Tag Archives: insanity max:30

Last Chance?

Sometimes a thing catches your eye and fills you with such a sense of absurdity that you laugh out loud.  Then your wife, sitting next to you on the couch, looks at you and seems about to ask what you’re cackling over but then lets out of muffled sigh instead as if to say “You know what?  Nah…”

But my wife would never do that to me.

IMG_8947

Nestled safely between box sets of Unsolved Mysteries and Lost is your LAST CHANCE!

As we sit next to each other on the couch in our family room I just noticed a DVD case on its side under the TV with about 50 other DVD cases.  Remember them?  There was a world before streaming.  This DVD says (in blazing, italicized letters no less) LAST CHANCE WORKOUT.

I’ve been doing so well with my fitness plan these past few months.  First I did Insanity Max:30 where I stripped a whole lotta’ fat off my frame and found out I have no muscle.  Now I’m doing BodyBeast where my aim is to bulk up and make some serious gains in mass.  Yes, I know I did it backwards.  I did it that way as a joke on my trainer.  Duh.  No, if I had been thinking clearly I would have done it the other way around.  Apparently you bulk first and then shred.  My trainer does both at the same time and he has telekenesis.  Guy’s amazing.  Sometimes he bulks in the morning and then shreds after lunch.
Just. Because. He. Can.
I got a lot out of the shredding part.  I got pretty lean – down to a set of abs that were almost perceptible to the naked eye.  In fact, it’s only because I know Im capable of doing that again pretty quickly that I don’t mind having almost completely lost them due to this bulk.  This is the part where anyone who’s actually seen me in the past month says “No way, man, you’re looking amazing!  Are you shred-bulking or bulk-shredding?  Whatever it is, sign me up!”  I’m eating a LOT of food these days.  I’m also lifting heavier and heavier weights.  My trainer ties  70 lb. dumbbells to his ankles when he does his 12 mi. run.  That reminds me that I’ve been meaning to ask him if I should do a little running while I’m trying to bulk.  He’d probably advise against it at least until I’ve been doing this long enough to know what’s what like, say, 18 years.

sagi

This is the guy from BodyBeast.  He’s an Israeli named Sagi (pronounced Sah-GEE).  And that quote tells you he’s peddling some hard core bullshit even if he is unbelievably ripped.  My trainer friend looks kinda’ like him but not as douchey.

My point is that I’ve become very comfortable at this routine.  That’s comfortable, not complacent.  I enjoy what I’m doing and I enjoy seeing the results (not as quickly as I’d like but I’m the guy who stands in front of a microwave and yells HURRY UP!”).  And I’ll also admit that over the years I’ve been frustrated with fitness.  There have been times when I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and would never figure it out.  Not all of us were blessed to have gym access growing up on the streets of Compton.  I don’t know who I’m talking about since I’m from Newark but you get the picture.  Would I rather have figured this all out 20 years ago and been a stud with a full head of hair?  Would I rather have had girls beating down my door?  Would I rather have had a shot at achieving this goal earlier and getting it out of my way so I could legitimately cash in on my success and become a whale in my 30’s knowing I had already been jacked?  What was my alternative?  Oh yes, being me.  OK, so it’s not that bad.  But I’m comfortable with where I am with my fitness goals and progress here and now.  The downer in me says I’ll probably never reach my true goals but I need to murder him.  Bad downer.  Bad.

So why write all this?

How much do you have to hate yourself to do a workout called Last Chance?  I’m trying to picture anyone looking for a program.  “Let’s see… There’s Insanity.  Nah, too much cardio.  There’s P90X.  Nope, too many jumps.  There’s Tae-Bo. Too urban.  I guess I have no other options.  Oh look!  There’s a crazed woman on this box and she says it’s my last chance!  I don’t know what it is but something in her eyes is forcing my to believe it.  I’ll buy this DVD now because, having exhausted no other options, I realize I have no options left.  Thank God I found this DVD before it was too late!  What would have become of me?”

Yeah, that just happened.

My wife and I also watched a movie last night about aliens.  It stars Amy Adams.  I think it’s called Arrival.  Not bad.  The two aliens were called Abbot and Costello, no joke.  Unfortunately they weren’t remotely funny.

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A (Long) Short Story for the Trainer

If you’ve read even a tenth of the thousands of posts I’ve made over the past few years then you know of my obsession with getting swole as the kids say.  Tonight I’d like to write a short piece in tribute to a friend who usually reads this blog (though he never comments).  I’ve mentioned him before, needled him with my words, had fun at his expense.  Most of the time I think he’s gotten a kick out of it.  Sometimes I think I pissed him off.  Always, though, I’ve been grateful for his help.

My friend’s name is Joseph.  We work together, teaching different levels of the same subject to high school students.  When I first met him almost four years ago the thing I noticed was that the guy is pretty much in shape – the kind of shape all men want to be in.  Many achieve that shape in their teens and lose it.  Some gain that shape later in life as a result of a mid-life crisis.  I always wondered about how to get that shape but never seemed to have the right tools, knowledge, or plan.  Stifling my raging jealousy I asked if he would train me (having found out he actually had done that sort of thing).

And then I spent two and a half years not taking his advice all the while wondering why I still looked like a creature from a 1950’s horror movie and he, well, he looked great.

Ultimately I discovered a program called Insanity.  I mentioned to him that I wanted to give it a shot.  To my surprise he praised the program highly and said to go for it.  He did warn me that it would be one of the hardest things I’d ever done.

I shrank back a bit nervous but undeterred.  I tried to keep all of his maxims in mind.  The biggest phrase he repeats again and again is that it takes time.  You know what I did?  I adopted the attitude that I would probably finish the 60 day program and still look like shit but that I would promise myself to be satisfied just for finishing something that hard.

What’s funny is that this guy actually offered unsolicited compliments along the way, commenting on how noticeable the change in my appearance was.  This was funny to me as I couldn’t really see it.  Oh, I convinced myself I could see dream results but I wanted to believe that this was in my mind lest I find myself getting let down again.  I also knew not to ever compare myself to him.  He’s worked out a long time and it shows.  To mirror his results I’d have to do this until I’m 60.

mustang parc gym

I ran out of media room on WordPress so I’m using whatever files I have.  It’s a gym.

Anyway, I finished Insanity, took a tiny break of about two weeks for my dad’s funeral, and started my current program – BodyBeast.  This one is designed to bulk me up.  I still have mixed feelings about my progress.  And I have mixed feelings, too, about whether I will ever achieve the look I’m after.  What’s interesting though is that the trainer enthusiastically invited me to work out with him this week.  He wants to see the workouts, offer his advice, and, I suppose, his encouragement.  I’ll admit I’m a little nervous.  It must be kind of cool for him getting to watch someone who is where he was 20 years ago.  It’s not so hot for me knowing I’ve got 20 years to go but from him I’ve learned not to focus on that.  My true fear is that my performance – either the ultimate results or just in the gym here and now – will be disappointing to him.  I did a back and biceps workout tonight, lifting weights for about an hour, following the program.  I feel pretty good.  I don’t know how I’ll feel in a few days standing in this guy’s house watching him run circles around me with heavier weights, more reps, and a blood-thirsty look in his eyes.  Have I mentioned that he turns psychotic when he works out?  But if I keep his own words in mind I should be fine.  It’s all about fixing my form, doing what I can, doing something at all, and waiting 20 years.  He said to me once: “Don’t look at a scale, don’t take measurements…  Do your pants fit better than they did a month ago?  Then you’re doing fine.”  Well, my pants certainly do fit better these days.  And for that, I am grateful.  And I offer my thanks for the help and a prayer that he doesn’t demolish what’s left of my morale.

I’m going to be the badass-est 60 year-old on the beach.

The Beast Stirs

I was going to call this “The Beast Awakens” but I feel like that’s been taken already.  Also, once you read all the way through you might scratch your head and say “what beast is he talking about?  What’s he stirring?  Why am I still reading this dude’s blog?”

It’s time once again to return to a topic close to my cardiac muscle.  I’m talking about what I’m currently doing in the gym.  OK, I don’t actually go to a gym.  I work out at home.  I used to belong to a gym that was open 24 hours a day and provided fitness.  I don’t like to mention actual names lest I get sued.  I used to think how cool it would be being able to work out at 3AM when the rest of the world sleeps.  I can’t even imagine the joy in my heart as I’d get out of bed all bleary-eyed, put on my gym shorts backwards and upside down in the dark, and drive off to the gym in a semi-conscious state resembling intoxication only to drop heavy weights on my foot.

Who thought up this concept?

Also, I don’t like gyms.  Lots of fit people there.  I’m nothing if not easily shamed.

A few months ago I took on a personal challenge in the form of a workout called Insanity Max:30.  Well, over the course of two months (and then an additional month where I simply continued the program because I didn’t have anything else to do) I shed some serious bodyfat.  I didn’t really add any muscle which was one of my hopes but I was pleased with the results.  I’ve learned to try focusing on whether I feel good about my progress.  If I focused on externals, I would be miserable.  I’m the one who never sees progress in myself and always believes that the super-fit people of the world are only condescending to me when they offer their compliments.  Kind of like: “Good boy!  You’re not nearly as fat as you used to be!  So proud.”  Yes, I’m sensitive to that kind of thing.  I’m also not likely to believe I can actually achieve the real goals I have in mind so I want to underestimate my results.

mustang parc gym

I’m using dumbbells.  These things just look strange.

All that aside, I have moved on to the newest program from the same people.  This one is called BodyBeast.  The stated goal is to help you get huge.  I’m torn on this.  I’ve always wanted to be bigger and yet smaller at the same time.  Maybe I’m schizophrenic.  What I mean is I’d love more solid muscle and less non-solid composition.  This workout is performed using weights (dumbbells) and is done at home.  I borrowed dumbbells from a friend who wasn’t using his anymore.  By the way, it seems to be true that most men at some point in their 20’s will invest in a set of weights.  It’s almost part of the man code.  Whether you ever use them or not, you must buy them and make sure they’re prominently displayed in your garage.  “Look at me!  I do muscle stuff.”  I myself once had an entire set complete with bench and all.  I even used them at one point.  The thing is, I never knew if I was lifting effectively or even the right way.  Could explain why I failed to reach the goals I had in the past.

Oh… this program also calls for a bench.  They’re kind of pricey so I opted for something called an anti-burst stability ball.  Buying this made me laugh.

I have not seen results yet but it’s only been a week.  Also, you might remember that I said I don’t ever see results and I tend not to believe those who tell me that they see results.  But I will tell you two things about this program I’ve noticed already.

old man gym

I wish I looked as good as this dude from Cocoon.  I’d love to know what program he’s using.  I’m not even close.

First, the diet is intense.  Far from feeling hungry and eating things I dislike in abundance I have to take in about 3400 calories a day.  The problem is that they come from “clean” sources.  I could easily do that many calories by sucking down fast food and I’d probably enjoy myself too.  This program, however, insists I get 3400 calories from an enormous amount of food that seems to lack calories to begin with.  I’m struggling to get the calories but eating way more than I ever used to.  This may be a problem.  Also, I have an innate fear that eating this much will undo whatever results I saw from the previous routine.

Second, the workouts are insane.  Six nights a week I stream videos from my laptop featuring an Israeli trainer named Sagi (sah-GEE) who, though pleasant and inspiring, also uses a healthy dose of insult to motivate.  “You want to get big?” he says while pointing at the screen with an arm that can barely be raised above his waist for sheer size, “then do this movement right or I will come into your home and crush you.”  Perhaps I exaggerate a bit but you get the point.  Again, I have the constant notion that I’m not lifting properly or lifting heavy enough weights and then my insecurity takes over and I wonder if the next 12 weeks will produce any results at all.  At best I might look like a somewhat less-soft version of myself.  At worst, I’ll get huge in completely the wrong way.  But, I’ve made a commitment.  No matter what else, I take my commitments seriously.  Even if I know it’s not getting me anywhere, I stick with it because that’s who I am.

So, in twelve weeks I’ll come back at you and let you know how this has gone.  You can be assured that I will have completed it.  I may have also gone out of my mind and chucked a dumbbell at Sagi but I will finish what I start.

Meanwhile if any of you lovely readers have suggestions or similar stories about your own fitness routines I’d love to hear them.  Share away.