By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
May 12, 2016
Well, here we are again…another blog about me complaining about my body and blah blah blah. I know, it gets old after a while, but what can I say, this is a touchy subject for me and I often times become angry with myself for even bringing it up. But that is the nature of life, where we often times become consumed with the smallest side effects of living and can never let go of the smallest details about ourselves. Take for example some of the weirdest videos I have seen on the internet. Women spending thousands and thousands of dollars on facial reconstruction, only to come out looking like a weird cat lady at the end of the road. And then you have this really bizarre video, the one that has gotten more shares than it could possibly deserve of a Brazilian man that is flexing and showing off the strangest and most unusual “assets” you could imagine. Seriously, in addition to his bizarre traps and gigantic arms, he has the strangest set of man boobs you could ever imagine. Seriously, if Facebook wasn’t the land of sexism and truly wanted to enforce the no nipple rule, this would have been a good time to do that for a man. There was another great story I saw about another Brazilian man, who wanted such large muscles that he injected some illegal synthetic materials into his body to make it look like he was the Incredible Hulk. But for some reason of the other, the non approved industrial crap he put into his body hardened, and he was unable to really do anything with his life and ultimately lost his job as a police officer. Removing all the stuff would be complicated and even dangerous. Either way, I always get a little grossed out by these kinds of stories, even if it does prove that men, in addition to women, have some truly horrific body dysmorphia issues. I’ll admit, I see it a lot as well in my own little circles, wondering how the crazy ass flab on my stomach will ever disappear and show my hidden six pack, which is hiding underneath the massive mound of flesh that was left over from my 400-pound days. I have see some buff vegan guys out there, catching the fancy of all the vegan women and I just wonder, “Damn, I really need to work harder and longer.” Yup, jealousy is definitely running rampant in my mind.
Of course, time is of the essence in this equation, and the rebuilding process is not something you can take lightly. For example, I have once again toned down my running, which is probably why it feels like my body is yo-yoing in weight right now. Here is a lesson for you all….don’t buy athletic shoes from Ross and then try to use them as athletic shoes. Trust me, I found these decent New Balance shoes and figured they would be good for walking. Well, three weeks later, I am now walking around with a sore ankle, and I am trying to walk the tightrope that would require me to let the darn appendage heal. That is a major conundrum, because I really want to stay in running shape and I hate having start all over with the process again. Perhaps it is good I stop running for a moment, for I am putting some good time in the gym as I have gotten back into a three-day-a-week routine. I’ll admit, I should be doing more than this in order to get the fat burn and the body I truly want, but I still have other things to worry about in my life, as well as trying to squeeze some running into my regimen. Perhaps it is a good thing I have kind of crashed into some running problems, for it gives me a chance to really rest my body and re-adjust to the old regimen I used to be so proud of. If anything, regaining some of the old traits I used to perceive as common for me is really doing good for my psyche. While the whirlwind of life is engulfing me and making life difficult so to speak, I can at least look to the small gains I am making in the gym to help with my mental state. I mean, my love life is a mess, my job search is stunted right now, and once again the Department of Economic Security is messing with my head….doing all it can to make me wait and not help me. Throw in my car is acting funny and my bills are rolling in, and you can imagine the stress that goes away when I enter my little space at Parsons Training.
The lack of accomplishment going on in my life right now has been balanced out by the accomplishment of personal ego-building numbers in the gym. People always say you should never let the numbers inside the gym affect who you are or your self esteem, but it does play a role regardless. Take for example some of the nonsense that happened during my warehouse job. I lost everything….seriously. I became so weak and tired that I often times wondered what could possibly happen to make my predicament even worse. Well, “losing your gains” is what happened to me. But right now, I am getting better and I am regaining the old confidence that made me feel so happy about going to the gym every other day. Like I mentioned last week, I finally got back over 200 pounds the bench press, which is by and far my weakest lift. Well, with the new confidence I had in myself, I was doing various bench press sets on Tuesday with 165 pounds on the bar, something I don’t normally do too often….and I was doing this without any spotter until my final set when I asked Jon to help me out with the 175-pound rep set that I did, just to make sure I didn’t get caught in a predicament which would get me hurt. So now I have a pretty good idea in regards to what I can work with in the bench press, which means I will now see some better gains now that I have a little confidence in me and some ability under my belt. Well, we shall where that goes. Maybe I can actually hit the 250-pound goal I set myself a couple years back…which means I would have to get a Mega Man tattoo. Hmmm….where to put it.
That same day, I once again rebuilt some of the lost gains in my deadlift. Much like the old days when I was doing 385 pounds, I decided to challenge myself and go heavy, starting with 245 pounds as my warm-up weight. Of course, getting the 100-pound weights on the bar were a pain in the butt, it certainly helped lessen the issue of loading bunches of plates on the bar. Lately, I have been making some good progress, doing some standard five-sets and getting myself back over 300-pounds on the deadlift. Well, Tuesday, I took one step closer by hitting 345 pounds, which I was able to do even after pumping out some 20 heavy reps before that. Needless to say, I was very happy with the results, because this just means the slow and steady response I am taking in my weight lifting is kind of helping. It is allowing my body to recuperate at a proper speed while also giving me the confidence needed to keep pushing myself. I’ll admit, the 345-pound lift was in no way a thing of beauty, I at least got it. I say it was ugly because I seriously lost some dexterity in my fingers. What used to be the toughest part of my body is so far the slowest to come back. I nearly lost my grip as I completed the lift, but I barely held on long enough. I barely would have gotten a positive lift at a meet if we were playing by those rules.
Right now, my struggles with body dysmorphia has really allowed me to think about the future of my fitness life. I still want to lose the weight, but now I am just confused as heck about where I take my running from here. Until I can afford my stream of good (albeit expensive) running shoes, I will seriously have to cut back until I get some new “kicks” and can therefore afford to blaze out 10-mile runs. And of course, I need to worry about maintaining the old body once again. I really don’t want to give up on the running side of life right now, considering all of the work I have put into it, but it will definitely have to take a backseat for a short while. I probably won’t do any running until the weekend, which is about the time I will feel confident about my ankle. Now, I know what you are thinking, that perhaps running is messing the old ankle up, but trust me, walking multiple miles in those terrible New Balance shoes from Ross have seriously set me off kilter…not to mention I am already off kilter in regards to my body.
This mode of thinking is not necessarily leading me down a weird road of obsession and such, but that high I am getting from regaining my strength is starting to creep back into my life. I missed it for so long, where every week at Parsons Training was like another realization of how my life was changing and how things were looking up for me. For me, being weak was just a way of life back in the day for me, and now the new addiction is trying to get back to the strength I used to be. Unlike in the past, I know I have to make some limitations for myself in order to not cause some serious damage. One little pit I have been falling into is doing a lot of curls, which are great for the arms but horrible for my tendinitis riddled forearms. Heck, I am taking a course on job searching and the inordinate amount of writing I have had to do is utterly ridiculous. Seriously the handwriting I have had to do is making me sick. I don’t think I even wrote that much in college when I had to go to history lectures during the summer, staying in one class for there hours and cover roughly 100 years of information during that span. These past weeks have not been easy on my right arm, for the residual pain is even affecting my writing on the computer. I have had to rub my forearms every few minutes just to get over the aggravation. This is a big reason why I have had to go with the alternating grip on my dead lifts for the time being.
So what does all this pain really represent? Someone might say it is better to let go of this life, to simply stop doing what I am doing and give up. Yeah, the little nicky knack nonsense is starting to get old, but I have to look at it objectively. When was I making the most gains in my life? Its pretty simple when I give out answer. My best time was when I was getting the proper care and maintenance I needed to keep my body healthy. I was also eating a much more diverse diet, a luxury when you don’t have to worst much about food and how much you really need to eat. So i know how and when it can be done to fully regain all of the accomplishments I was establishing, it is just a matter of restoring my life to the way it used to be. I guess I will have to cut back on a lot of things once again, like races and women and entertainment. I have to believe this will only be temporary, but I least have some other things in my life that will allow me to walk around with a little pride and confidence. So I guess I will be seeking out some personals best in other areas as well (but not in the back squat…still need to fix that!). So while this may be a transition time once again for me, at least I know I will be making some gains in the gym….which is something I definitely need!
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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
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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.