I was always fast. Quick. Like lightning. Boom. A sonic boom. I wasn’t the biggest. I wasn’t the tallest. I wasn’t the strongest. I wasn’t much to look at physically, but I had endurance. I could run like the wind and go all day. My best asset was always my legs, growing up, playing sports. When it came time for gym class, I was usually in the top finishers for “running the mile.” And every year I tried like Hell to beat my previous time.
I never worked out. I never lifted much of anything, unless it was yard work.
When it came to staying fit and in shape, I just let my life do the work for me. By that, I mean that I stayed fit through everything I did; whether it was picking rocks, roto-tilling the gardens or lawn mowing an acre of grass (by push mower over the riding because I wanted to sweat). And then throughout the year by playing sports; baseball in the summer, basketball in the winter, mixed with swimming, skating, biking and actually going all out during gym class, I had my ways to keep up.
To the often asked, “Do you even lift bro?” Nope. Never. What’s a dumbbell?
As we get older though, we get less active than when we were kids. Jobs get in the way. Partying. School. Going out with friends, family or dates. Wanting to relax. We get complacent as we gain more freedom, and it should be the opposite. Time doesn’t slow down. We don’t get better as we age, physically, we get worse! We don’t continue to grow and get stronger, we get weaker. If we don’t work at it, that is.
I’ve never been one to have muscles. I was never that guy who wore the bro tanks and had the guns out. No, I was the guy who wore the bro tanks and just had the tattoos showing. When I was younger, one of my nicknames was “pipe cleaner” because my arms were so thin. I’ve been in a few fights in my life. I had to fight dirty or get my shot in and run. A total cheap shot artist. It was that or just get mauled. No one wants to get mauled, and no one has respect for the dirty player. I always talked a big game, but when it came down to it, I walked my walk, not society’s.
For me, working out has always been a struggle. As I got older, I wanted to become more fit. I wanted to have that great Adonis-like body. To look like Achilles. Just like Brad Pitt in “Troy.” To have the golden locks and the body of a God. A little fun fact: I became so obsessed with Greek Mythology once that I told my mom I was going to change my name to Achilles. Anyway, I lost the hair in my late twenties-early thirties after frying it for over a decade. I still didn’t have the 6 pack. I didn’t even have the means to fill out a shirt. Most of the time, I didn’t care, though. Again, I never lifted. I never did the crunches. I didn’t do anything but run. But then I started to wonder what would happen to me if I did have the body.
Certainly, I would be in better overall health, number one. And number two, the ladies would show more interest, right?
Every so often, I would join a gym, and start a workout routine. Boy howdy did my body ache after every day! But I didn’t know what supplements were or that protein shakes were even a thing. I would work out, build up a huge sweat, have my entire body just sore, and then go home and drink. Or go out and party. I still was doing it all wrong. I still had no idea what I was doing, and it was all because I was playing the ignorance card. There’s this thing, called the internet. There’s such a thing as talking to people at the gym. Or your gigantic, ripped, cousin. Who happens to have trained actual NFL players before. Ask any one, really. Nope. I wanted to say I was working out, but then complain when it wasn’t working.
Half ass something and you will get a full ass of results. I just made that saying up. Yay or nay?
We all know what would happen next. I would quit. I would work out for a month or two even, and then just stop. It was always so easy. I’d work out for a few weeks on a schedule, and then one day just feel lazy or have something going on that I would stop. And then the next day. The next. It would snowball from there. How many of you can relate? Always an excuse.
I’ve been living at my condo now for four years. It has a pool. Tanning beds. A clubhouse. You know what else it has? A FITNESS CENTER. A full on gym, with all kinds of weights, treadmills, machines and yoga mats. How ripped am I now, after these four years? Not very. Just inexcusable. One of the selling points to me on buying this condo was the fitness center! Surely, I would work out if I happened to have one vs. going to a gym somewhere else and paying a lot more per month. Wrong.
The first couple years, I would run on the treadmills or use the ellipticals. I still wouldn’t lift. No bro, still not lifting. And as usual, I would want to, but wasn’t willing to put in the work. It wasn’t until a couple years into living here that I wanted to get back to a full body work out. I wanted that body. I wanted that 6 pack. And once again, I would be great for a month or two, and then life would happen. I’d take the easy way out and quit. Or just not push myself to the next level so I would keep gaining.
This has lead me to my April Resolution: Work out daily.
Now, I understand now that you cannot workout every muscle, every day. There will be no recovery time. You need to let your muscles recover and give themselves a chance for actual gains. You also need to put yourself in the best possible position to do so. Drink the protein shake afterward. Take daily supplements. Don’t drink alcohol every day, or night. Don’t eat junk food. Seems simple, right? We know WHAT to do, now it’s a matter of actually DOING it.
I’m 33 years old and I still don’t have the body I would like. I am decent. For my height (which is like 5′ 9″), I know I will never be that tall, 250 pound jacked monster. But I can be tone. I can have legit arms, and a chest, and a flat stomach still. This is what I want. I want to have a body that I can be proud to show off at the beach or my pool. Usually, I just let my tatted up body do the talking, distract from the fact that without them, I don’t stand out any more than your neighbor.
The purpose of this entire “12 Months. 12 Resolutions.” year long challenge I am doing is just that, a year long challenge. I am challenging myself in every way. I am trying to remedy what I have longed for and not gone after. I am challenging my body in ways I have not before. I am trying to right which I feel I have wronged so far in life. And I want to do all of this to inspire others. Even if one person tries one new thing this year after reading my blogs or seeing my posts on social media, then I have succeeded.
So far, I am four months in, and I have succeeded.
There is always room for improvement, but I am pleased and proud of what I have accomplished so far. Yes, there have been a few missteps along the way, but the one thing I have not done is quit. I keep pushing every day. I look to learn and get better, not to mope around and give up.
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Usually, this is where I detail my notes throughout the month, with a random day thrown in there about what I was thinking on that day. This one will be a little different, because of how I went about things. You see, my work schedule isn’t that of a “9-5.” Here’s a quick breakdown of what my schedule is like, being a funeral director: Monday – Friday (office hours are 8am – 4pm), so I have to be in during those days and times. Also, if there are night funerals during the week or when it’s my weekend “on” I work those as well. Then, because death sleeps for no one, I have an “on call” schedule during the week and weekend, so if a death occurs, whether it is at 8pm or 3am, I have to go out. This on call schedule rotates every other day and weekend, with days off strewn in between. Some days I work 16 hour days, others I may not have anything going on. Some weeks I put in 60 hours, others I may put in 32 hours. It all varies and eventually comes full circle.
As you can ascertain, working out every night isn’t exactly an option, because I could be midway through a workout and just drenched in sweat and have to quick throw on some dress clothes and head in. Meeting up with a family covered in sweat isn’t exactly a good look. Plus, I have to be in as soon as I can be, so waiting to finish a workout or shower before isn’t an option because I am 20 minutes away from the funeral home.
So, what I did was this: Every “off call” night or full day off, I worked out in full. A total workout, followed by 30 minutes of cardio. Some days it was working out my arms and back, others it was my core and legs. It all varied. And then, during my “on call” nights, I would do a 100 pushups and 100 crunches challenge. It didn’t matter how many I did in a row (30 now, 30 later on and then 40 before bed) or if I nailed all 100 in one sitting (that never happened, by the way), as long as I got in the 100/100 each night I was good.
This was my workout routine and I stuck to it for the most part. The two days I did not? The first two days of April! Haha. So bad, I know. My excuse? It was Easter Sunday and I was on call, and I was just coming off the “Whole 30 Diet” so I just wanted to dive into a few foods that I was unable to eat the past 30 days. The next day, I went to Brewers Opening Day and tailgated. Drinks and grilled food was had. And I was in no mood to workout after both of those.
I could have worked out beforehand though, so I am guilty of failing in the first two days. I am holding myself accountable for that. And I will continue to hold myself accountable by virtue of my “12 Months. 12 Resolutions.” challenge.
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