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Personal fitness post ahead! Flee now, or proceed at your own peril!

So two years ago I was basically a plant. I owned a shirt that said “Unathletic” in that college Athletics Department font. It was funny, but also true.

A year and a half ago I started Weight Watchers. I dropped 45 pounds in five months and started integrating physical activity into my week. I started taking my family camping, something I hadn’t done in many years.

About a year ago I started hiking up mountains. I’ve worked my way up (hah) and done some tough hikes, including some beautiful peaks over 11,000 feet. I connect with the solitude of a summit like few other things in life; it’s an awesome hobby.

Somewhere in there I also started backpacking again, although that one’s harder to make time for with all the summer camping. I’ve gone out twice now, and will be going out again next year.

Seven months ago I decided I wanted to look like Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and I started working out every day. For six months I progressed from flailing around to doing a pretty good weightlifting routine and alternating weight days with light cardio.

About three weeks ago, having seen strength gains and some definition but no real size changes in six months, I started seeing a trainer. Holy shit has that been eye-opening. One of the biggest surprises was that I wasn’t eating enough to get bigger — my body was cannibalizing the muscle I was building for calories.

Now I’m eating every two hours, eight 400-calorie meals a day, and am working on overhauling my diet completely. My workout is about to shift to four weightlifting days a week, which is going to feel nuts at first. The kitchen looks like a supplement store, and I’m still trying to figure out how to bring healthy, balanced, 400-calorie meals everywhere I go.

Looking back, if Past Martin from two years ago had read this, he’d have said, “Riiiiight. That’s never going to happen.” And maybe he wouldn’t have started Weight Watchers at all.

But step by step, the whole elephant is being eaten and digested. Which is apropos, since I feel like I eat en elephant on a daily basis. (Fun fact: Three of my favorite burgers from Five Guys, which I can’t eat anymore, would fill my daily calorie goal in one whack.)

I probably won’t ever hit the Chris Evans level (too many other commitments, realistically), but I’m going to get as close as I can. Having never been a strong person, setting aside having been born with reasonably strong legs, this is a weird feeling, and it hasn’t gotten less weird despite living it for the past few months.

TL;DR: Fitness is a rabbit hole unlike any other rabbit hole I’ve ever fallen down, but I don’t regret falling down the hole. The notion of rewiring and rewriting my own body, and seeing it happen — slowly — is totally wild.

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