Progress Report: the Second Month

Another month of training in the bank. I feel great! I expected to have a bigger ego about this whole thing but luckily exercise is a great mood stabilizer.

Like my wife says,

After the first month, you’ll notice. After the second month, your friends will notice. After the third month, the world will notice.

I know, it sounds like it should be written over a stock photo of a sunset or a girl drinking tea. But it’s true! My close friends have already begun to notice a change, which is great.

I read that 90 days of training is the point at which you’ll show the most progress. That, “Holy shit, what have you been doing?” reaction from people. Dunno if that’s 90 calendar days or 90 workouts but it’s my goal to wow my family when I go home for Christmas.

How’d I do this month?

Before & after

Sorry friends. I just don’t feel comfortable posting the kinds of photos I would have to, Biggest Loser style, on the interwebs. Maybe when I’m further along.

Instead: some measurements

I know, I know. I should’ve been measuring the entire time. Here are my latest measurements and you’ll just have to believe me that they’re way better than when I started out:

Bicep 10.5″
Forearm 9″
Calf 14″
Thigh 18.5″
Neck 14″
Chest 36″
Waist 33″

How I look

I’m about halfway through No Beer September and I can totally tell. My belly’s a lot smaller. I just have to suck it up and sprint more and I should be in good shape.

My chest is a good bit more defined. I’ve noticed a big difference in my forearms (yay!), even though I haven’t done much to work them specifically (Trainer Nick says they get stronger just by being along for the ride). My shoulders are broader and stronger and my biceps are also quite big.

My legs are rock-hard and, because I’m making a conscious effort to fix my turnout, they’re starting to look more symmetrical. I’ve just got to work on making them bigger, especially my calves.

It was a tough month at work and I fell back into my hunchy ways. I’ve been working hard to counteract them, though, and stand tall again.

How I feel

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

My Record data from the second month of strength training

I’ve been a bit lazy about recording my nutrition stuff; it gets a little difficult when you’re cooking your own food and have to figure out how much of each ingredient you’re eating per serving. I’ve only recently discovered how to add recipes into MyFitnessPal; next time around I’ll do better, promise.

I mentioned last month that I started with a “feeling” of 4-5. I’ve been nothing but 7-8, with one or two 6s in there on days when I didn’t get enough sleep.

Purely subjective details

Since last month, I’ve noticed the following:

  • Exercising is easier. I still pour sweat, I still feel the burn, and I’m still sore for a day or two post-workout but overall the exercises are getting easier for me to do. I don’t feel like I’m falling apart or can’t catch my breath, which is a HUGE improvement over how I was when I started.
  • Reacting to stress better. Here’s a list of stressors that have befallen me this month:
    • Mother-in-law moving in with her tiny dog (and taking her sweet time moving out)
    • Several hectic deadlines at work for projects that were outside of my field of expertise, complete with pop-ins from my boss
    • A few instances of impromptu public speaking in a professional environment
    • Car unexpectedly breaking down and stranding my wife (while I was stranded at work)

    … all this on top of trying to find a house to buy and maintain some kind of life regularity while squatting in a falling-apart temporary house. Previously, any one of those things would’ve ruined my day and/or week. Training has gotten me more comfortable with being uncomfortable and it’s great!

  • Unexpected: Smoother skin. As long as I can remember, I’be had rough patches of hard bumps on my arms, legs, and butt. I’ve tried to get rid of them, to no avail. For some reason, strength training has made the bumps go away and my skin is soft and smooth. Weird! My wife suspects I’m more hormonally balanced now, especially with all the lower body exercises (squats and stuff).
  • I pay attention to others’ bodies/exercise routines.
    • Pro: I can see common pitfalls and avoid falling into them.
    • Con: I’m getting super judgy not only of out-of-shape people but also of people who do exercises wrong.
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