Sloth to Swole

The story of a real transformation

Category: Bodybuilding

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.

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