By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
June 19, 2016
I got to tell you, this has been a rather tough week from a workout standpoint. It has been a long time (try never) that I have put five sessions at the gym into one week. I didn't plan it this way, but it just worked out like that. Between the two sessions I put in at Chuze and the three I had at Parsons Training, it has been a crazy and busy week for me. I managed to do all of the heavy lifting I love to do, only I did it spread out over the course of five sessions. Engaging in a lot of pulling exercises and such has been the word of the day when I go to Chuze, utilizing the abundant machines that are at my disposal. Parsons has been my taste of free weight euphoria, doing front and back squats, deadlifts and bench presses at my heart’s leisure. While I write this blog, my hands are sore as hell, my forearms are stiff and I am still having trouble feeling my traps. Of course, this could all lead the great body I could be longing for, with traps like Tom Hardy’s and arms like Chris Evans from Captain America: Civil War (even though they were probably a little CGI aided in the process). By the time Sunday is at an end, I will have also thrown in three runs as well, doing what I can to help with the cardio and stay in shape as the 115-degree heat of summer is oddly hitting us (is it too early to start begging for the annual monsoon season?!). Right now, the schedule I may be looking at if all things hold steady is to do some work at Chuze on Monday and Friday, while doing Parsons Tuesday and Thursday, adding a Saturday session between one of the two depending on which is available. Then I would utilize Wednesday and Sunday as the running days, with a possible two-a-day if I feel up to in in between. This is all very ambitious to the lay person, even when being healthy is a part of your day to day life. Of course, all of this extra work has brought some new problems to the forefront for me.
First of all, I am sore as hell. While my newfound fatigue has aided in my sleep patterns a little bit, just the feeling I have when I go to bed is rather bizarre. I can only imagine what it is like to live in a snowy climate, where you work out to the max and then try to crawl out of bed in the cold winter, stiff as a board and forced to loosen your body up. This might be a challenge sometime soon as I look to the possibility of moving to Colorado once again (which is one reason why I am excited to see my family in Denver in a couple weeks). But that is still conjecture at this point, mainly as I look first to try and find a job and try to settle some mounting bills that hit me before I started getting some help with my unemployment. While I feel my body changing so to speak, it has not been a pleasant experience so far. I love the fact my arms feel as hard as obsidian and a little bit of definition has finally shown up again. I like the fact the phlebotomists at the plasma donation center I hit love my arms, mainly because my veins are starting to turn into what they call “phlebotomist porn,” making me an easy person to deal with considering a great many of the people my size are overweight. Finding a vein on an out of shape, overweight person can be very hard…trust me on that. I like the fact my slim cut 36 jeans are really tight around the calves again, mainly due to all of the leg work and running I have been doing as of late, meaning my calves are once again gaining a little bit of definition. I do love the fact that I feel stronger when I do something, even I am tired and seem incapable of doing anything when I walk into the gym. And I do like the fact my discipline is still fine, even though the encroaching heat in my house is getting to the point where I am sweating constantly. All of these little things are nice to a point, but there is one thing that has bothered me….my weight has gone up again.
Well, rather than holding steady at the 240 I thought I have been holding at, I found out I am 250 once again even though I don’t feel like I am any heavier than normal. Like I said, my clothes still fit me rather well, and my tighter jeans don’t feel so bad. I mean, this really good pair of jeans that I accidentally ripped actually fit better now than when I used to wear them (I ripped a hole in the groin area…go figure). So I don’t know where this extra weight is coming from, and it certainly bugs the hell out of me. Sure, the scales could be wrong or I might be imbalance again and messing with the electronic scale…but you can’t keep going to the well with those excuses. My increased workout schedule drove me to eat a little more than usual this week, and it was rather enraging to see the scale yesterday morning. I mean, I did not partake in this journey to gain weight, I started it to melt the weight off. And before you say that it might be added muscle, the number on the scale is going to bug me regardless of what of the helpful advice. When you have been overweight as long as I have, any weight gain is a negative. I work so freaking hard to maintain and not fall into my old habits, and then this happens. I can’t really restrict my diet when I am working out so much, for I would tear my body up and hurt myself even more. And then the worst part would be this: I would start skipping workouts because I would be too darn tired to do anything. Heck, I was gaining weight even when I was trying to restrict my intake. I know, I know, I am messing with my head in this respect, not maintaining a good attitude about what I am capable of rather than the number on the scale. I also know about the mind job I am putting myself through, for the stress of worrying about my weight can certainly lead to hanging onto unwanted fat. But you have to look at it from my perspective, for I have been heavy for so long that I cannot imagine the idea of not losing weight as an option.
If anything, my intake the past week has been pretty good, and I mean I have been eating actual food as opposed to junk food and what not. But the problem has obviously been the fear of crashing, that moment where I have absolutely no energy and want to quit the session. I know I have the heart to go through with something, but if I don’t have the energy to do it, I will most likely fall flat on my butt and take a nap or something. I mean, what can be better than that at this point in the year, nestling right under the cooler vent and everything. I think once again, I have simply fallen into that trap of eating too much of the supposed good stuff. I will admit, I sort of deviated during my sister’s birthday night, drinking some beer while also eating a veggie burger at Cup Cafe in downtown Tucson, I consciously sought healthier options by rejecting the notion of an appetizer and ordering fries. Anyway, I was worried for the most part, for I wanted to get the most out of my workouts this week and not fail. But where is the trade off when you really think about it? Body image is something that certainly falls on men as well, which I have written about several times. Maybe it is the heat that is hitting the city these days, for we have been hearing forecasts all week about how bad the weather will be (120-degrees in Phoenix, 115 in Tucson….what the hell!). But then again, this might be the minor price I pay for working out more. I mean, I did just about all of the main workout movements I have been trying to get better at. Deadlifts and bench presses on Tuesday, Back squats on Thursday as well as a light set on Monday. And then I managed fit some front squats into the mix on Saturday morning, doing five reps of 185 rather easily, even though back in the day that would have been a rather tough weight for me to do. So I am seeing improvement. I am seeing some good maintenance. But how do you rectify the struggle that is going on inside of you?
I will admit, I have seen some other people on my Facebook feed that are going through this right now, trying to balance the good with the bad of fitness. How much food should you increase when the goal is to fix your eating habits? How much added weight is too much? I mean, I wanted to still be a good runner and get better at the endeavor, but it is gonna be hard if I find myself hovering north of 250 again. I think I am at a critical juncture once again for myself, even though it seems like something to this tune happens every six months or so. While I intend to scale back my running for the summer, this might be a better time to try and get the eating under control. I might have to actually give some new eating philosophy that I would never contemplate on another day a chance. But then again, we all know what is going to happen. I’m gonna give it a try, get tired of the lack of results and actually go back to what I was doing before, possibly even gorging on carbs due to the lack in my diet. It happened when I tried that crazy 30 Bananas A Day diet (championed by a couple of loonies) and I could only go a few days doing the raw food diet before I started running out of gas. The trouble I had with those diets is I just couldn’t stuff my face enough. I could not imagine loading my craw with that much raw food, along with the idea of carrying around Beano. I mean, I barely averaged 16 bananas a day, and I was sick of eating them that I almost gave up on bananas period!
Once again, I will have to seek out some patience in this situation. Of course, I have displayed more than enough patience to last a lifetime, and in some respects, having on continues to be the struggle. I’m not different than most people, wanting that perfect body because it seems to attainable. There are some days where I get frustrated and start wondering when…when will this actually start happening. I know, I have complained about this too much during the last four years, but let’s look at it this way…when you establish a way of life that overwhelmed you for nearly 13 years, you kind of have some demons to expunge. But I find some strength in the situation, mainly in the fact I have been battling this problem for some time now. I know deep down this will be a short phase (hopefully) and perhaps a little vacation time will be good for me in the next couple weeks. Until then, I will keep doing the weight lifting, putting my body through the motions to become stronger and more flexible. I will also keep up the running, no matter what becomes of that issue as the heat encroaches us even more.
So let me just say this to you my friends. I try to be tough about the situation but I also still struggle from the setbacks. It goes to show that not all of u suffer from obesity due to the same reasons, and this is why I rarely prescribe to the loudmouths that call me lazy and such. Thankfully I have a good support network, but I sometimes wonder if my lack of progress is disappointing to them. Yeesh, who would haver thought losing weight and being healthy would be such a mind issue.
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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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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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