Progress Report: the First Month

It hardly seems like it’s been a month, which is a good and a bad thing. I’m glad that I’ve kept up this crazy schedule for a full 4 weeks and show no signs of stopping. But it’s weird that the time has gone by so fast.

It’s kind of easy to feel a little discouraged; I actually put on muscle incredi-fast for a skinny dude. Partly, I thought I’d see even more results after a whole month of 3 days a week training (with cardio and yoga on the off days). But it’s different than other times I’ve worked out. I’m learning proper form and doing things right. That takes time. I’m also gradually building up strength in areas in which I’ve been famously deficient. That doesn’t really add up to HELLA GAINZ.

But this month has been amazing. Truly, this is shaping up to be one of the best experiences of my life. Let’s see how I’m doing!

Before & after

Right here there’s supposed to be a kind of side-by-side comparison of how I looked before I started training and how I look now. As you can imagine, finding photos of me without a shirt before I started working out is a tough proposition. I know, I know, I should’ve taken a photo for science.

How I look

Most excitedly, my arms have gotten pretty big. Way bigger than I imagined they would, as I haven’t been doing many exercises I previously thought would make my arms big. My trainer focuses on large muscle groups instead of small ones (I learned that the biceps are considered a small muscle). The smaller muscles get stronger by supporting the larger groups. Neat!

The difference is that my muscles are dense. They’re well-rounded and, even when I’m not flexing, they feel substantial. When I’ve done weights before, I pretty much just burned out on curls and such. The muscles got kind of big but went away easily.

As could be imagined, my thighs and glutes are getting very toned and big. Thanks to all those squats and lunges. Also very exciting as my booty was starting to get pretty sad-looking from all that desk sitting.

I’m no longer hunched over. My wife has noticed a huge improvement in my posture. My chest is broader because of it and I feel a bit taller.

I’ve still got a lot to get rid of in the belly department but the muscles underneath are nice and strong.

How I feel

Here’s a screenshot of this month’s worth of Record data:

A screenshot of my Record app's data

The brightness of the colors are supposed to indicate how good I was feeling that day. As you can see, I’m feeling significantly better!

On the 1-10 scale, I began my training at a solid 4-5. I’m now feeling 7-8. I think it would’ve been even brighter if I hadn’t injured my shoulder.

No gold for me this month. I think it’s because it’s really tough for me to hit my caloric goals (2090). Maybe it’s because some of the nutrition info isn’t terribly accurate or something because I feel like I’m eating a lot.

Purely subjective details

Since I began strength training, I’ve noticed the following:

  • Positive attitude. I feel just generally happier and up for things. I bounce back quicker (emotionally) when things get me down.
  • Increased lung capacity. I breathe deeper and better than before.
  • (Related) Stronger voice. Before training, I couldn’t finish singing a song or have a conversation in a loud location without losing my voice immediately. As a singer, this was a worrisome affliction. Now I’m back and even better than before.
  • A sense of “groundedness.” I feel a lot more aligned and weighty when I stand and walk, like I’m a part of the world instead of floating above it.
  • Fluidity of motion. My movements are a lot smoother and less fumbly. Thanks to all the squats, I no longer throw myself at the couch or my car seat; I can lower myself in like a capable gentleman.
  • Totally fascinated and motivated by fitness. As this blog will show, I’m so excited to have this be a part of my life. I really want to keep this up for good and I can’t wait to see how far I can go.

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