Staying Fit (My Story)

If you know me at all you know one BIG thing about my life. I am BIG about being healthy! Exercise, good diet, healthy habits and discipline are a core value in my life. In some ways I can actually be a bit OCD. But, the reality is that I have faced some struggles in the past with weight, health and eating well. I maxed out my body, and I'm a fairly slender built guy, at a nearly 40 waist size, a good size gut and 218 lbs. For my build and body that was/is not healthy. I am now 174 lbs and a size 31 waist. It has taken years of discipline, hard work and focus.

Admittedly,  I have a few vices that I will always fight.... I love vanilla ice cream with sprinkles, Twinkies and candy! I have had to really discipline myself to either moderate these well, or avoid them period. Mainly I completely avoid Twinkies, and moderate the others via my free/cheat days! In 2006, while leading a youth camp, I actually ate 2 entire boxes of Twinkies in one day! Have I mentioned I love Twinkies!?!?!?!

LOTS of folks keep asking me what I do to stay healthy and fit. I get ask about my diet and my exercise routines. So I figured I would offer some insight and share my stuff. 

Here's what my diet generally looks like. Core to my diet is protein, and it;'s the first thing I take in every day! Currently I am taking in about 200 grams of protein daily. I never take in less than 180 grams, and some days, after a hard workout, I try to consume about 220 grams. I do that in various forms. I use protein shakes for 2, and occasionally 3, servings of protein daily between meals. For the remainder of my protein I eat some mix of the following: Clean and organic chicken, tuna, salmon, raw egg whites (usually 6 at a time),  1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese, plain Chobani, 1 cup of soy beans, 20-25 almonds and various nuts. I take in about 180 grams carbs. Most of my carbs come through fruits and veggies. I do more veggies than fruit. I eat 1-2 large salads a day and they are generally just green, mushrooms and avocado. For dressing I generally use plain olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper. If I am using baby spinach, I don't even use dressing. I avoid iceberg lettuce and stick to spinach, kale and spring mix type greens. I use ONLY un-sweetend almond milk. I use organic, whole grain granola as a source of carbs and sugars. I try to limit my total sugar intake to about 36-40 grams per day if possible. My fat intake tends to be able 75-80 grams a day via nuts, olive oil, cottage cheese, avocado and via my meat intake. I have absolutely cut out refined flours, sugars and breads as much as possible.

Make sure you end each day with the intake of a slow digesting protein from things like a casein supplements, cottage cheese or egg whites. It's the very last thing in my body every day! Bottom line I take in no less than 2250 calories a day. I'm still trying to gain some weight and try to get between 3000-4000 calories per day. The key is that I work hard to eat a small meal every 2 hours all day long. 

*****I do allow for a handful of M&M's or chocolate covered raisins daily to satisfy my sweet tooth. Once a week I indulge in a FREE day, and ANYTHING goes on those days. I eat junk. But, I find even on my free day, I do it in moderation! 

My exercise routine is hardcore. I usually go 10 days and then take rest a day. My general flow is to lift weights for 5 days and then do a day of major cardio. Here's how the routines flow... 

I generally stick to 6-7 exercises for each muscle group. Each exercise gets a minimum of 3 sets with 8-12 reps. If I am doing a lighter weight, I will generally do 4-6 sets with 12 reps. The heavier I am lifting I will do 3 sets with 8 reps. I focus as much as I can on form, that helps makes the lifting beneficial! EVERY day I work out I do HIIT to start. Its a 7-14 minute routine of High Intensity Interval Training. It works my abs, core and stabilizer muscles every day. This has been a world changer for me. (CLICK HERE to watch a similar routine) In general, this is how my days flow.... I repeat this flow twice then take a day of rest! Every 12 weeks I change up to a different training program to provide variety and keep my body from getting too comfortable.

Every workout is followed by an immediate intake of the proper protein and supplements. It is important that when you take in protein after a workout, you include a clean source of carbs and sugar to increase your body's uptake of the protein. I do use some great supplements. I take a NO3 booster prior to my lifting workouts. The ones I tend to use also have creatine. The key is making sure it is clean and pure creatine, not junk. It will cost you a bit more, but it's worth it to avoid water gains and muscle loss after you stop using it! Post workout I use a protein blend that has a mixx of BCAA's and Creatine as well. I supplement that will glutamine and an additional source of pure BCAA's. I make sure my BCAA mixes have all the necessary L-carnatine and such to be sure my body is able to recover, rebuild and refresh properly. 

The last and most important key in my health in WATER! I make sure to take in no less than 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. Currently that is 176 ounces per day! I absolutely drink no soft drinks at all. I do not drink sweet tea, bottled juices or crew/sugar in my coffee. My liquid intake is simply Water and Black Coffee! 

At the end of the day, it takes discipline. It take determination. It takes diligence. It takes focus. It takes resolve. It takes encouragement. It takes HARD WORK. And, most of all, it takes a decision to care for your body and health with great care. The results are well worth it. My energy levels stay high. My mental focus stays sharp. My sleep is more restful. My body is grateful. And, best of all, I feel better about who I am! 

I hope this helps some of you guys, my friends and readers, get moving in a direction to be healthy, stay healthy and improve your life.

RESOURCES

Here are a few resources I want to provide for free that can help you get on the right track. As a NASM certified trainer I have developed a fitness program and nutrition guide to help others get into the best shape possible. So... Here is my gift to you! 

12 WK Fitness Program from Uncommon Fitness

Nutrition Guide from Uncommon Fitness