Let’s start with progress.
I was dunked in the hydrostatic testing pool again this week, courtesy of the FitnessWave Norcal mobile testing team; they come out to our office at work just about every two months. Sessions start at just $40 and get cheaper if you buy in packs of three. Take a look at their calendar, they are all over the Bay Area week to week.
I was last dunked on 11/20/14 and weighed in at 169lb with 9.21% body fat. This week, I weighed in at 175lb even, and 10.51% body fat. Here’s how those numbers break down:
- Total of 6lbs gained
- 3.2lbs of muscle (53%)
- 2.8lbs of fat (47%)
- 156.6lb LBM (lean body mass)
For some perspective, 156.6lbs of LBM is 6lbs higher than my entire body-weight back in April last year. And by all accounts, a 50/50 split of muscle and fat is about as good as you can get training naturally. It seems that all the hard work over the holiday period has paid off and progress continues.
I know we all get wrapped-up in our goals and we are all constantly on the lookout for some new exercise, programming, food-type, diet or eating regimen that will help us move forward faster. But I am learning hard and fast that there are no short cuts to progress. Looking at what got me here…
- Two months (to the day, almost) since last weigh-in
- Two months where I haven’t missed a single workout; not over the holidays, not during travel
- Two months of eating healthily, but sensibly. No junk, limited processed foods, almost no alcohol. All by choice, and certainly not a hardship
- Two months of almost no cardio or HIIT, with weekends geared toward rest
What does that tell you, other than I have a boring social life? It says that when you focus all your energy on consistency and hard work, the results will come. Slowly? Sure. But they WILL come.
In the gym, on the scale
Some really solid work in the gym too this week. Monday is ALWAYS leg day, and the target was 275 x 4 x 4, which came and went without drama. I can remember when reps with two and half plates was a pipe-dream; repping with three plates is around the corner! I followed the four work sets with two back-off sets, 225lb for 12, and 185lb for 20. These were brutal, and I was a quivering wreck on the last three reps of that widow-maker.
Tuesday, I anchored the workout around floor press, warming up to the 80lb dumbbells for a 5 x 5. Again, two back off sets too me to my limits (positive failure), hitting 70lb for 10 and 60lb for 15. Excited to have Adam Bornstein put me on a strength circuit soon as I desperately want to pull the 100lb dumbbells of that rack and get a triple!
Back was a solid session, pulling 185lb in the Pendlay rows and otherwise getting a solid all-around back workout. I skipped the deadlift as this left hamstring is still not right. Trying hard not to let the emotion take-over in the gym and do stupid things that might derail progress or otherwise regress injuries. But it is hard, I tell you…
Closed out the week yesterday with a volume/vanity workout for upper-body and arms. All the weights are generally lower as I am pretty spent by the end of the week. So exercises tend to be supersets with moderate weight, working in the 10-12 rep range. The seated dumbbell press was the highlight for me, getting 50 x 4 x 12, leaving me feeling pretty epic.
On the scale, I’ve been holding 175lbs consistently on waking (except today, of course!) and pushing 178lb in the evenings. Last night, I jumped on the scale after dinner and hit 179.9lb! So definitely not long until I see 180lb on the evening scale. Still, some weeks out from getting 180lb on waking. Exciting stuff… loving this journey.
Ticker keeps on ticking
Last week, I wrote about some pretty gnarly palpitations I’d been having, and this week, I followed up with the doc about my experiences and also took another blood test to see if my Synthroid (thyroid) medication dose was still good.
After explaining my symptoms and experiences in intricate detail, she was generally unconcerned — even with the epic evening where they just wouldn’t stop. She absolutely recognizes that they are unpleasant, and that you can spiral quickly when you get worked-up over the experience. However, she still suspects they are completely benign and likely some manifestation of stress, anxiety, diet or response to stimulants. She asked me about my coffee habits, which she was none too impressed with. So I might have to cut down there… otherwise, it’s business as usual.
Oh, and the Synthroid was a dead end, with my TSH levels showing up a little on the low side if anything. But still, it was worth having it checked.
So it seems my path to feeling better here is being careful with the caffeine and exercising mind over matter. I am working hard on my internal dialogue, being careful not to associate a narrative with any of these experiences, instead looking to be a passive observer. On some level, it definitely helps…
I just started reading Zen Body-Being: An Enlightened Approach to Physical Skill, Grace and Power. It’s an interesting book by a chap called Peter Ralston, the first westerner to win a full-contact martial arts title in Asia. He did so with an ease and grace that shocked his opponents — this book explains how he did it.
For me, I am trying to get a better understanding of my body, and especially how to unlearn what I’ve learned and open my mind to the possibility of heightened awareness and effortless performance.