Sloth to Swole

The story of a real transformation

Category: Fitness (Page 1 of 6)

Having The Time vs. Making The Time

This past week was rough – I mean, looking back, I only missed one or two days at the gym, but it felt worse than that. I started a new job and my new commute and schedule has really messed up my gym time.

I used to have a pretty sweet gig – I lived about three or four blocks from work, so I could sleep in pretty late, have breakfast, shower, change, etc, and take a 10-15 minute walk to the office every morning. I had also worked out things with my job so that I could take two hours in the middle of my day to go to the gym (that also meant coming in an hour early and staying an hour late, but it was worth it).

Going to the gym in the middle of the day was great. The gym was about a 15-20 minute walk from work. If you check out some of my Instagrams, you’ll see some shots of an empty gym. It was just me, the trainers, and a few women on the ellipticals and stairmills. I could take my time, do whatever I wanted when I wanted, because all the equipment was open.

Now, with this new job, I have to commute across the city. It’s not as bad as it could be – I used to live outside of the District, so I’ve had a pretty bad commute before). But still, a 45 minute bus ride across the city is pretty annoying. Plus, I’m out of easy-walking range of my gym. So things obviously have to change – do I go in the morning before work? do I go after work on the way home? do I go after I get home and eat dinner? do I change gyms so I can keep going in the middle of the day? I tried a couple of those this week and I think I’ve decided on the morning workout.

You know, I’ve gotten a lot of comments about my schedule and how much I workout. I get a lot of “I wish I had the time to go to the gym like you do,” or “when do you find time to relax?” or other stupid comments/questions. Look, I’m not one of these sponsored fitness dudes (yet :P) where all I do is workout and do fitness videos and get paid for it. I’m a regular guy – I work two jobs, I am a musician in a band that rehearses twice a week, I have all the normal responsibilities of an adult. So the question then – how do I have the time to go to the gym for a couple hours a day? Let’s go to the chalkboard…

24 hours in a day… minus 8 hours of sleep (on a good day)… minus 8 hours of a work day… minus (let’s say) two hours for commuting to and from work. That leaves you 6 hours to do whatever you want – WHATEVER YOU WANT! So how do I have the time to go to the gym for two hours a day? Because I get 24 fucking hours in a day just like every other human being on this planet. I just choose to use it at the gym instead of in front of the TV or napping or something else useless.

Don’t get me wrong, I still play video games, watch Netflix, and just relax, but it’s purposeful. I do that on my rest days (after a little cardio). But normally, I’m using my extra time to practice my guitar, learn a new language, study for a certification, or something else. Am I better than you because of how I spend my time? Well… maybe not yet… but I’m working on it.

Moral of the story: I’m no different than you. If you want to make a change, don’t act like you don’t have the time. And even if you don’t have the time, you will make the time for whatever is most important to you. If this is important, you will make the time.

The “Why” Powers The “How”

When thinking about this first post – and I’ve been thinking about it a lot – I tried to figure out exactly where I started.  How did I go from being that lazy, video-game playing, soda drinking, Dorito eating kid to being a runner, a fitness junky, a bodybuilder?  A lot of websites and books will probably say that the first thing you need to do is set a goal for yourself – “I want to lose so many pounds,” or “I want to lift this much weight” or “I want to look like Chris Evans in Captain America.”  Join the fucking club!

Every goal of every man ever – to go from scrawny dweeb to… well… a god among men. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

What I realized was that there is a moment before that – one single moment that sparks that fire to become Steve Rogers. It’s that moment of want… of desire… of realizing that you can be more.

I met up with a friend of mine recently.  He hadn’t seen me since I really started hitting the weights hard – it had been over a year or so.  He told me that he’s never known anyone that has oscillated so much in size and weight.  It’s probably true.  As a kid, I was a pudgy little bastard.  In high school and college, I was super skinny – freshmen year of college, I was, like… cancer-patient skinny.  Toward the end of college, I started gaining weight, and didn’t stop until I was about 27.  At my largest, I was about 210 lbs – not huge in the grand scheme of things, but I really didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror.

And that was really it for me – there was one day that I looked in the mirror and suddenly realized how big I had gotten.  I wasn’t happy with how I looked.  I wasn’t happy with myself.  I knew that I could be better.  But instead of crying over a pint of B&J’s Phish Food, I decided to fucking do something about it.  I strapped on some New Balance running shoes, went outside and ran three miles.  And when that got to easy, I ran 5.  Then 7.  Then 10.  And at the end of those first few months, I had run my first half marathon.  It didn’t happen overnight – it was months of running 3, 4, even 5 times a week, pushing myself a little harder each time.  From there, I found my way in to bodybuilding, but that’s another story.

Here’s my point – The first step with any problem is to recognize that there is a problem.  Then, you make a determination that you *CAN* fix the problem.  These are two places that most people fail, I think.  It took me a long time to notice that I was getting bigger.  Looking back at pictures from after college, it’s *VERY* apparent to me, but it’s difficult to notice it when you’re with yourself every day.  It can happen slowly over time.  I think, for me, I really noticed it when I had to start buying new clothes – new, bigger clothes.

The second, bigger issues is realizing that you can change.  A lot of people will blame genetics, say they have glandular problems, or generally make excuses.  I think that there are very few people in the world that actually have physical issues that make them fat – don’t quote me, that’s just my belief.  I think the problems that most people have are 1) they’re lazy and/or 2) they don’t want to put in the work to change.  If that’s the case, that’s fine – but don’t make excuses.  Just be real.   If you can honestly tell me that you are happy being fat, being out of shape, etc, that’s great.  But if you want to lose weight or buff up or run a 5k or whatever, start making a change rather than making excuses.

I’ve been feeling pretty off for the past few days – really just not like myself.  It was a holiday weekend, so I had a day off from work on Thursday for Thanksgiving, Friday at work was a complete waste of time and had nothing going on Friday Night.  Saturday was just as much of a waste except for the Chanticleer concert which made me feel a little better, and Sunday I just had rehearsal in the afternoon.

All in all, it was a pretty useless weekend (not to put down family time on Thanksgiving). On top of all that, it was my three rest days for the week – no gym time whatsoever.

I think that’s what affected me the most – not being in the gym.  At least, I think it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  On top of feeling lazy all weekend, I couldn’t counteract that feeling by running, or lifting, or doing much of anything.  So today, that all changed.

I hit the gym tonight like I never have before.  I upped the weight for every set and just KILLED it. I pushed through as hard as I could, sweat until my shirt was soaked, and just felt so strong in general!  I was mentally, emotionally and physically in it tonight – and it felt great.

I guess it’s just funny – music has always been the thing that gets me out of my funk.  But this time, it was the gym.  I think now it’s pretty safe to say that I’m addicted to weight lifting.

Workout Mix – Challenger

One of the things that I’ve liked seeing on some of my friends’ blogs is their picks for their workout mix.  I’ve tentatively decided to make Tuesdays my day to post what I’m listening to in the gym.  I have a few different playlists that I listen to, but lately, I’ve been enjoying the genre radio stations through Google Play.  I just like high energy music that can pump me up without distracting me – usually this means something I haven’t heard before, and something without words.  My current station is the Trance station.  This track, “Challenger (Original Mix)” from Arisen Flame, came on and kind of reminded me of 8- or 16-bit video games, but has a great beat, and builds really well.  Enjoy!

If you enjoy the music, make sure to check out the track on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

Don’t Believe What You’re Told

All of this weight training has been a fascinating experience.  Besides just feeling better and being more confident in myself, learning about anatomy, physiology, and even a little chemistry has really caught my academic intrigue.  It’s empowering to have that knowledge – it gives you a sense of ownership over what you’re doing.  You’re able to construct your own programs, your own diet.  You’re not as worried about going out with friends and finding something “healthy” to eat.  It really opens things up and makes everything easier (well… maybe not the workout – that’s still kicks my ass!).

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BRF2013 Medal

The Proof

BRF2013 Finish LineAll of the training and preparation of the past few months, all of the worry after hurting my leg, all of the struggles and pressure that I put myself through.  It all became worth it today in one singular moment – that moment I crossed the finish line.  I can say it now – I can say “I have finished a half-marathon!”  What an incredible rush.  This is the proof I’ve been looking for!  I’ve been telling myself that I can achieve anything I put my mind to – this is that proof.  The medal around my neck overshadows all of the doubt, all of the judgment, all of the negativity. If I ever think something isn’t possible, I can look at that medal and remember that it might take a lot of hard work, but I can do anything – and I’m worth it!

Oh, and my time? 1:57:15!  Average Pace – 8:57 min/mile!  I couldn’t have asked for a better time for my first half-marathon!  Thank you to everyone who has been supporting me through this.  I have a long way to go for my full-marathon goal, as well as my physique goals.  I hope you’ll continue to follow along, and I’ll do my best to keep things upbeat, positive, and above all else – entertaining!

Inner Daemons

A week out from my half-marathon, I finally hit a point where I seriously doubted myself.  I woke up not wanting to run.  As I started my run, I wanted to quit.  The doubt continued through miles 7, 8, and 9.  When I hit mile 10, I screamed out and broke down.  I had never run that far – I never thought I would.  But the mental and emotional toughness that I’ve gained over the past few months of training has helped push me physically.  And having all of you out there cheering me on helps more than you know.  Thank you, and I’ll see you at the finish line.

Today was my appointment with the sports therapist.  I’ve been out of any high impact cardio for a while now, and my leg has been feeling fine, so I hoped that I would get some good news from the Doc – and I did, along with some disappointing news.

The Doc said that I can get back to running, at least a little bit – nothing like I was doing before (can’t be doing any 8 milers for a little bit).  She said that I could start off with doing 10 minutes at a 10 min/mile pace if I can.  She also said that I should stay off sidewalks and roads for the time being, and do my runs on a treadmill if possible because its less impactful than roads and sidewalks.  So that’s my plan tonight – tredmill for maybe 20 minutes or so (5 min warm-up, 10 min running, 5 min cool-down). I’ll let you guys know how that goes.

The “bad” news (more so disappointing than actually bad) was the Doc suggesting that I cut my marathon in October down to a half-marathon.  She asked if I was disappointed about her saying that; I answered with an emphatic “Yes,” but I did tell myself that, whatever the Doctor told me, I would follow.  So, that’s what I’ll be doing.

Anyway, I’m happy for the go-ahead to start running again, and still looking forward to October.  My goals haven’t changed too much – I still want to do a marathon.  I just have more time to get that done now.


Back to work today.  I’ve been enjoying cycling.  I used to do it all the time, but not really as a “workout.”  It was always just for fun for me.  Today, I pushed myself a little harder than Tuesday, and mannnn – was I sweating like crazy!  Felt really good.  Check out my time:

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