Disclaimer: I am not a certified physical trainer. I’m exercising based on the advice of researching various websites. What might work for one, might not work for you. Consult with your physician or a personal trainer to formulate a plan that’s specific to your goals.
Ever since 1987, I’ve struggled with my weight. I note the year because that’s when I went in the Army. I was overweight by their standards (around 185 pounds), and, for the next 8 years, I had to constantly work to keep the weight off. Eventually, around 1989, I shed the weight. The Army kept giving me chance after chance to lose weight. I wasn’t allowed to be promoted, receive awards, and had to participate in what was called “Remedial PT”-that’s where us fat-bodies and physical fitness test flunkies did more strenuous, longer time length physical training (PT) than the rest of my unit. Once I stopped the pity party and motivated myself, I shook the weight off. I wound up getting to around 167 pounds. I did this by running almost every night after the final formation. I’d run 3-5 miles, EVERY NIGHT. I would put my running clothes on, head out the main gate of the installation, and got after it.
The same scenario happened every time I changed assignments: gain weight (because I LOVE FOOD!), work like a dog to get it off. The cycle continued until I got out of the Army in 1995.
My wife and I (some of y’all might know her-Becky Willis!) got married in September of 1995. I settled into the role of father, husband, uncle, etc. I became complacent just being a civilian. I not only gained the weight back, but I also surpassed that several pounds over! We adopted a dog, Chance, and he and I would go out in the mornings for walks so he could go to the bathroom. All of a sudden, I noticed that my clothes began fitting a bit looser! Over a period of time, he and I would walk a little while, jog a little bit, repeat, until we were putting in around 4 miles during the week, and more than 4 miles on weekends. Rain or snow, it didn’t matter. He and I enjoyed our time together. I eventually got down to about 175 pounds. I kept it off until we went camping and I strained my back. Needless to say……you guessed it….hello weight gain! 🙁
It wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to get back into weight loss. I was training to be a bus driver for our school, and we had to get physicals. The thing that made me get back in the game was my weight-275 pounds! That was slightly more than I weighed when we got Chance! I began walking pretty much everyday, watched how much I ate and I lost a pant size between May and September!
Around March 2013, I began working out at the gym at the school I worked at (I was a part-time bus driver, full-time cleaner). We mixed cardio with weight lifting: Do whatever weight training exercises the strength and conditioning coach told us, jog a lap around the indoor track, repeat for about 45 minutes to an hour. Five (5) days a week. I would most of the time do 6 days a week, whether it was lifting or running. I lost not only weight, but pant sizes flew off!
In June of that year I ran a 5K for ovarian cancer, Live Like Liz and not only did I complete it, I ran under 35 minutes! I was so proud of myself!
In 2014, the gym where I trained changed supervisors and therefore wanted money to use the facility. The previous supervisor felt that because I worked there, I should be able to use the gym. Stupid me (yes, slight pity party here) decided, “I’ll just jog”. And that worked for a while, until November……
I went out for a jog, and when I came back, my lower back “caught”. I went to get out of my sweaty clothes, and my back seized up! I couldn’t walk! After a trip to the ER, it was determined I had had a muscle spasm/pinched nerve. I was given muscle relaxers and painkillers. From then until this day I experience some pain, but mostly stiffness and discomfort. Needless to say, the weight came back. In December of that year, until January 2016, I worked a part-time job at our local hospital and my full-time job of cleaner. I had given up my bus driver position, and money-wise we felt the pinch.
This is me, present day…..
I once again decided to make a change. I’ve had a membership to Planet Fitness for a few months. I would go every now and then, but I wasn’t being fully committed. I was only fooling myself that going a few days a week would get the job done. I finally got tired (both literally and figuratively) of trying to tie my shoes and finding it difficult to do so! I bear no shame, as this was solely my doing. I just had to get a plan and get on with it.
The biggest “war against being overweight” starts in the kitchen. I’ve been limiting my carbohydrate intake, drinking more water (at least 64 ounces/day), and controlling my food choices and intake. During the day, I’ll snack on raw almonds (7 pieces, 3 times per day, with a bottle of water), and I work out different muscle groups each day, and one to two days of cardio (walking), with one of those days being after weight training. On that day, I may not go farther than 3 miles, but the day that’s cardio only, I’ve bumped up my mileage to 4 miles. I use the Mapmywalk app and it’s great!
I began my workout plan, and continue this plan, by targeting specific muscle groups:
- Chest and Triceps
- Back and Biceps
The idea is to do 3-4 exercises, 4 sets each. Be sure to warm up with little to no weight, doing those exercises you’re going to do, then do the sets. On the muscle groups that are one group only (i.e.; shoulders), I’ll do about 5-6 exercises. Your last set (4th) will be a heavy set: 5 repetitions, as much weight as you can do. After your workout, drink a protein shake (2 scoops of whey protein powder to 8 ounces of WATER. Milk will cause you to gain weight!). To determine what exercises to do, I use the app Jefit to give me ideas.
For now, being that I’m starting my second week, I keep it simple. Try to do the same exercises on the days specified (If you do bench press for chest, do those on chest day for 4 weeks before adding more exercises to your routine. It takes about 4 weeks to notice strength gains, and about 8 weeks to notice physical changes. I know it seems like a long time; but, stick with it! You’ll be glad you did!
My next several posts will more than likely be “what Rog did in the gym today” posts. My goal is to share what I’m doing. I hope that maybe I’ll reach someone, inspire someone. To motivate someone!