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big j's quest for vitality

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by jasonross, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    hello everyone. i'm a long-time lurker, and it's about time i get myself in gear and contribute. i decided shortly before my 32nd birthday that i was in need of drastic changes to my lifestyle. i'd been on-again/off-again working out and eating right over the last 2+ years. but nothing ever stuck. if anything, i felt like i would put just as much intensity into getting UN-healthy as i did to getting healthy. i would go on benders of terrible food, eating everything in sight. :eat: i've determined that this behavior is a thing of the past now.

    less than 3 years ago i peaked in weight. i tipped the scales at 281 lb in july of 2008. i decided at that point that i needed to lose weight, because i was fat, tired, and unhealthy, and also because i was getting married in 2 years. fast-forward a year. in august of 2009, i found myself under 250 lb for the first time in nearly a decade. i was incredibly happy with myself, and everyone around me was noticing the weight loss. but as summer waned, i was working out less and eating more, and the weight crept back on.

    i started P90X in november of 2009, weighing 256 lb at the time. but by week 3 i was missing workouts, and i apparently decided that because i was working out everyday i could eat like crap. then the holidays hit, and i ate even worse. by february, i was up 5 pounds and basically not working out at all.

    at the time, i was a member at a local gym, and i would spend some time lifting there. but it was done mostly haphazardly, without a real plan and without tracking my results adequately. and as you can guess, this too burned out like a candle running out of wax. even though my wedding was months away, i couldn't even get myself into shape for THAT. i crept back up and floated around 265-270 for the next 8-9 months, which brings me to this year.

    as i said, i was fat, out of shape, and angry at myself. :bang: i was ready for a change. my wife and i had recently moved from MI to NC. i wasn't around friends, family, or any of my former bad habits. i had a chance to really start over. so that's what i did. i started reading posts on JSF again (i hadn't been there in over a year), getting motivated, and planning things out. but the biggest step for me was just getting started! i've been working out hard over a month now, tracking my food for a month (every calorie, every macro... even the meals i don't want to know). but i'm just NOW posting my journal. if i had waited until i started my journal to work out and eat right, i still would be spinning my wheels! :doh:

    i started out on january 24,2011 with the following stats:
    Height: 6' 5"
    Weight: 266.4
    BF: 32%

    after 1 month, im currently:
    Weight: 253.2
    BF: 26-29%

    i just got a calipers, which is giving me lower BF readings than the navy measurement method. i have skinny legs, that might be it. i'm just going to continue measuring myself with different methods to give myself a clearer picture.

    and i know that i wasn't as diligent in that first month that i'd hoped. i munched on too many snacks at work, and i ate out a few too many times. but overall, i'm very happy with my progress. now comes the best part: keeping it up, kicking my nutrition plan into high gear, and progressing even further!

    i've been doing a combination of lifting and HIIT cardio, and also mixing it up with some P90X workouts on my cardio days. i just got an HR monitor, so i'm interested in seeing what it has to say. i just spent some time the other night planning out my fitness goals for the month of march, printed them off, and posted them on my bedroom wall. now they will be the last thing i see when i go to bed and the first thing i see when i get up in the morning.

    as far as diet goes, i'm just trying to eat clean. all of my meat sources are all-natural and mostly organic. i eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. i eat a lot of wild-caught fish and some shrimp. i eat almost nothing that comes in a package, unless it's all-natural and i recognize the ingredients. about the only bread i eat is 100% sprouted whole grain, no flour. i try my best to avoid refined carbs and sugars completely.

    thanks for taking the time to read my journal. sorry it's so long, but i just felt like i had a lot to say. stay tuned for pics and updates. i'm thankful for such a supportive forum here at JSF, and i think this journal is just what i need to hold myself accountable.

    if anyone is interested in my detailed workout plan or a more detailed account of my nutrition, including macro splits, let me know and i'd be more than happy to share.
     
  2. Laneage

    Laneage Well-Known Member

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    Welcome! Looks like you have a plan! Journaling can really help with sticking to the plan.

    We're all along with you for the ride. Hope to see some awesome progress pics in the not too distant future!
     
  3. Whoracle

    Whoracle Well-Known Member

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    Good luck to you man and congrats on already losing 13 pounds.
     
  4. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    Hey. Won't be long before people start noticing your weight loss again. Huh? I bet that will feel good. Take care ok.
     
  5. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    i had a bad weekend, at least in terms of its relation to my fitness goals. but i knew it was coming, and i let myself roll with it. i went camping with a few buddies. i knew i was going to be drinking heavily, and eating way too much. so i decided to do an experiment.

    I LOVE to eat. and a lot of what i love is not good for me. while i've been eating pretty clean for over a month now, i did have some slipups along the way. i want to avoid these, and i think that one of the keys to avoiding them is to understand why i want to eat like that in the first place.

    so i basically just watched myself and monitored my hedonistic behavior. every time i gorged on some more food, every time i cracked another beer, i just paid attention to what i was doing, why i was doing it, and how it made me feel. and you know what i found? that even as i was eating this way, i wasn't truly enjoying it. but the fact that i let myself eat without repercussion meant that i wasn't going to end up with any feelings of being deprived. instead, the exact opposite happened. i felt overstuffed, sick, and lethargic.

    overall, the weekend was probably close to 10,000 calories over a 2 and a half day period. and yeah, it's going to set me back a little bit on my fitness journey. but letting myself go for a weekend made me realize that i really don't WANT to let go like that anymore. but if i hadn't done it, i never would have figured that out, and i think i'd still be craving junk food. so it was a necessary evil, and this week, i'm picking up the pieces.
     
  6. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    i just went through last month's food and workout logs. and what i found was kind of staggering. while i have made considerable progress in the first month that i've been at this, i know it could have been better. the reason i know is because i counted 17 cheat meals and 4 missed workouts last month. i'm not talking about rest days, i mean unscheduled days where i just plain did not work out. as far as cheat meals, i counted every meal i ate that was not part of my healthy eating plan, whether planned or unplanned.

    this is simply too much. i know that it's my first month and i can't beat myself up too much. i'm not. i'm simply recognizing that in order to obtain the results that i REALLY want, i have to be more vigilant. when i think about how i've been eating and how i've been working out, without looking at my logs, i think that i'm doing pretty good. however, the logs tell me a different story. seventeen cheat meals is WAY too much! in a 28-day month, that's more than every other day.

    stats like these are why logging everything is so helpful. while its a pain in the a$$ to log everything i eat, a month worth of food logs can paint a very informative picture of why things are or aren't going my way.

    i know that there are going to be certain days where eating right just isn't going to happen. unlike some people, i'm not an all-or-nothing kind of guy. i like having a little balance in my life. the key word there is little. i don't need to be eating 17 cheat meals in a four week span, that's uncalled for. but if i'm going to keep my sanity through this process, i do need a few. one a week is fine, and that's my new goal.

    the most eye-opening thing about what i found is how much work it really takes to keep yourself on track. it's very easy to find yourself slipping, and once you slip, that tends to snowball (at least for me). it's also very easy to deceive yourself regarding just how well you're doing in terms of your goals. that's why tracking everything is so critical. but i know that rather than letting these findings get me down, i need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and use this as motivation to succeed in march and beyond!
     
  7. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    my progress pics, before i get too far along. these were taken about 2 weeks ago. i regret not taking pics the day i started, but these will suffice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    will post more pics next month.
     
  8. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    when i weighed myself this morning, i was back down to 253.6 lb, which was about where i was before last weekend. meaning it took me nearly a full week to recover. now that i see what kind of setback a weekend like that costs me, i'm going to be more mindful of avoiding that in the future.

    this week has gone quite well. i've only missed part of one workout, because i ran out of time and couldn't squeeze in my HIIT after my lifting yesterday. but i was able to do my full cardio this morning, and i've been seeing good gains in all of my lifts. i recently changed how i structured my pyramid sets, from 5 sets to 4. i'm now lifting more weight with higher intensity, and i've shaved about 15-20 minutes off each workout. to me, that's a win-win!

    i'm really glad i joined the 100 point challenge this month. i know that sitting down and writing out my fitness goals for the month was a big step, but following through with the point challenge, and deducting a point for each time i deviated from the plan added a level of accountability that i think will really help me jump-start this fitness plan. because it's been so long since i worked this hard at my fitness, and because i indicated in my previous post that it's easy for me to fall off the wagon, i need this kind of hand-holding right now. maybe in a few months, after i've really started achieving the results i'm looking for, this all will be more like second nature to me, but right now i need that swift kick in the butt from time to time. :spank: and that's what makes this community so great.
     
  9. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    In terms of goals 17 cheat meals seems like a lot, and it is, but overall how many meals do you eat a week? Something like 42 so a little over a third of the time you overindulged. That means almost 2/3 of your meals were on plan. Imagine you have no plan. What would you have eaten then? Anyway you're bound to do better now that you're in the Challenge.
     
  10. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    thanks for the encouragement, leftyx! yeah, i eat about 40 meals a week. and the 17 was in a month, so it's not awful. but usually a cheat meal means eating one big lunch, one big dinner, or something to that effect, and not eating the 5-6 small meals that day. so a 'cheat meal' is actually 2-3 meals, usually. but you're right, it could be much worse, especially without a plan. that was me 2 months ago. and being in on the challenge is helping so far. it's much easier to talk myself out of a slipup here and there... because i have to answer for it!
     
  11. Laneage

    Laneage Well-Known Member

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    Talkin yourself out of slip ups is good. You have your whole life to enjoy eating, but right now its work time. Thats how I like to look at it. Do the challanges, get a better score each month. Once you get into a good routine, really try to get a 100!
     
  12. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    these last couple of days have really tested my mental intensity. first, i've been stuck just above 250 lbs at every weigh-in since Friday. getting under is a huge milestone for me, since i've only hit it once in the last 10 years (and that was for about a week before i shot back up). so the fact that it's right there, taunting me, has been hell. but i know that as long as i keep doing what i'm supposed to be doing, it will happen.

    yesterday may have been the most annoying trip to the gym yet. for some reason, planet fitness thinks that giving out free pizza once a month is a good idea. and that time was last night. maybe it's their way to keep people coming to their gym: work out --> lose weight, eat pizza --> gain weight, repeat. whatever. i do know that cranking out some miles on the bike and lifting while the smell of pizza lingers in the air is more difficult than i care to deal with. it wasn't just that it smelled good and i wanted to eat it, i was angry that they would even tempt their gym-goers like this. WTF?

    on top of that, it was crazy busy. all the benches were occupied, and it seemed like every time i walked over to a machine, somebody else slipped in and jumped on it right before i got there. normally i work out early in the morning, and i don't have these problems. so i had to do my entire routine out of order. this meant i couldn't get as much weight up on bench press because i had already done several triceps exercises, shoulder presses, and incline dumbbell presses. so that was also annoying.

    but the experience taught me several things:
    1) i'm strong enough to resist free pizza, even when it's right in front of my face
    2) i need to get my ass out of bed and work out in the morning
    3) doing my routine out of order will skew my lifting numbers a little bit, especially if i've fatigued the muscles before doing my major compound lifts
    4) even if things aren't going swimmingly, i just need to suck it up and do work. so what if i couldn't push as much weight as last week. the fact that i was completely gassed at the end of the set means i was working hard, and that's the most important part. i just need to keep my head in the game and bust my hump.
    5) daily weigh-ins are a good measure of charting overall progress, but getting caught up in day-to-day differences is only going to hurt. i have to ignore the fact that there will be some 'stuck' progress from time to time. if the scale doesn't move for several weeks, then we have problems. until then, just keep on keeping on.
     
  13. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    i hit a milestone this morning! under 250 lbs!! :D persistence pays off. now is not the time to get complacent, however... i've got plenty more to lose. but it's a good feeling to hit this weight again. it's been since august of 2009, and that was only for a week or so before i climbed back up. before that it was probably close to 7 years since i'd been there. i usually floated between 255-270 for most of the last decade, and got all the way up to 281 in 2008.

    so i can check one of my weight goals off, and make a new goal: under 240 lbs. give me another month and i'll be there. while it was frustrating watching the scale mock me for the last five days, it was good to see a new number this morning.

    my workouts have been going very well this week, other than the aforementioned debacle at my gym. i was even able to start doing deadlifts again, because old man river (the AM employee at the gym) either doesn't care or doesn't know what's going on around there. so that was nice. tuesday i did a modified version of the P90X plyo video. i cut out the second set of each cycle, so it's 40 minutes long instead of an hour. i'm not ready to push that hard through the whole workout, so i used to do 15 seconds instead of 30 for each exercise. this led to far more standing around and waiting than i liked, so cutting out the second set means i do the full 30, then push right on to the next exercise. it was tough and nonstop, but i felt better doing that workout than i ever had in the past. and i could feel it, but wasn't so sore i couldn't walk the next day.

    i like the balance i've struck with my workouts. i hit the gym on M-W-F for my lifting and a short 15 minute HIIT session (thanks, John!). then i rotate through P90X cardio workouts (kenpo, plyo, core synergistics) on T-Th-S, and finish with a shortened yoga x session on sunday. sometimes to mix it up i substitute a 23 minute HIIT session for my other cardio, and soon i will be out on my bike a couple times a week. the variety has really helped me stay on track because i'm not getting burned out or bored, and having a HR monitor has helped me ensure that i'm getting a good workout every time.
     
  14. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    Way to go Big J. 6'5" is a long way to go to pull a deadlift.:nod: Congrats for breaking the 250 barrier. But dont forget this...
    It's a good feeling to see the scale go down, just don't rely on that to give you accomplishment. We know where that leads. Anyway, enjoy the day and keep it up.
     
  15. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    oh great, thanks for bursting my bubble... ;) i jest, of course. appreciate the fact that you're keeping me in line. that's the whole point of this journaling, right? as i said, it was a milestone and i'm happy that i hit it. but you're right, i can't rely on that as my sense of accomplishment. on that note, here's some new pics, taken 2 weeks after my last set:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  16. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    Big J you can see a barely noticeable difference. 2 weeks is sort of close together to see a change. I'm sure you'll notice more of a difference over a longer time. At least you're trending that way.
     
  17. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    yeah, the difference is tough to see unless i go back and forth between the pics on my computer. i took those pics kind of impulsively yesterday morning, just because i wanted to see if there was a visible difference. i know that i've lost some inches and some pounds, so i wanted to see if it translated to visible differences via photograph. the biggest noticeable difference is in my face and my neck, which seems to be the first place i lose fat. i'll probably post pics again at the beginning of april (after my first 100 challenge!), and then every month from there on out.
     
  18. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    it's been too long since i updated my journal. i promised myself i wouldn't do that. :spank:

    anyhoo, we had our fantasy draft yesterday. it was my rest day, and my cheat meal day. i was planning on going over to my buddy's place. drink some beers, eat some munchies, and maybe grab dinner somewhere.

    that's when it all kind of unraveled. i drank what i expected to drink, a six-pack of yuengling light. but i ate way too much of the munchie food: chips & salsa, sliced cheese, peanuts... i have a problem staying away from the food table for too long if it's just there. then dinner happened, from a tex-mex joint up the street. i got a couple of tacos and some chicken wings, but i also ate some of the guacamole and queso, too.

    that wasn't the worst part. my wife and i followed it up with milkshakes on the way home. what was i thinking? i'll tell you what i was thinking an hour later: 'why in the HELL did i eat all that food?' i was literally sick to my stomach. after 2+ months of mostly clean eating, my body could not handle all that junk. another painful lesson, but if it serves its purpose, then it will ultimately be worth it. i wish i didn't have to learn these lessons so painfully, and just stay on track, but i know i'm human, and i (used to) love to eat certain kinds of junk food. i know it's bad for me, with no reedeming nutritional value, but i (used to) love it anyway!

    i need to control these cravings. and i now have another intellectual argument against eating said junk. but it's hard for the intellectual to win out against the emotional. which is why i think an intellectual argument that says 'you will have extreme discomfort almost immediately' is more powerful than 'you will be halting your progress and affecting future results' against the emotional desire to eat junk. they're both equally important reasons to show restraint, but because emotions about eating deal with immediate gratification, an argument that indicates bad things will happen to me right now is necessary to combat it.

    all told, my progress thus far has been great, especially when i consider the slip-ups i've had along the way. i've lost over 20 lb, two inches off my chest, three inches off my abs, and two inches off my waist. i have to cinch my belt so much tighter now to keep my pants up! but i'm still hungry for more. i still have a gut, i still have man-boobs, and i'm not where i want to be cardiovascularly nor strength-wise. the fire is still burning hot, and i'm ready for my next phase. this week is a rest week from my weight training, so i'm just doing mostly low-impact cardio and some yoga for my workouts. next week i'm measuring my 4-rep max and seeing how it compares to the goals i set for the end of march, then i'm reworking my routine for the next 8-week segment. and i'll definitely be adding some biking into the cardio mix, since the weather is finally warm consistently enough to ride a few times a week! :cool:
     
  19. leftyx

    leftyx Senior Member

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    Stay with it. Never give up. There you go.
     
  20. jasonross

    jasonross Active Member

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    so i just hit the gym this morning after my rest week. i took last week off from lifting, and just did some medium-light cardio and a couple days of yoga. i switched from pyramid training to max-ot, after doing a significant amount of research. i made a 3-day split that works well for me, and planned out my next 8 week training period.

    the rest week definitely did me considerable good. i was able to complete 2-3 heavy sets of 4-6 reps of all my exercises today with substantially more weight than i was using for my 4-rep set at the end of my pyramid training. and i feel like my muscles have grown a decent amount in that week as well. i was careful to make sure my nutrition was still top-notch, except for a cheat meal this weekend (and a little bit more beer than normal... whoops.) and that i got enough protein.

    it felt a little weird to be sitting around and not really doing much all week, especially after 8 weeks of working out 5-6 days and lifting 3 days. but i did feel like i was stagnating a bit at the end of my cycle, so i think the break did me a lot of good, physically and mentally. i've never been so amped up to get back into the gym, not even when i first decided to get this program underway! that's a cool feeling, knowing that mentally i really want to get into the gym and move weight. i knew i was going to have a phenomenal workout today, and i did! that initial feeling coupled with breaking my weight goals by a mile is going to be fuel for the fire for these next 8 weeks.

    for those who don't know, i moved to NC from MI in mid-december. i started working out in earnest near the end of january. 9 weeks from now, i'm going back to MI for the first time since the move, and my friends won't even recognize me. i'm so pumped to see their faces!
     

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