something I saw in a movie or whatever. They do, but I don’t see any mention of this belt system on this one martial arts place’s website. Maybe they don’t do it there or maybe a belt color system is just a given for all martial arts classes.

What am I supposed to look for in a martial arts school?

I confess I have no idea what I should be looking for other than:

  • Does the martial arts place’s leadership have diversity or is it only ran by cis-gendered straight men? If it does only have straight men, then why?
  • How much do classes cost?
  • How big are the class sizes? Do they teach all newbies together, or do they teach all skill levels together but keep track of people’s progress individually?
  • What belts do the trainers have? How does testing for new belts work?
  • Are they associated with a national group or are they a stand-alone school?
  • How much time will this take up? Can I fit it in my schedule?
  • Are the students assholes? Are the trainers assholes? If so, why?

Also, do I refer to it as a gym? A dojo? A school? I tried to look it up but I wasn’t able to find much consistency.

Which martial art do I pick? Karate? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Krav Maga?

I don’t want to settle on a particular art yet. However, if I had to pick one based off of what I can find available here in Louisville, I’d pick Krav Maga. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu seems cool, too, but seems more competition-based than self-defense based. Again, I am new to all of this so who knows? I’m sure it’s mostly advertising keywords anyway.

My gym hasn’t opened back up yet and so I have some extra money to see about trying out some martial arts for a little while. Maybe I’ll like it? Maybe I won’t? I don’t know. It’s not a dream of mine to be a master at it super soon or anything. I’m just looking for ways to keep things interesting. I also really want to lower my cholesterol.

I will let you know what I find out, which gym (dojo? school?) I end up trying out. If I can’t seem to find a place that I click with, I might just move on and stick with the resistance-band exercises at home until my gym downtown opens back up or the gym my apartment property is building opens.

Do you like Jiu Jitsu or Krav Maga?

Perhaps you prefer something else? Do you prefer the gym? The couch? Comment below and let me know, because I’m curious about all of it. The gym is still super new to new, and so is this martial arts idea. You can contact me via my contact page, follow me on Twitter, or like my page on Facebook.

Also, this has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been watching Cobra Kai on Netflix and it’s pretty awesome.

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