#stillInIt Weeks 3 and 4 Complete + Thoughts on My Progress

Been a couple of weeks with no post. Apparently the photo I was using in my side bar has an expired URL (linked from Facebook), my Upcoming Races section and my countdown clock is counting down to a race that was two weeks ago. To the average person it would seem as though I’ve neglected my blog and, in this instance, the average person would be correct.

Either way, I’ve still been going at it. Today is the end of Bodybuilding.com’s #StillInIt Challenge week 4. That’s 4 weeks down, only 4 weeks remain. As in the previous weeks, here’s a quick list of highlights from the last 2 weeks:

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You can follow along with the workout program (or better yet – follow it yourself!) here.

Week 3, Day 1: Arms: From the notes – Very good workout making up for lost time last week. This workout was intended to be Week 2, Day 7 but is now Week 3, Day 1 in lieu of a rest day…Very strong and I upped the weight in most everything…Can definitely tell I’m getting much stronger, though, and my arms are noticeably bigger.

Week 3, Day 2: Legs: Took progress photos today since I had forgotten to on Sunday. I was happy to see my weight down to 221lbs. When I got to the gym, I decided to test my body fat percentage even though it wasn’t measurement day and was happy to see a reading of 15.5% – SHORT TERM GOAL ACHIEVED!

Week 3, Day 3: Chest and Shoulders: I cut my last set short after pinching a nerve in my chest during dips. Otherwise, I’m happy to report I weighed in at 219lbs today, surpassing my goal of 220lbs! ANOTHER SHORT TERM GOAL ACHIEVED!

Week 3, Day 7: Another Off Day: Took this day off because we were traveling back to Knoxville from the Tri-Cities. From the notes: My diet went hog wild. Without going into the details, just know that’s not an understatement. I ate like a mad freak on Sunday and none of it was good for me. None of it.

Week 4, Day 1: Legs: Mood: I Don’t Wanna.

Week 4, Day 6: Chest, Shoulders and BOOT CAMP: From the notes: Quick workout on a Saturday morning that acted as a pre-game for Aaron’s Boot Camp class at Title Boxing Club. This workout was pretty good – hoisting much heavier weight than I’ve lifted on these exercises in the past, but it was also over pretty quickly. I dropped the third superset because I originally intended to do it after Boot Camp but, after I experienced it, decided I didn’t need that last superset because it was mostly all chest and shoulders work anyway.

Boot Camp included a quick warm-up of body weight exercises, stretching, and a short run followed by four rounds of: dumbbell curls, Arnold press on stability ball, deadlift with trap bar, plank twists on BOSU ball, push-ups with TRX straps, 6 point suicide sprints, single-arm resistance band rows, and triceps extensions with resistance bands.

In the end, I was soaking wet from the top of my head to the middle of my thighs. That was a killer workout…


Regarding My Progress…

I took some before photos the day before I started this program and uploaded them to Bodybuilding.com. Honestly, I wasn’t super disappointed with myself in those photos, but I’m always looking to improve, and especially with this program, add definition and muscle mass. To keep up with my tracking, I’ve taken weekly progress photos with the same camera, same lighting, same backdrop…Everything.

Last week’s progress photos disappointed me, though. I lined up my front-facing photo to compare them all and noticed little – if any – changes over the course of 4 weeks. I was angry but also confused. I know I’m making progress – it’s obvious in my weight drop and my current body fat percentage. So what’s going on?

I’m hesitant to show this photo because it’s embarrassing, but I’m going to illustrate a point. This is me a couple of days ago:

progress

I’ve never looked like that in my life. EVER. It’s unreal and I’m very proud of it. However, this just further baffles me that my progress photos look the same. I understand my progress photos are relaxed, arms down to my sides, straight-on angle and in the above photo my arm is up and flexed, stretching the skin over my torso – it’s totally different – but I still hate that my progress is masked in my progress portraits. One big difference I know is that in the gym, you usually have overhead light that can help emphasize your definition so I lit myself similarly this morning and…Nothing. In fact, I somehow look pudgier.

So I’ve decided to quit taking progress photos.

And I’ve deleted all of my progress photos from my Bodybuilding.com account. I’ve been working too hard, making too much progress, staying too devoted to allow myself to be disappointed – even depressed – over how these progress photos make me look. I know what I’m doing is working and will continue to work and I don’t need staged progress photos to confirm that.

And neither do you. Wherever you’re at in your fitness/weight loss journey, keep that in mind.

No matter what my progress photos make me look like on the outside, this is how I feel on the inside:

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