Why am I doing this? Several reasons, really. Most importantly, accountability. Accountability to myself. I’ve spent the last 21 months getting fit (I’ve lost 45 pounds and gone from size 40 jeans to size 34’s) and improving my health. I’m not done yet, but I’m heading in the right direction. It’s a fact that you become what you spend the most time thinking about, so it’s important that my fitness is towards the top of the list of things I think about a lot. Otherwise, I’ll backslide and get back into the shape that I was in at the beginning of 2008. I know, it’s happened before. I cannot let that happen. I won’t do that to my family or myself. I’m also writing this for people like me. New parents, people who travel a lot, or people who want to improve their fitness and don’t have hours to spend in a gym to do it. I’ve learned a lot about fitness over the last 21 months from different sources and I’ll point you towards them and share as many tips and insights that I can to help out. Where I’m going with this is- You don’t have to spend hours in a gym to get the results that you’re looking for. My hope for this blog is that two way traffic happens on it. I’m looking for encouragement and fitness tips. Please feel free to post them and I hope you find them here as well.
Pick a study. Experts say anywhere from 20 -60 minutes a day, 3-7 days a week is essential. That’s a pretty wide range if you look at it. My take on it is do something physical as often as you can. 20 minutes a day 3 days a week is better than nothing. 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is better than 20 minutes/3days a week and so on. You get the picture. The better you plan your workouts, the more likely you will be to have success and reach your fitness goals.
As a Husband to a fantastic wife and Father of 2 wonderful kids, one of them brand new, I don’t have time to drive 20 minutes to the gym, workout for an hour, then drive 20 minutes home. Throw in 10 minutes to get into the gym and 10 minutes to leave the gym and that’s 2 hours. That’s why I turned to working out at home. It’s a 40 minute savings right there, just in drive time. I’ve also changed the way I workout, doing exercises that involve multiple muscle groups, upping the intensity of how I’m training and mostly trying to be more efficient in my workout time. The goal is to get more out of every second that I spend training. I’ve found ways to get in a great workout in less time than it would take me to drive to the gym in Longview and back. I’ll outline a few here and come back to them in other posts.
- Kettlebell training – nothing will give you a better workout that builds muscle and skyrockets your heart rate at the same time like kettlebells. They’re awesome – ‘nuff said.
- Interval Training – Cardio schmardio. Doing intervals with a your cardio work can produce better results in less time. I learned this from one of the people I get a lot of tips from, Craig Ballantyne. He’s the author of Turbulence Training. It’s an awesome way to work out and get the most out of your time. Click on the above link. You can get some great tips.
- Superset training involving large muscle groups. Again, you can incorporate a lot of your muscle groups at one time in your workouts. This can really rev up your metabolism and get you the results you’re looking for.
- Endurance events – It’s good to have goals. I’ve rediscovered cycling and rode in several distance events this year. I don’t plan on stopping. Cycling really clears my head. It’s very therapeutic. I’ve also started running. Didn’t ever think I’d say that willingly. I’m doing a 5k in February and another one in May of 2010.
What I’ll start out with is MOST important. It’s also one of my weaknesses, but I’m not alone in this. It’s that four letter word we all fear – DIET. Most people view diet as a verb, an action, something that we go on when we need to drop a few pounds. I think it should be thought of as a description, a way of fueling ourselves, how we eat. I think that can give us more control over what we eat, rather than having our food control us.
I’ll put this post. It’s a you tube video from Craig Ballantyne. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, but it a stunning picture of just how important diet can be. It shows how you cannot out train a bad diet. Click on this link – Diet vs Exercise Please take a look at it, it’s shocking how just a few seconds of bad eating can derail weeks of training.
Fixing your diet isn’t that complicated. It takes practice and discipline. It’s a matter of what you eat and how much you eat. Both are important. We all know, if you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight and the reverse is also true. Creating that calorie deficit is important, it’s how you lose weight. What I’ve found works well is planning and setting yourself up for success. I don’t plan my meals like I should, but I do try and keep a lot of fruit and healthy snacks around the house. If they’re visible and easily available, then they’ll most likely be what you grab when a bit of hunger strikes. Also, it may not look sheik, but taking my lunch with me to work has been great. Outside of the financial savings (about 8 bucks a day) It’s easier to pack a healthy lunch, than to stop somewhere and see what you end up with.
Eating is a struggle for me at times. I’ve had a bad month with my diet. I don’t think I’ve given up much ground the last few weeks, but I don’t think I’ve made any progress either. The most important thing to remember is don’t beat yourself up too badly if you stumble. Have a bad day, week, month with your diet or workouts? Get past it and get back on track. You can’t do anything about what you did yesterday, but you can do something about what you do from this moment forward. Get back upon that horse and ride! We can make our food choices work for us, or we can let them work against us. If your diet isn’t what is should be, make the changes. Start with small changes. If you eat a lot of fried food, burgers and junk, making an overnight switch to salads and fruit will be difficult. Make a gradual transition to better, cleaner, healthier food and less of it. Over time the better choices will become the norm and easier to choose with regularity. The goals of change will be easier to achieve if they’re manageable.