Summer is here! Let’s hit this. Time to go hard, go heavy… for about a week and a half. Yeah, that wasn’t my best effort. Mid-summer I commit to a change that will bring me to a new job (but not a new employer). Here I am, working with a new manager, a new team, and feeling very self conscious about my body and appearance. I’m feeling fatter than ever, balding, and now having to face a huge change in life.
I meander into the gym a few times but nothing ever really ‘committed’.
Then September came. I was going off-and-on to the gym, but more off than on. I consider September ‘the beginning’ at this point. I feel like the change began with a single phone call.
I’m driving down the interstate coming back from Boston when the phone rings; it’s a local number but I don’t recognize it. I answer it as I am driving. It’s some dude at the gym. He tells me he wants to schedule my ‘monthly assessment’; now, I knew the gym had these but I honestly never used one. Quite honestly, I was a little distracted and agreed and scheduled on the fly hoping the time slot would work he set up.
I went into the appointment not knowing what to expect. I met with him for a little over a half-hour when he took some measurements, body fat, etc. and he ran me through a mobility test. I failed. Miserably. Ok, not miserably, but it wasn’t exactly a stellar performance. We talked a bit about training, classes, and events the gym offered. I walked away with a class schedule and a plan… I was going to do some classes.
I went to a few classes over the next month or so. They were tough, but I muddled through. I just didn’t feel committed to it, though.
In mid-October I met with this trainer again for my next ‘monthly assessment’. My body fat went up! I was even worse condition than I was a month ago because I wasn’t consistent, I wasn’t pushing. It felt like a real wake up call… I wasn’t improving, nothing was changing, and nothing was going to change until I changed my strategy. I was about to leave for a week long trip, so I left the trainer know I would want to talk about training sessions when I got back.
We met in late October and set everything up. We discussed goals, which I kept vague because I really have never been comfortable discussing my long term body goals with people in general.
As I’ve been working with the trainer, what I have realized is how much I used to love the gym when I lost 150 pounds when I was 25. It was tougher this time, because I’m a bit older and ironically more out of shape even though I’m about 50 pounds lighter than my peak weight in my 20s. I’m muddling through the workouts he gives me, always complaining just enough but for some reason I just trusted this guy. I don’t know why… when you have a trainer that just clicks, you know it.
I am starting to drop body fat, and my strength begins to improve greatly. The only deadlifting I had done prior in life prior was using some 50 pound dumbbells, and now I’ve gone from deadlifting under 100 pounds in October to 335 pounds on a barbell.
My monthly average resting heart rate has gone from the mid-high 70s to the low 60s. I've had to replace my belt, and dug out old clothes to wear since most things I wore six months ago no longer fit.
The biggest change came when I completely changed my diet. While I was working out, I didn't really do a lot to change my diet other than some minor things. I was still in a lot of my old bad habit dietary activities. In April, I decided enough was enough and I wasn't seeing changes happen fast enough. I began breaking my diet down, and logging everything on my phone. Soon, it became second nature to log everything I was eating and now I don't even give it second thought.
What’s really amazing to me is how much better I am feeling these days. Even when I am feeling completely exhausted, I am still feeling better than I did at this time last year or even a few months ago. I’m doing dynamic bodyweight exercises and not giving it a second thought where I used to joke about how I had a hard time moving this much weight. I joke about "the old me" with people with a chuckle, realizing I am quickly leaving that part of my life behind.
It's Not Over Yet...
So now begins the next phase. If I was "Ben 1.0" prior, and "Ben 1.5" 8 months ago, today I'm introducing "Ben 2.0". He's new & improved. He's less cynical. He's more energetic. Most of all, for the first time in a very long time, he's happy. Not fake happy, like when you smile and grudgingly go about your day, but really, truly happy at all the changes in life and the changes to come.
For the first time in my life I see fitness as more than just weight loss. I see it truly as changing my life for the better, to perform better, and to be "athletic". This is a word that has never been attributed to me, but now I feel more athletic than any other time in my life and I certainly feel more attuned to myself than ever before.
Beginning today, June 22 and for the next 90 days I am committing myself to a diligent effort to not just work hard at the gym, and not just to maintain my diet, but to update this site and anyone who follows it on my efforts. It is my hope to not just drive myself to additional accountability, but also to hopefully inspire others to join the journey with me. I am also simultaneously participating in a contest at my gym for the next eight weeks, which will provide additional incentive.
At the end of the next 90 days, I will head off to Camp Nerd Fitness for 5 days of fun, relaxation, and fitness related courses. This will represent the culmination of my new life I am building, a life of fitness and health. Beyond that, I will continue to update here on my progress as I continue to improve and evolve myself to a better than before state.