Fitness

OK, I have to admit, I’m totally addicted to this fitness craze I’ve gotten myself into. But that’s what kind of happens. When you start to feel good, and you’re not carrying around 20 pounds of extra weight, and you start to feel strong, it’s energizing! On the other hand, when you let go and you start to lose that level of fitness, it’s that much harder to find motivation. Beginning a workout program is like driving uphill with a manual transmission. Getting that sucker moving uphill in first gear is really tough, but once you get moving and you shift into the higher gears, it gets easier and easier.

So I’m about 8 weeks into my workout plan and I’ve lost 16.5 lbs. My stomach is flattening out and my jeans are loose again. I can do 35 pushups in a row fairly easily (last summer I could do 50, but that’s what happens when you binge eat during the holidays) and yesterday I cranked out 5 unassisted pull ups. Now if that doesn’t sound all that hard to you, I suggest you go try it. I doubt many of my friends in their 40’s could do a single pull up (I couldn’t 8 weeks ago). But it’s not really the amount that’s important, it’s the progress, and I’m definitely seeing progress.

A lot of people are asking me what this workout actually looks like. So I’m going to outline a typical workout and daily menu. The plan is really simple. Take in less calories than you burn. That’s what it all comes down to. You could actually eat nothing but Twinkies all day and if you burned more calories than those Twinkies have in them, then you’d lose weight. Of course you’d probably be hungry because Twinkies have a ton of calories and aren’t very big. And you’d be unhealthy as hell because Twinkies are nothing but processed flour and sugar, but it could be done. This is because it takes 3500 extra calories to add a pound to your body. And if you burn 3500 extra calories you lose a pound.

Therefore, what I’m doing is eating very high nutrition food but limiting my total calories. This lets me actually eat a lot of food, but control my caloric intake. I’m coupling that with vigorous exercise and that leaves me with a calorie deficit by the end of the day. So for instance, let’s say my body burns 2000 calories a day without exercise. I reduce my intake to about 1400 calories, which gives me a 600 calorie deficit. I then workout for an hour which might burn around 600 calories which results in a 1200 calorie deficit for the day. That means I could expect to lose a pound of weight every three days.

But it’s not all about weight loss, it’s about health. Since I am eating only high quality food, I am more healthy. Last year my blood tests said I was borderline diabetic! I had a test a few weeks ago and my blood tests were perfect. That’s all because of diet. But I’m also stronger because I’m exercising my muscles daily. And that makes for an overall healthier body. However, once I lose the weight I want to lose, I’ll need to start eating 2000 calories or more again so I don’t get too skinny. But again, I’ll need to eat healthy food to make up those calories and continue to work out or I’ll get out of shape again.

OK so anyway, here’s what an average P90X workout looks like. Monday I did the chest and back routine which consists of sets of:

  • Standard pushups
  • Wide front pullups
  • Military pushups
  • Reverse grip chinups
  • Wide Pushups
  • Close grip overhand pullups
  • Decline pushups (pushups with your feet on a chair)
  • Heavy pants (a sort of a bent over rowing exercise)
  • Diamond pushups (pushups with your fingers and thumb touching)
  • Lawnmowers (Kind of like heavy pants but with one arm at a time)
  • Dive bomber pushups (a move sort of like climbing under a fence without touching the ground with your chest or knees)
  • Back Flys

For each exercise you do as many as you can and you do the whole routine TWICE. Yeah, it’s a butt kicker. But that’s what it takes to get in shape. If you don’t want to do that kind of workout, just forget about ever getting in shape. I’m serious. you can lose weight on a diet only, but you will not get fit. It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing ever is, and you don’t have to do 20 reps of each. Like Tony Horton says, you do your best and forget the rest. Progress will come over time.

One thing I always hear women say though is that they don’t want to do weight routines like this because they don’t want to “get big”. Trust me, it takes WAY more work than this to get big. You’re not going to look like a body builder unless you really, really, really want to.

So the other half to this plan is nutrition. I’m using a diet formulated on the Extreme Fat Smash Diet by Dr. Ian Smith. I’ve reinforced it based on the book What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Dr. Rex Russel, and Bring It! by Tony Horton. Here’s an example of what I’m eating today:

  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal (before cooking), 1 tsp pure honey, an Apple
  • Snack: 1/3 cup mixed nuts and raisins
  • Brunch: Protein shake
  • Lunch: 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 can of green beans, 2/3 cup of chick peas
  • Snack: baby carrots
  • Dinner: Kidney beans and brown rice with a salad on the side, oil & vinegar dressing.

The only liquids I drink are a cup or two of decaf coffee in the morning and a glass of red wine usually after dinner. Other than that it’s all water. This diet puts me at about 1400 calories for the day. All the foods I eat are whole, unprocessed foods. If you eat that way and eat a variety of food, you don’t really have to worry about fats vs. carbs, vs. protein. Those diets that are super high protein or no carbs in my opinion are unnatural and unsustainable. Eat like God designed you to eat and you’ll be healthy and you won’t go hungry.

So that’s it. One last thing I’m experimenting with is fasting. There’s a lot of reported health benefits to fasting as well as spiritual benefits. I’m not completely sold on the idea of regular fasting yet though so I’m doing some test 24 hour fasts to see how I feel. I’ll probably write a post on this as I gather more data and experience on the subject.

Enjoy your workouts!