Fitness

Belated Health Update!

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile. I guess I’ve settled into a routine, and with routine comes overlooking things like updating my blog about my routine. But I need to make an effort to update this more often, or at least settle into the habit of writing once a week, because I have some very cool things coming up over the next few months and I’ll want to write about them. More about those when I can lift the veil of secrecy.

So, health. As you might remember, I started this fitness/nutrition odyssey at 216 pounds and 34% bodyfat. Today (I weigh in each and every Sunday, and only on Sundays), I am 178 pounds and 19.7% bodyfat. I used to wear size 38 jeans, and now my 34’s are so loose that I’ll probably need to buy 32’s soon. My bench press has gone from roughly 115 pounds to (an estimated) 190 for one max rep, though I am not entire sure that is accurate since I haven’t maxed out yet. But I did four sets of four reps yesterday with 165 pounds, any my trusty little iPhone app tells me that means I can probably do one rep of 185 without killing myself.

More importantly, I can see drastic changes in my body. Like, huge. My shoulders are developing. My back is gaining a nice v-shape. My pecs are, well, pecs, as opposed to the boobs they used to be. My legs are stronger from front to back and top to bottom.

And I’m not the only one who can see the changes. When people who haven’t seen me in awhile see me now, they usually react. Two days ago, a buddy of mine said “dude, where’s the rest of you?” And on the same day, another said “how much weight have you lost, about 60 pounds?” And while that is flattering, I’ve only actually lost 38 pounds. But I am also aware that 38 pounds is something special.

But my weight is no longer my driving goal. My ultimate goal now? Get my bodyfat under 10%. Once I get there, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it there. That takes a lot of work. It’ll take a lot of work to get there. But I want to get there at least once, just to be able to say I did it. I started at 34% and as of today I’m at 19.7%. Another 9.8% shouldn’t be too difficult. And my trusty app (BodySpace from Bodybuilding.com, and seriously, it is the best) says I should be able to get there by January at the pace I’m going. It would be nice to be under 10% for the summertime. That won’t happen this year. But I can tell you that, where I’m currently at, I won’t feel stupid taking my shirt off at a pool this summer. Correction: I won’t feel stupid taking my shirt off at a pool, so long as I’ve manicured my chest hair into something tolerable. 

Here’s what I’m currently doing to try and achieve those results.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that I wasn’t recovering from lifting the way I needed to. I was so sore, in fact, that it made me want to not work out. And that was not acceptable, so I started doing some research and talking to smart people, and that research and those smart people told me I probably needed to up my daily intake of carbs and protein. Before, I was really only getting my carbs from veggies, because I avoided grains like a good paleo boy should. But something wasn’t working, and so I took their advice. And my sister was doing the macro thing and experiencing good results, and the people at my old Crossfit gym in Katy are doing the macro thing and experiencing good results. So I figured, yeah, I’ll give this a shot.

So I measured my current bodyfat and weight lean muscle mass using the InBody machine at Lifetime Fitness (an awesome machine if there ever was one). I calculated my macros and figured out my daily targets for carbs, fats and protein. I started eating with the intention of coming as close to those numbers as I could, and I came close. Within two days, I noticed that my post-workout soreness was dramatically reduced. I could tell that I’d worked out, but I wasn’t confined to the couch in agony.

Changing up the diet meant adding grains back into my meal plans, which I did in the form of English muffins as an afternoon snack. Because, let’s face it, English muffins are delicious. I toast them and top them with 1 tbsp of fat free strawberry cream cheese.

I also wanted to start getting a majority of my targeted 2,034 calories in before dinner, to help with recovery and so that I’ve burned most of the carbs by the time I go to bed. For breakfast, I do a bowl of oat bran with 1 tbsp of Justin’s honey peanut butter, a small handful of blueberries and a few drops of liquid Stevia for sweetening. I also do one cup of green tea with no sweetener and 16oz of black coffee.

Lunch is where I get most of my calories, carbs, etc. I work out mid-morning nearly every day, and so I want lots of fuel for my body. I typically make something I’m calling my “power salad,” which consists of: 8oz chicken breast, kale, cucumber, avocado, quinoa and a touch of Trader Joe’s cilantro salad dressing. It has roughly 900 calories, lots of carbs, fat and protein.

For dinner, I go lighter: usually either a chicken breast or thigh and some veggies.

My snacks throughout the day are apples, string cheese, carrots and the aforementioned English muffin.

As far as supplements go, I take 5g of BCAA 45 minutes prior to my workout and then another 5g halfway through my workout. After the workout, I do a protein shake. That’s it. No more supplements.

The workout program I’m doing is Marc Megna’s AMP program, which is both awesome and the devil at the same time. It’s “aesthetics meets performance” and is an 8-week program designed to make you look good while also increasing functional strength. I am starting week 6 tomorrow. I love this program.

That’s about it, I think. That’s a full update on my quest, along with everything I’m doing to get there. I don’t know if it will help anyone else out there, but if it does, I will be glad. Because, look: if I can do this, anybody can. I have spent an entire lifetime not doing anything remotely physical or healthy. Over the course of six months, I have changed that quite drastically, and changed the rest of my life in the process. If you’re out there and thinking about starting something like this, or thinking about getting your health in order, I just have one thing to say: Just. Do. It. Go to the gym and do it. Right now. Don’t put it off. Because if you put it off for a day, you can easily put it off for over 20 years like I did.

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