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
June 18, 2017
On this day that we celebrate our fathers, I always seem to find it sad how the media and popular culture seems to portray the regular father. It is rather pitiful and disconcerting to me, especially since the typical depiction is always of a bumbling idiot that cannot be left alone with the child, much less to be expected to breath without the presence of the mother. Yeah, this subject is not really rooted in the realm of fitness and health, but in a lot of ways it is. One common depiction that is naturally expected of the common television father is he is rarely in shape. He may be quite good at whipping up some barbecue or eating an outlandish amount of food, but dangummit…it’s funny? Personally I always found this to be a weird trope within the common television shows of the American viewing public. I guess it makes for a good comedy twist from time to time, like when the overweight father must desperately lose weight to regain the respect of his family. Sometimes it backfires like in “The King of Queens,” where perpetually overweight Doug goes on a diet and actually starts getting looks form other women, which of course drives his wife up the wall because she was used to being the “pretty one.” Eventually Doug gained the weight back and this was never spoke of again, mainly because people probably didn’t like the leaner Doug. Strangely enough, the only time poor male health was ever really reflected on was in “Roseanne,” where we discover that Dan actually died of a massive heart attack. This was no surprise since throughout the entire series, health was not exactly something Dan really cared much for. Either way, I choose to pay respect to my father unlike the television world, even if there is a great many things we disagree on.
Anyway, amidst all of the bad Father’s Day advertisements, one thing that is often times popping up is how to get “Dad” back into shape. Father’s Day deals at the gym, Father’s Day deals at the testosterone clinic and Father’s Day deals on viagra or something. Either way, there is a lot of implied messages about health and what not, and this is often to the guise of getting “Dad” back in shape so his family will respect him as a human being again. Okay, it is not that morbid, but you get the drift. This time of year in general is typically the toughest to deal with, especially when you are a gargantuan human being such as myself. We hear the advertisements about getting that beach body that will so validate us to the world, making us attractive and worthwhile. The worst one I hear is the Medical Weight Loss clinic, which is promising pills that will help you lose up to 20 pounds a month (I will honestly state that I have been intrigued by this whole thing, but I resisted considering I know the cost will be huge and the side effects many). They list their program as RM3, which really means nothing since they tell you very little about the drugs they are injecting you with other than it being a medical grade HCG . All they describe it as is “fat burning injections.” Whatever the heck that means. Since there is no actual pricing online in regards how this works, I can only assume this is something that is rather expensive. They claim they have a fitness and health regimen that will also help you, but who knows what that entails. Let me tell you what HCG is at least. Human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone that is produced by the placenta after conception (or implantation as Wikipedia describe it…sounds like an alien was put into the body!). Anyway, while there is some merit to this stuff, it comes at a rather steep price, sometimes as high as a 50 dollars for a small bottle. And here is the real kicker…does this stuff really work? The calorie restrictions the program has are pretty ridiculous, some as low as 800 calories a day. I would have a headache if I was on that program! If anything, such a restriction would cause massive weight dumps. Heck, the drug might be arbitrary in the process. While this obviously seems to work, it really does not send a message about the difficulty of losing weight and getting fit the right way. Heck, there was even a commercial on the radio station where a guy said he lost a bunch of weight, only to gain it back because he got “lazy.” More like he wasn’t taught a real lifestyle change to keep the weight off.
Now that the incendiary portion of the blog is over, let’s get back into the nitty gritty. Keeping weight off and maintaining good health is just freaking hard. Look at me, I’ve been on the program for five years and I still struggle with the system. While I still have the dedication to hit the gym and make my presence known, so many other factors are getting to me in the wake my health problems. So I have to take the road that is best for me, not the road that is trendy and probably dangerous, especially when you think about the idea of injecting hormones into your body. The biggest problem for me right now is my right leg, which has been a mess the last couple months. It gets tight just from walking, and since my cardio is also out of whack, doing a short two mile run is almost impossible. This is where patience has to continue to be a virtue, because if I try something really stupid, I could end up really hurting myself in the process. My feet are really the toughest to pinpoint right now, and I have been doing various stretches to make this a little less pain filled. I am only running as hard as I can run right now, and working with my cardio gradually. The other side of the coin is the fact I really need to be more consistent on my own time, which is something that has been a pain for me. My difficulties have really led to a light depression in me, for I want to be an all around athlete, not just some gym guy. I can only be patient for so long.
One of the main things I talked about in the last blog was the cost of fitness versus the cost of a bad health lifestyle. Yes, personal trainers can be expensive and can be a little intimidating, but would you really want to deal with the bills that will be hitting you for having heart disease or diabetes? It’s not a pretty picture. This is where you really need to be careful though, because let’s say you really do take on the alternative and put your money where your fitness is? There are so many ways to get fit these days that while you may be crazy and want to try all of them, this is why you should always remember to have some actual guidance. For those that have been out of the game for years, this is mostly aimed toward you because if you were like me, doing basic weight lifting and such was a potential hazard. Heck, even if you are in good shape, this could still be a problem because one might push themselves harder due to the fact they might think they are more capable. It happened to me a few weeks ago, where I accidentally overworked my arm and probably pulled something in the process. I was only down for a week when it came to real weightlifting, but it could have been so much worse. If you think getting heart disease can really hit you in the pocket book, then don’t think for a second that suffering a major injury is not gonna set you back. To be fair, just about everyone issuing to get a little tweak in the process, slightly injuring themselves and having to adjust. What I’m talking about is the really bad stuff, like torn ligaments and muscles.
Let’s throw a hypothetical out there. You decide to start doing some ridiculously heavy lifting, even if you are not ready for it. Your knee buckles and bam…torn anterior cruciate ligament. These are still based on the luck of the draw for the most part, but these can also be cased o the fact some people are just not ready to do certain things with their body. Costs for the average ACL surgery are also pretty steep, ranging from $6800 to $9200. https://amino.com/blog/acl-surgery-cost/ Some factors are thrown into this equation as well, for some estimates are apparently as high as $20,000! The other caveat is the fact that more women are susceptible to ACL injuries, which makes form and build up even more important in the fitness process. http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/muscles-joints-bones/knee/acl-injuries-in-female-athletes And let us not forget the most dangerous culprit, something that I have been very weary of during my time at Parsons Training…my shoulders. I have never been one to really go balls to the wall with the shoulder based stuff, mainly because my shoulders are the weakest appendage of my body and also the least stable. So while I do challenge myself from time to time, I mainly wait until I am fully warmed up. Let’s face it, shoulder surgeries in this country alone are a booming cash cow, netting in some estimates of 3.44 billion dollars annually in total costs. Over the years I have been very careful with my bench pressing, for the lack of a real spotter may be affecting my ability to get heavier weights. While I wish I had a lifting buddy or two to truly see where I am right now, I can really only do maintenance lifts since I primarily work on this stuff by myself. In truth, that is a real key when it comes to my personal fitness. I push a little harder from time to time, but when I feel the strength waning, I have to ease up. Like the time I was trying to do six sets of dead lifts at 345. It was tough weight for sure, and I was burning up way too much energy o the first lift. I suppose if that was all I was going to do, I would have powered through it. But I eased down to 295 not just to finish the sets quicker, but also to prevent fatigue based injuries later the session. Now there is no guarantee that I was going to hurt myself, but you have to be mindful.
This very strong sense of self preservation has been throughly engrained into my head, mainly because I retained a lot of good advice from Jon during the course of my transformation. It is great to have huge weights and look cool, but setting yourself back because you did not build properly can really lead to some problems. There is a reason why Jon had me do overhead squats for the longest time. He did this to prepare me for the snatches and eventual clean presses that I was going to be partaking in. While I have yet to really test my weight going forward, I at least have a decent ability. Now how does this equate to fitness? Well, I had a live person walk me through all of this stuff. While it is nice to use social media and other platforms to try and push your fitness philosophy, the lack of actual physical contact is going be seriously lacking. First and foremost, you will never get that hands on training that is necessary when you use some fitness personality’s app or sign up for workouts of the day from some random person that really doesn’t know where you are physically. Like I said, the biggest obstacle when going through with a fitness regimen is you have to build. For the small percentage of America that is already there and ready to climb up the ladder, even they have to do some things gradually before they can partake in some more advanced workout methodologies.
Some people might call me a wuss for not really going as full out as I could in some instances, but the truth is it is because I know this will be a lifelong journey. I struggle with that at times due to the fact I want results right now!! I will always recommend this to a person no matter what, because look at the cost of those injuries! And if you think your insurance will strictly protect you, think of the mental and the physical toll it will take on you. You will be set back quite a bit, and some injuries (especially the shoulder) you may never get back fully. Just be careful my friends. That is all I can say.
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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.