| AGE 40
WEIGHT 203 lbs
BODY FAT 20%
| AGE 41
WEIGHT 175 lbs
BODY FAT 5%
Why I Got Started
Once again, May 2011, I found myself not being able to control my eating habits and the scale kept creeping up. I started getting more involved in powerlifting because to me the more I weighed the more I could lift.
I was using powerlifting as an excuse, crutch, to eat unhealthy and soon my weight climbed backed up to, at one point, 235 pounds. Soon I lost all motivation to lift or eat healthy anymore and walked away from something I loved doing. Three months passed and, though my weight was down, it was not due to working out or eating healthy.
In May I looked in the mirror and just shook my head at what I let myself become again, after struggling so hard to lose the weight and get healthy previously; so I was back where I started. I need a goal, something to focus my attention on and to keep myself accountable in order to make this change.
I am not one who can just say I want to lose weight or gain muscle and it happens. I need an end goal, a timeframe I have to meet or else this would not happen. There was a bodybuilding show in November I decided to enter and this would be my end goal, my motivation.
Going on stage in little shorts in front of hundreds of people has a way of making you push a little harder and keeping in check.
How I Did It
One thing I knew most definitely is that things would have to progress slowly and I could just not walk back into the gym and expect to lift 5-to-6 times per day plus do cardio.
I approached this as if I never worked out before and made small little goals to start. My goal the first week back in the gym was just to get in a couple of lifting sessions and start cleaning up my diet slowly. From there I kept adding in gym sessions and cleaning my diet up until I was back in the gym 5-to-6 times per week, this took me about one month since I was just trying to build the habit back up.
Around the 4th week back is when I started adding in cardio and even this I kept low. My goal to start was 60 minutes per week and from there I built it up to at one point being close to 1,000 minutes per week. I tried to spread the sessions up in as many 30-to-40-minute blocks as I could.
I have a very non-active lifestyle outside of the gym and one thing that occurred to me was that cardio could be just taking my dog for a 30-minute walk each day or a couple of times per day. Cardio did not have to be in the gym or outside running, but as long as I was burning more calories than just sitting there it was a plus.
My diet I had to approach a little different this time because of my faith. In the month of August I fasted from sunrise to sunset. This was the most trying part and the hardest thing I have every done in my life. How I made it through August, especially working 6 days per week is still to this day beyond me.
We all find our greatest strength in the face of adversity and maybe that was the case for me. During August I really did not have a strict diet since that month was all about surviving and just trying to get my calories in and eat whole food as much as possible. After August I went back on a normal diet but this time really did not stress about eating every 2-to-2 1/2 hours or missing a meal or two during the day.
Trying to follow the 6-to-8 times per day plan in the past always lead me to failure and one thing I did experience, and learn, was that the human body is the most beautiful, incredible creation ever and it has a way of adapting to whatever you throw its way, within reason of course. I focused the best I could on my diet but did not put any more undue stress upon myself.
Probably the most important thing I learned during this is that the perfect diet is one that works for an individual and one that the person can follow day-in and day-out. We all have different factors in our lives that add stress when trying to lose weight and what works for one could have quite the opposite effect on another.
Cardio would be done pre-workout and post-workout for about 20 minutes each and I would also try to do early morning and late evening session for a little bit. For me, splitting up cardio this way made it easier and a little more bearable to do.
I always do light cardio sessions, LISS, just because I find them relaxing and a way to release stress.
Decline Crunch (Weighted)3 sets 12-15 reps
Suggestions For Others
The one most important thing I learned doing this is to try to find a diet and workout plan that fits around your life and not the other way around. In the past I would try to make my life fit my diet and workouts and this only lead to frustration and failure. Finding the balance, like anything in life, is the most important thing for an individual wishing to make a change.
One should make a diet and workout routine that fits their life and works for them as individuals and not the other way around. It should be enjoyable to get healthy and fit, and not something you dread doing and do not look forward to doing.
Start out slow with your diet and workouts and find the happy medium where your fitness goals are worked around your life and not you life worked around you fitness goal.
Make small goals to reach for and be specific about it and not just say "I want to lose weight" but instead say "On X date I want to weigh this much" or "On X date I want to lift this much."
Definitive goals help one to focus more and lets you go back and evaluate where you may have succeeded or failed. So many times most of us think cardio has to be in the gym or outside running, but taking a nice evening walk with loved ones or a bike ride is just as good if not better since you are spending time with your loved ones and burning calories!
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