Last Updated on February 14, 2020 by Michael Brockbank
Never thought I would say this, but going to the rec center has been a highlight for me the past several weeks. I’ve always been one to focus on what you can do from home. But, some things are just not viable in the living room, such as lifting 30,000 pounds.
Well, I could with the weights and cables I have here. But it takes longer to reach those goals. Plus, I want a bit more meat as well as lean muscle.
Why Weight Training?
At first, back when I started this blog, I simply wanted to lose weight and build the stamina to cross Colorado on a bicycle. However, my goals have kind of changed a bit over the years.
I still would love to ride across Colorado, but I like the idea of getting a bit more bulkier than I have before.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to Hulk out or anything. But somewhere between Deadpool and Captain America would be nice.
Geek Out About Lifting Things
One thing I tend to do often is geek out when I lift things around the house that were heavy back in the day. Still, one of my favorite stories is lifting the 50-pound bag of dog food without realizing how heavy it was.
I thought I picked up a lighter bag at first.
And I’m finding that I am able to pick up and move a lot more around the house. Not to mention how the workouts have been helping my back feel much better lately.
Building Stamina for Stuff Around the House
Speaking of doing things around the house, going to the rec center every other day has vastly improved stamina.
Case in point, it’s been snowing here for nearly a week straight. So, I’ve shoveled a lot of snow. I find that I am busting through the process faster, with fewer breaks in between and without gasping for air.
In fact, I even beat my Avengers: Battle for Earth record for how long it takes me to finish the arcade version of the game. Which means I am going faster and sustaining energy levels longer.
Breaking Bodyweight Records
I’m looking forward to setting some new bodyweight exercise records thanks to the weight training. For instance, the work I do on my chest, triceps and shoulders is going to help me shatter my push-up record.
That’s part of what keeps me going…self-improvement. It’s all about going beyond your average and becoming better. I try to live this way in all things, whether it’s working out or my career.
And there are a ton of benefits to being healthier and stronger than simply looking in the mirror or impressing others. I also find that I am somewhat less stressed than before.
Magic Mike Myself
And lastly, I would love to see if I can “Magic Mike” myself. If you don’t know what that is, in other words, I want to see what I look like as a hunk with a washboard stomach.
I know it sounds a bit vain, but I’ve never seen what I look like without a hefty layer of fat. I’ve always had muscle mass, which is how I carried 300+ pounds so well. But I would like to see what I look like with muscles and less than 12% body fat.
And no, it’s not all about turning heads or attracting a woman. I’m doing this out of sheer curiosity about what I can accomplish.
Why Focus from the Waist Up?
Most of my workouts entail weighted exercises targetting the waist, up. This is because I don’t really feel I need to work on my legs all that much. If you saw how I play the Xbox Kinect, you’d understand.
In reality, I’ve always had strong legs and no upper body. Most of my younger years were spent riding a bike or walking everywhere. Today, they’re even more defined.
Sometimes I’ll toss in an exercise or two for my legs during my workout sessions. But the focus is on areas that desperately need work, such as my abs and back.
It also depends on how much time I have for the workout. Sometimes, I’m only able to get in a few reps on six or seven machines.
What Has Been My Routine?
My rec center workout is something like this:
- I go every other day at around 12:30-ish. I want to workout before eating lunch so I avoid yacking all over the equipment. I find I feel less nauseous when working out on an empty stomach. Though, I do need to take a snack as I am prone to low blood sugar.
- On days I don’t go to the rec center to work out, I play on the Xbox Kinect to work up a sweat.
- I work on the basic six machines for weights: bicep curls, tricep push-downs, ab crunches, lower back extension, lat pull-downs and flys.
- If I have time, I add in a 7th random machine of something I don’t do often.
- Each session, I try to add a little bit more such as either adding another 5 pounds or an extra rep or two. I don’t want to push myself to the point of being in pain while at work.
In the past three weeks, I will have gone to the rec center to work out 8 times. Yes, I know the math doesn’t add up. That’s because there were a few times when I was too busy to get to the rec center for my workout.
Still, I’m proud of myself for being able to do a resemblance of a good exercise schedule. And for those who know me, that’s quite impressive.
How I Keep Myself Going Every Week
One of the things I pointed out in past blog posts is how gym memberships only work if you have the drive to continue using them. Otherwise, it becomes a monthly bill that you really don’t need or use.
This time around, though, I find myself getting excited to go. And yes, it’s only been a few weeks. Will I still have the same gusto in a few months?
I don’t know, to be honest. But, I will try to keep myself motivated. Right now, I focus on:
Gamifying the Workout
As I said earlier, breaking personal records is something I love doing. And using Exercise.com, I can track my progress against myself or others on the system. In fact, I am ranked in the top 700 for points on the website.
When you gamify something, you make it seem less like a chore and more “fun.” It’s taken me a long time to get back into that mindset, mostly because of what I went through over the past year.
So even though the scale says I haven’t lost much over the last few weeks, my strength and stamina are telling me I’ve come a long way.
Competing with My Son
Yes, I get a kick out of being able to lift more than my 20-year-old. He’s trying to lose enough weight to go to the Air Force and tries to keep up with his old man. I giggle a little bit when he wipes himself out trying to do so.
And I know at some point, he’ll probably be able to surpass what I can do in terms of lifting weights. But it’s not today…nor is it tomorrow.
The next thing I need to work on is running, though. I think he can do a mile faster than I can. So, we’ll have to see about that in the near future.
Forcing Myself to Get Up
And lastly, some days you just need to force yourself to get off your ass and do something. At least until it becomes habitual and you do the activity without thinking.
There are days when I look at the monitor and say to myself, “Let’s Go!”
The hardest part is telling yourself to move when a part of you doesn’t want to. You just gotta get that burst of motivation and start moving your feet.
Now that I’ve been able to sustain working with weights for the past few weeks, I need to find a way to keep in the caloric intake down. I’m still snacking at night and going beyond my limits in MyFitnessPal.
Once I get into a good groove with keeping the calories in the green, though, I should look pretty freakin’ amazing by the end of March.
At which point, I’ll definitely do a comparison photo in a blog post. Maybe I’ll even revive the YouTube channel.
But, I need to find that motivator that keeps me from snacking at night. I can keep the intake down really well throughout the day. But after 8 pm, I fall apart.
By the End of March…
I plan on looking the best I have, ever! I’m already in better physical shape than I was when I moved to Colorado in 2000. And I have far more muscle density than I have ever had in my life.
As long as I can keep my mind focused on what I’m doing every day and meet the goals I set for myself, I should easily rock 2020.
Maybe I’ll be able to dress up as Captain America for this Halloween?