Alright already... I am
giving in to the significant number of requests that I have
received by friends and family to do an article on my own
personal lifestyle change. I promise not to make a habit of
it, but I'll understand if you want to just skim though it
or pass it by completely.
So here's how it goes...
After having been an athlete most of my life, I ended up
falling into a sedentary lifestyle and packing on the pounds
(high game of over 225 pounds). I
never really realized just how much I had gained, nor did I
pay much attention to it. When I look at pictures now from
years ago, I have mixed emotions. I am still disappointed
that I let myself get so out of shape, but I am proud of the
fact that I have been able to get fit again and keep it off
(currently hovering around 189 pounds).
Not the typical "biggest loser" type
weight loss numbers... but a big change for me and personal
It's easy to get
comfortable with your body composition and I, like many
people, just kinda accepted it for a long time. I even
ignored the crappy way I felt just getting out of the bed in
the morning and the way my knees felt doing any kind of
exercise. I tricked myself into thinking it was cool to be
a "big guy" (although it was definately not a good "big").
My wakeup call came when I
had a few minor pains in my chest that I decided to get
checked out. The doctor told me that I had high blood
pressure (hypertension) as well as high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia).
Having a history of these conditions in my family didn't
help any, but I decided that I was REAL interested in being
around to see my children grow up and I wanted to do
everything that I could to contribute to that goal. The
next day I hit it hard both from the diet and exercise
angles. I dropped 30 pounds in the first 6 months,
mostly by making some basic changes and I was able to be
taken off of both blood pressure and cholesterol medication
within the year.
South Beach diet? Atkins
diet? Cabbage soup diet? NO! I mentioned before that
eating alone will make significant contributions to most
peoples weight loss goals, due to the current diet being so
poorly managed. A smart nutrition program along with
regular aerobic AND resistance exercise will create the most
impressive results and really improve your health and well
I didn't spend all day
long in a gym either. With a 2 year old daughter at home
at the time, you know I didn't have time for long
workouts. I did work out 6 days per week, but only had
time for 30-45 minutes per session. I alternated doing
aerobic exercise every other day (30-45minutes) and weight
training on the opposite days. I focused on the "quality"
of my sessions and getting my heart rate up during the
cardio while adding weight to my sets when I could on the
weight training days. The "overload principle" in
exercise performance states that beneficial adaptations
occur in response to demands applied to the body at levels
beyond a certain threshold. It is important to kick
up your intensity whenever possible while understanding
the limits of tolerance and safety.
My wife was a big help in
supporting me on my commitment, but I made the jump to
start working out in the mornings before work, while they
were sleeping, so that I did not take as much time
away from the family. AM
workouts are really tough in the beginning... but you get
used to it after a while. Start slow by promising
yourself to at least get up and ride the bike or treadmill
for 5 minutes (typical warm-up). Once you finish
that, and your body warms-up, you'll find that you are
ready for the workout.
from the exterior results,
there were a whole list of things that came along as an
added benefit of getting in shape: I felt better about
myself, I had more energy, I was able to get off of blood
pressure and cholesterol medication, and I now enjoy
substantially less knee pain than before I dropped the
wasn't easy, but if you make the decision to do it, to make
a LIFESTYLE change, it is a goal that everyone can achieve.
Years later, I have kept the weight off and turned my focus
and my studies on personal training and fitness education
so that I can enjoy helping other people exceed their goals.
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
Dive Bomber Push-ups
Shoulders, and Triceps (pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps
Count: 2 count
Description: Starting in a modified pushup position
with your butt in the air, swoop down and forward so that you pass
through a standard pushup position to a "cobra stretch" position
(1), reverse the movement back to starting position (2) for a full
So what is smart eating?
There are a great deal of minor changes that I made in my
diet so that I could drop the pounds without starving
myself. Remember - YOU MUST EAT! When you skip meals and
try to starve yourself, your body reacts by storing the food
that you do eat. Here's some of the changes that I made:
No more deep fried
foods! Try some steamed veggies on the side, or a baked
potato if you have to have that spud fix. OK, so now I
have a few chicken wings once in awhile, but I still
haven't eaten a full order of french fries in about 4
Forget about the chips
and especially the dips! Pretzels are much less
damaging and rice cakes are even better (the flavored
ones aren't bad).
Whole wheat bread
instead of white.
Substitute egg whites
or egg beaters rather than eating those yokes.
Mustard instead of
mayo. Never really liked it much, but you get used to
Portion control! Going
from 4 slices of pizza to 2 works. Cut down on
seconds. Try this: leave at least 1 bite of food on you
plate of your regular meals. Psychologically it helps
you to practice some discipline.
Get rid of the empty
calories. That means all that crap that you eat that
has no nutritional value. Candy, ice cream, cake, etc..
should only be used for a special treat... like when you
hit a fitness goal.
Drink lots of water.
Water is an appetite suppressant, essential for your
body, and helps flush your system.
Make it light!
Beer, soda, etc... If you have to have it, diet
soda and light beer have much less calories than their
counterparts. Alcohol has a lot of calories
itself, so try to limit the amount that you have in one
sitting, or the frequency that you drink. I went
from dark or regular beer to light beer and cut back on
how often I treated myself. Again... it's an
acquired taste, but you get used to it.
fat, light, or fat free foods are better alternatives
also. Hot dogs, salad dressings, there are many
foods that have light alternatives so that you don't
have to give them up all together. All I can say
is that you have to try them first. Some are
tolerable and even good... others are simply not worth
it in my opinion!
Read the labels on
the food... then decide on the best choice for that
snack or meal. Pay particular attention to the
calories and fat content and whether or not there are
It is sometimes
better to cut back by eating smart than trying to tackle
a difficult "crash-diet" that can set you up for
non-compliance, frustration, and eventually failure.
Discipline and personality will play a large part in
this decision. Know what you're are capable of but
challenge yourself to succeed!
you have it. What I did to change myself may not work for
everyone, but something is usually better than nothing!
Most people have at least some idea of what is good and what is
not too good for their diet... they just need to prioritize what
is important. Is it that brief period of enjoyment while
they are consuming some empty calories, or their health and
Here's another homework
assignment for you: for an entire week, write down
everything that you eat and drink, including portion size, and
time of day. At the end of the week, go back and review
what you have been doing and look for opportunities for
improvement. You'll find that this task in itself will
help you to understand how everything adds up and what you can
do to take control of yourself.
An excellent resource
for nutrition information, including food breakdown and
nutrition alternatives is
check it out.
Make fitness a habit that you
plan to continue for the rest of your life. It is a
healthy addiction that can benefit you in many different ways.
For prior issues of this
newsletter go to
"Remember when you see a man at the
top of a mountain, he didn't fall there."