I’m always a little bummed when I walk into the gym and it’s not a weightlifting day. This is especially true when I look into the weight room and see it’s completely empty. I mean completely empty. The weight room could be mine, all mine. Darn, I have to “rest” today.
But I know that these cardio days are built into my schedule, so I suck it up (literally) and do my ab work.
Of course, that can be almost as strenuous as lifting and some of it is lifting. Here’s what I did. Since ab work isn’t quite as taxing as lifting heavy barbells, I rest only ~60 seconds between sets.
Captain’s Chair Leg Lifts (bodyweight)
Weighted Decline Bench Crunch
Weighted Cable Crunches
Underhand Body Hang w/shoulders & biceps engaged (bodyweight)
After ab work, I spent 40 minutes on the elliptical, which includes a 5 minute “cooldown” at the end.
I can tell my abs are getting stronger just by looking at the numbers. I can do more reps on the Captain’s Chair per set and I’ve increased my weight again when doing Weighted Cable Crunches. Trying to do crunches on the Decline Bench holding a 35 pound plate against my chest still kicks my fanny.
I changed my Body Hang exercise from overhand to underhand grip to engage my biceps more and still work my delts. I think this exercise, performed overhand, has improved my Barbell Military Press, but doing it underhanded may also help out my Barbell Curls, at least that’s the plan.
After a light breakfast of two fried eggs and some snacking on a banana, a plum, and about eight cashews, I indulged myself with a bagel and cream cheese. Doesn’t sound much like a guy trying to lose (fat) weight, but according to MyFitnessPal.com, that should only cost me about 259 calories, including 33gm of carbs, 10gm of fat, 11gm of protein (which I’m all for).
Actually, I’m almost always under the amount of carbs the web app says I need, although I do periodically go over the recommended grams of protein.
The result of my eating most recently is that I’ve stayed at the same average weight, 192.3lbs/87.22kg, for the past three days. That’s not bad, but since my goal weight is 185lbs/83.91kg, that means I still have 7.3lbs/3.31kg to go in order to hit my immediate target (all conversions from pounds to kilos are approximate).
That means I have to keep pressing, pulling, pushing, fighting, squeezing down the belly fat and building up the muscle.
But weight is just weight. My bathroom scale can’t tell the difference between fat weight and muscle weight. That’s the funny thing about sticking to the same average weight for three days in a row while exercising and at least attempting to run at a calorie deficit.
In those three days, even if the shift is relatively minor, by day three, some of that 192.3 pounds may be more muscle and less fat than it was on day one.
Maybe that’s a vain hope on my part but I think it’s a healthy one, at least if it acts as a motivator.
Right now, working out and especially lifting is such a habit, I’d have to be seriously ill or injured to make myself not go to the gym. And as much as I’d love to suck down a big bowl of buttered popcorn, chips and dip, a pound of fried hamburger soaked in barbecue sauce, or any one of a dozen other guilty pleasures, the results I see from calorie restriction are also highly motivating, enough to prevent me (most of the time) from giving into the temptation of overeating or eating the wrong food.
If your goal is losing unwanted weight while gaining muscle, stamina, energy, and fitting into your clothes better, those are areas you can’t afford to ignore.
There is nothing more discouraging than having spent the past week restricting calories and exercising hard and then to step on the bathroom scale and see no change, or worse, to see an actual increase in weight.
A lot of people at that point just say “bleep” it and go off their program by ditching the gym and downing a gallon of ice cream…
…which just makes things worse.
My weight hasn’t changed in the past three days, but I’ve got a pretty good track record of pushing my weight chart into a downward slope consistently. Even when the line pops back up or refuses to go down further, the overall angle of the line is enough to illustrate to me that what I’m doing is effective and that how I perform does make a difference.
What you do does make a difference, too. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, and even if you seem to be headed away from your goals rather than toward them, you are the most important actor in your life.
Every day we make choices. Every evening as we get ready for bed, we are the consequences of the day’s choices. The final choice we make at the end of the day is to either give up, especially after a discouraging experience, or to rededicate yourself to your path starting the next morning.
There will always be tomorrow morning. The only difference between one day and the next is what you decide to do with it.
I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.