Thursday, November 16, 2006

Adam's Story

I was your classic “Weekend Warrior”. I would go into the gym every few days and do a little cardio, lift a few weights, or maybe take a yoga class. I played basketball in a recreational league and on the weekends when I could. I felt like I ate pretty well. I stayed away from red meat and didn’t eat sweets all that much. I had been a member of a gym for about three years, and had never gone more than a month without working out.

As a kid, I had always been thin and weak, and over the years I had developed a belief that my body was just not genetically built to be muscular, but at least I was thin! However, as most people in their thirties find out, I was losing ground in that area as well. I had developed a nice paunch around my waist and my cheeks were starting to fill out. I felt tired quite a bit, and even when I was well rested, it was hard for me to get going in the morning and all I wanted to do at night was lay on the couch and watch television.

Although I was in ok basketball shape, I had developed pain in my lower back that wasn’t going away, and my knees and ankles couldn’t take more than 2 days a week of playing before they felt sore enough to make me start to think my basketball days were coming to an end.

In the summer of my 33rd year, I was 215 pounds and about 25% body fat. For the first time, I started getting real with myself and thinking that it was probably time to change my exercise habits and lose some weight. I read in a book that the best way to burn fat was to do cardio for an hour each day. I was on vacation and had plenty of time, so I stopped lifting weights and just did cardio every day. In about a month, I had lost about ten pounds and I was pretty happy! It was the first time I saw the effectiveness of consistent exercise.

Even though I lost the weight, I still was feeling hobbled on the basketball court and felt unable to lift weights because of back and knee pains. At best, I would try to do one set of 30 repetitions on various machines. My girlfriend teased me because I always said I was going to “take it easy on the weights today.”

One day while surfing the internet, I came across a website called Body for It was an exercise and nutrition plan that required six days a week of working out, and had a nutrition plan that seemed sensible to me.

When I started the program, I was mostly interested in going to the gym six days a week, because I wanted to get in better shape for basketball. I used the program as way to be accountable to myself, and also to have an excuse to give my girlfriend for why I was at the gym every day. I wanted to try out the exercise program, and even though I didn’t think the nutrition aspect of it was all that important, I decided I would try that too. The first two weeks, I over trained and underrate, and ended up catching a cold so I had to restart a few weeks later. My girlfriend had also decided she was interested in trying the program, but she only made it a week before she had a family emergency at the same time I got sick.

So here we were, we had started a new program and made it a whole week before we hit a roadblock! My body just shut down, and life got in the way for my girlfriend, and we were right back where we started!

However, even though we were discouraged, we decided to try again. After all, we had already taken the before pictures, and I had the earlier memory of my positive results from the previous summer when I followed a plan and saw improvement.

After that, my girlfriend and I followed the program very closely for the next twelve weeks. We started seeing changes in the mirror after about 4 weeks, mostly in the muscles of our upper bodies. In six weeks, we noticed our clothes were definitely looser.

However, these changes were nothing compared to the improvements in self confidence and energy level we had all day long. We were really doing it, and we started to notice that it had become easy and fun! It was actually hard to deviate from the program, because we would feel lousy physically - tired and depressed.

I lost about 10 pounds and got a lot stronger - not anywhere near the changes you see in the pictures they use to promote the program, but now I know I am in control of my diet and I love working out!

I think about where I will be in five years and get excited, not worried, and I notice that my body is still improving. On top of that, my back and legs feel much better and I am playing the best basketball of my life!

Starting and keeping with an effective exercise and nutrition plan has truly changed the course of my health and my life.

I don’t consider myself more dedicated or focused than anybody else. I just found some really good reasons to change some of my habits, and a plan that worked for me. I had the support and encouragement of my girlfriend who went through the program also, learned the techniques of effective cardio and strength training, and educated myself on sensible and realistic nutrition.

Our success wasn’t about will power as much as it was finding the motivation that worked for us. After about 8 weeks, it became a pleasurable lifestyle, which is the best motivation of all!

You can do this too!