When you have worked out for a few years, there are goals upon goals of history, some achieved, some not, but having goals is a major drive in the game of training. My goals were always to be healthy, strong and leaner. Strong was going fine, healthy and lean were not. I had some chronic aches and pains, and body fat would not come off. I trained too hard, payed too much attention to diet and missed a major point: my body was not built to do what I wanted it to do.
Back in April, fate was kind to me. I met Bill Hartman, for an assessment of a number of problems that had been ailing me for years.
1. Shoulder pain
2. Anterior Pelvic tilt and low back pain
3. Knee pain (left)
4. Foot pain (left)
5. Difficulty losing fat
After a long and interesting session, most of my fears were confirmed and a few new training goals emerged. We needed to realign my posture, fix the anterior pelvic tilt, loosen the anterior hips, work on ab strength and upper back mobility. My glutes and upper back were happily asleep and needed to be woken up. Interestingly, while my body wasn't functioning properly, I could happily do 10 pull ups and do a 1RM deadlift of 203 lbs. Thinking back, the scary part is I could actually do that weight with half of my muscles not even taking part.
Bill put me on a program as soon as I came back to Bulgaria and we are currently finishing the fifth cycle of it. It involves a lot of mobility work, activation, targeted stretching, strength training, self release and EST training.
Between May and June I dropped 2% body fat, a rate I had never witnessed before. I felt better, lost most of my pain, especially the lower back and shoulder pain. I continued on that path, getting a bit leaner and building muscle. I never wrote about my experience until now, I wanted to wait, but I got very excited by my recent progress shots! At the end of each month I take progress pictures so he can assess my progress. I usually only compare the last month to this month's progress, but I chose a picture from the end of my first month and the difference in posture was truly obvious. I am feeling a mixed cocktail of joy, reward and anticipation for more hard work and results. I have always worried that I never looked athletic, and for the first time in my life I feel like I am working towards a base of developing a body that I would totally enjoy having and working with!
So how do you measure progress: 1)how you look 2) how you feel
If you are working toward a goal of your own, don't forget that pictures are a powerful means of tracking progress! Take them often and compare, but also be prepared that it will take months and months of added effort before you can say wow! I did it. That feeling, my friends, is worth waiting for and working for.
Sometimes I wonder what to say to Bill about how I feel when I run, or lift or stand or get out of bed in the morning. Stability and mobility can be very emotionally empowering. Being able to DO is so much different than wishing or thinking you are ABLE TO DO. Without knowledge no hard work will help you find the difference between the two!