Over the past several months I’ve been fortunate to provide a small amount of inspiration to a few of my friends and family via my own change from cocoa-swilling flab boy, to a green tea-sipping dad that can actually keep up with his son. Pre-transformation, I looked at people who exercised regularly as silly people with way too much time on their hands. “Sure, that’s easy to do when you don’t have kids and work regular hours -- no way I could do that.” That wasn’t just an excuse; I spoke from experience.
Without sports or a class, I often let myself go. The times outside of those routines where I got healthy on my own were all the result of having too much time on my hands after a breakup. I’d hit the gym hard for about four months, get back to dating, and then pitter out once again. In fact, at 28, the last time I was in really good shape, that’s exactly what had happened. Got dumped, hit the gym, met Melody and stopped going to the gym so that I could spend all of my time with her.
It was during that last surge that a rotund guy stopped me in the gym. “Hey man, how old are you?” he asked. It was probably all of my gray hair that elicited the question.
“Ah, that explains it. Once you hit 30, you just can’t look like that anymore.” I laughed and he said, “You’ll see.”
Wife, baby, business. When we headed to the doctor to be checked out after our car accident last March, I looked at the scale for the first time in a very long time.
“Shouldn’t I take off my shoes or something? Maybe get rid of my keys and wallet?”
“No, that will work,” the nurse told me as she scribbled 195 on my sheet.
Now, I know that for many people 195 is a laughable number, but for me, it was a watershed moment. Actually, that’s not entirely true; there was also the photo that my buddy Aaron Draper took of me during a wedding that same week, me with my puffy face and chin sinking into my neck. There was also the transformations I’d seen others make on Facebook with their marathons, Visalus drinks, Crossfit endeavors, and body building competitions. It all sort of came to a head for me. It was time for a change.
There were, however, a few problems with the notion of getting back into shape -- the biggest problem being that Melody would have killed me. We didn’t have the money for a gym membership, work was piling up what with the accident, and we were definitely not investing in a diet program. That’s when I picked up a book called ‘The Four Hour Body’ by Tim Ferriss.
It’s an interesting book filled with lots of pseudoscience and quotes from studies, but it got me to thinking more on the topic of the optimum amount of exercise. Maybe I didn’t need to be at the gym for 3 hours a day, five days a week, with sweaty men yelling at me, “One more rep! One more rep, baby! Woo!” Maybe there was a way to fine tune things so that I could make the changes needed without investing so much.
I’m happy to say that 8 months into this, I feel better than I have in a long time. Maybe not as good as 18-year-old, 50 second 400 yard dash me did, but pretty good compared to the majority of mid-thirties folks that I meet.
I’m also bigger and stronger than I’ve ever been. Again, 170 lbs isn’t much for most men, but on my wirey frame it’s a lot.
If you’re interested in learning how I did it, simply stay tuned to the blog. I’m going to outline everything I did, both pitfalls and successes. And no, you don’t have to buy anything or sign up for any list. I’m not seeking to profit off of this. If something helps you in any way and you want to give back, do so by inspiring others and contribute to the conversation.
A quick outline of some of what I’m going to cover:
Forget the gym (the exercises I do in my garage)
The change up (how rotating routines keeps me interested)
Importance of down time (working out too hard or too much is counterproductive)
Reaching afterburn (burn extra calories while sitting on your butt)
Protein, Protein, Protein (the key to gaining muscle)
The exercise chart (how keeping track keeps you on track)
Look at me, Look at me (how photos kept me honest)
You can’t outrun your mouth (how no amount of exercise can make up for your diet)
It’s what you drink (the importance of hydration)