Doooooood, I killed it at the gym this morning! We are wrapping up a 12-week strength cycle and today was our last round of back squats.
I posted a video update on TikTok, but this is too big not to share here. It does, however, require a little backstory, of course.
Most of you know I didn’t even start weight training until my mid-thirties. Heck, I didn’t even start working out until about thirty-one. When I turned thirty, I lost seventy pounds via diet alone, and then I started getting the confidence to go to the gym.
Yes, you read that right. I didn’t start to be a gym rat until I lost the weight—more on that in a minute.
After a few years of just taking group fitness classes, CrossFit gained popularity, and I joined a local box, never to look back.
Last year I discovered a Strength and Conditional Gym pretty close to my job, and I’ve been going consistently there since last April.
When I started, I was trying to regain the strength I lost from the pandemic shutdowns. I was looking for some good coaches and fun programming, and I found it!
In one year, this gym helped me hit all sorts of PRs (Personal Records), and today I did five sets of four back squats at a weight I couldn’t even do one rep of last year!
Yes, I’m impressed with myself!
That is a huge accomplishment and shows what consistently working on something can accomplish. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, being able to do something I was once unable to do is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things I can experience. It’s the reason I am obsessed with weight training, period.
That said, let me give you a bit of insight into the (possibly) offensive post title that got you here.
When I think back to all the times in my youth I attempted to join a gym, workout, take fitness classes, whatever, they all had one thing in common—my desire for thinness.
That desire was the only reason I would even consider exercising.
That desire brought me to and kept me in the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell. I wish I could find the old graphic I made of this, but in essence, it goes like this…
- Hate my body and am driven to do something about it.
- Start to do something about it (diet and/or exercise)
- That something is too hard, isn’t working, this sucks yada-yada
- Stop doing that something
- See #1 above – Basically, rinse and repeat.
Now, I’m not telling you I’m entirely out of this cycle. It’s tough to re-program a body-image-broken brain. I have come to the realization that I will probably never be able to shed my body image issues 100%.
However, that said, I no longer let that bad body image drive my motivation to exercise or my desire to eat nutritious, healthy foods.
Over the last (OMG) fifteen years, I have worked hard to peel those two things apart.
I work out because I enjoy the pursuit of strength, the sense of accomplishment, and the confidence it builds. This was actually the easier part of the equation (for me) since I started working out after losing weight. Once I didn’t have the weight loss goal driving my decision to exercise, I was able to see all the other amazing benefits of moving and challenging my body. It was no longer a punishment for fatness but a celebration of possibility.
I eat consciously and nutritionally because when I don’t, I feel like shit. Yes, shit. Maybe it’s my age, but my gut can no longer handle food or alcohol as it once did. Eating a diet driven by fruits and vegetables with an eye on protein also helps support my pursuit of strength.
So I say f*ck the scale and aesthetics. All the consistent, positive changes I’ve ever made in the realm of diet and exercise happened when I shifted the goalposts from looking a certain way to feeling a certain way.
Phew, well, that just flew out of me. I guess you can say this post was brought to you by my post-workout endorphins. See, I love this feeling!
P.S. I have no idea what I weigh and today is my one-year scale-free anniversary!