A couple weeks of milestones

24 09 2010

The last couple of weeks have seen some significant milestones.

On September 13th, my kids moved to Italy with their mother. Perhaps “moved” isn’t the best word for it, because it’s a temporary thing; they’ll be back in 3 months. I’m excited for them to experience this adventure, but I miss them. Their internet access is sporadic, so I can’t talk to them very often. I AM going to see them in a few days, so that will be good.

September 16th marked a year since my first date with Amy. I still remember it vividly, especially the nervous excitement I felt. I already knew I liked her from the conversations we’d had, and the first time I met her in person, there was an immediate attraction. We spent several days together, going to a Weezer/Blink 182 concert, the Wild Animal Park, SeaWorld, the beach. I was so unhappy when she had to return to Utah, not knowing what the future would hold due to the distance, but I knew that I wanted to spend more time with her. Since then, it has been an amazing ride. I still feel the same nervous excitement when I’m about to see her, and the same sadness when it’s time to part. She made the last year the best in my life so far, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.

The 20th marked the date that my divorce from Melissa became official. There was no particular sadness associated with it. We first decided to get divorced nearly a year and a half ago, and I moved out more than a year ago, so I had processed it, and we’ve both moved on (obviously). We chatted briefly when she was at my place with the kids, and we both acknowledged regret at the things that went wrong, but we’re both happy now and wish the best for each other. Looking back, I was definitely unhappy, but the good times stick with me more than the bad. I’m especially thankful for the 5 fabulous kids we had together, and my only significant regret in all of this is that I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like now.

Finally, today, after what seems like ages, I broke the 200 pound barrier. I don’t remember for sure the last time I weighed less than 200 pounds, but the most recent it could have possibly been was in 1994, which was my first year of marriage. I had initially hoped to break this barrier on September 1st, and I got within a couple of pounds of that, but a trip to Seattle and 10 days with my kids derailed me a little bit.

So what’s next? I knew that at 200 pounds I’d still have a little fat around my middle, and I do. My best guess is that to get as lean as I’d like to be, I’ve got another 10-15 pounds to go. Possibly more. Part of me wants to focus on building muscle for a little while, but I’m pretty sure that if I do that right now, I’ll gain a lot of fat at the same. So for now, I think I’m going to continue to focus on losing fat, but a bit less aggressively than what I’ve been doing. I’m going to just continue to eat healthy, be active, and weight train without a specific goal until the beginning of November. Then I’ll see where I’m at and set my next goal. Ideally, I’d like to finish losing before the holidays, so I can use them to start my bulking cycle 🙂

Weight: 199.5
BF%: 22

Jan 1st starting weight: 232.5
Starting BF%: 31

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Gymtards #1

1 09 2010

This is a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a long time, but I kept getting hung up on wanting to make it as comprehensive as possible. Then it occurred to me that I can just make this a recurring theme, so here’s the first.

I’ve been working out on and off (more on, lately) since I was about 12. I’ve done a lot of different things, lost (and then regained) a lot of weight, and I like to think I’ve learned quite a bit, especially over the past 5-6 years as the Internet has made access to reliable training and nutritional information readily available.

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of other people, especially at commercial gyms, that I tend to think of as “gymtards.” This term is probably a little harsh, but it does drive the point home: many, and perhaps most, people working out these days are making major mistakes. This may just mean that they’re not progressing as well as they could, but it could mean that they are doing things that are entirely contrary to their goals. I probably wouldn’t care if they didn’t frequently prevent me from using equipment I want to use.

I’m not claiming to be any kind of authority on training, but I have spent a lot of time reading information and research from leading trainers and coaches, and applying those things to myself, so I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. My intention here is to draw attention to many of the common mistakes that people make, and in so doing hopefully encourage some of them to better educate themselves.

So with that introduction out of the way, I want to get to what inspired me to finally get this posted: the leg press.

The leg press is not a useless exercise. The biggest problem with it is that people use it instead of squatting and deadlifting, rather than as a support exercise, which is what it should be. What’s worse is that many of the people I see doing it aren’t even doing it properly. Lately, I’ve witnessed a number of people who load the leg press up with as many plates as possible, and then move it through a tiny range of motion, as illustrated in this video I captured last night:

If this guy were to actually attempt to go though a full range of motion, the ridiculous amount of weight that he’s using would drive his knees through his chest and into the pad behind him. He may feel like he’s accomplishing something, but the truth is, he’s probably getting more out of loading the weight onto the leg press machine than he is out of the tiny movements he’s doing.

There is a time and place for using a partial range of motion, but this is an advanced technique, used by people who are legitimately moving massive amounts of weight and trying to overcome weak points. Most people should be using a full range of motion, and if you can’t do that with the weight you’re using, check your ego at the door and reduce the weight. You’ll benefit more in the long run.