The Numbers Game

I was excited about going to the gym this morning. Okay, so I am always excited to go to the gym, but I could have easily felt apprehension, knowing that my measurements would be taken today. Since my measurements were last taken on May 30, 2014, I knew that the numbers would probably be different and not necessarily in the best way (from a certain point of view); however, I am pleasantly surprised by how laid back I felt about being measured once again. It would be so easy to stress out over gained inches in all the wrong places (and trust me when I say that I sometimes still do!), yet I understand that I am pursuing gains in strength and those gains aren’t so easy to attain. Quite honestly, I think I am in a comfortable place with my weight and body composition, even if there are moments when my vanity freaks out. My measurements today weren’t nearly as bad as I had thought they might be. I think I’m mostly relieved that the numbers weren’t where they were when I first started training! I am quite excited to see that my upper arm is bigger than it was, and the skinfold measurement on my triceps was less than before. My arms may not look like big guns, but I’ll take any progress that I can get there! The only regular measurement that was less than before was my calf. I lost a quarter inch from my calf compared to May 2014. All that to say that the measurements are fine. It’s interesting to see what they are, even if my current goals don’t involve losing a bunch of weight and changing my body composition. 🙂

1a. squats-low bar, with sleeves

45 lbs x 10, 95 x 6, 125 x 6, 155 x 5, 175 x 5, 185 x 5, 195 x 5

Squats felt great today! The bar is moving fairly quickly. My sticking point has been greatly minimized, and I am able to push through it with increasing speed. It’s amazing how something as simple as widening my stance just a little can have such a profound impact.

Towards the end of my squats I began to feel some discomfort in my right knee, which was more of an issue with standing and walking than it was with squatting. My pesky right knee sure does like to play games with me. When it comes to that knee, there seems to be two distinct areas which present pain and/or discomfort at random intervals: the back, outer area and the front inner area. The back area has been a frequent complainer over the past couple of months, but it seems to be more of an issue when I am in a deep squat. The front area of the knee has been more bothersome over-all but not so much lately. This area tends to complain only when standing or walking but is perfectly fine to squat. This is the area that began to ache in the middle of my session.

1b. bench press-competition grip

43 lbs x 10, 63 x 8, 88 x 6, 100 x 6, 100 x 6, 105 x 6, 105 x 6

My bench press felt solid today, too. Generally, I just had a really good training session. Well, at least 99% of today’s training was awesome!

1c. ab wheel (and this is the 1% part)

x 8, x 10 ,x 10, x 9, x 9

My abdominal muscles have been sore since last Wednesday, when Michael began including ab work into all of my training sessions. I know that these muscles will settle down and adjust to the frequent training, but I also know that the adjustment isn’t going to happen overnight. When the ab muscles are already sore, the act of doing more ab work becomes a form of torture. While I don’t have the greatest range on the ab wheel, I know that I cut my rolling out in order to make it through each rep.

2a. pause squats-low bar, with sleeves, 2 second pause

145 lbs x 5, 160 x 5, 160 x 5

These were awesome and a reminder of why I love pause squats! Last week, I found myself anticipating the command to come up, because the effort to hold the pause was strong. Today, I wasn’t twitching to rise out of the hole at all and felt like I could have hung out at the bottom for a while.

2b. TRX rows

x 12, x 10, x 10

2c. Spoto presses-competition grip, 2 second pause about 2 inches off the chest

85 lbs x 6, 85 x 6, 85 x 5

I’m glad that Michael had me use my competition grip for these this week. Last week he had me use a close grip, which is fine but more challenging on the triceps, especially after all the benching with a competition grip.

Back to the measurements…

I bought a new pair of jeans at Costco yesterday, which always presents a measure of stress due to the fact that you are buying clothing without first trying it on. I haven’t bought a new pair of jeans for quite a while, like probably at least a year, and the variability of clothing sizes drives me crazy. My only other jeans are a size 8 and a size 9, because they came from different stores. The number on the tag doesn’t bother me, doesn’t necessarily make me feel fat, but it does make me leery of buying new clothing without the ability to try it on first. What if I don’t fit that size 8? What if I have gained enough weight or inches that I actually need to go up a size? But I was needing a new pair of jeans and we were at Costco and I grabbed the first pair of size 8 that I saw, held it up against my body to judge leg length, because nothing is worse than pant legs that aren’t long enough. I didn’t even think much about it. Leg length acceptable? Yes. Size 8? Yes. Into the cart. If they don’t fit when I get home…I can cry, see if they’ll fit Abby, or eventually return them.

Once home, I went into my room, stripped off the jeans I was wearing and, with breath half held, slipped into the new jeans. They fit perfectly! It is in such a moment that I realize the weight of my subconscious insecurities and, even if only for that moment, I recognize how silly those negative thoughts and insecurities can be. Knowing that you are about 10 pounds heavier than you were two years ago can make you feel fat and chunky. Knowing that you are still comfortably wearing the same size and even the same clothing that you were two years ago makes you realize that self-perception isn’t the most accurate way to judge your body.

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