When I gave up meat and dairy 13 months ago, my advisors – my wife Louise and my cardiologist Dr. Ostfeld at Montefiore – assured me that those cravings for steak, chicken skin, and butter-soaked lobster would diminish. That hasn’t entirely happened. The aroma of roasting salty chicken regularly seeping through the floorboards of my workshop from the downstairs deli often calls the question: now why am I doing this again? Oh yeah. Trying to postpone death. Shit.
And my fitness friends assure me that once I start to work out, I will begin to crave it. I won’t feel satisfied until those endorphins are coursing through my quivering, expanding muscle fibers. After 2 weeks, I would have to say that hasn’t happened yet either.
But the positive news is that it’s not quite a living hell.
My first contact at CF, the person who would orient me, was Liz Swan, schooled in England, a social media specialist, who, in addition to her patience and kindness to weenies like me, was known as Slash Borden in Westchester’s Suburbia Roller Derby, a flat track roller derby league. ( That I have watched it many times while channel-surfing tells you something about me, and that she was a touring athlete in that tough league tells you something about her. ) She’s impressive.
She sent me on to Ted Gilsinger, the Fitness Director of CF, who used to train cadets in their workouts at West Point. Not weenies. He debriefed me on my general health and skinny-ass physique and plotted a workout plan of attack. I told him that if he made it too onerous, I would just stop coming, blame him, and choose the heart-attack option. He said not in this man’s army.
So I’ve been showing up to CF on snowy days in my Nike shorts and T-shirt, trying to look nonchalant, like I know what I’m doing. I come dressed because, unlike you endorphin guys, I’m still a little shy about the locker room, and every time I go, it takes me extra time to figure out which way to insert the card in the locker to get the key.
My routine – yeah, I guess that’s what I call it – is to bike a while, do the Circuit, and then run uphill on the treadmill for literally minutes. I’ve been at it for a couple of weeks now, three times a week. No endorphins yet. No muscles either. But it’s getting easier and even, occasionally, fun. I need to find ear buds that stay in place while I run. So much to know.
In the days of Michael Jordan I wanted to “Be Like Mike”. To all of you spinners, runners and weightlifters around me at CF- I just want to be like you.