A year ago, about this time, I was anticipating a possible visit in the fall of 2017 for another of my what I often describe as "UK wrestling road trips". Having just finished the holiday season and having been rather lazy before that, I was as heavy as I'd ever been at 186 lbs. I told people that I was 3" too short for my weight. Nothing wrong with being 5'8", 186 lbs if you're muscular and toned. I wasn't! I never seem to choose easy opponents in the UK so I knew I was going to have to get to work on improving my fitness or else I would be totally in over my head and risk wasting my British opponents' time.
I have always made excuses about not having enough time or energy about hitting the gym. Even after I decided to work on getting fitter, the only real time I made for exercise this past year was to do pushups and planks in the comfort of the apartment. Granted, I was up to 225 pushups over the course of a day but I was still not making use of the excellent little gym in our apartment building. A friend and I decided to check in with each other online every Monday and compare how we were doing in trying to lose weight. I really did want to get down to 175 lbs. He had already lost 20+ lbs and was pretty much at his target weight already so it wasn't a very fair competition. He was probably being a nice guy and doing his best to keep me motivated. Well, of course, there's only so much weight you can lose by doing pushups, something my buddy kept reminding me of. "Steve, have you started doing cardio yet?" Of course I hadn't but I'd still moan about how my weight loss had plateaued.
While the weight hadn't poured off of my by the time of my trip to the UK, the clothes were fitting much better. Even though I'd only lost 5 lbs, it was clear that there were definite improvements that the scale couldn't measure. I liked what I saw in the mirror. I wasn't where I wanted my body to be but it was much improved over the start of the year and I certainly felt stronger than I had been in years, if not ever. BG East weren't going to knock on my door anytime soon but I would give these Brit boys hell.
As mentioned earlier, I don't tend to choose easy opponents when I travel to the UK and this trip was no different. My opponents were very fit, bigger and/or experienced. I think I was able to hold my own against most guys my weight. I'm not saying that I beat them but I was able to at least make most of them sweat. I did take on a few guys that were significantly heavier than me so I wasn't surprised when they totally overpowered me. However, there were a couple of guys that I wrestled that were approximately my weight that did totally overpower me. We're not talking about them being just a little stronger than me; I was completely outmuscled. No worries, some guys are just incredibly strong. One of the guys looked like he was chiseled out of stone so his overpowering me wasn't a big shock. Somewhere along the line, the pace of activity caught up with me though and I had a bruised/strained chest for a few days near the end of the trip.
I returned home after an incredible trip to the UK. I'd met some great new guys and reconnected with past friends. While I was happy with my performance, for the most part, I was determined that I needed to work hard to improve my upper body strength. One thing that I wasn't happy about was my appearance in the one match I videoed. What I saw in the mirror and what I was seeing on video seemed to be two different things. I really was carrying too much weight. I know they say that cameras can add weight; apparently there was more than camera focused on me. I am my own worst critic, as many of us are, so others may look at the same video and say that I looked fine. Still, it was clear that I still have a lot of work to do!
So, why is Hardmatch boring you with all of this? I retired the end of December. All of my excuses about not having the time to go to the gym are gone. We have a great little gym in our building and I have lots of free time to fill. I will be hitting the gym on a regular basis. My hope is to go every weekday. My posting a blog like this isn't so much to annoy and bore the rest of you as it is to force me to put my money where my mouth is and actually go to the gym.
I hope that, as time goes by, I will be able to report positive progress. Future blogs will be nowhere near as longwinded as this one is. Most will simply be to record weight and body fat % and, possibly, what I did during the week. I will weigh myself every Monday morning.
January 8, 2018: 5'8" (173 cm); 176.5 lbs (80kg); 31.9% body fat *
- I don't totally trust the body fat % readings on my scale. The readings can vary as much as 5% from one day to the next; I don’t think body fat % is quite that changeable.