The Tale of the Swole Viking

(This is the continuation of my Viking-themed fitness journey, which you can follow here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

This week, I learned the word “swole.” Spellcheck keeps underlining it in red because it’s not actually a word…yet. Every year, the dictionary gets new entries, and I think swole is in line to gain “word status.”

I’ve actually used this word before, but it’s been in the medical field when families ask why my patient’s (insert body part) is “so swole.” So, for those of you not in the know, as I recently was, it’s just taking a syllable away from swollen. And swelling is not a good thing. Unless, I have learned, you are working out.

baby swole

My wife looked at me last night and said (jokingly), “You look swole.”



“Where? What?”

“It means you’ve got cool muscles.”

“Oh. Thanks!”

“You gonna keep getting swole?”

“Um, I guess? That’s good, right?”


“Then I’m going to get swole.”





Then we just looked at each other and said swole until someone laughed. It’s a weird word to say. Do it now. Say “swole.” Your mouth does something saying the word that it would only do the moment before attempting to swallow a golf ball. It’s fun to say. You’re saying it again now, picturing the golf ball, aren’t you? Swole. Now you know why we said it back and forth for about two hours. Swole.

This is swole. I think.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. Getting Swole.



So, I’ve spent the last six weeks getting up at the butt crack of dawn so I can attend this group exercise class at the gym at the top of my road. It’s a H.I.I.T. class (High Intensity Interval Training), which means that I’m doing a lot of the things I never thought I could do. I do ten push-ups as part of a warm up now. I can do seven pull-ups. I’ll bet I can do the monkey bars now, but I haven’t been able to try because schools are in session, and being a man in his late thirties and showing up on a playground to do the monkey bars while school is in is a social no-no. Especially if a teacher asks what you’re doing there and you keep saying “getting swole” and laughing. That is actually a way to go to jail, I think.

There needs to be an equally fun-to-say word that is the opposite of swole. Since there isn’t, I’m just going to keep saying swole.

But anyway. I digress. As usual.

The gym evaluated me after six weeks, and part of it is a before and after body composition screening. At the beginning of the six weeks, I weighed 216 pounds and had an estimated 28.9% body fat. Now, as of yesterday, I weigh 198 pounds and, more importantly, the body fat percentage is down to 21%. I lost 7.9% body fat in about a month and a half, as well as 18 pounds. Last November, I weighed 242 pounds, and that was what motivated me to do something, anything. So, in a little less than a year, I’m 44 pounds lighter.

Because of my victory, the gym rewarded me with three more months of these classes, free of charge. So, this train is chugging onward. And it looks like I’m not going to be sleeping in anytime soon.

In all seriousness, this is an enormous victory for me. I honestly have not been in this good of shape in my life. I’ve never dropped to the floor and confidently performed ten push-ups. Hell, I never really could do one for a long time without using my knees. And now, I’m already getting through my “fitness goals checklist” that I made in July. It’s time to revisit it for a moment:

  1. Do a pull-up…CHECK. I can do seven.
  2. Do a cartwheel…haven’t tried.
  3. Do a handstand…haven’t tried.
  4. Do ten push-ups…CHECK. I can do a lot more than that now.
  5. Do five sit-ups…CHECK. I can do a ton, and I can even do them while holding weight now.
  6. Swim more than one lap at a time…haven’t tried.
  7. Climb a rope…haven’t tried, and I actually don’t know where to find one.
  8. Jump rope…still don’t have the coordination.
  9. Do the monkey bars…I’m sure I can, I just need to find time to try.

I’m making a lot of progress in a short amount of time. And it’s changing my perspective on things. I honestly never thought I would be here already. But, it’s no time to quit. It’s time to push forward. Why?

Because I’m a goddamn Viking, that’s why.

And I really like saying swole.

And I’m not very mature.

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