Name: Blake Hegarty
Weight: 185 lbs
Body Fat: 29%
Shirt Size: XL
Weight: 153 lbs
Body Fat: 7%
Waist: 29 1/4"
Shirt Size: Medium
Why I Got Started
Like so many here, after seeing some pictures of myself at Thanksgiving I could not believe the person in the pictures was me. What happened to the thin and fit young man I used to know?
Had the comforts of marriage, family and career lulled me into a false sense of complacency? I knew I had to make some serious changes in my life for my health and for those I loved. Maybe my efforts would inspire them to choose a path of health and fitness as well.
I was also a smoker who had quit several times before and always ended up putting on fat and then used that as an excuse to resume smoking. Funny thing was, I never seemed to lose the fat when I started again.
There was another important consideration. I am a vocational rehabilitation counselor. My life's work is helping individuals with disabilities enter into, retain, or advance to gainful employment. I demand a full commitment from those with whom I work.
Many have significant pain and physical challenges to overcome such as paralysis, amputations, and all forms of orthopedic, cognitive and mental illness concerns.
How could I ask my customers to make challenging life commitments when I was not wiling to do it myself? If I demanded that my customers challenge their physical and mental limits, shouldn't I lead by example by challenging my own?
How I Did It
My first concern was not to gain a bunch of fat as I quit smoking. I knew I had to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy one. I chose to aggressively commit to cardio training first thing in the morning.
I figured if I was gasping for breath I sure wouldn't want a cigarette. I started slowly with just 15 minutes (which seemed like a marathon) or so 7 days per week and then build up to 45 minutes to an hour. This also helped with expelling the poison from my lungs.
I also had to learn about nutrition, portion sizes, calories, protein, fat, and carbs and how they reacted with my body. This site and particularly the over 35 forum provided me with a wealth of nutritional knowledge and information.
As soon as I was confident that I beat smoking I knew I had to resume weight training to build my body and make lasting meaningful changes. I avidly trained when I was younger with moderate success.
I used many different methods and was always disappointed that I could not achieve the muscle mass so many people had who never even trained. Now that I am older I fully understand and accept what a critical role genetics plays and that while many of us may never get big enough to compete, we can certainly become the best our genetics have to offer.
That is really what this journey is about, a transformation of self. I had all the equipment I needed rusting away in my basement acting as shelving and clothing racks. So it was time to get to work!
This varied as I was learning and my goals changed. Initially while dieting my meals generally looked like this.
When I added weight training and was still dieting I added a glucose and creatine post-workout and gradually increased my calories and protein while somewhat limiting carbs.
Now that I am trying to add mass my diet is significantly different: I think it is important to mix things up to keep from getting bored and to enjoy the foods you eat. I always have a macro goal in mind but like to choose different ways to get there.
Since I train first thing in the morning whole foods are just not a viable alternative. On the weekends I have whole foods in the morning instead of the shakes.
I have used many forms of training and like to use a system until I have consistent sticking points and then like to transfer to another style this usually seems to take about 6 months for me. All of my training methods have one common principal, a double progressive philosophy. If you are not adding weight or reps, you are just spinning your wheels.
My current program is an upper/lower exercise split in the style of DoggCrapp but utilizing more volume and not progressing to absolute failure. 10 minutes on the bike for warm-up and then 4 sets of 10 reps or to technical failure.
- 1 hour of steady state cardio
Thursday: Upper 2
Saturday & Sunday: Rest
Monday: Upper 3
Tuesday: Lower 3
Suggestions For Others
You have to believe in yourself, even in the face of criticism and challenges. Do not let other people's inadequacies or guilt keep you from improving yourself.
You will most likely face a lot of resistance, not just from challenging yourself but from family, friends and co-workers who intrinsically know you are doing the right thing but who are not willing to put forth the effort themselves.
It is easy to get fat and stay unfit, to make poor food choices, to stay in bed, to come up with a thousand excuses why you do not have the energy or some nagging injury that prevents you from living a healthy life. Keep going, the process is the reward, not the destination.
You have the power to make a dramatic difference in your life and the lives of others. Take hold of your dreams in all areas of your life. Do not let fitness overwhelm but just be a part of the whole. Love, learn, play and grow.
I need to say one more thing. The people on this transformation page and this forum have been an inspiration. What they have accomplished is so much more than anything I have done. I am truly humbled by their accomplishments.
I have received an incredible amount of encouragement and support in the over 35 section and in the over 35 journal section. Being able to belong to a community of like-minded adults has been a tremendous reward.