Steady Wins The Race

Today was the day that I have been dreading.  Measurement day.  Time to recheck my stats and see how much progress I did or did not make in the past 4 weeks of training.  It’s the whole gamut of torture – weigh in, measuring tape, and the 7 site caliper pinch test. 

Why was I dreading it?  Aside from the fact that no matter what shape you’re in, having your fat grabbed and pinched in your trouble areas is never enjoyable, I looked back at the past 4 weeks and didn’t feel that great.  Training and cardio I’ve been doing well with, but eating – not so much.  I would say I’ve been good 75% of the time.  One of the past 4 weeks included a week-long period where I was on the road and flying somewhere every day for work.  I did my best to make good choices, but definitely caved in to some peer pressure from my new colleagues.  The sales/service culture tends to be rife with people who love to drink, and while I mostly drank in moderation, I didn’t always stop when I should have (i.e. the 5 beers I had at the Braves game).  And to top it off, my eating for the past week was worse than any of the prior weeks.  I’ve been preoccupied and frustrated over some things in my personal life, and realized that my eating deviations were really misguided attempts to cope with those things.

So, needless to say, I was not feeling so confident about what the numbers were going to say today.  It wasn’t as bad as I expected.  I lost 1% bodyfat in the past 4 weeks (down to 18% from 19%) and actually lost an inch off my waist.  Although I know I could have made more progress had I been more compliant with my nutrition, it showed me that despite not being perfect, I still made progress.  And you know what, I managed to do it while still having a social life and having some fun!

This made me realize something else – although I was worried that the numbers would show that I stayed stagnant or maybe even got worse, I already knew logically that that wasn’t possible.  I can SEE a difference.  My shoulders and arms are more defined, my love handles have shrunk, and I noticed that my work pants are hanging looser.  So, if I already had evidence of progress, why worry about the numbers?  I’m training for a look, not a weight or even a body fat percentage.  If I can see that I’m getting better, why do the numbers even matter?

That said, the OCD side of me is thrilled to be measured on the first of the month (particularly a month with 30 days) and I really want to do better this next 4 weeks.  Part of my discussion with my trainer today was what things I could improve on for this next 4 week block.  The areas I identified were:

  • Improved adherence to my nutrition program
  • Better hydration
  • Get more sleep

Yes, I am tempted to go into hermit mode and just eat, sleep, and train for the next 4 weeks.  But I also know that while my results might be phenomenal by doing that, I wouldn’t be happy, because I wouldn’t be living a balanced life.  Can I do better?  Absolutely.  But in this case, slower progress over time with consistency is a greater achievement to me than going insanely hardcore for 4 weeks only to end up feeling lonely, overtrained, and starving.

It’s important to focus on the big picture when it comes to progress.  In addition to losing some body fat and inches, I’ve also continued to get stronger – my deadlift is up to 145 lbs and my squat is up to 155 lbs (both for reps, not max).  I can actually do the stairmill for 30 minutes without dying.  Can’t wait to see where I am by the end of this year!

 

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