Beginning in 2003, I had gained my first year of marriage weight (for two years), and also put on enough “baby-weight” to match my wife during her first pregnancy. Yard work was a chore, and I regularly had lower back and hip pains for 3-7 days after any strenuous activity. My clothes were getting less and less comfortable; for example, I made it a point to find button-up shirts with enough buttons to stay tucked-in (or I would end up with a t-shirt triangle – some of you know what I mean).
It was very much like getting slowly drowned by my own lethargy and sedimentary habits. The longer I stayed there, the less I was aware of my surroundings, and before I knew it, I had 225 pounds on my 5’10 frame. I briefly recall being excited that I weighed 200 pounds – even though I didn’t feel stronger, it seemed like I could finally stand-up there with the “big guys”. But on the inside I felt terrible. Heartburn was a regular occurrence, and I don’t believe I went to bed without some form of antacid for an entire year.
What kept me from continuing down that path? Belief.
Please understand, that I do not believe my results are unique or special. I believe that we all have the capacity to improve our health (some more than others). It takes dropping some of the lies you’ve been told, finding-out what the truth is (and what it means to you), and venturing into uncharted territory. I hope the following story and details encourage you; don’t hesitate to reach-out to me if you want more information.
Back to belief… I did not believe that my weight defined me… even though several family members and friends had watched my health deteriorate without saying anything (they actually saw the weight as good)… some even went so far to say that they felt the extra weight “looked good on me”. And as luck (bad luck) would have it, a large part of the latter 20th Century West Texas culture agreed with them… and many people in this region still do. Lubbock, Texas is considered the 4th or 5th fattest city in the state (13th in the USA), and another report shows that Lubbock has the 3rd most clogged arteries in the country.
So in 2003, I began to research “fitness” with a focus that surprises me even now. Things were much the same then as now, the internet was a veritable fount of garbage on the topic of fitness and health, TV was full of infomercials, and the “health” sections of grocery stores and pharmacies didn’t seem to help either. There were fad diets (all carbohydrates, all protein, juicing, etc), there were fad pills (fat burners, caffeine supplements, etc), and there were fad workouts (“only 10 minutes a day and you can look like this”, yada, yada, yada). It was frustrating to say the least.
But I didn’t stop looking. In all things, I believe that the truth is not for sale – it is out there for free and anyone can have it without spending a dime. So I didn’t stop looking… and I found some simple truths:
1. God is a good place to start. For those that don’t believe in God, you must believe in something bigger than yourself… so choose wisely.
2. The heart is the most powerful and important muscle in your body – in more ways than one.
3. You are not defined by what you did yesterday – rather by what you choose to do today and every moment moving forward. Stop living in the past.
4. What you put into your body has an outward impact. If we eat junk, our bodies and minds feel like junk.
5. Effort and work towards a healthier life-style have significant pay-offs. Some short-term, some long-term… learn what they are and WATCH for them.
6. Community is underrated… find someone (virtually and/or local) that agrees with your decided life-style change. Stick with them and hold them accountable to their goals, just as they hold you accountable to yours.
After all of that searching, I also found some solid truths on exercise:
1. Exercise your heart as well as your body. When exercising, elevate your resting heart rate by at least 50% (or higher depending on your current state of fitness). If you don’t sweat at least a little (one or two drops – or a slight glow on your brow), then you didn’t exercise.
2. You must move your body as fully as possible to do the most amount of “work” in a short amount of time – engage in Full Range of Motion. This is defined by physicians and athletes several different ways – learn the proper forms for all exercises, and be very aware of your body’s limits. Do not sacrifice your ability to move for someone else’s standards. Modify the moves until they work for you with the largest safe Range of Motion for you.
3. Play with your exercises and don’t get stuck in a routine. Change it up – for example: using a deck of cards, assign a different move (pushups, sit-ups, walking, jumping rope, jogging, pull-ups, etc) to each card 2 through Ace. Deal yourself a set of 5 cards to determine your next workout.
4. Be social. Community isn’t only for chatting in between workouts; they’re also good during the exercises. I realize that it takes a certain amount of comfort to go there for some people, and if you’re introverted, this may be difficult. Find someone to talk with while you exercise (and yes, pets count).
5. Working very different parts of your body from exercise-to-exercise during a single workout burns more calories than only focusing on one body part. Don’t work out only your legs, only your arms, or only your chest. For example, some good combinations include: arms & legs; chest & back; legs & back; arms & stomach; etc.
After two years searching and pursuing this on my own (losing around 20-25 pounds), I took a risk on P90X ( a 90-day exercise program).
It was one of the best risks I’ve ever taken. Not only was it an exercise routine that mirrored the truths I’d found, but it was partnered with a solid nutrition guide that trained and taught me how to think about eating.
Here I am now, almost 6 years later, and I’m in better shape now than I have ever been (childhood included).
My weight is sitting comfortably 60 pounds lighter than at the beginning of my journey (now at 165 pounds), and I continue to increase my body-strength. Me, my wife, and kids are eating better, sleeping better, and overall healthier than we were at the beginning.
All because of a two “simple” beliefs: 1) God is more; and 2) I am not my past.
What do you believe?
Do you know? Are you interested? Want to start your own journey? Click here to make me your FREE coach
No related posts.