This is Mark: In addition that winning smile, he's got a huge heart and a giant brain. He's my coach and trainer. And now he...Read More
Strength Monday 6/24/13 (w/ Bonus Scale Rant)
In my quest for lean superhero-ness, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy stuff and work on skills a few times a week. (If you’re new to strength training, here’s a great overview of what all the lingo below means.)
For about 18 months or so, I’ve been using the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. It did a brilliant job of seeing me through my n=1 experiments and definitely increased my strength, but the way my body looks hasn’t changed the way I want it to. So in the interests of both science and vanity, I’m starting a new training program that I’ll tell you all about very soon. For now, I’m reacquainting I’m, getting sweaty with workouts that combine heavy lifting with higher-volume, lower-weight work.
3:00 treadmill at 3.9 mph
5:00 jump rope: singles, fancy boxing footwork
arm circles, shoulder work with PVC pipe
5 X 6 pushups
5 X 6 bench press: 80#, 80#, 75#, 75#, 75#
5 X 8 inverted row
rest :30 between repetitions of the trio
4 X 11 dumbbell shoulder press, 15# dbs
4 X 11 lat pulldown, 70# db
rest :30 between repetitions of the duo
3 X 11 dumbbell hammer curl, 15# dbs
3 X 11 triceps press down (cable machine): 40#, 40#, 30#
3 X 11 upright row with band
rest :30 between repetitions of the trio
:30 side plank, L & R
I have to tell you something else. I weighed myself today… for the first time in, oh…. probably 4 years.
Sure, I have to step on the scale whenever I visit a doctor’s office, but I always ignore that number because I’m fully clothed, wearing my shoes, and have usually eaten at least once prior to the heinous weigh-in. I really haven’t worried at all about the number on the scale during my hormone adventures. Yes, I knew I was gaining weight, but I don’t need the scale to tell me that, and I genuinely don’t care what the number shows up on the display.
Because here’s the thing about scales: Scales are stupid for many reasons. They are not an accurate measurement of overall health, of athletic ability, or of general value as a human being. The scale doesn’t know that you have a charming smile or that when a friend needs a really good listener, you’re the first person that gets a call. And, focusing on the purely physical, the scale doesn’t know that you’ve got badass amounts of muscle.
But I am very. very. serious. about getting my body in shape — and part of celebrating is knowing when I’ve made progress, and that requires that I know where I’m starting. I’m not using the scale as a way to “hold myself accountable” nor will I use it to apply blunt-force trauma to my psyche (because that’s bullshit), but I think in some cases, the scale can be one of many tools to help track how things are going.
Note that I said “help” track. The number on the scale is just one data point I have at my disposal to help me in my quest for superhero-ness. The other is a really cute pair of denim shorts that are currently a bit too tight to make a public debut.
So, knowing what I know about the scale — and with other tools like a tape measure, body fat measurement, and the aforementioned denim shorts at my disposal — why did I weigh myself? Honestly, part of it was curiosity. The rest of the answer is one of the dirty little secrets of working at home in a climate that’s hellaciously hot. And it’s this: most days I wear clothes that feel like pajamas. My work “uniform” is either the so-light-I-can-barely-feel-it sundress that I’m wearing right now (candy-colored polka dots on a black background) or whatever I happened to shrug into for my workout that day. (Are you sensing the overwhelming glamour of it all yet?!)
Which means when my body starts undergoing it’s fantastic transformation (which I just have to believe it’s going to do), I might not notice right away. The expand-o-matic qualities of my current wardrobe might not indicate to me that I’m shrinking. So once a week, I’ll use the scale at the gym to see what that’s all about, and then I’ll come home and try on those damn denim shorts, and once a month, I’ll check in with my measurements. I’m promising myself (and all of you) that all of these measurements will occur in a judgment-free zone — and if any of it starts causing me mental anguish, I’ll banish it immediately.
To be clear: I’m not a fan of the scale. I don’t think it’s the right tool for everyone, and I don’t think something like daily weigh-ins are right for anyone. But for now, I’m feeling comfortable about adding the scale back into my toolbox.