Tag Archive: motivation


What cut?

Took stock tonight and realized I have fallen off the wagon a bit.  For the past month now, I have been using the Cut word, but have I really carried through with it??

At Xmas, I ate a bit of junk, but kept up my workouts.  It wasn’t too bad.  Then I went on vacation.  Couldn’t do the workouts I wanted to do, so stopped doing workouts.  Ate pretty clean though, was just lazy.

After coming back from vacation, I needed to make time in my life for my job, and had to start spending evenings catching up.  So I made a conscious decision to skip workouts so I could get through the “hell week” mentality.  But as soon as I skipped workouts, I started really missing that “good feeling” I get.  So I started filling it with food.

So I have been skipping workouts, drinking more energy drinks than water, working late hours… and now stuffing in junk food.

Trainer told me the other day she could see the fluff building up on me.

I feel bad, not only for losing sight of my priorities, but also for claiming something on this journal that wasn’t – “Cut Day XX” was a big joke.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say “I’m Sorry”, because I made conscious decisions; but each of those conscious decisions was allowed to build up, and I waited too long to counteract them.  I deferred my fitness until it was convenient, and now it feels like I have backslid a bit.  I don’t want anyone reading to think I am pretending something that I am not.  So I am coming clean about what I HAVEN’T been writing in this journal.  I have been living in denial about truly reporting on my fitness journey, and not holding myself accountable.

But!  Moving forward.  I meet with the PT tomorrow to take stock of all the damage, and to start over again and start moving back in a positive direction.

2015

**Sometimes my workout log takes a turn to personal thoughts.  If all you want to read are numbers, then skip this one.  I don’t mind, I prefer reading numbers myself.  But as it is a new year, I wanted to reaffirm my goals and mindset.**

 

Gravity.  I never stopped thinking about it.

about 19 years ago, I became interested in gravity, as the “weak” force in the universe that connects everything, draws everything together.  I wondered, is gravity inherently good?  where does it fit into the construction of the universe?  is gravity God?  is God the force that pulls things together, causes them to organize, build, form?  why this tendency to draw together?  are we destined to come back together and be one?  what is the future of this force?

about 13 years ago, I was told that the universe is spreading apart on its route from the Big Bang, and in the end, everything would be equally far apart, and the universe would be cold and lifeless.  no Crunch.  I grew despondent.  what does Gravity accomplish?  is God fighting Entropy?  is Good defined by a hopeless struggle to add temporary meaning to a futile existence?  is our innate tendency to draw together, as a reaction to everything spreading apart?  are we converting matter to energy to fuel ourselves, in vain as we slowly but surely run out of fuel?  have we evolved into a species that eats food, has children, grows up, preserves knowledge, all in a giant smokescreen against the dust pile to come?  where is the higher purpose when the whole plane of existence turns to ash?

about 10 years ago, I wondered if Gravity is Good, how are black holes Good?  I grew worried.  I saw giant wells of Gravity, lifeforms grown so heavy they collapsed inwards and pulled everything into itself in a desperate attempt to consume, all the while trace radiation evaporates from the accretion disk, and the black hole eventually dies.  I saw people, driven mad by the need to export entropy, consuming everything around them in a non-sustainable way, without guaranteeing any longer of an existence.  How can Gravity be Good when the future of the Universe is Evil and the struggle has driven us mad?  Where was Good?  Is God insane?  Are we as a people drawing together or are we pulling things away from each other?  Why should we lose sleep over the destruction of our ecosystem and our societal consciousness when the tendency to unify and the tendency to divide and conquer come from the same place, and both will not matter in the end?  where once I saw Life, now I saw Greed.

About 8 years ago, I thought about micro-black holes.  Where the insanity and greed were once on the event horizon and in our hearts, now I saw it springing up in Nature, pinholing our universe, defying our attempts to innovate and sustain, corrupting information and damaging our best intentions.  I felt black holes were evil, like a dragon gnawing on the roots of the tree of life, and where the dragon has left his teeth marks, discord springs from the ground.  I could no longer see gravity as Good.  I saw Good as the slow slide before Evil, where we are as we draw together but before we meet.  When we meet, Evil is born.

One early morning, 4 years ago, I saw great black holes, massive, billions of times as large as our Sun, like OJ287, spin around each other and coalesce and distort.  And where they met, great jets of energy, massive quasars expel heavy matter like iron and calcium and oxygen from the heart of the dead suns, for billions of light-years in multiple directions.  In their wake, space and time was shattered, the event horizon was broken, and Life was left in their wake.  Our solar system might well have been the fallout from a massive energy spike from colliding wells of gravity.

I didn’t think gravity was evil any more, and I no longer thought of black holes as evil.  Black holes might have seeded the universe.  And as we consume and destroy and thrash against the walls of our existence, we come into contact with each other, and Good springs up in the spaces between our Evil.  I was not so sure our Evil is so bad any more, and I wonder whether Life springs up not from what we accumulate, but from when 2 accumulators run into each other, when these 2 gravity wells collide and the space between them becomes vacuum, and from the emptiness springs forth life and purpose.  I began to hope.

So I sat.  And waited.  And thought about what I wanted.  Once I allowed myself to connect with other people, to allow myself to trust them, possibilities opened up.  Once I saw the possibilities, I wanted more.

Gravity is everywhere, weak and timid and constant.  Everything in the universe is pulling everything else into itself:  the Earth is pulling me in, I am pulling the Earth in, all the blades of grass and all the leaves in the trees are pulling together, and as you read this, no matter where you are, there is a force pulling meandyou together.
Once I knew what I wanted, I allowed myself to give up those things that did not serve me, that kept me from growing.  I started prioritizing my fitness only because my lack of fitness no longer served me, and it has been full of stops and starts, as I struggled to shed my old skin and grow into my new one – sometimes the restrictions killed my momentum, and sometimes the freedom left me paralyzed.

One day the gym stopped being a tool to get rid of what I didn’t want, and started being something I craved, in and of itself.  I found myself finally growing, and taking shape, and changing. And a new year is upon me, and I feel like this past year has been so transformative.  I have lost weight, I have gained muscle, I have learned so much more about what motivates me in the gym, and what my fitness means to me.  I have matured.

As the new year begins, I resolve:  to no longer observe and think about gravity, but to manifest it within myself.  To constantly grow, and to gain.  I will add quality mass to my frame.  I will push and pull and lift and carry the heaviest weights I can find.  I will not avoid these heavy feelings, but work with them, and explore them.  I will get bigger and stronger.  I will no longer play small to placate those around me.  I will grow into the best me I can be.  And as I grow, so too does my capacity for others grow.  I will make room for others in my life, and take them into my heart, and care for them as I now am learning to care for myself.  My heart will burn with passion and purpose.  I will work and play and love as fiercely and as fearlessly as I lift.

Transformation

 

 

We aeronauts of the spirit!  All those brave birds which fly out into the distance – it is certain!  Somewhere or other they will be unable to go on and will perch down on a mast or a large cliff face, and they will even be thankful for this miserable accommodation!  But who could venture to infer from that, that there was not an immense open space before them, that they had flown as far as one could fly!  All our great teachers and predecessors have at last come to a stop… ; it will be the same with you and me!  But what does that matter to you and me!  Other birds will fly further!  This insight and faith of ours vies with them in flying up and away; it rises above our heads and above our impotence into the heights, and from there surveys the distance and sees the flock of birds which, far stronger than we, still strive whither we have striven, and where everything is sea, sea, sea!  And whither then would we go?  Would we cross the sea?  Whither does this mighty longing draw us, this longing that is worth more to us than any pleasure?  Why just in this direction, thither where all the suns of humanity have hitherto gone down?  Will it perhaps be said of us one day that we too, steering westward, hoped to reach India, but that it was our fate to be wrecked against infinity?  Or, my brothers and sisters?  Or?

– Nietzsche (with some gender equality thrown in 🙂  )

 

Midway through the journey of my life, I found myself lost in the dark woods.

I was travelling down the path, my path, and it was a comfortable path, but I started to think I didn’t belong there.  The journey had become hard, and I was unhappy.  But I didn’t know what lay off the beaten path, and I was scared to start.  After carefully listening… to the trees, to myself… I thought I could hear a woman’s voice, and it promised me all sorts of things:  health, comfort, power, respect – but only if I was willing to go get it.  I left the beaten path and journeyed into the forest.  I didn’t know where I was going, but I was excited to go there, and I was ready to use my heart as my guide.  Whatever spoke to me and made sense to me, that’s the direction I would go in.  I could find the core of me, and rebuild using only those pieces I wanted, if I only listened to myself.

It wasn’t long after that that first voice faded, and I was now moving purely on habit and guided by instinct.  It was just me and I was alone, but I wasn’t by myself.  I had thought the journey would be like a bird flying across the ocean – there was no path and no direction and any other bird I saw was company, because we were all flying across the ocean.  When there is no path, every path is right, and all that matters is that you try.

But it isn’t an ocean, it’s a forest.  And it’s full of people and life, and everyone is moving in a different direction.  There were now a million paths, and I wasn’t really sure any more where I was headed.  I was no longer the same person.  I had changed, and everyone told me so.  Some people liked it, and some people did not.  Friends went away, and new friends came.  My heart had grown strong, and some days its beating was the only sound I could hear.  Some days it wanted things other people didn’t want, and I kept following my heart, at cost to others.  If everyone is moving in a different direction, then every direction you can pick must be wrong to someone else, and all that matters is that you must choose.  I was passionate, focused, headstrong and burned hot.

The journey had become even harder than ever, but I was happy.  I threw myself against the rocks every day.  I was happy with the new me, it was mine and I didn’t have everything I wanted, but everything I had was something I wanted.  Everything I was, I chose.  So did this mean I was done?  I didn’t feel complete.  Every day I woke up hungry, and used that to keep moving.  I had thought metamorphosis was a snake shedding its skin and the process was obvious, but maybe it’s more like a moth in a cocoon, and you don’t know which way is up and you’re totally disoriented, and you never know if you’re free or you’re just in a bigger cocoon.

I was lost in the woods without a map.  I was long past the point of who I wanted to be, but it didn’t feel like I had arrived yet.  The woods were dark and deep and there was no path, and now I belonged there, hungry and strong.

Cycle 2 Week 1 Legs

Finally got around to legs!

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds. –Henry Rollins

It was a heavy day.  I didn’t know if I could make it to the gym.  Life was weighing me down.  People run in and out of your life, some days they’re heavies, some days they’re lightweights.  Some days all your little problems weigh a ton, some days you never notice they’re there.  Some days you have all the support in the world, and some days you stand alone.  Your own little world is constantly in flux, and every piece of your castle weighs different amounts on different days.  It is frustrating.  You can’t rely on it.

Part of the trick of this 5/3/1 program is you are always pushing the weight up up up.  You have to trust in the math that this new, heavier weight, these new higher reps are within your grasp.  Some days the weights feel too light, and you have to trust that the warmups are correct, that the AMRAP set is right where it should be, and you need to be patient.  And some days you don’t feel ready for a heavy set, you feel unworthy, beat down, unenthusiastic.  Those days you need to trust the math even more than ever.

Not that I haven’t done 220 before, I have done it many times.  But the world was weighing me down today.  I didn’t feel ready.  I did NOT want to go to the gym.  I wanted to wrestle heavy feelings all day.  But I put my faith in the math, and that this day HAD to happen to chain together all the weeks to come, and that these sets HAD to happen, and that this weight IS the perfect weight for me.

But the walk to the gym felt heavy, I was positive every dumbbell, every plate would feel twice as heavy.  But when I got in, you know what?  Henry was right, 200 pounds is STILL 200 pounds.  Iron doesn’t change.  Even if it’s the only constant in my life right now, it IS the thing I can always rely upon.  The weight felt just like it did the week before, and the week before that.  Those squats, that feeling of being crushed under that weight and RISING BACK UP, it gave me confidence that I was still who I was, and the iron was my constant measurement.  It is my “ruler”, in so many ways 🙂

Squats and Assistance Work

Squats  (60-120s rest)

105 x 5

130 x 5

155 x 5

170 x 5

195 x 5

220 x 8

notes:  My core was going on the last set, so when I felt the abs trembling too much, I stopped the set.  Once I got through the squats, I felt confident enough to do all the assistance work too.

Prone Leg Curl (45 sec rest)

100 x 12

110 x 10

120 x 8 DROP 100 x 12 DROP 80 x 20

45 Degree Leg Press (constant tension reps, 45 sec rest)

18 plates x 8

18 plates x 8

18 plates x 8

18 plates x 8

notes:  some real grinder reps in here, major burning in my IT Bands.  Will stick at this weight for a while.

Hack Squats 1.25 ROM (30 sec rest which consists of stretching the quads; 1.25 meaning all the way down, only come up to barely parallel, drop back down, then come back all the way up, like you’re doing one and a quarter reps)

2 plates x 10

2 plates 2 quarter plates x 8

2 plates 2 quarter plates x 8 DROP 2 plates x 8 DROP 1 plate x 8

notes:  Brutal!!!  Had to put my hands on my thighs to get me through it, so will stick at this weight for a while.

BB SLDL (45 sec rest)

165 x 15

165 x 10

notes:  low back was just too burnt out, had to stop

Superset Donkey Calf Raise Machine and Dorsiflexions (45 sec rest)

200 x 10, HOLD 10, x 10, HOLD 10, x 10, HOLD 10 / 50 Dorsiflexions

200 x 10, HOLD 10, x 10, HOLD 10, x 10, HOLD 10 / 50 Dorsiflexions

200 x 10, HOLD 10, x 10, HOLD 10, x 10, HOLD 10 / 50 Dorsiflexions

notes:  Yay machine, no grip to fail me!  yesssss, just baby cow action

post-workout  15 min elliptical

Gym Introvert

 

Wow!  A post that isn’t a log of numbers!  Every once in a blue moon it happens.

I find myself using the gym more as a refuge these days than a place to party.  It’s ok, we all go through cycles.  It can depend on what drew you to the gym in the first place and what keeps you there.

I was drawn to the gym because I am introvert.  I recharge my battery when I am by myself.  And then along came the gym, where I can both lose weight, get strong, live on a series of incremental numbers (a big draw for me, I love numbers), and live in my own head for a while.

I tend to be alone in the gym about 60% of the time.  I think working out with a partner has its advantages, in terms of the cooperative energy, sometimes the spirit of competition, the trust you build up that lets them push you farther, the pride you feel when you can observe and offer tips on someone’s form.  But when you work out alone, you can just retreat inwards, and flush your mind out from what everyone else has to say.

As an introvert, people often tire me out.  People can be frustrating, disappointing, insincere,  and slow.  When I work out alone, I can strain, push, sweat, exhaust myself, AND flush my mind out from everyone else’s garbage.  I can get back to me.  After a long day of work, I can go to a gym and exercise all the crud and pollution out of my brain.  Peace, quiet, metal smacking together, the sound of your own breath.  It’s almost meditative.  I have also had exceptional luck getting in a workout JUST before work, it lets me clear my head and build up a little shield or buffer I can use as I wade into the pool of human  contact.

 

 

 

There is room for the gym to be whatever you want it to be.  And lately, I have yearned for peace and quiet and the sound of my own thoughts.  When I work out alone, in between sets I stare at the clock, I watch the second hand tick down.  Everything has its place.

 

To borrow a line from the Spanish poet Maragall:

Tot semblava un món en flor
i l’ànima n’era jo.

The gym simplifies down the world, and I can place my breathing and my heartbeat and the blood rushing through my body at the centre of that world.

 

So sometimes when I am at the gym, and I am not feeling chatty, it is nothing against you.  I am meditating.  Because I need it to find balance.

 

I have always thought that if I had to pick my power animal, I would pick three – the snake, the lion and the sheep.  A Chimera.

 

 

 

I am not always in the same mood, it varies.  Like a plane with 3 pilots, sometimes one of them takes the wheel and the others offer advice or stay silent.  In the gym, when the lion is at the wheel, I am loud, boisterous, braggadocious, aggressive, going for a PR.  I want to be the centre of attention.  Grunt = roar.

When the sheep is at the wheel or giving advice, I crave a workout partner – to see them do well, lift lots of weight, correct their form, spread the gains around, be a team.  Be chatty, do some cardio together, sweat with someone, gossip, etc.

When the snake is at the wheel, I am contemplative, thinking, meditating, trying to feel the contraction, concentrating, in the zone, silent, focused.

All of them lift weight, all of them approach it differently.

 

Lately the lion and the sheep have been hogging the wheel a lot.  The snake comes out only 60% of the time, like I mentioned above.  But lately, the snake has been wanting the wheel 100% of the time.  More of a snake lion combo, snake tells the lion when to flex his mane so we can hit a PR.  So nothing personal to any workout partners, to my trainer, to other people training around me.  I still care for you all.  But I am meditating.  Be back in a little while.

 

 

First off, a video.

Drink that one in for a bit.

You see, as you lift weight, you learn to get aggressive in order to excel, to do new heavy scary weights and squeeze out more reps.  As you get aggressive more and more often, as you cultivate this attitude of no fear, sometimes the foolishness starts to leak out.  And you know what?  That’s ok.  I think what Kenny did in this video is perfectly fine and awesome.  People in the gym all day learn to make it a joyful place, you can’t be serious all the time.  As long as you lift the weights correctly and safely, why not get silly?  No Fear and Foolish are actually friends, and once you meet one, you get to know the other.

If you are working through a tough workout, just let the grim mentality go in between sets and act stupid and silly.  Get intense and growl and grunt and make your eyes pop out during your sets, but when the set is over go dance in place and stick your tongue out and be stupid.  It does wonders for your output, you would be amazed at how it keeps your energy levels up.

OK!  My day, fasted cardio in the morning, then a full day of work, no time for lunchtime workouts.  After work, headed to the studio with Leslie for Back work.  We didn’t have time for arms, just back.  Needless to say, I was feeling inspired by Kenny.  I didn’t put on a horse mask, thank God, but I did whinny and shake my head in between sets and was just generally light and foolish.  And the workout flew by!  Def could have gone heavier.

Back:

widegrip pulldowns (30 sec rest) 120 x 12, 12, 12, 12

underhand pulldowns (30 sec rest) 100 x 12, 110 x 12, 120 x 12, 12

closegrip row with bar (30 sec rest) 75 x 12, 100 x 12, 125 x 12, 12

warmup

warmup

one hand DB row (30 sec rest) 70 x 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 80 x 6, 6

IMG_2510

hyperextensions w resistance band (30 sec rest) 12, 12, 12

IMG_2522

 

notes: will go heavier next time.  the pulldowns were light cause they had to be, that machine is a POS, feed won’t feed, and weights smash into each other if you pull too quick.  The DB rows felt good so I did an extra set, whinnying all the way.  We used resistance band for the hyperextensions as that was a mini challenge within my 6 week challenge!

 

that was my day! Rock on!

 

Today was a rest day.  I did an hour of Spin, running lots of errands, time to reflect.

So what does FF stand for?  Check out the title of my video link above.  Fat F*#%

What is an FF Mentality?  You think that you can’t compete physically, and the only way you can approach the world is by being funny, or by doing something poorly and poking fun at yourself while you do it.  You don’t feel like a competitor, you feel like comedy relief.

Look at the video above again.  While I find that clip hilarious and that movie hilarious, that was how I approached my physical activities growing up.  I didn’t think I could do the sport WELL, so I jumped in and did it and goofed off, or at the very least, didn’t allow myself to expect to do well.  I cultivated this mentality of being ready to swing and miss and then go sit back down, to slip and fall off the diving board and make people laugh, then go sit back down.  When it was my time for the spotlight, I got ready to make them laugh.  You become the opposite of an athlete, you become a clown.

This summer is about dealing with that mentality, about stepping into the spotlight and not only competing, but having them take you seriously.  I have put in a lot of hard work off and on in the gym over the past few years, I am very comfortable there and am all business when it is just me, but when I have a workout partner or a trainer, I still have this tendency to slip back into the “make them laugh” mentality.  It was a way of socializing while I grew up, and it’s hard to shake.

Even when I thought about making my Fusion bench press video, I long considered making it as goofy as possible.  I didn’t think instinctively I could just do it cut and dry.

I still have this nagging fear that people are watching me when I work out, and are laughing at me.

I recognize that for me to advance in my training, for me to build the body I want, for me to win this Body Transformation challenge, I have to shed the identity of clown, and reclaim the identity of athlete.  Everyone starts out as a kid being told the object is to win the game, but in the first few tries, you start to get shuffled into this pecking order.  And the athletes grew up fit, and the fat kids grew up funny.

If you try hard, if you train like an athlete and consistently show up and put in the work, guess what?  You are an athlete.  Stop doubting yourself.

Am I better?

An old friend drove up to hang out with me this weekend.  We have known each other for about 20 years, so he has seen me in all sorts of states.  In high school, he was the one who would drag me out to the weight room, got me to try out for all of the sports teams.  He was a very good fitness influence, whether either of us realized it or not.  In university, he joined the rowing team and I joined the international travel associations, and we went our separate ways.  But remained friends.

In his adulthood, his tastes have moved more towards craft beer.  He can go on for quite some time about dry hops, and the history of scotch ale, or any sub-subject you can think of.  So when he and I hang out once every couple of years, beer is usually the premise to the event.

This weekend, I had other plans.  I wanted to drag HIM out to the gym, and show him what I am passionate about now.

He drove in Friday night, and we went out for dinner, got settled in.  Saturday morning, I brought him to my second home:  the gym.

Back & Biceps w/a Buddy  (sets are traded back and forth from person to person)

assisted pullups:  widegrip x 10, 10; underhand grip x 10; hammergrip x 10

widegrip machine row:  210 x 12, 12, 12

underhand cable pulldown:  165 x 15, 15, 15, 15

machine hyperextensions:  285 x 12, 12, 12

SPIN class

standing dumbbell curls:  80 x 10, 10, 7, 10

machine curls:  80 x 15, 13, 10

 

notes:  I picked exercises I thought would be easier for him since he had not been to a gym in about 15 years (his words).  And yet, he is still so much skinnier than me!  bastard!  Assisted pullups were easy for him, since I set the assistance to counter MY weight, which made it a warmup for him.

But when we got to the machine rows, I think he ran out of gas.  I put on 210, gave him 135, and he begged his way down to 90.  The second set, he begged his way down to 75… ok, getting sad at this point!  I should mention that my friend is also a big guy like me (6’3 or 6’4), so theoretically 75 should be way too light for him.  Either his focus was not there or his energy was not there.  Funny enough, I was so fired up and cheering him on that each time it was back to my set, I blazed through it like nothing!

This continued with the pulldowns, I had one of my best series of sets in a while with that movement, while my friend kept fading.

So I brought us to the hyperextension machine, which is a relatively low stress movement, it is easy to screw the pooch on that machine, if you know what I mean.  Not work very hard.  I did my stuff, my friend did his.

After I dragged us both into his very first spin class!  Wonder if he hates me yet?  haha.  The class was packed to capacity!  We found some bikes at the back so he could blend in, but our corner didn’t get any fresh air, so we were dying from stale sweaty air.  I think my friend wasn’t comfortable with the standing climbs, so he opted to stay seated mostly.  I doubted he was pushing the effort 100%, but I just wanted to keep his legs moving and his heart rate up at this point.

After spin class, I asked him if he wanted to come do biceps with me.  He begged please no.  So I let him go do another 10-15 min of cardio on the rowing machine, while I did biceps.  I admit, without my friend there, my energy lagged on the curls, and I had a pretty mediocre biceps exercise, just average, not intense.  So I was happy when he wandered back over, and we could get changed and go have some lunch.

He stayed over Saturday night, and I offered to take him to Sunday morning spin, maybe do some legs and shoulders!  Fun, right?  But he said no, he was going to make the drive back into the U.S.  He picked up the Canadian booze he wanted, we had a few more meals, and then just like that he was gone.

 

This all gives me time to reflect.  Since getting serious about the gym, it is easy to measure progress in terms of weight lost, inches lost, weight lifted.  But am I a different person?  I never used to be the one to crack the whip.  I never used to be the motivated one, the aggressive one.  But these days, most of my friends and I have drifted apart, and when we do hang out, I feel bored outside of the gym, and when we are in the gym together, I feel like I could lift circles around them (I don’t have any opinion on cardio, that just is what it is, but I am ready at the drop of a hat to do multiple spin classes in a row, while most others run in fear).  So am I different?  I think so.  But this is the direction I want to move in.  I think that through lifting weights and going to the gym, I have a viable outlet to share the new me with the rest of the world, a more passionate and positive me.  But am I better?  I don’t think the old me was worse, maybe the old me even had more friends, but I think the new me might be a better version of me, yes.

 

How about you?  Any good workouts?

Sunday was the Chinese New Year.  A big time to go out and party and feast.  I was invited out to a nice Sunday brunch, actually.  But I had to decline, I am trying to clamp down on my diet.

 

Although astrology is not of any real importance to my fitness goals, it gives me cause to reflect and to think about things.

This year, as you might know, will be “the Year of the Snake”.  Chinese astrology has a cycle of 12 animals.  So every 12 years, your birth year comes around again.  I am a Snake, so I guess this is my year.

Does this mean it will be a lucky year for me?  I am told that is not the case.  When 2 snakes meet each other in the wilderness, they do not necessarily get along.  It is advised by the astrology dudes for me to keep a low profile this year and just do my thing.

So what does a Snake birth sign mean?  It means you are a thinker, a calculator, a planner.  The wheels are always turning.  And above all, you regenerate yourself.  On a regular basis, the snake sheds its skin, it sloughs off the things that no longer serve, so that it may grow.

This is the point I find myself at now, my weight has become a massive burden to me, it keeps me from doing the things I want, it keeps me from growing.  I have outgrown this fat.  I keep struggling to lose this weight because I keep struggling against it, I keep trying to fight it.  I need to take a lesson from the snake and just LET IT GO.  These habits no longer serve me, the junk food and the laziness chains me down.  If I do not learn to let this old way of living go, I will not grow.

I struggle with eating healthy because I do not embrace the new ways, I still hold on to the old ways.  I have not moved and adapted to my new, adult body, my slower metabolism, my stiffer joints and deeper focus.  I could eat what I want and do what I want when I was a child, a young man, but childish things must be put behind me.

This is the challenge I lay before myself in the Year of the Snake, MY Year.  Shed this old skin so I can grow.  Let go of the old ways that I know so well, and move confidently and purposefully into new territory, with a soft pink skin, easily hurt but getting stronger.  If I can just commit to living healthy, my body will grow into it.

 

Wish me luck!  What are your new year goals?

I Choose

Lately, I have been having problems with my motivation.  I just don’t feel connected, mind to body.  When the mind and body are connected in your fitness goals, you feel “hungry” for success – you get excited at the thought of passing on that cookie, working out, pressing weight, making your heart beat faster.  Your mind tells your body what to do, your body does it, and your mind feels pleased.  Noone starts out with that connection, you have to force yourself to eat healthy and work out, and once you see the good results, you build that loop of events into your brain that makes you crave more success.  It is a way of staying focused.

I felt that connection, briefly, in November.  I was tired, doing the yoga challenge, pushing weight, but it MADE SENSE.  I could see the big picture.

Since coming back from Christmas, I have not felt that connection.  The new diet sucks, not enough carbs.  The work out is painful, ugh circuit training.  My energy has gone downhill most days at work.  I have felt less happy in general.  My sleep has started to suffer, I toss and turn a lot.  My appetite started to suffer, Leslie was looking at my food journal and saying I now eat less than her… a woman half my size in the middle of a cut for a fitness competition.  Food had been starting to lose its taste, between Thursday and Friday last week I had to throw out 4 meals halfway through because they didn’t TASTE like anything.  The diet feels like punishment, the workouts feel like punishment.  Am I depressed?

Part of me wonders if this is just a phase, like I need to adapt.  Part of me wonders if I am not maybe just reacting to life stress, and the fitness stuff is just an optional kick in the crotch while I am trying to find my balance.  I don’t feel BALANCED any more.  Am I depressed and my body is shutting down in response, or is my body shutting down and it’s making me depressed??

I have started to play around with my supplements.  I had been taking ZMA before bed, and I moved it to first thing in the morning.  Since I did that, I toss and turn less.  Can ZMA hurt your sleep?  It is supposed to HELP you sleep, and yet here I am, finding the opposite is the case.  But it feels better in the morning for me, so I switched.

Friday I did a kettlebell workout with Leslie.  Well, she saw how exhausted and strung out I was and instead she just had me try a variety of kettlebell exercises, so that she could string them together into a circuit for me.  It was like going through the motions.  I didn’t take pictures, I didn’t want to commemorate the moment.  And yet, by the end of the work, I actually felt more light-hearted, like for some reason swinging and pushing the kettlebells made me feel happy for a second.  Like the endorphin rush was a reward for me.

I thought about what was going on, all weekend.  I wanted to pick something I wanted to do, and then do it.  I wanted to reward myself and build that loop back in.

I had been thinking about signing up for the annual spinathon again.  Every year, the Goodlife gym chain here in town sponsors an 8 hour marathon of Spin classes back to back.  People come in and spin a ton, raise money for charity (Goodlife Kids Foundation) and have a good time.  I did it last March, I did 7 spin classes – spun for 7 hours, the whole routine over and over… races, intervals, mixed terrain, standing climbs, jumps.  I walked away from that feeling like I had blown myself away, like I did something I didn’t think I could do in my wildest dreams.  I decided to just keep going as long as I could and I had never spun for more than 2 hours and I did 7 and it blew me away!  That was the day I realized I had been selling myself short.

I wanted that feeling back.  So I have committed to doing the 2013 Spin4Kids Spinathon in March, and seeing if I can spin for 8 hours straight!!  I chose to do something about the funk I was in, and pick a challenge to serve as my compass point.

Sunday I headed out and did 2 spin classes in a row, the first time I had done that in probably 8 months.  My right ankle hurt a bit, but it felt REALLY GOOD.  I felt good about it.

I walked out of the gym on Sunday wondering if I needed to keep shaking the funk loose.  I went to the natural foods store and bought a 30 day cleanse kit.  Started taking it Sunday night.

Monday (today) the cleanse kit hit me harder on Day 1 than I ever thought possible.  I won’t get too graphic, but shit got downright APOCALYPTIC.  Signs and omens abounded.  My stomach was sore and cramping from the cleanse, but I still had a Monday workout with Leslie to go to!

I considered just going home after work and letting my guts settle.  Noone would blame me.  And yet.  I chose to go work out anyway, maybe not the wise choice, but it was MY choice.

Same workout as last Monday, lots of core – burpees and renegade rows and leg lifts and stepups and lunges.  My right ankle is still a little tender, and my stomach cramped the whole time.

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In the past few days, my sleep has improved, my appetite has improved (except for the cleanse), and I feel a bit better.  Why?  Because I CHOOSE to be better.  I made my mind go look for my body and help it out through this rough patch.  Some weeks it doesn’t come easy, no matter your best intentions.  Some weeks you have to force it to work.  But it’s better than letting it sit and fester.  You have to choose to push yourself, even if you can’t see the goal any more, even after the race is lost.

As you get older, you watch opportunities and potential slip away.  Injuries last longer, some dreams slip away.  You feel less powerful.  Eventually, you realize there is only one real power in this world.  The power to CHOOSE.  You choose what your goals are, and choose to go do them.  You don’t wait for everything to line up, you make your fortune yourself.  The only real power there is in this world is the power of choice.  You can choose to pursue your goals even when you don’t think you can win.  And this week I chose my path all over again.

 

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