Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
November 13, 2016
Long before the very words of “fitness” and “health” and “vegetables” ever graced the lips of a certain gargantuan human (yours truly), life was truly moving along at a pace recognized by many. Slouched in front of the television for hours on end, gorging various food stuffs and liquids that somehow combined chemicals banned in multiple countries to create such concoctions like “soda” and “energy drinks” and “Capri Sun.” It was the best of times during these particular days, for the time moved slowly and the naps were plentiful due to coma induced sugar crashes and deluges of fat and carbohydrates. It was frightening to envision how weak and ill prepared I was for the everyday rigors of daily life. I was being outworked by my aging and sometimes ailing father. Some customers we did work for took pity on me from time to time, helping out when they noticed I would lose strength and energy. All this time I never thought much of my health. I always thought it would be so easy to do and so easy to flip on. Boy was I wrong in that respect.
Over four years later, I am still battling the rigors of my past life, wondering why I didn't do more to make myself healthier and work on my body, heart and mind. I’m constantly reminded of these failures, especially with the leftover skin of my old body that will not go away as it flaps wildly while I run and contours my body in a way that embarrasses me when I wear tighter shirts. I get pretty upset with myself, sometimes going to the point where I will eat a little too much food for my own good and start seeing the pounds pack on once again. There are days where I find it extremely hard to focus on the health and fitness, for I feel like I just don’t have enough time on most days when I get home, where I have to gobble down food, walk the dogs and then see if I have enough energy to actually go do something. It has been a chore so to speak, for there are many days where I hate my fitness level and there are many times where I get angry over my effort. There are many other days where I get angry at myself, contemplating on why my progress continues to be hindered. It’s got a lot to do with the fact I am trying to be two good things at once….strong and a decent runner. Going to the gym everyday would be a fine life for me I guess, but the I will never be able to really push my distance in my running ability like I have been trying to do lately. There has been some setbacks, for the fact my job is forcing me to keep weird hours has been a factor in some of my decision making. However, I will keep working on the two sides of my quests, running and lifting. Of course, my personal life will keep suffering due to the fact my days off are on horrible days of the week and none of my friends like going out, I will keep moving forward. It kind of sucks about one thing, I will be seeing two great concerts in the next couple days and I will seeing them alone, mainly because no one I know was interested. Such is life I guess. There are a lot of pursuits in life that we have to do alone in order to improve and distinguish ourselves.
I say this because I am trying to find a reason to keep doing my push-ups challenge. I am on Day 72 now, and every day I do it it seems more like a burden than a challenge. It just doesn’t seem fun anymore to me. And sadly, that is my reminder that I am on the right path. I have mentioned more than a few times that I consider fitness to be a bit of a problem in my life, for it is strictly for stress relief right now as I climb the troubleshooting ladder at work and learn more and more things that I thought I would have never known in my life about cell phones and the ignorance of the common American when it came to technology. But I have to keep doing it, because it makes me feel better and ultimately I want to have a better body and look better than the fat tub of lard I used to be. Needless to say, the lack of change has been discouraging. I don’t want to have to restrict calories and starve myself, not when I need energy to boost my running regimen. Ugh, such a difficult back and forth with the head and the body. So I begrudgingly try to seek out the best method for my life. If anything, doing the continuing push-up challenge has been good for me. It is a stark reminder that I will always have to keep working on the strength and the body no matter what.
Push-ups in a lot of ways relieve quite a bit of my personal misgivings. While I do know my form is not the best and the amount I am doing is questionable, I still get out there and do it. It has significantly helped with my arms and given me something to do every day. Even if I don’t work out at all that day, at least I had to do the push-ups regardless if I managed some time in the gym. While I hate working out on most days, I find some solace in the idea of the push-ups. I never did like that exercise, and I never wanted to do them when Jon used to make me do “Hundies” back in the day. I knew I would get pretty upset when he threw down the gauntlet and forced me to do them. I always made sure I did them first! Anyway, for so long, I resisted them until a few months ago when I was going through some bad personal stuff, matters of the heart so to speak. Push-ups were an inventive way to get me to stop speaking about the said subject matter, and of course I was bad enough to actually make this particular mistake on a regular basis. Anyway, I finally got the personal issues under control and then found myself not doing push-ups anymore. To be honest, there were days where I intentionally broke the rules of my agreement with Jon so I could actually motivate myself to do them on the side. I also had to do a lot of burpies, which was also a sign of the punishment that was handed down to me at the time. Right now, as I get higher on the push-up count, it is starting to feel like punishment again. But I need to keep going. I have found a good motivation and good purpose to keep doing this relatively unnoticed quest I have set forth on. Right now, I have some new inspiration in life, for I don’t want to end up like the kid that hated push-ups so much, it actually gave him a bad taste in his mouth (of course, his parents legitimately used the push-ups as punishment while my charges were merely used to help with my fitness…big difference). I don’t want to revert to that guy that I used to be where doing just a handful of push-ups (and especially skunk push-ups) would take a lot of effort and a lot of swearing on my count. These days I just do it.
Since I will be doing 72 push-ups today, I have to admit this is getting really difficult for me. The soreness I never had when I started this whole thing is starting to creep up on me and make me wonder how much more I can really tolerate down the line. I might have to settle for a short day from time to time in order to help build me up a little better and not make me hate the idea of push-ups. I mean, I have to maintain a good acumen and a good attitude, for a fat guy like me is becoming a bit of an oxymoron in this world. As in I am chunky and fit, which of course is not that great of a combination for a long life, regardless of some of the research you have seen on the subject. Anyway, enough about the self deprecation toward my body. I should not be so hard on myself I guess, mainly because I am starting to see the definition in my arms and little more tightness in my chest. Like so many other things in life and love and work, it is all a process that you must work on prudently. I know eventually I will be able to do 70 push-ups consecutively, heck maybe even reach the apex I was kind of seeking when I started this challenge of mine over two months ago when I said I would shoot for 100 in a row. I was so naive back then, for I was barely doing 40 in a row. Little did I know how rough this thing would start getting after 60. Kind of like life! Anyway, just for you Parsons Training intern Morgen….yes, I am getting sore as hell these days. I wish for the days when I could do 50 and feel nothing the next days. Awww, two weeks ago.
I find it funny that I talk about push-ups when I came across a story about a Sacramento woman that did 555 pushups in a 40-minute stretch with out getting out of the starting plank position. Now that is dedication (but can she run?! haha). Of course, this got me interested in the whole push-up record and found out some guy did 2,298 in one hour! Heck, there is even a battle over who did the most push-ups in one minute, with the official record recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records being 140 while some guy not in the record book claims he did 152. Who would have thought such a benign little exercise would cause such a furor amongst people. Maybe I need to do a documentary in regards to this due to the fact I have become somewhat fascinated by the idea of doing 2,000 push-ups in an hour. It would be like my “King of Kong,” watching grown men try to size each other up and beat each other for a prize that really offers nothing more than bragging rights.
Now before you become kind of crazy like myself and start doing your own daily push-up regimen, I will tell you this. To hell with the haters. I harken back to an old article that Jon posted one day and it was about fitness trends that needed to go as described by various fitness professionals. One of them was to not listen to the jerks that will judge you for everything you do wrong. Sometimes it is about getting yourself to a level that was never before attainable…especially in your own mind. I never thought I would have reached this point in my life where I am doing push-ups on a regular basis, much less gunning for an eight-mile run tonight. I guess the changes are still occurring in my boy and my heart, allowing to keep moving forward even in if my body shape is not cooperating with the forward momentum. I will say the best thing I am liking about this is the fact my forearms feel as hard as a rock…all the time!
I will just say this about push-ups, to put little summation on the subject. I honestly don’t like them for the most part, but as long as the results keep coming, I will keep doing it. I guess it is like a lot of things in my life, especially when it comes to my body and my effort. As long as I keep pushing forward and getting better in relation to my fitness, I will keep doing it. I think that was why I was so ticked off during this past summer (though being unemployed didn’t help at all). I was tired from the heat and I wasn’t making any gains. If anything, this push-up challenge is a nice little tool I need to help with the forward motion I need to keep going. It is the reminder I need for myself. So even if I have to take a break in the number of reps, at least I know I will keep going for the sake of my health and the sake of my mental health.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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