Half way through my 100 Day Challenge and I have already successfully put on ten pounds and seen a significant improvement in my build. I have also consistently increased the amount of weight I’m using in my exercise routine
When the Student is Ready, the Master will Appear.
I met Active Image President Cathy Morenzie at a very fortuitous time. She had just started the Start Fast, Finish Strong 100 Day Challenge and prompted me to get involved too. I had already decided to get more serious about my health and had recently joined a local gym. So when I signed up for The 100 Day Challenge I made one of my goals to put on ten pounds of muscle mass.
That may not seem like a lofty goal but I had tried for years to put on weight, including going to a gym for a year in my thirties and working out with weights while drinking high protein weight gain shakes in my twenties and had only ever managed to gain five pounds at most. For better or worse I was one of those people who could eat like a starving hippo and remain remarkably slim.
Cathy was kind enough to give me a fitness evaluation and set me up on a workout routine. After that I was on my own. During the fitness evaluation Cathy did mention something that really stuck in my head.
“Aim to Fail”
The mistake most people make when lifting weights is they tend to lift what they can successfully manage. In other words they’ll successfully do two sets of curls with thirty pound weights (for example) when they should really be pushing themselves with thirty-five pounds weights even though they may not be able to finish their sets. If you’re able to complete your sets, especially easily, then you’re not gaining any muscle mass. Your existing muscle mass is up to the challenge and has no need to increase. It’s not until you push yourself beyond your (mental) limits, that you tear your muscles and they need to grow back bigger and stronger.
A Strength Greater Than Ourselves.
I also quickly discovered that so much of physical fitness was really mental. As soon as my muscles began to ache or feel weak I would think to myself, ‘Ugh, I’m done’ and my body would correspondingly respond. Cathy made me realize I had more in me and if I wanted to see results, I’d need to tap into that and push myself beyond those preconceived limits.
So now when I’m about to do a challenging set, having increased the amount of weight or one I had really struggled with previously, I say a quick prayer, asking God to do for me what I can not do for myself. To give me the physical and mental strength to complete the set. As I pray I visualize the body I want and see myself not only lifting the amount I’m about to do but even more.
Am I magically endued with enough strength to lift whatever? No, of course not. I do find it helps considerably and allows me to push myself harder than I would otherwise. Once I really start to struggle I mentally pray some more for added strength until I finish the set, until I’m completely unable to do so or until I feel as if continuing might prove harmful. It doesn’t ultimately matter if I finished the set, what matters is by pusher harder and going further, I achieve better results.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Results so far have been very promising. Half way through my 100 Day Challenge and I have already successfully put on ten pounds and seen a significant improvement in my build. I have also consistently increased the amount of weight I’m using in my exercise routine, in some cases doubling the amount I started with. However, to be completely honest, I was at a conference for a week, and while I did strive to maintain my workout routine, I think the abundance of free food probably assisted with the weight gain. I would guess a couple of those pounds don’t quite quality as ‘muscle mass’. However, that’s still eight pounds in fifty days with fifty more to go. Consequently I have risen my goal adding another four pounds to my intended weight gain and reaching what I consider as an ideal weight.
So whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle or just maintain good health, when you want to push yourself a little bit harder and achieve those results but feel there’s nothing left, remember Isaiah 40:31
”But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.”
©Preston Squire 2009
Preston Squire is an author devoted to providing free inspirational, motivational and self-help materials. You can find more articles by Preston Squire and others at http://www.thecuphalffull.com