Crazy how much difference a week can make.

No, I'm not exactly wearing tank tops again, instead opting to stay covered up for a couple more weeks until I can tolerate myself.  Sure, make fun of me if you want to but we all know the feeling.  I stay covered up when I don't feel my condition is as good as it should be. It's just the way I've always been.  Insecure? Not comfortable in my own skin? Call it what you want; honestly, I have zero left in my bag of fucks to give.  At least I am aware of my issues.  :)

Coming back to my original point:

I have started to swell back up and I am feeling the initial effects of the pump, muscles being fuller, better recovery, waist getting smaller, digestion getting faster and more efficient, etc. There are other things that I notice right away, too, but you might consider those TMI so I'll keep them to myself -- or at least between myself and my wife.

My scale-weight is 236 right now with another 2 days before I Skipload so it may still change before I load. I ended the last blast at a scale weight of about 226-227 so I am up roughly 10 pounds from that point and I admit that some of this is body fat (though certainly not all of it) while some of it is my weight going up from stepping on the gas again.  How much is body fat and how much is just from blasting again?  There is no completely accurate way to know other than doing pictures and comparing them because I am no longer doing DEXA scans due to the stupid cost and my questioning of how accurate they actually are.  Remember, the last one had me listed at 8% and that would put me almost show-ready, and as lean as I was, I was damn sure not that close to show-ready.  I plan to take pictures again in 4 weeks to compare to the starting point and that will give me a better analysis.

I am going to rely more on pictures, as I started doing halfway through the last blast.  If I compete again, it will only be the visual that I am judged on, anyway.  If there was a dead-on, 100% accurate way to measure my body fat levels, I would use it.  It just seems to constantly be a battle to find a method that I don't question so I figured I would just go old-school and focus on the pics and scale and other variables -- basically, what I do with my clients for the last 20 years. 

I have no black and white goals for this next blast phase.  That may seem misguided by some, but I don't want to put a scale-weight number as a goal so that I don't get wrapped up in the numbers and instead want to simply push my training harder than I even did this last blast and progress as much as possible.  I do plan to lean down after this next 24-week blast to assess how a total of 24-weeks blasting, 14-week cruising, and another 24-week blast has impacted my physique at what will be 50 years old. 

This last blast allowed me to basically get back to about 90% of my all-time best poundages in most of my exercises (and that covers 35 years of training) and surpass a few of them, hitting weights that I have never hit.  You might not consider that a great thing but I am almost 50 and I find that to be very rewarding.  I also have not truly been in an off-season building phase with my foot on the gas in almost 10 years, either.  Many CLAIM these kinds of gains but I actually have been experiencing them.

This next blast, I want to surpass as many of my previous PRs as I possibly can. Yes, this puts me in a more vulnerable position for possible injury but I also know that this will provide me with the best option or environment for growth, as well.  I think I have developed a pretty good instinct over the years for being careful and knowing when to push and when to back off so if I can keep my head and stay smart, I am confident that I can still continue to make more progress and hit these marks.  However, I am not making them hard and fast "goals" in that if I fall short, I fall short. I won't push for these goal weights in the gym as if this is all that matters.  What matters most is that I am grinding and training my balls off. Growth WILL happen; I just think that more growth will occur if I can top a lot of these previous best PRs. 

It is going to help tremendously that my other training partner will be joining myself and Mrs Skip, again, probably by next week or the week after.  As I have stated previously, he was dealing with injuries and was forced out of the gym a few months ago and is set to return 100% in a week or two.  This is going to provide a new dynamic -- one that I respond very well to in that he is stronger than I am so this is a huge motivating factor for me to "keep up." The struggle will be to know when to keep up and when to back off, of course.

I likely will not touch my diet for another few weeks, letting my condition get slightly better while improving in the gym.  After my condition gets better in a few weeks, I will then decide how much to start pushing my calories up, allowing as much growth as possible while making sure that my recovery is adequate for maximum efficiency.  

I hate TRT and cruise phases -- always have.  I am so glad to be pushing hard again and moving in a direction that is challenging.  It's considerably more motivating, for sure.

And an update if you are following Mrs. Skip's progress:

She is down 31 pounds and has 20 more to go (roughly) before she will be in very good condition.  She already looks quite a bit different now, but the last 20 pounds will show changes almost on a pound-by-pound basis.  Her strength is through the roof (for her) and she continues to kick ass in the gym, as well.


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