Happy Wednesday East Carolina, another glorious day on our journey to personal success. Once again, thanks for tuning in and thank you for the comments on last week’s blog. This week I’m going to address some ways that students, and perhaps even faculty, can maintain a balanced day by preparing ahead of time. Previously mentioned, I work out pretty consistently and maintain a healthy appetite. I’ve been with a handful of personal trainers and even used a nutritionist for over 2 years. What works for me may not work for everybody, so take this information into consideration and adjust a plan that suites you.
First, what I think every person needs to understand is your plan that you decide to create is NOT overnight success nor is this a “bandwagon” plan. Whatever condition you are in was created over a long term period of decisions made that led you astray from your future goals. Fad diets will not work because just like it took several years to get to your current situation it’s going to take several years to get where you want to be. Understand this going into your plan and be mentally prepared for any setbacks you may face. These minor setbacks are just obstacles that you have to overcome, or possibly cues that you fell off your strict plan or you need to re-evaluate your original plan.
Here’s my example. At 15 I had never lifted a weight in my life (from time to time I would move my dad’s weights around in the garage). 5’6 weighing in at 160lbs, I enjoyed pizza, triple cheeseburgers, and 3 scoop sundaes from Baskin Robins. My mom was an aerobics instructor and my father was in the military so from time to time I would get some exercise in but nothing compared to what I do now. After leaving Japan, my mom got a job at the local YMCA and because I had a limited amount of friends I started spending a lot of time playing basketball. I played so much I eventually got really good, and by the time I stopped playing I could touch the net (impressive… I know).
Ever since I was 15 and discovered how fun it was to see my body transform like a worm to a butterfly, I continued to challenge myself and increase the level of exercise I participated in. There have been times when my schedule gets too busy and I fall off the wagon, but I always go back because I understand the importance of creating a healthy lifestyle. I’ve experimented with several different types of exercises so far. I went from strictly playing basketball, only running, light weights and running, weights, back to running, heavy weights only, heavy weights and light cardio, and now I do CrossFit.
The more serious I get at each stage I start to understand a few things. Let me share a few of those with you.
Working out and your diet is a lifestyle. One of the best things that I learned from my nutritionist was to not be afraid of going out. I assumed that similar to when I quit drinking, I would feel pressure to not want to go out with friends if there was temptation of bad food or alcohol. Don’t be afraid to order things off the menu that are suited to your specific needs. Example: I started with my nutritionist to gain muscle, any weight in general would do. To accomplish this task I ate a lot of pizza, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, etc. I went from 150lbs to 195lbs in approximately a 3 month span. A day for me would consist of; 7am all-star McDonald’s breakfast, 9am a protein shake, 11am – 12 inch tuna subway sub, 1pm chicken and rice, 3pm protein bar (before my work out) 5pm steak or fish with veggies (maybe even a large pizza), 7pm – protein shake. On occasion I would adjust this meal and sometimes I would drink raw eggs – (viewer discretion is advised).
Control portions, monitor quality, and increase your intake periods. Sometimes I wanted to gain weight, and sometimes (beach weather) I wanted to lose weight. I’ve learned over the years that either one is easy, as long as you stick to your plan and hold yourself accountable. In the winter time I eat larger portions, more carbohydrates, 6-7 meals a day, and I have 3 cheat days, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. In the summer time I eat smaller portions, less carbohydrates, still have 6-7 meals a day but usually increase the amount of protein shakes or protein bars, no sugars, no bread and no cheat days.
Gallon of water a day. A gallon of water within the first 6 hours of waking up. Sounds crazy but within a week you’ll be surprised how easily this can be consumed. Water is healthy for you, prepares you for your work out, and helps with your metabolism. Get rid of all those sugary drinks. I still have my one cup of coffee in the morning and sometimes one in the afternoon. I would eventually like to stop extra drinks all together, but with a demanding schedule, I still need my caffeine drink in the morning to get me started.
You can work out anywhere. This is probably the biggest excuse for people trying to lose weight or trying to work out in general. Granted, the competition from others in the gym and the unlimited amount of weights your gym might have could be motivating, but don’t let this become an excuse. Do some homework, and even think back to your days in grade school. A lot of exercises you can do around the house are at the beginning level (until you begin to build up an arsenal of workout equipment). Here’s an example of what I did on our most recent snow day.
Warm up – Air Squats – 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off – do this for 4 rounds
Stretch for 15 minutes – hold your stretches for 2 minutes to increase flexibility, if you don’t know any good ones, YouTube mobility.
Work-Out – 8 one-legged squats, 8 push-ups, 8 step back lunges, 8 sit ups. As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) for 8 minutes.
The key is to remember do what works for you. Can’t do one-legged squats? Then just do air squats. Can’t do push-ups? Try the military female version, or start with your knees on the ground and pushing up from the couch. Remember/Record how you did and a month from now try it again. Constantly challenge yourself to improve. If you’re in the business of losing weight, don’t step on the scale every 10 seconds. If you are losing fat and gaining dense muscle, the numbers on the scale may be discouraging.
Finally, learn to eat out healthy and prepare your meals in advance. Unless I’m going to a deep fried joint I have learned that there is something I can have wherever I go. My go-to meals are chicken Caesar salads or chicken quesadilla’s. To prevent myself from missing too many meals during the week, I make protein bars and taco meat every Sunday. If I have extra time, I’ll make other meals and place them in the fridge to switch up my meals during the week.
If you want more ideas for working out or more ideas for on-the-go meals, leave me a comment. The point here is to start, don’t put off what you can do today on to tomorrow’s to do list. I continue to reach success because I continue to challenge myself, in the gym, in the day, and in life. Everyone should have this same outlook and go out and make your own goals. You’ll soon discover that as you continue to complete these small goals, you’ll motivate yourself and your goals will continue to increase in difficulty. We all have the potential of being successful.