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.
And I discussed my training for the Warrior Dash extreme race. (Unfortunately my work schedule kept me from competing but there is always next year!)
I also recounted my excitement about meeting and working out with exercise guru and man crush Tony Horton and explained how it’s never too late to burn off the goo.
Getting the right amount of rest, eating as close to healthy as you can and exercising take on a whole new level of importance when you reach, ahem, a certain age.
I know I’ve told this story before, but I want to repeat here today, partly to reinforce the lesson to myself after 14 years, but also to tell my brethren (and sistren) that it is NEVER too late to get started.
I was 37, woefully out of shape, stressed to the max and eating like a maniac.
My routine was a doughnut and coffee at 3 p.m., which would send my sugar levels spiking and then crashing, taking my energy levels with it.
Late nights featured chocolate dipped in peanut butter with a Kahlua-and-milk chaser, topped off with maybe five or six hours of sleep each night.
Rinse and repeat.
My fiancée at the time bought me a pair of push-up bars, a VHS exercise tape and a sit-up bar. They sat off in the corner for many, many months.
She never nagged me or even said a word about the equipment but I knew they were there.
My epiphany came after a dinner of three (or was it four?) slices of pizza followed by truly yummy Italian pastries from one of the local bakeries.
I am still not sure what happened, but something clicked (or snapped) and on my 37th birthday, I popped in the boot camp exercise VHS tape.
I had to quit after about 15 minutes.
I was winded and frustrated that I could not keep up. But I tried it the next day. And the next and the next and the next.
By the end of the week, I was getting through the entire 30-minute video.
Over time, I began biking, lifting weights, running and doing other forms of cardio. I dropped 40 pounds, about half of which, over time, I’ve put back on.
But that does not discourage me.
For about the last seven years, I’ve been doing P90x workouts with my man Tony Horton. He’s a good coach and I find him inspiring.
Do I fall short of my goals? Hell yes. Am I ready to grace the cover of “Men’s Health” magazine? Hell no!
But I’m averaging four to five days a week of exercise, and I keep just showing up and that’s more than half the battle.
If you’re looking to make changes in your life, start with small steps.
You will be amazed at the strides you will make.
Take it from someone who’s been there.
If I can do it, so can you.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about how you’re coping. We can swap ideas and give a little support to each other.
No, not THAT bulge, you perv! Get your mind outta the gutter!
I’m talking about the bulge ABOVE your belt.
The spare tire.
The love handles.
The beer gut.
Whatever you call it, by the time a guy reaches middle age, his metabolism isn’t what it used to be.
Take me, for instance.
I watch what my teenage son eats at home and I am positively aghast at what he inhales. And when his older brother was home, his butt was constantly sticking out of the fridge, his muffled voice crying out that there was nothing to eat.
But then I recall what I used to eat and drink when I was a teenager.
Back in the day, it was nothing for me to chug almost an entire 64-ounce bottle of Coke.
My food pyramid looked more like a pie chart, with the emphasis on “pie.”
Pizza. McDonald’s. Hot dogs. Fudge brownies.
And Friendly’s ice cream. Those Reese’s peanut butter cup sundaes that come in a goblet big enough to fit both of your fists? Oh yeah, that was my go-to dessert when I was in college.
Through my early to mid-20s, I was able to keep my weight fairly under control. But then came kids, long hours at a stressful job, home ownership and more stress.
Doughnuts and coffee at 3 p.m. followed by peanut butter and chocolate with a Kahlúa-and-milk chaser at midnight did little for my health or waistline.
And here’s the thing: Deep down, I knew I was doing destructive things to my body. I felt it in my bones (literally), my clothes and my energy.
By 2001, I was around 220 pounds and feeling every last ounce of it. I was getting winded going up the stairs.
I buckled down and on my 37th birthday, I put on a 30-minute exercise video. I got through 10 minutes of it and – as Roseanne-Roseannadanna used to say on “Saturday Night Live” – “I thought I was gonna die!”
Fast-forward, and next month I’ll mark my 14th year of my “exercise sobriety.”
I work out an average of four to five times a week. I’m doing P90X and Tony Horton workouts, lifting weights and doing a variety of cardio and other exercises.
Pedro is a similar success story. He’s literally half the man he once was, having lost about 130 pounds. He looks great and dresses like a boss!
In this episode of About Men Radio, Pedro and I discuss our struggles with our weight, what our stress eating habits are like and how we modified our lifestyle to live better.
None of this is easy but it’s to point out that Pedro and I are just like you — dads, husbands and worker-bees with a thousand different push-me-pull-me stresses in our lives.