Big news! I just got hired by Gold’s Gym as a trainer! I can’t tell you how excited I am to begin this journey in the fitness industry. Doesn’t seem that long ago that I first started studying the NASM textbook with the intention of becoming a trainer. I’m taking the “traditional route” into the fitness industry, which is working for a big box gym first in order to get experience. But I think I got lucky with the big box gym I’m starting off at! The Gold’s in Fenton, MO is amazing. They have everything. Even a deadlift platform and rubber plates for Olympic lifting! So stoked. I had been tempted to apply to personal training studios but so many of them didn’t even have squat racks or equipment for powerlifting. How could I be honest with myself as a trainer if I wasn’t even able to implement the training methods I most believe in? I think Gold’s Gym will definitely help me train in exactly the style I believe most effective for my clients, which definitely includes serious resistance training!
To be honest, I am kind of nervous about the “sales” aspect of training in a big box gym. I am not a pure extrovert – more of an “ambivert” – both introverted and extroverted depending on the context. But I think my background in psychology will help me master the sales process going forward. I also just have this burning desire to succeed. I see a path forward and I am going to take it with 100% intensity. I have always been a competitive person and the fitness industry is a perfect outlet for me insofar as it focuses so much on personal growth and independence. My success in the fitness industry is largely going to be a result of what I put into it. I have to be my own brand because “R.A.W. Fitness” is me – I am my own business.
The other thing I’m nervous about is the whole trans thing. I feel partially like I am a trailblazer in this sense. But I think how this aspect of my life influences my training career is largely going to result from my own attitude and confidence going forward. Not to say that I can just think my way out of discrimination, but simply that my own reticence could send unconscious signals that my gender matters instead of owning it and believing that I can be the best trainer, cis or trans, that my client needs in virtue of my passion, empathy, and knowledge.
The Titan t2 short power rack came from amazon in record time! My gf helped me assemble everything in the basement. Although the space is tight I am so happy with how it turned out! With a bit of finesse, I have a plan to be able to do all the major lifts (will post more pictures later as I get all the equipment I ordered)
Although I didn’t get hired at Club Fitness I am taking new steps to being an independent personal trainer. I booked my first training session with a friend! And I also garnered a couple other leads on Facebook and instagram. I have also begun advertising my services on Facebook and ordered some business cards. So excited! I can’t wait to start training people. I am brimming with ideas about how to help people transform their lives.
This week has been really, surprisingly good. Almost too good?
Stats last Friday:
– 171 lbs
-BF% on Omron monitor: 22.7%
Stats this morning:
-BF% on Omron monitor: 22%
That’s a pretty large difference. Not sure what the explanation is other than losing water weight since according to My Fitness Pal I should be losing only about 2 lbs of fat a week at 1540 calories a day. My sodium intake has been fluctuating a lot but otherwise my diet this week was super consistent – I chalk it up to the “whoosh effect“.
Macros: 38%P / 41%F / 21% C
Average daily sugar intake: 27g
I have also been really good at hitting my caloric number daily. I strive for 1540 exactly instead of 1000 one day and 2000 the next day. I feel like the more consistent I am at hitting 1540 the better my results. But if I go over on work-out days it’s not a big deal because I know I am burning a good amount of calories. I am not eating back any of my calories burnt from exercise.
My lifts in the gym have been pretty good. Numbers:
Deadlift: 175 x 5
These are all improvements over last week.
Overall my energy is good. I use intermittent fasting to control my satiety i.e. if I compress my eating window mainly to the afternoon/evening 1540 calories with my macros leaves me usually feeling stuffed by the time I go to bed. The only time I’m hungry is when I’m fasting the morning but that’s to be expected. It’s amazing what chicken breast and veggies can do to satiate you – a 99g chicken breast fillet is 100 calories yet leaves me really satisfied especially if I have it with some ranch. Add in 150 calories of veggies in microwaveable steam-fresh bags and that’s a great meal to satisfy me. In contrast, my gf ate a 750 calorie mini-pizza yesterday but afterwards told me she was still hungry (not implying my gf is unhealthy – far from it – she just isn’t as strict with her diet as me because she has different aesthetic goals atm).
After hurting my right shoulder back in April I am finally back on track in the gym. I have two different workouts: A and B. A involves squats, bench, rows and a bunch of accessories and B involves squats, deadlifts, overhead press, and a bunch of accessories. The workout is never exactly the same depending on how I am feeling, how busy the gym is, and what equipment is available. Although I am using progressive overload since I am on a cut it is difficult. Currently I am going more for strength in the 5 rep range.
I am working on being consistent with my diet and tracking my calories more accurately. I bought an Omron BF % monitor to use as a progress marker. It currently puts me at around 23% bodyfat which actually seems pretty accurate. Actual weight loss is slow but I definitely see body composition changes in the mirror. The diet is the hardest part. My belly fat is very, very stubborn. I have been sticking with a mixture of low carb/low sugar and maintaining a steady caloric deficit. Will this make me lean? I hope so. I’ve looked up the diet plans for bikini competitors and my diet is not too far off from theirs. I definitely wanna get that Omron number under 20% and see what that looks like.
In other news, I am taking my CPR/AED certification class tomorrow. My studying for the NASM exam is going very well. I took the practice test and got an 80%. I feel like I know the material pretty well. But I am going to keep studying – not in an immediate rush to schedule the exam. But I am feeling more and more confident. I’m also pretty sure I know which training company I want to apply for – it’s a local personal training management company that works with the local gym chain I go to. It seems within my grasp. I am definitely excited about starting the path towards being a fitness professional.
This came in the mail today. So excited to start studying!
I have a history of dislocating my right shoulder. I’ve dislocated it three times in the past. The first time I needed the doctors to put it in for me but the second and third times I put it in myself. The second time I had to use a sling for a week or two. The third time was not very traumatic and it popped back in quickly – I was mildly sore for a few days after but I restricted its use and it went back to normal
Today, I dislocated it again – attempting to learn how to do the turkish get-up with a kettlebell. It wasn’t very traumatic and popped back in easily. But it still hurts a little with certain movements. My range of motion is still pretty good. But I am definitely going to stop everything involving the shoulders until it heals. At least a couple weeks.
Which makes me frustrated with myself. I should have known better. Frustrated that I didn’t go slower in doing shoulder work knowing that I have a history of dislocation. Frustrated that I didn’t know my own limits. Frustrated that right when I’m trying to get back into the swing of things I injure myself. I ordered some therabands to do some basic physio exercises with my shoulder – the same things I was originally ordered to do by a physio when I first dislocated it real bad back in college. For those interested, here is a good free resource for shoulder dislocation rehab that my physio recommended way back when.
I already focus mainly on the legs and glutes anyway so I will just continue to do that as well as some more cardio.
But oh well – it gives me a good excuse to really focus on my diet anyway. If I can’t see gains in the gym at least I can strive for making strives with my waistline. I’ve lost about in inch from my waist already in the past couple weeks while staying at relatively the same weight.
My philosophy when it comes to diet and nutrition is maximal adherence. While it might be “optimal” nutritionally to do a lot of at-home cooking to make the healthiest and most delicious food with the best fresh ingredients – anything that involves a lot of prep work is not going to be something I can stick to for weeks at a time, day in, day out. For me it’s gotta be super easy with prep work lasting mere minutes with 2-4 ingredients or preferably just popping it in the microwave or eating it out of the fridge/pantry. Or just making a protein shake.
This means spending more money too since for me maximal adherence means buying frozen grilled chicken rather than raw chicken breast because when I’m lazy, which is all the time, I can just pop a fillet in the microwave and, bam, 21g of lean protein for a mere 110 calories. Or making eggs in the microwave instead of the stovetop. You get the point. Maximal adherence means less binging, less cheating, less straying from my plan. I’m also one of those people who can eat the same thing everyday and not get bored.
Another tenant of my current diet routine is to eat the foods that are easiest to determine the calories with minimal estimation. A consequence of this is that I tend to eat only food that comes prepackaged with a calorie estimate. I know there can be a 20% variance but I severely doubt my ability to e.g. make a chili from scratch and accurately track my calories each meal. I trust what’s on the package way more than my own ability to estimate foods. I just don’t have the time or energy for that. So I try to strike a balance between “clean” and “mildly clean” eating. It’s not the perfect diet. But it’s not horrible either. And it’s really really easy to follow. For me at least.
Right now my goal is to lose body fat (BF%) while either keeping my muscle mass the same or slightly growing it. At 5’10 my current weight is ~173 lbs and BF% ~25%. My waist at its widest is around 38 inches.
I am going to attempt to eat relatively low carb high protein 6 days a week and have a “cheat-day” on Saturday. I’m shooting for at least 150g of protein a day. My maintenance is probably around ~2500kcal and I’m cutting at around 1800kcal. On the cheat day I don’t count calories. Otherwise I’m counting with My Fitness Pal and strictly weighing everything out. No guessing. No estimating. If I can’t weigh it or calculate precisely, I don’t eat it (except on cheat day).
I’m lifting weights probably 4 times a week with a primary focus on legs and glutes. I squat pretty much every time I go to the gym. I’m still discovering my maxes. So far my PR for squat in my new hormonal configuration is 170. It’s hard to gain on a cut though. I’m hoping the carb cycling will help with gains and bring me closer to a recomp than a true cut.
I’m also spending a lot of time doing low intensity cardio on my at-home exercise bike. I have also recently discovered kettlebell swings and have incorporated them into my workout days. I’m contemplating doing a light set of 25lbs kettlebell swings daily for metabolism and recomp purposes but not sure if that would interfere with my recovery. I’ve seen different opinions about daily kettlebell swings depending on your goals and fitness level.
I would love to lose about 20 lbs of fat from my stomach area, increase my legs and glutes in size, and lower my BF% to reveal abs better. I have no idea what my body will look like once this mini-transformation is over. But I’m excited. I will be posting before and after pictures once I am happy with my progress, probably in like 3 months.
My aspirations for being a personal trainer are pushing me harder to get in the best shape of my life – who would want to work with a personal trainer who cannot even transform themselves? If you cannot even transform yourself where all decisions are 100% in your control – how can you expect others to want you to transform them as well? The probably is I have no guarantee my methods are going to work. Hopefully I will be able to adjust as needed as I progress. I will keep this blog updated.