Tuesday, October 8, 2019

That look when you see it IS paying off

That look on your face, when you’re in the middle of a power lifting session and my workout partner says "damn, flex"... and you see all of the hard work and training and eating is paying off. I mean really paying off. 

Ya, that’s a total look of surprise on my face! And...honestly...I don’t even recognize me. I’ve come so far and transformed myself, skin in and skin out, so much over the last 10 months. And these last 10 months have been a roller coaster of ups and downs. From work to my personal life to my health. I've had some amazing highs (like I thought I finally had life nailed down and was happy and was on top of the world) and some unbelievable lows (that honestly just gutted me, tore my heart out, and introduced me to a level of misery I never knew and that I never thought I'd be able to recover from). It's just crazy. 

Through it all I just kept getting up everyday and telling myself it was all going to be worth it in the end. And I'll be TOTALLY honest and tell you that I knew it was a lie I was telling myself because I didn't think it true at all. I was just trying my damnedest to believe it and get myself through it.

I did really believe I was due for some good karma (because Gods know I've been depositing good karma in the bank for YEARS) and I knew that AT SOME POINT I'd catch a break. I mean, I'd have to right?! And then boom. My work situation is deal-able (looking up even) my personal life gets on track with an amazing person and my body looks like this. And...dare I say it...I'm actually happy. I don't want to jinx it but ya, life is pretty great. And it shows.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

You really don’t know

I don’t post pics like this...ever. But I’ve been having conversations with my coach and some other folks about being open and honest and I preach you have to be positive and think positively about yourself. I’m great at saying it to other people but I’m really bad at doing it for me. How bad you ask? I recently had a dear friend whom I adore point out how I’m downright malicious I am to myself on occasion. To have that pointed out to me from someone who doesn’t see me that often really struck a nerve. And that was part of my reason to spend time, energy and money to work on changing my mind and myself. 

So here goes. 

This is post a 1-mile swim in the Caribbean ocean here in Aruba. No shirt, no filters, no smirk, no problems. Right? Wrong. Lots of problems. I don't put up pics like this on purpose. Because it can’t stand to look at myself (ya, I put up gym/workout pics but that’s a little different). It's called Body Dysmorphic Disorder...and I’ve suffered from it most of my life. It's not a girl thing or a guy thing...it's a people thing. Not something uncommon that people who have been obese (or people who are skinny or people who have issues with their looks in general, honestly) deal with. For me -the former as an adult, the latter as a child/teenager. 

Even though I’ve dropped the 245lbs I used to weigh at my heaviest...and even when I was 170lbs Ironman racing...I still thought/think I look fat. And my body...if it were a wonderland, all the rides have been broken...multiple times. Torn, sick, ripped, fractured, repaired, operated on, healed. I've put this body through hell (my brain too) and I’m paying dearly for it now. Cut to me to today where I’m at around 200/205lbs (I don’t honestly know because scales and weighing myself makes me very upset) and I refuse to look at myself in the mirror...much less without clothes on...and even though I have medical issues I am and have been dealing with, for quite some time (and the docs can’t understand how I get anything accomplished based on my health - honestly it’s a combo of stubbornness and “Ranger” willpower)...all is see is the unattractive (even though to be honest I’ve never seen myself as a good looking guy. Just being honest, not fishing for compliments) Jabba the Hutt version of myself. And it takes a toll. 

I was dreading this trip to Aruba because how can you not be happy and half naked at the beach?! I had hoped to look different for this trip too given the workouts and food and work I’ve been doing over the last 6 weeks but since I’m not gorgeous with 12 pack abs, my level of stress was through the roof. But, but, but, the “change” now is not beating myself up...rather it’s focusing on the work I have been doing. Even here while on vacation. I’m making sure I’m still getting my workouts in (gym, yoga AND meditation) eating LOTS of delicious grilled seafood and veggies and fresh fruit and not gorging on sweets and/or alcohol. Does it take away from my enjoyment on vacation? Nope. But it does make me feel like I’m not losing the gains I’ve made thus far. 

I don’t know if I look any different but I certainly feel different. I feel stronger. I feel like I’m getting fit again. I’m actually sleeping (solid, REM sleep that I haven’t enjoyed in YEARS) AND I feel better regardless of how I “look”. I share all this because a: people make assumptions about me and my health and my fitness (and they’re almost always wrong) and b: I know I’m not the only guy that struggles with this and others who do should know they’re not alone. 

I’ve said it before but you body eats everything you give it...including negativity. The only way to change and grow is to be positive and accepting of your limitations, change what you can and reach out for help to change the things your struggling with. That “re-wiring” of the brain in addition to the physical stuff is the key to success and a lesson I’m learning. You can only “Ranger through everything” for so long. I’m not where I want to be...but I’m getting there. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

So here's the deal...


Oh, the last few days have been a trifecta of shit-tastic-ness. Professional/personal/health...all a mess. But losing water at my apartment (water main break that shut down the entire property's water, ooph) was a blessing in disguise because it forced me to go get a workout in. Ya, that’s a look of satisfaction after a HEAVY lift...after a week out of the gym...where I was pushing weight...I’ve NEVER pushed before. I guess eating right and trying to get sleep but NOT smashing my bags training everyday is an approach that pays off. I honestly never would’ve believed that. Ever.

Speaking of, I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine today about the stuff I’ve been dealing with and he was like “I had no idea, I’ve been having similar issues and couldn't figure out why” and "you need to talk to more folks about this...it cant just be us that's experiencing this".

So, here’s the deal. I have run myself so ragged for so long that it’s had serious effect on my body. How so? Well in addition to the life and the training/racing ans the breaks and tears and surgeries and "procedures" over the last few years...complete adrenal fatigue...that’s resulted in: weight gain (while not eating), speaking of - little or no appetite...ever, constant fatigue which leads to inability to recover, brain fog, gut issues, tremors, even though exhausted -inability to sleep, inability to get RESTFUL sleep (I haven't dreamt or had REM sleep with any regularity in years...and you know what no sleep does to the body/mind) and a host of other physical issues. Then add in the deteriorating back, pelvis, ankles and knees...and the pain and discomfort those generate...oh ya, AND the mental state the aforementioned has created. All added together has completely wiped me out. 

Look, it's not like I haven't been seeing docs and trying to figure out what's going on. But, it’s taken me years, literally, to find a team of health care folks to listen to me (an A++ personality-ed, high performing athlete-person that knows something’s wrong) as opposed to giving me the standard “you’re healthier than x percent of the population, you’re fine” crap answers I’ve been getting from  docs. Even more importantly that team has given me a path forward and hope that this will be fixed. And when something’s not working, there’s something else to try. And...there’s no giving up until we get it fixed. Because it's fixable! That's led to a whole package revamp if you will (meds, food, workout regimens, mental approaches, mental outlook) that's constantly under review.

I can’t even begin to explain how that's helping...physically and mentally. Bottom line? Different tests by a different group of docs, experienced with multisport & bodybuilder athletes, who are knowledgeable and that aren't the the first to say "well, you're getting older" or "you've been through so much you're just not going to be the old you" or "what do you expect? you're x age". That's complete and utter bullshit. And yet a standard line fed to us by society AND docs now. It’s a work in progress, I'm a work in progress and it’s baby steps of progress right now...but it’s PROGRESS. 
 
So...do not take "no" or "your fine" as an answer. I swear to the gods that if I have one more doc tell me "if my patients were as healthy as you are, I'd be out of a job", I'll set a building on fire. Ya doc, but I'M not a 100%, could we focus on getting ME better?!?! No it's not your "age". No, you're not "crazy" (well ya, maybe you are but that's not the reason you're not performing optimally". There is a symptom and there's always a cure or at the very least a fix. Don't settle for any answer that's less than that.
 
Is it a struggle? Yes. Are the changes happening as fast as I want (do you even know me?!0. Never, But, for the first time, in a long time...I’m looking forward to the future and getting back to being "me".

Monday, February 18, 2019

Learning lessons

How is it that with this new workout/food plan I’m stronger and “feel lean” but look like a busted can of biscuits out of the gym?! I mean after 3 weeks I why don’t I have a 6 pack already?!?! No, as unrealistic a thought as that is...I still have it.

 Yes, today was shoulders and of course I threw in some arms (because, duh) but that pump/look only lasted about 10 minutes (what? I know how to take a picture!). There have been some major changes I HAVE made though. Probably the biggest being sleep. If I’m exhausted and dozing off, beating myself up in the gym probably isn’t going to help a fatigue problem.
I can’t even begin to tell you how hard a lesson that’s been to learn! Another is being kinder to myself. I honestly can’t even believe I’m writing that. I have always been my own worst critic and NO ONE rides me harder than I ride myself. And it’s been a steady diet fueled with negative verbiage and energy. One can only do that for so long before it takes a toll. And it’s taken a toll. Focusing on the wins rather than getting bogged down in the failures is the stepping stone to success. Man, that’s a tough one to rewire my brain over. Not to mention there was a time that spending less than an hour in the gym meant I really didn’t work. Ha! I guarantee I worked my ass off. That was a heavy workout and the time it took doesn’t matter. Like the old Army adage goes “train to standard, not to time”. I got my lifts in and the workout competed. I’m trying to learn, grow, and most importantly I’m trying to be better

Saturday, February 9, 2019

It ain't all pretty


That face pretty much sums it up. Sheer disgust. Social media gets flooded with pretty people hitting all their workout marks and looking great doing it when in reality most of us (if not all of us) are barely keeping our heads above water and look like hammered shit in the process. All the while balancing the day job and the gym time and on occasion a hobby or two.

Over a week of getting killer workouts and good food only to have life and work crap shit it all up the following week. Bonus? I got sick. The cold or the crud or something. I spent three of the days this past week just coming home and falling asleep on the sofa until the wee hours of the morning. Now I know people are gonna say “don’t be so hard on yourself” or “life happens” but it’s just that kind of sentiment that keeps us from attaining our goals. It’s okay to pay a coach to yell at us but it’s not ok to yell at ourselves. Or some such nonsense.
So, a little pre-workout, some good tunes and a self imposed bag smashing session later and I feel a bit better. Maybe even throw in another workout later today to catch up. No surprise that with this new training regimen my legs are coming back quickly. Now if only the rest of my body will follow suit. I’m grateful to have a stockpile of these @topoathletic shoes. Since lifting barefooted is frowned upon now, they’re the next best thing, perfect for the gym and keep my feet, legs and
core engaged throughout my workouts.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Badge of courage

So much for those pretty hands of mine. Haha. 

Structured workouts, where I don’t have to think and can just focus on getting the work done are something I haven’t had in a while. I’m not dropping weight but I’m increasing the weight of every lift with every workout. That’s what the focus has to be now and the rest will come. 

And my hands...those are a badge of honor from doing work. The main things is to keep my head in the game and continue to drag my tired, fat, butt to the gym. I’ll see the work I do today...six weeks from now.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Making it a habit

So that was an hour plus workout of just shoulders and upper back. Phew. It...was...a...smoker. Like I’m literally shaking trying to type this. LOL. Going into my second week of workouts (4th day of this new workout routine) and revamped diet...and I’m already seeing a change but more importantly, I FEEL better. Mentally and physically.

Although, I am sore in places I’ve never been sore before. The day got away from me and I had NO desire to go the the gym. But, excuses and laziness don’t build bodies. So I dragged my butt to the gym. Big stuff coming and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this turns out...especially with a birthday on the horizon.