Working out and being disappointed


posted by on body project, exercise, photo

Ferns Feb bicep bw

Grrrr… smaller than Dec!

I’ve delayed doing an update because I took some progress pictures a couple of weeks ago and I looked *smaller* than I did in December, and I was all despondent about it in an ‘ahh fuck it, what’s the point?!’ kind of way (see my body project to compare the Dec-Feb photos in the sidebar).

I was especially down about it since I had been trying to kick it up: I changed my program from pyramid sets to drop sets, and started being really strict with what I eat after advice from a sports nutritionist. Obviously that approach didn’t work so well, which is frustrating. I might well be leaner, but I am also sacrificing muscle.

My aim is to get to my personal goal by the 12 month mark (fast approaching – end of April). My goal is not really objectively measurable which makes it hard (weight/tape measurements don’t work for what I am trying to do).

My stated goal was a vague ‘look (more) awesome naked!’ The mental ‘got there’ measure was ‘to run on the beach in a bikini and not think a thing of it’ (I want to add ‘in slow motion’ to that, but am resisting!) *laugh*.

I have refined the goal some and now it’s a (still) vague: ‘defined lean muscle, visible when relaxed’. I use my biceps as the measure because it’s relatively easy to see what is going on there.

I think finding the balance between ‘building muscle’ and ‘reducing that little layer of fat that hides the muscle’ is tricky. I think what happened over the last few weeks is one or both of two things:

  • My diet wasn’t supporting muscle building (even though I was hitting my protein targets pretty much every day)
  • Drop sets require a lot of failure points for each muscle group and I am not convinced that I push myself hard enough to truly ‘fail’ because I worry about form and hurting myself

So, what to do?

I had a chat to a personal trainer who brings his clients to my gym. I have seen him there over time. He pushes his clients insanely hard, and one of them is an older woman with the most amazing arms and back. I am transfixed every time I see her. “I want THAT!” I said to him.

He was enthusiastic enough, and glowing about the progress he had seen in me over the last however many months: “You look great!” I’d have dismissed that as empty marketing flattery, but he correctly picked that I had been doing the ‘body for life’ program, so he HAS been watching me enough to gain some credibility.

He also correctly picked up on my fear that change will have me going backwards. I am also terrified of losing motivation (which is always on the cusp…). I don’t skip gym days, but that is dogged stubborn perseverance and not enthusiastic motivation… it won’t take much for me to slip into the mindset that going to the gym a massive, horrible, sinkhole of a chore whereas at the moment, it’s an inevitable chore that *will get done*.

In watching what he has his clients do (OMG, really?!), I am also really concerned about injuries, and while we had a brief chat about that, I get the impression that he will struggle to draw the line between ‘No, that’s hurting me in a bad way’ and ‘No, I don’t want to do that because I don’t want to push myself’.

So, I have some fears, but I really think I have gone as far as I can on my own. I’m hoping I can start with him next week. Scary!

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