Here’s the scoop on this assiduous 2014 fitness goal of mine to add muscle weight. This goal.. well, this particular goal is a mental challenge for me. I spent many years very unhappy with my body. Some of this may have been a poor self-image becoming a physical reality. However it came about, the struggle was very real and for many years I was neither bubbling with joy nor was I oozing with self-confidence. When I finally did lose weight, there was not instantaneous self-acceptance. There was still lingering self-doubt and a fear of falling right back into poor eating and lifestyle habits. As it has been said, “I’ve come a long way, baby” and I can finally say I trust myself enough to say “yes” to purposefully gaining weight.
This goal has two facets: a mental and physical one.
Mentally, it is the confirmation that Yes, I can do this. I feel comfortable in saying that I have overcome my “weight issues” and found a balance that suits my lifestyle. That feat was hard work and I am proud of the accomplishment and what it means. Quite frankly, I have not mastered pushing myself to that next level however.
Physically, it is pure and simple aesthetics. A progression of pictures through the years:
My aim is simply to “sculpt” a slightly different physique… leaner legs and abs without getting “scrawny” up top. To do so, my trainer recommended working to cleanly put on muscle weight and estimated this would take ~15#.
And there we have it.. THE GOAL. Ready, Set.. GO! I was off. I was training hard and things were going well. My inspiration board doesn’t show significant weight gain but that is okay for this purpose. My clothes indicated that the process was working. YAY!
My arm was bothering me a bit but I figured it was the general aches and pains that go with training.. I just needed to keep pushing through. Then I started missing some lifts.. well, ALL of them actually. Eventually I was able to do less and less due to the pain in my arm. I started to then question my commitment, my mental toughness.. my TENACITY! I was getting frustrated.. my trainer was (nicely) getting frustrated (or at least I felt as though he was.)
Mentally and physically, I needed to step back a bit. I started researching mental toughness and how to apply it while training. http://articles.elitefts.com/features/interviews/on-mental-strength/ In addition, I also started addressing some nagging aches and pains.
The lessons learned?
Physically: I have an actual injury that needs to heal. This is not going to happen in the 24 hours or even a week as I had hoped. It will be more a matter of weeks or possibly a month plus. In addition, there are some steps of general care that I can no longer neglect. Stretching and post workout care are necessary for me to sustain this lifestyle.
Mentally: I don’t get a pass here just because I had an injury. The fact of the matter is I could use some improvement in this area. I am consistent, committed, and I work hard but I will never get the award for most intense at the gym. With this, THE goal had to be reassessed and revised. I have suspended actively pursuing the weight gain plan until the middle or end of summer as I allow my body heal. I will now begin an 11-week program to lean down in preparation for another fun shoot with Ariel!