Rojo’s Road to Fitness: An Update.

Well as I promised a month or so back, you can see here the effects of one month in the gym for yours truly.  The changes are subtle but noticeable.

Images are reversed on the left is the one take early April, on the right is the one taken early March.

The left is the one taken early April, on the right is the one taken early March.

For the span of the time between the photos, it was almost exactly 31 days.  I snapped the April bathroom shot before going to workout that day because I didn’t want the pump to throw things off.  After all, this is about being honest for me, and with you readers.  I worked out in the gym 3 days a week for the first month.  The program I followed was the beginners routine out of Victor Pride’s “Body of Spartan.”

I’m not going to go into gritty details of my routine as you should pick up his guide if you want that information.  I found Body of Spartan to be very helpful for me as a gym noob. I lifted about 10 years ago, but I didn’t know what I was doing at all.  This book has illustrations of starting and ending positions to lifts, descriptions of the amount of weight to use, and suggested routines.  For beginners he had these words which have stuck with me throughout this path (emphasis mine):

“There is a lot of bullshit advice on the internet about how beginners “overtrain”.  BEGINNERS DON’T OVERTRAIN. IT DOESN’T HAPPEN. Beginners have a unique opportunity that only comes around once. If you fuck it up and workout like a pussy you’ll never get the opportunity again.”

The last sentence of the above quote is what I said to myself, over and over.  I still repeat it in my head.  It was evening workouts in the beginning, however, I soon switched to 5am workouts as access to the Olympic bar and power racks is  better in the early morning as opposed to later evenings.  How a major gym, two fucking stories tall, has only two squat / power racks, is beyond me.  Though, I did notice that majority of the people in the gym are shambling around on stair climbers, ellipticals and treadmills.  They are diddling their skittles on weight machines and these hanging rope looking things who’s practical use is beyond me.

That’s not to say the place is missing any #swole people.  In fact there are plenty of muscular physiques there.  They just aren’t the majority.  I definitely fit into the fatty category, but dammit, I am doing something about it.  In fact, some cats I hadn’t seen for a few months even commented on me saying “You look thinner,” or my favorite “Dude, your arms are huge.”  That shit feels great and to be honest, I focused on full body workouts for the first month, so there was minimal isolation exercises.

I haven’t actually lost weight through this either.  I went up to 256 pounds and as of this last two weeks, I am at 248.  My diet consisted of mostly proteins and veggies.  Lots of eggs, bacon, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, avocado, chicken, beef, pork, etc. I had more veggies than Victor recommends for fatties, and I did imbibe on occasion during the month, however, I am more than pleased with the results.

To illustrate some of the gains I’ve made, we’ll have to extend our time reference to 2 months.  At the end of March I switched up my routine from the beginner routine in Body of a Spartan, to the intermediate.  Although I have not been able to lock in a 6-day a week routine, I just augmented my workouts to include more exercises.  I’ve been doing that for the past three weeks.

My first day in the gym, I was dead lifting 135 and struggling for reps.  I was squatting the same and for even less reps.  My bench was pathetic.  I was curling a 40lb bar.  Now, I knew I was going to struggle, and to check what ego I could muster at the door, however, I was not prepared for the gains that were coming my way.

“If you fuck it up and lift like a pussy you’ll never get the opportunity again.”

That is what I kept telling myself.  “Hey Rojo, this is your body calling.  I’m totally sore from you abusing me in the gym, and trying to choke myself during sleep. Let’s skip the gym this morning, you can hit it tomorrow.”  “Hey Rojo, don’t bother adding more weight there, you should conserve your energy so you can perform better at work.”  “Hey Rojo, you don’t need to hit the gym this Saturday night, you can go out with some friends and have a good time instead.”

“If you fuck it up and lift like a pussy you’ll never get the opportunity again.”

It’s like running.  I seriously believe that it is 90% mental.  When I go running there’s always this voice trying to tell me I can’t keep going, or I am too tired, winded, weak.  It’s only after I have screamed at that voice inside my head a million times in the span of a few minutes that I can push through and carry on.  The difference in relation to lifting weights is similar, but I know that strength does have big part in it.

Yesterday evening, I hit a new personal best for dead lift.  My one rep max is now 315.  Yes, you read that correctly, I went from struggling with 135, to 315 in the span of about 2 months.  I am more than pleased.  I am squatting 245 as a one rep max, and am working on increasing that as well.  When I go to bed I picture what my workout is going to be the next morning.  All of it goes through my head, the weights, the movement, the exercises, the rest time.   Yet, when I get under the weight, or attempt to bring it up, I am always surprised by how heavy it is.

My one qualm with Victor’s guide has to do with form.  I can look at the pictures, and he tells you what muscles to contract at which points in the lift, but I found my self searching google for proper form for some of the lifts.  If anything, this drove me to be more motivated in my search for direction in the realm of lifting weights.

I also want to comment on what a mood changer lifting is for me.  Things at work have been more than infuriating lately and I will probably post on that in the future.  I get reamed at work, get pissed off, angry, and then I head straight to the gym.  The head change that occurs is better than anything I have tried, and I’ve done most under then sun.  I plan on sticking this out the long haul to keep improving my physical fitness.  The compounded interest it has on my own mental state is just a bonus, and one I am ever thankful for.

I pick shit up and put it down.

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