Category Archives: AMR Fitness Challenge

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This is the latest installment in the About Men Radio Fitness Challenge in which members of the AMR posse have pledged to eat better and adopt a healthier lifestyle in order to lose weight. Chris Mele has this update:

My moment of truth arrives on Monday.

I go back to see the doctor, who when I last visited, said she wanted me to drop 15 pounds.

So after doubling down on my workouts for the past two months (after being sidelined with an illness for a month), after cranking up the intensity of my exercise, curbing my sugar intake and tracking my calories with an online app, I stepped on the scale today and…

I GAINED two pounds.

To borrow a line from “Blazing Saddles”: “What in the Wide World of Sports is going on here?!”

I mean, c’mon!

I have extended my workouts to nearly an hour and six days a week.

I really have tried to keep track of my food, entering the calories on the conservative side and being honest about my unhealthy snacking, namely the Frisbee-sized cookies I get from the Jefferson Diner in New Jersey.

But there was the readout on the scale, unblinking: 203.7.

Of course, when I get to the doctor, her scale will say something worse because it always does.

I was aiming to lose 15 and gained two.

Once upon a time, 15 years ago, I dropped 40 pounds but I did it by eating scant calories (mostly carbs) and doing only industrial-strength cardio (cardio videos, running, biking, etc.)

The result though was I looked bony and unhealthy. Plus I was cold all the time.

I’ve been doing a bit more weight lifting and taking in more protein.

I do have to say I feel like I’m filling out a little bit (and not in a paunchy in the poochy kind of way either).

My wife says I have dents in my torso (I guess to match the ones in my head!) and my clothes do feel like they fit better.

So I guess I am doing something right.

Maybe weight is not the final arbiter of whether you’re healthy.

In this case, I feel like the doctor has put her thumb on the scale and made me more concerned with hitting a number than with how I’m doing overall.

Will see what she says on Monday.

Related blog posts:

Going Old School to Get Into Shape

Battle of the Bulge: The Struggle to Eat Right and Exercise

 

Can My Doctor Just STFU About My BMI Please?

 

 

 

Making Some Progress in AMR Fitness Challenge

Richard Rodriguez offers this update on his progress in the About Men Radio Fitness Challenge:

I began tracking my meals, exercise and progress on July 1st and I’m using the Lose It app.

It has been an up and down battle.

I amazingly lost three to four pounds during the first week probably just due to the sudden change in diet and increase in exercise, but since then I’ve gained back and lost again.

Now over two months in, I’m happy to still be on the right track and the weight is coming off, although very slowly, and I’m five to six pounds down.

I feel better about myself physically and continue to make better food choices.

With the help of the app, you can see the breakdown of carbs, fats and protein, and see how grossly lopsided many of my food choices have been.

I’ve tried some healthy shakes and regularly make an unsweetened almond milk, peanut butter, banana, dark chocolate powder, cinnamon, honey and ice shake.

I definitely need to increase the proteins and severely cut back on the fats and carbs.

My exercise really only consisted of walking as my dogs love to walk, but I had a recent setback with an illness and my exercise ceased.

I’m better now and ready to resume walking and I need to add more exercise to my regimen.

Overall it’s nice to be able to tighten my belt a notch and know that the changes I have made are making a difference .

I need to continue and up the ante.

Weighing in on the AMR Fitness Challenge

Going Old School to Get Into Shape

 

 

Losing 7 Pounds With Home Cooking and Fresh Ingredients

As part of the About Men Radio Fitness Challenge, About Men Radio contributor Janifer Cheng explains how getting back to nature — and away from processed foods — has benefited her boyfriend.  Look for more AMR Fitness Challenge updates coming soon!

I grew up with parents who worked all the time.

Generally, dinner consisted of takeout,  leftovers or whatever was brought home from the restaurants where my parents worked.

During their rare day off, my parents would cook, which, depending on the ingredients, either took all day or a little over an hour.

This kind of home cooking has become old world, left to those who live in throwback societies, whether it’s the Amish, outside first world countries, or your grandparents’ place, it’s rarely done anymore, because our time is too short to spend slaving over a hot stove.

I’m reminded of this daily.

After several enormous life changes, I now find myself with a lot of time on my hands and cooking more than I have in the last 10 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cooking five-course meals.  It’s generally preparing dinner for five, instead of getting takeout for one, which was what I was doing as of two months ago.

Chicken pot pie with cream biscuits.

food-4

Pot roast.

Braised chicken in red sauce.

Double chocolate espresso cake.

food-2

Irish beef stew.

Mango coconut custard.

Blueberry or banana pancakes.

These are just some of the things I’ve made from scratch in my new home for my new family.  I’m temporarily unemployed, so as I wait for the next gig, I cook to feel like I’m contributing something to my situation, and I missed cooking anyway, so killing two birds with one stone = WIN!

I’ve been preparing my boyfriend’s breakfast, packing his lunch and making dinner for him for the last two months.

The vast majority I’ve been making from scratch, with the exception of the occasional packaged mixes that still require you to add water, meat, etc. to complete the meal.

My boyfriend thought he was gaining weight because he was eating more than he had before, until last Sunday, when we went shopping at a supermarket and he stepped on the complimentary scale and prepared for the worst.

His brow furrowed.

In the last two months, he has lost seven pounds.

He was perplexed.

How is it he could be eating more food, more often, and yet be down seven pounds?  He’s in his 50s and his metabolism had begun to slow.

This didn’t make sense.

Two months ago, we watched a four-part documentary called “Cooked,” where one of the guests said: “If you want to eat something, make it yourself.  If you want an apple pie, make it from scratch.  Cut the apples, roll the dough.  It’ll take more time, but it’ll be healthier for you.”

Maybe that was it.  We weren’t relying on junk anymore.  Someone was at home, making good food, with less calories over all, and even though he was eating more often, it was doing less damage to his body.

He wasn’t living the single sedentary lifestyle, but taking the occasional walk around town with his girlfriend in hand.

Although I gained back the “New York 10” (the 10 pounds you lose because of the amount of walking you generally do in New York daily), I’m starting to feel my clothes loosen as time passes.

Maybe one of the contributing factors of why more people were thinner back in my grandparents’ time was because they had to make everything from scratch or close to it.

Maybe in our need to have everything now, we’ve lost something essential that bypassed the cooking phase and went straight to stuffing our face.

Whatever it was, it’s good to know it doesn’t take too much to get it back.

Wait, I wonder if this works with barbecue?

What I Discovered in Conquering the Warrior Dash

It was about 10 minutes after leaving the starting line at the Warrior Dash at Pocono Raceway – keeping pace with the top third of my wave of fellow dashers – that I really, really wished I had had a second cup of coffee.

I knew there would be a dozen obstacles that included climbing through channels of mud and through pits of mud and wading through muddy water with barbed wire inches above your head, but this running thing?

That was going to get old quickly.

Notably, though, within about 15 minutes after starting, participants were not running like they were in a marathon.

Instead, they were walking and talking with each other and enjoying the experience.

What I learned was that this “race” was not really a race at all.

The competition was inside your head.

Could you clamber up the side of a tall barn-shaped structure and climb down the other side?

Could you walk across a narrow board spanning a pool of muddy water and not lose your balance?

Could you take a rope and climb a steep incline and then use a rope to get yourself down? (I felt like Batman and Robin from the 1960s television series where they scale the side of a building.)

batman

I truly was not sure how I would perform until I got out there.

Each obstacle was marked with a sign that read “Danger: Obstacle Ahead.”

“Danger”?

Holy crap. That was intimidating.

Reading the fine print on the waiver I signed was also not exactly reassuring.

It said that I understood the dash was a test of my physical and mental limits and “an inherently dangerous activity” that included extreme obstacles of fire, mud pits, barbed wire, cargo nets, heights, climbing and jumping into water, among other feats of derring-do.

It went on to say that the course might include plants, insects and wild animals.

It even mentioned death three times for crying out loud!

I will say though that the course was infused with a sense of humor. The obstacles were dotted with signs like “Yes, we wish you had trained too” and “If your ex could see you now.”

The thing that I came to appreciate as I climbed and crawled was that if you kept your mind focused on the fun, you could have a good time.

Yes, I had poured myself into some tight-fitting bike shorts that made me feel like a sausage. There were plenty of muscled shirtless guys who easily lapped me.

But you know what?

There were also people of every shape and size and a few guys of a certain age like me out there giving it their all.

Driving home I was a bit sore, hungry and had some muddy grit in my ears even after showering.

Still, I was elated because:

a.) I made it.

b.) The median age of the participants had to be like 27.

c.) And I got through the course in respectable time.

Maybe as A.A. Milne said: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem…”

Going Old School to Get Into Shape

With the encouragement of my childhood friends who make up the About Men Radio crew, I’ve decided to fully embrace the AMR Fitness Challenge.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to eat right and exercise.

I’ve been working out consistently for nearly 15 years but I would say in the past two or so, I’ve slowed down.

Instead of working out for 45 or 50 minutes a day for six days a week, I started to do 30 minutes of exercise four days a week.

And with a desk job and being in the car four hours a day, that made a difference.

My doctor recently told me she wanted me to lose 15 pounds because my body mass index was too high.

So I am using the Fitness Challenge to get back to my old better habits.

After a July filled with travel, vacations and plenty of eating and drinking (and being sidelined with a medical issue for five weeks), I’ve started August off right.

I’m going old school with my workouts — relying on tried-and-true routines, such as circuits with weights and a Crunch Cardio Boot Camp DVD that has always served me well.

DVD

Now, here is the absolutely crazy thing: The harder I’ve pushed myself by extending my workouts, the better I feel, the more energy I have, especially at night when I’m working, and the better I sleep.

When I was only working out 30 minutes a day, I did not get those benefits.

I’ve also taken up MyFitnessPal.com to help me keep track of what I’m eating. It’s really simple math: You need to burn more calories than you take in.

When I was working out 30 minutes a day, I was just drawing even with my intake or eating more than I was burning.

I’ve tried a couple of different strategies: Eating more protein. Skipping sugar with my coffee. Eating more celery, carrots and peppers as snacks, sometimes with hummus.

I’ve signed up to run in a Warrior Dash in three weeks, so there’s more than the usual motivation to get going!

I’ll keep you posted…

If you want to share your tips and ideas — or to send words of encouragement — post on our Facebook page or write us at amr@aboutmenshow.com.
Related links:

Weighing in on the AMR Fitness Challenge

Note: About Men Radio member Richard Rodriguez wrote this a month ago as we prepared our AMR Fitness Challenge. We’re encouraging all men to do what they can to get themselves in better shape. Here is Rich’s first installment:

It is July 1st and I have determined this to be the start of my entry into the AMR Fitness Challenge:  Six months, lose 30 pounds and start regular exercise.

I am using the Lose It app to track my calories and exercise.

I ended my old job, which I had used as an excuse and crutch for my lack of exercise and healthy habits for the past two years.

When I had lost my job at the end of 2011, I used that time at home to be healthier and actually walked regularly and monitored my calories with the Lose It app.

I lost weight, felt better and even ran my first and only 5K.

Then I thankfully went back to work but my healthy ways went out the window.

I was driving four hours a day, gone all day, under stress at the job, and by the time I got home I was exhausted and defeated.

I didn’t want to do anything.

I probably gained 20-30 pounds and erased all the progress I made before.

I began a new job on July 5th with a shorter commute, and will have more time for my family and for taking care of myself and becoming more healthy.

I took a painful picture this morning and weighed in. I hope to begin a transformation and have a great improvement by the end of 2016.

Rich AMR

With the help and encouragement of the AMR crew, I hope all of us can reach our goals.