This is POST 31 of my “fitness journey.”For backstory, see Post 1,
Post 2, Post 3, Post 4, Post 5, Post 6, Post 7,Post 8, Post 9, Post 10, Post 11, Post 12,Post 13,Post 14, Post 15, Post 16, Post 17,Post 18, Post 19,Post 20,Post 21, Post 22,Post 23, Post 24, Post 25, Post 26, Post 27,Post 28 Post 29, and Post 30.
Some of you may recall that I came up with several short-term fitness goals on Sept. 18. As of Oct. 26 — about 5 weeks later — I had achieved three of them. I was able to do 21 dips. I squatted slightly more than my bodyweight (135 pounds) 25 times, and front squatted 135 pounds 16 times. It should be noted that while these squat stats are gym records, neither had any data in their place so it doesn’t necessarily mean I “own” these records. Furthermore, we only “went after” these “reps at bodyweight” exercises/records once for front squatting and twice for regular back squats. (The first time I did 21 reps on the back squat)
For practical purposes, it appears these three goals can be checked off my list as being accomplished.
Three goals remain from the Sept. 18 goal-setting meeting with my personal trainer, Steve Bechtel: beating my record of 19 pullups, doing at least one rep (more?) of bench press equaling my body weight, and, finally, the seemingly-elusive goal of getting my weight down to 129.
What you hopefully recall from my goal-setting video in mid-September is the end of it. Specifically I was quite concerned about “bulking up” while pursuing so many ambitious “strength” goals. I thought/think this was a legitimate concern given my training would inevitably shift to low reps and lifting very heavy loads. This is what everyone thinks. But it’s actually all wrong, according to Steve, who shrugged off my concern, emphatically stating that I will not bulk up.
Another concern, which I still have, is getting my weight from 133-135 down to 129. For the record, this is a goal mainly because there are a pair of jeans I really want to wear and they require losing some weight. I’m kidding! Sort of. The weight loss goal represents a weight that I honestly cannot recall ever weighing. Suffice it to say if I was ever 129 pounds, I can’t remember when it was. I like the “impossibility” of this goal.
First, let’s address the bulking up concern. Steve was right. I have not bulked up. In fact, I’ve gotten leaner and smaller. This fact still boggles my mind, although Steve’s knowledge about getting stronger without getting bigger has been supported previously in my numbers. (Several months ago I deadlifted 135 pounds 39 times and did 19 pullups to the same result — no weight gain or body size increase; if anything, the opposite).
Since I hired Steve as a personal trainer and joined Elemental Training Center in March 2009, we have kept good data on my weight, body size (measurements) and body fat percentage. So, don’t take my word for it, or even Steve’s. Look at the data:
Part of the way Steve explains my getting stronger while getting smaller has to do with the fact that muscle is more dense than fat. Steve attempted to explain this to me by saying that a pound of muscle may resemble in size a small apple, whereas a pound of fat may resemble in size a grapefruit. Okay, that helps.
So here we are today. It’s Nov. 8, and I’m having a challenging time. Last Thursday, during my session with Steve, I was telling Steve I was disappointed in my pullups ability during our Tuesday session a couple days earlier. Being whacky, I punished myself for that by doing 100 pullups (and what the heck 100 pushups) in addition to my usual cardio/high intensity intervals on the elliptical trainer, stepmill and air dyne on Wednesday morning. Steve was not happy. I showed up to Thursday’s session — gee I wonder why — tired and sore.
It was at this point Thursday that Steve took me over to one of his beloved whiteboards and charted how I should be working out right now. What he charted didn’t look anything like the self-prescribed workouts I was choosing to do on my own time. In so many words, he said: “If you don’t follow this plan (pointing to his strategy on the whiteboard) and we don’t achieve your goals, it’s your problem. If you follow this plan and we don’t achieve your goals, it’s my problem.”
Once again, Steve’s wisdom is compelling. So, I will let it be his problem and do what he instructs me to do. After all, he is my hired coach and trainer. And somehow, as a result of this little chat we had, and the data like that included in the image above, I feel confident I will achieve my goals. Including the weighing 129 one.
If all goes well, it will be nobody’s problem.
Elemental Gym has a fantastic gym, some terrific programs and classes that will help you achieve better fitness. And, I might add, some great personal trainers: Steve Bechtel, Ellen Bechtel, Jagoe Reid, Sophie Mosemann and Lee Brown.