Starting Over – Good or Bad?

Starting over can feel really discouraging or feel really exciting depending on how you look at it.  Fortunately, I have chosen to feel the latter about moving here.  I also feel that I’m starting over from and health and fitness standpoint.  After 3 months of practically no training and eating whatever, I feel that I am back at square one.

I worked out with a trainer at my gym on Saturday and it became apparent to me pretty quickly how bad my conditioning is.  Doing the pinch test (body fat calipers) didn’t help either.  I got pinched at 20.88%.  Granted, that’s not awful, but it’s definitely not where my ideal is.  I ended up signing up for personal training sessions.  People sometimes ask me why I need a trainer when I used to be certified in personal training and have years of experience  with working out and eating healthy.  Everyone has different reasons for hiring a trainer.

Reason #1: The accountability piece is key when establishing habits or a routine.  Having scheduled appointments where someone else is relying on me to show up helps ward off the tendency to blow off workouts for bullshit reasons.  Purchasing training sessions also seems to up my level of commitment to align with my financial investment.

Reason #2: I need someone to push me and to spot me.  I do less weight and less reps when I’m training solo.  During my training session, I knew the exact points at which I would have quit or reduced the weight, but the trainer kept pushing me to work harder and do more.

Reason #3: Get out of my comfort zone.  I have favorite exercises and a certain way that I tend to train.  I usually do a traditional bodybuilding split workout with 1-2 muscle groups worked per day.  The trainer I worked with had me do total body conditioning with push-pull.  My heart rate was up, and I’ve already done a ton of new exercises that I would never have tried on my own.  It’s tough, but I’m excited to see how my body responds to this kind of training.

Throughout the workout, I caught myself thinking/saying, “I used to be able to squat 235 lbs” while I was repping out squats with less than 100 lbs on the bar.  Or “I used to be able to do an hour on the stairmill” while I was huffing and puffing on the cross-trainer after 20 minutes.  Again, there are two perspectives here: I can either lament how crappy my conditioning now is compared to what it used to be or I can remember what I’m capable of when I train hard consistently and use that as motivation to get back into shape.  If you’ve done it once, you can do it again.  At least I know what is possible when I eat clean and train hard.

My trainer asked me if I was thinking of doing another competition.  I said not in the near future.  For now, I want to find balance.  I want to be fit and healthy, but still be able to have a good time with friends and socialize.  As Andy (one of my trainers – I have two that are rotating my sessions) says, “You don’t want to be eating out of tupperware on a Friday night.”

I’m not bold enough to post progress pictures, but as of yesterday, I was 124.6 lbs and 21% body fat (compared to 109 lbs and 14% body fat on show day).  I am choosing to see this comparison as what I am capable of and not as a reason to beat myself up over how far I’ve meandered from the best shape I’ve ever been in.  Weight and fitness are not an intrinsic quality that you can never change, they are entirely dependent upon your lifestyle choices.  In fact, your weight and physical fitness level are fairly easy to manipulate and change.  If you want to lose weight, eat less than you burn off.  If you want to get in better shape, exercise more frequently.  That’s it.

Let’s see if I can put my money where my mouth is!

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