Help! Need encouragement! :(

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 23, 2008 11:20 PM GMT
    Okay, guys. This week I started week nine of the RJ Muscle Building routine. I was stupid and didn't take pictures when I first started (Because, honestly, I hate how I look in a mirror. icon_sad.gif), so I personally don't have any way of tracking my own progress visually, and it's beginning to wear on me. The boyfriend says he sees real differences, and others keep saying "Wow... you're getting really buff!" But I look at myself in the mirror, or in a picture, and I just don't see it. icon_sad.gif I see 2 hours a night, 4-5 nights a week of sweating and barely - and not always - finishing my routines...and for what? Nothing I can see. I can feel the difference; I can feel the weights going up as I go through it. But it's been so discouraging not being able to really tell that I'm making any progress. I'm still loose around the gut, which is mostly diet related. I've run into this problem where the boyfriend, and friends, and family even don't really care what they eat, and they're constantly going out to eat, wanting desserts, going out for drinks, etc. I'll spare people the sob story, but some events from childhood make me pretty powerless against a Group Directive. If my friends all say "Let's go for drinks!," I feel utterly miserable if I say "I'm not going to go." Like... insurmountably so! So resisting is futile for me, and I can see it every day around my waist. icon_sad.gif

    Anyway... I don't really even know what to say, or what I expect by posting this. Lol I just need a bit of encouragement. I was really hoping to tighten up by my b-day (Aug 24), and it's still a possibility... but lately, it's been SO HARD getting to the gym. It's like instead of that euphoric feeling after working out for 1.5-2 hours you'd typically get, I start getting hit with every negative emotion I can think of. I see these dudes in the gym around me while I'm working out who are there half as long as I am but with massive chests and arms, perfect abs, asses, etc. I try to tell myself that those guys have probably always been athletic, but that only makes me start kicking myself for not being more active growing up. And from there it's just a downward spiral until I just leave feeling defeated and frustrated.

    Hopefully week these last three weeks will really turn the tide. It's apparently a lot of explosive stuff, so maybe that's going to be the real difference. I also upped my protein intake recently, as it occurred to me I probably wasn't getting enough as it was.

    Does anyone else have these feelings when they're going through this, or am I just crazy and socially mal-adjusted? lol How do you guys handle the problem of EVERYONE around them constantly stuffing desserts and pastas and alcohol in your face? icon_sad.gif Help! Hopelessness alert!! icon_cry.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 24, 2008 7:08 AM GMT
    Well start taking pictures and measurements then! I'm sure you're getting gains.

    As an ectomorph, I can't advise on the people stuffing down desserts thing. Heh. Coz that usually just leaves me envious because I lose appetite very easily.
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    May 24, 2008 8:22 AM GMT
    I know exactly what you mean. It is so hard to not conform when people are doing something, especially something social like going out for drinks.

    There are a couple of things that I can think of, one of which is obvious. When it is something like going out for drinks, conform!

    Have something very light, just one drink that is not high in calories or sugar. That way you don't feel left out, but you also don't add a 6 or 12 pack of beer to your waistline.

    For desserts, same deal; have a very, very small portion. This is hard for some people, especially watching people eat so much of them. One good way is to occupy your mouth with something (no dirty thoughts, lol). For example, have a sucker or something. It is sweet, but has almost not fat and will last for awhile.

    Pasta is hard, because it is so damn good. If you know you are going out for pasta, eat beforehand; your fullness will hopefully make you able to resist the more fattening and carb-loaded dishes.

    Also, as Sedative said, take pictures; once you can truly see the difference, that motivation can take you a long, long way icon_smile.gif

    Good luck and hang tough!
  • dac104

    Posts: 14

    May 24, 2008 8:53 AM GMT
    Well good luck! And I know you can totally do it! Only you know how much you can tolerate. lol. Yeah, it is hard when your friends go out and buy a round. But if you tell them what you are trying to do and accomplish maybe they may join in on the fight.

    If you like taking a drink once and a while, vodka diets i've heard are best. Only 1 though. lol.

    But the next day! Hit the gym! Or the track! Or the pool! lol.

    Your body feels best rested and non-intoxicated!

    Ciao!

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    May 24, 2008 10:41 AM GMT
    Dude.... if your friends are already giving you props for looking so good take them at their word
    That's what this is all about isn't it? Changing your outward appearance and making it better?

    and as far as having photographic evidence of it there's no time like now to begin that process
    your always going to be improving so time to jump on the refrigerator photograph train rignt now
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    May 24, 2008 2:20 PM GMT
    I can completely identify with what you are saying.

    I KNOW for a FACT that I've made much progress since I began taking my fitness seriously. I've made marked gains. I think what makes it especially difficult to spot these gains has to do with the fact that I see myself everyday (just as you see yourself everyday, too). To try to NOT catch a glimpse of myself in some sort of reflective surface has proven nigh impossible and it isn't realistic (how else am I gonna make myself pretty? icon_wink.gif ).

    Have faith that you're improving everyday. You really are. If you're doing as much as you say you are (which may be too much -- remember, you need days of rest to allow for muscle recovery), then you'll get to where you want to be eventually. I'm not close to where I want to be yet. I know what I have to do: train harder.

    I hit a wall recently. I had negative emotions growing around going to the gym because I hadn't seen any noticeable improvement for a couple of months. Rather than approach my strength training with emotion, I've now taken on a more technical point of view. "I need to lift X weight for Y reps to get Z results." It's straight-forward. If I don't do X weight for Y reps, I won't see Z results. Simple as that. You kind of have to remove yourself from the emotion, since emotions rise and fall, ebb and flow. It's trying, but it's possible. Stick to your guns, the results will come.

    A little background history: I was quite the chunkster in my earlier days. I used to weigh almost 200 lbs. (I stand at 5'5", mind you), but I lost much of it a few (4) years ago. I think the mental image of myself has been slow to catch up with how I actually look today, because it was a relatively quick physical transformation and I had played the role of being "the chubby guy" for such a long time. I'm still adjusting to my new role. My friends are still playing the same roles they always have: they eat the same foods that I now have made a conscious choice to avoid or severely limit. Of course, I would love to eat like they do, and I would love to be able to club it up and not have to worry about how many calories that margarita or long island has in it. I know if I eat or drink with abandon, I will end up right back where I started. I've worked too hard to get where I am today. You have worked too hard to get to where you are today.

    You look great. Keep going, knowing that with each passing day, not only are you looking better, but your body is getting healthier and stronger.


  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    May 24, 2008 2:48 PM GMT
    If the people around are noticing a difference, you are succeeding. Take the advise of the people above you and ask your bf to snap some pics and help you measure.
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    May 24, 2008 2:49 PM GMT
    "I'm still loose around the gut, which is mostly diet related."

    When you do go out to eat, ask the staff to leave cheese and mayo off of anything you get. Don't get fries, aim for a baked potato or salad instead. It's possible to eat out and still eat healthy. Oh, and aim for fish or chicken. You mentioned pasta... see if the restaurant has whole grain pastas.


    "If my friends all say 'Let's go for drinks!,' I feel utterly miserable if I say 'I'm not going to go.'"

    Go for drinks, but keep it minimal. A glass of cranberry juice can easily be passed off as a vodka+cran. If you do drink, keep it to the clear liquors.

    "I see these dudes in the gym around me while I'm working out who are there half as long as I am but with massive chests and arms, perfect abs, asses, etc. I try to tell myself that those guys have probably always been athletic, but that only makes me start kicking myself for not being more active growing up. And from there it's just a downward spiral until I just leave feeling defeated and frustrated."

    So you didn't grow up athletic. I didn't either, so I can relate. Video games, computers, and fast food were more fun then running around feeling tired. Just remember that at one point those big guys were just where you are. I heard some of these really buff guys talking about how long they've been lifting... one was at it six years, and said he'd only hit his original goals somewhere in the 4th year. It takes time and an insane amount of hard work.

    I think you're looking great icon_smile.gif.

    Keep it up. Change what you can, but don't stress about it too much.
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    May 24, 2008 3:27 PM GMT
    Gwgtrunks said

    So you didn't grow up athletic. I didn't either, so I can relate. Video games, computers, and fast food were more fun then running around feeling tired. Just remember that at one point those big guys were just where you are. I heard some of these really buff guys talking about how long they've been lifting... one was at it six years, and said he'd only hit his original goals somewhere in the 4th year. It takes time and an insane amount of hard work.

    I think you're looking great icon_smile.gif.

    Keep it up. Change what you can, but don't stress about it too much.


    ^ditto^

    I wasn't athletic either. I was busy with art, beer, and punk rock shows growing up. I didn't start getting serious about fitness until a couple of years ago, and I'm still not at my goal. I'm not giving up though...it's all about patience.

    You can do it! You look great! Keep up the awesome work!

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    May 24, 2008 4:18 PM GMT
    You may not be seeing results because you see yourself constantly. The rate of change is so slow that you can't notice the difference. That's what the pictures would have been for.

    Also, your preception for what constitutes fit changes as you develop. I remember when I first started working out. I didnt see myself as getting bigger; I saw other guys as being skinny. As my arms developed, I wasnt overly impressed with them. But I did start noticing how skinny other guys arms looked and wondered how did they ever lift anything.

    There is also the psychological aspect that if one does something oneself, then it really can't be that big a deal. So you psychologically discount your own achievement just because you did it, so how could it be special or noteworthy.
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    May 24, 2008 5:02 PM GMT
    I feel it takes more than 9 weeks to see real big time results. Also, going out with friends to eat doesn't mean you always have to order something unhealthy. You can get the grilled chicken, or the salad, just because everyone else is eating unhealthy doesn't mean you have to also. And you don't have to finish every meal, take half of it home and eat it later. When you go out for drinks get something simple like a glass of wine which has no sugar, plus some people say its good for you (antioxidants, prevents heart disease, etc).

    Don't give up! Rome wasn't built in a day (or nine weeks).
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    May 25, 2008 5:53 AM GMT
    owl975 saidI feel it takes more than 9 weeks to see real big time results. Also, going out with friends to eat doesn't mean you always have to order something unhealthy. You can get the grilled chicken, or the salad, just because everyone else is eating unhealthy doesn't mean you have to also.



    Go to Fresh Choice when you can! I just went there this afternoon, and I love it! All you can eat buffet. You can let your friends eat horribly, while you can make some of the healthiest meals currently available when dining out. I like buffet-style restaurants when doing something casual with friends. It's a win-win. icon_cool.gif
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    May 25, 2008 4:17 PM GMT
    Hehe...thanks for the advice and encouragement, guys. It's good to know that I'm not alone! icon_smile.gif

    I suppose I am rushing it a bit, thinking I can look like some of you guys do in a mere 9 weeks. I liked someone's suggestion of removing the emotion from it; I'll definitely try that approach!

    You guys rock. I've discovered a profound new respect for people who look that big; never in my wildest dreams growing up, looking at models and stuff, did I think it would be this trying. Lol

    Thanks again, doods! RJ rocks! icon_biggrin.gif

    hugs
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    May 25, 2008 6:01 PM GMT
    Here's some things I do that help me:

    1) Don't compare yourself to anyone else and don't compete with others. Only compete with yourself. If you do wind up comparing yourself to really fit guys, also look at those who aren't fit. Remind yourself that what you're doing is making a difference. Just the other day I was getting down on myself for gaining five pounds and looked up to see a morbidly obese man changing in the locker room. It snapped me back into reality.

    2) If you get down on yourself, do something active (work out, go for a walk, go running, etc.) and remind yourself that you've made an effort that day.

    3) If you know you're going out to eat, see if you can look up the restaurant's menu online. Check out the nutritional content. Some places, especially chains, list the nutritional content on the menu. Determine what you will eat before you go there. Also, get to know food and nutritional content so you can make the right choices at a restaurant. Also, don't be fooled by claims restaurants make. Some "low-fat" versions of things only have one or two grams less of fat.

    4) If you go out drinking, order club soda and lime. It looks like a vodka tonic or gin and tonic. Ask the bartender to put it in a cocktail glass and no one will bother you. Don't tell your friends what you are drinking because they will then try to get you to drink. People will actually think you're drunk if you laugh and have a good time. I've had people tell me I was drunk when I only had club soda all night! People get really weird around someone who isn't drinking and they'll do everything they can to make you drink - even buying you alcohol when you tell them you don't want it. Make sure you always order your drink and don't get into buying rounds because someone will try to get you to drink.

    4) Put things in perspective. For example, there's an article in the NY Times about a soldier who can't speak and can barely move after being injured by a roadside bomb: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/magazine/25injuries-t.html?hp

    You've got a family, a partner, and friends. You have the ability to go to the gym and work out. You have all of your senses and use of your limbs - think of these as blessings and keep reminding yourself each day of how lucky you are.
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    May 25, 2008 6:27 PM GMT
    I can sympathize with you and your mirror issues. I've been trying to chart my progress by taking pictures of myself standing shirtless in front of the mirror. Everytime I take one I am so disgusted I delete it.

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    May 25, 2008 6:35 PM GMT
    Man be thankful you only have to worry about getting buffed up. I am, at the moment recovering from some shit in Iraq. I lost 35 lbs and am having a hell of a job putting it back on. Muscle mass goes first then the fat, and since I left my leg in Baghdad, instead of my heart in San Francisco, my whole body is thrown off kilter, trying to bulk up is a killer dude.
    I suggested to my Dr beer, potato chips, and cheescake as a way to gain weight. Yeah he wasnt amused!!
    Good luck with the quest, and if your friends say you look good thank them and drive on!!
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    May 25, 2008 11:34 PM GMT
    can see why you are pissed at the investment v return of 2 hours as it does seem stupid when you can get the same results in a quarter of that time and would probably benefit far greater

    But to answer your hear and now question 2 things:

    1) If you are logging your training and lifts you can see natural progression week on week.

    2) Your body ok you cant do anything about back tracking this but measure all your key muscle areas. This will clearly show you where you have made gains and losses. Dont be tempted to measure up each week tho as that in itself becomes defeatest.

    Question for you:

    You say results are coming slow in your mind. Whats your calorie intake at the moment? And what increment are you increasing that by to allow growth to occur?
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    May 25, 2008 11:52 PM GMT
    As I'm sure you've already gathered, you're not alone. My fitness path is fraught with negative, panicked voices on almost a daily basis. They always tell me to give up. My old clothes don't fit me anymore, my friends are all making comments about my body - and I still feel skinny and unattractive much of the time.

    You just have to learn to separate these voices from reality. It's impossible to make a feeling magically stop - but it's a huge help if you can separate what is your own distorted voice from reality. Just because you feel a certain way doesn't make it so. That way, when the feelings come up, you can easily put them aside as a device of your own making.

    Also, a big part of moving forward for me is accepting all of this as part of my process. I have started accepting that undertaking any new challenge immediately causes a panic response and a tendency towards "I can't do this" negativity. It's fine. I let it happen, knowing I will rebound when I am ready. It take helps take the sting out of it. So, if you're negative right now it's fine. Ride it out until you're ready to go back to the gym. Or maybe do lighter work-outs that are less demanding. Maybe take a week and do 45-minute workouts to make your life easier and to jump-start your old positivity.

    Good luck!
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    May 26, 2008 12:20 AM GMT
    Oh, one other thing I forgot to say. Honestly, that whole "I can't do X, Y and Z because of my childhood" is bullshit. It's great that you've examined your childhood issues to find out why you feel the way you do - but you're an adult now and you're capable of making new choices. I go out and don't drink all the time. You can too. You can also say "no." It doesn't mean it's going to be easy. I started a diet for the first time in my life this past week (entering a cutting phase). I felt hopeless, joyless and miserable - life really felt pointless to me without free reign to eat whenever/whatever I saw fit. But I stuck with it! And it has already been hugely rewarding to rise and face that challenge. Words like "I am powerless," "I am insurmountably miserable," and "it's futile to try" are total excuses. You can't have it all - so if this fitness is really important to you, and it requires sacrifices, then be ready to make those sacrifices. Otherwise don't whine about it. You're not a child anymore - so start making adult choices.
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    May 26, 2008 5:21 AM GMT
    Keep hanging in there, mtown! You can make it! Sometimes we have to work around things that make our fitness goals seem out of reach. Rotten work schedules, setbacks, injuries, and people in our lives who don't seem to understand why we don't want to eat "regular" food - these things can make it rough. I know, people are always asking me things like "Why do you eat that strange stuff? Don't you want a piece of this cake I baked?"

    For me, it comes down to "practice." It's like learning to play a musical instrument - you keep practicing until you master a certain song. Then you move on to the next level of difficulty. It's a slow road and it takes time. I'm not saying you should drag your feet, but try to approach these things one step at a time instead of all at once. It's attained little by little. When you reach a fitness plateau of some kind, try to analyze and see what you need to do differently in order to advance to the next level.