Thursday, June 19, 2014

Struggling in the gym

I wrote a completely different post yesterday.  I sent it to my wife rather than posting it.  She said I was being too hard on myself, and that it wasn't really accurate.  But, the core of what I was thinking remains true.

So, here is a (hopefully) more even-handed approach to the issue.  I've been really struggling at CrossFit.  Part of the problem is the onset of summer.  I'm a big guy, and I struggle with anaerobic work in the heat.  Part of the problem is that I'm a big guy.  After 3.5+ years of CrossFit, my weight is exactly where it was when I started CF.  Yeah, my body-fat percentage might be a bit lower, but I'm overweight.  I've been overweight for most of my life and it's a never-ending battle.  I have been training in one way or another very consistently for almost 30 years.  I weigh about 50 pounds more now than when I started.  Who knows where I'd be without the training?  Three hundred pounds?  Four hundred?  Dead?

I'm sure I'm also still feeling some effects from my surgery in January.  Maybe I simply lost fitness then and it hasn't returned.  I'm probably also dealing with the effects of low testosterone.  I had been taking medication for that problem until my prostate cancer diagnosis.  It's now been 9 months with no medication, and I'm sure my testosterone is clinically low.  If my quarterly PSA test comes back with no sign of cancer next month, I will likely be allowed to return to that medication.

The problem is that I'm really dragging in every workout recently.  Again, part of the problem is my weight.  Because of what I weigh and also due to a nagging problem with my left shoulder, I simply can't do a lot of movements at CrossFit.  I can't do toes-to-bar:

I can't do handstand push-ups.  I can't do rope climbs, which takes me back to embarrassing gym classes in high school.  I'm avoiding snatches and overhead squats.  I am very limited in the number of unassisted pull-ups I can do.  The same is true of push-ups.

I'm also not recovering well and I seem to be struggling in the gym every day.  To be honest, it's not fun at all, and I find myself not wanting to be there.  I force myself to go, even though I just don't want to do the workout.  And even when I'm done, rather than being happy, I'm simply disappointed in my performance.

I need to lose weight to get better at CrossFit and to be healthier overall.  But, I feel like I need to train hard to help me lose weight.  Which comes first?  I feel like I'm at a dead end and I'm going backwards.  Every day, we have three levels of workout posted - a competition level, a sport level, and a fitness level.  I would prefer to do the work at the sport level, but recently I've done almost everything at the lowest (fitness) level.  Yesterday, I scaled downward from that level.

Maybe I need a break - mentally or physically or both.  I know I could certainly use a vacation from work, where I'm swamped all the time.  Maybe this is all a toll created by other outside stresses in my life, and the gym has become one more stressor rather than a place to escape the other stuff.  But, I'm feeling fat, old and out of shape.

After working my butt off for almost 30 years, that's depressing, to be honest.

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