When it comes down to it, it is all a matter of just how hard you are willing to work. Then, you start with that and work harder.
We were efficient. I would arrive at the gym way before hand and do all my warm-ups. I’d do my post-workout stretches after the session, as well as selected exercises that Lenora would specify … but she never left any category of exercise entirely to me. There are certain exercises one should do last in a weight training session, so Lenora would schedule the occasional session to focus on just those particular things rather than letting me only do them on my own.
Lenora was relentless. She knew that no matter what I did, as long as I did it correctly, I would probably not die or injure myself. So she had no compunction whatsoever of pushing me beyond what I thought I could do. With every exercise. Every. Exercise. She timed how many seconds I had to rest between sets. She calculated things out so we would never have to wait between machines or free weights. She warned people off of equipment that we were about to use. She came up with diabolical plans whereby I would get absolutely no rest at all for long periods of time as I shifted focus from muscle to muscle.
I learned about isolating muscles and why it was good to do that. Related to this, I learned why a lot of guys and some gals at the gym have back braces, and I learned how to not do that. I learned about breakdown, giant sets, super sets. I learned about pain. Good pain.
Over a period of a few months, my body weight did not go down more than a few pounds, but my muscle mass went way way up. My relative body fat dropped to an acceptable level (as measured using a couple of different techniques). I became big and strong. I was able to leg press 800 pounds. I’d always been fairly fit, able to walk great distances, dig deep holes, all that sort of thing. But now I could lift larger objects and move heavier things as well. I walked around town waiting for some poor sap to get trapped under a car so I could lift the car off him.
But then it was time to return to South Africa. After seven months of intense work, I was pretty much obsessed with working out, which is how one has to do this, really. I was worried that three months in the field would set me back. Never mind that field work itself is exercise. I did not believe that I would be able to maintain my condition from just field survey and a lot of driving.
So, I needed a plan for how to stay in shape while I was away. For several sessions, Lenora trained me in gym-free exercises, which helped. But I knew that would not be enough. To really stay in shape in the field, I’d have to do something drastic.
So, I did something drastic. ….