Way Too Quiet Again

I haven’t written much here in…holy hell, six months.

Ugh. That’s…not good. Sorry about that. Despite that, there’s been decent traffic, but it’s all been for the fitness-related stuff I wrote about in the past. Which is great.

But, well, I haven’t really been training like I should. I don’t feel like I can talk about fitness because I haven’t been doing very much.

Well, not intentionally.

You see, since I got deep into HEMA a while back, I’ve been really focused on that. The problem is, equipment is expensive. However, being part of Schola Saint George, we have other options.

A while back, I started looking at armor. Once upon a time, I piddled a little bit with trying to make some back when I was part of the SCA. With SSG, armor is a viable option for us and since I’ve made some in the past.

This is the first completed project I’ve done in about 20 years.

Behold, the Helm of Ugliness!

Yes, it’s a helmet. Yes it’s ugly. It’s being painted as we speak. It’ll look a bit better when it’s all said and done.

Oh, it’s horrible in so many ways, ways that many people won’t even notice if they don’t know armor, but I do.

Yet here’s the important thing to remember: It takes a lot of work to build armor.

Seriously, swinging a hammer over and over again takes a toll on you. It’s exercise, both resistance and conditioning. Plus, well, you have armor to look at and brag about building.

The helmet above is my son’s starter. The plan is to build us each a helmet, then build one with a heavier steel for our more long-term use and these two will be relegated as loaner helmets for new folks.

Here’s the thing, though. I look at that helmet and I see all the flaws, all the mistakes, all the things that make it not quite right, and…I don’t care.

I built that thing. Me. Me with these two hands and the stuff between my ears. I made that. I built that.

And I’ve already started another one.

Here are some of the advantages I’ve noticed when building armor.

Resistance Training

That’s right. Swinging a hammer over and over again is resistance training. Ever wonder why blacksmiths are portrayed as big, burly guys? Because they swing hammers all day, every day.

Realistically, I won’t end up quite like that because it’s not my job. Plus, I’m not using hammers quite that heavy for the most part. Still heavy enough–trust me, swinging a 32-ounce hammer all day will educate you on that quickly enough–but not quite as beefy as theirs.

You want to use as heavy a hammer as you can in some applications, though, because you ultimately end up doing more work with each hammer stroke. That means using progressive overload.



Swinging a hammer over and over and over again. Do I really need to spell it out? It’s not rocket science.

Appetite Control

This is weird, but when I’m fiddling around with armor, the one thing I don’t get is hungry.

Like, at all.

I can work all day long and not even have an inkling of hunger.

Now, you need to eat, of course, and I have to take a break to put food in me, but I’m not hungry when I do it. That makes it easier to control my food intake and calories.

It also means I don’t feel like snacking all day long either, which is a real problem for me.

Mental Wellbeing

This has done wonders for my mental health. There’s something about actually creating something that fills the soul.

Or, maybe not.

For me though, it does matter. I love creating things. While I’m a writer and create stuff there, but the truth is that there’s something different about creating a tangible object. Something I can hold and look at and know that I made that.

The downside I can see here is that as I get used to building various things, I may lose some of that. That means I’ll need to continue to push myself on new boundaries of what I can and can’t do, but no big deal there.

Now, does this mean everyone should try and build armor? Oh, hell no. It’s not for everyone. Not everyone has the same interests in me.

But I do think it’s a worthy avenue of experimentation. Does physically making things help with fitness goals?

All I know is that so far, they’re helping with mine.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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