Okay so I put my blog on hold, but I’m back, with a temptation to just brain-dump everything I haven’t been writing down for the past few weeks. But we’ll start small, with an update to conclude my workout program updates.
I did finish the 12-week workout program, which ended up lasting a couple weeks longer. With the exception of my vacation time, I was committed to the program and stuck to what it prescribed. I guess if you’re looking for my results, I could list the heavier weights I can lift now, but that would be obnoxious. I didn’t do a before and after weigh-in or anything like that, and I’m sure my weight hasn’t changed significantly. I was focused on gaining muscle and strength, and getting to the end of this plan made me think about what I want to work towards next. I want to keep getting stronger, but having the specific workouts and schedule during this time has kept me focused on something.
I was working through an “extra 12th week” I guess you could say, when I came across a couple articles that kind of inspired me to try a new approach. It started with this one. Maybe you’ve seen this Freshly Pressed article that goes through some of the worst offenders in all those “fitspiration” photos that unfortunately get re-posted regularly on Facebook and Pinterest. It started out with a laugh at the first picture and description, but then progressed into more of an anger-out-of-agreement feeling. The frustration came from the pictures I always see directed towards women, and from thinking about the male Facebook friends who repost them like, “See, girls?” (notice I used girls and not women) “See? Guys don’t want you to be skinny, we want you to be muscular in a still-feminine-but-also-strong-but-also-have-big-boobs-and-butt kind of way! It’s fine! So just, you know, keep striving for perfection, as defined by the media, and then we’ll be attracted to you, which is all that matters!”
I may have taken some liberties with the message that these male Facebook members have intended when reposting such pictures. In fact I’m sure they weren’t trying to be insulting at all, but in reality, why do they have a right to tell females anything about how they should look?
And maybe I got a little rant-y, because this could be a-whole-nother (yeah I’m from the midwest U.S.) post, but it led me to a couple other articles that inspired my next workout plan. And I really tried to find those articles, but for some dumb reason I didn’t save them or remember their names. I’ll have to edit in a link if I happen to find them later.
(Edit: I found one! Read this awesome blog post.)
Getting back to my point… my new workout plan has a very different focus. I realized that ultimately, the number one reason I commit myself to working out is because it is, personally, the best way for me to get rid of stress. Something about pushing myself in a physical way and using my muscles appeals to me. Probably for the same reason that I will stretch frequently during my work day sitting at a desk, and why physical stress techniques like progressive muscle relaxation and focused breathing appeal to me as well.
Given that information, I decided to kind of mentally focus on stress-relief more as my fitness goal, which will also give me more positive motivation to go to the gym. I say positive motivation because sometimes, what motivates me to get to the gym is thinking about how guilty I’ll feel if I don’t go. It still gets me in the gym, but on the days I don’t feel like going and I go anyway, I might feel resentful towards those damn 30-lb dumbbells I can’t press yet, or towards the damn fitspiration photos that make me feel like I’m lazy if I take a day off.
So that’s my new focus. I can go to the gym thinking about how good it will feel to deadlift away the thing that pissed me off at work, instead of thinking about how I really need to do a better leg workout this time, or whatever. I’m sticking with a similar schedule as before because it worked so well for me, so that’ll be the same. But it feels like a fresh start, and a more uplifting purpose for exercise.