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Viking Dad Bod 2023: Week 3

On March 8, 1971, World Heavyweight Champion "Smokin'" Joe Frazier defended his title against the GOAT -- Muhammad Ali -- in a fight that was billed as the Fight of the Century at NYC's Madison Square Garden. At that point in his career, Ali was professionally undefeated but had suffered a setback thanks to his objection to the Vietnam War and his refusal to be drafted into the U.S. Army. Formal charges were filed against him at the federal level and personal charges were filed against him by "patriotic" Americans and deplorable racists all over the country.

For three years, Ali struggled to get his boxing license back after it had been revoked by boxing commissions domestically. He had also lost his passport and his World Championship title, leaving him unable to fight anywhere in the world and with no title to defend. Fortunately for Ali, for the sport of boxing and for sports fans worldwide, he climbed his way back, first getting a license to fight Jerry Quarry in Atlanta then Oscar Bonavena in New York City.

And it all happened because of growing excitement at the possibility of an Ali-Frazier fight.

Ali went the full 15-round distance with Frazier but ultimately lost in a unanimous decision in favor of the Champion. Both men took an incredible beating and a check for $2.5 million. After the fight, the successful defending Champion spent weeks in the hospital while the defeated challenger was back at his hotel the next day. The press were foaming at the mouth wanting to get a statement from the loser and to get photos of the once-champion in his broken state. And when Ali's team intended to turn them all away so he could rest, Ali encouraged them to come see him, to talk to him and to depict him in the media exactly as he was.

He wasn't afraid of the embarrassment of being defeated after talking so much, nor was he ashamed of how he'd performed. Instead, Ali wanted the people to see how he responded to defeat. A real champion doesn't lay down after a defeat, they come back harder and stronger, something he proved by winning 25 of his next 29 fights -- victories over such names as Buster Mathis, Floyd Patterson, George Foreman and Joe Frazier two more times. He would go on to win the WBA, WBC and The Ring Heavyweight Titles before his retirement.

Ali's accomplishments surpassed all boxers before him, during his time and arguably ever onward. He wasn't an undefeated boxer (56-5 professionally, 0-3-2 in scored exhibition fights), but his drive to be the best is what made him the Greatest. His failures didn't define him, his persistence did. Nature didn't give him his skill -- his dedication to his craft did. Nobody worked harder than Muhammad Ali.

I tell this story as I'm about to wrap up his book The Greatest: My Own Story because it's a great example for everyone to follow. We have a tendency to throw our hands up and quit after our first failure at something. But the fact is, Ali truly wanted to be the Greatest so every time he stumbled, he learned from the experience and came back strong. He had all the odds stacked against him at one point yet he came back better than ever despite it all. If you have a goal that you give up on at the first sign of adversity or after your first setback, you never really wanted that goal in the first place. Stop wasting your time pretending.

If you want something, you're going to work until you get it regardless of how many times you fall off or how many battles you have to fight. That's how greatness is achieved. That's how goals are crushed. That's how you go down in history as the best.

Anyway, enough philosophy. Let's get on to the week, shall we?


Some Things I’ve Learned / Observations From Week 3:

  • You know that meme where the muscles are saying “We weak today” despite being able to lift a heavier weight the week before? That happened to me this week on the bench press. In the first week I had chosen what I thought was my 4x6 weight but it was too heavy so I did 2x6 at the heavy weight, then dropped 20 pounds for 2x6. On Week 2 I did the same heavy weight for 3x6 then dropped 20 pounds for 1x6. This week I was going for the full 4x6 at the heavy weight but my body decided we weak, apparently. I had to do 2x6 at the heavy weight then 2x6 after dropping 10 pounds. I guess that’s still technically an improvement. I don’t know.

  • My first run of the week was harder than I anticipated. The intervals are longer and it’s designed to get more challenging as your endurance grows but I huffed and puffed harder than I would have liked. Good news is the run gets easier each day you do it so I’m hoping it continues in that fashion.

  • The We Weak theme continued on Wednesday. I added a measly five extra pounds to my T-Bar Rows and my body acted like I had added another 45. I did two sets before my form broke down so I took the five off and shamefully put it back on the rack before finishing my sets.

Some Things I’m Changing Moving Forward:

  • I haven’t been stretching at all. I did on the first day but that’s it. I always have good intentions of doing it either after the workout or while we watch TV at night. After the workout, however, I’m ready to load up and head home and by the time it’s TV time I’m too lazy to get on the floor. To remedy this, I’m adding stretching to my daily to-do list that I’ve been using to remember my other daily goals: study Italian, read, play music, workout, text my mom and drink water first thing in the morning.

  • My goals are going to be changing significantly. I no longer have a weight-loss goal. More on that on the one-month update next weekend.

Highlights of the Week:

  • Blood pressure on Tuesday morning was 167/112 – the lowest it’s been yet!

  • I scared the hell out of a man while running at the park on Tuesday morning. He called out to his Savior when he saw me and dropped his still-burning cigarette on the concrete. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know how I overthought this entire scenario.

Weekly Stats:

  • Weight: 235.4 Pounds (0.6 pounds gained from last week, 0 pounds lost total)

  • Blood Pressure as of January 27, 2023: 167/115 Stage 2 Hypertension (down from 176/116 Stage 2 last week, down from 180/117 Stage 3 at the start)

I'm excited to bring you next week's update because I feel like my body composition is already changing for the better. The bodyweight hasn't changed but I can feel a change in other places -- clothes are already fitting a little differently, I'm feeling stronger, looking stronger and feeling healthier in general.

Thanks for following along here as we've officially hit the one-quarter mark in the program! Let's see just how far we can take this over the next nine weeks!

Ever onward,


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