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 5, 2017
There is a time in your life when you ultimately start getting bored with the routine of working out. One thing is for sure, I will give respect to the people that can get their butts out of bed at an ungodly hour of the day and then go lift weights or something. I mean, I have a hard time just getting out of bed for work, much less letting something like working out and hitting the gym affect me. So yes, the people that do this sort of thing are my heroes, because you all are doing something I would find extremely strenuous on my life. I have always been and always will be a night owl, even though I work a job that forces me to get up really early in the morning. You see, I would rather get home early, eat a quick dinner, walk the dogs and then do what ever workout or run that I need to do. Eventually, I might become a morning runner if the situation ever presents itself in the grand scheme of my work life. But until that happens, I’m forever going to be the night guy. I don’t know why I have always been this way, for it is a grand conundrum in my life. I can only assume I became that way because of my last job, where I found myself getting up at 3:30 in the morning to work a job I hated with all my passion and soul. Seriously, I rarely get passionate about anything these days (mainly to protect my fragile heart), but when it comes to getting pissed off about something, that last job was it.
When I was younger, I definitely hated the idea of getting up early, mainly because I loved movies and the few video games that I had. I secretly stayed up to all hours of the night, and it did not help that I skipped meals frequently, leading me to some rather fatigued days. When I eventually got into college, I made damn sure that I never had a class that required to go to class at 8 a.m. or earlier. Heck, 9 a.m. classes were just as bad, for those early morning wake-ups caused me to start liking this brown liquid called coffee (of course, the full blown coffee thing didn’t really set in until years later when I found myself getting up at ungodly hours for Circle K where I actually learned how to become a coffee freak). Plus I had to take the bus everywhere, so yeah, I had to do everything two hours ahead of time. Either way, my tendencies in life are still quite evident even though I have managed to control it much better these days. I still wish I could stay up until midnight or so, mainly so I can enjoy some late night film watching like I used to. So how did this man that used to stay up until all hours of the night start doing this whole adult thing and start waking up so early? I don’t know, but I suppose my job at the Century Park 16 movie theater really planted some bad seeds. I used to screen so many movies back in the day that I often got tired of the life I was living, running a movie into the early hours of the evening and then getting up a few hours later to open up the place. The worst days were also when I had to come in and do inventory….by myself. This was the first time I found out how not so fit I was, for I had to haul around so many boxes of soda syrup and bags of popcorn kernels that I should have known my bad habits were killing me. Anyway, that is the reason why I like to do so many things in the evening.
The good thing about going to the evenings again at Parsons Training is the fact it suits me much better. While I enjoyed going in the mornings and doing my thing, I feel much more lucid and ready to go. A hard day of work and trying to fix other people’s problems puts a real strain on me, and so being able to properly release those toxins from my heart and mind makes for a much healthier me going to sleep. All of the nonsense of the day gone in a span of a few curls and bench presses. Now the only problem with this situation is the fact I get less time with Jon. While he gives me some pointers during the night sessions, he typically has to go home and handle his home life. Much of the time there are other competent trainers hanging around while I finish up, so it is not like I am completely unsupervised and trying to do stupid things like do 50 dead lifts and 100 alternating curls in one sitting (oh wait, I have done such crazy stuff before!). I have also done some nutty things like German Volume Training on my own and hang cleans with heavy weights. I will admit, some of the stuff I do is insane and often times a little too much. I seem to have a major problem though, for I keep choosing too much stuff that I like to do and often times have to be forced by Jon to do other things that are beneficial to me, especially when it comes to the back and the overhead movements (two of my least favorite areas to work). Fortunately for me, some good news came to my direction. With Parsons Training needing some work, I was employed to do some electrical work and get some circuits dealt with. You see, we cleared out a lot of drop ceiling and removed a boatload of unused cable wires. As for me, I had to do some temporary lighting work and remove some other useless pipes and wires. Today I will be installing some lights, for the current lighting that is at the gym is…how would you say, not conducive to building code. While I could have asked for cold hard cash, I decided to agree with the first draft of the proposal…trade for workout sessions.
Starting this past week, I got the first taste of some actual instruction, which was a needed change of pace for me. While Jon didn’t have any openings for me on his schedule, he decided to have me work out with one of the other trainers at the gym, Jenny. One of the great reasons why I decided to agree to the exchange is the fact Jenny specializes in a lot of flexibility training and circuit training. Having seen her work made me confident in knowing this would be a great help. With Ragnar coming up in five weeks and my body still ill prepared for the rigors of such heavy running, the least I can do is prepare my body from a flexibility point. While I am plugging in the miles on the track, I need to be able to have good strength in my legs and good flexibility in my smaller muscle. Early on, Jenny showed me a couple of good exercises that would really help with my leg and ankle flexibility, which I consistently utilized the last few months. Needless to say, wit the exception of the fact my body is getting used to the longer distances, I have been pretty good in terms of leg strength while I do my running. I mean, I plugged in 7.28 miles on Friday night even though I had not run that distance in quite a while. While the time was slow, what do you expect? I had been getting my butt kicked.
So the training started this past Tuesday, and much like the previous sessions that I have been doing over the last couple months, I started off the day with some practice on my Olympic lifting. Now over the past few months, I have been getting ready for this moment, doing overhead squats and then working my way to the snatch progression. Well, with someone actually watching me step by step, the time for doing and critiquing was now. Before, when I did the snatching by myself, I often times just did what I wanted. While I was mindful of what I was doing and was getting the gist of the movement, it was pretty obvious that I was doing the whole thing very sloppily. Right away, Jenny started catching me getting off my feet, especially when I was doing the tail end of my snatch progressions. While using the balls of your feet to help get the bar up is necessary, the main problem I seemed to be experiencing was the fact I would use the same toes to do the overhead portions of the snatch. That’s big no-no in the movement, not just from a progression and technique standpoint, but mainly from the fact you could easily lose your balance in the process. Do you want to end up like a Fail Army denizen, having the bar drop on your head and getting some early visits to the doctor, or do you want to do the snatch properly? Well, I want to do the thing properly, so even though I was using weights that were relatively easy for me, I needed to make sure that my technique was good in the process. One thing Jenny also had to correct me on was the fact I was swinging the bar out in front of me a little too much. When you have another eye on you, it really helps with the progression of your working out, especially when it comes to these Olympic lifts. Not only was I lifting my heels too much and occasionally swinging the bar out, I was also getting sloppy with my knees again, for they were pronating inside on some occasions when I did the lift. These were all things I would have never caught on my own, and with them in mind, I really had to be mindful of what I was doing. While it certainly hurt just doing these things the right way (as opposed to my way), it will be better for me in the long run.
So with all of that work to start with, Jenny then started pushing me into her specialty zone, which is the circuit training that she so loves to put people through. While it was all stuff that
I have done before on my own time, the tough part was I had to actually do it all at a faster pace. Such is the leisure of working out by yourself and not being on a clock. The roughest part of the whole thing was when Jenny had me do some TRX pulls. No matter what people say, this is easily one of the toughest things a fat guy like myself can actually do. And then, after all of this stuff, I had to do some side planks for 30 seconds on each side! I had to think that was the toughest part of the whole workout, mainly because you have to use the tired as heck arms that were burnt to a crisp to hole yourself up while holding up your side and keeping your fat butt from falling down (well, have a fat butt, maybe you don’t). Thursday continued some of the same stuff, for in addition to some light snatch practice, we also did some power cleans. While they are very much like hang cleans, the biggest change you have to makes the fact you must do the lift from the floor and not let your feet get off the ground. Trust me, that was a difficult thing to do because it resulted in me getting a little frustrated. While I did crave the instruction to help me with the progression of my fitness training, I was getting a little upset with the little things I kept messing up on. You see, while I had developed a bit of an independent streak, it was pretty obvious that I needed someone to start keeping an eye on my. Needless to say, this work at the gym came at the right time for me, mainly because now I am really ready to progress with the Olympic training. Getting the proper instruction will certainly help me as I prepare for heavier weights. During the Thursday session, we had to cut it a little short due to the fact Jenny had some unexpected work obligations (she is a staff sergeant for the United States Air Force). Either way, she still got the heart rate moving with some other body stretching type of workouts, such as the fact I had to do a side lean while also doing a curl. While this looks easy on paper, it was pretty taught actually get the coordination down…without lifting your feet. She finished me off with a little something took her back to her basic training days, where you lift your legs and start going in a running motion. I only do to these for 30 seconds at a time, but it was still brutal!
I still have a few more sessions to go with Jenny, but I am certainly excited in progressing my Olympic lifting. While it is all fun and game with the bench press and the dead lift and the squats, getting to know these specific exercises better will further aid in my development as an athlete. Like I said, even though I was busted up from the training, I still pulled through my long run on Friday due to the fact I am much more evenly strong in my legs. While my times are stinking to high heaven right now, I should able to handle the distances that are being expected of me…with little to no problems at all. So here is to the next few weeks! May they be tough and challenging!
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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.