Saturday, March 12, 2016

My Tale of Shame Continued: Two Year Check in

A really great perspective to have in life is that one should be enjoying the journey and not looking forward to the destination. Often times the destination is made to be a bigger deal than what it is, and all that one could take in on a journey is missed in favor of anticipating the end.

I started with that because even though it's a cliche' meme, it is in fact true. For a little over two months my activity levels have been dropping and hit pretty much rock bottom almost a month ago. I had gotten to a point where there was only a thought of workout going. Truth is there is no reason or valid excuse. Simply put, I just wasn't feeling it and that is often times what I believe is the downfall of almost everyone. There is little one can do to motivate someone to do something their heart is not into. Sure the weather here in the northeast has been less than stellar, and I do believe I have been affected by S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) a bit but only mildly. By the way, if you believe you have suffered from, or may suffer from S.A.D it might be worth seeking help in some cases, I was just aware it wasn't very serious in my case. It's at your own discretion, but probably not a bad recommendation to do so. For me though, it seems more likely the gloomy days just led to me being deficient in vitamin D which can manifest in many ways, but low energy and focus is a common one.

Now, to be honest I also don't believe it was enough to keep me down. It really boils down to I did not want to train as much as I wanted to relax. This for me is an important distinction, I don't want to make excuses for anyone, but primarily myself. Being honest with yourself is crucial at all times but never more than when faced with making choices. To many, the choice to not exercise doesn't seem like a huge one, but when you see the consequences of making that choice in your friends, family, and even worse yourself one could understand why my attitude about it is so serious. I've documented my weight loss and fitness obsession on this blog, the podcast, and my instagram. I have accomplished some, but not quite exactly what had intended. While some of that is justified by legit setbacks like my shoulder injury, it is falling in to slumps and even worse my lack of effort to get out of them that really does the damage. Before falling into this I had been working on putting on more muscle, which worked to a degree, but the overall decline in activity also lead to a little fat gain as well. Nothing for me to be devastated about, but not to be proud of either. I am walking around at about 210 lbs now, which is where I would have liked to have been by the summer but with a much leaner composition. 

So with that said, it's obvious I faltered a bit and my goals will not be achieved in the timeline I envisioned. However, I want to point out some good reasons to allow slumps to happen here and there. The first which I don't feel was my case, but could be for others is over training. It wasn't till my good friend suggested it that I considered I may have been over training, or under recovering and that lead to my hiatus. This could be a good son to take some time off, I have been foolish enough to push through fatigue  or injury before to a negative result. Knowing when you're body needs a break is just as important as having the discipline to work when you don't want to, it s a distinction that can be hard to make but overtime becomes clearer. Also, if you're not focusing during workouts, especially one where your hoisting large iron objects or flinging them around the result can be disastrous. Though again, in my case  I believe it was about 80% laziness, my Achilles heel. I've also talked about how ways to keep things interesting in your fitness regimen on this post: and this one:

However, I have to take responsibility here. This wasn't a case of being bored, or injured, or not having time. It was me making poor choices and not acknowledging it. Something I have since done, today will be the second time this week I workout, not my best but an improvement from not doing a single workout in three to four weeks. But a good patter is starting to reshape, and I am fully diving back in. 

There was one small victory in all this. During my lazy period, I also slipped up on my diet plenty. But I did manage to get some research in about different diets and all that. I likely will not be getting into anything specific like Paleo or whatever but I did decide I wanted to get into macros tracking. To aid in that I purchased this food scale from amazon. I did try it once, it was pretty easy to use and allows you to deduct the weight of the container your food item sits in, but you can just weight the food directly on the scale, you'll just have to continuously clean it. I may do a review on it soon as well. 

Before I close out, I want to go back to my opening statement about enjoying the journey. I recognize how some can be come discouraged if they don't see the results they thought they would, perhaps some could learn to manage expectations better. Also, it can be hard for some to slide backwards and feel like there's no point to get back to it. But honestly, I missed it and I'm happy to be getting back in the swing of things. Sure being jacked would be awesome, but A) it doesn't happen without the journey (work) and B) It's only sustainable by continuing on the journey. It's my failures that have given me the wisdom and fortitude to pick back up and move on. NOT the 50lb weight loss. It's the knowing how it feels to fail and working to not fail again. 

I said at the start of all this two years ago that I wanted to do this and inspire others who struggle with it. So I hope that by writing this entry, it may trigger at least one person to begin down their own path. And I'll leave it with one more cliche' meme that is absolutely true:


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Move of The Week: Front Lever

If you've ever spent any time on Youtube at all looking at fitness videos, you've probably come across the channel Strength Camp run by Elliot Hulse and/or the channel for The Barstarzz. Today while searching for videos to inspire me out of few week slump I decided to look up a video that would give me pointers on a move I had been working on when I hurt my shoulder little over a year ago. The front lever, a very advanced move you can find a ton of videos on, and one that gymnast and bar athletes love. It requires great core and back strength and control.

Mountaineer John Gill Practicing a front lever.
While it is a move that seems new to many, it actually has been around for plenty of time. And like most old school moves it reaps major benefits to master. For one, it requires multiple muscles to work together to control the body and hold the position. The type of strength it requires can translate well into other areas as well. For example, below is a picture of a famous mountaineer named John Gill, whom is considered by many to be the father of modern bouldering.

Now why did I choose to master this move? Well simply put it is because of it's degree of difficulty. It's just a high bar I set for myself for the challenge. I've talked to a lot of folks who can perform this move, and all advised the same. It's all in the core and lower back. Sure your shoulders and lats play a big role as well. But in talking to all these folks I've also received pointers on exercises I can do to  build my way up to this difficult move. All seemed like great suggestions, and much to my surprise all where featured in the video I mentioned earlier. Also, if you see the suggested exercises in this video, each one can be a move of the week in and of itself depending on your fitness level.

Before I leave you with the video for reference I'd like to say three very important things:

  1. This is not a move for beginners, please don't try this unless you are ready for it. Also try to have partner for help.
  2. Note the moves are sort of mentioned and shown in this video, there is no real prescription, but a suggestion to how one can incorporate them.
  3. Don't be surprised if it takes some time to get this down, unless you're already in great shape, this move WILL not come easy.
That's it, that's the move of the week. See the Video (Courtesy of  Strength Camp) Below.