Attitude Adjustment

attitudeI had to check myself before I wrecked myself the other day.

It was the first Saturday of the New Year and I went to the gym in late morning. And, to no surprise, it was packed.

And, unfortunately also no surprise, I immediately became a brat about it.

As I walked in and looked at the crowds of people on the machines and on the equipment, I got testy. I kept thinking somehow they were in my way. I felt so self-righteous that this gym was my gym. And that they were in my way. And how dare they even consider slightly inconveniencing me.

In short, I was a little biatch about it.

But halfway through my workout (when the endorphins started kicking in and I was calmer than before), I realized I was the one with the problem. Here are a bunch of people who, sure, don’t really know what they’re doing yet at the gym. But you’ve got to start somewhere. They were not at all getting in my way. It’s not like I go there with a really clear training plan of certain exercises I have to hit and certain goals that have to be attained. Usually I go with a body group that I’m going to focus on for the day. And then I look around and see what’s available.

These people weren’t my enemies. They were my new friends.

Sure, many of them may not stick around past February. But some of them will. Some of these people will have made it their New Years Resolution to get in shape and go to the gym all the time, and this will be the very exciting start of that journey for them. These are more people I now have something in common with. New people with whom I can talk working out with. New people who can complain about the lazy people who don’t return their free weights with.

It’s so easy to think you’re entitled to something. So much of our world today makes you believe you are entitled to whatever you want in the exact circumstances you want it and exactly when you want it. IWWIWWIWI, I believe is what it’s called (I Want What I Want When I Want It). I wanted to have the gym completely quiet and to myself. I wanted to be able to choose any time and go without any convenience to me. I wanted to have access to all the equipment I could possibly want for my workout at any given time even if I wasn’t using it or didn’t end up needing it.

Entitlement is gross.

I’m not proud of my attitude that day. But I am glad to be reminded that it’s so easy to fall back into a negative mindset. It’s easy to forget that other people are not your enemy. I live in Los Angeles…like millions of other people. If I start getting frustrated at crowds or traffic or whatever, I’ll never be satisfied in this city. Or any city. In fact, if I start wanting everything in my environment to be exactly how I want it without any distractions, I might as well move to a tiny hermit shack in Montana and hide from the world.

I’m not proud to say that I’ve considered this at times.

Then I remember, I love people. I love LA. I love being out of my comfort zone and having shared experiences and the excitement of a crowd. The only reason there’s even a gym close to me is because there are lots of other people who are members. I don’t keep it alive on my tiny membership fee alone. If there weren’t lots of people who belonged, I’d have to go somewhere else.

We need each other.

So I have to wait an extra few minutes for the leg press machine in January because some girl is doing 20 sets of 10 lbs. Whatever. No big deal. She’s gotta start somewhere. And I’m not going anywhere. So I’ll wait.

And I’ll be sure to check myself before I wreck myself.

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Get Your Reps In

female2In many ways, I approach my career athletically. I grew up playing lots of different sports and learned the value in practicing daily for incremental improvements in order to become overall better during game time. I understand that every chance you get to practice even the smallest of moves, you improve your overall performance in the game. I also understand that it’s helpful to take notes of specific games and how you did in them to analyze and see what you do well and what needs improvement.

And I apply a lot of that to my career. Daily. I treat performances as game time. I do the best I can given whatever surroundings conditions I’m playing in and analyze how I did afterwards. I know it’s not the same because in the entrainment world- especially in comedy- so much is arbitrary. But you can find ways to evaluate yourself. And you can understand how different moves help overall performance.

For instance, I consider doing stand up open mics the same as doing cardio at the gym. It’s necessary and can make a big difference in your overall physique. But doing hours and hours of it doesn’t always give you the best outcome for your time investment. You’ll improve, of course, but it’ll be incremental. And I consider writing like lifting weights. The more time I spend writing- whether it’s these blog posts, screenplays, short films, sketches, stand up jokes- the better I become as a comedic brain. In the best case scenario, in a good workout, you can get in both your weight lifting and your cardio sessions. But if you only choose one, you can just choose based on the immediate goals ahead.

Lately, for me, I’ve been lifting more weights and doing more writing. As a result, I’ve sculpted my body more effectively and created a ton more opportunities for performances that feature my strengths and sensibilities I wouldn’t otherwise have. And I’ve been happy with the results on both ends.

But I’m of course itching to find time to get that cardio back in my routine. I like to get those reps in on the mics to stay fresh and connected to the community. Even just one mic a week (or a couple cardio per week) and I can keep from getting too rusty.

So gotta keep the performance and practice routines balanced. Otherwise you get fat and not funny. And that’s just an odd combination.

I don’t mean it. I just needed a way to quickly end this post because things were getting too real. 

Back to School Schedule

school busI had to make a change to my schedule. I was pushing myself too hard. It was unsustainable. I was trying to get up at 6 am to get to the gym every morning before working for a while before going to my day job then spending late into the evening working on comedy. I was barely sleeping and usually sleeping through the gym. It didn’t work. Couldn’t keep it up.

So I’m trying something new. I’m letting myself sleep a little later to accommodate for my constant, inevitable late nights. Then I write in the morning before heading off to work, much earlier than I was before. Then I can leave earlier than I did before. And can go to the gym during that sweet spot after lunch rush but before “regular” people are out of their jobs. Right around the time when school gets out.

Maybe it’s not “ideal” to not workout first thing in the morning, but it’s more ideal to at least get to the gym and get a workout in than to regularly have to choose between sleeping a reasonable amount and working out. It’s counter-intuitive to miss either of these. So I had to make a change. And that’s what I decided upon. At least for now.

Plus, I’m done with the gym in time to clean up and still get out to the second half of my day- meetings, writing, rehearsals, shows, etc.

I already feel more well-rested, calmer, and more productive. And I’m making some inroads on getting in better shape. Because I can go consistently. And that feels good.

Plus, whenever I go, I get more stories for this blog. So really, it’s a win/win for all of us.

Nothing to Wear

Rule #1 of staying in shape: Keep your laundry clean.0712-cher-horowitz-clueless-closet_fa

I ran out of gym clothes last week. I had nothing left. I wore the backups to my backups. It was bad.

Like I mentioned in a blog post earlier this week, I got a little busy so I wasn’t able to workout. But even in the few moments I could maybe squeeze in a basic routine, I couldn’t do it. Because I was completely out of workout clothes.

It made me feel even more helpless during a time when I was already feeling pretty overwhelmed and helpless.

So I made a little promise to myself that when I finally get down to those last two sports bras (the ones that I hate because I don’t really feel like they provide any support and they’re really uncomfortable), it’s time to do laundry that day. Not to wait until those are used. Because when I wear those, I know I’m desperate for workout clothes.

Or, I could just buy more workout clothes and procrastinate longer. But if you know me and my financial state right now… you know that’s just not very likely to happen.

Break’s Over

scheduleI got busy. Reeeeeeeeally busy. I tend to stay busy anyway (as you can see from a quick perusing of my website… I like to produce lots of content). In the past couple weeks, I became even busier for various reasons. Which is fine by me. It feels good to be challenged.

And last week was one of the most challenging weeks I’ve had in a long while. I was getting very little sleep and had very limited time to get done a number of projects. I slept probably 12 hours all week. And on top of it, had some things go down Sunday that made it difficult to relax during the little sleep time I did have.

I didn’t exercise. I let it go for over a week. That’s the longest I’ve gone in a couple years. It didn’t feel great because I like to be balanced. But truth be told, I didn’t even have time to worry about it. The little bit of sleep I could get during the down times was the one and only priority I had. I just watched what I ate (which is easy when you’re already stressed and feeling down) and accepted the fact that everything is cyclical. I kept telling myself just make it a little it further.

And this morning I finally got back to it. I didn’t have time to make it to the gym, but I did some basic exercises in my apartment. And it felt good. I got some sweat on my skin and endorphins in the brain.

As long as you’re actively seeking balance- and recognize that it’s ok when it doesn’t happen- you can recover from and get through anything.

 

Go Big to Go Small

For the New Year, I’m shifting my focus in my workouts. I’ve mentioned before that it’s good for the body to change up your workout… but I’ve also mentioned that I don’t tend to do it because I like getting in the zone with a routine.

But that’s changing! This year, I’m going for total body workouts every time I lift. I want to hit every one of the major muscle groups in cycles and then when I’ve done that for three to four weeks, shift up the exercises. My goal is to be more dynamic and creative about my workouts. I’ve enlisted some big help for that, too. It’s always good to have a little help when you’re making big changes. I’ll probably eventually share what the help is… but for now it’s nonofyodayomb’iness.

I’m also starting on New Years with a major diet shift. I’m going to be downloading everything I eat into my (new free) Workout Buddy app that has already calculated the calories I need to get the weight I want. Again, I’ve enlisted major help with this. So as it continues, I’ll also keep you updated.

For me, the most important part of any goal is having an emotional response as to why you want to do it. I have two emotional investments in my goal of slimming down and toning up:

1. I want to get to the next level in my career and I’m lucky (though some would say unlucky) enough to be pursuing a world that cares what you look like and how your body looks. I want to give myself every advantage by having a slender, athletic body.

2. On the nutrition side (the one that’s much harder for me to follow through with), the help I’ve enlisted is also going to be doing the diet with me. So both of us are going to be watching what we eat and calculating it together. And if I have any questions, I can just ask. And when I want to cheat, I know I’m cheating myself and my partner. It’s an accountability buddy. And one I like being around and I’m grateful for the help from… so I don’t want to just take it for granted.

So these are my two little fitness shifts I’m focusing on in the New Year.

I’m excited to see what comes of it.