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
February 19, 2017
I remember back when I was a kid, and the idea of fitness was not exactly one of high standing. We all looked at our heroes for the most part, guys that looked strong but seemed to possess an extra gear or ability to excel in the sport. When someone really set the bar and was really out of place at the same time, we all took notice. We all considered the extraordinary to be a gift, and we were all oblivious. Bo Jackson was a linebacker playing running back. Mark McGwire and fellow “Bash Brother” Jose Canseco were body builders playing baseball. Wayne Gretzky was a skinny nerd with the slickest stick on the ice. Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins seemingly walked on air like the Looney Tunes characters. Pro Wrestling was a bunch of gigantic men throwing each other around and destroying smaller “jobbers” for our joy, just so we can see their signature move on a regular basis. During those days, the best athletes in the game were easy to point out, because they had some sort of physical ability that no one else possessed that let them stick out. Of course, like so many things we learn as we get older, a great many of our heroes were probably using substances that allowed them to reach these feats of greatness. For some people, they just became jaded and let go, acknowledging the fact that cheating and doing whatever it took to win was worth the shame and the cost. Then you had people like me, who believe the game is not much of a game if people are cheating. It’s the very reason why so many people have a disdain for the modern era sports, even as we continue to find out certain athletes of yesteryear were using cocaine and amphetamines (greenies as they were commonly called) to get their performance kick. Heck, there are old stories from baseball locker rooms where there used to be two pots of coffee in every locker room, on with “unleaded” coffee and the other without a label. One can only imagine what it must have been like in those days.
Suspicion and cynicism has struck me hard these days, for I used to think people were on the up and up until people started getting mysteriously stronger and better when they got older. I can’t even watch a football game these days without thinking half the guys on the field are doing some kind of performance enhancing drug. There is a bit of jealousy on my part, for the desire to use some kind of chemical to make myself stronger and better is lingering in the back of my mind, but has been held at bay like a great many things in my mind. So I struggle on, wondering why my body is getting angry with me. Maybe the new shoes I got a couple months ago are just not a good mode for me. Or maybe the sitting down for nearly a third of the day is finally getting to my body. I don’t know right now, for the trepidation about my health is something that has been bothering me as of late. Right now, I see no light at the end of the tunnel for me for the last couple workouts have been a real struggle for me. I had trouble moving my weight up on my snatch practice, struggling to even do 100 pounds. I did some cleans combos with the front squat and push press, and I could barely even do 135 pounds. While it is easy to say that my weakness was the fact I have not done the exercise in a while, the other problem could be due to my inconsistent diet (I have been tired and and eating little for breakfast), there are just so many factors that are hitting me in regards to my decline at the moment. I feel extremely worried about Ragnar, for my knee and my inner laziness has been making it tough to even train. And I get home mentally exhausted, not wanting to do anything because I need rest to recuperate for the next day. I just wish I had more hours in the day…that is for sure.
Right now, I just find it interesting trying to get better in better shape in regards to my Olympic lifting. Interesting in the respect that my life is evolving at such a slow rate yet here I am trying to do standard stuff like merely doing a complicated lift. For me, basic Olympic lifting and some good cardio based circuit training has made me feel better about my fitness, even if I am struggling to make some real gains these days. Either way, the lack of energy and sometimes lack of effort makes for a bad combination, and I can see why it I can be tedious for some people when they get deep into their fitness life. Right now, I definitely feel like I am stuck, and life is not making this time any easier for me. A constant pain in my lower back is making it difficult for me to sleep and to even do something basic like going for a walk. I feel like a disappointment right now, and thus the easy ways of doing fitness like so many of our heroes have partaken in makes for a compelling alternative. Thankfully I have no money, so getting some Australian “specials” or taking advantage of some Mexican “dog medication” is not gonna do me any good.
So what is a guy to do? I’m bored with the fitness game right now, and that is the reason why I was in good spirits with some new training sessions to help out. But with my trainer Jenny down for the last few days with an eye injury (get well soon Jenny!) I have been getting back to my usual routine of abusing multiple muscle groups. Right now, I make sure I am utilizing a good motion that will work my overhead in addition to a good pulling motion. I also do some good leg and back work in the process. Usually I will put more work into one group than the other when I get to the gym, for I never seem to really focus on one area too much. If anything, I really need to push myself harder especially now that my body is constantly sore and inactive due to my job. So I reiterate the question.
I often times wonder about the constant change in the fitness world, where people are trying some really specific stuff these days. Usually I have my reservations about what a lot of these people are doing, mainly because it just looks so ridiculous to do some of this stuff. Right now, one of the bigger and stranger trends is people doing spin classes….in a pool. Yup, pool spinning or whatever the heck they call it these days is something that has taken the world by storm. Then you got some people out in California (of course) that are offering all male yoga classes. I have been wanting to try yoga one of these days, but I would never think there was enough men to fill out a studio worth of guys. This of course is still on the heels of bikram yoga, which is once again experiencing a surge during these winter months (bikram is when they turn the temperature to the room to insane levels and do yoga). Heck, there is even something being called “skate fitness” what is being offered out in Colorado. What in the world is all this stuff? It used to be when you discovered some kind of crazy idea that worked, it definitely made a lasting impact. When Marv Marinovich came up with his methods for core and agility training in the 70s, no one would suspect many of his ideas would still be around. Or how about the creation of TRX Suspension training by the Marine Corps in the 1990s? It has helped turn some playing carriers around by naturally building the body’s core and strength by turning one’s own weight against themselves (hence the reason why Drew Brees had a career resurgence in 2006 and is on the cusp of being the all time passing leader in the NFL). These were some pretty darn good ideas, for some of the best ideas are the ones that can stand the test of time. Former New York Giants assistant coach Tom Landry created the 4-3 defense and to this day, it is still the primary standard in all of football these days. I sometimes wonder who was the guy that created the air bag and turned them into a standard safety feature? Or what in the world was driving like before seat belts and window wipers?
Now I will not denounce these changing and unusual forays into the fitness world. Part of the problem with fitness is that it sometimes can get a little boring, and unless you really have a good handle on how to approach the subject, there is a good chance you will lose total interest in the endeavor. I like to joke that Super Bowl Weekend is the weekend where New Year’s resolutions go to die, but in reality it is a general malaise that occurs during the entire month of February it seems. I mean, what happens when you get tired of doing the elliptical or you get tired of doing stupid bicep curls? So while I like to put down some of these more unusual approaches to the fitness game, you might as well try something different. Now of course, you have to be willing to shell out some good money for this sort of thing. The only thing I find really odd is how much more advanced a standard gym is becoming these days. I look at this way, especially when I walk in to Parsons Training. The most advanced piece of equipment is the scale, and a lot of people are starting to avoid that thing these days. Myself included. I mean, I cannot even get an accurate reading these days whether it be because of my feet not being able to line up properly or whatever. One might wonder how I can even rely on a darn scale these days. I mean ,the very week that the scale stated I was 238, I was well over 260 when I went to the plasma donation center (of course, this did not affect me, of the heavier you are at those places, the better your amount per payment will be). Recently I weighed myself again, and this was after a day where I did not eat much and a couple days after some heavy running…and I still weighed in at 247. What the hell? Especially when my pants were becoming a little looser that week.
If you can believe, there is now machine at some gyms that actually measure people’s total fat to muscle content, and this might be a viable look into the future of fitness. Rather than doing those pesky measurements that take a long time with your trainer, you can do it instantly in a body scanner. Heck, I wouldn’t feel all that comfortable going through a scanner at an airport, much less going to a gym to let the world find out I had been cheating on my diet…I mean, they would be able to do that right? Heck, there is another cool device I had never seen before that fits over your finger and measures your heart rate and such. For all I know, these things may have been around forever. I don’t know, I don’t end up in the hospital much. So here is my question, especially to all of your who are struggling to get their health in check and finally make those changes to get the body they truly want…something I have been struggling to do. What do you think will stick around for the future decades?
Personally, these interesting “boutique” gyms will always serve a purpose for the higher class and those that wish to be seen by the higher class. When you think about it, the foundations of fitness will always stick around, and those are the sort of things you need to keep doing in your life. Olympic and power lifting will always be a benefit. Intense circuit training will always be a benefit. Cycling and swimming will always be a solid foundation to work with. Yoga is not an excuse to sell tight pants and foam mats, for the long term ability to shape and mold will keep moving. All of these things will remain because they are the foundation of all fitness, which is what I really need to get better at. While specialized classes will come and go, maintaining at least one foot in the old school way of thinking is always going to be good for your health.
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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.