Always finding a way…
For a big portion of my life I always found a way not to do workout, whether it was making excuses or spooning with her ugly sister procrastination, I think I always found a way not to go to a gym. The same behavior patterns manifested themselves in my eating, there was always one more day of eating crap, and then tomorrow I’ll get it together, to only find myself looking in the rearview of my car with a chulupa dripping from my fat lips.
Starting the workouts was far easier than getting the diet under control. Being from an immigrant family who has toiled 30 years in this country with little command of the English language, hard work was the foundation of my family’s entire existence in the US. In fact it was the guiding principle, that above all else determined focused effort is what produced results. For the most part it has worked out, yet similar to the lessons I have learned in watching my family’s socioeconomic climb from financial obscurity to living the American Dream, effort placed in the wrong endeavors can put you into a situation of nothing more than frustration, wasted time, and hardships.
Five years ago I weighed 443 lbs, 3 years ago I weighed 334 lbs, one year ago I weighed 364 lbs, 4 months ago I weighed 372 lbs, today I find myself just below 280 lbs.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but in reflecting over these numbers I have a mental image of that time and place. At 443 lbs I was a broken man, I found myself doing double takes of my reflection in a mirror or the window of an office building, nothing more than bitter hostility and a broken spirit. At 334 lbs I was excited about making progress and building a significant degree of momentum towards my end goal, I felt it would be a matter of months before I would weigh less than 300 lbs. At 364 lbs I was dejected, frustrated, pissed off, and incredulous that I was headed in the wrong direction in terms of my weight. At 372 lbs I was thoroughly frustrated and only weeks away from visiting a bariatric surgeon. Two years of on and off vigorous workouts, and nothing to show for it but an increasing waist line, and the reality that 400 lbs was a distinct possibility, and a bit of acceptance that perhaps I was meant to be a 400 pounder.
Today I find myself in unchartered waters, like Columbus I think I know where I’m headed, and have the utmost belief that I will get there, hoping that at the end of my voyage I don’t end up in a Spanish prison broke.
The reality of this evolving self that I have become, is it all started from a single desire to not want to die, which become a feeling of improving how I felt, which has now become a desire to create a level of elite athleticism, if nothing else as a proof to myself that I have the ability to undertake a colossal enterprise and see it through to a level of distinction that I could not imagine 5 years ago.
Getting to this point has been a result of making incremental changes, the way I view my workouts is that if I make small bits of progress each of my workouts that over the long term they will amount to monumental changes. I believe I have made the progress that I have because I have worked out more frequently than most people would because I wanted to have more opportunities to make incremental changes.
Two months ago I could barely do a proper squat without weight, this week I found myself squatting 265 lbs.
Eating has always been my problem and in the past it proved to be the most difficult part of my life to change, except today I find that it’s the easiest part because we have to eat multiple times a day, which means that if I set out to make small changes in my eating, I have 3-5 times a day that I can practice that change. Every new day provides another opportunity to test my resolve.
The hardest thing for me was giving up diet soda; I am a former Diet Soda Monkey Crackwhore. It wasn’t easy but I started by eliminating soda from my daily consumption, so I only drank it with meals. Then I reached a point where I would only drink it with one or two meals a day, until eventually I wasn’t drinking the crap at all.
In looking at this gigantic road that I’m traveling, I have to always be aware of the end goal (even when that goal is constantly changing or evolving this is for life so it’s a perpetual state of mind), and the big picture, but it’s in the daily moments that I make the necessary changes. In the moments, and instances of choice I have to decide, is this going to be a moment of progress or complacency. If it ends up as a moment of complacency I must be determined that the next opportunity will be one of progress. In that next state if I again find myself in a state of mediocrity, I have to strengthen my resolve and move forward knowing, not hoping that the next opportunity will be one of progress.
An ugly win is still a win.
In trying to always make that incremental progress in my workouts I am determined to give it my all during the entire workout, and then in the final stages of the entire work, I will find another gear.
Somewhere deep inside of each and every one of is the desire to achieve greatness, it doesn’t matter where that greatness may exist but it is a part of each person, I believe that it’s part of the human condition, for me it’s the only rational reason why we as a global culture are so infatuated with elite athletes. We find some solace in that we have lived to see someone attain that inner greatness, which has been forged by yeas of dedication and hard work which become an outward physical greatness.
From this place you will always find another gear.
This inner desire to be great is what has to push us through the toughest of times; it’s the energy from this underlying drive that we can channel to always push towards the top, like a mountaineer summiting Mount Everest, we must use the power from within to take single steps upward to the summit.
At 280 lbs I am not anywhere close to my goal weight, if I was summiting a mountain I probably would have just broken the tree line, yet when I look back towards the base I realize that my small steps of progress have amounted to significant levels of work surpassing more than half of the entire mountain. I have to proceed with the same desire to make incremental progress, while always sticking to my goals and retaining an understanding of the big picture.
We all have this ability, if we choose to find it.
08/16/2011 Daily Recap
I started my morning off with one extra long workout. When I woke up this morning, I felt awesome, and ready to put in some work. It had been more than a week since my last upper body work so I decided today would be dedicated to cardio and chest work.
I started the first part of my workout doing a session of treading on the Arc Trainer, I thought about doing treading on the treadmill but my left knee has been inflamed which gave me enough of an excuse not to run. Running sucks, I don’t get runners, people who like to run either have a propensity for the inane, or just enjoy monotonous repetitive behavior…I swear I’m not saying that runners have a degree of autism.
Treading is one of the cardio workouts I learned in Malibu a few months back, it’s a simple pattern of high intensity, followed by active recovery. The pattern starts with 5 minutes of high intensity work, followed by 5 minutes of active recovery, then transitions into 4 minutes of high intensity work, followed by 4 minutes of active recovery, and works its way down to 1 minute each of work and recovery.
At the end of the treading cycle, I had a good sweat going but decided I would do 5 sprints on the Arc Trainer so I could fill in the time and make it 45 minutes of cardio work. After I finished my session of cardio I changed into a new workout shirt, and headed back towards the free weights.
I started my weight training with some volume training. I did 5 unassisted push-ups and then 8 sit-ups at the top of each minute for ten minutes. It was taking me about 30 seconds to complete both the push-ups and the sit-ups during the first 4 rounds, as the time wore on my rest between sets of work got shorter. I was able to complete all the push-ups and sit-ups unassisted, a big win for this fat guy.
After my warm-up, I decided to start with dumbbell chest presses. Each set of chest presses was done as a superset with trunk lifts on a flat bench. The trunk lifts is my term for getting on a bench and then using your hips to lower and raise your legs to just past parallel with the bench and then brining your legs back to your chest. The work broke down as follows:
- 55 lbs x 12 reps
- 20 trunk lift
- 65 lbs x 10 reps
- 20 trunk lift
- 75 lbs x 6
- 20 trunk lift
- 80 lbs x 4
- 20 trunk lifts
After the dumbbell chest presses, I headed to an incline bench press wrack. I added 35 lbs plate on each side, and used the incline bench press as the first part of a three part circuit of work. I did 3 sets of the following:
- Incline Bench Press 105 lbs x 10 reps
- Resistance Ball Crunches with 15 lbs Body Bar x 25 reps
- Resistance ball chest press 30 lbs dumbbell x 20 reps per side
My final bit of work involved doing two sets of the following:
- Dumbbell Pullover 55 lbs x 10 Reps
- Dumbbell Close Grip Chest Press 55 lbs x 30 reps
- Triceps Pull down
- 90 lbs x 5 reps
- 80 lbs x 5 reps
- 70 lbs x 7 reps
- 60 lbs x 10 reps
- 50 lbs x 15 reps
- 40 lbs x 20 reps
- 30 lbs x 25 reps
I finished my two hour workout with 25 minutes of solid stretching. As I walked home I felt I had a great workout but at the same time was ready for more work. This is a good place to be on Tuesday.
Overall my eating today was good, yet my water intake was less than perfect. I’ve gotten lazy over the last two weeks not carrying around enough water with me, and not making an effort to buy bottles of water when I need it. It’s been quite some time that my pee has appeared a dark yellow color. I’m going to have try extra hard to rehydrate tonight, and make a serious effort to stay hydrated tomorrow.
Forming good habits is a difficult process, and trying to maintain those habits is even harder. It would be great if I could just program my brain by typing a few lines of code and uploading it into my frontal lobe.
Until that day comes I have to just keep pushing through the taking things as they come, and sticking to my guns. I know I can finish what I started, and get to the point in my life where my weight and body are part of my life and don’t consume my life.
I pine for this day…yes I did write fucking pine, I’m bringing that word back along with bama, jamoke, and motherfucking two ball bitch, well at least the first three.