While my blog primarily focuses on Social Media, Technology, and Higher Education, today I wanted to share a personal reflection about the what happened to me from late June through late September this year, where I went through a transformation both physically and mentally.
Confession: my weight and eating habits have been a challenge ever since I started working in Higher Education. Long (and at times stressful) hours, easy access to college/university cafeteria food, convenient stops to fast food restaurants, coffee & pastry shops, networking events and conferences have been been consistent factors in my up and down weight over the last 15 years. Truthfully, I have not always made good food choices. With my family’s health history including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, I should have done better along the way… but “less than healthy” food has always been a weakness.
The tipping point for me came in 2007, almost one year after Ema (my oldest daughter) was born. I was 165 lbs (30 lbs overweight for a guy 5’4″ and in his, ahem, 30’s) and at a low point for energy and motivation. My parents had told my siblings and I over the holiday’s that they were concerned and challenged us to start losing weight. That January, I started diligently following Weight Watchers and ended up hitting “Lifetime Membership” that summer. I was down to 135 lbs and the skinniest I had been since high school. I was eating better and back in the gym playing basketball two-three times a week, so things were going well!
Over the next few years, I followed what had worked. I was mindful of my food choices, got some cardio in each week, and assumed I would be able to maintain it. Well after some time, it didn’t exactly continue to produce the results I was looking for. What I didn’t realize was that my body adapted quickly to what I was doing and with some poor food choices along the way, my weight was on the way back up. This past spring, I stepped on the scale and saw that I had gotten back up to 165 lbs. Deep down, I knew I needed to refocus and figure out a better way.
In May, I helped chaperone my daughter’s Girl Scout troop trip to the Zoo, as my wife leads their local troop. One of Girl Scout moms (Nicole), who came along for the day, was wearing a “P90X” t-shirt. I had seen the informercials for that and other fitness programs and was curious about it. We talked a little bit at the zoo that day, and throughout the month of June, about what program would work best for me. She suggested I start with Power 90, which was the first Beachbody program created by Tony Horton, prior to P90X. She recommended it because my goals in starting a program was about losing weight and toning up.
So at the end of June, I started my fitness journey and it has exceeded my expectations and changed my life in so many other ways that I didn’t realize until now.
1. Working Out 6 Days A Week Is Easier Than You Think: At first, I didn’t think this was possible. With kids, work, family, and volunteer obligations, the thought of adding this to my already busy plate seemed daunting. But then I realized that if I got up one hour earlier a day, I could fit it in. Heading to a gym was more time-intensive and even when I went, I’m still not convinced I was doing everything properly. Since the Power 90 workouts only lasted an average of 40 minutes for six days a week, I was up early and done even before the kids were up. There were times where I had to trade a morning workout for an afternoon or evening one, but I am proud to say that I did not miss a single workout over the last 90 days 🙂 Side benefit: After working out, I felt more alert and focused and ready to start my day. I have been more productive at the office and more engaged at home. Having one day a week where I didn’t work out, allowed me to get some extra sleep and recover.
2. The Routine: I loved the format of the workouts. One day would focus on cardio and the other would focus on strength training, then repeat until rest day. I enjoyed this because I was so used to just doing some quick static stretching then running out onto a basketball court until I was too tired to continue. The routine of the workouts emphasized the importance of the warm up, stretch, and cool down as part of the workout. Before, I just wanted to get into the workout, but now I look forward to the stretching as helps slow me down and focus on breathing and flexibility. I followed the routine to the letter, and for the most part, I was not too sore. What helped mid-way through the program was adding Beachbody’s superfood shake called “Shakeology.” While not cheap, it did gave me the boost of energy and overall good feeling to maintain good food choices and sustained workouts. Side benefit: I am much more patient waiting for things. As someone who loves technology and it’s “instant gratification”, I’ve learned to slow down and appreciate the experience a bit more. Adding more intentional prep and reflection time to my work routine has helped tremendously.
3. Commitment + Support = Motivation + Follow Through: If you know me, you know that I don’t do anything half-assed. If I’m committed to it, you know you will get the best out of me. With a dedicated workout program like this one, I knew I would need help along the way. My wife and daughters were awesome. I chose to do it over the summer knowing how difficult it would be, with vacations and other family time already planned. Whether it was a gentle nudge from my wife to get out of bed and “press play” on the DVD or my daughters working out with me, their support gave me the motivation to follow through on my commitment. Couple this with Nicole’s great coaching and many other Team Beachbody friends I’ve made along the way, I know I wouldn’t have been able to complete this transformation without them. Side benefit: I’ve inspired a few friends and family to become more mindful of what they eat and how often they engage in exercise. Whether its through a Beachbody program, running, or playing sports, I want to help those in and out of Higher Ed get into shape and lower the nation’s growing obesity trend.
So where does this leave me? I am in the best shape of my life, hands down. I have achieved my goals of losing weight (down to 140 lbs) and becoming leaner & toner. This is a lifestyle change I plan to keep! I am now ready for my next fitness challenge: P90X, which I start tomorrow morning! My goals over the next 90 days will be to gain strength, build muscle, and increase endurance. If the P90X fitness test was any indication of the challenges ahead, I’m ready and excited for them 🙂 (Update: I will be completing P90X on December 27th and moving on to a P90X Plus / Insanity Hybrid program! I’m super excited for it!)
If you see me over the next 90 days, ask me how the program is going and continue to encourage me along the way, I know I will need it! In the meantime, if you want to stop being a spectator and join me over the next 90 days on this fitness challenge and be a whole new YOU by early 2013, just let me know or read more about Beachbody programs and how to get started 🙂
What do you do to stay healthy? What has worked for you and what are your challenges? Have you ever done a Beachbody program like Power 90, P90X, or Insanity? What advice do you have?