2013-09-01

8W Retrospective

Having finished up the eight-week-long fitness-building set of workouts I've been calling "8W," I thought I would write a post about my general impressions of how it went.

First, I remind readers that the general principle behind the workouts was that the first four weeks would consist of an approach to muscle-building, while the last four weeks would be more of a cardio or "cut" phase. Ostensibly, this was designed to take someone from being somewhat out-of-shape to being in, say "beach-ready" condition.

How did it work? Well, I was extremely pleased by the first four weeks. I think I managed to build a decent amount of muscle and strength. Many of the workouts were extremely challenging, but none were so challenging that I failed to finish the cardio workout afterward (on days that included both strength and cardio). After four weeks, I had succeeded in building the kind of muscle I was looking for. I was looking good, feeling good, and my blood sugar was under control.

At the outset of the last four weeks, I came down with a bad cold that disrupted the momentum I had built up. I like to say that fitness is a matter of getting the ball rolling. The hard part is simply getting your body used to the prospect of fitness, building muscle, burning fat, etc. Once you "get into the zone" (for lack of a better term), it becomes somewhat easy to improve even further. This is how so many people make so much good progress in a short period of time.

Well, my cold served to pull me out of the zone, and I never really got back in for the remainder of the workout regimen. However, I don't feel that this fully explains the shortcomings of the final four weeks. Truthfully, I found them a lot easier than I had intended them to be. A few of the workouts were difficult, and all that cardio was initially a stretch, but my intention was to make the final four weeks excruciating. That didn't happen.

Then again, I can safely say that the final four weeks accomplished their task. At this point I have so little fat on my body that it's a struggle to take my insulin without bleeding. There isn't any adipose tissue into which to stick the needle. I have an incredible amount of energy - so much so that I scarcely need seven hours of sleep per night. It's more like six, actually.

All said, I think it's safe to say that 8W accomplished its intention. In that sense, it was a real success. As I mentioned at the outset, this set of workouts was developed for a friend, and I can happily report that we both achieved similar results. If I restrict myself to a purely physical view of the situation, it worked out great. But what I learned this time around is how much harder I can afford to push myself. That fact will surely be captured in future workouts.

I hope you enjoyed it, too!