Overcoming Ghosts Of The Past With Release The Beast

Today’s the day. It’s no ordinary day. It is time to put my coaching credentials on the line. You see today is the first day of me starting my adventure of using the techniques taught in Release The Beast: Conquer Mental, Physical & Diet Challenges To Unleash The Champion Inside! to help me get towards 195 pounds. If I couldn’t’ meet my goal using one of the best tools in my arsenal, why should you?

I’m VERY confident in all the lessons I created inside Release The Beast.  I would not have bothered writing that book if I did not believe in them. When I didn’t meet my 2015 goal on January 1st 2016, I decided to slow things down and check myself.

You see that’s a problem with a lot of people today. We are presented with information overload and think we always know what’s best for ourselves. By refusing help, we tend to stay stuck for years without ever making progress.

That’s why I wanted to become an online fitness coach. I wanted to help lend a hand to others so they can overcome obstacles they are too blind to see. In order to help others, I first must get over one of my own hurdles…Getting down to 195 pounds.

This journey has been well documented on this blog these past couple of weeks (see here). I’m a guy that doesn’t care how much he weighs. The real purpose of getting down to 195 pounds was that it represented my goal to lose about 15 pounds of fat in 216.

Due to me not reaching that goal, it was time to use Release The Beast to make sure I truly did EVERYTHING I needed to do to finally complete my goal. So here I am, reading the book as if I was a brand new reader. I hope you find this helpful!

Set Up

Day One of my journey to begin reading Release The Beast started on Monday, January 11 2016. On that date, I opened up the Release The Beast Workbook, and followed the 30 Day Timeline mentioned. For Day One, it mentioned that I should read the first section.

Section One of the book is divided into three chapters: Past Workout Plans, Past Diet Plans, and The Effort. Each chapter has it’s own tasks that are clearly laid out in the book and workbook.

Past Workout Plans

Crossfit group doing deadlifts looking at youThis chapter really questioned everything about my past relationships with working out. It made me really analyze why I did what I did at the gym. Here’s my own personal self-evaluation:

Group Workouts

I stopped working in groups for the past couple of years. Despite my current gym offering all types of group classes, I haven’t attended one since I moved back to Virginia in 2013. Considering how expensive my gym membership is I probably need to take advantage of them.

The only time I fully participated in group training sessions was when I would attend yoga classes. Despite my awesome workout plans, I understand how beneficial it can be when working with a group.

Motivation

For the years of me doing strength training I used personal rep records as my source of inspiration. If I could squat 225 pounds for 8 reps, I would try to break that record by doing more reps or adding more weight. While doing Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 strength routine, I would always have my personal rep records written down. Each time I would go to the gym, I would have an idea of how many reps I would need to do to break my own records. This kept my workouts fun during my strength training years.

Workout Journals

I have used workout journals to keep track of my fitness routines for years. I would print the journals out on my way to they gym and keep them with me. I would take notes throughout the workout and then save them electronically at the end of the month.

Fitness Challenges

I set up personal challenges with some friends. Not all of them participated at first, but during the last years, I had one good friend start to take fitness seriously. That started a consistent friendly competition that drove us both to do better.

Quick Fix Workout Routines

I gave in on a few occasions and tried some “Get Ripped in Two Weeks” type of workout plans that had me do two-a-day weightlifting/cardio routines. I typically don’t do a lot of cardio; so simply by introducing them I expected to see a ripped body at the end. At the end of such routines, I normally would end up with very sore knees and no ripped look whatsoever.

Fear

There’s been a couple of exercises I’ve avoided out of me knowing I looked pathetic when doing them. The two biggest ones that come to mind are:

Glute Hamstring Raises

Rear Elevated Split Squats

Glute Hamstring Raises has always been a reality check for me throughout the years. I’m lucky if I can do two successfully. As I type that last sentence, I realized that I haven’t attempted the exercise in over four years! I’ll be sure to retackle this exercise sometime soon!

I’ve been doing rear elevated split squats for the past couple of weeks. I avoided them for years because of how uncomfortable they made me feel. I squat and deadlift regularly, so why should I do these?

The truth is that the split squat exposes all my lower body weaknesses. It targets my quadriceps and exposes my weak core area. Despite not using a lot of weight, this exercise truly humbles me. I’m not as afraid to be seen doing this as I was years ago.

Past Diet Plans

When going down memory lane, I remember several diet plans. Like most inspiring bodybuilders, I ate every two-four hours. During the majority of my twenties I would have 2-3 solid meals with 2-3 protein shakes per day. I believed the articles telling me to just focus on getting in as much protein as possible. During most of my twenties, carbs were considered bad, so I only ate them around workout times.

Well…..that’s what I tried to do. The reality was that I was all over the map for years. The more strict the diet, the more vicious my eventual binge would become. It wasn’t until I started following Precision Nutrition’s style of eating that I started to get a better appreciation of food.

richard simmons fitness photo for 80'sMe and diet plans have been through lots of wars. Here’s a quick overview of my successes and failures:

Successes

  • Intermittent Fasting
    • 16 hours of fasting/ 8 hour eating window
    • Helped ended food timing obsession
    • Made eating enjoyable again and not forceful
  • Eating two-three solid meals a day
  • Focusing on total calories in a day
  • Eating 5+ servings of veggies a day
  • Cheat meals
  • Eating solid food 95% of the time
  • Being 90% compliant with my eating plan

 

Failures

  • Trying to eat 6+ meals a day
  • Focusing only on meal frequency (eating every 2-3 hours)
  • Taking too many supplements
  • Buying too many supplements
  • Cheat Days
  • Drinking too many protein super shakes a day instead of solid foods
    • Certain protein powders caused excess gas, cramps and bloating

 

Past Efforts

Guy exhausted from working out laying on the floor

This chapter pinpointed the great question…How Bad Did You Truly Want It! While going through this chapter, it brought up some solid points. Here are some of my own observations about my past efforts:

Going Through The Emotions

Too many times I would just show up without knowing the intimate details of the previous week’s effort. If I was going to improve, I needed to be aware of the previous week’s effort.

If my goal is to get better with each and every workout I should constantly be aware. All it takes is a couple of minutes of reflection. I can count months of me just showing up to the gym. Yes it’s good to show up, but there comes a point where I need to conquer that workout to reach that next level of greatness.

Tomorrow….

For myself, during the 2015 holidays I heard myself say “Tomorrow I will….” A LOT! That’s a BIG no-no. That showed a lack of effort to improve. Here are some of the tomorrows I said during the 2015 holidays:

  • I don’t eat like this during the rest of the year
  • I better finish off this ice cream because tomorrow I’m back on track and this shouldn’t be in our house.
  • Tomorrow I’m going to be my normal self; so today I’m going to be bad for one more day.
  • I ate too much junk food yesterday; I don’t feel good. I’ll skip the gym today and tomorrow I will try.
  • I’m not in the mood to shop healthy, let’s continue to be bad. Tomorrow we’ll be good.

 

It can be embarrassing to confront the sins of yesterday. Release The Beast does an excellent job of forcing you to confront your past. As a reader and author, it’s eye opening. I look forward in using my past to help craft the steps necessary to meet my goal of getting down to 195 pounds. Read the first chapters as well, and join me on this journey!

See ya next time!