The Virility Discussion: Control

Let’s start this blog post with a definition, the definition of virility. According to Wikipedia:

Virility refers to any of a wide range of masculine characteristics viewed positively. It is not applicable to women or to negative characteristics.

Those of us that are men, and that’s about half of us, have probably – at some point – thought about what it means to be a man. Sure we get to pee standing up without the aid of special hardware, but what else is there? Often times people ask, what does it mean to be a real man? The nice thing about the word “virility” is that no matter how our society changes, the word itself still retains the same meaning. The traits that make up virility today may not be the same by society’s standards 100 years from now; however, virility is defined as the positive traits, whatever those may be.

This brings us to a brilliantly confusing discussion, what defines virility today? This question is important to me. I’ve spent a lot of time working on it. It truly seems to me that, in our current time, we lack clear positive role models. We live in a time when our counter parts, women, have changed significantly over the past few generations. Powerful role models have shaped and changed the concept of what a woman should be. Where are the male counterparts?

As I’ve worked on this problem for myself, I keep encountering paradoxes. It’s difficult to form any clear conclusions to build a strong framework around. However, I have recently come to a powerful conclusion on the issue of control. I’ve noticed patterns in nearly every human interaction that can be discussed in terms of control. The conclusion I’ve drawn can be viewed in two parts, external and internal. First, lets discuss the external:

A man of virility does not exhibit control over another individual.

This concept is easy to grasp and extremely difficult to actualize. I believe that controlling others was once a trait of virility. It’s easily confused with leadership and strength. In fact, I would say that it takes a great deal of strength to maintain control over others. However, such behaviors often manifest from insecurity. A modern man of virility grants every human individual bot the right and the responsibility for personal choice. The word “responsibility” is important here. There are those that, for some reason, seek domination. These behaviors also seem to manifest from insecurities. A man of virility is aware of his individuality and seeks to be surrounded by those who are also aware. That said, lets move on to the internal component:

A man of virility does not allow others to control him.

This is a more difficult concept to fully grasp. When we consider who has control over us, a lot of gray areas arise. Not allowing others to control you does not mean walking up and spitting in a police officer’s face. However, it does mean that when you look at a police officer, you are fully aware that you can spit in his face if you choose. This may seem silly in this context, but when extended to relationships, it starts to show value.

If a man allows another to control him, he will appear weak. In our modern culture, a weak man is not an attractive man. A weak man will be used and tossed aside. This is rarely more obvious than in the mating game. Yield to a woman’s every wish, and watch her sleep with someone else.

If a man attempts to exhibit control, he will attract the weak. In the mating game, a man might find himself sorting through the emotional drama of a needy clingy woman. It’s hard enough to find happiness for yourself, no man should be responsible for the happiness of two people.

It is extremely difficult to maintain a life flow that follows both of these principles. While it may seem that, at times, the two come into conflict – they don’t. This can be seen, again, in the mating game. When a man has control over himself and shows absolutely no intent to control another, he attracts a certain type of individual. Once again, this is highly pronounced in the mating game. Such a man is extremely attractive to women, showing confidence and general satisfaction.

This is when a true kind of magic can happen. A man who is in control of himself but unwilling to control another can only attract a woman with the same traits. Upon an encounter with such a woman, both can have the confidence of knowing that any mutual desires are truly mutual and not a product of manipulation.

Hardcore Fitness Training in 7 Days

Getting Into Shape FastToday a coworker walked up to my desk and asked, “ok, so what pills are you taking?” When I first moved to Colorado it was tough getting adjusted. A little depressed, I put on weight and bumped up over 175lbs. Various factors in life, including the approaching riding season, encouraged me to get into shape. I wanted to lose the fat, build my cardio up, and tone some muscles. I started eating better sometime around August and started working out in early October. My last trip to the gym I weighed in at 154. That’s a 20+ lbs loss.

I really cranked it up starting on October 9th. In 7 days I went from 164lbs to 158lbs. I also went from a body fat percentage over 19 to 18.2. The attached photo shows the physical results. I’ve gotten a number of congrats followed by inquiries as to how I made such a rapid change. So much so, that I thought I would share it here. Simply put, I ate less food, I ate better food, and I exercised more.

Diet

I tracked my diet online for about a week. Unfortunately, now that my free trial has expired, I can’t log in and get actual samples of exactly what I consumed. Generally speaking, I did the following:

  • consumed around 1000 calories a day
  • ate a lot of veggies – and a wide variety of them
  • consumed as little fat as possible
  • ate only enough carbs to maintain my energy levels
  • drank a lot of water and only water, I even cut coffee out (don’t know if it affected anything)
  • reduced my meat portions a little
  • took a time release multi vitamin every day and a calcium supplement almost every day

That said, a typical day’s meal might look something like this:

  • Breakfast: Either Kashi cereal, Bare Naked cereal, or a granola bar. I would eat about a cup of cereal with just a splash of soy milk. Note: after the 7 day rush, I started to include a splash of orange juice. Vitamin C is a great metabolism booster.
  • Lunch: Sometimes nothing but raw veggies. Broccoli was common. I would also eat celery and carrots. Beware of carrots, they contain some sugar. I would continue to eat on a couple of cups of veggies through the day while drinking lots of water. This would easily sustain me through work. Other days I would have small meals such as fish tacos with lard free tortillas or a small helping of noodles. Still, I would eat them slowly over the course of a couple of hours.
  • Dinner: I usually grilled my dinners on the George Foreman grill. I would include a small portion of lean meat such as bison (very low in fat), salmon (good fats), or chicken breast. I would grill a wide variety of vegetables including zucchini squash, asparagus, onion, red bell pepper, broccoli, and egg plant. Finally, I would include a small helping carbs such as a half piece of pita bread or small helping of rice. A few nights I replaced the carbohydrtes with a salad consisting mostly of leafy plants with a light misting of sesame seed oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Snacks: For the most part, I didn’t snack. My lunches felt like snacking all day. I went to bed early because I was getting up early for the gym. I did eat a few nuts and some beef jerky from time to time. Keep in mind, I was also drinking large amounts of water on a regular basis.

Exercise

I signed up at my nearest gym, which worked out well because I had an old membership on freeze. I got a special deal on 5 personal trainer sessions for $50. This wasn’t crucial, but the support and advice did help. During the rapid development phase, I hit the gym every day. On a couple of days, I went both in the morning and the evening. After the phase, I dropped down to about 3 times a week. A typical session at the gym would include:

  • Stretches: Some basic startup stretches to loosen my leg muscles. This was less than 5 minutes worth.
  • Cardio: I usually would run an average of 15 minutes on the tread mill to get my cardio up. When I started, 10 minutes was enough. Near the end of the week, I would run 25 minutes. If it was my second visit to the gym for the day, I would do about 10 minutes on the stair machine instead – just to mix things up.
  • Original Floor Routine: With my heart rate up, I would hit the floor routine for around 15 to 20 minutes. My original floor routine included:
    • 20 straight crunches plus 10 crunches to each side
    • 10 straight leg lifts plus 10 leg lifts to each side
    • 15 per side of these crunch like things propped up on my elbow (works your side, no idea what they’re called)
    • a fast count of 100 while holding myself up on my elbow and toes
    • the same fast count of 100 while resting on my hips and belly and keeping my feet and shoulders up off the floor
    • a 30 second back bend and 30 second side twists to stretch out my ab muscles
  • New Floor Routine: My trainer gave me a whole new and improved set of routines that included the use of a yoga ball. I integrated these new exercises into my routine – trying to change it up each day. These new routines included a mix of:
    • Holding the yoga ball between my feet for the leg lifts.
    • Placing my back on the floor, feet on the yoga ball and lifting my hips.
    • Lifting light free weights above my chest while laying with the back of my shoulders on the ball, knees bent, hips up, and my feet close together.
    • Squats while standing on a half ball (hard to balance) and holding light weights out in front of me.
    • Torso twists with those strechy elastic rubber things for resistance.
    • Most painful of all, holding myself up on my elbows and toes for 45 seconds – while squeezing my abs as hard as I could.
  • Weight Training: After my floor routine, I would hit weight machines for another 10 to 15 minutes. I generally picked 2 or 3 machines and did 20 to 60 reps at various weight levels. I focused on my core, but did spent time on my shoulders, arms, and legs.

In addition to this, I’ve also been taking the occational yoga class. I believe I took 2 1-hour yoga classes during the 7 day push. Before and after the 7 day push I did a bit of outdoor activity including biking, hiking, running, and – of course – snowboarding.

The results were rapid and impressive. It took being in the right frame of mind, but it didn’t take a lot of time. After my 7 day push, I still continued to burn fat and build muscle while going to the gym less and eating more. I figure that’s probably because of a boosted metabolism. I suspect that if I don’t maintain regular physical activity, I could easily relapse and see rapid weight gain. Thus far, that has not been an issue.

Most importantly, I feel a lot better both mentally and physically. It is more than worth it.

Getting Into Shape

Healthy FoodIn three weeks, I’ll be getting on the bus headed to Winter Park. For the past three weeks, I’ve been frequenting the gym in an effort to get into decent physical shape for the trip. I went every day for the first week and several times a week until now. Each gym trip I’ll start with a run to build my endurance. I’ll follow with some stretches, crunches, and leg lifts to keep some steady attention on my core with every work out. Then I’ll focus weight training on one region – either my legs, my core, or my arms. I also did some mountain biking and rock climbing in there to mix things up a bit.

I’ve also made an effort to eat more ‘good’ food. I still eat a lot of crap, but not as much as I had been. I’ll eat a really heathly dinner right after the gym only to eat a p b & j later on that night. Since I’m more focused on being strong and having endurance, I don’t mind eating a few extra calories. I’d rather eat a little too much than not have enough calories for my muscles to grow.

All this working out isn’t as fun as it was at first. It’s taking more and more effort to get up and go to the gym. Hopefully, it will enable me to ride harder without getting as tired. I was particularly out of shape one trip, and I spent far too much time laying on my back in the snow, panting. While I’ve exercised before most of my trips, this is by far the most effort I’ve put into it. When I get tired on the treadmill, I just keep thinking about carving… or I look at the pretty girls in the gym ;)
A nice side effect is the fact that I do still seem to be loosing fat and gaining muscle mass… so I’m looking a bit different in the mirror.