As I Put Off My Workout With a Rambling Blog Post…

by Steve Mitchell

I mentioned, in yesterday’s post, I wan’t to be all fit and buff when I turn 50.

That gives me six months.



I haven’t, really, specifically, defined my goals (other than joking I want to achieve the look of an athlete who’s let himself go.)

And I’m not, really, specifically, inclined to put much more work into achieving those ill-defined goals.

And I’m not, really, currently, fit or buff.

Ahh, boy.  This isn’t a recipe for success.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m reasonably trim.  I’m reasonably fit.

I can do a pull-up, for crying out loud!

At least, I thought I was reasonably fit.

Then I went and bought a body fat/muscle measuring device by a company called Skulpt.  It’s the Skulpt Chisel.  With it, you can specifically measure several different muscle groups and determine your overall muscle quality and your overall body fat percentage.

I bought it because online reviews said it was a pretty accurate body fat tester, not the most accurate, but more accurate than calipers or scales, and I wanted to know whether I was gaining or losing fat or muscle when my weight changed.

It’s too easy to think to yourself, Self, maybe this weight gain is muscle from all the working out!  Yeah, it’s probably muscle!

Pro tip:  It’s probably not muscle.

Anyhow.  Ill-defined goals aside, I want more muscle for health and for vanity.  So, I’ve started progressive, body weight training, with a focus on building overall muscle strength and mass.

And I’m slowly, sloooowly, gradually, oh-so-gradually, examining and adjusting my diet to help with that goal.

And, now, I’ve got another tool (besides how my clothes fit and the scale) to get feedback on my progress.

I’ve measured myself with the Skulpt and, while my body fat percentage isn’t amazing, it’s pretty good for a guy nearing fifty.  It’s in the healthy range of average.  I can, hopefully, shave a few points off the percentage.  That’s encouraging.

But, my muscle quality?  Sheesh!  The device uses a 0-100 point scale broken into the following ranges –  needs work, fair, good, fit, and athletic.

I measured a solid fair.


All the exercising I’ve done over the years and I don’t even rate good?  Years and years!

That was depressing.

What can you do, though?  You have to start somewhere.  As depressing as it was, I’m at least happy I’m not in the needs work range.

And, it’s oddly motivating.  Without consciously trying to, I’ve started exercising with more intensity.  It’s very easy to take shortcuts.  It’s very easy to convince yourself you’re working harder than you are.  It’s very easy to not push hard.  Now I have a fair designation always nipping at my heels.  It pushes me.

Okay.  But, I digress.

Let me think about this.  What do I really, really want?

I want to be healthy.  Sure.

Also, at 50, it’d be awesome to look like a fitness model or an olympic athlete.  But, in order to look like that, I’d have to train like that and eat like that and live like that.  In order to look like a high performance athlete, I’d have to be a high performance athlete.

I don’t really, really want to do that.

I need goals closer to my desired lifestyle.  Here’s where I’ll start.  I’ve got six months before I turn fifty.  In those six months, I want to:

  • lose two inches off my waistline, back down to 36 inches. (I was there a year ago but put the inches back on)
  • drop my total body fat percentage from it’s current range of 20-22 percent to about 18 percent
  • up my muscle quality into the good range! (or even the fit range – dare to dream!)


Six months.

I’ll let you know how it goes.