Day 90 – The Checkered Flag

This is it.  My final daily contest update.  Hard to believe 90 days have passed so quickly.

I still have to do my start/finish weight and body fat comparison as well as my final essay.  I did have some photos taken this morning.  I will be posting a final wrap up and pictures at some point within the next few days.

My preliminary thoughts are that I did a good job and should be proud of my efforts.  I did identify a few areas where I could have been a bit better.  Those areas will be addressed during my next 12 week training block.

I am on my way to the racetrack so I have to cut this post short.  I hope to be posting a picture of my son going around the track with his first checkered flag today.

Have a great day everyone!

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Day 89 – Almost There

This evening I completed my final lifting session of this 90 day contest.  In the morning, I will be taking my final pictures.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that my photos & story will be good enough to get me into the final voting.  If this happens, I will be ecstatic.  If not, I won’t get too down over it.

This weekend is going to be a busy one.  My son will be racing his quarter midget both days so I’ll be spending a lot of time at the track.

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While it will be hectic weekend, it will be nice to put this contest period behind me & get my mind off of the weight room for a couple of days.  A few days off is just what the doctor ordered.  I will use the time to clear my head & get myself ready for the next 12 week training block that begins on Monday.

I hope to have enough time this weekend to post my final pics & final thoughts on the last 90 days.  If not, I will do so as soon as possible.

Day 88 – Is Your Goal Powerful Enough?

Today is a scheduled off day from the weight room.  I have a Tabata cardio session lined up for later this evening.  My 90 day transformation contest period wraps up in just a few days.

Over the next few days I have a great deal of work to get done:

  • One more weight lifting session
  • Sunday weigh-in
  • “After” photos & final essay
  • Prepare training logs for the next 4 week training block that begins Monday
  • Prepare meal plans for the next 4 weeks

I’m sure it will all be taken care of so I won’t stress out over it.

I’ve given an honest effort during this 90 day transformation contest.  With that being said, I believe I could have done a better job.  There have been instances where I caved-in to a food craving & strayed from my meal plans.  I can probably look back to a lifting session or 2 where the intensity was lacking a bit.  I also could have been better about getting in some additional Tabata work during the last few weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my efforts over the last 88 days.  I’m also proud of the efforts from my fellow transformation contestants.  Seeing how far some folks have come during their 90 day transformation period has been inspiring!

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that something was just a little “off” at times during this transformation contest.  I haven’t been able to put my finger on it but every now & then I could feel that something was amiss.  After some soul-searching & asking myself a few questions, I believe I have figured it out.

The following quote by Bob Proctor sums it up quite nicely:

“Most people are not going after what they desire. Even some of the most serious goal seekers and goal setters, they’re going after what they think they can get.”

I set out on this contest with the following goal in mind:

  • Build 5-10 pounds of muscle & burn off abdominal fat.

This is not a bad goal or an unrealistic one.  But there’s a problem with this goal.  I wasn’t even aware of it at the time I crafted this goal.  When I set the above goal, I set it based on what I thought was possible, not what I truly desired.

If I’m honest with myself, that goal probably should have read:

  • Build 20 or more pounds of muscle & a set of ripped abs while getting down to 7% body fat.

But you see, that goal seemed to be “too much” at the time.  I placed artificial limitations on myself when I set my initial goal.  These limitations are what left me feeling a bit “off” at times during this contest.  Deep down my higher self knew I was settling for less than I was capable of achieving.

When I read that revised goal above, it gives me goosebumps.  It also stirs something inside of me.  It is hard to describe what it is/how it feels but whatever it is, it is hard to ignore.

This brings me to another Bob Proctor quote:

“Set a goal to achieve something that is so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time. It must be a goal that is so appealing, so much in line with your spiritual core, that you can’t get it out of your mind. If you do not get chills when you set a goal, you’re not setting big enough goals.”

When I sit down this weekend to craft my new fitness goal for the next 12 weeks, it will be something that gives me chills.  It will be ambitious.  It will also scare me when I realize the price that will have to be paid to see it become reality.  But that apprehension will quickly melt away.  Every time I think about achieving this goal, it will get me so excited that any fear will disappear.  My new goal is probably going to look a lot like the goal I listed above!

My challenge to you is to do just what Mr. Proctor said in the quote above.  Set a goal that ignites a fire within you that can not easily be extinguished.  That’s what I will be doing over the next few days!

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Day 87 – So Powerful & Easy

Today I completed a full body style weight lifting session.  The focus of today’s lifting session was to get in about 30-40 minutes without pushing too hard.

After 12 consecutive weeks of training, I’m in need of some rest/recovery.  I’ve altered my lifting schedule a bit to accommodate this need.  My lifting sessions haven’t been as intense as usual but that is by design.

I don’t have much more to add as far as my training session is concerned.  I do have a quote from Jim Rohn I would like to share though:

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I absolutely love this quote.  It reminds us of the awesome power we all have inside of us.  What is that power?  The power of Personal Responsibility.  

I choose my own thoughts & am responsible for what I allow into my mind.  No one else thinks for me.  My thoughts lead to my words & actions.  My words & actions will result in me becoming what I think about most often.  We speak our world into existence.

Because I am responsible for my thoughts, words & actions it stands to reason that I am responsible for where I am in life.  I’m getting exactly what I deserve.  Most often, life gives us what we deserve, not what we want.

If I don’t like my current situation, what can I do about it?  I could blame the weather, my parents, the economy or anything else but that would just be a form of denial.  I am above that. I refuse to blame anything outside of myself for my current conditions.  I attracted the things in my life due to my thinking.  I am responsible for my life.

So rather than play the victim, why not change my thoughts?  It doesn’t take much to change my thoughts but the results are powerful.

The minute you realize that you can change your life by changing your thoughts, you will feel more powerful than you ever have.  It’s your choice.

Day 86 – It’s The Journey….

Today is an off day from the weight room.  I did get in a nice 20 minute walk/jog with my dog after work.

My plan for the rest of the week is to lift weights on Wednesday & Friday.  I must take my “After” pictures no later than Sunday morning so this schedule will allow me to get in a few more lifting sessions prior to the photo session.  After 12 weeks of hard lifting, I’m using this 13th week as more of a working recovery week.  No need to push too hard before tackling another 12 week training block.

My hope is that my “After” pictures are much better than my “Before” pictures.  They will be better but by how much?  Will it be enough to earn me a spot as a finalist?  I would like to believe so but I honestly do not know.

In the last week or so, I’ve come to realize that my foray into this contest was never about the prizes or the recognition.  My focus shifted towards those things for a bit & I lost sight of the real reason(s) I entered this contest:

  • Establish a healthier lifestyle, both in & out of the weight room.
  • Inspire others to begin their own journey fitness journey.
  • To set a goal, achieve the goal & become more disciplined as a result.

There are a few more reasons that I haven’t included because, well, they are private.  Rest assured, these reasons are pure in nature & are in harmony with the reasons listed above.

When my focus shifted to “winning the money”, my participation in this contest was no longer fun.  It became laborious.  I had put an insane amount of pressure on myself & everything had to be perfect.  I became overly critical of my efforts on a number of instances.

In short, I forgot that it’s the journey that makes the ride to the destination worth the effort.

Now that I have firmly set my focus on the real reasons I entered this contest, I better understand this concept.  I am also able to see that I have, in fact, nailed my goals:

  • I have established much better eating, exercise & rest habits.  I’m not all the way there yet but I am really close to having those 3 things dialed in tight.  When I begin the main portion of Jason Ferruggia’s “Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0” on Monday, I will be primed & ready to go.  The habits I have developed over the last 86 days will go far in helping me achieve my #1 fitness goal.
  • I have inspired others to begin their own fitness journey.  Through this blog, my Facebook page & the ETR Progress Journal, I have been able to reach out to a number of people looking for fitness information & motivation.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have been an inspiration to a number of family, friends & even a few folks I’ve never met face to face.  I can honestly say that reaching out to others & knowing I’ve had a positive impact on them has been more rewarding than anything else related to this contest.  Talk about warming the heart/soul!
  • I’m really close to having achieved the goal I set when I started this 90 day transformation period.  The reality of the situation is that I am probably going to come up just a bit short of the weight/body fat % I set out to achieve.  I’m cool with that.  I have the rest of my life to work towards my fitness goals.  The main thing is to just keep working at my goals.

I’ve also achieved one of those “private” goals that is the least pure of them all.  It’s kind of egocentric but it was/is a good motivator.  I will share this “private” goal with everyone:

When people see my “After” photos, I would like for them to think that I don’t look like the stereotypical 39-year-old accountant!  The image that many people have of an accountant is this:

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Not this:

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Although this picture is from last fall, I’m looking about the same, if not a little better right now so I can honestly say I’ve nailed this particular goal.

So, the contest period is almost over & I’m feeling good about the accomplishments of the last few months.  Maybe I win, maybe I don’t.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is the journey.  The destination is really just a stopping point for the next journey.  I’ve already begun mapping my next fitness journey.  I’m looking forward to the ride!

Day 85 – Are You Experienced?

Today, I completed Session A of the Beginner Program from Jason Ferruggia’s “Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0″ program.  I was very thankful to be in the weight room this afternoon instead of outside shoveling snow like I was last Monday!

Getting into the weight room 4 days a week is something I really enjoy.  I’m so thankful that I decided to enter this body transformation contest.  Had it not been for the contest, I doubt I would have gotten serious about my fitness.

Sure, I had been serious about my fitness in the past.  But I was working with a personal trainer & paying a pretty penny for it.  Once the training relationship ended & I had no financial skin in the game, my motivation went into the toilet.  I stopped doing the things that I had done to get into good shape.

Once this contest was announced, I knew it would be a chance for me to get serious about fitness again.  Getting serious about things is exactly what I’ve done!

But, this 90 day contest is rapidly coming to an end.  What is stopping me from backsliding again?  How will I avoid the same pitfalls that tripped me up in the past?  What is different about me now?

The answer to those questions can be summed up in one word: Experience.

Last spring/summer/early fall I experienced a dramatic body transformation:

Front View April 2012-Nov2012

 

I had never experienced anything like this in the past.  I was on top of the world.  Then I stopped doing the things I had done to achieve my transformation.

experienced a new feeling a few months later when I found myself looking more like my “before” picture than my “after” picture.  That sucked.  Big time.  But it turned out to be a positive experience.

The pain that I experienced served as a great lesson & showed me the error of my ways. It also re-ignited a fire in me that had been extinguished for a bit.

Now that I am nearly done with this 90 day contest, I am experiencing the same positive feelings that I did when I completed my first body transformation.  It feels wonderful!

My intention is to avoid repeating the same mistakes I made last fall.  I do not wish to repeat the experience of watching all my hard work turn to mush right before my eyes.

Plus, I have a goal that I would like to achieve & it won’t happen if I don’t stay on track.  This particular goal is more a “fun” goal but it is worth pursuing.

My goal?  To look at least this good or even better when I get old:

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I can do it but only if I stay on the path that I am currently following.

When I think about getting older & see the picture above, it reminds me of one of my favorite Jim Rohn quotes:

“Take care of your body.  It’s the only place you have to live.”

That’s sound advice I intend to follow from here on out.  Why not do the same?