Fitness progress – Fall 2015

Fitness progress – Fall 2015

Since fitness is a big part of who I am, I’ve decided to post a bit more often about what I’m up to, and try to share tips and tricks from what I have learned over the months and years of trying very hard to get in the best shape of my life.

When I make these updates I want those of you who are trying your hardest to get into shape to realize this is a very long struggle, and that I started my routines over 3 years ago when I was approaching 240 lbs. These journeys are slow, they are painful, and they will test you to your limits.

But you can get there. You can achieve your goals. Believe in your yourself. Push as hard as you can and you can achieve anything.

Fitness-Fall-15

I am still struggling with remaining fat around my midsection / love handles (which I just found out is properly termed anterolateral flank). It seems no matter what I do and where I cut so far, that particular area wants to hang around. It is annoying, but I’m not giving up.

Things I’m happy with

  • Shoulder and chest development

Constants

  • I am still on a very low carb paleo-like diet. I do not add sugars to my food. I drink no fruit juices, or eat any high sugar fruits. If I need something sweetened, I use stevia or a combination of stevia and xylitol.
  • I still maintain a very high protein intake. My daily intake is mostly proteins and fats. I try to eat a lot of tree nuts as a snack to get mostly good fats.
  • I am still taking one weekly “diet cheat day”. This is where I’ll go out and eat whatever I want, but only once a week. I’ve found this really helps with cravings and gives you something to look forward to during weeks when eating the same types of foods is getting difficult. You’d be surprised how many of your normal daily foods become off limits when you shoot for an almost zero carb intake.

Changes

  • I’ve been hiking more on the weekends. Taking some time to get outdoors has been good for me, but also helps fill in any missing cardio.
  • I’ve been doing a lot more circuit style routines and AMRAP (as many reps as possible) workouts. The goal is to try to burn more fat while still building muscle.
  • As stated above, I’ve been concentrating on my shoulders and chest a bit more. I will continue doing this as I’m still not where I want to be there.
  • I cut back on running for a bunch of reasons. One of which is that my knees have never been very good (since birth) and I started to feel wear that I wasn’t comfortable with.

I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be during beach season this year, but I think I can continue to bulk and cut over the winter and try again next year.

Have a happy and healthy October! Send me a message if you’ve tried out some of our newest InShape trails and let me know if you enjoyed them!

Fitness progress – Spring 2015

Fitness progress – Spring 2015

Since fitness is a big part of who I am, I’ve decided to post a bit more often about what I’m up to, and try to share tips and tricks from what I have learned over the months and years of trying very hard to get in the best shape of my life.

When I make these updates I want those of you who are trying your hardest to get into shape to realize this was a very long struggle, and that I started my routines years ago when I was approaching 240 lbs. These journeys are slow, they are painful, and they will test you to your limits.

But you can get there. You can achieve your goals. You just have to believe in yourself and just keep moving. Just keep pushing. When you think you can push no further, push just a little bit more. DO NOT give in, and DO NOT give up.

Once you push into a healthy weight range, it takes some real time and effort to try to burn off the additional fat that your body will so stubbornly hold onto. Since I’m going for the lean look, I’ve been struggling to get down past 10% BF.

IMG_0569

Like always, I struggle with body fat along my midsection, but I’ve made progress since January. Some constants as well as changes I’ve made follow:

Constants

  • I am still cut way back on sugars and carbs. I refuse to add carbohydrates beyond vegetables and some of the various low carb wraps and tortillas I have found. I just feel so much better without them. Stevia is my replacement for drink and food sweetness where I need it.
  • I still have a very high protein intake normally exceeding 125g/day
  • I still take one day a week off from my lifestyle change diet and just get whatever I want food wise. Though I don’t normally eat a lot of junk food on this day, what I do eat, usually something fun like waffles for breakfast and a burger for dinner, seems to stifle cravings for the remainder of the week. The other bonus of the one day a week off is that it makes me realize how much better I feel when I eat good the other 6 days of the week.

Changes

  • I’ve begun eating a lot more on training days, and much less on off days. This really seems to have kicked my body into confusion and I’ve noticed more fat loss around my midsection.
  • Running:  I’ve added a bit of running, usually about 30 minutes, to my routine a few days a week after weight training at the gym. A few extra calories kicked seems to be helping a bunch.
  • I’ve added some training sessions to our gym membership and the trainer is more than happy to whoop my midsection at the end of every single routine. I’ve nicknamed him Vlad the Impaler.

I still have a ways to go before I’ll be happy to call it beach ready, but I hope this and my next few progress reports can help people looking for new ways to shed a few more lbs!

As always, have a happy and healthy week, and shoot me a message if you’ve tried out some of our newest InShape trails!

In the blink of an eye

In the blink of an eye

I got a call this morning about a good friend of mine.

He was the best man at my wedding, and has been there for me though more hard times than I can remember. He’s the type of guy that if you’re feeling down for any reason, he’s got your back and will help you with whatever you need, or just sit and tell you stupid jokes until you laugh out of reflex.

He was my “boss” at my first programming job. I put boss in quotes because he never acted like that. I always felt like I was part of a team. He was the guy that got to get in between the programmers and the employees to really flesh out how we could best make the software we were writing work for the company.

Just last week I was helping him work out an issue where after the installation of a bunch of pieces of software all of a sudden DNS lookups started to to randomly fail. It just seems so surreal.

This morning the voice on the call was his father. He called to tell me that my friend was in the hospital with multiple blood clots. He’s stable, but they expect him to be in the hospital for a week in recovery.

All adults realize that stuff like this can happen at any time, but I don’t think we really let it sink in until it does. You always hear the stories and sayings that go something like “at some point if you live long enough, you get to a certain age where life starts taking away rather than giving”.

My friend has children, all girls, with a wife who is 7 months pregnant with his first boy. That’s all I could think about. For a good hour I was pretty frozen just thinking that in the blink of an eye, the provider becomes the one in need. Everything gets turned upside-down and everyone has to cope and try to make the best of what has happened. We lean on our friends and family.

I am grateful that the prognosis is good, and I’ll see him tomorrow, but obviously mortality was first and foremost on my mind, and selfishly, after thinking about his mortality, I thought about my own.

I’ve had an experience in my life that completely changed me. Many years ago, I experienced a period of approximately 2 months where I had constant heart rhythm issues. I got checked out by the doctor, and a cardiologist, was poked and prodded. It felt like any minute I might pass out, and my heart might stop. They found nothing structurally wrong with my heart, and there was no medication to stop the misfiring issues I was experiencing.

When I slept, my heart rate dropped to 30 and 40 beats per minute. When I tried to relax and have fun, the skipped beats, PVCs, PACs, and dizziness would take my sanity away. The awkward, unorchestrated pounding in my chest 10 – 20 times a minute reminded me that I was mortal. I couldn’t escape it. I’d lay awake worrying that my time would come that night.

I was ineffective at my job. I couldn’t pursue my dreams anymore. I started lashing out at the people who loved me because it felt like they were pulling away. I could think of nothing but this thing in my chest that is so important, but that was so broken. I shrunk into myself and ran away from everything, just trying find some relief from this constant reminder that as far as I was concerned, I was dying.

This cycle continued for a long time. Until one day, I just didn’t care anymore.

You read that right. I didn’t care if I lived or died on that day. I decided that whatever this was, it may have the power to take everything else from me, but it will no longer take my happiness. It will no longer control what time I have left. Fearing the unknown was a choice that I had made, and I was letting that fear destroy my life before whatever the problem was could take it. I could’ve died any other day just as easily as this one. Why the hell was I so damn concerned now?

This is my life. If I give fear power over my life, I have no one to blame but myself.

A couple weeks after I stopped the cycle of fear and adrenaline, my physical symptoms disappeared, and my EKG went back to normal. The problems had started in the middle of the night while I was sleeping, not triggered by fear, but they ended because I made a choice to not be afraid.

All we can do is make the best of the time we’re given. There are no guarantees. Make the best of your life. Use the time you were given to help others build their lives, their dreams. Be a friend to those that need you. Don’t be afraid.

Tomorrow during the day I’m going to work extra hard on some code. Then I’m going to visit some kids that could use a friendly face. They have a lot to be fearful of right now.