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cn3wton, Battle log of Ages


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It's great to hear all that positivity and all the success you've seen so far.  

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Race: Amazonian Ogre Princess | Class: Ranger | Profession: SuperHero | Affiliation: Doodlie and Pancake for Life

Respawn Challenge Arcs: 2021 | 2022

 

I am not saying I am Wonder Woman. I am just saying no one has ever seen me and Wonder Woman together in the same room.

 

Original Spawn Challenges 2014 - 2020: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 789, 10, 11, 12 , 131415, 1617181920, 21, 2223242526272829303132, 33, 3435, 36??

Roadmaps: 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Starting weight = 290.4 (2014); Current weight = 241.2; Total pounds lost: 49.2

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18 hours ago, Shello said:

It's great to hear all that positivity and all the success you've seen so far.  

Thanks I was really excited to share with yall! I think about this community often!

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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Nutrition Thoughts.

 

I am going to do some ramblings to help me organize thoughts over the coming days and weeks. But one of the big things I have decided to commit myself to is helping others that have been extremely overweight. I have lost over 100lbs before, and I am close to doing that again. And while my current journey is far from complete, I feel a motivation like I haven't in a long time. The truth is we are inundated by influencers and people telling us how to get healthy and what to do, and 99.9% of them have NO idea what it is like to be where I was at. There are a few good ones. But the truth is I see more and more influencers showing wild transformations with clickbait headlines to sign up for something like private coaching than I have ever seen before.

 

The truth is finding someone experienced in an area you want to improve is vital to success. I will not deny that if you can afford to pay for a reputable service it is certainly worth it in the long run. However many cannot afford it. And worse yet I feel like many desperate people are falling into these traps and tricks by people who are clever at marketing. 

 

Anyways I want to talk about what I have learned now that my nutrition has finally stuck. 

 

Eat with Intention/Eat for a Goal.

Everyone tells you "You should eat X, Y, Z." But never really tells you WHY. Why do I want to eat certain proteins? Why do I want to avoid processed foods? WHY should I eat spinach or Broccoli or any vegetable when this guy over here eats pizza everyday and is shredded?

 

Finding an actual goal to work towards helps in all parts of life, but when it gets to nutrition the goal needs to be a bit more focused. It's too easy to say "I want to eat right to have more energy in the gym." "I want to eat better to lose weight."

 

HOW? How is what you are eating helping you in the gym? What are you eating to improve performance or to lose weight? And by the way both of these are pretty shit goals. Sorry but it's true. If any truly obese person is honest with you that has struggled for the majority of their life with being overweight losing weight is always a "goal". But its not a good one. The truth of the matter is with me and most everyone I talk to in my situation we understand fully how unhealthy we are, or were, and even knowing the damage we are doing getting healthy or losing weight as a goal IS NOT ENOUGH.

 

You may want to keep your true goal private, and that's okay. But for me I have decided I want to build a natural athletic physique. I have spent my entire life telling myself I could never have that, when the truth is quite the opposite. EVERY male member of my family on both sides has had an athletic physique in their lifetime. None of them have reached the level of obesity I have, even in older age or long periods of inactivity and heavy drinking. I know there is NOTHING genetically preventing me from having it. My grandfather had abs until the day he died in his 80's and NEVER went to the gym a day in his life.  Is it going to be easy? Hell no. But the only thing stopping me is me here.

 

Even this weight loss journey I spent MONTHS floundering with my nutrition. But there was always some form of intention. Which was primarily to eat less. However I could feel the drive and desire to continue waning. That's when I decided to set this goal. I like to call it "Building a body for weight loss." I highly doubt that this exact phrase has not been used before, and it is certainly not a novel concept. But My goal is to get stronger and build muscle. In turn this will burn more calories and help me slim down. My "diets" primary focus then is to build strength and performance in the gym. The truth is the weight loss is almost a secondary benefit.

 

So what am I doing?

My routine is repeatable, simple, and relatively affordable. With just enough variety. And anyone that has looked into weight loss in any way will recognize the simplicity of it.

 

Breakfast - Protein shake on drive in to work.

Lunch - High Protein meal with rice and vegetables.

Post Workout - Protein Shake

Dinner - High Protein Meal with rice and vegetables.

 

So what exactly is the lunch and dinner? And how do I do it with 0 prep?

Microwave and precooked chicken.

I buy bags of precooked proteins from the grocery store. Often called fajita chicken/steak. 1 bag is about 2-2.5 servings depending on brand and protein type. And is generally 35-40 grams of protein.

I get minute rice in pre portioned packages. They have tons of flavors. 

I get steam fresh broccoli and packaged baby spinach.

 

I throw the protein in first while I open the other stuff. Toss everything together on a plate with some sauce and dig in. I try to pick things like salsas for the sauce so its not adding a ton of calories.

 

But honestly the variety of stuff you can make with just these simple ingredients is astonishing. I bought prepackaged Tikka Masala sauce that makes it feel like I am (almost) eating at my favorite Indian restaurant. I have found salsas that bring the taste of this meal fairly close to chipotle flavor. You could put barbecue sauce on it, heck even pasta sauce on it. But I stick with the first 2.

 

Now the big reason is WHY. Why this? Apart from being about $5-$6 a meal despite portioned out sizes and it being super fast? 

Chicken - Why is chicken so popular? Because the majority of it is protein with not much else (as long as  you buy the right stuff.) Protein builds muscle. So its a no brainer.

Steak/Beef - There's a lot of discussion about red meats going around. But the truth is its also an excellent source of protein and some other nutrients you don't get from chicken. It is also delicious. So I try to have a steak option every 4th meal or so.

Rice - Carbs are not the enemy. Should you be eating tons of them? No. But <100g of carbs in a day is fine. Minute white rice as an example in 1 pre portioned serving has 39g of carbs. It also has 4 grams of protein. Make your own decision on brown vs white rice of course. It is also important to note that I RARELY eat all the rice. I focus on protein first, then vegetables, then finally the rice when eating. It is rare that I am hungry enough for that.

Spinach - Nitrates and other scientific things. Basically spinach has been proving to improve overall performance across the board. I throw it raw into pretty much everything but it can be prepared in a ton of ways to not stand out as much. But I like spinach. So I add this to my meals to gain the added nutrients and its benefits.

Broccoli - Packed with Vitamins and generally viewed as one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet it only gets better with broccoli as it also has protein in it.

 

So now, when I eat each of these things I tell myself "I am eating this because of X." And it WORKS. I feel the difference through diet change and supplementation. It is changing my brain to the ever important state of Food = Fuel NOT Food = Fun. 

 

Anyways it's a bit all over the place, but that's something I am currently thinking about and wanted to blurt out. I could talk for a lot longer and get even more nonsensical but nobody wants that.

 

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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12/27/2023

 

This was going to be a long day I knew it from the start. Despite that I was happy with how I performed.

 

Nutrition - Was another great day. I couldn't eat all of my dinner since I was too full. But thats OK. 

 

Workout 

Deadlift 5x5 @ 165lbs

I actually skipped ahead to next weeks weight by accident but this felt REALLY good. In part due to previous weeks mostly being catchup or disorganized, but also because I am getting the confidence and form back. I actually did 7 reps on the last set and likely could have done more (and probably should have). I could get all in my head about what I used to do vs what I am doing now. But that helps no one.

 

Prowler

Pushing the prowler with 85lbs on it down and back kicked my ASS. I averaged a 18 second trip. And I really tried to focus on my breathing and slowing my heartrate which seemed to help a bit. At first I was worried 7 rounds wasn't going to be enough haha.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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I want to ramble about some things here. If you can follow along great!

 

I've been thinking a lot about my ideal physique. Pertaining specifically to goal weight and body composition. While I enjoy isolated growth of muscles and strength training my goal is not to pursue true bodybuilding. But at the same time I am looking at myself with a non critical eye for the first time in probably forever. I understand what realistic physique is for people my height. I am surrounded by it at the gym on a daily basis in the form of people I call friends and know what they are doing. I know what's realistic and what's movie magic right.

 

So why have I told myself I can't have things for so long? Embarrassment has always been a big one. When I was 390lbs and in that mental state I would never have told  you "I want to have visible abs one day." Even when I was skinny I never looked at myself with pride and respect. I was always so critical of myself and pushed myself into a box of what "realistic for me" meant. Realistic for me meant strong but far from the strongest, thin but not done, with strong abdominals but never low enough in bf to see them visibly. And as embarrassing as this is to say I never really saw myself as someone anyone would be attracted to. And I honestly treated myself as an after thought.

 

When I lost weight before things did change in a more positive light. I certainly learned that at least some people found me attractive (some more directly than others). But I still realize now that I was still holding myself back and limiting myself because I refused to see the potential in myself. Always afraid to commit to something due to what other people would think.

 

I can't tell you that I am 100% now, but I am in the best place mentally I have ever been. Compliments, catching someone checking me out, all of these things are starting to happen again NOT just because of weight loss. But because of the newfound confidence and care I take of myself. I have put other people ahead of myself my entire life, and this is an admirable thing but when it has reached the point it has for me that its devastating to my own health I have to take a step back and know that I am worth the time.

 

So back to what I talked about originally which is ideal physique.

 

If you asked me before I would have said 180lbs, 15-20% bodyfat. I would never be the strongest in the room. I would never be "cut" and in fact told myself that it was stupid to try and people only do it for vanity anyways (that's a whole other rant I want to have). 

 

Now I am still quite searching for how to put it into words. But I know a big thing is building visible muscles. And a huge part of this is to help with loose skin. I was fortunate that when I lost weight before I didn't have much if any of this. I tend to carry and lose weight pretty evenly distributed across my body. Even now my pant and shirt sized hasn't changed much at all despite losing nearly 100lbs. Sure they fit MUCH MUCH BETTER. And I am not reliant on stretch materials and I likely needed bigger clothing. According to the internet and professionals someone of my height should be between 150-180 lbs.  

 

I told myself before that I would never want to get below 180. I can't help but think WHY NOT!? And scream at my past self. I was unhappy with progress in the gym. I was happy to be skinnier but secretly deep down I knew I wanted more. I wanted to have more visible muscle. I didn't want to be just okay with taking my shirt off in public I wanted to be PROUD.  

 

The truth is I don't know what my goal weight will be. I don't know what my body fat percentage will need to be. I know that I will ALWAYS prioritize my health over everything. Instead I want to build a physique with intention. I want to kick my own self and say hey, see, you can do it its just really fucking hard. And no excuses! You may look online and see something about how people with better genetics are more likely to have abs and its harder to achieve for those that aren't born with it. Hard is NOT impossible. I see people around me every day who have done the hard things to get where they are at. Some have lost weight to reach their goal, others had to struggle to put on weight. 

 

I'm probably going to end up coming back within the hour and ramble about how I twisted my own brain up to make excuses claiming things like vanity and all that shit. To me getting all this stuff out is what has always helped. 

 

If you made it this far thanks! At the end of the day I am on the right path and am sure to share more about how I know that in the coming days a weeks!

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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Hey everybody lets talk about Vanity, and how I used it as an excuse to limit myself pretty much my entire life.

 

Vain/Vanity Definition - having or showing an excessively high opinion of one's appearance, abilities, or worth.

 

So I want to preface this. There are certainly vain people. I've seen people think they were the next greatest thing, or smartest, or best at something. I think we all have. 

 

But there is something in that definition that I CHOSE to overlook my entire life. And that is the word EXCESSIVELY. For my entire life I looked at taking even a remote amount of pride in your appearance, abilities, or worth as vanity. I never boasted about what I could do or things that I had. Which of course is a good thing. But I never felt PRIDE over any of these things either. This has been a really big revelation for me as I think about my life and everything going on.

 

So how does vanity pertain to my fitness journey? Well it's pretty simple. I grew up thinking that focusing on your body in any way was vanity. Even when I lost weight I intentionally avoided trying to focus on the physical aspects. I refused to believe that I could be in really great shape and look good because I SHOULDN'T WANT THAT. I used to pick on my friends routines for going out. How he would do his hair and take 15-20 minutes to get ready to go anywhere. I realize now I was simply jealous, and that deep down I was angry that I did not take the same pride in myself. 

 

As I previously said on top of vanity I convinced myself that it was embarrassing to want to be fit. To want to try to focus on improving my physical appearance not JUST my fitness. I was convinced a guy shouldn't care how they look.  It's only now I realize just how twisted up my own head was about my own self worth and image. And how I limited myself to not wanting things for the dumbest of reasons...

 

Well that is gone now. No more telling myself I can't do something. No more reasoning it out or this or that. If I want something I am going to bust my ass to get it.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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Talk about a strong comeback! Great to have you back, first and foremost, but that update was *chef kiss*. You've hit every nail right on the head, from mental health (which I personally believe to be the foundation of everything) to finding the right workout, nutrition and weight loss.

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Lvl 58 Multitasker

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2 hours ago, DarK_RaideR said:

Talk about a strong comeback! Great to have you back, first and foremost, but that update was *chef kiss*. You've hit every nail right on the head, from mental health (which I personally believe to be the foundation of everything) to finding the right workout, nutrition and weight loss.

 

Thanks brother it's so good to see you again! 

 

You are absolutely right mental health has been my missing ingredient for SO LONG.

 

I am openly talking with friends about my mental state both now and in the past, and it's crazy to me how many are SHOCKED to hear how I used to feel. My friend from the gym 7 years ago that I am working out again with had NO IDEA and couldn't believe it. He's been a crucial part to my return as well. Things seem to be falling back into place.

  • That's Metal 2

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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Giving myself an inch and I didn't take a mile!

 

I have been stuck at the same weight for 2-3 weeks now but feeling better every day. I can now officially fit in pants 4 sizes smaller than the ones I used to wear and rely on the stretch for. 6 sizes from the biggest pair I have ever owned. So that's pretty neat.

 

But I won't lie yesterday (Sunday) was a bit of a low day. I was late for the gym and my cousin no showed (he was apologetic but he is much younger than I so I get it.) I did feel like I crushed the workout for my arms though despite the overall trip to the gym being short.

 

I was not hungry but it was the first day on my way back I was craving something. At first I told myself no way, I'm so close to my goal I can't screw it up now. And I immediately thought about it again and said, no. I have been doing well, here's the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the craving and see how I feel. So I stopped at dunkin, got an unsweet tea, and egg and cheese on a croissant, and a donut. And let me tell you the donut was NOT worth it. After eating it I was like "meh". And today I am back into the routine again. But I think this is a huge step in the right direction for me. Instead of flat out denying myself something I thought through it reasonably and took stock of how it made me feel. And truthfully it was not worth it as I was hungry the ENTIRE day after. 

 

I will continue to see how it affects me today (I am a bit hungrier than normal this AM). But it has been a good experience so far. I am not beating myself up about it, but instead moving on. 

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  • That's Metal 1

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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I figured I'd break down a couple workouts here as a way to get them written down, even though I track on paper and in a spreadsheet. Extra eyes always help!

 

Acessory Work, Day 1 (Tuesdays) - Arms and Legs

Arms

Straight Bar Tricep Push Down - 4 sets to failure - 60lbs

Overhead Cable Tricep Extensions - 3 sets to failure - 40lbs

Cross cable Tricep Extension - cannot perform in my gym will need to replace

Standing hammer curls - 2 heavy sets - 25lbs each hand alternating for 8

machine Bicep curl - 3 heavy sets - 65lbs

EZ Bar curl - 2 heavy sets - 40lbs

Dumbbell Preacher Curl - Sitting on Bench - 15lbs (my arms were gassed by this point)

 

Legs

Leg Curl - 5x85

Leg Extension - 5x85

Leg Press - 5 x ??? - Two women took both the machines right at the end of my workout so I decided to do something else and get out since they had been at the last machine they were on for 30 mins I figured this would happen again.

 

The legs portion of this day is okay, and I will likely stick with it for now as I build up the confidence and form on the movements. Right now its about making sure I am doing it right than it is pushing myself to failure. I don't need an injury.

 

My second accessory day is Chest and Back, but I need to revisit that program.

 

New workout

The 5PMC (5pm Crew) - Inspired by the old crew I used to work out with, working on getting them back to working out with me (got 1 so far!)

This is a strongman inspired team workout. Ideally my current vision of this workout is as follows.

At LEAST 3 people. 5 Rounds.

Partner 1 - Heavy slam ball from ground over shoulder (reps determined by person, but at least 2), followed by a heavy farmers carry down and back.

Partner 2 - Rest

Partner 3 - Push sled down and back @ 200lbs. Final score will be how many completed trips the sled takes in 5 rounds.

 

Once partner 1 is done with the farmers carry every shifts up one. Meaning that partner 1 will go push the sled, while partner 3 will rest. A fourth person would add another rest before the heavy prowler push. 

 

The whole idea of this is to do HEAVY work. I have ideas to add even more to this as we develop. But I want to continue to build this up!

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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Dating Rant

 

So like many 30+ year old's in the dating scene it seems apps are pretty much the only option. Especially with my busy schedule. A lot of people bash the apps and I get part of that for sure. But me personally I have been mostly enjoying it so far. I had some help getting updated photos and started on a different app and have been fairly happy with a couple matches each day. That ALONE is a pretty big confidence booster for me. 

 

I have 0 problems holding conversations with anyone, including women, but when it comes to the more relationship driven side of things I am so far out of my comfort zone its ridiculous.  Someone saying hello with "Hey Handsome..." was enough to throw me for a loop, which really just shows me how low my self confidence was before and how I still have work to do. My mind immediately goes to not so great places when someone says something like that. But that is slowly changing.

 

The other problem with online dating at this age especially is that so many people are looking to jump right into a relationship or step on the gas. I went on 2 dates with a woman that I just don't see going anywhere other than friendship for a whole lot of reasons. So now that's another thing I have to deal with. It's a bit of a mess if I am being honest and don't want to reveal too much about her. But she's got a lot of bad shit going on in her life, along with a very difficult life situation in general. Every other conversation with her is depressing as hell. And I just can't be around that like that especially in a more committed way. I think ahead to what a relationship would look like with her and it's honestly pretty dark. I have difficulty with it because I understand things have been extremely hard for her. But I cannot take care of someone to that extreme level right now. Especially when we've only met in person a handful of times and they are already leaning on me for emotional support like we've known each other for years.

 

I will of course speak with her about this in a gentle way at our next meeting. But I can't say I am looking forward to it. I would honestly like to spend time with her as friends. But the spark is just not there.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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Youtube, Influencers, and all these people telling you what to do.

 

As I said previously something I see a lot of recently that really upsets me is posts of "I lost 200lbs in a year" showing a drastic change to a completely shredded physique with links for private coaching and no information whatsover. Maybe there are some actual good folks here with the right intentions but I worry more that its people taking advantage of desperate folks.

 

The truth about the internet is that there is tons of great information on the internet to learn and really get a good amount of information from. I recently stumbled upon Renaissance Periodization. I have only watched a few of the videos but so far they really click with me and my current mindset. No nonsense, funny but serious and helpful. Also seems to be backed by real knowledge and also willing to accept when they did something wrong in the past and how to improve. Because no one is perfect. The app they push actually seems to be unique and an actual helpful tool. Though I have not yet looked into it myself.

 

I am going to also start doing some research into what a weight loss plateau actually is and why it happens. If you ask pretty much any honest professional they say its going to happen. Knowing me and how my brain works if I understand it right and have a plan I will handle them much better than I currently am. 

 

That's it for now, will likely check back in in a bit when I have done some more research.

 

  • Like 4

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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Maintenance on a Diet?

 

So as promised I did some googling and video watching after my last post and I stumbled upon the idea of structuring weight loss in a certain amount of time followed by a "maintenance" period of a certain amount of time. 

 

The more I look into it the more it makes sense logically, but I want to dig into the topic a bit more when I have the time. But in general the idea is Diet Fatigue. Basically your body has been at a deficit for long your body isn't burning the same amount of calories a day as you thought it did. Which is funny because one of the things they mentioned was suddenly not walking as much or moving around as much outside of workouts. Which is something I definitely noticed. I also noticed decreased energy and restfulness in the past 2 weeks or so. 

 

The general strategy that seems to appeal is the idea to up calories incrementally each week. You should maintain or even sometimes lose weight this way, when paired with increased movement by having more energy. To give you an idea.

 

My calories per day at my estimated "ideal" bodyweight with current muscle mass is something around 180lbs. According to this super fancy machine at the gym that means I am looking at about 1800 kcal a day to maintain everything. Since I am currently over 100lbs heavier than that, I am in a pretty big deficit from that setting that as my goal already. And I have been aiming for that goal for at LEAST 4-6 months. And have been losing weight for a year or so. So this all seems to align pretty well. I lost some weight when I got sick before this current plateau, but that followed by excellent clean eating does make sense. 

 

I guess before I ramble too much talking about something I know nothing about, I guess Ill just say what my plan is.

 

1 - This week I am raising my KCAL goal to 2000. BUT I am not going to eat anything different just more of the things I am currently eating. With an emphasis of trying to get more veggies in and not relying on protein shakes.

2 - On top of the awesome workouts I am doing at the gym already, making sure I am getting up and moving around at work more. No more 3-4hour long stints of sitting in my chair.

3 - PROTEIN - I must still hit the minimum protein goal as well. It is kind of covered in part 1 but its so important figured I'd put it in there again.

 

So with that plan in place lets see how things go. My hope is that in 2 weeks or so I will be reenergized and ready to commit to a bigger deficit again.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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fwiw, I'm in a maintenance phase right now, the first time I've ever done it. I'm looking forward to hitting another weightloss cycle once the holidays pass but it's been nice to not see any post diet rebound, because I'm not post diet, I'm just maintaining. It's also given me some time to let my body settle into its look and for me to adjust to it.

My maintenance looks similar to your enumerated list. I still track my calories and aim for a goal. I still workout. I still track my macros and try to prioritize Protein. It's also been a good time to experiment a little. If I have a couple glasses of wine or grab a burger after a really hard workout, how does my body react. since I'm not trying to lose, I can see a couple weeks in a row if I have a salt rebalance or my cravings go crazy or what. 

I'm increasingly looking forward to my next fat loss phase which is kind of exciting. I feel like I've been practicing this whole time and so it'll be time. 

 

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You can't spell Slaughter without laughter

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2 minutes ago, The Most Loathed said:

I'm increasingly looking forward to my next fat loss phase which is kind of exciting. I feel like I've been practicing this whole time and so it'll be time. 

 

This right here is exactly what one of the guys in one of the many videos I have been listening to on YouTube said. I think the most important thing is what you said at the start to. Your shifting your focus from losing weight to a different goal of maintenance. Which also helps for mindset changes when you do eventually end up at the weight you want. One of the biggest things he said in the video was you do maintenance until deep down you know you are ready to diet again and are excited for it. 

 

The big thing I am going to experiment with this is trying to see connections between how I am eating and energy. From waking up in the morning to longer days. About a month ago I was in an amazing position where all I needed was 7 hours of sleep to feel rested. While most of my adult life if I didn't get AT LEAST 8 usually more like 10 I was beat all day. But around then I had energy throughout the day even when working my day job and at my own business at night. 

 

Renaissance Periodization is the name of the YouTube channel I have been most recently listening to. It's definitely not for everyone but I do believe that the information that is shared is factual and well researched.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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50 minutes ago, The Most Loathed said:

Yeah, I figured we were both listening to Dr. Mike. His diet advice has been the best I've ever had.

 

As someone who struggles with sleep I'll encourage you to lean towards sleep, not away, but I totally understand the idea of wanting to cram more into their day.

 

Yea Dr. Mike is freaking awesome so far.

 

A big problem with the sleep I have mostly solved was sleep apnea (now have a machine.)

 

But the big problem I have is waking up after 8 hours and being up. So instead of getting up and going I go back to sleep because the alarm hasn't sounded yet. Which is really bad.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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Renaissance Periodization - Dr. Mike

 

What an amazing find on YouTube! I will prewarn anyone that his sense of humor is a bit raunchy at times and certainly not for everyone (especially younglings).

 

But I have been voraciously watching all of his content and I love it. His video about "Health At Every Size" is incredible and such a well thought out and honest stance at it. I personally think he hits the nail on the head with it.

 

I believe my plan is going to be that when my current workout cycle ends I am going to pick up his app and start a new strength based routine using that.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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1 hour ago, cn3wton said:

I believe my plan is going to be that when my current workout cycle ends I am going to pick up his app and start a new strength based routine using that.

Let me know anything you want to know about the app. I'm two weeks in so I don't know everything but I can send screenshots and share any details you want. 

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You can't spell Slaughter without laughter

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Depression, Motivation, and Mental Health

 

I have not been quiet about my mental health journey over the last 1-2 years. I have posted about it some here, but I am also open and honest about it in my real life. I realize now that my brain hasn't worked "right" ever. Which is also a horrible way to look at it. Everyone is different, and I don't think there is any such thing as normal. But I can say with confidence that I have never been driven to do ANYTHING. My younger years were just going with the flow and whatever I wanted to do at the moment. Which included a TON of video games. I wasn't totally inactive like some of my peers. I still did sports and other things. But I realize that I never took anything truly serious, or if I did, it was for a very short amount of time. I did things because I had to not really wanted to. Even now I can't really even tell you WHY I did anything growing up. Why did I play golf? Because my dad did and I liked spending time with him. I joined the golf team because it seemed like something I should do. I didn't practice in my off time to get better. I never felt like I had a chance at winning the tournaments we went to or shooting the lowest score. Same with baseball. Why'd I play video games? Because they were fun and I was good at them. Why'd I join honor society? Because my grades were good enough and my mom insisted. I never went to any of the meetings. Why did I draw? Because I liked to. I would buy how to draw books and use them for at most a few weeks then stop. I never thought I could do anything real with it as a hobby. 

 

What did I want to be when I grew up? I had no clue. When we had a school project involving this I literally just picked whatever had the highest number for salary and picked that. (At the time it was computer science). And somehow that insignificant decision led me to going to college for computer science.

 

It's a hard thing to describe to be people. It's not like I don't/didn't have wants and desires. And it's not like I never enjoyed myself. I truly had an amazing childhood full of awesome memories. But one of the things I told my parents recently was "I wish I had just stuck with something." 

 

In my journey I have learned a lot about myself and why I do what I do and did what I did. "Officially" I have ADHD and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Which basically means I find it hard to focus on something that I don't enjoy. And to top that off, I think it's pointless to do something unless I can do it perfectly in one shot. Sounds like a pretty bad combo to me, and it honestly explains my life perfectly. Why didn't I draw more? I'm never gonna be the best at it so why bother? Why not finish that project? I don't have the time to finish it in one go so I can't do it. My best artworks were 6-8 hour stints of painting the same thing. I would NEVER go back and touch something up or continue to develop it. My figure drawing teacher called me "The expert at roughing in." AKA Getting something drawn and done on the page and not rendering it and finishing it.

 

This exploration into my state of mind has been eye opening and life changing in so many ways. I am looking at myself differently and how I approach things differently. But I am also FAR from perfect. But it's learning to acknowledge and accept these lapses and moving forward that is a huge help.

 

Case in point is overtraining and doing too much. Before I had a tendency to do Strongman training, CrossFit, Powerlifting, and yoga all at once. That is only not sustainable for someone with a "real" job and life, but it's also a horrible way to get good at pretty much nothing. I almost fell into the same trap with my current training. I have a 12 week program set up that I am just about half way through. And now I am finding more training that I want to try that I feel would better suit my goals and I want to either drastically change what I am doing or drop it all together. Instead I am committed to finishing this cycle. Because if I take an honest look at where I am at RIGHT NOW I don't need some hyper optimized hypertrophic workout to improve. I am setting a routine and doing SOMETHING. Which is far better than nothing. And the truth is what I am doing is NOT ALL THAT BAD either.

 

This diet fatigue thing hit me real hard and DEFINITELY plays a big part in amplifying my mental health issues. A big part being just not wanting to do anything at all. This has started affecting my own business and I have been pushing off shipping 20 orders the last few days solely because I was just too tired. My business partner knows my current state and offered to help but I told him no. 1 because of my stupid pride and 2 because I just wanted to get the hell out that day. I have been meaning to paint the walls in my kitchen and dining room for 3 weeks. So yesterday I FINALLY just told myself on my trip back from Chipotle that I was just going to do it. It all ties together, I can feel my energy improving and that helps me push through these slumps. And honestly I did a freaking great job painting the walls. I cut it in by hand (no tape), and honestly there was NO touchup needed. The only places I need to touch up are due to tripping when I was rolling the wall! I hit the ceiling in one portion while painting after tripping over something at my feet. And then I lost my balance near a window and painted the window haha. 

 

In summary I always thought mental health issues would be some readily apparent thing. Like the people that know KNOW. In truth I think its mainly the opposite. And unless you show obvious external signs and family or friends notice, you silently suffer having no idea what's going on. It's not always obvious. It's not always some drastic change. Improvement takes time and its not like flipping a switch on and off for everyone. Sure there are some medications for certain people that might do that. But personally that is not the case. Instead I have to look at where I was and compare to where I am now and see the massive changes. I am currently weaning myself off of 1 medication. With plans to do the same with another in the new year. As long as it goes well I want to do the same with my ADHD med by the end of 2024. But at the same time I now know myself and my brain better. And if I need medication to maintain this healthier state then so be it. It is my hope that with a better diet and weight loss I can find solutions that don't require medication. But we shall see.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

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6 minutes ago, The Most Loathed said:

Let me know anything you want to know about the app. I'm two weeks in so I don't know everything but I can send screenshots and share any details you want. 

 

Thanks man I will likely take you up on that!

 

My big thing will be getting on a plan to increase strength and muscle growth in a pretty even way. But I am interested to see if they have anything recommended for weight loss and muscle maintenance in there as well. Just trying to see how easy it will be to find the workout that will work for me in the app.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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2 minutes ago, cn3wton said:

My big thing will be getting on a plan to increase strength and muscle growth in a pretty even way. But I am interested to see if they have anything recommended for weight loss and muscle maintenance in there as well. Just trying to see how easy it will be to find the workout that will work for me in the app.

I'll say, it's a hypertrophy app, that's it. It is incredibly stripped down. There are not articles, no advice, no settings for strength vs muscle size. The settings are: what days do you train, which muscles groups on those days, and then you enter your reps. That's the whole deal. So, if you want to balance other priorities, this app is not your best choice. For me, my lifting right now is straight hypertrophy so it's great. It doesn't allow me to fall to my strength building habits.

Since you follow Dr. Mike, you know he's not into working out for working out's sake. He wants to maximize muscle gain against fatigue, that's the ethos behind this app. So five sets in an exercise is totally normal, 15-20 reps, totally normal, but only a couple exercises per muscle group.

 

8 minutes ago, cn3wton said:

I realize now that my brain hasn't worked "right" ever.

I will say that most of what you describe seems totally normal. As kids we don't know why we do what we do and it's often because we're told we are supposed to. We have no idea what careers to pick and why should we. We've never had one. The boom to bust cycle of picking up habits and hobbies like working out is 100% what I see in almost everyone around me. It is abnormal to make yourself ease into a new thing, holding back the natural enthusiasm of novelty. It's also abnormal to do a thing for a decade or decades and I think these two things are linked. 

Diet fatigue and the brain fog that can happen on diets are totally natural and they are absolutely a big factor in why a lot of people never make their goal or make it long enough to ring the bell before sliding back into their old habits. I have heard some people who are considered authorities to say it's not actually possible to make the change long term, I personally disagree but they have a much bigger group of listers than I do and have put more time into following the topic. 

It's my opinion, and it's just an opinion, that the two boom to bust cycles you described are the same thing. Whether you're starting a new hobby like painting miniatures or starting a diet or workout, start with the minimum effective dose (volume). It will be less than you think. You can always make add more later. Don't buy $1,000 in minis and paints and then never finish the first one, buy $100 and take your time on the two minis you have. Similar, don't cut your calories to the bone and revel in the first 20 lbs but then ask yourself how you'll live like this after two month (I know you've done way more than this but it's a general analogy). Similar, if you're not feeling like painting minis because it's a busy month, don't melt them all down and throw away your paints, just don't paint any this month. Maybe a year from now you need to make space and throw them away but there's time. Similar, take a maintenance phase. Just enjoy being your new wight for a bit and not having the stress of weight loss. You can always make a different choice later. 

My two centa. 

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You can't spell Slaughter without laughter

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23 minutes ago, The Most Loathed said:

Since you follow Dr. Mike, you know he's not into working out for working out's sake. He wants to maximize muscle gain against fatigue, that's the ethos behind this app. So five sets in an exercise is totally normal, 15-20 reps, totally normal, but only a couple exercises per muscle group.

 

I will say that most of what you describe seems totally normal.

 

This is exactly what I want. It's good to know its pretty stripped down though.

 

It is and it isn't. Like I said it's very hard to describe. And certainly things are different as we are kids and as we develop. It's hard to put it all into words here without writing an autobiography. But my approach to pretty much all aspects of my life and mindset has been screwed up for a long long time. Is it normal to have some level of all of these things. ABSOLUTELY. No person has perfect everything. But there is also a point to which it reaches a destructive and detrimental limit.

 

A lot of it is something that can simply be improved by knowing its happening and working on it and improving it. 

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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The Nutrition Rabbit Hole

 

So something I have always stood behind is my hatred for the word diet. The word itself has been bastardized by fad crazes and lose weight quick schemes. Whenever you say Diet someone goes "Oh are you doing Keto? ETC ETC". Is Keto a diet. Sure. But it sets up a bad frame of mind. This idea that you can do something short term to make long term changes. I know some people stay on Keto and it's how they eat all the time. But everyone I know whose ever done it has stopped shortly after reaching their goals. But hey maybe they are the outliers and I just have observation bias.

 

Instead I think THE MOST beneficial aspect of a persons Diet is longevity. Finding a way to eat and building a relationship with food in a way that builds long lasting health and wellness. Despite believing this when I lost weight 8-10 years ago (oh how time flies), I never truly followed that line of thinking and took my own advice. And I certainly was not eating properly or understood nutrition anywhere near the point I thought I did. What I became was a parrot of what other people did. Hey this guy eats a PBJ after strength training and he's making massive gains. I LOVE PBJ so I want to do that. In reality it was an excuse to let myself eat PBJ, one of my favorite childhood comfort foods. I certainly wasn't doing the type of training the gentleman I was parroting did, and I did not gain any benefit from introducing a PBJ to my post workout routine. 

 

Carbs are the enemy. One of the biggest things I did wrong. At the time I worked at an Italian restaurant (some of you may remember Galactic Bread). I avoided carbs like mad, and remember having a discussion with a coworker about how I was tired all the time. I thought I was doing everything right to get in shape. I wasn't losing weight anymore, and my performance in and out of the gym suffered. If I could look back at MFP recordings from those days I would have been coming in at around 1200 calories a day with MAYBE 50-70 grams of protein. WTF?!?!?! How could I have been THAT stupid? To give early 20's me a break I was new to all of it. I was ignorant and trusted things I probably shouldn't have. I also, like most young men, thought things didn't apply to me. I had just lost over 100lbs, I know about diets.

 

Sure I may have forced myself into a state where I ate next to nothing and lost weight, but I didn't understand jack shit about how the body worked and had NEVER even considered nutrition in the form of building mass. For my entire life it had ALWAYS been reduction.

 

Alright Enough, What Have I Learned?

On top of learning that I know very little and understand even less, I have embarked on a bit of a journey aided by @The Most Loathed out of mutual curiosity and like mindedness. Sparked by a discussion about accounting for calories expended during exercise and using that towards your goal for the day. I had been told to NEVER include exercise to increase the amount you could eat in a day. While he had been told the exact opposite. There is a term for this that escapes me at the moment.

 

It was quite strange, and started us down a path of research and TML found some great articles to get started, along with 2 research papers I hope to read in the coming day. So I obviously have a lot to digest before finding anything out truly, and a lot of reading specifically. But the scary part is it seems like EVERYONE either avoids giving concrete advice, or contradicts themselves left and right. MFP who allows you to input exercise to increase daily calorie expenditure says you shouldn't because its so inaccurate. And yet they say just a paragraph later that you can and maybe should?!?!? I couldn't imagine having a feature in my app and saying "Hey you probably shouldn't use that because its not very accurate."

 

So when you look at things with a critical eye its actually kind of bleak. And the honest to god truth I am kind of thinking is the case is that there is NO one size fits all solution. It's crazy to me that these suggestions often include both Lean and Obese people. Or studies will only work with either bodytype but not the other. To me it makes so much sense that an obese person should eat differently than someone wanting to shed a few lbs of body fat. But all of the articles and everything seem to group everyone together. Maybe it's because of the audience. Maybe most people looking this stuff up online need to lose a significant amount of weight?

 

At the same time this really helps me nail down just why I hate "Diets" so much. It's because it takes something and says "Hey you, if you eat this exact way you will be the healthiest version of yourself and lose weight." In reality things I thought were universal truths I have proven myself to be inaccurate! I thought that anyone who ate at a calculated deficit and ate only clean foods and had no added sugars would lose weight. I literally ate steak or chicken with rice and veggies for 3-4 weeks with supplemental protein shakes. I was NAILING it. Or so I thought. I figured the weight would start falling off so fast. And at first, yea, I did lose a few lbs. I had also just gotten over a week long cold that had me bedridden and I had barely eaten anything and had slept even less.

 

Rather quickly my weightloss stalled. And despite increased workload in the gym and eating the best I had pretty much ever, the scale would not stay consistent. It would jump up and down by huge margins of like 3-5 lbs day to day. But I never actually saw it drop to a new lower number. I had started at 305, just a few days later I began this vicious cycle of going from 308 - 313 every morning for nearly a month. It was frustrating. On top of that I was getting tired more, and also just not motivated and feeling just meh ALL OF THE TIME. WTF? Was I still sick? Had I not recovered? Were these the side effects they warned me I would have for weeks!? I thought they said it was only a cough that was going to last. Not this.

 

Well I started doing some research and I stumbled upon Diet Fatigue. And I was skeptical. In fact my first thought was "That's not a real thing. Sure plateaus happen but your body doesn't do all that starvation BS unless your at a severe deficit. " Well clearly I was wrong. The more I watched people that were educated in the subject and did my own research beyond simple googling and trusting the first youtubers face I saw. I realized how wrong I was. Or at least felt more confident. To be fair I have been tricked before. "Have all these nasty issues and symptoms!?!?! You must not be getting enough of X or too much Y! Get this now and change your life." I was still on the fence between I MIGHT HAVE THIS - THIS IS JUST AN EXCUSE FOR FAT PEOPLE LIKE ME TO EAT CRAPPY.

 

But I decided to give it an honest shot. The scale hadn't moved in a month, the idea of eating even less seemed like an awful idea. So I just ate MORE of the stuff I was already eating. The first day I jumped on the scale it was 309. Nothing too crazy. It had been that a day or two here and there. As I said it was fluctuating a ton over the past month. The next day? 308.8. Interesting? It continued to steadily fall over the course of the week. On top of a return to actual weight loss the thing that shocked me most was the consistency on the scale. I didn't change anything about the routine other than my diet. I weighed myself in the same place in the same way at the same time every day. 

 

I am nearing the 2 week mark of this and I am down to 307 as of this morning. The inbody I did yesterday does indeed show a drop of 1lb over the course of the last week. With 90% of that being FAT (according to a machine of course). My energy is coming back and I have a lot of other benefits coming along as well.

 

Shit Diet Fatigue might actually be real.... And there might actually be some validity to this whole maintenance thing. 

 

So I took things a step further after a few days into this phase. It is highly recommended that you eat different foods and allow yourself some not so great choices. This helps battle the burnout of eating the same healthy crap over and over. So I started making bad choices in better ways. Such as getting chicken tenders for lunch yesterday instead of grilled chicken. But I chose tenders over pizza, which had 0 protein. This is just 1 example. And I am still losing weight. To top it off I talked to a few people about this topic at the gym last night and they definitely agreed that it's a real thing (why didn't I expect that?). And in fact the coach that had recommended my calorie intake before suggested I stay with the increase in calories for a longer time. Basically until it stops working again. THAT I DID NOT EXPECT. Okay maybe I have always been mixing up short term advice as long term solutions.

 

So what does that actually mean? Well it means a couple things.

Firstly I will be extending this higher calorie diet for AT LEAST another week. With the remainder of this week being the least strict. With the goal to go shopping Sunday some options for meals that differ from my most strict meals. AKA finding things that I crave that won't absolutely destroy me at the same time.

 

If I continue to lose weight I plan to continue in that fashion until I see some kind of issue or stall. Or until I am so eager to get back to strict eating again which comes with faster weight loss.

 

Once I return to the stricter plan it will be scheduled to be only 8-12 weeks. I would say 12 weeks but this being the first time and exiting a pretty extreme state of diet fatigue I don't want to push through the crap I was dealing with before just to hit 12 weeks. I would rather instead set up a healthy cycle that isn't JUST focused on the number on the scale. 

 

So what about the numbers? What about the nutrition?

Well for me, personally, and people in a similar situation of needing to lose excessive bodyweight this is what I would suggest.

Calculate your BMR - This is what your body burns calorie wise just for existing. You should use your bodyweight number as your ultimate goal bodyweight, not current weight.

Determine a light to moderate amount of calories you burn during the day doing everyday tasks. AKA walking at work, lifting things, etc etc. NOT EXERCISE.

 

Add these numbers together. Then start your plan aiming to hit that number of calories and hitting protein macros. You should start to lose weight. After that first week or so of maintaining your weight or losing small amounts of weight drop the calories by 1-200 and that's it. Maintain that calorie intake for 8-12 weeks. At the end of that start a maintenance program for about 4 weeks. Add 200 cals the first week, then 200more the next week and soon. Basically do this until you are no longer maintaining weight but most importantly FEEL good. You should feel energized and your performance in the gym should improve.  Based on how your weight goes during this period you may need to readjust your numbers. You may find that you start gaining weight a bit sooner. Or, more likely, you are burning more in the day than you thought! You need to narrow down what YOU burn, not what some app things you do. Find a number for small moderate weight loss, then drop that by 1-200 lbs for the same amount of time again. Rinse and repeat until goal weight is achieved.

 

For people looking to lose 10lbs honestly I have ideas but not enough experience to really give a concrete answer on anything. My focus has been the removal of weight in a healthy yet fast and structured way. For someone with 10lbs to lose, your goal is to lose mostly fat and next to no muscle. With an obese person you are going to lose muscle mass. So I think on top of a minor calorie deficit for those last few lbs, the importance of WHAT your eating is even larger. 

 

Anyways this has been a pretty eye opening experience and I have so much I want to look into.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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My internal struggle with Training for Aesthetic

 

I have touched on this in a previous rant a bit, but I am thinking about it again and really just want to get all these words down and what I am thinking so here it goes!

 

I feel myself reaching a point of growing confidence that I have never felt before. It's easy enough to get bolder online, but even in person I am much more confident in ways I have never been before. On the online dating front I am being far more direct (in a non creepy way). I had this internal monologue going and I'm like "Hey, if they matched with me they must find me attractive. I need to tell them that I find them attractive." When I first started this recent round of online dating a match called me handsome and it flabbergasted me for all the wrong reasons. It's crazy how I have changed mentally in just a few short months. But what does all of this have to do with Aesthetic training?

 

Well it's pretty simple. My mindset has always been that if your training to lose weight or build muscle you are doing it FOR other people. So other people notice you right? Sure being healthy and in shape is fun. But people get in super shape to impress others right? I cant believe how screwed up my brain was. The truth is that it's often a beneficial side effect. And the people who lose weight with this mindset are often disappointed. Trust me I know that was me.

 

When I lost weight the first go round a big driving force was trying to be more attractive for others. Do not get me wrong there is NOTHING wrong with this. But when its a sole focus and you don't care for yourself in other ways you are destined for disappointment.  When I returned to college for a second degree I was at my lightest and fittest. These younger girls (1-4 years) didn't know anything about the previous me. And I would be lying if I said they didn't treat me any differently. They most certainly did. My first and only real girlfriend during my 2 years at this college introduced herself to me by sitting on my lap. This was the same girl that had every other male students in the class pining for her attention. Thankfully I never had a problem engaging with anyone. It was always that next step that was a huge hurtle for me. Why? Well simply put I had spend 10+ years at that point seeing myself as undesirable. 

 

Looking back at the relationships I had in college and the following years I realize that my own insecurity and lack of confidence slowly drove these women out of my life. This started an even worse spiral. I had done it, I had reached my goal and it had worked? Hadn't it? It hadn't. Because I had not done any work on myself. This led to a snowball effect where things got even worse. It's not the sole cause of the last 6-7 years of my life's struggles. But it was certainly a large part of the energy that got that ball going. 

 

Now that I am approaching training in a more logical and measured approach, the inevitable question came up. What am I training for? And of course deep down the demon stirs. Doubt and all of that. I struggled with it for some time and likely always will. But over the last few months I have changed. I am training for myself. I am training to look how I want to look. I look in the mirror after my morning routine and actually SMILE. I don't shy away from pictures anymore and actually started taking more of them. Because how I view myself is completely different now. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy lifting heavy shit. Strongman stile lifts will always be something I enjoy. But I don't want to be one of those people whose goal is to be as strong as possible. You know the ones who are moving weight around like they are feathers but aren't what many would consider to be "in shape". I put that in quotes because I am realizing just how narrow minded I have been with myself and others. And even though I never would publicly judge someone my mind would always wonder things like "What's the point of bench pressing 400+ lbs if you look like that."  This is a horrible way to think and I am ashamed to admit it, but I know its driven from my personal self worth being so sickly intertwined with my own personal appearance for as long as I can remember. 

 

Between telling myself I could never look a certain way or perhaps even worse believing I shouldn't WANT to look a certain way I was destined to rebound. 

 

Any kind of training requires hard work. Whether its for strength, physique, skills, or every day life. It is all hard and there is no inherently right or wrong choice. What can guide you down the wrong road is objective. If you aren't doing it for yourself you are likely to fail.

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"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Rants, Thoughts, and Workouts-->Battle Log | The Improvening (Current Challenge)

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