09/13/15 – 09/13/2016: A Year in Review

I turned 37 yesterday.

 

It has been an interesting 365 days.

 

tompic2

 

Am I totally ripped, shredded, yoked and stacked? Absolutely not.

 

As I mentioned in the recent post, “Fight through the pain”, I had entered into a pretty challenging part of my life last year, with those four weeks leading up to my birthday arguably being the worst I had experienced in quite a long time. My birthday itself was, at best, bittersweet. I had a lot of time that day to reflect, to think about what I wanted with the situation at hand and with my life in general. It came as a small spark of determination which built into a well stoked fire. A promise to myself; a solemn oath for what I wanted to have happen in the next 365 days.

 

A single, simple thought.

 

By my 37th birthday, I will be the best possible version of myself that I can be – physically, mentally/emotionally, spiritually, vocationally.

 

The next three and a half months would help me form my goals and mission for 2017, goals that fell in line with that original thought. Come January, we’ll take a look at how I did executing on thought out, measurable and written goals.

 

As far as the fitness side goes. I began to workout even more than I had been. Those training sessions now became a source of comfort and solace; an amazing channel to vent all my anger, pain, depression and frustration. At this point I was training six days a week. I wanted to be stronger and get shredded.

What I have learned is:

  • Most people (with only a few small caveats like genetics, length of training, etc.) cannot lose fat and build muscle at the same time. It’s just a marketing ploy.
  • You can focus on leaning out or you can focus on getting stronger.
  • When cutting you can retain most of your strength gains, but you will lose some as you drop weight that is coming from fat and some muscle.

So, coming to that understanding, I was OK with the fact that I am going to gain fat and muscle when trying to get stronger and put on some mass, that’s just how it is. Am I totally ripped, shredded, yoked and stacked? Absolutely not. In all honesty, I should probably weigh more and I haven’t focused on any sort of leaning out or cutting yet. I am still learning, so I am focusing on gaining strength.

 

I’ve hit multiple PRs (personal records) in the gym this year, including Squatting 225lbs multiple times and Deadlifting 235lbs multiple times. Not bad considering I had injured myself earlier in 2015 on a deadlift and rendered my weight training null and void for the first half of 2015 while I recovered. I’m up to 175lbs on the Bench Press and chin up numbers aren’t too bad either. So, I’m making progress.

 

“I’m nowhere near close to my goals, as they are continually evolving and getting better. But I am a hell of a lot closer than I was a year ago.”

 

Has my body composition changed? Definitely, nothing drastic and I don’t look like Gerard Butler from 300…yet. Noticeably different are my legs, glutes and back. My dress slacks don’t have as much room as they used to and I fill out my shirts a little better. And it helps that people are noticing a difference when I visit with them. Catching Mrs. Kenobi notice “the gains” when wearing one of my t-shirts is always a bonus.

 

I weighed in a 179.2lbs last year. I am at 192lbs now; 12.8lbs heavier.

 

Up until now, I have only been taking upper body pics. Which, now that I think about it, is funny since I was focusing on large compound movements, two of which heavily involved my legs and back… so why was I taking pics of just my upper body? Going forward, I will be tracking the lower body too. I haven’t been taking measurements of different areas of my body, so that is also something I am going to be doing from now on. This will give me a few solid metrics to track: pics, performance, measurements and weight. This should also give me a more informed decision on how to best accomplish and tweak my goals for 2017.

 

So…what’s the point of this post, did I accomplish what I set out to do?

 

Yes. I am a better version of myself, for sure. I’ve learned and I’ve grown. I’ve become stronger mentally, emotionally, physically and even a little spiritually. Trolls and couch commandos might talk shit about my “progress pics”. That’s fine. It doesn’t mean a damn thing to me if they do. They aren’t in the ring with me, and until you are in the ring, it’s all theory. I’ve also realized that there is always room to improve, grow and become better. It’s just about how bad you want it and how much you are willing to sacrifice.

 

Do I want to look like Mr. Butler or Jason Statham? Yeah, I do. But, I’m proud of what I’ve done and how I look. I understand the goals and I understand the lengthy process it will take to get there. There is no magic pill, there is no magic formula.

 

I’m nowhere near close to my goals, as they are continually evolving and getting better. But I am a hell of a lot closer than I was a year ago.

 

Remember why you are doing this. Commit to the process and time it will take.

 

Be strong for you.

 

Be Strong 4 Family.

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