This post is way over due, and I should have started the year off with it to be honest. But I guess better late than never huh. If you followed me during my How long does it take for prednisone to work then you may know a little bit of the back story I’m going to start off with so please bare with me.
Last year I took it upon myself to tackle the Insanity Challenge and make a whole-hearted effort to the program. Taking the nutrition seriously as well as pushing myself during the workouts. I was proud to have completed the programs 63 days with only missing one workout and I tracked my nutrition throughout the entire program. I was pretty meticulous about my nutrition during the Insanity challenge and never took a “cheat day” or “cheat meal”. When I finished the Insanity Challenge I dropped about 11 pounds and 5-6% body fat bringing me to my best personal results since starting with Beachbody. But there was a problem…
The problem was by the time the 63 days of Insanity was over I was ready to fill my cravings of all the things I had passed on over the 60 day program. It only took me a couple of days after finishing Insanity to start eating poorly. And worst of all, it didn’t stop. It wasn’t too long that I was in a huge rut in my health and fitness. I added back all 11 pounds I lost with the program PLUS 20 additional pounds after that. As Austin Powers would say, “I lost my mojo”.
I just couldn’t seem to find balance in a workouts and forget about nutrition. I got to the place where if I wasn’t working out, then the hell with caring about what I ate. After months of this downward spiral I was topping the scale at 203 pounds (I was 174 at the end of Insanity), none of my clothes fit anymore and I hated who I was seeing in the mirror. And what was worse was I was taking my family down with me. Me and my wife were probably the heaviest we had been in years. I knew it was time and we had to do something. Below is my wife’s and my pictures before committing ourselves.
My Game Plan
I came up with a game plan for my new years resolution. The first thing in this “plan” was NOT TO BE PERFECT. Afterall nobody is perfect, if they say they are, they are lying. As it turns out not worrying about being perfect was my ticket to success. I laid out a fairly basic plan with basic guidelines for us to start the new year off right. I needed something I could do maintain beyond a workout program. I didn’t want to do another program and soon as it was over feel like “Where’s the pizza” or “bring on the ice cream”. So me and my wife started P90X3 in January and we adapted my basic guidelines. I didn’t track my nutrition, I just ate every few hours trying to make the best decisions without being too anal about what I ate. On the weekends we ate out, I still had fast food and ice cream (in moderation) and I didn’t stress over myself if I slipped up with my nutrition. Can you guess what happened? Before I get to that, check out my list:
The Basic Guidelines We Followed:
- Workout 6 days a week w/P90X3
- 30 Minute workouts
- No tracking nutrition
- Know it’s ok to Cheat
- Eat every few hours
- Try New Recipes
- Drink Water at every meal
- Include protein, carbs and fat in each meal
- Know it’s ok to eat what I want (cheat meals)
After following the above basic guidelines, me and my wife were steadily seeing results all the while enjoying the journey. After about 2 months of eating right (most of the time) and pushing play 6 days a week. We decided we were ready to take it to the next level. We started taking the nutrition a little more serious all the while still having a cheat meal here and there. We started to track our nutrition daily to meet a calorie and macro nutrient goal. This was a great progression for us, we didn’t just start from day one and go for broke, no, we gradually got into it and got better day after day. I think that is something to take away from all this. Not going cold turkey right out of the gates but to gradually progress towards your goals as YOU feel comfortable. As you start to see and feel the results you’ll want to do better automatically, and that’s what was happening to us. Were we perfect? No. Did we get six-pack abs? No. Are we in the best shape of our lives? No. But, what we got was so much better. We got our sense of self-worth back. Although we both still have a ways to go in our own personal health and fitness goals, we can look in the mirror and say “I like what I see” and it’s only going to get better from here on. Below is our pictures after completing 90 days P90X3.
Still Going Strong!
For me this is the coolest part, NOT STOPPING! We completed 90 days of P90X3 and we’re proud of our results. In the past when I had completed a Team Beachbody fitness program, the same thing always seems to happen. As soon as I finish, I’d go back to my old eating habits and gain every bit of weight I lost back, BUT not this time. Since we gradually got back into the game it has been so much more enjoyable this time and on top of that we are still going strong. This is the first time I completed a program and kept right on going. We are currently tackling the Body Beast workout and although I miss my short 30 minute workouts it’s still an enjoyable experience. I continue to drop body fat and my nutrition is still going strong even though it’s not perfect. I don’t wake up dreading my workout, I don’t dread tracking my nutrition, I don’t dread eating right, now these are things I look forward too, and that’s the best feeling of all. Are my guidelines perfect? No, but I’m not trying to be perfect, I’m only trying to be the best ME I can be. After more than 3 months of continuing our new fitness journey my game plan list now looks more like this:
- Workout 5-6 Days Per Week
- 30 – 50 Minute Workouts Per Day
- Track My Nutrition and Macros
- Eat Every Few Hours
- Keep Trying New Recipes
- Drink More Water
- Cheat Meals on the Weekend only if it fits in my Macros (IIFYM)
- Cardio Only 1-2 Per Week
- Strength Train 4 Days Per Week
How To Stay Committed?
So what’s the point to all this Rob? Truth be told, I talk to people everyday that relate to my story above. They do a program, have great results but once the program is completed they are back to old habits. Not only do I see it happen too often but it’s clearly happened to me more than once.
The simple truth is I want to help YOU. I became a Beachbody Coach to help others in their own fitness journeys. This year I recommitted myself with a different approach. An approach to my health and fitness that would last beyond just the length of a fitness program (typically 60-90 days).
I broke down what I did into 3 different phases (below). Each phase is a gradual transition into something we can maintain. And for me that was the ticket, a “gradual” change. If you feel so inclined, please continue and check out my 3 phases of what I think will gradually get you into your health and fitness to a level you can maintain for a lifestyle YOU want, instead of dreading working out and eating right you’ll be looking forward to it.
NOTE: I have something FREE to giveaway to you so be sure to keep reading.
How Do We Get Started? Phase 1
It’s going to be different for everyone. From what you read and saw above you can obviously tell that I’m not a fitness professional or a ripped individual, but one thing you can see is that I’m serious and that I have regained my passion for fitness.
The first step in getting started is to realize there is NO MAGIC PILL. It takes time and consistency to do anything worth while. If you can relate to my story above then you know what I’m talking about.
It Starts With You!
We need to make slow gradual changes to your habits, remember we want something we can sustain for the long-term. I’m willing to bet that most people won’t agree with what I’m about to say here, but DON’T set a goal, DON’T get started to lose weight for vacation, NOT for a function or a wedding, NOT to get a six-pack, NOT even for your family. So why the heck do you get started? FOR YOU! Did you get that? We do this for YOU because YOU are worth it damn it. Once you realize that everything will fall into place naturally without trying to make it fit. Once I stopped setting a goal for the next 90 days, or before we go on vacation, or on a cruise and just focused on ME, my mindset changed.
Obviously we need to workout and we need to establish starting a workout regimen we can sustain. I don’t care if you only do 10 push ups or jumping jacks before bed every night, or just go for a walk, anything will work. It doesn’t matter as long as you do something 5-6 days a week. Maybe start with 10 push-ups every night before bed and the next week you do 15 every night. Slow and steady wins the race. Maybe you can commit to more than that, if you want more of a workout a great place to find one is youtube. There are literally thousands of workouts you can do from youtube, and all for FREE. I’d recommend trying to do something 5-6 days per week. You see the only person stopping you is the one you see in the mirror.
Next, throw away your scale! OK, not literally, but hide it from yourself. The scale can be the most damaging aspect for someone trying to get started. Not seeing the scale move can wreak havoc on a person mentally. And stress does the opposite of help. So put it away and judge progress based on how you feel.
Did you know that after only 3 weeks of doing something consistently it starts to become a habit?
Now that we are doing some sort of workout daily (5-6 days per week is best). The next step is to work on our nutrition. If you really love your sweets and fast food or eating out, DON’T cut them out completely. Instead cut them down. Shaun T (Insanity creator) once said, “I’d rather you eat crap all day and have one healthy meal, than to eat 100% clean when you are getting started”. I paraphrased that a bit, but do you get what he’s saying? I lived out this scenario. I ate 100% clean right off that bat with Insanity, and you know what happened if you read the beginning of this post. Yes, I had pretty good results but it wasn’t something I could MAINTAIN on a personal level, and as soon as I finished Insanity I went back to old eating habits. That’s the point, you have to do what works for YOU. Try starting out with making sure just once per day you eat a healthy meal that includes lean protein, a complex carb and healthy fats (don’t forget veggies) and the rest of the day eat however you want. Not too difficult right. To make things even easier, below is a quick shopping list posted by Shaun T on his Facebook page.
TIP: Find new “healthy” recipes to try each week. I follow FitMenCook on instagram and he has some amazing recipes that I use weekly. And the best part is he is constantly adding new ones every week, PLUS they are affordable. Follow FitMenCook on instagram by clicking here.
Going a little deeper into your nutrition. While maintaining what we said above, let’s try to eat 4-6 times per day. Spacing your meals out every 2-3 hours if possible, if not don’t worry about it. Make sure we eat breakfast, it’s insane to me how many people skip this meal. DON’T worry about having carbs at night, DON’T worry about eating too late, DON’T worry about counting calories. When we are starting out, getting too involved with all these “so-called” rules becomes mind numbing and you’ll lose your willingness to keep going all. Remember we are just starting the process here.
Tip: Only drink water! Drink one 8-10 oz glass of water before or during each meal. If water is just to bland for you, try adding a few drops of natural lemon juice. Water has many key health benefits. I like to drink one glass of Green Tea daily to get me out of the monotony of ONLY water.
Let’s Recap Phase 1:
- DON’T set a Goal (time frame)
- Drink Water at every meal
- Try New Recipes
- Throw Away the Scale
- Workout 5-6 times per week (anything workout will count)
- DON’T Count Calories
- Eat at least one healthy meal per day
- Eat every 2-3 hours
Does phase 1 sound doable for 21 days? Remember these are only guidelines and can be adjusted personally as you see fit.
Are you ready to make that commitment to YOU? I know you are and I’m proud of you for taking that first step.
After 21 Days – Phase 2
Once you follow the above guidelines for at least 21 days you’ll probably notice a few things happening. One, you feel better and more accomplished in a lot of things in your life. Two, this happened to me, you want to improve on what you are already doing. So with that in mind let’s take it to the next level.
By now you should have been doing some type of workout 5-6 days per week, whether just push ups, jumping jacks, a walk around the block or a workout program. Now it’s time to “up the ante” as they say. I want you to try to get at least 25 minutes (no more than 30 minutes is needed) of exercise 5-6 days per week. Again youtube has thousands of workouts you can put together to make a nice workout. For this I highly recommend strength training workouts instead of cardio, but if you are a cardio junky try to find HIIT workouts.
In phase 1 we have replaced at least one meal per day with a healthy meal. By now you probably have increased this on your own but if not, let’s go for more than just one. Try to get add 1-2 more healthy meals per day. Not a big change but a gradual one. Still having your cheat meals and fast food and ice cream is ok. Although you probably have cut those down on your own by now as well. Remember in each of these “healthy meals” to include lean protein, complex carbs (and veggies) and healthy fats. We are still not counting calories at this point. Eat small meals every few hours to keep you metabolism running. If you find yourself struggling to get one or more “healthy” meals per day you may want to look into Shakeology. It simplifies my nutrition and on top of that it’s a supper dose of dense nutrition.
Back to the scale, this is questionable, but if you feel inclined we can start weighing ourselves once again at this point, go ahead. My tip here is to only weigh in on Monday mornings after excretion. That’s right, only once per week. Our bodies fluctuate in weight all the time and weighing in daily will start to play with your mind…DON’T DO IT EVERYDAY and don’t measure your progress with the scale alone.
Let’s Recap Phase 2:
- Workout 5-6 days per week (try for 30 minutes per day)
- Drink water at every meal
- Try New Recipes
- DON’T Count Calories
- Eat 2-3 Healthy Meals Per Day
- Eat Every 2-3 Hours
Take It To The Next Level – Phase 3!
By now you have been going strong for almost 2 months. We have made slight gradual changes to our lifestyle. Your clothes are fitting better, your attitude is better, your self-worth is better and you want MORE. How about that! I stress that you only move to this phase when you’re ready. Because you’ll need a little more dedication from here. You can stay in the previous phase as long as you feel comfortable there. For some people that’s good enough, for others seeing progression lights a fire in them to want to do even better. That’s what happened to me, I was seeing results, now I wanted to hone in on them. So let’s take control. I’m sure you’ve heard nutrition will count for 70% of your results. In this phase we up our dedication to the side of nutrition to maximize our results.
Disclaimer: In this phase we start tracking our nutrition, our macros and calories. This is going to take extra dedication and consistency as we learn to do it so if you don’t want to go through this that’s your option but for best results, keep reading.
First we need a calorie goal tailored to YOU. I’m sure you’ve read where they say find your maintenance calories and subtract 500 from it for a deficit. Well, this doesn’t work for everyone. 500 calorie deficit for someone weighing 300 pounds vs someone 180 pounds is not going to be the same. So here is the formula that is more specific for YOU.
(Assuming you are sedentary and workout 3-5 days per week (we don’t count yoga/pilates as workouts for this)) Take your current weight and multiply it by 14. The sum of this equation will be your maintenance calories. We now take that number and multiply it by either 20%, 25% or 30% depending on how aggressive you want to be. DO NOT do more than 30% (20% is probably the best place to start). Once we have this number we subtract it from you maintenance calories for your daily calorie goal. For Example I weight 182 pounds:
182 X 14 = 2,548 (Maintenance Calories) | 2548 X .25 = 637 (25% Calorie Deficit) | 2548 – 637 = 1,911 (Calories Per Day to Lose Weight).
Now that we have our calorie goal we need to figure out our macro nutrient goal. Some people will suggest a 50-30-20 (protein, carbs, fats) ratio while others suggest starting out at a 40-40-20. And with the recent release of P90X3 and the 21 Day Fix I’m seeing a lot more ratio’s with higher fat content that looks like 30-40-30. So, which one do we use? I’d say use the one that you can reach on a daily basis. Any of these will help you reach your goals to either cut fat or gain muscle depending on your calorie intake. The 50-30-20 will be the most difficult ratio to hit in my opinion, 50% protein is hard to hit without supplements. Personally I do something in the middle more similar to 40-35-25 (protein, carbs, fats). If you are doing a Beachbody workout and want to know the macro goals for that program Free advice.
We have our calorie goal, and macro goals, but how do we keep track of them. Enter MyFitnessPal! If you’re not familiar with My Fitness Pal it’s a nutrition tracking system where we can enter the foods we eat to keep track of our calories and macros everyday. They have both the online and smart phone app for you to use and it’s absolutely free. I use both platforms to keep track of my nutrition as they will sync to each other. To learn how to set MyFitnessPal up and adjust the macros click here.You can connect with me on MyFitnessPal and/or see my daily nutrition by clicking here.
TIP: Enter your nutrition the day before so you can add and subtract trying different scenarios to get the best possible results.
At this point we are taking our nutrition seriously (or you should be). If you are tracking your calories and macros you might as well eat right huh. In this phase is where we start to adapt the IIFYM concept, but only partially. If you aren’t familiar with the acronym IIFYM, it stands for “If it fits your macros”. In short form it means you can eat what you want as long as it fits your macros that we outlined above. Here is how I suggest you tackle this. For most of us we can do well on our nutrition during the work week. It’s the weekend where things start to fall apart in terms of nutrition. We go out with friends and family and want to eat something good that probably wouldn’t be considered “healthy”. What we do is we take the work week and give our nutrition 100% dedication, no cheat meals and no junk. However, on the weekends we can eat what we want as long as it fits our macros. This way even if we indulge a bit we aren’t going to wreck our results. This has worked really well for me, I get to enjoy myself when I go out and I keep my sanity by not being too strict.
What about the workouts? We need to continue to workout 5-6 times per week. 25-45 minutes per day is all you really need, but if you like longer workouts, go for it. Personally anything longer than 45 minutes is a downer, but that’s me. If you haven’t by now I suggest finding a program that is set up properly for best results, whether it be a Beachbody workout, and online program like Athlean X or Six Pack Shortcuts. Something that will set you up for success so we aren’t guessing on what type of workouts to do on what days.
HOW ABOUT SOME FREE GIFTS TO GET YOU STARTED!
I apologize for the length of this post but remember it’s done in 3 phases so that’s why it ran long. I started this website (PledgeToStayFit.com) as a way to keep myself accountable. I want everyone to be successful whether they work with me or not. So I have a couple free gifts for you to enjoy. Plus I feel that both of these gift will help you on your journey to maximize your results.
First is the “Trust And Believe” wrist band. To remind yourself to trust and believe in YOURSELF!
Next I’m going to give you a FREE 10 Day Challenge Nutrition Guide. Including recipes to use for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
How do you claim these FREE GIFTS? Simple. Drop me a comment below letting me know if anything above was helpful and/or how you plan to get started. Next shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address so I can get you the wrist band and challenge guide. I have limited quantities on the wrist band so its first come first serve basis.
Let’s Get Connected!
Like I said, this is about YOU. Do you need someone to keep you accountable? I know I do, let’s get connected so we can chat about your goals and come up with a game plan for YOU. Connect with me today by clicking below:
I know there are fitness professionals out there that have their way of doing things. Setting goals, doing intense workouts, never cheating and so much more. In a perfect world these may work for you, it didn’t work for me. What I outlined above is what finally worked for me. You have to find what works for YOU and I’m hopeful the 3 phases above will be in the least somewhat helpful for those who are struggling. If you are a yo-yo dieter and can’t seem to get a grasp of your health and fitness I encourage you to at least give the above a try. What do you have to lose? If phase one is too passive start at phase two. Getting fit, losing body fat and seeing results is going to take time, so why not enjoy the journey. In all my attempts I have never really sat back and enjoyed the journey, until now. I know this isn’t for everyone, some people want to jump in full force, but see where they are in a year, compared to someone who started slow and adapted a learning curve into their health. Who do you think will last longer? For me, this time around wasn’t about the 90 days, it was about finding something I could maintain for a lifetime and lifestyle.
Here’s to our new lifestyle!
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Yours In Success,
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