So, here I am after 12 weeks, a little stronger, a little leaner, with stronger lungs, and less back and knee pain…. I keep trying to remind myself that its not about short-term gains but it is still a little disheartening to struggle as bad as I still am on each exercise. But that’s kind of the point, it’s not about being able to do the workout completely, it’s about pushing through failure. If I can complete a workout all the way through without stopping it wasn’t hard enough. But man, mentally it’s rough. That’s a lot of the issue I always had with climbing too. I’ve always tried hard in the gym but when I got outside I downgraded to stuff I could onsite or redpoint within a few tries. I never really pushed to the next level. I never projected a route through failure after failure after failure. I always beat myself up for failing when I couldn’t do it, especially if it was a grade I felt “I should be able to climb”, it’s time to change that.

A few years ago, I bought the old, rundown, local climbing gym and it exposed me to all kinds of new ideas and philosophies, the least of which was the training program I adapted into what I’ve been doing for the last 12 weeks. The main mindset shift that I got was: if you want to accomplish something hard you have to be willing to fail, a lot, and be ok with it, maybe even be happy about it, and you have to find happiness in your progress, no matter how minuet. There were two guys, that climbed really hard, that trained at my gym and whenever I got the chance I watched them and discussed with them their ideas and thought processes. I paid attention not just how they moved but their attitudes towards climbing. I watch one day as one of them got ¼” closer on a move they had been trying for weeks and they were so psyched, they still didn’t make the move but to feel that incremental progress was joyous. The other, I watched fall off a boulder problem on his first try and get excited because it tossed him, he was psyched to not be able to get it right away. He wasn’t excited because we finally set something hard enough for him, we always set that hard, he was always excited when he found something new to work on. These two mindset shifts are what I’m looking for, the ability to find joy in incremental progress and the ability to get excited when I can’t do something.

Looking back over the last 12 weeks I’m happy with my progress, when I first started I couldn’t do a plank at all, I mean not even for five seconds. I still can’t do a full min but I can do 30 seconds straight then struggle my way to the end. Pablo is a stubborn bastard and hasn’t gotten much smaller but pants that I thought shrunk are starting to fall off me. I can tell that I’ve lost a lot of body fat. The first several weeks I couldn’t finish the cardio even with breaks, I take breaks but I can make it all the way through now. I’ve made progress and that’s rad.

Things I need to work on:

I need to focus on being more committed and not skipping workouts because of laziness. Now that said I’m going to be doing a home remodel for most of the next cycle and 8 hours of ripping out lath and plaster, then hauling it downstairs is a better workout than a 30 min circuit. I just need to be more committed on days I don’t feel like exercising. I need to keep working on minor tweaks to the program, making it better all the time. I need to keep working on form, it’s not bad but there’s always room for improvement. I need to start meal planning and implementing it into my program. This isn’t dwelling, just recognizing, I can’t fix an issue if I don’t recognize it.

The Two-Week Break:

I scheduled a 2 week break in between cycles, you can’t train hard all the time, it’s bad for you and counterproductive. While I’m taking a break from training hard, I don’t want get out of the habit of my routine so I am going to keep up meditation and tai chi and focus on being more consistent with them. I am also going to start working on my posture, this is something I have been needing to do since high school and it’s time to start balancing myself out and standing up straight.

The Tai Chi routine I was doing in the first cycle was good for getting me started but it’s time to move to something a little more… tai chi. I found an app that has a more involved program that looks more like what I was expecting. It’s still a beginner level course, it really goes in depth describing how to do each posture and why they are done. I figure it’s going to take a few weeks before I can do the new routine even semi-effectively so I’m going to use this break to focus on learning what I can of it. I read somewhere that it takes a couple of years to get decent at a tai chi routine and about 10 years to truly master it, this is only the beginning.

I have always had bad posture but it has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I have both upper and lower crossed syndrome which means I am out of balance in my upper and lower torso. It’s time to start working on balancing it out so I can train more effectively but also to keep it from getting worse and really affecting me in my later years. I set up a relatively strenuous routine I plan on starting with the next cycle but I’m going to start a lighter version of it during the break, mostly just stretching and a couple of easier exercises.

I won’t be posting about training during the break, I need to take this time to set up the next cycle. I’m excited for this next cycle, I have set my first audacious goal and will be taking steps towards that goal. I will be doing specific training and increasing the intensity of my training program a little. Should be grueling but fun, see you in two weeks.

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