Today I entered Week 12 of the Body for Life Challenge.
This isn’t so significant in the sense that I’ve completed a few other fitness programs/challenges in the past few years with varying degrees of success.
First there was the Insanity Max:30 Challenge. That one focused on cardio and the goal was weight loss. I got super skinny but still looked fat.
Then there was the Body Beast Challenge. That one focused on heavy weight lifting and bulking up. I packed on muscled but still looked fat.
Then there was the La Leche del Sol Challenge where I had to use a mule to take daily shots of the illegal Mexican beauty secret of the stars. That one focused on getting ripped but only for certain cameras in precise lighting. I finished and looked like Austrian opera singer Maria Jeritza.
I was beginning to think I couldn’t win except that I did have a sense of accomplishment at finishing all of these programs. And for a guy in my condition – no will power, loves to shovel food into his mouth, works 23 hours a day, and missing all of the DNA receptors that promote muscle building, fat loss, and scalp hair – that’s saying something.
I have a friend who patiently tried to give me training advice. Believe me, it’s a compliment to say what I’m about to say. He’s super ripped. He’s also super dedicated and on a level I doubt I will ever see. He works out every day. He runs long distances three times a week. When he’s not doing that he does resistance training using only his bodyweight. We’re talking muscle-ups and hand stand push-ups. Even if I had the will power I don’t think I could be successful like that. I’ve come to the point of forcing myself to believe that maybe I’m just not meant to be “jacked”.
But something in me keeps persisting that I could get there given the right program before I’m dead. And believe me if my loved ones are standing over my rotting corpse in a casket and saying “Damn he looks good” I’ll be happy with that.
So tonight I reach the final week.
I texted my buddy to tell him how excited I am and to ask for some prayers this week that I don’t give up with the finish line in sight. I think he knows where I’m coming from. Even for a guy like him there’s got to be some sense of how hard this is to accomplish. I mean, even the best probably still remember a time when they were starting out when the goal seemed impossible. Granted, for him that time was probably in infancy. Dude, it’s called “baby fat”. Babies are supposed to have it. And again, I kid because I admire his dedication and the results he’s achieved and maintained.
I like to have something solid to back it up so I tell him a little statistic. “I got the tape out and did some measurements,” I say. “I started with 14″ biceps and tonight I’m measuring 16″.” I honestly don’t know if that’s supposed to be impressive. I also do not want to boast or come across as bragging.
He replied that this was bigger than his arm. Now I know I measured wrong. That couldn’t possibly be the case. So I got the tape out again. OK, this time I measured my arm at just shy of 16″. But not much.
Holy cow! Could it be that I might have finally found the right program? This one (Body for Life) has been amazing. It’s just the right mix of cardio and weight training. My only regret as I stare in the mirror and see my transformation is that I didn’t do more. Now I keep thinking “If I had just done 30 minutes of cardio instead of 20 on those days…” or “I could have lifted heavier and pushed myself more…” “I would like him to see my gains (and losses),” I think to myself, so I put on the tightest white tee shirt and head over to church where he’s doing a Holy Hour. This oughtta’ be fun.
We catch up afterwards in the parking lot. In a way that only one guy can say to another, he compliments me. “Dude, your calves were already bigger than mine. Now you gotta’ have bigger arms too?!” Believe me, my friend, you are definitely the motivation. Still not sure my arms are any bigger than his (and sort of still feel like they’re not much bigger than when I started) but there’s a whole lot more definition, that’s for sure, and not just my arms either.
I’m happy with this. Happy where I am. Do I want way more? Yeah. I’m never satisfied with my results and I’m always harsher on myself than anyone else ever would be.
Will I do another 12 weeks? Well, either that or 12 weeks of something else.
I’ll just keep collecting challenge tee shirts every three months until I finally reach my goal.
Then I’ll finally be able to say that I did it.
Until then, keep the prayers coming. I’ve still got a week to go.
And take it from me, La Leche del Sol is crap.