Because of my age and persistence, older newbies in the gym will occasionally seek me out for advice. I am humbled by that because I am not a coach. I am definitely not a fitness expert. But what I am is a guy who has strived to overcome age, ill-health, bad diet, and a host of lifestyle maladies by “just showing up”.
I am not the strongest guy in the gym. I never will be. But I am stronger, much stronger than I was two years ago. My body is not a physical specimen, it never will be. But it is far superior to the body I walked into the Box with two years ago.
By now you are likely seeing a theme.
Do not compare yourself to your friends in the gym. That would be an exercise in futility. Compare yourself to you. What did you look like 18 months ago? What could you lift 12 months ago? How powerfully could you row 6 months ago?
The issue is simply this; are you progressing? Are you moving forward?
You must journal to understand whether you are stagnant, regressing or moving forward. That is the only way to gauge your progress. That is the way to know when to push, rest, or to change up your routine.
You may be just getting started after years of getting soft and packing on the weight. Well, you didn’t pack it on overnight. Don’t expect it to come off quickly either. A healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint.
When you’re starting out, track your weight. Measure your waist, butt, thighs, biceps, chest. Track your food. Track your sleep. Track your exercise, including times, weights, reps, etc. Monitor your stress, your blood pressure, your heart rate recovery. (But don’t obsess about any of these unless they are problematic.)
What’s measured improves – Peter F. Drucker
Take photos. Strip down to the bare essentials and snap a couple “selfies”. You will hate them, but you will cherish them a year from now. When you look at these old pictures, you will realize that you have lost fat, you have changed your body composition, your posture has greatly improved. Believe it or not, these “before and after” photos will even show renewed self-confidence.
So when you show up at the gym tomorrow, look ahead. But don’t just look ahead 60 minutes, to survive the WOD. Look ahead six to twelve months. Then you can look back at who you were, and you will like who you’ve become.