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
December 18, 2016
Well, December 19th is the summation of another difficult year for me. I usually get pretty depressed around my birthday, mainly because it causes me to assess where my life is. While some things have changed for the better, like consistently working and getting a new car, a lot of personal things are still up in the air. My weight and effort in the fitness game keep waxing and waning, especially since I keep running into little problems that forces me to start over. And trust me, starting over is not something I am good at. In fact, forcing myself to do things for the betterment of myself is the toughest thing I could ever do. I’m typically used to going the extra mile for people, helping them out in ways that only could really provide for them. I take great joy in those behaviors, even though society constantly puts down people like me as being stupid and naive. Oh well. Take for instance the little electrical work I did for Jon on Thursday. I felt pretty guilty about the fact I accidentally tripped the breaker, probably because I accidentally crossed some wires sometime during the process. Fortunately only a couple lights went out in the process and no one was horribly inconvenienced. However, that is just how I feel about the circumstance. For me, doing things for other people is a cinch, the typical operating procedure for the typical middle child. So any little slight failure in the process makes me feel bad.
Now of course, I will not talk about the somewhat controversial idea of birth order and how it pertains to a person’s demeanor, but it seems to fit with me. I have to constantly seek approval and validation from other sources. I typically struggle with the idea that people don’t need these tropes to survive and move forward with their lives, but for me that has always been the case. So as you can see, my birthday is quite a conundrum. I didn’t earn anything, at least in the sense of doing something meaningful. I just survived another year for the sake of survival, and what exactly is so special about that? I mean, when I first started getting healthy, it did mean something, for it meant a lot because I was on my way to some serious health problems and I made the right decisions to change the trajectory. Now I have reached that post obsessive compulsive stage I typically reach when I am doing something new. Malaise. I am definitely in a danger zone right now, for the boredom of fitness is starting to get to me once again, much like what happened in 2014. Right now, I have not started gaining weight and losing interest in the gym, it is just the fact that I am intensifying my schedule and my body is getting angry at the sudden changes. The adjustment is not going too easy for me, but now I am starting to regain a little momentum for the future once again. Yesterday I finally got to meet some of the members of my future Ragnar Del Sol team. Unlike last year where I did not get to meet them until the day we left for Phoenix, it put a little more fear and terror into my heart. I am still behind in terms of my training, and I really have to catch up. I now have faces to match with the names, and now I have to start moving a bit faster and with with more steadfast determination to get myself in tip top condition.
This sort of feeling is running rampant in my mind right now. I cannot fail these people because not only did I put a lot of money into this thing already, I cannot afford to be the kind of person that doesn't show up prepared. Last year I wasn’t quite ready for Del Sol, mainly because I had been dealing with some injury problems leading into the race. But I managed to get the job done anyway, and I survived the weekend despite suffering some bad cramps on my final leg. This year I am hoping for some better results…to be better this time around much like I was at Ragnar Las Vegas last year. I was in tip top health and in perfect condition. While I suffered some cramps before the end of the race, I still rank that race as my best one. With less than three months to go, I know I will be ready to serve my team and make this another great race. Of course, now I have to start getting myself ready during this month, because due to all of the issues that will be hitting me in terms of my work scheduling and the holidays, maintaining some good habits will be essential. One thing I will be doing is the continuation of a process I started a couple month ago…and that is the snatch.
Now, with my bad wrists and suspect body, I had to start a regimen a couple months ago to help ease me into the idea of the snatch. Now, unlike the clean and jerk and the deadlift, this is the most complicated weight lifting move you can do. Not only do you have to time everything perfectly in terms of lift off, force and precision, you must also be able to get a certain amount of weight over your head without dropping it on your back and without losing control of the momentum. While you will always see a lot of Crossfit enthusiasts and outdoor “bros” failing at this movement on a regular basis, to actually can be a very safe and effective movement to learn and master. If anything, hubris is the main reason why people will get hurt in the motion, mainly because they are trying too hard to compensate for the weight or they are trying too hard to not look weak, i.e. escaping with your body in tack by getting yourself out of the way. Of course, not being fully aware of how to escape is a big problem for most people. When you try to do something as crazy as the snatch, you need a lot of work and technical support to make the thing work for you. I’m no different than anyone else when it comes to new stuff, but of course, the unique challenges with my body and my particular musculature presents some issues.
For one, my shoulders and my tendinitis in my arms would have to be worked around when prepping for this movement, So that was the main reason why I was doing overhead barbell presses for the last couple months. My two problem areas are always getting in the way, so I had to make sure I built up both areas. It was difficult for the most part, for my often times weak wrists made the squats tough to do. But over time, I managed to maintain some better stability with the movement, for I was getting deeper on the squat and strengthening my wrists. I also developed some better shoulder stability, for I would often times favor one side or the other when it came to my overhead squats. I didn’t necessarily get too heavy with all of this lifting, but on the other hand I was getting some good workouts out of this, for my entire body was pretty much tired when I would do this. I mean, the toughest thing I ever did (and maybe the dumbest) was when I decided to do 100 overhead squats and tried following those up with some bench presses. Trust me, not a good idea. Either way, now that I have managed to get this down pat, Jon felt it was time to get to know the snatch a little better.
Now of course, we didn’t just jump right in to the thing like nobody’s business…there is a process to this sort of stuff. Now you would normally teach this kind of stuff a young kid or a young teenager, mainly because this is the kind of stuff you would want to drill into the mind of a younger person. As for me, I am not a prime suspect to actually learn this sort of thing, mainly because I have a body that is still adjusting to life in the fitness realm while also dealing with the constant struggle of my weight problem. On the other hand however, why should I care in terms of what I should or should not be doing? If anything, trying to do this has made going to the gym a little more fun because Jon is looking to make this a steady dose of my life over the next few months. With the first phase of the learning process completed and drilled into my mind, I can now move on to the secondary stages. It will not be an easy climb for me, primarily because I have to prepare my body to learn something new while trying to get myself into a fitter and much happier version of myself. First thing is first…Jon had me start the day off with some mid thigh snatches, working only with the bar (for safety concerns mostly). From here, this is where I got my first taste of what I was going to do. The snatch was pretty similar to the hang clean, the biggest difference being the fact I have to get the bar over my head rather than my shoulders. I did relatively well with this, for I used to be pretty good with the hang clean even if I haven’t done it in quite a while. The first problem I ran into is the fact I want to use my darn toes for everything, for due to the challenge of doing the movement and lightness of the bar, it made for a bad combo of me using my toes and even getting off the ground in a couple instances. Eventually that will be something I need to fix.
Anyway, after we did some progressions with that movement we then moved on to the next progression, which was to start the bar from just below the knee. Now the issue with this section was similar to the first movement, for my tendency to use my toes and get off the ground were providing some perfect pointers on how not to do the snatch. Heck, they might be the kind of things an instructor would use when pointing out what to watch for when teaching a nube how to do something. Anyway, I put in a few good attempts where I managed to keep my feet on the ground. The next thing I was doing was the actual power snatch from the ground, getting the bar over my head and using the full force of my body in the process. I did relatively okay at this, and I think the slightly added weight helped keep my feet down. Of course, the final step was to do a modified version of the actual snatch, which was a result of me getting the bar over my head and then doing an overhead squat. This was simple enough, but doing the actual snatch on the next progression made for some interestingly bad moments in weight lifting. I was okay in regards to the fact I got the bar up, the issue was mostly coordinating the overhead aspect of the snatch and squatting. While I did okay on my first try out the door, it will definitely be something I need fully work on during the next couple months.
If anything, I am a little excited and a little scared in the process. Doing new stuff that will disrupt my schedule is always difficult to fit into my life. Reading the third workout of the week and trying to fit in my running in addition to trying to get this weight off will be a challenge during a time of the year that forces you to eat a little too much. Now, I will be working toward the future of my fitness, which is always exciting to partake in. But let’s face it, I was in a rut for a short while. I hate to get into those sort of strings where I don’t feel the effort is up to snuff with that I want t accomplish. If anything, working on the effectiveness of my workout regimen will be dependent on my consistency and my desire. And boy, is my desire going through the roof right now in terms of what I want going forward. Truthfully, I really don’t know when I am going to turn the corner, per se. I have fallen into these pits and getting myself into the swing of things once again will be the challenge. But I will work my hardest to make sure I don’t quit. I will do my best t try and control some of my eating issues. I will work on the snatch and become proficient at it. Eventually I will get better at reach my dreams. I just need to stay patient.
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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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