I still find it weird to say that I have a personal trainer but I’ve decided that I’m over it as of right now. I’m over it because I want it to be normal among family and friends. It’s not just for famous people, rich people or stereotypical trophy wives.
If you’re in NoVA and can get to the Fairfax area, Justin Case is da bomb. Do people still say that? He’s great at what he does and he’s serious about getting you fit and reaching your goals. Maybe a little more than even you are at some points.
It’s amazing to think of the first time I stepped foot into Underground Athlete, wearing old faded linty sweatpants, worn out by the warmups. Stiff as hell, carrying at least 30 lbs. more fat on me, sore all the time. I don’t know how much it shows but I’m definitely in the process of some kind of transformation. I don’t expect to be all D’Angeloed but … who knows? How does it fee-eeeeel!
It’s for me and it’s for you. Unless you’re already physically active and sporty, I’ll go as far as to say it’s something you should do. Something that I highly recommend, especially if you — like myself — work at a desk job where you sit in a chair for eight hours a day. Sit in a car during your commute. Sit at night when you eat and in front of the television when you unwind. And then lay down to sleep.
The lifestyle that most of us live is definitely sedentary, despite ourselves. If you live this very ordinary lifestyle you’re atrophying. Fat is increasing, muscle is weak and disappearing, joints are creaking, back, legs, knees, feet, ankles are prone to aching, tiring and stupid little injuries. Your heart and lungs are doing the bare minimum to sustain life support.
On the other hand, if you are an athlete — recreational, weekend or otherwise — what better way to safeguard against injury and to improve your performance than with someone who knows what they’re doing designing a set of exercises specifically to fine tune your body. To address your weaknesses and improve your strengths.
You see? There’s no down side. The cost, I don’t consider that a downside. It’s one of the few worthwhile things I’ve done with my money. Besides, it’s not expensive at all compared to surgery or a lengthy hospital stay. Y’know? And there are different packages one can do, depending on your chosen facility or trainer.
If you don’t change your habits — whatever that means for you — today is the peak of the rest of your life. It’s all downhill from here.
Hitting the Gym
I say this sincerely. I wish that I lived closer to my family and friends and I wish that the gym, Underground Athlete, were close to us. ‘Cause I would have y’all in there and we’d be working it out and laughing at each other and having a good ol’ time. While getting our asses kicked in the name of fitness.
I’m fascinated by everyone there. I want to know their stories. Why are they there? Are they training for anything in particular? What’s driving them to stick to it?
I always want to ask Justin why he writes the programs for me that he writes. I’m curious. I like to know these things. But I don’t have to know. I just have to do it.
The intensity of my workouts is definitely increasing. I suppose that’s a good thing, but man. Those Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 1.5s (RFESS). Holding a dumbbell or two, one foot out behind you with the rear foot laces down on a bench, you then squat down, come up half way, go back down and then all the way up for one rep.
It hurts. A lot. So I figured out a strategy. I’d do them well — with good form — but I’d do them quickly. That helped. I got through them and then let the burn ignite and fizzle out (most of the way). Then Justin observed what I was doing and said not to take the shortcut. Don’t do them so quickly. I said, “But that was my strategy! You know these things are killing me, right?”
I couldn’t get all the way through the set of 10 doing them deliberately. I almost accidentally kicked the bench over trying to recover. Breathing heavy, heart rate elevated (according to the heart rate monitor), trying to make that burn go away. Justin starts counting down: 4, 3, 2, 1.
“Do the last four slowly. Come on. Do this last one slowly. Perfect form.”
Oh man. The burning was intense. With nothing to do for relief but wait for it to end. (My quads have been quick to fatigue lately for some reason and these things are just splashing fuel on the fire so I’ve been rolling out my legs on the foam roller with intent at home.)
“Embrace it. It’s a beautiful thing.”
I said, “Hmph.”
But just imagine after a cycle with RFESS and power barbell exercises (although I still have trouble with form on some of the barbell exercises) and such. Doing anything explosive with 200 lbs. in your hands? That counts for a lot. The various deadlifts strengthening my used-to-be-sore-a-lot lower back. Learning proper form. One mistake goes a long way towards teaching, let me tell you.
I’ll get some photos of the gym and maybe some of the workouts for you in the near future. Stay tuned.
A little while ago I was walking down the street in Clarendon on a clandestine mid-work day mission to buy bike gloves. I was observing the scenery and enjoying being out of the office. I saw a guy crossing the street dressed like he was about to train or run.
I had been feeling a little pleased with myself since I had lost a few pounds according to the scale that morning. Then I saw this guy wearing Under Armour and he looked fit. Handsome, thin but with a lot of muscle. He was built like a greyhound. Women eating on the restaurant patios were stealing glimpses of him. I thought, “I hate you.”
As if I had gone to the prom and someone was wearing the same dress. Ha. I started thinking about how much more work I had to do — how many more sessions, cycles, months — to get anywhere near close to my goals.
Then as he reached the sidewalk I noticed that his legs were scrawny, especially his lower legs. It was awkward. I assume that’s just the way he’s built, genetically. He probably works the hell out of his legs but … what can you do.
I felt a little better. All things considered, I’d rather be muscular and have to lose fat than to be thin trying to build, sculpt and maintain significant muscle mass.
There’s nothing for it. You just have to accept it in all its glory. Pleasure and pain. And then you have to go do something with your newly acquired powers.
Click here to see all of my LGN (I want to Look Good Naked) posts.