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  1. #1
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    Any heavy lifters here?

    I am in a position where my weight is affecting my quality of life. I am about 310# at 6'2" but I have a mental issue that prevents me from loosing weight. I have been a weight lifter for a number of years and put a tremendous amount of work into getting big and strong. Now I am at a point in my life where I need to get smaller and lighter. I think that the mental issue is I am afraid to not be big. Does that make sense? Has anyone here ever experienced something like that? Any tips on how to overcome this issue? I want to progress my riding to more than just trips around town but my current size and condition is preventing me from doing that. I just gotta get over that metal hump.

  2. #2
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    You probably need to realistically figure out what your mental block(s) is. Then you need to see if you are using these mental blocks as a reason to fight change. Make no bones about it, lifestyle changes are never easy and loosing weight is one of the hardest lifestyle changes there is to make. It ranks right up there with quitting smoking. The good news is thousands are successful at each change every year....

    What is your mental blocks? Are you really scared to get weaker or are you using that as a crutch to not taking on the challenge? I'm not trying to be an arse here, I'm just saying if you really want to change you need to be realistic with yourself and your goals. Perhaps you are truly scared to get weaker, if that's the case perhaps you need to figure out why you feel you need your strength? Dig down the the root cause and you can develop a plan. Making a plan without commitment has a high probability of failure.

    One thing to be sure of is that if you commit to sliming down you will loose some of your muscle and strength. Diet and change of exercise style are going to chew away at your bulk (muscle and fat.) This is something you need to recognize before you commit to taking on the lifestyle change.

    Something else to think about... 1lb of muscle burns something like 50-70 calories a day. If you're a strong powerlifter you probably have 20-30+ lbs of muscle. That's 1000+ calories your muscle is burning every day without doing anything. As you start changing your training lifestyle and your diet, you're going to metabolize some of that muscle. As that mass disappears that free 100+ calorie deficit slowly disappears. You'll have to work harder to create a calorie deficit and so the cycle continues until you get to your body's happy medium where exercise, diet, and lifestyle balance themselves.

  3. #3
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    6'2" - 315# - refrigerator body type.

    I have hated being big for a long time, felt it stopped me from doing a lot of things, and held me back psychologically, and still does. I have destroyed a large portion of my own life through intense guilt, that I still am not out of. You lift weights, dutifully, did it make you feel proud to have built something?.. accomplished something others didnt think you could? or made you feel superior for a moment against some ideal or personality? Well, at my university, I spent 4 years fighting (Seido Karate) and 2 of those years as the president of Seido Karate, sure felt good at the time. Still couldn't understand why there was a persistent psychological feeling of 'lacking' that was with me there and followed me on my way out. Is what what you're feeling?

    If we're discussing psychological issues here, then let me share something with you that helped me.

    I have read several books by Pirsig (namely what got me started was Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and he went on, through his other book (Lila), quoting Buddhist Philo-Psychological mechanisms for seeing a truer nature of things, independent of things like pride, jealousy, hatred, ego, etc.. I am not a faithey person, I'm quite a hardened agnostic, and the only reason I even bothered to look further was because Pirsig's writings dont actually have any faithey stuff.

    To make a long story short, my peaked interest led me to look into Buddhist psychological mental practice devices.. find out all those neat things like how a mediators brain emits an entirely different pattern of brain waves than a normal persons (Beta vs. the normal Alpha) .. and a whole heap of other stuff. Anyhow, further shortening the story, I found myself sitting down to meditate, about 20 minuets, every other day, and actually liking it.. read some more stuff on how to do it more mindfully, and here I am.

    Meditation is seen as different things by different people, for me it became a powerful psychological tool to understand the motives and feelings of others, and especially the self destructive nature of my own. I'm only beginning to get past pride and identities I have made for myself to defend, that held no real meaning.

    Funny side effects like unguarded natural speech, a pride subduing affinity for truth, the ability to see actions from a 3rd person perspective (removed from self-emotion), and an unusual sensitivity to any suffering I bring into other peoples worlds, were only some of the unexpected effects of just sitting my ass down for 20 minuets every other day to try and think about nothing but my own breath. They called it mindfulness, and its not some hippy relaxation tool or psychic power. (I bet you're thinking I'm skipping steps in some kind of process, I know I did, but, I'm not)


    Is being a big guy an identity for you that you feel you should defend? or build? or maintain?

    Does it feel like a loss of self? a loss of definition?




    PS: If you want to look into meditation, what it is and what its not, and what it does, how to do it, and how it feels.. there's a small book that's also given away free online by its author, as a .pdf, called Mindfulness in Plain English, I highly recommend checking it out at the link.

    PPS: I attend a group meditation weekly now. Of the Vipassana tradition (The major SE Asian one). Its like pure self-unbinding truth-promoting psychology, void of metaphysical hard-to-believery like reincarnation, karma, or vegetarianism (even though some prefer it (not me)).

  4. #4
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    Thanks to both of you. To address dontheclysdale, no, I don't think I use it as a crutch or excuse not to put out the work required to make the lifestyle change. I think that being big and strong has just become a huge (no pun intended) part of me and my identity that it is hard to let go of. I actually started on a weight loss program through my health insurance company and I lost about 20 pounds in a month by changing my diet, actually eating more per day, and doing cardio 3-4 times a week. Then a work related should injury stopped my progress and I was down several months because of surgery. I was working hard and loosing weight but still had those feelings like I was also loosing part of me. I know that I will loose muscle mass and strength when I start to loose weight. I also know that at some point when my bf % is at a good level I can start rebuilding some of that muscle and strength but I will not likely gain it all back without adding some unwanted weight too. My goal is to get to 250, 225 would be even better. I don't know, it is just something I need to get my mind around and make myself believe whole heartedly that the weight loss is in my best interest. I appreciate your comments, advise, and scrutiny.

    The Red, interesting. I have always been interested in meditation and a Buddhist type life style. I have not read too much into it however but I think I may check it out a little more and see what it is all about. I like the idea of kinda of the more mainstream not so unrealistic style of meditation. That sounds like something I might be able to try. I appreciate your info and comments as well and I will look into all of them. Thanks again, both of you.

  5. #5
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    smaller and lighter doesn't mean weaker. You should try to lose weight/fat but keep the muscle that you have worked hard to put on. Yes it's hard but...

  6. #6
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    6'1" 275lbs and have always felt the same way, well until recently. While I have always wanted to be big and strong I am trying to see that in a new light. I want to be strong and quick and fast and be able to keep it up for a long time.....IMHO the best thing I could do was view myself as weak in a sense that I couldn't run, jump or climb like I could at 215 with lower body fat. I am weak now, my knees hurt, my back aches and it pisses me off that I can't move like I used to. I am now shooting for 225-230 at 12-15% bodyfat. I think I can be happy and healthy there.

    Hope you find your inspiration soon. There are a lot of inspirational stories on here and most seem to have an interest in helping.
    Last edited by ClappR; 05-17-2009 at 06:13 PM.

  7. #7
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    That is a great way to look at it ClappR. Not sure I really saw it in those terms. That may end up helping me alot in my quest. Thanks.

  8. #8
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    Nub, when you get your weight down where you want it you'll have PLENTY of strength. I quit lifting and doing anything fitness related 6-7 years ago. I had lifted for 10+ years and had made some pretty significant gains but I just got burnt out and walked away. Last year I started lifting again. It was crazy how fast my strength came back. I was never a power lifter but I've always been strong. The first week back I was bench pressing 50lb db's for sets of 6. It was embarrassing and I almost threw up my hands and walked away. I didn't and kept on working. Four weeks later I was doing 90lb db's for sets of 6. Three months in I was throwing 120lb db for sets of 3. Similar results came from squats, military press, curls, deadlifts, etc. Be advised - PowerBlock Stage3 dumbbells are NOT for everyone. While my strength came back my hands/fingers/wrists weren't and still aren't strong enough to hold those HEAVY dumbbells.

    My point to this, don't worry about loosing your strength. You probably won't set any more personal life long lifting record but as long as you still crawl under the iron pile,you will still have LOTS of your original strength. You'll be slim and strong which is NOT a bad thing!

    Good luck to you!

  9. #9
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    crossfit.com has worked for me for the past 6months. i've not lost weight. i have gone down three pant sizes and increased almost 100# on squat+press+deadlift total. and my 1mile run time went from over10min to under 9. check it out. it's free and fun and lasts less than 30min/day.

  10. #10
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    Thanks again both of you. I will check out the crossfit for sure. I was also checking out P90X but the cost is so high. I have a friend that would probably let me borrow his though to try.

    It is hard to see your strength go. I was benching well over 400# a couple years ago but I have not lifted in a couple years. I can still put up 315# with ease though. But yeah, really there is no need other than for personal reasons to be able to lift that much. It is just a mental hurdle I have to jump. I am pretty close to it, I just wanted to see if any other folks have been in the same boat.

  11. #11
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    I think you could get down to 250 at least without losing much strength. Heck at 6'2" AHHnold was only ever around 250 in his bulking season.

    i'm the other side though, wanting to put on some more weight. but honestly being able to lift in the gym has nothing on being in good shape cardio-wise. i remember lifting in the gym 4-5 days a week but i couldn't even run a city block without being out of breath - not fun.

    So I took time off from the gym to focus on biking, and now my plan is to strike a balance between the two.

    and whether you lose some size, you are still going to be a big dude, and alot stronger than most people are.

  12. #12
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    P90X isn't bad. You will probably like it. I, uhh, got a cheap set, if you know what I mean. About like what you are referring to. I haven't tried all of it. I haven't really started yet. The day one disc was pretty good. I had a killer pump that lasted quite awhile. I need a chin up bar/lat bar to use. I ended up just doing bent over rows instead. I need that kind of strength: push-ups, pull-ups etc. Like wrestling practice was 20 or so years ago. Squatting 500+ is awesome, the way the bar bends and bounces when you stop and start but my knees can't do it anymore. I, like you, am looking for something else. Now I want to use that strength to punish a crank!

    Good luck man.

    PM me and let me know how it goes.

  13. #13
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    You're never going to be weak. I changed jobs from repairing diesel generators to more or less a desk job. I went from a 52" chest to a 48. I'm not quite as strong as I was, but I still have plenty of "retard strength" on tap. It's a lot easier to buy clothes also when you're not freakishly big. I still need talls, though.
    I like turtles

  14. #14
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    I would agree with those that have said to keep your muscle loss to a minimum. You want to focus on losing fat. You know your way around the gym so you probably don't need much help in that department. I do 3 days on 1 day off alternating cardio and lifting every other day. How does your daily diet look right now? From my experience that is where the real work is done when you want to lose weight. Healthy foods and well balanced meals. I eat 5-8 times per day. The weight just keeps coming off.

  15. #15
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    I'm late in the game on this thread, but...
    Regarding the "mental" part and not wanting to be "small" or weak: been there. For years my athletic stuff was all to be better at football and wrestling. Mostly football...tons of weights. Got OK at it. Got some free college out of it and flirted with options beyond, but just didn't have the goods. I used to consider myself pretty strong, never insane, but "strong enough" if you know what I mean. I had the mind-set of something like: I want people to regret having to hit me...I want them to find someone else to lift with 'cuz they just can't hang...and that drove how/what I did in regards to football/wrestling/weights. It worked to a large degree. Perspective though. I think of myself as weak as hell these days. On a good day I'd be able to work with 365 benching and 455 squats, 275 powercleans now...pretty pathetic compared to the good ol' days, but...when I'm out doing trailwork and moving rocks, trees/whatever and get done flipping a log and thinking: "what a weak puss I've become..." some nearby pencil-neck buddy will just say something to the effect of "holy shite bro. I couldn't budge it." Perspective.

    Ride more, eat better. That's the only "secret" to it. You want to be stronger? You lift smartly. You want to loose weight? You eat smarter...and exercise doesn't hurt. You want to be able to manual your bike? You work at it. Same thing with biking strength. Ride. Hills will make you a strong rider.

    I get the mental side. I'm a complete headcase. I just focus on fun. Riding is fun...training is not as much fun for me so I tend to just pick a ride and riding partners based on fun factor and I'll end up sweating...I ride my SS more and more to make sure I get my arse kicked even worse...it all adds up. I want folks that ride with me to think: "He sure has fun." or "That fat guy can ride!"

    If you were strong, the "old muscle" will stay and if you continue to do some type of weight bearing stuff it might surprise you. I rarely lift weights any longer (once in a while a buddy will talk me into going to a gym), it's just push-ups/pull-ups type junk now and even though I'm not very heavy (260 ish) I do enough of them that high rep sets with 225 is pretty easy still. As long as you don't ignore it, the muscle stays; some goes, but it's the "extra" or stuff you had to bust butt to get; you just of course won't be hogging all the plates or having a hell of a time finding shirts and pants.

    Stick with it and set goals/priorities. Sticking them to your fridge/mirror is amazingly powerful...the old "Rocky" technique, cheesy, but it works. Write them down...post them.

    Good luck.

    Brock...
    Last edited by ImaKlyde; 05-18-2009 at 01:39 PM. Reason: I'm dumb.
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  16. #16
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    +1 for the crossfit.

    Check out crossfitbrandx.com ... they scale the workouts down... they will kick your ass.

    I was in the same spot as you a while back. I was not quite as big but didn't want to get "smaller". As mt lifestyle moved more and more toward outdoor activities I began to realize I need to shed the pounds.

    It really hit home when I went to buy a whitewater kayak with a friend. He is your typical 170lb 6' tall guy. They pointed at about 100 different new and used boats for him to pick from. They pointed at one "possible" for me. Brand new to the tune of $1k. I barley fit ... didn't like it but was pretty well stuck. I began to realize what I wanted to do in life was more important that being "big" (note i did not say strong)

    I got into crossfit and www.mtnathlete.com workouts. I am stronger than ever and really learning what functional strength is. I can no longer bench 350+ (which is a completely usless movement in real life) but can manage my body weight so much better.

    I guess I mentally got the point where I defined strength in size in terms of what I wanted to do and how it enabled me to do it. You also have to remember that people are size will never be "small" I am small to me and still 250 (shooting for 230 with 10-12%bf). That is still bigger than most of the population in good shape.

    Jeremy

  17. #17
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    I struggled with the same issue until I changed my definition of strength. Instead of looking at maximum strength try looking at it from a strength-to-weight ratio standpoint. I played colligate football and ended my career weighing 255# with a 455# bench, 605# squat and 305# power clean. Total weight 1365#, average weight 455#, and a 1.78 strength to weight ratio. After that ended my bodyweight blew up to 270#, didnít like it, and through changing up my diet and exercise dropped to 225# (my current weight) over the course of 18 months. At this current weight I have a 420# bench, 520# squat, and a 275# power clean. Total weight 1215#, average weight 405#, and a 1.8 strength to weight ratio. So even though my total weight lifting is less I am actually pound for pound stronger than I have ever been. In addition to that I am lighter and feel a whole lot better
    Retribution Fitness: Strength, Power, and Purpose
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  18. #18
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    I hear you guys. Everything everyone is saying is helping. Right now I am actually smaller than I was a few years ago. I at one time had a 56" chest, 20" arms, 62" shoulders, 32" thighs, and wore a size 38 pants. I weight 260 and had abs. Well, a 4 pack anyways. But I lived in the weight room and like someone pointed out, I could barely run a 1/8 mile to save my life. I do have a need for some strength as I work in law enforcement but I need the fitness even more and I am starting to realize that. I am going to give the crossfit a try and I am re-joining a local gym to hit some weights again but I will be trying to refocus my efforts into a different lifting routine. Thanks again for all the stories and comments and keep them coming if anyone else has some. It will help me and hopefully help some others that may be in the same boat and me and some of you guys.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClappR
    6'1" 275lbs and have always felt the same way, well until recently. While I have always wanted to be big and strong I am trying to see that in a new light. I want to be strong and quick and fast and be able to keep it up for a long time.....IMHO the best thing I could do was view myself as weak in a sense that I couldn't run, jump or climb like I could at 215 with lower body fat. I am weak now, my knees hurt, my back aches and it pisses me off that I can't move like I used to. I am now shooting for 225-230 at 12-15% bodyfat. I think I can be happy and healthy there.

    Hope you find your inspiration soon. There are a lot of inspirational stories on here and most seem to have an interest in helping.
    I know what you are talking about. Back in the 90's I was a voracious powerlifter. Man, I could lift some big weight. While doing a super heavy squat (for me) in 98, I blew out my right knee and had to have surgery. Of course, during the recovery time I could not lift and work out like I had been doing. I have always been big but I gained 48 pounds in one month. Also found out I was extremely diabetic at the same time. My Doctor told me that I would not make it to 40 years of age if I did not change something. I was also a heavy smoker. Well, I topped out over 400lbs. When he told me that, I changed everything. I quit smoking (hardest thing I have ever done), and bought me a Trek 6000 to try and get some kind of exercise and also because the Doc told me that biking was good for knees.

    I struggled to make it past a couple of blocks, mainly on the road because the mtn bike trails were just too much at my weight and lack of being in shape. I kept at it and now I weigh 260lbs and no longer have to take diabetes medicine. Blood sugar is fine as is blood pressure.

    Honestly, when the weight lifting was taken from me, I had some severe depression. The high I got from lifting was addicting and since I wasn't getting it anymore, I felt like crap. However, I kept trying to ride further and further and what do you know? I started getting the same type of high from riding. Now, my knees are still bad but the act of losing a lot of weight made them feel better than they have in years. And my lungs are clear.

    I have three MTB's and a road bike and ride them all as much as I can. I am starting to tour on the road bike because now I can. The longest I have ridden on an mtb is 35 miles of SE singletrack. I have ridden on the road 50 miles fully loaded with no problems other than achy knees (because I am old) Anyway, keep riding, you will soon feel much better than you ever did while lifting.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster
    I hear you guys. Everything everyone is saying is helping. Right now I am actually smaller than I was a few years ago. I at one time had a 56" chest, 20" arms, 62" shoulders, 32" thighs, and wore a size 38 pants. I weight 260 and had abs. Well, a 4 pack anyways. But I lived in the weight room and like someone pointed out, I could barely run a 1/8 mile to save my life. I do have a need for some strength as I work in law enforcement but I need the fitness even more and I am starting to realize that. I am going to give the crossfit a try and I am re-joining a local gym to hit some weights again but I will be trying to refocus my efforts into a different lifting routine. Thanks again for all the stories and comments and keep them coming if anyone else has some. It will help me and hopefully help some others that may be in the same boat and me and some of you guys.
    I'm glad to see you're finding encouragement from this thread. Too often I see people post online to get their feelings out but then to never return or seem to care about the responses they get. Losing weight isn't as easy as it is to gain it. I've dealt with weight issues my whole life and only in the past year have I really done anything about it. But I can tell you from personal experience that we can do amazing things when we put our mind to it. And I am sure that if you get yourself in the right frame of mind and get into a comfortable exercise schedule & diet that you'll be able to meet your goal.

    When hitting the gym don't overlook the elliptical machine. That helped me a lot especially during this past winter when I was couped up inside my house. Also, spinning classes can help jumpstart your conditioning for biking. Maybe check that out if your gym offers. And don't overlook things like yoga. Try it in your home if you're uncomfortable about it. It's done wonders for my flexibility.

  21. #21
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    People really have covered the bases here - all I can say is good luck in your pursuit and share my story and what I'm doing.

    I'm 6'2/285 right now. No idea on body fat percentage.

    The lightest I've been in adult life was 6'3 (had a back injury and lost an inch!) and 235lbs at 7% body fat. At that point it was entirely due to biking, and I had absolutely no upper body strength.

    I've never been in better shape in my life than right now. I lifted heavy for a year or so before injuries side lined me, and at that point I weighed 250lbs. I felt great - strong in the gym and in decent shape cardio wise... Then my weight balooned to 300lbs and its been a struggle just to get to 285. Diet changes got me down to my current weight, and then I started working with a personal trainer.

    That made the biggest difference. He specializes in endurance training for athletes in general but especially MMA fighters (of which I'm not). Much of my training is body weight training or light weight kettle bell type training. It follows along the crossfit type training methods. For the first time in my life I'm not far from doing a pull up. My core is solid and those back problems? Gone. I can climb hills on my bike like never before and I'm running a mile a day ... something that was unheard of even in my peak fitness days. I haven't lost any weight and I still wear a size 40 pant but I'm stronger, faster, and can endure much longer than before. At 235lbs I wore a size 38 pant. I'm no body builder, size wise, and I can't lift big numbers, but as someone said earlier, I have so much more control over my body and my strength is now useful strength instead of a 700lb leg press that I'll never use.

    My blood pressure hovers around 122/64. No signs of any diabetes or any other weight-related problems.

    I'd like to be lighter and thinner simply because it'd make the triathlon I'm training for a lot easier, but physically I've never felt better. Try not to set an arbitrary number as a goal - if you say you want to weigh 225lbs but only get to 245 and feel amazing, will you be disappointed? Start with 5lbs. Then 5 more lbs. Then 10lbs. Eventually you'll get to where you're comfortable with how you feel, how you look, and your strength level, and you'll know that that is where you want to be but again, try not to get stuck there. Your body may want to be 10lbs lighter. Keep doing what you're doing and enjoy your life no matter your size.

    Its all easy to say, but I can't do it for you, so all I can do is offer some words. Good luck and keep us posted. I've known a lot of guys that are afraid of being small after being power lifters for several years. Its not an easy thing to over come, but once you do you'll never look back.

  22. #22
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    this part of my training I'm 6'7" 325

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fbke7nGujQA


    at 45 I'm trying to lift at train my way to a lighter me

  23. #23
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    one big change i made in college was backing off in the weight room and doing more dynamic stuff. after i partially tore, but before finishing off my acl, i played spring and summer rugby for a few seasons in addition to football in the fall. the different between it and football was huge. i ran with a more upright stance, hits are not as sharp, and i didn't stop moving for 40 minutes at a time. after my 1st acl was shot i trained in jujitsu for about a year, and really enjoyed it.

    getting fat after the second acl then a broken back from a motorcycle wreck took me out of it for a while but i'm working back toward doing something more dynamic/balance/mid endurance. right now that's skiing in the winter, enduro riding and mtn biking after a 6 year hiatus. i'm hoping to start capoeira sometime soon.

    for me there's something very satisfying to having (read: working back toward) a bulletproof core and moderate endurance and it feels far more sustainable. every 10 or so lbs of weight i drop makes my knees feel a few years younger. a big entertaining bonus to working on balance and core is i can throw my friend around who is the same size as me (6'4", 265) who lives in the gym and would embarrass me on the bench or doing squats.

    Mike

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