When it comes to working out, lifting weights and trying to stay healthy, I believe it's only natural for people to go through phases - and those phases are frequently cyclical. Here is a look at mine.
Phase One: I Had To
When I was in the military, I was required to maintain a certain standard of fitness. When I became an Army Ranger that standard was raised, significantly.Even in the military, I went through phases where I worked out more than other times. I knew that when I had military school coming up or a physical fitness test, I would train hard for it. Afterward, I would become lax with my workout schedule, sometimes not working out all for weeks—sometimes even a month or two.As I got older, the desire to take "breaks" increased. Plus, maintaining a high level of fitness also gets harder as life gets in the way and your body ages. My last tour with the military was Afghanistan; being one of the older guys in a young infantry company, I felt it was very important to achieve a high state of physical fitness. Not only did I feel I had to represent myself well to the soldiers reporting to me, but my life could actually depend on it.
Phase Two: It Helped Me Score
I was in amazing shape when my deployment ended, which was especially good because I had just gone through a divorce while deployed. I knew a fit body would be great for dating. So I kept up a certain level of my workouts to "maintain" my physique and ended up with a cute new wife.
Phase Three: I Deserved a Break
After 26 years of service in the Army, I retired. This was the perfect excuse for me to stop working out. I already got the girl, and now I had time to relax and enjoy life and my children. I also enjoyed food and no longer looked at it as just fuel. After 26 years of punishing my body and living a very regimented physical existence in the military, I believe I deserved a break. Over the next two years, the only training I did was for my "before" photo and I developed quite an impressive “Dadbod.”
Phase Four: I Started to Hate Myself
Then one day it happened. I woke up and hated how I looked and felt. I am rated as 60% disabled and I have a bad back from a parachute injury (it helps when they open on time). I’ve always known that working out would keep my back strong, keep it from going out and keep the pain at bay. So why wasn’t keeping up my workouts? I have always believed that you either give 110% or you give nothing. The part two years of my life were busy because, in addition to enjoying life, I was building a business. I was really busy and I didn't want to invest two hours a day, six days a week to get back into it. I’ve always been very results oriented and the results of my two years of slacking off were anything but acceptable. I was experiencing more pain in more areas and I felt like I was falling apart.
Phase Five: I Didn’t Have Another Choice (or back to Phase One—I Had To)
Phase five is basically back to my first phase but with a key difference: This time, I had to for me. Not the Army, not for another person. But just for me. I knew I had to get my health back, but I also had to get my business on track. I founded my company and created products to use while working out. Who would want to buy these products from a guy who was overweight out of shape? The answer is, nobody!I decided I was not only getting my body back, but I started creating different products that I personally wanted to take for getting back into shape. I knew my motivation was in a very low place so I worked with bodybuilding coaches to help me get back to what I consider is "the real me." I also found Facebook groups of like-minded fitness enthusiasts to also help motive me.Over the next 10 months, I was back to giving 110% and went back to one and half hour workouts, six days a week. I had injuries I had to work around, but that's where I really recommend coaches—they are real life savers. Within the first month, I already felt stronger and my back no longer went out just because I sneezed or something ridiculous like that.While I wasn't losing weight, I could tell that I was gaining serious muscle. At the end of 10 months, I had accomplished my mission. It was great; I changed the phase so my workouts were to maintain the level of fitness I had attained
Phase Six: Maintenance
Putting in the work. Nothing to see here. Just an old guy who lifts. . . . #fitness #rangernutrition #gymlife #sportsnutrition #gym #fit #fitfam #health #motivation #getfit #fitnessaddict #tattoo #fittattoo #training #healthyliving #goals #fitinspiration #bodybuilding #aesthetics #flex #instafit
A post shared by Ranger Nutrition (@rangernutrition) on Feb 21, 2017 at 7:11am PST
Now I live in Chicago, and to be honest, getting in a regular workout routine is not easy for me. Location of gyms, business stuff, personal life (actually, insert any excuse here). But only recently have I learned that you can have many phases of working out. It doesn’t have to be 110%. It doesn’t have to be any one phase. It just has to be something that you keep doing. I used to mentally beat myself up for not having the ultimate body you see on the cover of magazines. Now, I understand that as long as I keep myself healthy I am good. As long as I do the work, no matter what the reason, I am good.We all go thru phases in life, so why wouldn’t we also have phases with our workouts? It only makes sense. Just remember that life happens, priorities change and things sometimes get tough. Just don't ever give up completely.