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Last Friday I turned 32.

A few days before hand that number really bothered me. I couldn't place my finger on why, though. That feeling subsequently faded the day before and hasn't plagued me since. There could be a couple of reasons this has happened.

Last year after my 31st birthday I had made a comment to myself that I was not going to weigh over 250 lbs by my 32nd birthday. I really didn't get the ball rolling until after the 1st of the year but I blew that goal away and had lost over 45 pounds more than I had set my goal at. The week before I was well over 50 pounds but as I chronicled here I met with an unfortunate dessert tray incident (repeatedly).

Unfortunately I gained over 9 pounds for a two week binge. Fortunately the binge only lasted two weeks and served to reinforce how vigilant I must remain toward my health. It has allowed me to decide that a cheat meal one day per week, usually on a Saturday, will be my choice instead of a cheat day.

The important measure is coming up this weekend. I'm getting one of the owners of the gym I use to do a body fat measurement. He's not only been a pro body-builder so he's trained them as well. I will have great confidence in the measurement I get. My scale currently shows my bf% at 23% but one of the other gym rats said he thought I looked more like 16-18%. I'm eager to find out.

For the first time in my life I did a pull-up. Actually I did 3 unassisted. Thinking this was a fluke, I tried it again the next day and did 4. Feeling my oats I decided to try dips. Imagine my surprise when I could knock a couple of those out as well. I was ecstatic to the point of nearly being moved to tears. Tough men don't cry? Hell yes we do!

Another thing happened while I was taking my parents out to eat when I was back home at one of our local restaurants. As I finished paying the bill and let my parents go ahead of me one of the women beside our booth was noticeably checking me out. I mean the whole nine yards of looking up and down. Then I notice another girl from the corner of my eye doing the same as I'm walking out. I take note of what I had on, black t-shirt and jeans, and think I must wear this more often. Next to knowing you feel and look good there's nothing quiet like knowing that you're being checked out.

One of my co-workers had suggested that I do a brown bag sit in at work. That is tell my story to everyone and what I've done. I'm in serious consideration of doing this at this point given the amount of stress that is culminating at work due to our merger. One of the sales reps had asked me if I would meet up with him sometime and give him the low down. I told him I'd be glad to as he's helped me out in the past and vice versa. I think it would be neat to tell my story to the people around me and they get inspired enough to do something about their own health.

I have a B.S. and a M.B.A. but neither of them stack up to what I've done with myself over the last year. Intellect has always come easy to me. I was always a book worm. I thought I was strong in mind but weak in body. Every inch of fat I lost and every inch of muscle I've gained has been a battle. I have succeeded more times than I have failed. I have beaten the odds. Every inch I've gained or lost has been mine. It has been acquired through blood, sweat and tears. I alone hold that precious thing I have given myself. I have gleaned knowledge from those before me but I have applied it wholly as myself. Rollins was right when he said, "when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts".

At 32 I am in the best shape of my life. I am not only in the best shape, but I feel the best I ever have, I look the best I ever have, and I live the best I ever have (outside of the time I had no responsibilities and could play at leisure with my Transformers).

And yet I almost weep with joy because I know the best is not yet to come, but it is here in the now and that I can have the best everyday I chose to.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you're a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

Amen, Henry. Amen.

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