What do you get when you add two injuries, one house remodel, a baby, and a newly acquired taste for beer? Answer: Man Tits!
Just a few short years ago, prior to my wedding, I was in the best shape of my life. I’d spent a year dropping 40 pounds. My body fat percentage was the lowest it had been since I was in kindergarten, and I could run a 5K without barely breaking a sweat. Working out was my second job. There was no excuse for missing a workout. I could always find 20 minutes to squeeze in some sort of interval training, or a run around the block. (I had found out in that previous year that interval training was the fastest way to lose fat, build muscle, and push my cardio stamina farther than ever!) The proof was in the scale, the fat calipers, and on the heart rate monitor. Four years later, I’m back at square one.
The aforementioned excuses are just that. Excuses. The newest excuse is time. But if you think about it, how much time do we really need to make significant changes in our health that completely change our life, and more importantly, our lifeSTYLES? Not much. Could we all find 20-30 minutes a few times a week? Of course we can.
In the last four weeks, I’ve really taken a look at the unhealthy HABITS I’ve accrued that have gotten me back to being overweight. Fast food. Sitting at this computer. Eating before bed. Beer. Not drinking enough water. No fruits and veggies. One by one, I set out to get back into the mindset that I had four years ago. Most importantly, not giving myself a reason to not do SOMETHING to improve my health every single day. I don’t care if I can bench 300 pounds. I’m not trying to be a UFC fighter. I’d just like to be around when Jake graduates from college, gets married, and has kids of his own. Period.
You could say I’m a fairly simple guy. And although I have great work ethic, human nature tends me to seek the greatest amount of results with the least amount of effort. Here are the changes I’ve made: I eat more protein. I eat more fiber in the form of fruits and veggies. I’ve essentially cut out bread, pasta, and as much refined sugar as I can stand. I try and drink as much water as I can remember to. NO beer. OK, almost no beer. And, I do some form of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. 10,080 in a week! That exercise totals a mere 150 of those 10,080 minutes. Sound doable? You know it is!!!
My results thus far? I’ve dropped 12 pounds in the last four weeks!
I have a gym membership. But it’s not like I can do walk/runs on the treadmill while toting Jake in the Baby B’Jorn. So, I had to come up with a workout program that I can do at home.
As I said, I’m all about interval training. I like to incorporate strength training with cardio to get the fastest results possible. Do your research. There are SO many benefits to interval training. And, there are a million exercises that you can perform with little or no equipment at all. Here’s my “home gym”…
A Bosu ball, a kettle bell, and some resistance bands. That’s it. You can target every major muscle group with these few items. These take care of the strength building, but how do you get your cardio in? That’s where the fun begins. It’s a matter of compiling a short list of exercises, and doing them as quickly and safely as you can to increase your heart rate. Do two or three “sets” of those exercises with very little rest, and you’ve got a workout that will kick your ass, guaranteed!
By all means, do your research, and choose exercises that you’re comfortable with! There are always modified versions of an exercise to limit the amount of impact on your joints, and take you from beginner to superstar!
Here’s an example of the workout I’m going to do as soon as I get my doughy ass out of this chair!
1. 50 Jumping Jacks (to get the heart rate warmed up)
2. 20 crunches on the Bosu ball (which you don’t need to do crunches)
3. 10 Bosu push-ups (one hand on the floor, one on the Bosu, or flip it over for wide-grip)
4. 20 Kettle-Bell squats (hold it with both hands between your knees, and squat until it touches the floor)
5. 20 suitcase squat to shoulder presses. (kettle bell at your side, squat, and press the bell up over your head. do 10 each side)
6. 20 Mountain Climbers (Google these. too much to explain:)
7. 10 Bosu push-ups
8. 20 Bosu crunches
Do these exercises with as little rest as possible. Once you’ve completed your set, rest for a couple of minutes and let your heart rate come down. Then, do it again! I promise you, 3 sets of this will only take 15-20 minutes. But you’ll be whipped, and your heart will think you’ve just sprinted a mile and a half!
I change it up from day to day. I use the resistance bands for focusing on upper body exercises like curls, tricep presses, shoulder presses, etc.
The key is to create a program that you can realistically do, and that is fun enough to make you want to do it again! I promise that after on a few days, you will start to feel better in ways you can’t imagine. You will sleep better! You will have more energy! You won’t shudder at the thought of climbing a flight of stairs. Most importantly, your self esteem skyrockets knowing that you’re doing something that’s going to improve your life, and the life of your children!
I am so thankful that I have a wife that appreciates being healthy. She makes such an effort to provide the best food possible for Jake and I. I felt guilty for so long knowing that I wasn’t taking full advantage of that. (You can’t tell she had a baby, yet I look pregnant:) She makes it easy. The cool thing is that we both believe in raising Jake to be active. We go outside as much as possible. We take walks, bike rides, and push him around town in the running stroller. When I grew up, I played baseball outside with my friends until dark every night. There were no video games, and all the other distractions that kids have now. I know it’s wishful thinking, but I hope we can have a greater influence on Jake than a Playstation.
As with any challenging endeavor, the first step is realizing a need for change, and making a commitment to just f**king do it! I’m finally there. My wife and I are searching event calendars for our first 5k this year. That’s a step. The way I have it figured, I’m going to have to take approximately 167,338 steps to get back to this….