This is a quick note and my apologies. I really wanted to write about Taka Sushi Cafe but it’s been as if I’m writing in quicksand. The article comes slowly but yes it will come. In the meantime, a brief anecdotal comment about weights and upper body workout (Note: Taka Sushi ended up being published accidently; this now follows Taka Sushi).

I’ve been doing this since my doctor told me I had to lose weight, back in March of 2009, two days a week in 2009, three days a week this year. It’s a simple workout on a machine, using a pyramid scheme. I do three kinds of lifts: I do a lat pulldown, a bench press, and a chest crunch of some kind. I used to do leg extensions. I stopped doing those when I tore up my knee in  summer of 2009. Too much risk in what for me is just a vanity exercise.

I don’t use free weights though I have a couple dumb bells lying around. I might break those out a couple times a year, but I don’t do them routinely. If my machine allowed a leg press I’d do that. I gain size and strength in my legs easily and I enjoyed pressing the entire stack on a Universal machine back when I was working out at the University of Pennsylvania. Leg power has never been an issue with me.

My chest is yet another matter. 12 year old boys can bench press more than I can, but just like growing beards, I know what I can and cannot do. I do a bench press because the machine we purchased allows it. For me it’s a vanity press but one that feels good and is easy to do. The chest crunch is just a curiosity. I gain almost no mass in my chest so I do it because it’s there. Oddly this weight is improving steadily, to weights and ranges I’ve not done before.

The one lift in my repertoire I’d recommend to everyone is a lat pulldown. The reason is that through grad school I suffered badly from pulled muscles in my lower back, and this issue did not end until I started doing this exercise. I do it routinely, try to get in three sets a day, three days a week. If your experience is anything like mine, your lower back will thank you plenty.

Why a pyramid? Because it is always and constantly varied in resistance, because it is what my brother uses, and he benches in the 350 range. Of course, he has this huge upper body and really skinny legs. So I do know what he obsesses about, as well. It’s also true that when he was flirting with playing football in college he’d come home with these workout books and the ones that he liked best all featured pyramid schemes. College strength coaches actually do know something about building strength.

When the focus of my health and weight loss was simply high blood pressure (a problem that now appears to be under control), my primary care physician seemed to have no interest in any workout other than an aerobic one. This I attributed to her gender. She’s a great doctor but talking to her about weights is like talking to a wall. So I don’t, anymore. It’s clear that weight lifting is considered an integral component of any diabetic workout so if I get push back, that’s how I’ll answer. Muscle mass counts when you’re trying to control blood sugars.

Finally, since I work as a systems administrator, some strength is required for this job. We have to pick up and move servers at times. Some companies, such as the Southern Company, write these requirements into their job descriptions. Others just assume job seekers should know that. To summarize, weight lifting not the focus of my workouts these days. Walking is, twice a day, every day. But it’s an integral component, and can improve health and quality of life substantially.