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Realistic Success Stories for Motivation?


Saorsa

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I've moved into the stage of trying to build muscle and strength, not focusing as much on weight loss. I've tried to look up successful before and after stories but they either 1) look possibly fake OR 2) women who lost a little weight, so the before and after of getting "super fit" isn't relate-able. Or they were never that out of shape to begin with. <.< I'm not in the "tying to lose 70+ lbs" phase anymore, but I'm not in the "just need to gain 4 lbs muscle and run a marathon" phase either. I'm trying to get to the next level, to be fit and strong, but finding a role model or inspiration has been difficult. I need more advice than "just eat veggies instead of chips" variety. I'm proud of myself for getting this far, but my end goal feels impossible now. 

 

I did sign up for a mud run in June, to give myself some forced motivation. I don't want to show up out of shape!

 

Do you have female fitness or health success stories you follow? Any realistic before/after stories? Am I gonna have to suck it up and hire a personal trainer? :/ Someone invited me to Jiu Jitsu class, but I couldn't afford the gym's membership. :(

 

Thanks. I'm just feeling stuck and can't seem to find what I'm looking for.

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"The brave men did not kill dragons. The brave men rode them." - GoT

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This may not be the answer you are looking for, but when I am looking for inspiration like you are describing, I come see what other people on these boards are doing. This board is where I find people who  for the most part, have an unathletic back story, and yet do things like OCRs, and weight lifting, and cool gymnastic stuff that always inspire me. To me, seeing these real people, who I know it isn't always easy, continue to strive and work hard is the most inspiring.

 

I also am a total American Ninja Warrior fan, and I like Jessie Graff, Barclay Stocketts, and Island Ninja's Instagram. But , most of them have been athletes all their lives. They are cool, and inspiring  in a different way

 

 

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Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

Elastigirl:Luck Favors The Prepared - Current Challenge: August 1 to September 4 - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

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16 hours ago, Saorsa said:

I've moved into the stage of trying to build muscle and strength, not focusing as much on weight loss. I've tried to look up successful before and after stories but they either 1) look possibly fake OR 2) women who lost a little weight, so the before and after of getting "super fit" isn't relate-able. Or they were never that out of shape to begin with. <.< I'm not in the "tying to lose 70+ lbs" phase anymore, but I'm not in the "just need to gain 4 lbs muscle and run a marathon" phase either. I'm trying to get to the next level, to be fit and strong, but finding a role model or inspiration has been difficult. I need more advice than "just eat veggies instead of chips" variety. I'm proud of myself for getting this far, but my end goal feels impossible now. 

 

I did sign up for a mud run in June, to give myself some forced motivation. I don't want to show up out of shape!

 

Do you have female fitness or health success stories you follow? Any realistic before/after stories? Am I gonna have to suck it up and hire a personal trainer? :/ Someone invited me to Jiu Jitsu class, but I couldn't afford the gym's membership. :(

 

Thanks. I'm just feeling stuck and can't seem to find what I'm looking for.



Yeah, internet before and afters are a bit hard to swallow. I've spent a lot of time looking enviously at people's first year lifting gains on the internet. Interestingly people here on the forum have confirmed that there's more variation in what ordinary people can achieve and my results are not as pitiful as I imagined. I second elastigirl, the people here in the forums are inspiring. Maybe spend some time doing challenges and following along with other people's, and if you see an awesome achievement, maybe even ask them where they started. 


But what exactly are you looking for? Where are you now, and what's your end goal? I know you wrote you want to be fit and strong, but you said it feels impossible, so I'm wondering if you either have a very clear but unrealistic goal, or maybe a very vague goal--either one of these could make it difficult for you to imagine yourself achieving them. So maybe tell us what your level is now, and have a think about what concrete, realistic goals you want to hit. Never lifted and want to get to novice lifting numbers? Lifted a little and want to hit intermediate numbers? Completely sedentary and want to run 5 miles without stopping? Or already run a bit and want to do a marathon? 

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Hey Saorsa, I'll echo what Elastigirl and Harriet said: everyone progresses differently! But it also very much matters in what your goals are, and what your time/work expectations are to get there.

 

If you're looking to lose a bit of fat still, improve overall conditioning, and maybe add some muscle for better shape, then the steps are typically: eat .7-1g protein/lb of bodyweight/day, each minimum 4-6 veggies/day, do full body resistance training 2-4x a week, do active recovery and/or gentle cardio (walking, rowing, hiking, climbing, swimming, etc.) on the other days, sleep 8hrs/night, meditate/gratitude journal for stress management, and eating something close to your TDEE to either slowly add lean mass or slowly lose fat. The degree of resistance training and how hard you can train cardio can be regressed/progressed to match your own levels, and  as your fitness goals change.

 

For the mud run specifically, @Elastigirl and other Rangers can probably give you some tips on what training will help you to succeed (likely involves quite a bit of grip work and upper body pulling, especially for women).

 

For places to look for real before/after/progress stuff? NF Academy has some - so does Mark's Daily Apple. Precision Nutrition has interesting before/afters, but I hate their website since it keeps asking for you to sign up for shit. Even google can point you in the direction of some more realistic examples - but at the end of the day, we have no control over how our bodies will react to the changes we make. We can't force our body to lose fat or to put on muscle, or to get healthier (ie. outcomes); all we can do is structure our habits and behaviours (ie. actions), and hope for the best.

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@Elastigirl You're so right. Thanks! I think I had blinders on because I want to look like the super athletes I see on IG, which is unrealistic probably. Social can be so curated but it's hard not to lose myself in it. If that makes sense? Plus, none of my friends are really into sports or fitness, so I find myself at a loss sometimes. 

 

@Harriet That's part of my problem. I'm not sure what my goal is...I mean, I have an idea, but I'm not sure what it looks like for me or how to get there. Part of me wants to looks like the women I see with strong legs and nice arms that can lift heavy things and kick butt. Then I look at myself and wonder how I could ever get there. One time I made my goal 125 lbs, since the fitness blogs kept talking about getting to a low body fat number, but when I get close to 125 lbs, my friends comment with "concern" and I still see fat and do not look fit. Am I not strength training enough? If I had a magic wand, I would bop myself into being the new Lara Croft.  It's hard for me to not feel like my body is broken, if that makes sense? Where I'm at, I can do basic things without being too tired. I can do the basic body weight workout but I don't feel like I'm getting stronger. However, I don't get as winded playing games with friends. I was the only person in my crew not tuckered out after a few rounds of laser tag. I don't know the best way to measure my fitness or what goals to work for in that aspect. I'm in my healthy weight range, but I still seem to have more visible fat than I feel comfortable with. I eat relatively healthy, as my PCOS keeps me in line. Counting calories really stresses me out, because I start to obsess over numbers. I will say, I'm not a fan of lots of running, because I was raised by a Marine who made me run a lot as a family activity. I find it boring now! I'm interested in weight lifting, but I'm between jobs right now so I can't afford the gyms in my city. 

 

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"The brave men did not kill dragons. The brave men rode them." - GoT

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1 hour ago, Saorsa said:

 I want to look like the super athletes I see on IG, which is unrealistic probably


Sigh, me too. Unrealistic definitely. 
 

1 hour ago, Saorsa said:

when I get close to 125 lbs, my friends comment with "concern" and I still see fat and do not look fit.


So, you might be skinny-fat (high body fat percentage, low muscle mass. People who are skinny fat look a normal size in clothes, but might not be happy with their shape) I was skinny fat--I got down to 58kg and was still super unhappy with how I looked - bad posture, belly sticking out, big but shapeless butt, muffin top.... but I couldn't seem to lose any more weight. Then I put on about 8 or 9kg whilst weight lifting, and I look so much better now. If you're skinny fat, putting on muscle would definitely help. I feel like barbells are the easiest way to do that, but you can still do it with bodyweight exercises. It might be worth setting a goal and asking in the bodyweight forums for more specific advice. Just pop over there and ask them what it takes to put on muscle with bodyweight exercises. 

 

Alternatively, maybe you just have warped body image from seeing so many perfectly edited images... I also struggle with this. But I feel like setting the goal of putting on muscle can't hurt, as long as you don't get too obsessive or self-critical about how long it takes. You know best if that's likely. There are some supportive forums here on this topic, as well. Please be honest with yourself and don't do anything to compromise your health. Unless you're quite short you probably don't need to be under 125lb. 

 

1 hour ago, Saorsa said:

I can do the basic body weight workout but I don't feel like I'm getting stronger. However, I don't get as winded playing games with friends. I was the only person in my crew not tuckered out after a few rounds of laser tag. I don't know the best way to measure my fitness or what goals to work for in that aspect.

 

I guess it would be good for you to track your bodyweight exercises so you know if you're improving. Take note of how many sets/reps you can do and how much rest you need in between. And find a way to make it more difficult each time, either with more sets (up to five), more reps (up to twelve), less rest, or a more difficult variation of the same exercise. When you say you're not getting stronger, have you tried making things more difficult? What happens when you do that? Do you fail? If you wait to "feel" stronger before increasing the difficulty, that could hold you back. I did the same thing with my deadlifts. I got psyched out each time I got up to around my bodyweight and kept dropping back down. There was no need. Now, if I hit my assigned reps, I attempt something more difficult next time, no matter how I feel about it. To get stronger, you must increase the difficulty. To put on muscle mass, I would be looking to increase the reps of a certain exercise until you can do 12... then you have to find a more difficult version of that same exercise (just google "exercise name progression"). 

 

Why not set some ambitious goals, like x number of pushups, or pull-ups, or mastering the pistol squat (starting with the easiest versions, of course). You can choose something else, but I feel it would be good to have a pushing, pulling, and legs movement that you set goals for. Having cool goals will give you something to work toward so you're not just thinking "oh, the beginner bodyweight routine... again".

 

2 hours ago, Saorsa said:

Counting calories really stresses me out, because I start to obsess over numbers. I will say, I'm not a fan of lots of running, because I was raised by a Marine who made me run a lot as a family activity. I find it boring now! I'm interested in weight lifting, but I'm between jobs right now so I can't afford the gyms in my city. 


Me too. I struggle with body image, and counting calories makes me neurotic and obsessed with food. At the moment I'm focusing on behavioural changes, not calories. And yeah, I hate running. Running is for zebras. Nature made us for walking, I'm sure. Weightlifting is the bomb. But you can do a lot at home, especially if you can afford to grab some resistance bands and dumbbells. I'm sure the nice people in the bodyweight forums and assassins' guild can give you more specific advice.

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Let cheese and bread and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination.

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15 hours ago, Saorsa said:

Elastigirl You're so right. Thanks! I think I had blinders on because I want to look like the super athletes I see on IG, which is unrealistic probably. Social can be so curated but it's hard not to lose myself in it. If that makes sense? Plus, none of my friends are really into sports or fitness, so I find myself at a loss sometimes. 

 

I think a lot of us do that. I like Harriet's idea of making a strength goal

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Wisdom 22.5   Dexterity 13   Charisma 15   Strength 21  Constitution-13

Elastigirl:Luck Favors The Prepared - Current Challenge: August 1 to September 4 - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

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