This blog provides encouragement to people who are recovering from injury, losing fat and gaining muscle, and working towards fitness. This is my journey, and I write in this every day, which helps me. If it helps you, that would be wonderful.

How to help your wealthy friends

I have a lot of wealthy friends, and lately I've been discovering ways to help them. And if you're wondering why I want to help my wealthy friends, it's because they're my friends, and I care about them. I'll see if I can explain.

My wealthy friends range from "having more money than they know what to with" to having more money than me (and since I don't have much money, that includes a lot of people!). And something that I've discovered is that these people with a lot of money don't have any more time than I do. So while they wouldn't be impressed with my pocket change, they are impressed by the things I can do for them, to save them their precious time.

I first learned this when I started house-sitting for my wealthiest friends. What I could give was time, and by giving that time, I gave them time. And the single most important thing I learned was to empty the trash. Because the trash needs to be taken out on a regular basis, and that means that someone has to pull the bag out of the trash can, tie it up, and carry it out. Then a new bag needs to be placed. When I learned how much this was appreciated, I knew that I was on a roll.

Now be careful here. If you get carried away with housecleaning you can make a mess. If you've gotten to the point where you're taking the curtains down to iron them, you've gone way too far. But these small things, like replacing the trash bags, can be done even by someone like me, who is otherwise clueless.

There are other things that I like to do for my wealthy friends. One of them is Googling stuff. I can look up things on my computer, and call them back. My wealthy friends absolutely love this, it means the world to them, and it allows me to be helpful, which I appreciate being able to do.

I try not to call my wealthy friends. That may sound unfriendly, but it's all about time. And one thing that my wealthy friends all have in common is that they just hate stopping what they're doing to get some random phone call. I've learned to text, and I send emails. If I absolutely need to talk, I'll call, but otherwise I imagine that they're right in the middle of a boardroom meeting, and my "missed call" is just something that'll need to attend to before they can eat lunch.

I like being helpful to my deep pocket friends, and since my pockets are shallow, I like being able to do what I can, which is actually more than I had ever thought.

The two steps to building muscle - exercise then recovery

I'm enjoying my journey of muscle-building, and after all these years I think that I'm beginning to understand the process. There are two steps to it 1) Exercise and 2) Recovery.

That balance is the challenge, and why most people either can't do it at all, or have to do it under close supervision. I prefer doing things on my own, and have spent a lot of time researching how it works.

The process of building muscle and strength is exactly like that of physical therapy. Find out what to do, do just enough of it, but not too much, allow your body to heal, then do it again. I've recovered mobility in my arms and legs because of physical therapy, and have simply continued the process from physical therapy to physical fitness. And I'm enjoying it.

For me, the biggest challenge is recovery. That is, not trying to do too much too fast. When I was recovering from a frozen shoulder, I remember my therapist telling me that there was only so much that I could do each day. If I did more than what she prescribed, my progress would not proceed. I found it wildly frustrating that I could only do a bit each day, but after several months the frozen shoulder went away. Looking back now it seems like it happened quickly, but at the time I was absolutely "chomping at the bit" to do more, and more, and more. But I followed her advice, and waited until the next day, then the next day.

My slightly-maniacal attitude has served me well over the years. When I get into the gym, I train hard. I don't stand around chatting with people, I push. When I'm in the middle of a set I usually close my eyes and the world around me absolutely disappears. Yesterday afternoon I hadn't realized that the gym was closing until one of the coaches walked over and said, "You know we're closing at 1? Summer hours?" I apologized profusely, got my stuff and let them close up. But that gives you the idea of the type of focus that I have during a workout.

When I'm not in the gym, which is the other 22-23 hours of the day, I focus on recovery. And that means eating the right kind of food, getting enough sleep, stretching, that sort of thing. I make sure that my refrigerator has plenty of clean, high protein food, including my protein shakes, which I mix up in advance.

Something that helps someone like me who is anxious to get back to a workout as quickly as possibly is doing a "split". That is, dividing your body into different parts that you can train every day. Of course your body is connected, so you really can't isolate, for example, just your arms. But the idea is that if you train arms, you don't do that type of intensive training for another week. I'm not as young as I used to be, so if you're in your twenties or teens you can train a body part twice a week.

Every morning I do an evaluation of how I feel. I have a tendency towards lower back pain, so if I'm hurting, I'll skip the workout for the day. I hate that, but you gotta do it!

Training biceps by going as fast as possible, with heavy weights

One of the things I learned a long time ago when handling weights to build muscle is to go slowly. And that means feeling the tension on the muscle, not using momentum to swing weights up, that sort of thing. So adding speed to my workouts nowadays seems kinda strange, but it's worth doing, as long as you're going as heavy as possible.

Today is Tuesday, and I'm focusing on biceps. The lower back is still kinda tender, so I'll be leaning back on my adjustable weight bench. And my goal is speed!

Adjustable bench for bicep curls

It's very temping to swing the weights up, but you gotta resist doing that. Instead contract the muscle and pull the dumbbell up. Squeeze at the top, then lower. I like to let my wrists kinda wiggle around at the bottom. I tried to go too heavy, and had to back down. If you can't lift the weight without momentum, it's too heavy.

Train to absolute failure. Drop the weights on the floor. When you're done, walk away, and put the weights away later. Do this at home.