By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
March 17, 2016
It’s kind of strange feeling when I write this blog. On a lot of days, I struggle with the subject matter, wondering what I should focus on and how I should thinly utilize my own life to help make the point even stronger. The Thursday blogs are always the toughest, because let’s take a look at the circumstances that surround the preparation of said literature. I always come home on a Monday, horribly tired and wondering when the hell I will get a real job, plop my butt on the couch and then check out a horrible movie at “Mondo Mondays” at The Loft, which is the best way to learn how not to make a movie. Now, doing this routine on Monday is pretty funny sometimes, like what happened with the horribly awesome film of “Man’s Best Friend,” which is a movie about a genetically engineered dog that can wantonly kill while climbing trees and pissing battery acid (I kid you not). Somedays it can be extremely horrible, like the movie “Strays,” an old TV film that featured Timothy Busfield trying to ward off the evil advances of a bunch of cats. Yes, cute, wide eyed cats were killing and terrifying people. Never mind the fact that the cats never actually killed someone, more or less causing someone to bump their head too hard or make them fall off a balcony and die. Killer stray cats don’t seem that horrible. Anyway, I move on to Tuesday, where I get up too early because my dogs are still on their weekend schedule and wanting their food at four in the morning. Usually I do a pretty solid workout on Tuesdays, but I am so beaten up that I often times can’t do all of the things I was hoping to accomplish. Usually nothing gets done for me on Tuesday after my workout, simply because I’m just so tired I have to simply decompress and let my body recover from the hardship of a long work weekend and a tough Tuesday workout. Usually, my Wednesdays are the day I primarily look for work, and since I still have the job I absolutely hate, it hasn’t been going well. So I keep trudging along, wondering when the routine can change. Due to some injuries and soreness, I haven't run in nearly a month, and it is really bugging the heck out of me! Anyway, by the time I finally come up with an idea, it is often times late in the evening and I setting myself up for an eventual lost day on Thursday, which is the day I might actually check out a movie in my massive film collection. So yes, my fatigue is my own damn fault, at least for the last couple weeks.
I think this usually happens when I am down or in a rut, which is kind of what is going on in my life. You think something is going well and that is when the panic and the paranoia begin to feed your mind. Is it too good to be true? Is that beautiful woman really digging you? Is this sudden sense of happiness going to come down and land on your head, making that fall from the perch much harder and much tougher to overcome? Well, I already know this part can be true. In a sense, I really did fall from a pretty high perch, and it has been a rather horrible experience. You see, when I was forced to work the weekend shifts at work, I literally lost three days of the week. This meant I lost a day of running and a day of working out. Now, I actually improved my running skills, but the cumulative pain that is being generated at work is catching up to me and is hurting my legs, which I certainly need to have when running! And worst of all, I have lost a lot of gains…and I mean a lot. Before I was forced to be on the weekend shift, I was on the verge of deadlifting 400 pounds. I was still lousy on the bench press but only because 215 is not that great for a man of my size. I could easily back squat 300+ pounds. Slowly but surely, all of those things were lost. I’ll admit, I fell into a funk about this loss, mainly because I had gotten so used to improvement that wondered just how high I could reach. But like the story of Icarus, the wax holding my wings was not strong enough and I fell back to Earth. It was a hard thud, for every week I felt like I was getting weaker and I could see others get stronger. But I had to think about my body and my well being, so I had to scale back my working out. I mean, when you work 36 hours in a 60 hour span (Friday morning to Monday evening), it severely weakens you. You barely have time to eat before you realize you have to go to bed! I couldn’t imagine the people that stay up late for sports contests and then come to work the next day. I mean, it was bad enough being dog tired from the work….so I certainly hope the extra fatigue was worth it!
So why am I lamenting about all of this pointless details? Well, I finally got my butt back on a more suitable schedule. Not only do I get off the weekend shift, I actually work a much more suitable schedule, one that will allow me to workout better over the long run. I work six in the morning to four in the afternoon now, and let me tell you, those extra couple hours are great! My body doesn’t really start breaking down and yelling at me until around the 10-hour mark on any given shift, so getting out of work before that threshold kicks in will be helpful. Sure, I have to relearn a lot of new names and earn the trust of a new shift supervisor, at least I will be able to more consistently work out. I don’t intend to do anything huge during this new time, for I intend to look at some gyms over the next couple weeks and make a decision as to which I will join. I gotta get my bills squared away and of my tires dealt with first, so unfortunately being an adult will have to take precedence. Oh, and I have to do my taxes soon. Ugh. This is the latest in years that I have had to do this, but oh well. Right now, I just want to get used to running and lifting after work again, which was a situation I felt much more comfortable with back in the day. I really want to get back into running and being better than ever, especially now that I have a schedule which is much more conducive to a regular regimen. I hope to get a couple small runs in and then do one long run every week, preferably on Mondays, meaning I may have to buy the song “I Don’t Like Mondays” soon enough. But this is all hopefulness and conjecture. This is all something that my head is telling me might be good and might happen. It is something I have to start making a reality. I mean, I am so used to not getting what I want or need, now I’m kind of scared. Why should I be scared, you may ask? Routine. I use it so much to define my life and keep myself alive—especially as my finances are always struggling—switching up that routine is a little terrifying. But it is also exhilarating.
One of the things I have so desperately wanted to do was start getting into racing again. While I will miss my chance to do the Arizona Distance Classic this weekend (I was thinking of doing the quarter marathon since I am not trained….but 70 bucks is kinda steep right now!), I do have a shot to do the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown, which has a nifty little medal for three races that you can combine into on huge medal. I was also seriously thinking of returning to the site of my first half marathon once again, testing my limits at+ the Lake Powell Half Marathon on October 15. Now of course, I need to have money to do all of this stuff, but having the freedom to make that decision is what I have been so desperately looking for. I’ve been wanting to increase my medal haul this year, so this now gives me the opportunity to do that. Plus I think the best part will be this….my mental health. For a long time now, I have been missing just about every weekend family event imagined. Now, I love my family and such, but they sure do not plan stuff very far ahead and I have no time to get time off….provided I could afford to do it. But no more! I’m not missing Easter this year. I will not be missing Mother’s and Father’s Day. And I certainly won’t be missing the Tucson Heart and Diabetes Walk either. All of these things were gravely threatened before this shift change, so I am glad that will be a huge shift for me. Plus, I might have the opportunity to go visit my friends up in Phoenix more often, even if it is to watch terrible Star Wars movies (seriously, they are gonna have one come out every thinking year now!!). Plus, I have the option of actually going out on a Friday or Saturday night, but most likely Saturday nights. I mean, I might find myself doing early morning runs on Saturdays soon enough, especially if I want to start increasing my distance and such.
Perhaps the good vibes that have hit me recently are helping me relax a little as well. I mean, the last couple of weeks have seen some good work for me in the gym as I have sought to regain some of my former glory in my weightlifting. For the third consecutive week, I managed to top my dead lift weight, getting a good lift at 335 pounds. Granted, I only got one rep out of it, but I had already done nearly 20 combined reps from weights as low as 245 to 315. So yeah, I was little maxed out on the energy but I got it. It will be a awhile before I can hit the 400-pound threshold, but it will be done. I also managed to 205 pounds on the front squat, which is a terrible workout movement for me due to my faulty wrists. But I am getting better at it, finding a good way to hold the bar which allows myself to manage the weight and save my wrists. On Tuesday, I did a pretty heavy workout that was a little tougher than normal. But that is what happens when you have a little good news in your life and you are on a tiny winning streak of sorts. I was still feeling good about the tough functional workout I did on Friday, one where Jon asked me why the heck I decided to add 50 tire flips after all of the other stuff I did. “Because we still had some time left!” I told him. Jon has come to expect this level of oddity from me, even if I rarely test myself like that anymore. Plus, I had people to impress that day, so there is that. Either way, Parsons Training was kind of “bro’d up” this past Tuesday morning, as Jon and a couple of his stronger clients were killing it at the snatch and other various lifts. So yes, I had to show I wasn’t some “girly man!” (haha!). Okay, I didn’t really feel that way, but I did put together a good workout that was much tougher than I thought it would be. I mean, I did bench pressing along with the deadlifts and even did some barbell rows. And then I did a really crazy idea, working on back squats and front squats simultaneously. I have to admit, doing that was not an act of insanity, but I thought it would be cool to try and switch off on the two exercises. It worked okay on the first couple rounds, but that was when fatigue pretty much set in, not to mention I wanted go a little heavier on the back squats but not so much on the front.
So this coming Saturday, I will once again get my weekends back and start some major changes in my work and workout life. It will be a little weird at first, for like I said, I am so used to not having anything to do on a Saturday night that I may not know what to do with myself. Gasp, will actually go out? Who knows, maybe I can even meet some new people and gulp!…women. Okay, I’m not going get that goofy on you about this change, but it does make game a little more excited about living again. Much of the time, just having a reason to get up in the morning can really help with the gains that will not only benefit you in the gym, but also life.
About Parsons Training
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.
About Our Blog
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.