I'm using “fat” as it relates to me, period. While I've never been anything but an OK athlete, I used to be considerably heavier than I am today. The guy who was steadily approaching 210 pounds, smoked up to 2 packs of cigarettes a day, and couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without needing to catch his breath was exorcised in 2001 when I'd had enough and dropped 60 pounds. Since then, I've had my “hey, let's run a marathon this weekend” weight of around 148 lbs. and my “it's off-season, so a cheeseburger is OK” weight of 155-159 lbs. At 5'8″ tall with a slight build, I've hovered around 155 lbs for well over a decade, dropping to the low 140's training for Ironman and up to a muscular 172 when developing the 7 Weeks to 10 Pounds of Muscle program with my co-author Jason Warner. After nearly 2 years of injuries (torn labrum, 2 meniscus tears, grade 2 ankle sprain) I've steadily become less active, unmotivated, and have watched my love handles grow and abs disappear; as the bad English in the title states – I've gotten fat, again. 168 is my new 208.
Older, Slower, Fatter.
Coupled with the injuries that have hobbled me, I'm also no longer the 30 year-old guy who dropped all that weight 15 years ago, I'm just a handful of weeks away from my 46th birthday. Time isn't kind to a body when you're idle, especially when you continue eating and drinking like you're still very active and logging 20-ish miles a week. I can no longer get away with buffalo wings and a few Jack & Cokes at dinner if my only activity during the week was putting the garbage cans out. I've replaced trail runs and 5k paddleboard sessions with 10-hour days in my office sitting on my slightly more Rubenesque derriere. Aside from the waistline expansion, I'm now humbled at the few active things I do a week. Just a few seasons ago in soccer, I was able to run down most any ball and keep that intensity up all game. Now, I'm gasping for air after one short sprint.
I've gone from a guy who's written a dozen or so books to motivate others to a sedentary middle-aged guy who needs a good kick in the shorts himself; that juxtaposition should be jarring enough to fire me back up… right? Well, you're damn right it has.
too much, too fast is always a recipe for disaster when getting in shape
After a year of relatively light activity, there's no way I'm jumping right back to where I left off in training – too much, too fast is always a recipe for disaster when getting in shape – so I'm taking the cautious approach and starting over with an easy-to-follow nutrition plan and exercise schedule. Luckily, I have some great help in the nutrition department from my friends at SmashPack and I really enjoy writing bodyweight fitness regimens that are easy to follow.
Setting a Goal
My 30-day goal starts on January 2, 2017 and ends January 31, 2 days after my 46th birthday. I currently weigh 168 lbs, and my target weight is 158 lbs. I'm not concerning myself with BMI, BMR, lean muscle mass, or the size of my waist – I'm simply dropping 10 pounds with a balanced diet and 30 minutes/day of bodyweight exercises, daily walks or bike rides, and a few short runs per week. No gym membership or complicated diet required. You can follow my progress here and on the Mud Run Guide Facebook page, and if you're in the need of a fitness & nutrition program, by all means follow along. I'll include what I'm eating, drinking, and exercises. As I've done this myself in the past and encouraged tens of thousands of people around the world to do the same through the programs I've written, tips and tricks will be included.
Losing Weight – The (simplest possible) Math
Let's go with the most basic weight reduction calculation; calories in, calories out. (Yes, there are far more precise methods to analyze body composition and nutritional needs, this is basic on purpose.)
3500 calories = 1lb of fat. Want to lose 5 pounds in a month? You'll need to drop 17,500 calories by dieting or activity, that averages out to upwards of 600 additional calories per day either burnt off through activity or removed from your caloric intake. Optimally, you'd split the calorie deficit between activity and caloric restriction, an equal split looks like:
5 pounds/month = 600/day calorie deficit (burn 300 calories/day exercise, intake 300 calories/day fewer)
My goal is double that at 10 pounds, but I'm not a first-timer at this. If you are doing this for the first time, 5 pounds/month can be a challenging but attainable goal, and I highly recommend you start between 1-5 based on your activity level & willpower.
My 30-day “SmashPlan” 10 pound weight reduction will require about 1200 additional calories/day either burned through activity or a reduced calorie diet. In tomorrow's article, I'll outline my nutrition & activity gameplan to hit my goal!
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