101 Days &16lbs later…

So about two months ago I gave you my back story and ended with these wonderful before and after pics of me in 2011 when I decided to get my act together and go for it. I had found some of that fire, that drive: I did not want to deal with Meniere’s Disease anymore, I had to be stronger than it was.

So, what did I do?

P90x? Nope.

Any of Shaun T’s programs? Nope.  (Say, whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!? No seriously, I didn’t.)

TaeBo? Pilates? Shake-Weight? Nope. Nope. NO!

Wanna know? I assume you do because you’ve read this far! Ok…here goes, this is what I did:  I exercised and I made positive food choices. Seriously!

Yes, I will get to the “specifics” of what I did in a minute, but seriously, there isn’t a magic pill! It’s all about getting up off your ass, making the hard and more positive choices and sticking with it! It is a learned and ever-being-learned lesson in my life. You must make the choice to keep moving forward, to do something, to fight the urges to give up and quit. Sometimes you need to get fed up with where you have let yourself get to. More on that another time.

Find out what is “worth it” for you

What do you want to do or keep doing that will make paying the price of admission to the halls of self-discipline and transformation “worth it” to you?

It’s hard, Dads and Moms out there, it’s hard, but it is so worth it! Being able to run up and down the playground with your children is worth it. Being able to rough-house and keep up with the grandkids instead of looking on from your easy chair, sucking air from a canister and unable to do something about it is worth it. Being out and about, active and enjoying life with your family is worth it. Not being a slave to the sickness, medications and having your Doctor’s say you just have to “live with” is worth it!






Positive Food Choices

So, did you notice how I said that I stuck with positive food choices instead of saying that I went on a diet? I like the way this excellent article over at BodyBuilding.com puts it:

Somewhere in the last few decades, people everywhere began to confuse a healthy diet with “dieting.” A healthy diet is balanced and can be altered or customized to achieve specific goals without becoming unhealthy. Dieting, on the other hand, is simple deprivation in the name of fat loss, and with it often comes physical weakness, unhappiness, and a decline in athleticism.

Very, very often, the two are confused, which is why I usually use words like “food choice” or “plan”. Diets suggest “fad”, diet suggests “try it and quit in two weeks if I don’t drop 30lbs”, diet suggests “failure”. Diet is about as cliché’ as joining a fitness club on New Years Day. Whereas a food plan or choice is something you are consciously doing, you have a specific goal in mind, you have a purpose and a why. It is deliberate. Your food choices help support, strengthen and back up your reasons why is it worth it to you.

Steve Kamb over at Nerd Fitness has a great way of putting it when it comes to making positive food choices. Instead of saying no because you are on a diet, you just say “I don’t X”, whatever X is right now. You don’t drink soda. You don’t eat donuts. People will assume “Oh, you are on a diet?” when you don’t pitch in for the Monday morning office donuts or the mid-day treat run. And you simply say “No, I no longer eat donuts because I am tired of how it makes my body feel.”. People will bribe you, tease, criticize, and generally not understand. Crabs in a bucket, people, crabs in a bucket.

YOLO, they may say. Exactly. You only live once. We prefer to live this one time without prescription drugs, high obesity and an inability to do the things we would love to do because we aren’t healthy enough to do them.

You only live once.

It’ll take some “reprogramming” in your brain, hacking into the Matrix of life and learning a few “life hacks” at restaurants to solidify a lot of your food choices, but you can do it. Again, it is worth it.

Hopefully you get the point, food choice is important. Depending on your goals, the food choices you make will be 85-95% of your success in the gym or where ever you decide to work out. Positive fuel + positive work = positive results. I’m still on the path, I’m still learning and adjusting, but it is worth it.

O.K., enough with the food choices, thank you for staying with me. Let’s get to the physical side of things!

 “Circuit Training”

There is probably a more technical term for this. I’m sure I read it once or a million times, I don’t know. But this is what I did. I didn’t have a gym membership so I focused on body weight exercises. A “leg” move, a “pull” move, a “push” move and something “core” related. I would take these four exercises, do a certain amount of each in a circuit with only the briefest of rests in between – usually 30 seconds – and then when I was finished with the final move, I would rest for 90 to 120 seconds and repeat the circuit. This circuit of exercises and reps would be done five times and then I would call it a day. I focused on doing this twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Here are the exercises I did.

Circuit 1: Squats, Pull Ups, Push Ups, Reverse Crunches/Leg Lifts,

Circuit 2: Lunges, Chin Ups, Dips, Planks

I didn’t start off cranking out the Pull Ups, Chin Ups and Dips. I have a “power tower” at home that comes with bands for weight assistance, meaning, I can take up to a certain amount of pounds off my bodyweight to successfully complete the reps and help build up my strength.

So I started there.

No weight added, just bodyweight squats, lunges, and push ups with reduced weight Pulls, Chins and Dips. All of the “rep” exercises were done in increments of five or ten, depending on the exercise and level of ability. The planks were in time increments of 15 seconds and then I began to build on that, 20sec, 25sec, 30sec, etc as training went on. The weight assisted exercises decreased as my strength increased.

I should stress that I planned ahead, knowing not only what I would do, but, how many reps, how long I would hold a plank, how many total circuits, total duration of the workout, what my warm up would look like, what my cool down stretches would look like, etc. Based on the prior week’s workout, I would try to increase the challenge a bit to stimulate growth. I cannot emphasize enough how much planning and keeping track of your workout plan can help you stay focused. When you are frustrated, you can review and see what you’ve been doing and see where you’ve come from, you can assess what needs improving, and when you are looking at switching things up, you can more clearly assess what has been working or not working.

I should also stress that I didn’t go into this knowing ahead of time what I wanted to do. That is where Nerd Fitness came into play and me diving headlong into the articles to figure out what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. Reading those articles and many of the links Steve provided in his own articles, gave me the direction I needed to put together the circuits and the plan to execute.

I pushed, pulled, squatted, lunged, sweated and groaned my way through the next 101 days.

And it paid off, creating a new desire and giving me the momentum to keep moving forward and not give up.

Like I said in the previous article. Those before and after pictures might not be P90X transformation-worthy, but I earned that smile on my face. I had worked for it. Though I was only 101 days into a solid journey, it is a beginning, an origin story if you will, that I will always look back to and smile.

8 thoughts on “101 Days &16lbs later…

  1. Well said! I’ve had success in the past but have since plateaued. I’ve re-engaged this week and feel great. I did not do much tracking before so I’m going to try that to bust through the plateau. I’m toying with the idea of a different blog for accountability. Has that benefitted you?

    1. Thank you for your comment and visiting! As far as accountability over the interwebz, it’s a mixed bag. What I record here partially acts as an accountability type record, but really, it only goes so far as actual readership that interacts with me. I recommend checking out the Nerd FItness Community, I’ve had mixed success accountability-wise there. All in all, there are a lot of supportive people over there. AS time has gone on, my personal notebook is a good accountability partner for me. All I have to do is look at the last entry date. I start twitching when i don’t have a workout logged after a few days. 😉 I do, on occassion, share a link on my FB account with the recent training session. However, I do this mainly to encourage family and friends who want to workout but don’t know how, can’t or won’t, to try and do something to be active and strong for themselves and their family. Hopefully this helps. I look forward to hearing more of your success. Keep moving forward, Marc! You’ve got people depending on you! 🙂

      1. I’m familliar with the Nerd Fitness site. I have used the beginners bodyweight workout on and off for the past 18 mos or so, but not very consitently.

        I loke your notebook idea, actually. I might just do that. The less time I spend online the better!

        Near term, get on a regular schedule again…longer term, complete Indy half-marathon without having to do a run-walk. That is in May ’15.

      2. Yeah, it’s amazing what a basic composition notebook will do! I keep my warm up routine and cool down stretches in the front of the book and take it with me whenever I train. I will write out (usually the night before) what I am doing that day and then check it off after each exercise is completed. It has worked wonders! Speaking of which, tomorrow is supposed to be Squats and Dead Lifts, so I’ll need to break out my notebook!

  2. Dear Tom Kenobi,

    Hello! I have taken the time and liberty to visit many of your posts. There are considerable empathy and maturity in your thinking and outlook, plus your subtle humour. Therefore, I would like to commend you for your humanity and wisdom, which you have thoughtfully expressed on your blog.

    Thank you for sharing some of your “lifestyle change” and your challenging journey about fitness and health with us.

    Regarding issues of wellbeing and body weight, for reasons of health and the environment, I am mostly a vegetarian and occasionally a vegan, even though I consume a little meat infrequently. In any case, I do not have a craze for meat, not to mention that eating less meat is good for the environment for many reasons.

    I also keep my consumption of fat to a minimum, preferably less than 10% of food intake or energy.

    Here are my general guidelines to remaining healthy and slim. I do not necessarily or invariably stick to them very strictly. Hopefully, some of these can be helpful or relevant to you.

    (A) Diet:
    1. 20 minutes before every meal, either drink a glass of water or eat an apple.
    2. Use smaller plates to hold meals.
    3. Cut out all soft drinks, sugary drinks and fruit juices.
    4. Cut out junk food and processed food. (I do have some high-quality biscuits and chocolates in small quantity).
    5. Check food label to ensure that the sugar content is below 20%.
    6. Do not add too much sugar to home-cooked food.
    7. Reduce salt intake.
    8. Fast for two days per week. On the fasting day, either eat only one third at every meal, or eat only one meal. Not eating for a whole day or longer is also fine.
    9. Have two rather than three meals a day.
    10. Restrict mealtimes to within an eight-hour period, outside of which drink only water and have no food. In other words, whether a person has one, two or three meals per day, the meal(s) should be consumed within eight hours.

    (B) Exercise:
    1. Do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) once or twice a day, or at least once every second day. Each session needs to be as intense as possible and lasting no more than 20 to 30 seconds or one minute at most, followed by one to a few minutes of rests. Repeat twice. This can be running, skipping or cycling on the spot. Running upstairs and downstairs can also help.
    2. Reduce sitting time by standing to work or study. Buy something like Veridesk or make your own by improvising or using existing materials.
    3. Do some skipping or jumping.
    4. Whatever exercises you do, vary the intensity.
    5. Doing some physically taxing house chores can be helpful too.

    May you find the rest of 2021 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking and blogging whatever topics that take your intellectual fancy!

    Given your outlook and many interests, I would also like to welcome you to my main blog.

    1. SoundEagle,

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply on this post! I saw that you liked a gaggle of my posts, I really appreciate you taking the time to read them and seeing how things have changed and evolved in my writing/thinking over time. Much appreciated!

      I’ll be sure to check out our blog. Have a great day!

      1. Dear Tom Kenobi,

        You are very welcome. Thank you for your comment. I certainly appreciate your ability to write well with clarity and good grammar, plus your insights that you have gained as you journey through life. I also sense that there is a rather peculiar or intriguing balance in your accepting who you have become with humour, humility and even stoicism, and your willingness to learn and explore. Hence, I look forward to interacting with you at my multidisciplinary blog.

        Since you are new to my blog, I would like to inform you that for best results, use a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at my blog, which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

        Furthermore, since my blog contains advanced styling and multimedia components plus animations, it is highly recommended to read my posts and pages directly in my blog so that you will be able to see and experience all of the refined and glorious details. Hence, it is prudent to refrain from viewing my blog in the WordPress Reader, which tends to ignore or strip away some styling and formatting components, and also fails to display animations, all of which are aplenty in my posts and pages, which will look very different and even improper or amiss in the WordPress Reader.

        Happy April to you!

        Yours sincerely,

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