The Story: Chapter 2

Chapter 2: A New Sport
Dates Covered: Jan 2002 – Mar 2002

After returning from a great and relaxing Christmas break, it was time to get back on the grind. It was a brand new year, a brand new semester, and with that a new schedule. I mentioned this because this caused a change in my workout and eating styles.

I’m all about maximizing time and energy. I used to get on everyone’s nerves about my time and promptness. Always asking how long?, when?, until what time?. I lived in the community called College Hill which is considered to be away from everything that happens on campus. Central and West Campus is where all of the classrooms, another dinning hall, the Student Rec Center(SRC), the Student Union, are located. To help you gauge distance, from my Dorm to the Student Union was about 12 min-17 min and I walked fast. So in between classes I never returned to my room during the day. With the 18 semester hours, (including 3 hour labs, that only count as 1 semester hour), a part-time job at the library, I couldn’t return, even if I wanted to. Not to mention nearly all of my friends lived on West Campus. This is ground work for later.

Remember all of those issues of Men’s Health magazines, I read while in high school? Over Christmas break I went hunting for them around the house. They talked about being well rounded, so I broke, my trend decided that I would start working my arms, nothing else. The mini gym in the basement has a bicep curl machine, that, deemed safe. When I was on the bike, I keep staring at the bicep machine, dreading it. This guy, whom I had seen in the building, hopped on the machine, and start curling. Now this guy, look pretty average, skinny by my comparsion, and I couldn’t help but the notice how much weight he was lifting. It was only about 35 lbs. I was shocked that he was lifting so little. So after working my legs, I waited around, till the machine was clear, and made my way over to the bicep machine. I began to curl roughly about 20-25 lbs. The movement was harder than I expected but, not as bad as I once thought it would be. I was happy with the weight I could do, after comparing myself to the guy earlier. I repeated this process during several workouts, always making sure the coast was clear, before making my move. I didn’t want people saying look at the big guy, yet’s he’s so weak. People always equate big, with strong, or tough among other things, and that’s not always the case. If I had a buck for evertime, I’ve been asked, “Did/do you play football?”, I’d be writing this story from some tropical island.

Class.. Ahh Spring of 2002. There was this girl(people there’s always a girl involved somewhere right) in my Biology 1100, class, who I can honestly say was my first college crush(3rd one of my life.. EVER….EVER). Her name was Cassandra Parker, and we all called her CeCe. She would smile at me and speak. She was just really nice, nice to me anyways. One weekend she called and asked me for Biology notes, because she had missed class. I of course being the nerd I am, told her that I had indeed taken notes and that she could borrow them. It stopped there, I didn’t press any further just yet. I’ll honestly say this now, I was never motivated to lose weight for someone(girl, parents etc), besides myself. I didn’t daydream about CeCe, but I did occasionally think what it would be like to have a girlfriend. I knew I had to stay steadfast in my working out and eating.

Well the building next to us was getting renovated, and the with renovations, there was talk of the brand new mini gym being built. They wanted to turn our current gym into a rec room, instead of weights there would pool table and fooseball. They wanted to destroy my gym. Well I became preparing myself for change. I was going to try to work out at the SRC. It was a Tues. or Wed, I really can’t remember, but one of my classes had been canceled, so I used the extra time to workout early. The SRC was a new building only about 6 years old at the time. With two floors of fitness fun, indoor pool and track, how could one resist right? I came dressed of course, like, I was going to change in the locker room..haha good one. Hard to teach a dog new tricks. I went straight for the bike and familiar leg machines, looking for my comfort zone. It was quite an experience, I just wasn’t used to working out with so many other people around, in such a big place. I felt as if the gym had swallowed me, and wanted out. I ended my workout, faster than usual, grabbed my stuff and left the SRC. I wanted to go back to MY little gym, downstairs in the basement, my safe zone.

In the meanwhile, I began changing my diet yet again. I picked up other great tips from those old Men’s Health. I re-read most of the articles again, paying closer attention to details. I discovered that Bagels and Juice were not so healthy for me. Bagels I could let go no problem, but Juice!!!. OJ was my morning coffee and Apple Juice was my night cap. For one week, I poured out half of the juice from the bottle and fill the rest with water, shook it up and tried to wane myself off of juice, and before I knew I had let juice go..completely. Along with the new schedule, I wasn’t eating breakfast before class at 8:00Am, but rather around 9:00AM. Me and bunch of class buddies would gather every WMF, and eat at Wright Place. Your typical on campus hangout. Most mornings I would get a sausage egg and cheese biscuit, bottle water and sometimes a Nature Valley’s bar(those hard ones). No the best of breakfast by today’s standards, but a solid one; Protien, Carb, Calcium, etc, just not the best sources. Also during Lunch I eased up on the cookies, knocked them back down to 2 instead of three. Also during dinner I stopp getting the veggie buggers. They were just to greasy from the frying, even if they were veggie.

One of my lab TA’s, Jennifer had mentioned to me that she fenced. She explained that it was a club sport on campus and that anyone could join, and the club only had a few members. Well she mentioned Exrta Credit,(a college student’s third favorite word next Free or Cheap). It didn’t take much from her to convince me to come and try it out. So one sunday afternoon, I made my way to the SRC, and found the fencing club upstairs. Jen was right there were only 3 other people fencing. Scott the instructor began showing me the basic stance and how to hold the blade. He then instructed to me try on a uniform. My heart sanked. I was nervous that none of the uniforms were going to fit me. To my delight, there was a jacket that I could fit into. I found fencing fun. While it was physically taxing, it didn’t involved running, something I hated, downright despised, especially like the constant kind found in basketball and football. For me fencing was size friendly I actually had a winning chance. It’s a gentlemen’s sport, so the rules can always play in your favor, and it’s a game of offense and defensive. In my case a strong defense can lead to victory. Fencing will come to play an instrumental role later in my life, both as a weight-loss tool and as an avenue to personal development.

I began going to fencing practice every Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon. All the extra work on my legs from fencing was paying off. First of all, I began to really and truly SEE the difference in my body. My pants were becomin loose and well for the first time in a long time, I actually needed a belt. I was stabbing and jabbing and getting a good arm workout as well. My shirts didn’t feel like they were hugging every inch of my body. Also coming to fencing practice, got me used to coming in the SRC. Little did I know but I was becoming accustomed to visiting the gym. After fencing practice I started becoming very hungry and at the time, I didn’t understand my post-workout needs as far as nutrition, well get to that later, much later. I would hurry back to the room and snack on whatever food I had, normally a Jello-Fruit cup or something. Well I had become tired of the Wednesday rush of trying to get from class, eat, and make it back to the SRC for fencing practice. I decided I would bring clothes in the morning when I left College Hill, then I could eat at the dining hall on Central campus and just walk next door to the SRC for practice. This worked much better and soon Wed. became Mon, Tues Thur soon before I knew I was in the SRC 5 days aweek. I would leave my room at 7:40am only to return back around 9 or 10pm. I would do my little group of exercises and I was content. By this time February was just about to end and spring break was in two weeks(It came so early that year) and well the gym got really crowded and one day I went to go work out and something happen that I wasn’t prepared for. All of the bikes were being used. Little did I know that is strange event, would change my workout forever…

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2 Comments on “The Story: Chapter 2”

  1. Lori Says:

    Wow, fencing. I’m now curious if our university has such a club. That would be fun. We have a martial arts class involving a sword but it weighs a lot and I have a problem with my wrist.

    Justin, I really have been enjoying reading about your progress. Starting small and in a comfortable place is good and this might be why Curves are so popular with women. I know the gym was intimidating to you but you have come a long way!


  2. […] wild. I signed up for basic tennis lessons. I wish they had fencing lessons after reading Justin’s post but there are not any available. I didn’t know anyone who played tennis so it just seemed […]


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