Final Challenge Day has fallen on a Sunday, traditionally my day of rest. But with my 45th birthday coming next week, I decided to hit the cardio and do some interval training on the treadmill, maybe a little rowing. I wanted to finish strong and keep my metabolism up.
I was hesitant to fall into the classic fitness pitfall and begin to list stats; it’s not what I wanted this series to be about. I wanted to talk about life during this change, the challenges and rewards outside of the studio, the other 22 plus hours of your life.
But you know what… numbers and stats are fun, so I’ll give you the highlights.
The big one, yes I lost weight – a solid 12 lbs. in three weeks.
The second big one, I lost a little over an inch at the waist and went from a size 40 to a 36-38.
Each of my arms grew by a half inch. Each of my legs grew by three quarters of an inch.
My chest and back remained about the same but clearly had a tradeoff of fat to muscle.
My energy levels are twice to three times what I had prior to starting. I don’t fatigue or become winded with normal daily activity (or even recreational such as kayaking and football with the kids). I am able to focus a great deal more while at work and at home following work. I don’t crave junk food any longer; in fact at times it actually made me a little queasy to smell it.
I will definitely be continuing my endeavors to train with Smith Built, remain active and eat well. I just had to show up and follow a nutritional plan they had created for me. Three weeks of hard work turned my life around. I can’t wait to see what three months and then three years will bring… no doubt a much higher quality of life to spend with my family and future family to come.
Stick with me and check back. The blogs are going to be reviewed and commented on by the professionals at Smith Built. As I comb through the video and pictures, I will continue to add to the blogs as well. Additionally, I’m going to ask the guys if I can check in monthly and update my progress with new entries, to follow some long-term progress.
Day 20 of my kick-start; I’m pumped, literally and figuratively speaking. I’m about to wrap up my challenge and I feel great and have clearly made progress (numbers to come). I’m killing it in my training routine and asking for more (I learned that if you ever ask your trainer for more – your going to get more than you bargained for). I can complete my routines, my resistance has increased and my endurance has probably doubled if not tripled. I’ve increased muscular size and reduced size of my waist. Most importantly – I’ve created a new habit. I desire the proper foods, I look forward to my next workout, and I have seen improvements that I want to continue improving. It is absolutely the best time spent on myself in the past 10 years of my life. I can’t wait to see what three months will bring me if three weeks have already had this effect.
So, I figured by now my likelihood of becoming sore after a training session would have all but diminished. I was so wrong. The trainers at Smith Built have continued to find new exercises and routines. I have not repeated the same exact exercise or routine as of yet and I’m close to three weeks of training. I have also been trained on how to work this new soreness out. I keep drinking my water and making sure I get enough, plenty of sleep and a racquetball. Who would have ever thought?
I must be doing something right (such as following direction). Some of my pants actually need a belt and I have shorts that fit once again. I can actually button pants and shorts without that I haven’t seen in months. My shirts are now hugging my arms and not my waist. Definition in a couple of areas is just starting to show … it is progress not hyped up miracles in just under three weeks. This was never meant to be a complete transformation in three weeks; it’s a jumpstart to a better life. With that said I feel immeasurably better and have good problem of needing some new clothes.
It’s early in the week but it’s been a stressful one. Work has been challenging, a couple of hiccups in projects and a new technical challenge that needed to be remedied yesterday. Some of the kids are sick and they all have a busy after school schedule. My wife is having an insanely busy week with many of her own challenges that she will need to work on late as well. So… one of those weeks.
What does any of this have to do with training? Surprisingly, quite a bit. I have found that my stress levels throughout the day and in general are quite a bit lower. Stressful situations are met as challenges that can be overcome. I have the energy and endurance to persevere. I have the mental clarity to emotionally stay on task. Most importantly I know I can overcome any obstacle. I can also “work it out” at my next session.
Cardio. This has been an evil word in my life. Cardio and conditioning have always meant pain and anguish on many levels of my training routine. It was quite often the entire reason I hated any given workout routine in the first place. I have not had this issue while training at Smith Built. Most times I haven’t even realized that I have been training to improve my endurance and cardio fitness. The trainers at Smith Built have woven my cardio seamlessly throughout my strength training allowing for a complete hour of true whole body fitness. In just a little over two weeks, I have seen dramatic increases in my endurance, strength and cardio fitness. I can achieve a cardio and strength fitness balance without jogging a couple of miles a few times a week (I’m not a big jogger/ runner. I’ve always viewed it as more of a survival skill than sport or exercise). This training routine keeps the body’s furnace burning all day long (burning calories) and actually has given me more energy throughout the day. I guess I can put cardio back on the good word list.
Good ole’ Monday morning, greeting you like big slap in the face. The alarm went off this morning and I wasn’t even sure where I was for the first few seconds. Must have been some great sleep, too bad I couldn’t continue for a few more hours. I admittedly didn’t feel the need to search as hard for a reason not to go train this morning. I am becoming accustomed to the routine and maybe even actually looking forward to it. I am starting to feel a great deal better after my workouts. I’m ready to take on the day.
This was my last week of the challenge and I felt that I was grasping the routines and could put forth some additional effort.
And I was able to, in a big way. It’s if as though someone flipped a switch. I was stronger, I had greater endurance and I was ready for the next exercise. I was feeling good about me and my gains. I think I’m really starting to like this.
True day of rest. No cardio, no exercises, no outdoor regiment of loading and unloading. Just true body rest. I even gave myself permission to have some dessert that evening. I felt a little guilty and even thought that somehow I would be off my game come Monday morning for my training session. I have to continue to remind myself that a day off is a crucial part of this challenge and a continued healthy routine. The body needs time to rest and rebuild. I couldn’t agree more (or be happier).
And yes, Sunday night brought the same rush of excuses for as to why I should not wake up early and why I probably needed more rest and everything else that I could possibly use as an excuse to not put myself through the physical exertion I claimed to love throughout the week.
I was going to make Friday my last day of exercise for the week . I awoke this morning and found myself with a strong desire to go in and work out – so I did.
That’s one of the great advantages of SmithBuilt Fitness; I can usually always pick up a boot-camp or a session upon calling in. They can pick up my specialized routine right where I left off.
After my training routine it was back to the house to finish some lawn work and then out to take some of the kids kayaking and paddle boarding. I was actually a little surprised with myself. The tasks of lawn work and pulling kayaks off the rack and loading them onto the truck, tying them down, etc. were much easier than I remember. I felt like I was handling and controlling the weight and awkwardness instead of fighting for my life not to break something. I actually had that first thought of feeling younger and stronger, back to my early thirties. Yes, cheesy I know, but it was great.
My Last workout before weekend. I found myself looking forward to my usual weekend vices, sleeping in, deserts, and fast food. Weekends also mean grocery shopping. I will try to keep it real for another week and purchase clean and healthy food. I still buy snacks and meals that appeal to my children and are definitely off of my menu. It’s the end of the second week so it’s becoming a little easier to abstain or just “have a taste” and then walk away from it. The way my body feels and my new energy levels have definitely helped make my decision process much easier.
I know we are heading to the movies as a family this weekend; it’s very difficult not to just give myself a pass for this one event, just his one time. Better yet – I found chocolate covered protein bites (replaces candy), and a water. I still get my movie experience and don’t hate myself afterwards. Small, smarter choices, just little ones are beginning to add up to big gains at the end of the week. I don’t need food and drinks to entertain myself, they are no longer a pastime – they are a choice.