2013 Goals

It’s been a year since I did the 90-day Body-for-LIFE challenge and I still feel great. I’ve kept the weight off and continued eating healthy and exercising. So, what’s in it for me next? I joined an indoor Soccer League in December and have been really enjoying playing in an adult over-30 league. This Spring I’m coaching my son’s recreational soccer league as well. Lately I’ve been running about 2 times per week, playing soccer on Friday nights, and now adding back in Soccer practice twice a week. That’s a good amount of cardio for me each week. I just need to add weights back in now. The last few months I haven’t been doing weights at the gym. Thanksgiving hit, followed by Christmas and New Years. You know how it is. Honestly, I don’t really have an excuse, I just need to do it. First goal for 2013: weights at least twice per week at the gym.

It’s been 5 months now since our family went Wheat Free. I’ll be sharing some more details over the next few posts, but that one simple change of removing wheat from our diet has made a world of difference for us. Goal two for 2013: continue the wheat-free lifestyle and avoid “Gluten-Free” products. This means eating more nuts, vegetables, meats, cheeses, etc. and not all of the shelf Gluten-Free products that are filled with rice flour, tapioca starch, and a bunch of other processed ingredients. More natural just feels better.

Goal 3 for this year: get a super defined 6-pack. All of my hard work last year did finally get me that 6-pack, but I would like for it to be really amazing. Maybe I’ll do some sort of ab workout program to get it build even more than it already is.

In summary, my health and exercise goals for this year are:

  1. Weights at least twice per week at the gym
  2. Continue the wheat-free lifestyle and avoid “gluten-free” products
  3. Washboard abs

Wheat Belly

Wheat BellyI came across a blog online when trying to figure out how to get rid of that extra layer of belly fat in order to show a full six pack, which I’ve still not quite achieved yet. I have a 4-pack, but there is still this tiny bit of belly fat left to trim off.

I decided to read this book Wheat Belly after reading the summary of it on his blog. I’m about 50% through the book right now and it is outlining a handful of compelling reasons to eliminate wheat from your diet. So far the author has talked about the original wheat grain and how it changed the last 50-60 years due to cross-pollination and genetic modification of the original Einkhorn wheat seed.

The wheat we eat today is totally different than the wheat that our grandparents and great grandparents ate in the early 1900s.

Wheat was essentially unchanged for thousands of years until the mid-1900s. The original tall amber waves of grain have been replaces by new dwarf wheat that has a much higher yield per acre. The entire middle sections of the grocery store was born, all chock full of processed products containing wheat.

In the 80s there was a big push with the food pyramid. I remember it being taught in schools when I was a kid. The push was to have the bulk of your diet consist of grains, along with a small percentage of fat at the top of the pyramid. The interesting thing about it is that around the time when Americans started replacing fat in their diet with “healthy whole grains”, the obesity problem in America started to spiral out of control.

I still haven’t decided exactly where this journey will take me in regards to my diet, but I have started to eliminate wheat from my day-to-day diet and have actually felt much better and had more energy. I may still have wheat as a splurge every now and then, but I’m moving more towards a hunters and gatherers type of diet with nuts, fruit, vegetables, and meat.

6 Month Weigh-in and Pictures

Six months ago I decided to make some big changes in my life. I was 34 years old and decided I needed to make some adjustments in both my eating habits as well as my exercise plan (or lack thereof) in order to be more healthy. I kicked off this year by completing the 12 week Body-for-LIFE program. I’ve maintained since then for about another 12 weeks and am now 6 months out from the start. Let’s take a look at where I started at:

After completing the 12 week Body-for-LIFE program, I definitely saw results.

I’ve continued to eat healthy and exercise since then. It’s been 3 months post BFL and 6 months since I did the Body-for-LIFE challenge. Here is what I look like today:

A few flexing shots:

In this next one, you can really see my side back and tricep muscles that I’ve built:

Before and after photos, side-by-side:

How have I done it? During the 12-week Body-for-LIFE challenge I would eat smaller portions 6 times a day. Each meal would contain a protein and a carb. Good carbs, though, none of the processed, enriched white flour. Stuff like whole grains, vegetables, beans. One day a week was my “cheat” day where I could eat whatever I wanted, and I literally ate whatever I wanted.

For exercise I went to the gym 6 times a week – 3 times cardio, 3 times weight. Total amount of gym time was between 3 and 4 hours a week. I was extremely consistent with the food and exercise during the 12-week challenge. Since then I’ve relaxed a little bit. I still try to eat healthy and eat 6 times a day. Instead of one day a week off, though, I’ve settled into 3 or 4 meals a week off. The rest of the week I eat smaller portions and still try to eat 6 times a day. It has become a habit, and one that I really, really enjoy. Gorging myself on large meals always makes me feel “blah” afterwards. Here are a few of the foods I regularly stock and eat:

Also, I avoid any sugar sodas. I do drink some diet sodas, but plan on dropping them at some point since they’re not the greatest for you…but I’m not quite there yet. In addition, I drink lots of water. It is crucial to keep your body hydrated. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you really just need some water. Also, keeping your body hydrated helps with muscle growth.

Since I finished Body-for-LIFE, I’ve continued to run 2-3 times a week and do weights 2-3 times per week. On average I’m exercising 4-6 times per week still. I always feel so good after either a good run or workout.

Now, for my 6-month weigh-in. I weighed in this morning at 154.

I’m down 16 pounds down from where I started this year at 170. It’s hard to tell really how much I’ve lost/gained since a lot of the loss has been fat which has been replaced by muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. Well, actually they weigh the same, but for the same size of mass, the fat will weigh more than the muscle – see my post here for more about that. I’m continuing to increase weights at the gym, which for me is a good indicator that I’m continuing to gain muscle. Going forward I will be doing checkins every 3 months with pictures and a weigh-in. The next one will be at 9 months in October, followed by my one year checking the beginning of January 2013. In the meantime I will continue to blog about my story, healthy tips, and how I am able to keep a healthy lifestyle up while behind the desk on a computer every day.

Adding nuts to your diet

One thing I’ve added more to my diet recently is nuts. I read an article on how nuts are a good way to gain healthy weight if you’re looking to increase your calorie intake. Yes, they are hight in fat, but you generally want your fats to come from plants and not from animals (i.e. nuts, avacodas, beans, etc. as opposed to beef, pork, dairy, or other fats that come from animals). If you’re trying to lose weight, they’re good too because they keep you full for a while.

I’ve tried a bunch of different kinds of nuts from the store and have settled on the Emerald brand. Of all the nuts at our grocery store, they seem to taste the freshest. Of course, nothing beats buying nuts fresh in bulk from some place like Sprouts or Whole Foods, but I don’t always get there as often as I would like.

The new Sweet & Salty flavors have a little sugar in them, but they’re not too bad. They are more of a treat for me as opposed to my daily consumption. The one flavor that we can’t seem to find here in Texas is the Cinnamon Roast – they’re really good. We were in Atlanta a few weeks ago while my wife attended a blogging conference and found the Cinnamon Roast at the grocery store there. We stocked up on some, since who knows how long it will be until they make it here to Texas. I put in a request at our grocery store to carry them…we’ll see when they arrive here.

The Cocoa Roast came out around the same time as the Cinnamon Roast. They are delicious too.

We first saw these two varieties on shelves when we were living out in LA. Both the Cocoa and Cinnamon Roast have only 1g of sugar in a 1/4 cup serving. They are a great way to add variety to your nut intake without adding a bunch of sugar.

I’m excited for my 6 month weigh-in and pictures. It’s been almost a half a year since I started Body-for-LIFE and almost 3 months since I finished the program. I’m interested to see my pictures and how far I’ve come the last 6 months. Check back this weekend for my 6 month weigh-in and pictures!

Week 21 Weigh-in and Pictures

The last weigh-in I did was at 16 weeks – 5 weeks ago. In the past 5 weeks I’ve gained about a pound, weighing in at 159 lbs.

Now, for the pictures. From the front:

From the back:

Front Flexing:

Back Flexing:

Another Back Flexing – you can see more of the back muscles in this one:

Compilation picture (click to enlarge):

Every time just before I do a weigh-in and pictures, I fear that I’m going to look worse than the last time. Then once I get the pictures on the computer and look at them, I get so motivated. The last 5 weeks I’ve been pretty good. There was one week where I missed the weights, but other than that, I got my weights in 2-3 times per week each week. My cardio has been strong at 3 times per week.

One night a few weeks ago I was about to put my kids to bed when my son said to me “Have you done your workout today, Dad?”

“No, I’m supposed to do upper body today.”

My son’s responded with “You’d better leave soon so you have time to get it in before the gym closes!” It was seriously a great moment for me. My son helped motivate me to get my workout in on a night where I wasn’t really feeling it. A big thanks goes out to him for motivating me to continue working out and being healthy.

So, what’s next? I still need to gain more muscle weight. I’m almost through my first tub of the Casein Protein. I need to do better at drinking some every night before bed. I’m continuing to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. I think that’s part of my lifestyle now. Occasionally I will have a “meal” off, but I’m not really doing the one full day a week off. On Saturday if I know we’re going out to eat, I’ll eat my normal healthy way the whole day and then splurge with my one meal out. As a general rule I eat healthy all week long and relax a little on the weekend. It’s not a full-out binge though where I eat anything all weekend long. Body-For-Life has taught me how to both eat healthy and enjoy treats while staying lean and fit.

My next checking I’m scheduling for 5 weeks out at 26 weeks (the weekend of June 6-8). That will be exactly half a year of healthy eating and working out. I’ll be interested to see how far I’ve come in 6 months. Stay tuned – and in the meantime I’ll continue to blog about healthy tips and my journey through my transformation.