Warning: The following post contains graphic images andd may not be suitable for people with weak constitutions. Do not take with food.
I have exercised pretty much my entire adult life. The intensity, consistency, and efficacy of these workouts have been highly variable. My typical pattern is like that of many where I will look at myself and not be real happy with what I see. So I workout and diet and manage to avoid being grotesque before relaxing into a more casual approach and I repeat the process. This tends to happen annually and I’ve dubbed it “Pants Crisis.” It’s that moment where you are on the threshold of having to go up a size in pants if you don’t turn things around.
Pants Crisis 2012 actually started at the very end of 2011 and it was an effort to avoid a rebound. Pants Crisis 2011 which began in January saw me balloon up to an unprecedented 237 pounds. Through your basic combination of calorie restriction and exercise I was able to pare that down into the 215-220 range. It’s a range I had decided over time I was comfortable with, conceding that I’d never been lean but could be somewhat satisfied at that weight.
As the year went on of course I became lax, and the weight started coming back. By the end of the year I was pushing 230 again and at the end of December I decided to launch a preemptive strike on Pants Crisis 2012. I did not want 230 to be my new normal.
I’m writing today though as a celebration of sorts. I’ve managed to stick with the exercise and diet through an entire year and I’m entering 2013 in better physical shape than I have at any point in my life. I’m experiencing a different kind of pants crisis, one where I need to size down and instead of Pants Crisis 2012 I’m now on a quest to find my abs.
Adding fat has always come much easier for me than adding muscle, even when I’m doing the right things. I can weight train but not add very much mass, and I can eat and add lots of rolls. When I diet aggressively, the numbers on the scale will go down, but I’ll also get really weak. So even though I lose fat, I’m losing lean body mass as well and I feel like crap. An awesome physique is something that has always felt out of my grasp and part of the reason why I’ve settled on a comfortable weight in the past.
Something was different this year though, and I don’t know what it was. But for some reason it was easier for me to say no to donuts and yes to the gym, and do it consistently. Some of that came from people who supported me and encouraged me. Some of that came from people who doubted me and I wanted to prove them wrong.
I was discouraged at different points a long the way, and there were some slip-ups here and there, but for the last year I’ve managed to work on transforming my body in a way I never thought was possible in the past. The fact that I was able to sustain it for a year is what I’m most proud of and the main thing I want to celebrate.
I took pictures to track my progress, and those are below (and even posting these is a big step for me). I’m not yet satisfied with where I’m at, and even now I’m not as lean as I was a couple months ago but I’ve been adding strength to all of my lifts. My goals have changed since I started this, and I’m now targeting strength benchmarks on lifts I was to afraid to even try in the past. I hope that I can continue this progress through 2013.