By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
June 18, 2015
Well, it has barely been a week of official Tucson summer and I’m already begging for the days of fall to quickly hit us. Like the rest of the United States, we don’t consider May to be any part of summer even though retail outlets and movie studios try to pass it off as such a thing. Doesn’t matter anyway, for in Arizona, summer starts the instant the temperature gauge hits the 90s (which is usually in the late part of April and the early part of May). It’s kind of funny, for so many people easily turn on their air conditioning in the March and even February, merely to the tune that winter just doesn’t last very long here. As for me, I was pretty stubborn this year, holding off on getting my swamp cooler going until June and then hardly using it while I am home. But that is the price one pays living in such a horrid climate. Some day I would like to get out of the fire pit that is known as Arizona, but that...
is not happening any time soon and I’m stuck here. So, what is a guy to do in the heat? Just keep going is all I can say!
Either way, my training schedule has found a little more fluidity in it’s consistency due to the fact my schedule has kind of normalized at my work. While I am not making as much money as I need to live comfortably, life in summertime is not meant to be comfortable in the southwest. But the silver lining is I have managed to get back on track with my schedule, getting into Parsons Training more consistently which has allowed me to get some of my gains back and test my limits again. Of course, the downside right now is the fact I turn into a sweat fountain, for it now that time of year to start packing a huge towel and an extra shirt with me when I go to the gym. But this is all part of the new process that I consider my life, The life where I want to live as a healthy human being rather than an unhealthy couch potato. I take some pride in knowing I’m doing well in this part of my life, for I know everything else right now is kind of a struggle. But on the other hand, there has been some good news recently!
One thing that has always been a major conniption of mine is the scale. Like a lot of people, I hate to stand on those things. If anything, so many people have made the number that shows up on the scale a major factor in a person’s worth, which unfortunately used to be a real problem for me in the beginning of my weight loss journey. For those that haven’t read the blog for very long, I was losing weight at an exponential rate when I first started. This was just from giving up dairy, cutting my fast food intake in half and actually walking and doing a little working out on the side. The first two months of my journey were such a high for me that I thought it would last forever. I was looking forward to doing stupid things like buying tight shirts or gasp! Take my shirt off in public. But little did I know, I had put too much leverage on my personal well being against the scale, and then I found out I lost only ten pounds over the span of two months. I was pretty upset with myself, so much so that I was cussing up a storm and threatening to quit. Fortunately Jon calmed me down a bit with a lunch at Chipotle, helping me remember why I started on this journey. I did it because my parents loved and cherished me enough to coerce me into doing this. But most importantly, he also taught me that gains are not always about the scale, but about the effort I put into each day at the gym. I’ll admit, this wasn’t the only wig-out that I had during my three years of doing this, for last November brought a huge surprise to me I never would have expected. After dropping into the 260s, I found out I was listed at a ridiculous 288 pounds. Needless to say, I was pretty upset with myself. It was because I had become too content with my effort and not enough with my goal of losing weight. While I was doing well in the gym, I firmly understood the reason why my running wasn’t getting any better or why it seemed like my personal bests were remaining unchanged. So I had to once again get my butt into gear, even though I still had some bad eating habits. So in spite of a leg injury and a couple setbacks, I found out recently that I have dropped back down to 255. Unofficially, that means I have lost about 145 pounds in total weight, or basically the same amount of weight as current UFC Featherweight Champ Jose Aldo (well, at least when he cuts weight, but that would be pretty annoying carrying that cocky SOB around on my back. hehe). Now some might say 33 pounds in six months may not be that impressive, but I say to hell with you! I look at it this way, for my weight has been yo-yoing due to my job. Not to mention I had to carb load for a couple races (Ragnar Del Sol and The Arizona Distance Classic) where I am pretty sure I gained a few pounds in the process, because I take my carb loading seriously! Not to mention less than a month ago I was 263 pounds.!
Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about the weight loss. I kind of knew in my heart and soul that I was probably at that weight, merely just from the gut feeling I had. I think that is why I did so well on Monday afternoon, where a stroke of luck with my job allowed me to actually go and work out rather than buts hump until six in the evening. Thankfully i was able to get off a few hours early, which meant I would be able to maintain my Monday-Wdnesday-Friday/Saturday schedule. I raced over to Parsons and was ready to go, feeling good and light on my feet. Turns out an old client of Jon’s was going to do a little “bro” workout with me, which would be quite strange for me. Jon’s old client Jessie typically comes in during the offseason of his rugby leagues, mainly to stay in shape and maintain his strength (since he is roughly 6-5 and about the same weight as me). Now it is weird for me to work out with someone, for I don’t get too many opportunities to train with someone who is at the same level as me. I have trained with the Ward clan a few times, and even those guys are pound for pound stronger than me (Especially Ryan, a high school sophomore that is about 155 and benches 170!), the amount of weight I can lift is vastly different. So having someone that can lift the same amount of weight was kind of fun. Now since Jessie was making a comeback after a long absence, Jon kind of took it easy on him, and by taking it easy I mean many, many reps. We started off with 100 chest presses with the 55-pound dumbbells, which is rare for me to start with since Jon always likes to challenge my grit and put that at the end of a tough workout. So I managed to power through the exercise, pumping out 100 in no time and actually beating up my body at the beginning of a workout rather than the end. It was wonderful to say the least, for I felt really good abut my effort. Now I’m wondering when Jon will get some 60-pound dumbbells for me to eventually tackle! Jessie did pretty well as well, powering through 85 reps before we had to move on to the next exercise (Jon wanted me to focus on the hundred while letting Jessie determine his own rep count). We then powered through some goblet squats with the 25kg (53 pounds) kettle bell and also did 50 jump pull-ups. Since I am still too weak to do a regular push-up, I might as well figure out some other ways to get the movement down (I still have a bad shoulder!). The last thing we did was 50 reps at the deadlift, which is where I decided to go all gangbusters. Jessie, still nursing some ailments, decided to do 165 while I focused on 205 pounds. Now I have done 50 reps at this weight before, but I did it slowly and over the course of ten minutes or so, doing them in sets of five. But dammit, I had to show off that night. The gym was full and I wanted to see just how hard I could truly go. I was powering through the lifts 10 at a time, not even taking any breaks between each lift. If the weight had been more impressive, it would have been worthy of a Youtube video.
Now I will gladly admit I paid for my hubris the next night. Wanting to go for a little run, I was going to attempt a seven miler on the home course mainly because I was only 13 miles away from my current goal of running 600 miles. I set that goal last September, and with the fact I will break the barrier this week, I will have finished nearly three months ahead of time. Anyway, the 7.5-mile run has been something I have wanted to do, for when I separate the Santa Cruz River walk into sections between Valencia and Silverlake, it is nearly a half marathon (and a ridiculously hard one at that! The changing inclines makes it rough on the legs). Well, I obviously failed and only churned out a little under 3.5 miles. I was a little angry with myself, but then I had throw in some other factors. Despite the fact I started late and ran in the dead of night (the river walk is not lit) it was still a putrid 100 degrees! Yup, summer is definitely here and it will be a lot and hot one. Is it really safe to say that the entire summer in Arizona is nothing but a string of Dog Day afternoons?
Despite all the hell I put myself through, I still had enough gusto to show up Wednesday morning and churn out an old functional workout that to this day, is still one of the toughest ones for meet accomplish. I still don’t know what the heck Christa was thinking when she created it, but no matter what I do, it is a beast of a workout. 100 dead bugs (40-pound weights), 90 kettle bell swings, 80 kettle bell V-ups, 70 kettle bell squats, 60 kettle bell seated twists, 50 leandown curls (35-pound weights), 40 Squat push presses (45-pound weights), 30 bench dips, 20 step-ups (each leg) and 10 burps with push-ups. Phew! How did you start your Wednesday morning? Now I probably would have taken longer to do this if I had gone with heavy weights for every exercise, but I have to look at the long term residual effect. If I wanted to recover from my soreness and be able to ru the next day, I would have to focus more on function and speed. The last time I took this challenge on it took me almost 90 minutes, even though the weights were much worse. But I look at it this way. Summertime working out is just going to tap the heck out of me no matter what I do, so I might as well do what I can to stay in shape and burn some of this ugly fat off my body. I still got a good few months to hit 230 pounds by the time Ragnar Las Vegas hits, so I will be ready for the race by them, especially since I am looking at nearly 20 miles of running! (okay, it is more or less 19.4, but who knows what will happen. Someone might break down!) Even though the heat is hitting my little burg hard, at least I have some motivation again. Losing weight shouldn’t be the primary reason to get in shape and take command of your health, but damn it feels good when you do lose that excess!
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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
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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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