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Old 08-07-2010, 05:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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First Month Reflections

I've been at this personal training thing for about a month now, and I have had a number of personal insights. I'm guessing most of you veterans can say "No joke!?" in mock surprise to what I've learned, but I feel like it may be beneficial to some of the newer folks who are trying to get started like I am. Besides, it'll be good for me to intentionally reflect and figure out what has gone well and what needs improvement.

Quick explanation of my approach. Due to (lack of) funds, I've been training on my own. I was at 240 a month ago (standing at 6'0"). My goal was to hit 200 by Christmas. My method was to change my diet (lots of protein, minimal simple carbs, eating better portions every 2-3 hours to keep metabolism firing) while doing some simple, but frequent, exercises and running. In the last month, I've come down to 230. I haven't done any proper MMA training in this time; just focusing on fitness so I'll be in better shape when I can get into an MMA gym. That's the basic recap.

The first, and probably most important, thing I've come to realize is that I can't do this on my own. I've made some progress yes, and I ultimately have to be driven by my own will. I get these things. But I tell you the truth: It has been very hard for me to stay motivated without other people to be working with. The weight I lost this month was in the couple of weeks. In that time, a friend of mine and I would talk often of our attempts and strategies to get in better shape. It was a whole lot easier to keep motivated even with that small bit of shared experience. We both kinda fell off track, though, and I stopped pushing myself, sticking only to the minimum of my plans. It was then that my weight stopped moving.

So, I've determined that self-discipline is crucial to success, and I've realized that I need some kind of common-goal community in order to bolster my motivation. It's in light of this that I will be trying to get more involved in discussions here.

Next, I've come to realize the importance of consistent diet. A bonus or missed meal here or there ain't gonna be the end of the world, but my eating habits have been moving back toward what they used to be: large and infrequent. The effect is obvious to me. The metabolism shuts down, and I feel less energetic. Additionally, if I don't eat the right stuff, I feel that, too. I have to take the time to get the right food, and at the right intervals, if I wanna keep making progress. So it's time to get that right.

As an aside, my new project (distinct from my progress blog), The Fighter's Cookbook, has now made it to the internet. Unfortunately, it's lacking in content. I need to spend more time in the kitchen to get some quality recipes up there, and that's being moved toward the top of my priority list.

In my exercises, I've noticed some things as well. Well, this is terribly obvious even to me, cardio is crazy important. The lack of pushing for cardio is probably an even bigger factor than weakening of diet in the premature plateauing of my weight loss. Running sucks, but I absolutely need cardio if I wanna lose weight (and even more so if I wanna be able to endure a fight). Fortunately, to make this easier, I now have a treadmill accessible. Getting into fat burning mode will be more convenient now... and I have are less an excuse for not getting cardio in.

I've also found that my strength is lacking. Yeah, that's pretty obvious in general, but there are specific places where it's been particularly noticeable. For example, when I started up with pushups at the beginning of this effort to get fit in preparation for MMA training, I found that my wrists were a bigger problem than the rest of my body. My biceps and whatnot could keep going, but my wrists gave out quick, so I had to stop earlier than I would have liked. And this is where I share something I found very useful.

Focused training in smaller things to make bigger things easier. Specifically, because my wrists were giving me a hard time in pushups, I got out my adjustable dumbbell, went for a fairly light weight, and started doing tons of wrist curls and reverse wrist curls. It wasn't an overnight cure or anything, but my pushups have improved dramatically as a result of added and focused training on especially weak spots. I'm no expert, but if this is a specific application of a general rule (and reason suggests that it is), I can't recommend strongly enough that a similar approach be taken for any similar issues.

I will be doing so to strengthen my weak knees, which have not held up so terribly well with squats as of late.

Finally, I haven't slept as well lately, either. This could be a chicken or egg issue, and it probably is, but I feel like letting myself develop a bad sleeping habit makes it harder for me to be motivated to exercise (and eat on a good schedule). Not exercising then throws off my energy and schedule, permitting my sleep patterns to get even worse. Seems like a downward spiral. In light of this, I'm going to bed as soon as I finish writing. I gotta get back toward a more reasonable schedule.

I guess those are the biggest things I've learned from this last month. Dedication to staying on track is my responsibility and mine alone, but I can definitely make it easier on myself by working with others than all alone. Also, good diet matters. It matters a lot. Likewise, working out for real, not just meeting some quota I set for myself, is key if I want to make true progress rather than simply maintain my current state. Additionally, when working out it makes sense to focus in on problem spots to improve general performance in bigger tasks.

And with that, it's time for me to get to work on developing better sleeping patterns. Good night, MMA Forum. I hope that this post will be in some way beneficial to you.
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-Kenny
Track with my progress via my blog, From Fat Kid to Fighter.
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