For so many years, I had been lifting the same way: progressive overload. Wich is the way to go, I think. It means that every workout (or eventually, between sessions) you need to exert yourself a little bit more than before. One more rep than last session, a few seconds less of rest than last week, a little bit more iron in the bar than last month, and so on. For this to happen, you need to keep a journal, and eventually you build a huge archive of this over the years.
So, everytime before the gym, I look at what I did last time, and write a new “exercise plan” in the journal. One more rep on the squat, add more weight to the military press, or whatever. Then, I write the new plan again on a post-it and take that with me to the gym. When I’m back home, I correct the journal if I didn’t managed to finish some exercise, or took a long break during the set, or whatever.
After years of doing that, dude, I am sick of it. I really am. Everything came down to numbers. To planning. I’m tired of it.
When I knew I was facing (minor) surgery 3 weeks ago, the first thing that popped in my mind was “Fuck it. I’m skipping the weights all week, because.. what’s the point?” I was going to lose my “momentum”, my numbers. I’ll had to start all over again with lower weights. With less reps. So I skipped a week BEFORE the surgery. Because to me, it was worthless.
This two weeks recovering after the surgery gave me time to think. Besides building the square foot garden, I also came to some peace with this subject. I realized I can never win to my expectations about muscle building, and that I don’t need to anyway.
I look at the buffed guys at the gym, some of them openly juicing (yet, they don’t sell it) and I think that’s too much muscle. They don’t look athletic, they look… what’s the word? Just too much. I would have stopped building muscle long before if I were them, yet they keep juicing, keep going to the gym 5 days a week, because they want MORE. MOOOAARR!!! I also want to get more muscle (natural way only, tho), but the point is, when is it enough? When you get to a certain centimeters/inches of biceps? A certain PR in the squat? I believe (and this is my opinion) that is NEVER enough. Because you’re never too skinny, or too muscular, or too defined, or too hot, or too healthy, or get too much ass, or too much anything. SPECIALLY when you are anal about it and keep a journal and try to beat your own records. You have this goal of improving yourself always, but no real “goal”. No “If I get there, I’ll be happy and just enjoyed it for the rest of my life with the least possible effort” point. No. Is 15% body fat your goal? Meet that goal, and I bet, I bet you’ll want to go for 14%. And then, would you be happy? Or you’ll try for 13%??? 12%??? All the way down to 8%???
Squat half your body weight? Your body weight? Double your bodyweight???
Again, I’m talking about my point of view here. Trying to always improve the numbers in my lifting journal sucked all the fun from it. It happened slowly, but dude, it sucked ALL the fun. It got so bad, that I skipped a whole week of perfectly good time to exercise, because I was going to lose some numbers anyway because of the surgery.
The time out let me think about this, and I get to this conclusion, or epiphany if you must: I ALREADY MET MY GOAL. I went from 90 kilos and 30% bodyfat to what I am now. I feel fit. I look fit. But my workouts are no fun. And they should be fun, if not, why keep doing something you don’t enjoy? It doesn’t make sense. I need a change!!!
Scroll up and look at the pic I chose for this post. There’s a woman, about 50 years old, exercising with just a bar. She’s obviously fat. But she’s doing it right. She’s fighting osteoporosis with that, and keeping her hips healthy. I’m now in my early thirties. I want to keep being young, feeling fit, and healthy for the rest of my life, so I can enjoy it. Just like that woman, I wanna do it right. And enjoy my health, not punish myself with numbers and inches of biceps. I want to have a fit, healthy body and that’s it. End of the story. That’s my final goal. And guess what, I think I already met that goal a fucking year ago!!!!! So this last 12 months I had been struggling with what, exactly? Farts from ghosts???? Numbers on a spreadsheet????
So, I came out with this new plan. 10% journal driven, boring weight lifting. 90% fun, almost non-written-in-the-journal workout. Say what, again? OK, picture this: 1, maybe 2 boring weight lifting sessions per week, journaled, old fashion. The rest of the time? I’ll just have fun!!! I’ll say “OK, today it’s 200 push ups” and just do so! No matters how much breaks I need to do, or how long it will take me. 200 bodyweight squats during the day? 80 burpees next day! Sprinting for fun! I haven’t posted a progress pic for a while… why not take my shirt off, record myself doing 100 chinups (even if it takes me 2 hours or more!), youtube it and kill two birds with one stone. If I get really, really crazy, maybe even take a day off, or two??? Maybe give that abandoned kettlebell a swing or two?
I really wanna get away from this structure of tuesday-thursday-saturday lifting with plans and journals and shit. I want this to be fun. The way it’s supposed to be!! If muscle building or fat loss happens, so be it!!! But I have met my goal, and anything from this point and beyond is a BONUS!!!!