Saturday, November 8, 2014

Whole Life Challenge -- Looking Back

Eight weeks ago today, I began the Whole Life Challenge, a 56-day program of fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle challenges that was designed by two fitness gurus, Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck. The points-based work involves eating right, exercising vigorously (but not to the point of injury), drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, being mindful of your body and how it works in concert with your mind, and reflecting each day on the work you've done and how it's affecting your life.

My initial post on this journey reflected on how I'd fared during and after doing the Insanity workout program, and how I was looking forward to trying out the Challenge.  I had intended to blog daily about how things were going, but after day 4 I got distracted with other things and just focused on the program.  Ironic how that last post was called "Distractions."

Yesterday was Day 56 and I completed it the same way I'd completed most of the previous 55 days: a good morning workout, a sensible breakfast late in the morning, a lot of water to drink, a vitamin pill, a productive work day, a good dinner (with or without the family), and time to stretch and reflect at the end of the day.  I slept pretty well, and my body wasn't sore, or too tired, the following morning. That felt wonderful.

More importantly, however, my mind was still engaged in the process that this program started for me.  I wanted to continue!  Given that my goal is to lose 25 pounds within six months, I must continue because I'm only about halfway there as of today (progress and "After" photos after the jump.

Weight -- 199.4 pounds, just about 10 pounds lighter than I'd ever been in my whole life, and about 25 pounds heavier than I was when I got married 14 years ago, and about 50 pounds heavier than when I was in high school.

On my first workout, the 11-minute workout I mentioned in my first post, I was able to run 0.4 miles, and do 30 squats, 30 sit-ups, 30 plank-ups, and 16 lunges.

Before picture:

Here's where things ended up:

Weight -- 187.2, a loss of 12.2 pounds!  I can't believe I was able to lose more than 12 pounds in eight weeks!  I am halfway to my goal and I know that 175 is within reach.

I repeated the initial 11-minute workout, and this time I was able to run the 0.4 mile, and do 30 squats, 30 sit-ups, 30 plank-ups, 40 lunges, 40 bicycles, and 17 push-ups.  A huge improvement!

"After" picture:

My gut is much smaller, my face and neck thinner, and my shoulders and arms more defined.  I still have a long way to go around my middle, but there is definitely some progress.  More importantly, my pants are not nearly as snug, and I can tighten my belt another notch.  If I reach my goal weight, I think I'll have to buy all new pants and suits.

I remember when my 12 year old son, Max, was growing inside Lisa's belly.  I was determined that, becoming a dad for the first time at nearly 40 years of age, I was going to live a long life so that I could watch him (and his future sibling) grow up and start families of their own.  I joined a hardcore gym, and hired a personal trainer who was a professional bodybuilder, Jamo Nezzar, to whip me into shape.  He did a great job; I lost weight, built muscle, and made real progress on my health.  Then, life intervened and he moved away.  And I ended up, 12 years later, where I was two months ago. Today, I feel like I did when I was back in the gym with Jamo.  I can't wait to keep this up and make this part of my daily life.  I may not, at 52, be able to build my body to where I could when I was 30, but I can make great progress and feel better and live longer.

Time for breakfast -- a small one!  Today is a celebration day and we're going out for pizza!

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