Hefty Toll

Well here we are. Coming up on 4 months. 5 days from today will mark 4 months since I began this journey. 3 Weeks ago the scale read 188. Since then, it has not moved. I have been the same for 3 weeks. Now I know that the scale holds little merit. I am obviously making progress. Shorts that I bought for “when I lost the weight” now fit loosely, 3 weeks ago was the first time I could get them on at all. Clearly there is progress. My lower abs are starting to peak out. My arms are showing more definition, my legs are showing more definition as well. But I’m tired.

Last Friday I did legs, heavy squats, deadlifts, the whole works. Sunday my workout was getting cut short because of the need to get to a family get together, I decided to get the most bang for my buck I needed to do legs again, so I did. Heavy Squats, and deadlifts but it was suppose to be back day so while I was “resting” between squat sets I did rows, and curls between deadlifts, then more rows and curls. Obviously I didn’t neglect the stair mill during this time either. It was pretty brutal so I decided to take Monday off. Then Tuesday I did legs again. Same drill, heavy squats, heavy deadlifts and some auxiliary leg movements. 3 leg days in 5 days. It was crushing. Now prior to that I was already starting to get pretty fucking worn down. Mentally the lack of calories and the extreme exercise schedule was wearing on me.

After some debate, I decided to take yesterday off, except I only half took it off. I actually decided to take like five days off. My intention was to rest until Monday, then start fresh. Yesterday I went to the gym with my wife and helped her with her leg day. I ended up doing a bunch of pull ups, some curls, I rode the bike for 10 minutes, I did some overhead press, and of course, abs. I took it pretty easy but it was different movements from my normal routine so today I find myself tired, and a little sore.

Today I intend to do nothing, but again we will see. I’m trying to take it easy, I am trying to rest but for the last four months I have pounded it in my head to go hard every single day. It’s a habit now. I don’t even have to think about it, going hard is just instinct. The problem is I have been doing it for so long without rest that my body is tired. My body needs a few days off. My body is screaming at me. Now the body is a resilient beast but it’s important to listen to it. Pushing through this exhaustion very well could lead to injuries.

I don’t doubt that the extreme schedule is what’s causing the lack of weight loss. I’m sure I have inflammation and am retaining water which combined are causing the scale to sit stagnant. Overall I am ok with that fact. I look good and despite the complete exhaustion I feel good too.

I am proud of my progress. I like my new lifestyle. I just need a short break.

I Lost 35 Pounds

I’ve lost 35 pounds on this journey. Fairly quickly. I’ve wondered what the number is until people start noticing, apparently it’s 35 pounds. Yesterday we had a family gathering and my weight loss was all the talk. Annoying to me but whatever, it was bound to happen. Last time we had a get together I was around 30 pounds lost and nobody really said anything. So 35 that’s the number.

Here’s the problem I have with this. I’ve lost thirty five fucking pounds. I have worked my ass off to lose the weight. Family members asked me how I did it, I told them, they then argued. Hello! I lost thirty fucking five pounds how are you arguing that it doesn’t work?

People who have been the same weight for 20 years are arguing that they know more than someone who lost 35 fucking pounds in 3 and a half months. Come the fuck on, don’t be an idiot. Now I’m perfectly aware that it’s their own limiting beliefs that aren’t allowing them to accept that I know what the fuck I am talking about it but it pisses me off. Don’t ask for help if you aren’t going to accept what you’re told. Don’t ask someone who clearly knows the answer the question if you are just going to argue with what they are going to say.

Don’t be a fucking idiot.

It pissed me off so much in fact that I am not longer telling anybody how I did it, well not for free. I will be typing it out and selling it.

The other issue is the constant pressure from them to get a job. I’m not going to get a job. I’m not going to be a slave to someone else for a paycheck. It’s not going to happen. I have had the same stance for 8 years. I’m done with it. Am I where I want to be in life? No. Is a job going to change that? No. So why the fuck would I get a job?

I am also done explaining myself, I see no need. If you want to know how I lost 35 pounds in 3.5 months you can buy that information right here.

Getting Anxious

It’s only been 6 days or so since that last post. I’m getting pretty lean, well by my standards. I’ve never been super lean. I had a 6 pack for like one day of my life, about 9 years ago. That wasn’t from working my ass off, it was from sustaining a diet of one package of ramen noodles a day. I was in college and I was cheap. I got super lean for about a day and that was it. Poof gone. Now I have been working my ass off for it and am getting close. I would suspect that I am around 15% and from hours of searching and calculating I have determined that I need to lose somewhere between 10-20 pounds for those bottom abs to pop out. 10-20 is a pretty big fucking range but body fat percentage isn’t an exact science. Everyone is different. It depends a lot on genetic potential which isn’t an exact science. Basically it varies greatly from person to person. With my understanding of this variance 10-20lbs is the best estimate I can give. Really it just comes down to I have to keep putting in work and when I get there I get there.

I’m just anxious.

It’s a marathon not a sprint but at whatever body fat I am at currently the slightest changes are pretty visible. If I drop a pound I can tell. My veins are starting to pop. This is the first time I’ve ever really committed to anything and stuck to it. I mean I did P90X but that was different. That was “hey I’m going to do this program and get in shape!” So I did, then I quit.

This is about changing my lifestyle, this is about creating something sustainable, this is about learning how to go all in to get something and actually seeing it through.

Some days it’s easy, some days I am amped up to go to the gym, I rock the workout, I rock the cardio, I smile the whole time and it’s just a blast. Other days I dread going, it’s hard to even drive to the gym let alone do the workout. I am proud to say though that I have never quit. I’ve never bailed on a workout no matter how bad I have wanted to. I have never cut the stair mill short, I have never dropped off sets of anything because I didn’t feel it. I just toughen up and get through it.

Today was one of those grinders. I haven’t been sleeping much. Today I got 3 ish hours. I decided I wasn’t going to the gym, but I ended up there anyway and actually ended up feeling awesome, smiling and absolutely crushing the workout. It was great.

I think being so close to my goal helps. I think that knowing what I set out to do is almost here is a great motivator. I think that looking in the mirror and seeing how far I have come helps power me through it.

I also know that changes are coming. Once I hit my goal it will turn into a game of maintenance. I do enjoy the gym so the 2 hour marathon sessions of weights and cardio may stick around but more likely I will switch things up. I’ve never really done maintenance before so it’s new and exciting. I’ve only ever done the yoyo. Work hard, lose weight, stop, gain weight, repeat.

I’m also excited to start working on gaining some strength back. When I first started at this I hadn’t worked out in so long that I was gaining strength like a madman despite the deficit in calories. In the last week or so though that hasn’t been the case. I’ve noticed some lifts stalling out and others even dropping, which is ok because I knew it was coming when I started, it’s just been a bit of a struggle to wrap my head around it. Once I am in maintenance mode I will be able to eat more calories which should allow me to gain my strength back. Some lifts won’t be able to be as high as they were due to the new lower body weight but I am ok with that. I just want to stop losing strength.

All in all, I am having a blast with this. Seeing the results is exciting, seeing how the body reacts to different things is exciting and most of all knowing nothing can stop me from reaching my goals is exciting.

 

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

One Month Later

I just read through that last post and realized that it was posted nearly a month ago. My how things have changed. I pushed through the extremely strong desire to quit and dropped another 10lbs. I am sitting very comfortably at 193lbs right now. My original goal was to hit 170 however with as lean as I am right now I don’t know if it’s even possible to do that and stay healthy. My objective is to get to 8-10% body fat. By my calculations I am currently at 15-17%. If that’s correct, 8-10% will be closer to the 180lb range than the 170b range. The goal is to keep on keeping on and just see what happens.

I have settled into the diet, the 1400 deficit is no longer absolutely crushing me. I have had a couple of days in the last month where I ate closer to 3000. I think it’s important to mix those in. I turn 30 in exactly 13 weeks which is plenty of time to hit my original goal of 170 if it is indeed attainable. I am stoked, I feel great, I look decent, none of my clothes fit though. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true, I have some old medium t shirts that I’ve been digging out, they fit nicely. The larges that I have donned for the past 4 years are about as close to a tent as they can be.

In the last update I talked about bumping the stair mill up to 25 minutes. At some point not long after that I hit a plateau. I was stuck right around 200lbs for like 3 weeks. It was brutal for me mentally. I had dropped a ton of weight very quickly in the beginning then suddenly I was stuck. Now, I know not to give too much merit to the scale and I was absolutely looking leaner, the clothes were getting looser but the damn scale would not budge. I decided to push myself and see what would happen. I bumped the stair mill to 30 minutes. Holy shit, that was brutal. The jump from 20-30 was a tremendous mental battle. I don’t have my gym journal with me but I was at level 9 when I was doing 20 minutes and I think I went back to 8 when I jumped it up to 30. Ten minutes doesn’t seem like much but in this instance it was absolutely crushing. At least for the first week and a half or so. Then I settled into it and it started getting easy. In the last 2 weeks I have bumped it to level 10. Now that is some brutal shit. On level 9 the fastest that the stairs go is 91 or 92 steps per minute which is pretty damn fast but on level 10 she tops out at 102. 102 is fucking booking it. The other lovely feature of level 10 is the fact that somewhere in the middle of the range there is a jump that goes from 89-90 which is basically nothing except the way that the programs are laid out it means that on a couple of them you’re doing a minimum of 89-90 steps per minute for like 8 minutes. That is brutal. However, I love it. I am just ridiculously proud of how far I have come with the stair mill and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I lost track… I hit a plateau, bumping it to 30 was apparently what I needed. At the end of the first week the scales matched what my clothes were showing and what I figured I should weigh in my mind, I was 195. That was 2 weeks ago. For the last two weeks I have been hovering at 193.

That’s a big number… 193 is 30lbs. I’ve lost 30 fucking pounds.

I don’t think it’s really set in that I’ve lost 30 pounds. I’m just completely focussed on kicking ass every day to get to my end goal. 30 pounds is just a little milestone on the way to much more. I’m more excited that none of my pants fit.

Back in March I was squatting and I wrecked my hip. I hit the upright walking out my warmup set of 135 and it twisted my body every so slightly and jacked my hip up something fierce. Instead of being smart I squatted on it anyways, up to 275, despite the excruciating pain. This put me out of commission for a week. I literally laid in bed for 3 days because it fucking hurt so bad. After the pain went away which was about a week, I went back to the gym with one catch; no compound exercises. I didn’t want to blow my shoulder out too so I quit benching, I quit squatting and I quit deadlifting. Oh man, that crushed me mentally. I love the big lifts.

I had a new routine a body weight leg routine that goes a little something like this:

3×5 box step ups – no weight. The goal here is to pull yourself up onto the box with one leg entirely without pushing off of the back leg. The kicker to get great results is to lower yourself down as slow as you possibly can.

3×10 one legged squats – there is a million names for this but put the back leg up on the plyo box or bench and squat with the other. The first few weeks I did no weights but have now worked my way up to 25lb dumbbells.

3×10 Romanian Deadlifts – same deal as the one legged squats, I started with no weights and now do 25s.

I would then do asterisk lunges, side lunges, and hamstring curls. Then to the stair mill. To my surprise this workout gets me sore every time. How the fuck could I go from squatting 315 for reps to being sore from body weight stuff? Crazy.

My push day didn’t change much, I quit doing flat bench all together and instead only do incline with dumbbells aside from that everything is the same. The dumbbells seem to be easier on the shoulders and I’m still able to press a respectable amount of weight. Pull day is also the same, minus deadlifts.

That is what I have done for nearly 2 months. I have been getting the itch to squat, bad. I wanted to squat 3 weeks ago but I knew my hip wasn’t ready to go so I have reluctantly left my heeled squat shoes at the house, for the last 6 leg days.

Last week I went to the gym for 6 straight days, my body was absolutely wrecked. I was exhausted and I hurt so I decided to take a day off, which turned into two. The second day was yesterday. I was planning on the gym but due to a stressful situation outside of my fitness journey I was unable to sleep. I didn’t think going to the gym on absolutely no sleep was a good idea so I didn’t. Seems it was just what my body needed.

Today I went back to the gym and the Romaleos (heeled squat shoes) went with me. I was determined to squat today, even if it was just 135, I was squatting. I needed that excitement back in my life. I warmed up as usual and switched my shoes, game the fuck on! I loaded up 135, and it felt amazing. No pain what so ever. It also felt super light. That was a good sign. I was concerned that having taken so much time off that even the light stuff would feel crushing. I bumped it to 185 which also felt amazing and light I did 10 reps which was pretty good. Lastly I bumped it to 205. 205 also felt great, I wanted to push it to 225 but I was scared my form would suffer and since I am technically still in recover mode I decided to just keep it manageable and stay at 205. I did the same thing with dead lifts.

Damn did it feel good to get back to squatting and dead lifting. My body felt great, I felt strong. Apparently spending all of this time building up my stabilizer muscles has paid off tremendously. My plan is to keep incorporating the stabilizer exercises not only to stay healthy but to help keep my strength up.

I know this one was lengthy, if you made it this far, thanks for reading my ramblings, remember, you can do anything you set your mind to. Never give up, for any reason, ever. Have a great day!

Brick Wall

I’m turning 30 in August. I want to be healthy, feel better and look better. It’s April now and this is really my first documentation of this journey. I was 223 pounds in January after several years of yo-yoing up and down with my weight. 223 was a new high. My clothes didn’t fit, I didn’t feel well, basic tasks like putting my shoes and socks on were difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t huge, I was just big enough to fully fill out a large t-shirt. I had a gut and some love handles. I started the whole workout think on January first, something I’ve done many times before. I failed after a week. I was miserable, I was depressed because of how awful I felt and looked.

I had to make a change.

January 23, 2017, I was done. I decided enough was enough. I went and acquired a gym membership… 40 minutes from my house.

Let me put that in perspective a little bit, for some people 30 miles is a long way. Where I live it’s 4 miles to get to a gas station, 17 miles to get to a Walmart, and 30 miles to get to anything more significant than a Walmart. We frequent the town that the gym is in, which is about 20 miles from where my wife owns a yoga studio which is about 20 miles from home.

When I signed up I was terrified that the distance would keep me from going, but I did it anyways. I thought about the YMCA which is a mile from my wife’s business but had heard bad things. The other gym in that town I’m not welcome in after quitting without notice.

Because of my personal training background I am familiar with the importance of diet, mobility, weights and cardio. Diet has always been my weak point. I enjoy weights and a bit of cardio but I also enjoy food, which is a problem. You can’t out train a bad diet. That’s something I’ve heard a million times but always thought that I was the exception. Over years of training I found that I am not the exception. In fact, I cannot out train a bad diet. That is the fundamental issue behind my yo-yo with weight. This time I knew it had to be different.

When I signed up at the gym I cut sweets and fried foods out of my diet. I also don’t really eat a lot of bread. Carbs are important but there are many other ways to get them. That was enough to get the ball rolling but I knew to get the results I wanted I would have to watch my calories. I used a nifty calculator I built here and determined what I needed to consume to get where I want to be. The calculator says I need a deficit of around 800. Instead I have been at a deficit of around 1400. I shoot for eating 2000 calories a day which is a deficit of 1400. Aiming for 2000 gives me a little bit of leeway if I mis calculate something.

My gym routine currently consists of 3 different workouts that I just endlessly cycle. I do legs one day, chest triceps and shoulders the next then on the third day it’s back and biceps. I mix abs in randomly. Occasionally I take the 4th day off but some times I will go a couple of weeks without a break. I start each workout with 10 minutes on the bike just to get the blood pumping and work up a bit of a sweat, then I hit the weights which usually takes between 40 and 60 minutes, from there I go to the step mill. I do 20 minutes on the step mill (something that’s about to get bumped up as I did 25 minutes today) and then cool down on the treadmill. I set the treadmill for 10 minutes but monitor my heart rate, once it gets under 120 I get off of the treadmill.

By the time I shower and get out of there this puts me at the gym for roughly 2 hours each time I visit. Some think it’s excessive, but I know what I want and I don’t see any other way to get it.

I also do yoga on occasion. Last week I did it every day, this week I have not done it at all. I will say it helps a ton.

Now here we are 11 weeks into this journey and I have dropped 21lbs. As the title says, I am hitting the brick wall. I’m at that point where I have excellent results. I can see the top 4 abs, I feel much better than I did and I’m happy with where I am. This is the point in the past that I have always given up. My body, is ready to give up. The caloric deficit is hard. Not eating fried food is hard. I really want some french fries. Driving all the way to the gym every day is hard. Doing the step mill every day is hard.

This is the brick wall. The point where it has lost the fun of it being new and now it’s just hard. I know that I have to keep going, I know that after I reach my goal I will still have to keep going to maintain. I also know that nothing is going to stop me, I am determined. I will not fail. I can do this.

The World is Vast

I was sitting at Texas Roadhouse enjoying a Sam Adams Boston Lager with my steak. Man, did it hit the spot. That’s one of my favorite pairings, a Boston Lager and a steak. The flavors combine so well together. It’s just a really nice pairing. Anyways during this dinner and my enjoyment of this beautifully paired couple I began thinking about the question; “What is my favorite beer?”

Wait, let me back up for a second. A while back, maybe 8-9 years ago, I wouldn’t drink beer. Hard liquor only, and I would mix it in anything, rum and Gatorade, spiced rum and gatorade, jager and ice, whatever it didn’t matter, if we were partying my friends were drinking beer and I was mixing whatever I could find with whatever non pop mixer I could find. Yeah… I don’t drink pop (or soda for those of you who don’t call it pop). If anybody asked me I just said “I don’t like beer.” Then one day I was in Kroger and saw a display of beer, “make your own 6 pack,” you could (still can though the selection isn’t as vast) go in there pick 6 entirely different beers and pay a reasonable price for a 6 pack of 6 different beers.

It was at this moment standing in front of this end cap of beer that I realized just how ignorant saying “I don’t like beer” was. How could I possibly know if I didn’t like beer if I had only tried 3 or 4? I told myself I would try all of them and if at the end I legitimately didn’t like any of them then fine, I could run around spouting “I don’t like beer.” I would get a 6 pack and drink it leisurely, there was certainly no rush to get through this. Once I finished one 6 pack I’d go back and get 6 new beers. I went on like this for a long time eventually trying over 100 beers. I never did finish the last two rows of the display because they ended up changing it toward the end. I was satisfied with my accomplishment though. Through this time I also started ordering beer while out. I would try different ones while we were out. If we went to a craft brewery I would get a flight just to try as many beers as I possibly could. Through it all some were atrocious, some were so so and some I truly enjoyed.

Now back to the rabbit hole that was the question “what is my favorite beer?” ….

It started off innocent enough, just a little question kept to myself inside of my mind but the more I thought about it the more complex it became. I realized what I drink when it’s 100 degrees outside is not what I typically drink when it’s 30 degrees outside which is different from what I drink when I have a steak which is different from what I drink when I go out for Mexican food… I think you see where this is going. There is no real “favorite,” because it’s always changing based on the circumstance. Plus on top of that I am always willing to toss out my current “favorite” for a new found treat. Sam Adams currently has the strong hold on my beer to pair with a steak but that may not always be the case, see I still try new beer whenever I am given the chance so any of the favorites could be dethroned at any time.

This question sent me down a rabbit hole of many more similar questions which all had different answers based on circumstances. Some of them are simply impossible to answer, for example “what kind of music is your favorite?” Well that’s a tough one, just today I listened to some classical, some metal, a little bit of country, a couple of pop songs and capped it all off with a little Stone Sour. I enjoyed all of it, at the given moment it was what I chose to listen to. How can I possibly answer what my favorite music is? It depends on the circumstance and even then it’s not always the same.

The point of this ramble is that we live in a vast world where we can experience so many different things. There are tons and tons of things out there to experience and so often we get locked into things that we like and we stop exploring. We stop looking for the new exciting thing and we settle for what we know we like. Despite having set out to try as many different varieties of a few choice things as I can in life I am still lacking in this area. I am set in some things and have been for years. I have my favorite deodorant that I have used since I started using deodorant, same with shave gel and razors. It’s not that I haven’t tried other brands with those items it’s just that I keep going back to what I like.

The challenge here is to always try something new. Try something new every day if you can. You never know if you might find something that you like.