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How Do You Know?

How Do You Know?

by Robert Jacobs

So how do you know when you’re “in shape”?  I mean, you’ve been dedicated; worked out a lot; altered your diet.  What does “in shape” look like, or feel like.

For some the answer is obvious.  When you look like Arnold or The Rock, you’re there.  But most of us, the average guys (and gals), aren’t going to look like that.  That takes extreme 24/7 dedication – which muscles today and in what order; what to eat; when to eat it; never eat that; which supplements to take and at what time.  That look requires extreme effort, extreme enhancement (for some), a dose of great genes, and probably a touch of luck.

For me and I’m guessing the majority of us average types, “in shape” is a little harder to define.  I lift and run and hit.  In a perfect world, it would be 4-5 times a week.  But I don’t live in a perfect world.  I’m a retired teacher with two part-time jobs with long and odd and late hours which disrupts my eating and sleep patterns.  As a result, most of the time, it’s three times a week, occasionally two.  I try to eat right most of the time but I occasionally indulge (think cheat and add a little).

Everyone’s standard and picture is different. From the objective - lifting this much more, running this much faster, losing this many pounds, to the subjective – “Wow, you look great!” and “Where do you work out?” comments, and realizing I just spent a fortune on a new wardrobe, or seeing the guy ten years younger than you ready to collapse at the end of a session and knowing you can handle more.

And as for those massive bodies across the gym, you might be just as in shape as they are.  Maybe you can’t lift more, but maybe you can run faster or longer. 

And then there was that day my doctor went over my blood work with me during my physical and told me my number were off the charts great and I no longer need my cholesterol meds.  I had a pretty good idea at that moment that I was on the right track.  I don’t get sick as often, and my recovery time from aches and pains is much shorter.

By the way, just losing weight probably doesn’t translate to “in shape”.  You can weigh more if it’s in muscle weight.  When you first hear, “You need to eat more (of the right things)”, it takes a little trust and suspension of disbelief.

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