Today a coworker walked up to my desk and asked, “ok, so what pills are you taking?” When I first moved to Colorado it was tough getting adjusted. A little depressed, I put on weight and bumped up over 175lbs. Various factors in life, including the approaching riding season, encouraged me to get into shape. I wanted to lose the fat, build my cardio up, and tone some muscles. I started eating better sometime around August and started working out in early October. My last trip to the gym I weighed in at 154. That’s a 20+ lbs loss.
I really cranked it up starting on October 9th. In 7 days I went from 164lbs to 158lbs. I also went from a body fat percentage over 19 to 18.2. The attached photo shows the physical results. I’ve gotten a number of congrats followed by inquiries as to how I made such a rapid change. So much so, that I thought I would share it here. Simply put, I ate less food, I ate better food, and I exercised more.
I tracked my diet online for about a week. Unfortunately, now that my free trial has expired, I can’t log in and get actual samples of exactly what I consumed. Generally speaking, I did the following:
- consumed around 1000 calories a day
- ate a lot of veggies – and a wide variety of them
- consumed as little fat as possible
- ate only enough carbs to maintain my energy levels
- drank a lot of water and only water, I even cut coffee out (don’t know if it affected anything)
- reduced my meat portions a little
- took a time release multi vitamin every day and a calcium supplement almost every day
That said, a typical day’s meal might look something like this:
- Breakfast: Either Kashi cereal, Bare Naked cereal, or a granola bar. I would eat about a cup of cereal with just a splash of soy milk. Note: after the 7 day rush, I started to include a splash of orange juice. Vitamin C is a great metabolism booster.
- Lunch: Sometimes nothing but raw veggies. Broccoli was common. I would also eat celery and carrots. Beware of carrots, they contain some sugar. I would continue to eat on a couple of cups of veggies through the day while drinking lots of water. This would easily sustain me through work. Other days I would have small meals such as fish tacos with lard free tortillas or a small helping of noodles. Still, I would eat them slowly over the course of a couple of hours.
- Dinner: I usually grilled my dinners on the George Foreman grill. I would include a small portion of lean meat such as bison (very low in fat), salmon (good fats), or chicken breast. I would grill a wide variety of vegetables including zucchini squash, asparagus, onion, red bell pepper, broccoli, and egg plant. Finally, I would include a small helping carbs such as a half piece of pita bread or small helping of rice. A few nights I replaced the carbohydrtes with a salad consisting mostly of leafy plants with a light misting of sesame seed oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Snacks: For the most part, I didn’t snack. My lunches felt like snacking all day. I went to bed early because I was getting up early for the gym. I did eat a few nuts and some beef jerky from time to time. Keep in mind, I was also drinking large amounts of water on a regular basis.
I signed up at my nearest gym, which worked out well because I had an old membership on freeze. I got a special deal on 5 personal trainer sessions for $50. This wasn’t crucial, but the support and advice did help. During the rapid development phase, I hit the gym every day. On a couple of days, I went both in the morning and the evening. After the phase, I dropped down to about 3 times a week. A typical session at the gym would include:
- Stretches: Some basic startup stretches to loosen my leg muscles. This was less than 5 minutes worth.
- Cardio: I usually would run an average of 15 minutes on the tread mill to get my cardio up. When I started, 10 minutes was enough. Near the end of the week, I would run 25 minutes. If it was my second visit to the gym for the day, I would do about 10 minutes on the stair machine instead – just to mix things up.
- Original Floor Routine: With my heart rate up, I would hit the floor routine for around 15 to 20 minutes. My original floor routine included:
- 20 straight crunches plus 10 crunches to each side
- 10 straight leg lifts plus 10 leg lifts to each side
- 15 per side of these crunch like things propped up on my elbow (works your side, no idea what they’re called)
- a fast count of 100 while holding myself up on my elbow and toes
- the same fast count of 100 while resting on my hips and belly and keeping my feet and shoulders up off the floor
- a 30 second back bend and 30 second side twists to stretch out my ab muscles
- New Floor Routine: My trainer gave me a whole new and improved set of routines that included the use of a yoga ball. I integrated these new exercises into my routine – trying to change it up each day. These new routines included a mix of:
- Holding the yoga ball between my feet for the leg lifts.
- Placing my back on the floor, feet on the yoga ball and lifting my hips.
- Lifting light free weights above my chest while laying with the back of my shoulders on the ball, knees bent, hips up, and my feet close together.
- Squats while standing on a half ball (hard to balance) and holding light weights out in front of me.
- Torso twists with those strechy elastic rubber things for resistance.
- Most painful of all, holding myself up on my elbows and toes for 45 seconds – while squeezing my abs as hard as I could.
- Weight Training: After my floor routine, I would hit weight machines for another 10 to 15 minutes. I generally picked 2 or 3 machines and did 20 to 60 reps at various weight levels. I focused on my core, but did spent time on my shoulders, arms, and legs.
In addition to this, I’ve also been taking the occational yoga class. I believe I took 2 1-hour yoga classes during the 7 day push. Before and after the 7 day push I did a bit of outdoor activity including biking, hiking, running, and – of course – snowboarding.
The results were rapid and impressive. It took being in the right frame of mind, but it didn’t take a lot of time. After my 7 day push, I still continued to burn fat and build muscle while going to the gym less and eating more. I figure that’s probably because of a boosted metabolism. I suspect that if I don’t maintain regular physical activity, I could easily relapse and see rapid weight gain. Thus far, that has not been an issue.
Most importantly, I feel a lot better both mentally and physically. It is more than worth it.