My favorite trainer at my gym has a quote on his profile picture that says “If you are tired of starting over, quit giving up”. I love that quote and think about it often. For me one of the most difficult things about getting out of shape is remembering what I could do in the past. I really dislike the idea of reliving glory days. I might not be able to repeat those past performances, but I can darn sure work to make new PRs for where I am now.
However, it is also not helpful to stress about how far we’ve fallen. You are where you are today and that is what you have to work with. Each day comes with the opportunity to be better than the day before. That being said, here is where I am today.
Body fat % is around 24% (it was 23% on Sept. 11 after which I had an exceptional week of fat loss and then several weeks of mediocre to poor so I am guestimating at 24%)
I have the aforementioned lower back pain from a degenerated disc that plagues me daily.
I have left shoulder pain that doesn’t bother me constantly but currently prevents me from doing significant full body weight hanging movements and sometimes it catches during other lifts.
I have significant arthritis in the right knee from a break in 2004 and some lesser arthritis in the left knee.
I am not currently taking any medications at all in preparation for what I hope will be an epidural procedure soon.
My goals are as follows:
15% body fat by the end of 2013 which is approximately 9.5 weeks.
Get back to regular running of 20 or more miles a week.
At least 5 unassisted pullups
A dead lift of 250 pounds or more
Bench press my body weight
Here are some of my favorite tools for reaching these goals:
Record keeping – I use a great free program called Training Peaks. It allows me to upload the info from my GPS watch to track mileage and every few weeks I put in my weight and measurement metrics. Then I can go back at any time and review progress or lack thereof.
Measurements – I find that measurements are a far better indicator of progress than the scale especially if you are doing strength training. I always do at least 4 sites (chest, waist, hips and one or both thighs). The variety of spots is important because you won’t lose fat equally over your whole body and you might not be able to see the changes visually, but trust me when I say it is a huge motivation to see that you have lost 2 or 3 total inches over a few weeks. It is important to measure in the exact same spot every time to be consistent.
Community support – Surrounding myself with people who have the same goals and are as motivated as I am keeps me on my game and pushes me. Many of the people in your life will bring you down whether they intend to or not. If you have to go online to find your support then do that too. Find your source of strength and in turn, be a source for someone else.
Pictures – This can be difficult especially if like me you aren’t proud of how you look right now, but I promise if you take pictures along with your measurements you are likely to one day look back at pics from the beginning and get a very pleasant surprise. Starting to see even small bits of definition in formerly “fat” areas can be a huge boon to getting you out there for a few more weeks.
Control cravings wisely – This one can be tricky, but I find that for the most part as long as I am eating healthy I don’t get a lot of cravings. However, on occasion I get one of those crazy full body cravings that just won’t stop. For me it is usually chocolate, but on occasion it is salt. I don’t keep snacks in the house because I can be lazy about cooking if I have easy access to junk. But I have discovered that if I try to ignore those serious craving feelings I end up eating everything else in the house and then going out and getting what I wanted anyway. I feel it is better to get what you want in a very small amount. Some people disagree, but I would rather take a few bites of something and then toss the rest, than have the temptation around the house. Even better is if you make up your mind to burn those extra calories first. By the time you are done you might find you don’t want the item as bad as you thought, but at least you will have earned it.
I have other thoughts, but these are enough for now. I don’t burn a lot of calories sitting at the computer so I’m off to do something more active!