Now, I must admit being at the age I am now with a little more mileage on my chassis things get a bit harder to maintain. A creak here, a tinge there, and a tuneup sometimes takes longer to perform. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from being old and broken down at this point, and I can still stay up late and party with the best of them, even though the recovery time the next day takes a little longer! I just can’t help myself as I love to go out and have a good time. Work hard and play hard. Work to live – don’t live to work. Guess you could say I have a bit of the “Peter Pan” syndrome in me. Yeah, I’ll never truly grow up. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Still, earlier this year as I looked at myself in the mirror I did not like what I saw. The repeated drinking and eating out had caught up to me. I looked paunchy and bloated around my face. My gut had expanded to the point where I had to buy pants of a larger waist size. I felt lethargic. I did not feel healthy. At close to 230 pounds I decided a drastic change was in order. Those who know me know that keeping in shape is a part of my lifestyle and I needed to strike a balance between the partying and staying fit. At this point a drastic change was in order so I laid down the gauntlet and challenged myself to lose 25 pounds in 12 weeks. A two pound weight loss a week is the safe way to do it, and will also enable one to gradually attain their weight goals. I am an all or nothing sort of chap, and can get downright fanatical when I decide on a goal. I embarked on a strict program which included weight training and cardio at least 5-7X a week, along with an even stricter diet. Mostly lean proteins, lots of green vegetables, protein shakes as my breakfast every day and one in the late afternoon, no fast /processed/ fried foods, low carbohydrates, and most of all – no alcohol whatsoever.
Yup – I did not drink for about three months. Oh, the agony! This also meant little going out at night, or to parties, or anything. Bless all my friend’s hearts for putting up with me, but sometimes in life you have to take a stand and do what’s best for your individual health and goals. Good friends stand by you with support and encouragement, and I have a great group of friends who understood what I was going through. Plus, this was just something I wanted to see if I could still do. In the past when I was a bit younger and a personal trainer staying in shape was easy and the calories burned off quickly. It does get harder as you get older. That is not a lie. Nowadays I look around and see so many guys much younger than I am in worse shape, and our society’s eating habits add fuel to the fatty fire, so to speak. I did not want to just be a statistic and one of the overweight herd, so I set out on this personal journey to see if I still “had it”.
Boy oh boy, I am not going to feed you a line of bull and say it was easy. There were days when I felt I could climb a mountain, and there were times when I had to drag my ass to the gym against my will. I wanted that burger and fries. I craved that pizza. Ice cream was calling my name. Beer was singing to me like a mythical siren of the seas. Still, I persevered and moved forward. I would not give up. I would not be lured off my path. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you, and the years go by fast. I’m not a young man anymore, but I’m certainly not old. My resolve is strong, I still have pretty good strength and power in the gym, and can easily jump on the treadmill and go at it for 45 minutes at any time. Still, I had to watch myself and not get carried away for fear of injury that would be a major setback. I have had my share of gym injuries and still work through a few of them. Rotating weeks of heavy weight/low reps and then lighter weight/higher reps worked best for me.
Well, as the weeks went by I noticed the weight drop off. At the start it wasn’t too noticeable, but I felt my pants getting looser. By the end of 4 weeks I weighed myself and realized I had dropped around 12 pounds! By the end of 8 weeks it was close to 20. By the end of the 12 weeks I was right on the nose at my 25 pound weight loss goal. I happily went out and bought some new clothes that fit me better, and people noticed the change in my physique and appearance. Sure, I went a little nuts the first week after the program was over and indulged in some of my favorite foods and booze, but still kept my training up. It’s all about moderation and maintaining. You have to set small realistic goals but also know along the way that you need to live a little and enjoy life a bit. Behave as much as possible during the week, and enjoy yourself on the weekends.
I guess what I’m trying to convey here is that if you want something bad enough you just have to reach out, grab it by the throat, and take it. Age does not matter. Nor does a busy life and work week. There are 168 hours in a week. All you need to do is dedicate at least 7 – 14 hours of that to your fitness plan so you can get in the time you need. Everyone can find one hour out of the day to exercise. Instead of watching tv, surfing the web, or going to a bar use that time to train. In the end it’s all in your mind and what you want out of life. I proved to myself that I could still do it, and now there is no turning back. We can all do it, and achieve our goals with the proper motivation. You just have to want it bad enough and be willing to sacrifice a bit.
Now, it’s off to the gym for some training and treadmill time. I am craving pizza for dinner but a salad with grilled chicken will have to do until Friday night!
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.