Fitness Landscaping: Me and My Dirt Spot


Most folks get right frustrated with dead spots in their lawn. I, on the other hand, have really been working at this one, nurturing it. I’ve been pouring fitness into it. In the past 33 days I’ve fed it:

355 Arm Curls @ 20lbs
460 Arm Scissors
200 Back Extensions
150 Back Stretches
440 Basic Burpees
870 Butt Kicks
130 Climbers
50 Close Grip Push Ups
1095 Crunches
100 Dead Bugs
260 Elbow Plank
200 Flutter Kicks
1680 Half Jacks
50 Half Wipers
5920 High Knees
210 Hops on the Spot
36 Jump Knee Tucks
2550 Jumping Jacks
320 Knee to Elbows
50 Leg Raise Hold
100 Leg Raises
2620 March Steps
100 Modified Leg Scissors
200 Overhead Punches
80 Plank Jacks
2660 Punches
160 Push Up to Back Extension
340 Pushup Planks
565 Pushups
820 Raised Arm Circles
260 Raised Leg Planks
200 Reverse Crunches
240 Scissor Chops
100 Side Leg Raises
260 Side Planks
1680 Side to Side Hops
210 Side to Side Steps
300 Sit Up Punches
300 Sitting Punches
210 Step Jacks
140 Tendon Leg Holds
140 Tendon Leg Raises
140 Tendon Raised Leg Swings
140 Tendon Side Leg Holds
140 Tendon Side Leg Raises
140 Tendon Side to Side Legs
55 Wide Grip Push Ups

My Fitness Program

I’ve been working for quite some time on losing weight with my target being getting to 200lbs. I lost almost 20 lbs during a stint last year but for quite some time now, I’d plateaued and even with an increase in exercise, I wasn’t losing, I was just maintaining. In addition to wanting to lose weight, I wanted to feel better and be stronger. I was also having some stomach issues and wanted to address that. After talking to my doc and doing some research I decided to change two things. One, I wanted to introduce more strength/conditioning elements to my lifestyle and two, I would finally have to get serious and honest about my diet and what I was and wasn’t eating something I’ve danced around for years.

33 days ago I kicked in the strength element. I started the DareBee 30 Day CardioTrim program. I dig the DareBee ideal and ethos. I don’t have the time or money to join a gym or do Crossfit, as much as I’d like to. DareBee is the poor man’s Crossfit. Literally hundreds of weight/equipment-free exercises and demos, plans, nutrition advice, a support community. Fun stuff. It’s great  – check it out if you’re looking for that kind of thing. I can’t recommend it enough. I know what you’re saying. 30 day program, started 33 days ago? Um, that math doesn’t add up. You’d be right. I took a day off here and there when I felt my body was saying to. I was tired. Listen to your body.

At the same time I started using My Fitness Pal to track everything I was eating. Actually I’d been using it a month before as well. This has given me great data on what fuel (or lack thereof) I’m putting into the tank as well as allow me to correlate that to how I’m feeling and how workouts are going. As a bonus it syncs with my Garmin Vivoactive activity tracker and keeps track of calories burned etc. There’s a great iPhone app (and prolly Android as well) that makes it easy to enter food or even scan barcodes anywhere, anytime. I’ve found that having a data stack to refer to both motivates and excites the geek in me to stick with the program and also keep me honest.

I’ve changed up my diet pretty radically. For the past month and a half or so, I’ve been on a – don’t laugh – shake program, and finding it works pretty well for me. One of the huge hurdles initially for me was trying to teach myself how to eat properly after literally decades of not doing so. After reading and some advice from a buddy, I’ve been using GNC Lean Protein shakes for breakfast and lunch and then eating sensible, whole food dinners. Dinners had always been pretty good at our house, Lyn is a great cook and I’ve become more involved and so have the kids. We’ve always pretty much made everything from scratch trying to use the least amount of processed crap as we can. In addition, we’re using more white meat instead of red, more fresh veggies and even trying out a vegetarian recipe here and there.

Workdays have always been the hardest for me as the temptation to get crap for lunch and/or snack on junk food all day while hammering on a computer was pretty much the norm. Having the shake routine set – in combination with smart, healthy snacks has taken the heavy lifting out of trying to figure out what to eat, was well as eliminated the temptation to fall off the deep end into the deep fat fryer. It’s not my intention to use these shakes forever, but for me they’ve been a great tool for re-learning how to eat as well as managing diet. Overall the shakes in combination with the change in diet have alleviated some persistent stomach issues I’ve been having as well.

Other small things I’ve done that everyone always talks about but do make a huge difference are drinking lots of water (I usually get about 3L a day) and not eating after 7ish at night.

Finally, I’ve continued to strive for something I set out over a year ago and that is to run or ride the bike every day. Doesn’t have to be a monster workout – sometimes it’s just a half-hour cruise, but do something. Every. Day. I’ve missed days for sure, but only 2 in a row at most.

The Progress – Has It All Been Working?

In the first week or so I lost 4lbs. That’s a lot, and I think mostly due to water weight. It was encouraging, but I realize unrealistic to think that trend would continue. Over the remainder of the month, I didn’t lose or gain, just maintained. I think this is pretty much due to diet and touch on that later. I did read an interesting article on why you shouldn’t exercise to lose weight that I found very informative. Thanks to Gewilli for the link.

My fitness is improving radically. Everyone has their own definition of what fitness is. I feel better physically and mentally. I have more energy. I feel stronger. I have less fatigue. The Mojo Tank is full.

I gots all kinds-o-progress, yo.

Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail

What’s important is that you keep driving.

Repeatedly I have to remind myself:

  1. Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. It took 30 years to put the weight on, it’s not going to come off in a week.
  2. Fitness and strength is as important as the weight loss. What you’re doing will not always have immediately tangible benefits.
  3. See #1.
  4. See #1. Again.

In this world of instant downloads, one day shipping and live streaming, I too have become impatient. Expecting to see significant weight loss returns in a matter of days is unrealistic. Keep focused. Keep with the program. Keep going. It will come.

There have been days when the last thing I wanted to do was the workout. Sometimes I would forget until almost bedtime. It would be dark. Cold. Raining. Sometimes I was able to do Level III reps and all the extra credit. Sometimes I could barely manage Level I and  be whimpering. What matters is that I did it. And I also proved to myself that I could both handle it physically AND establish it/fit it into the daily routine/schedule, the latter being something I always was skeptical about or used as an excuse.

Remember. The Spot isn’t going anywhere. The Spot is hungry. The Spot wants sweat and reps.

The Takeaways So Far: What I’ve Learned

  • Be patient. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Nothing does.
  • I’m still eating too many calories. Though I’ve definitely changed what I’m eating for the better, my snacks and meals are still too calorie-heavy. I need more green veggies and protein and less calorie/carb/fat heavy snacks. Working on it.
  • I’ve cheated on food for sure over the past month. But I’ve learned to be more conscious of what I’m eating and why. Do you really need something to eat? Or are you just bored, distracted or stressed and circling the kitchen, one of my major traps. Stay busy, stay focused on the goal. When I have urges or cravings I’m learning to stop and take a second and ask if I really need anything, and if I do, to make a smarter choice vs. acting impulsively. I’ve learned to enjoy ‘treats’ more – like a Blizzard with the Fam at DQ, but I can be ok with the mini-I don’t need the medium with extra stuff. When people want to go to Wendy’s, they have salads there too (who knew?) not just Baconator combos. An online buddy of mine, Paul told me once: “One salad doesn’t make you skinny just like one piece of pie doesn’t make you fat.” You’re trying to change habit and routine, and if you fall (or intentionally get off) the horse, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on.
  • Just because you rode 100km, doesn’t mean you should eat that many calories worth of crap.
  • Keep a journal. Don’t feel like you have to write everything in it or everyday, but have one. Maybe not for everyone, but working for me.

One Day at a Time

It really is just that ridiculously simple. I’ve realized there is no ‘end’. There is no ‘fail’. What I’m trying to do is perpetual. Organic and ever-growing. It’s now a process that will end, really, only when I finally check out. So time to keep doing it. Today.

Gotta go pick out the next DareBee 30 day program. #feedthespot

 

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