I’ve rebooted my exercise routine. There was no urge to do so, and I was quite happy with how my workouts were progressing: Duilleog and I became members of Goodlife Fitness, and I was ramping up my strange blending of Tim Ferris’ Occam’s Protocol with Men’s Health’s Spartacus Workout 2.0. Then the spot in my eye that the optometrist said was just a blip caused by stress began to impair my reading and driving, and suddenly I found myself in a flurry of specialists’ referrals.
I have been diagnosed with Central Serous Chorioretinopathy, a not uncommon disorder of the eye — apparently airline pilots often get it — in which plasma builds up in front of the layer of light-sensitive cells, distorting the image sent to the brain. Phototherapy is an option, but we are trying a more systemic approach for a few weeks since there is no real danger to the eye as of yet, and the condition is typically brought about by excessive amounts of cortisol in the bloodstream. Basically, it is one of the many ways in which the body falls apart when too much stress has been placed on it for too long. The challenge, then, is to continue my exercise without placing so much stress on the body that it pumps me up on more cortisol, the hormone that makes you irritable, unfocused and ready to shoot the person driving too slowly in front of you.
Cutting to the chase, this is the workout that has taken shape over the last week:
- Alternating days of “cardio” and resistance training for six days a week.
- “Cardio” (an unfortunate holdover in my terminology from my old collegiate training) consists of Dr. Al Sears’ P.A.C.E system (Progressive Accelerated Cardiopulmonary Exercise): basically 20 min. of alternating sprinting with walking roughly on a 3:2 ratio.
- Upper body workout: military press, pull-ups, bench press, bent “Yates” rows, dumbbell swings, dumbbell chops.
- Lower body workout: squats, deadlifts, reverse lunges
I am sure that this will change over the next week or two — it might even change by tomorrow morning — but it seems to be working. I have especially liked how the P.A.C.E training has shifted emphasis from the gruelling endurance workouts that I was coming to dread and a more intense experience in which I can feel definite improvement.