This post is pretty long and if you don't care about my story (I don't blame you I'm a terrible writer), but want some resources to improve your overall health and fitness, go here.
Why would I change?
In high school I competed in sports, music, and academics. I held myself to a pretty high standard and admittedly was very cocky and thought I was God's gift to this world. I was in decent shape and had a pretty good diet, but I ate what I can only guess to be a metric ton of calories. When I moved out on my own my diet became that of a poor college student and my exercise consisted of occassionally playing basketball and ping pong. This led to weight gain, confidence loss, and a decrease in overall health. I continued on this path until I got with my now fiancé Katie. My confidence skyrocketed, but I continued to gain weight and my health decreased because I was in love and Katie is a phenomenal cook. Katie made and continues to make me the happiest I've ever been (I can't wait to marry her in May)! This was actually detrimental to me and I noticed that my health and fitness were speeding downhill. Life went on and I had gained around 50 pounds. I was now sitting at a very fat 245ish pounds. In the summer of 2012, I decided it was time to stop hating myself and start changing.
Improvement is impossible without change
At first I didnt really know what I was doing so I was pretty unsuccessful, but I was determined to lose some weight. I started slowly by going on walks, jogs, and sometimes to the busy rec center at K-State. My lack of success was mainly because I wasn't aware of some essential information about weight loss/gain. The only thing that matters for gaining or losing weight is calories in vs. calories out. This means that in order for me to lose weight, I needed to eat fewer calories than I was burning. This concept is so simple, but it is hard to execute because food is delicious and tempting. After learning this I ate much less and continued to move around more and saw a lot of progress on the scale. In a little under 2 months I had lost a around 25 pounds, felt healthier, and was ready for more. The summer of 2012 was one of the best times of my life because I had made a change for the better and learned a lot, but I was still so far away from what I am today. Looking back on it all I probably lost my weight too quickly due to a caloric deficit that was too large, but I didn't care because I was making progress!
Continued change and improvement through knowledge
I was making great progress, so why would I change what I was doing? The simple answer is because of some new knowledge I had gained. Up until right before the start of my last semester of school in August, I was strictly eating less and moving more in the form of cardio outside or on an elliptical. I started doing cardio because that is what people say you are supposed to do in order to lose weight. I hate cardio. I knew that this new health and fitness me wasn't just a fad. I had made a true lifestyle change, so I started doing some research about what else I could do to boost my weight loss. Through my research I learned healthy levels of caloric deficits and surpluses, optimal exercise, healthier foods to eat, and most importantly why only doing cardio isn't the best thing I can do for my overall health and fitness. I soon started lifting weights, using machines and continued to do cardio as well. I was happy with my routine and diet and continued to do it until a couple weeks after school was back in to session.
Simplicity isn't a bad thing
Once school was in session, all the college students were back. That meant that the rec was now packed at all times. I disliked this because I felt "watched" even though I doubt anybody cared. Sharing machines takes time, and other peoples' sweat isn't awesome. I decided I would stop going to the rec all together and go simple. I started doing a body weight program along with cardio outside on linear trail. I soon hit the 35 pounds down mark and was loving this simple routine. The lack of complexity and time was perfect for me because I wasn't working full time anymore, but was actually busier seeing as it was my final semester at K-State.
Different can mean better
I continued doing my bodyweight routine as well as running outside until the weather got too cold for my liking. By the time I graduated I had lost around 50 pounds. My lowest weight has been 194 pounds. I felt stronger, quicker, and in overall better health. During the semester I started to miss weight lifting so I told myself that after graduation I would buy myself a home gym so I could get back into the weight room. I graduated from K-State on December 8th with a cumulative GPA of 3.256 and finished the semester with the highest GPA of my K-State career at 3.667. Soon after graduating I purchased 255 pounds of weight plates, a 7 foot 45 pound olympic bar, an adjustable bench, and a power rack off of Amazon from Body Solid. I also bought two stall mats for flooring from Tractor Supply in Manhattan. I am completely satisfied with my investment in a homegym and wouldn't do anything differently.
Here are a couple of pictures of my equipment:
The most important thing a lot people don't realize is that health and fitness are not achieved by a quick or temporary fix. It takes hard work and discipline, but I believe anyone can lose/gain weight and improve themselves if they truly want to. Succeeding in health and fitness is a lifestyle and mindset change that should last as long as one lives.
If anyone is interested in becoming healthier and/or more fit, please check out the following resources that have been a huge help to me:
- Beginner's Health and Fitness Guide - This read is all one needs to live a healthy and fit life.
- The fitness subreddits (/r/fitness) FAQ
- Exercise Prescription
As I have stated before, the only way to gain weight is to eat more calories than you burn and the only way to lose weight is to eat less calories than you burn. That being said, I have recently started following a way of eating called Intermittent Fasting or IF. Here are some resources about IF and a stricter variation of IF called Lean Gains:
My weight lifting program is a slight variation/combination of three popular linear progression programs:
My goal is to weigh around 180 pounds and be around 15% body fat while increasing my levels of strength, endurance, speed, and explosiveness. I am well on my way and will see my goals met.
Thanks for reading!