Swing that goddamn axe.
This question/answer was taken from a Private Message on the Jim Wendler Training Forum.
Note: I got this private message about 2 weeks ago and have been mulling it over in my head for awhile. This is not something I get everyday and I was a bit surprised to get this. When you read this, have some empathy for the guy. If you have nothing good to say, don’t say a damn thing. – Jim Wendler
This is not really a question, it is more a try to get another perspective of my life and training. I just want to talk to somebody about it, that i dont know in real life. I am too ashamed to talk to friends about it. I am frustrated and depressed. I pretty much hate myself, and especially my body.
Let me start with my life:
In a huge part of my childhood i have been seriously overweight. At the age of 18 i lost about 45kg and then weighed around 85kg and 187cm tall. Now i am 25 years old, and weighing around 105kg. I have been working out since my weightloss but nevertheless i have been putting weight on again. Both muscle and fat. Though i have a tire around my waist, and disgusting manboobs.
My problem is not that i do not have a six pack and all that shit, it is more that i am ashamed of my body and i doesnt fit in anywhere. Ashamed of beeing naked in front of my girlfriend, too ashamed to go buy fine clothes for myself in the mainstream clothing shops and even too ashamed to go on a summer vacation with my family because i hate to be shirtless in front of other people.
My relation to my own body has a great negative impact on my life. And even on my girlfriends life too. Now she is so tired of my crap, that she ordered a 2 week vacation in Thailand in end august, and i have to go with her.
What i am more frustrated about, is that i work out 5-6 times per week, and i eat healthy the most of the time, so why do i have to be different in such a disgusting way? Why do i have man boobs. Why do i have a body that i am ashamed of? On top of that, i am totally weak. I am not stronger than the new guy in the gym, despite i worked out for 7 years. It’s so embarrasing that i sometimes lose my motivation to work out.
What do you think? Do you think i am a pussy complaining about it? I want you to be honest.
My weight training is based on the greyskull template:
Day 1: Squat 3×5
Chinups 3x?? (As many as i can. Using an elastic)
I combined the principles of Boring But Big into it, so i do 5×10 squats after the 3×5 and so on. And vice versa. Hope you get the picture. The days between the weightlifting i do stuff with the prowler and airdyne.
I have a mission: To be ready for the vacation to Thailand august this year. Criteria to be ready for that vacation: I want to get rid of my manboobs and be stronger than i am now. Maybe it is easier to outline my point by sending you a picture of myself, but i am too ashamed. Do you think i can get in great shape (meaning reducing the belly fat, get rid of my manboobs and be stronger) in just 5 ½ months?
I know this mail can be hard to answer, but i had to get it out of my system. I hope you understand what i am saying, english is not my primary language.
From a mental perspective, this is a huge weight to have on your back for such a long period of time. Obviously your body issues are fucking up your entire life; probably more than I can imagine or maybe even more than you realize (but I doubt that). The first thing I thought of when I read this wasn’t “poor dude has some issues”. Nope. The first thing I thought was “the guy has a girlfriend!” So however you look is not that big of a deal for her. And think about it like this – it’s your attitude and outlook which is going to fuck up the relationship, NOT your body.
There is nothing more tiring and unattractive than dating someone that is obsessed with their bodies. If they are overweight, all you do is constantly have to tell them “no, no, no! You look amazing!” and have to endure day after day of them bitching and moaning about diet and how they look in clothes. It CONSUMES them. Ever talk to someone that is all about diet? That’s all the fucking talk about. No matter who they are, all they can talk about is food. I swear these people have the worst eating disorder because it is hidden with “good intentions”. Society and the fitness industry put these people on a pedestal.
Now people who are obsessed the other way – fitness freaks who have a breakdown out when they gain .4 pounds of water weight; that’s just as bad. Like the other side of the spectrum, they obsess and talk about their workouts and their diets and spend a million years in the gym. And again, they measure their self worth through their looks.
Now let’s be honest – we all want to look good. Both for ourselves and the opposite sex. But let’s put some of this shit in perspective:
- Any girl that doesn’t want to talk to me or make sweet love to this hunk of hairy goodness because I don’t own a six pack or whatever – she’s really not someone I want to date anyway. Of course, we don’t want to date/marry someone that is lazy and doesn’t take some pride in their bodies but when guys are basing their self-worth on 20 year old girls opinions of their bodies – it’s idiotic. Guys are just as bad, or even worse.
- The fact that you are actively involved in making yourself better – that’s all someone can ask for. If they don’t realize that, then fuck it. You have a girl that has stood beside you (and hopefully laid underneath you) when you are at ‘your worst’ – and you are driving her away because of something she has made VERY CLEAR is NOT AN ISSUE for her? Why the fuck would you do that? If anything, I would make an attitude change for the sole reason that you found a good girl.
One thing I have learned is that the only thing you have control over in this world is your attitude. And in order for you to deal with these issues, you have to change your attitude. And you need a serious overhaul. I hate the band KISS with a passion and but I will always remember this quote from Gene Simmons. He was on a radio show and Gene is known for his cocky attitude. The radio host was a woman that hated him – hated his attitude towards women and himself. She said to Gene, “I bet you are the kind of guy that walks into a room and thinks every woman wants him.”
Gene responded, “Well, if I didn’t think that, no one would.”
Now that response is funny as hell. But is also speaks volumes. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, if you don’t believe in what you do, don’t expect anyone to do the same. So it’s time to change your attitude. I’m not telling you to be a narcissistic asshole or feel that you are entitled to the world – but you got to have some **** to show. You look at this to be an issue with training the body but I see it as a way of training your mind. And really these things do go hand in hand.
Positive thoughts should thrive in your mind – you seem to be obsessed with the negative parts of your life but I’m willing to bet that you have a HUGE list of positive things. This is not a popular thing to do because the world is full of negativity and people martyring themselves. All you have to do is read Facebook, comments on YouTube, or newspapers. Watch the news sometime – awful. Listen to co-workers and friends talk; everything is a big fucking deal. And most of it is negative.
Because of this, you have to make a huge effort to remain positive. This can be done any number of ways but here are some examples:
- Turn off anything negative. This includes people, too.
- Find things to do OTHER than filling your gaps of time with the computer or social media. We are moving so fast in the world that we are constantly training ourselves to NEVER be “bored”. You know what? When you have a gap in time/work, STOP. Just sit down and close your eyes. You don’t need to fill in these gaps with mindless Iphone chatter, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Write something. Read a book. Meditate. Do something productive. We are the busiest, most unproductive people in history.
- Make a list of stuff that you are thankful for. Are you healthy? Check! Is your mom fucking awesome? Check! Do you like Slayer and love jamming them? Check! Your girlfriend give awesome handies? Check!
- Get shit done – be a man that does stuff.
As for the physical stuff – I have no idea what a greyskull workout consists of but it looks fine. If I were you, I’d keep up the BBB stuff and bomb the hell out of everything. As long as you are making small progress, that’s all you can ask for. If you are looking for a change of pace, the simple NOV template of stretch/lift/Prowler would also be a good template. The key is to keep moving forward and being consistent. I think you need a good “physical” goal to shoot for. If you can, sign up for a PL meet. You say you “lose motivation” in the gym – that’s an easy cure. FIND A REAL REASON to train, not something that is cosmetic. Vikings never gave a shit how they looked when they swung the axe, only that the axe landed hard and with purpose.
I can say (and I’m sure this is going to piss people off) that you need to get your testosterone levels checked and make a point to get that taken care of. If you are truly training hard and your diet isn’t awful and you aren’t making progress, there is a good chance that you need to get some blood work done. You MUST be pro-active in this.
Are you going to get rid of your manboobs in 5 months? Probably not. You are going to have to mentally get over that and accept that. But you can get stronger. That is not up for debate. When the vacation comes and you are still embarrassed to have your shirt off in front of others, that’s fine. Keep it on as there is no need to feel like crap. But in front of your woman, who loves you? Dude, embrace it. Nothing is worse than being with someone you love and won’t get naked in front of you, with the lights on. She made the decision to love you and be with you – no woman likes a coward. At least not a woman I would enjoy being around.
My final thoughts are these: quit feeling sorry for yourself because it incredibly unattractive. Start training with a real purpose. Embrace the Viking in you.
Check out this website - Badass
. Read some of these entries and realize that none of these guys made excuses. They did shit with their lives. Overcame great odds. And then see how many of these guys are considered “badasses” because of their bodies.