Now that we’re all back, the question becomes what to do. Saying you are going to work out is a far cry from knowing what you are going to do when you work out.
My return to fitness two years ago made me realize I was at something of a crossroads. When I was a young man, I wanted to be the biggest. badass possible. Reading ’80s bodybuilding magazines gave me a completely unrealistic idea of what was possible.There were times I spent hours in the gym trying to follow some workout routine that required dozens of sets. I was dumb enough to not realize how many of the top ranked bodybuilders were taking steroids and the published routines were the fitness equivalent of letters to Penthouse Forum. It’s no wonder I had so many injuries.
The question I asked myself this go ’round was, who are you? I’m now in my 50s, have a number of commitments, and am seriously pressed for time. So, what do you want? (Thank me later, Nephilium.) I wanted to get past my dad bod. OK, that’s a start but not terribly specific. I had a gut. I wanted to be trim. I wanted a six pack. That was a stretch because I never had one before. I wanted some muscle but wanted to look like a real person, not a cartoon. I also wanted my wind back. I enjoyed running and the endurance I had when I ran. But I knew I wasn’t going back to any sort of distance running.
The wife roped me into joining a gym. I floundered around for about a month. My form on some important lifts had gone to hell. I had a vague memory of some of the training I used to do but remembered those injuries. It was bad enough in 20s and 30s. In my 50s I imagined it being worse and possibly permanent.
I needed a plan. My wife was pushing for a personal trainer. No fucking way was I going that route. I saw what trainers had their clients doing. Some had no idea what they’re doing. Some seemed to know their stuff, but I wasn’t really sure. Listening to the chatter the trainers make with their clients drives me nuts. If I’m lifting, then STFU. I’m concentrating on what I’m doing. I don’t want to hear your blather.
I was running out of options. Until I remembered the internet knows everything. I stumbled through a bunch of stuff on Google then YouTube. YouTube was genuinely fascinating. There was some awful garbage and some invaluable advice. Video is a particularly helpful medium for demonstrating what to do. I’m going to go into some of the gems I found in future posts.
Among the really good advice I found was a guy named Jeff Cavaliere who has a channel called Athleanx. He’s a physical therapist and strength coach for pro athletes. His advice was eye opening. He has a ton of content of YouTube that’s all free. The call to action at the end of each video is to go to www.athleanx.com to check out their programs. Fine. Whatever pays the bills. The videos are complete videos that conveyed useful advice. More that that, this guy repeatedly emphasizes proper form, demonstrates it, and explains what makes it proper form. His tag line is, “If you want to look like an athlete then you have to train like an athlete.” He was speaking my language.
As a side note, Glibbroads (h/t Gender Traitor), this channel is still worth checking out even if you never want to see the inside of a gym. You won’t be disappointed with what you see. Same advice for gay Glibs who aren’t bear aficionados.
I don’t know how many videos I watched but it was a lot. This was the real deal and a good fit for me. I bought what I believe is his first program, AX1. I rediscovered just how out of shape I was. But I also had a plan. The plan was achievable, realistic, and could be done in an hour or less 5 days a week. I was hooked.
And so it begins. Who are you and what do you want? What will get you where you want to go?