Week of February 12 – 18, 2012

Well, after our first week of having the website up, I went back and read some of what I had written before about what I wanted the website to be.  One key thing that I wrote was that I wanted “to teach people how to achieve goals by showing my own goals and their achievement”.  So, although it somewhat scares me to do so, I’m going to be sharing my own health and fitness goals.  Based on my own track record, I’m very confident that I’ll fail on a lot of these…..  Which is a large part of the reason to share them anyway.  It’s just to show that no one is going to achieve their goals 100% of the time, but that what separates those who eventually achieve their goals from those that never do is the virtue of persistence and the ability to learn from your failures.

I’ve gotten way too relaxed on the aspect of goal-setting recently.  Honestly, I used to be really good at it, but then reality set in.  I more or less had a nice slap in the face from Uncle Logic, and he brought me down for size.

It was hard, but it was a reality check.  It was my desire to train for the CrossFit Games in a couple years, and my preparation for a Men’s Physique competition in a few months back in September 2011.  I was really fired up about these two goals, but then I hit a brick wall.

For Men’s Physique, I finally measured myself up against the guys I wanted to compete against.  They all had about 25 to 30lbs of muscle more than I did.  So, after looking at the evidence of needing improvement, I decided to bow out before I made an idiot of myself.  I’m glad I did.  That was back in September of last year.  It was just a reality check.  For some reason, my optimism didn’t match up with reality at the time.

But I’ve been working on it.  Back then, I had 154lbs of lean body mass (or at least that’s what the calipers and formulas tell me).  Now, about five months later, I have 172.9 (yeah, I’m a little over-analytical with the rounding to the nearest tenth).  So, I’ve been able to put on just under 19lbs of muscle mass.  Although I also gained 9lbs of fat, I’m pretty ok with that.  It’s getting me closer to my goal of competing in a Men’s Physique competition at some point.

Well, if I need to.  In all honesty, the Men’s Physique thing is more about attracting attention to the goal of TLBFlow than it is about me wanting to be judged as having a better physique than a bunch of other oiled-up guys.  I definitely don’t intend to portray any disrespect to physique competitors/bodybuilders.  It’s just not much of my thing.  I’d much rather beat somebody in an obstacle course or something.

So, I think that’s what beats me up the most.  I decided to give up on CrossFit in favor of my lower back.  Once you deadlift over 400lbs for reps, you’ll understand.  The strain is immense, and I’m just not willing to do that to myself.  Am I afraid?  Well, sure, to some extent.  But what it comes down to is, “What am I afraid of more? Not being ridiculously strong now or having a ruptured disc and reconstructive surgery later?”  Well, honestly, I’m much more afraid of being debilitated when I’m older than of not being able to deadlift 500lbs.

I remember talking with Mike Ashley during one of our Strength and Conditioning classes at Fitness Institute.  Mike is an incredible guy who I have tons of respect for.  He was a very strong powerlifter and became Mr. Universe without the use of steroids.  He’s knowledgeable about his craft, and he applies it to himself.  In every way, I think he is an incredible guy, but I don’t understand him in one way.  He’s had multiple surgeries on his joints as a result of his long-term, heavy training.  However, he says that it’s worth it, and he wouldn’t change a thing.  I believe him.  I know that he’s a truthful man, and he honestly believes that it was all worth it.  But when I confront myself with the same question, I can’t say the same thing.

Maybe it’s just because I didn’t stand on the Mr. Universe stage and win, but I simply can’t understand how being somewhat debilitated later in life is worth whatever short-term gain I may receive from taking extra risks.  I guess it just comes back to the fact that everybody’s cost/benefit ratios are going to be slightly different due to personal preference.

As for me, I have chosen to be extremely conservative and retreat from any exercise that gives me pain signals.  That doesn’t always mean giving up on an exercise, but it does mean learning more about how to do it correctly and decreasing how often I do it.

Anyway, my top three goals for the week are:

1.  Squat 345 for 5 reps with knees bent to 90 degrees (I’ve done 355 for 4 reps previously)

2.  Front Squat 215 for 5 reps with knees bent to 90 degrees (I’ve done 215 for 4 reps previously, and this exercise has always been a weak point)

3.  Get my body-weight from 188.0 pounds to 189.0 pounds.

I’ll come up with my own long-term goals throughout this week. As for now, I know that I want to hit these three short-term goals.