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
January 29, 2017
One of the funniest words in all of the human language, at least in my opinion, is the word “goal.” I don’t know what is about the darn word, for there is something that really makes it seem weird and epic all at once. I could get into a strange little diatribe about the word like what was done in “Black Sheep” when David Spade and Chris Farley started going at it about the word “roads.” Okay, I was not tripping on some psychedelic drugs when it came to trying to figure out the frivolity of certain words, but hey, you get the idea (and on another note, “Black Sheep” is not the same darn movie as “Tommy Boy’….just structured the same. I mean we need to kind of stop this nonsense that they are the same, kind of like the idiots that claim Pearl Jam sounds like Nirvana. Ugh). Where was I? Anyway, here is the reason why I find the word “goal” to be so funny in my mind. I used to watch a lot of Mexican league soccer.
Before my old buddy Andy moved into the house for a prolonged period of time, one of his caveats was to actually get some cable television for the house. Since I didn’t want him to be confined to the rigors of my standard television signal, I agreed when he found a good deal on Direct TV. Needless to say, I was pretty set in my ways. With little television at my disposal, one thing I really got into was Liga MX, the Mexican league soccer foundation. Since I had all of the Mexican television stations at my disposal, I was able to watch a lot of soccer because infomercials were pretty boring to watch for the longest time. Naturally, I started following some of the teams, especially Atlas, which became my de facto team to follow. I did like some of the other teams like Jaguares (now Chiapas FC), Queretero and Cruz Azul. The soccer wasn’t necessarily of the highest quality, but the thing I always liked about the league was the unpredictability. You had no idea who was gonna win the damn thing every year, especially since the bigger clubs in Europe and England were always poaching the better players from the league. Admittedly, the league has fallen on some tough times due to the fact the instant any player gets a smidgeon of respect, they bolt. Either way, the greatest thing about these games was the way the Mexican announcers would go nuts when someone scored. “GGGGOOOOOAAAALLLLLLL!!!! GGGGOOOOAAALLLAAAAZZZZOOOO!!” Trust me, you have to trust me on the hilarity of the situation as well as the fun of it. Andres Cantor popularized the whole thing with his epic “goal” announcements and the generations that followed put some of their own spins on the old moniker. In fact, I always seem to enjoy foreign language announcers, mainly because they go nuts with the action, unlike the fake and often times muted responses from American announcers (except Gus Johnson, where every little shot or pass is a potential world beater that may cause his head to explode from excitement). One of my favorite moments of all time was when a hilarious Spanish announcer for the Spanish Pro Basketball league went nuts. https://youtu.be/KbugC_BIPMU
Now when we talk about the other meaning of goals, things typically get pretty serious. Despite the whimsey that comes with the word, we often times use it in a more figurative sense of the word. It can be used as something of a put down, like you have no distinct goals on your mind or you are a goalless entity walking this earth blindly. Right now, I have that problem, for some of my goals in life are kind of muted right now. I have been in such a survival mode the last few years that even though I bag on my job quite a bit, I at least have the opportunity to keep a paycheck coming in. Eventually I will have some time to make a more concerted effort to put in job applications, but the goal right now is to keep getting better at my job and pay off my car…which are both things that are fast approaching. Once I get my tax return figured out for the past year, I will have a better grasp on how much will be left for me to pay off on the car. Unfortunately, much of society would judge a person for having such short term goals in mind, but on the other hand, learning how to accomplish things can be a good way to manage your life and your fitness. This year I have put together a long term goal for the year by trying to get rid of the excess fat that is sticking around my torso. It is difficult to overcome this problem, mainly because it looks so disgusting to me that I can’t really get over the look of it. I mean, I put together a great lift this week and the first thing I really noticed was how fat I looked in the video. I was rather embarrassed to look at it, considering you can’t really see the truth of what you look like to the rest of the world. Scientists can map the human genome and figure out treatments to some of the most destructive diseases on the planet, but they still cannot figure out the concept of perception and how each person can trick their own heart and mind into believing one image until the reality of that image comes to fruition.
I shouldn’t focus on that aspect of the video though, primarily because the final detail of what happened is the fact I finally got a 400-pound deadlift…405 pounds o be exact. For a while there a few years back, I was really on my way to some superb lifting. I managed to get up to 385 on the deadlift, and while I failed on the 405, I knew I was getting closer. But life can throw so many curves at you, and for me the biggest problem was working a physically demanding job that really took a toll on my body. I was forced to slow it down and I only started coming in twice a week at Parsons. One of the worst things I witnessed during this time is the fact I started getting weaker, mainly because of the toll of working 36 hours during a 60-hour area span was not ideal for my sleep patterns or my body. Everything just went south for me, especially my running. If anything, working for Target was the worst thing that happened to me, mainly because my body just suffered constantly. Thanks to my current schedule at my job, I can now get back in the gym three times a week and also run at least three times a week (provided I don’t get lazy). While my bench press is still suffering, all of my other lifts are getting better. I am progressing nicely on my snatch practice, and the constant work on my legs and my ankles has allowed me to get stronger in calves. While I am losing some power in my hands due to the carpal tunnel-oriented work I have to partake in, I still have a respectable grip. There are some good things that are happening due to the change in my regimen. Think about it this way…I have not been deadlifting heavy weights all that much. What happened on Thursday was just a spur of the moment thing. I was gunning for six sets of three at a relatively heavy weight, and what I though was 295 pounds, I was actually doing 315 pounds. That little mishap in the math convinced me to go for broke. I did 355, then moved up to 375. I was going to do 395—which would have been my personal best—when Jon yelled at me to do 400. I one-upped him and decided on the 405 instead. Now, my form might not have been the best and I might have held my breath too long on the up part, but I at least stood even and tall. I’ll probably make another run in a couple weeks at topping that 405 best, but I have to start focusing on some other things as well. This past week I have forced myself to start running again, and I have pretty much gone balls to the wall in this respect.
Lately, I have been really lazy with the running. Call it a combination of laziness and issues with my achilles, for I have maybe been sporadically running in three-mile increments. Up until this past week, I have been inconsistent in the number of times I ran per week. So I forced my hand to go further distances. I forced myself to make a goal for each night. On Wednesday, I decided to run four miles. I haven’t run four miles in a couple months at least, and so just doing in spite of whatever time it took was good for me. It was a good idea to set that distance up for myself, for I originally felt six miles might be a good idea, but that is where listening to your body and being smart about things will be of huge help. Considering I am still a big guy, I have to ease myself into the running once again. The four mile run on Wednesday was a good start, and I had enough time to really get myself ready for Friday night. I was looking to get in five miles that night, even though I had done the heavy deadlifting the previous night. I could tell it would be a tough night because my upper thighs were feeling tight and I was definitely tired. It didn't help that I had eaten light that day, neglecting my nutrition to a certain extent. On the other hand, it was a pretty good evening, for I got the chance to run into a couple of old friends back from newspaper days. Anyway, I did trudge through that run like a champ, gutting out a little over five miles at a little under 10 minutes per mile. I have to do this because like I said in the previous blog…who knows what will happen at Ragnar Del Sol. I was initially thinking of doing a run up Sabino Canyon on Sunday, but I figured it would be a no go and have decided to do just a standard for the evening. On the other hand, I had actually set u pa date for Sunday evening and was thinking of a morning run, but since I got cancelled on, I figured I would take one more week. Go figure, the lack of a personal life helping with your decisions. If anything, I don’t want to rush too fast and hurt myself in the process. I will gun for six miles tonight like I originally thought I would do next week, but since I feel I am not quite ready for some uphill running, doing a standard run might be better for me.
Now setting these short term goals are good for me. At the moment, I can easily push myself into doing certain distances as long as I have willpower to set forth on that goal. Six miles used to be the standard for me, and now I just need to get myself back into the groove. Like I have been telling some of my friends lately, I want to gun for a possible goal of 40 races in my 40th year, which was inspired by a friend of mine when she gunned for 30 races when she turned 30. I think this will be the last chance I can really get my body built up for such a rigor, for I will need to really train and consistently up my distance. I have the crazy idea of doing a 50K race next year, but I need to be able to consistently do half marathons before I start planning such madness in my near future. Is that something of a lofty goal to have in the back of your mind? Well, I sure as heck believe it is, for I sometimes believe the craziest goal is the one that might be the most attainable. That means I have to start pushing myself a little harder during the next month and set the groundwork for what will be necessary going forward. I look forward to trying this, for the work I have been putting in my legs will be helpful.
The very definition of the word “goal” is “the end toward which effort is directed” or sometimes called the “terminal point in a race.” Both of these definitions are pretty good in the sense that there needs to be a sense of finality to the situation. Right now, I am kind of scared to set some bigger goals, mainly due other fact I have failed at so many of them in the past. Setting the smaller ones will certainly help me gain some confidence and see some desirable results in my current life. So what should the current goals be for me? Well, for one thing, I want to set the ultimate goal of at least doubling my weight on the deadlift. I haven’t weighed myself recently, but if I decide to do that, I would have to deadlift 475 pounds due to my current weight. Seventy pounds doesn’t seem like much, but that is the immediate goal for the time being. And then there is the running. Hopefully I can beat the summer before I can reach the improbably goal of averaging 10-mile runs. Neither are too bold and both can be attainable if I stay healthy and keep pushing forward. Not to mention, once Ragnar has passed I will start really putting some work into eating better and getting a better body for the summer. So yes, I they may not be a five year plan or something, but they at least suit me for the time being.
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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
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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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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