So after six months of cardio and healthy eating I was cardiovascularly fit. But I was not strong. In fact I had become rather weak when it came to my strength to weight ratio. I could not do a single chin-up and only a few push-ups. Some people did characterize me as skinny at 6’5″ and 190. But in my mind skinny did not necessarily equate to being physically fit. So I added weight training to my regiment. I figured out rather fast that I needed to make more changes to my diet in order to support this and that sleep i.e. recovery was becoming much more important. So I started working out with weights three days a week and cardio three days a week. I cut the cardio workouts in duration as well. I tracked my weight, waist size, facial features and payed more attention to vascularity. The latter indicators tended to be much more accurate at accessing my progress than the scale again.
I found that the gym had a assisted chip-up and dip machine so I added that into my workout. I began using super sets to get the most bang for the buck in my gym time. The gains came slow and over a longer period of time. In the next year I gained 18 pounds. My waist went down about a half an inch and I can readily see my blood vessels in my arms at all times. Not just when working out. I am certainly getting closer to my goal of being physically fit. I get a lot of questions around “what my typical work out is like” and I usually say something to the effect “I have no set routine” which is quite true. I continually try new exercises and change things up. It keeps the body guessing. I will say that I try and do cardio three times a week. I do weight training three times a week. Weight training almost always includes chin-ups and dips and push-ups as warm ups. I don’t use the assisted chin-up machine any more as I was able to build my strength up to the point were I can do 10 or 15 chin-ups or dips at a time easily. I am not in the gym to work on looking pretty. I am there to get the job done and build my core strength and fitness goals. I do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) occasionally to change things up and keep my body guessing. I also started occasionally working out to complete failure. Even adding push-ups at the end of my chest routine and when I got to failure with push-ups I went to knee push-ups and then to wall push-ups. So I really went to failure. You might say I my workouts are closer to the cross-fit philosophy than a body builder. The difference is I try to not tear up my body. I am trying to be fit and healthy. I seek that balance in my life.
I eat mostly organic food where it matters now. I.e. if a fruit or vegetable falls on the dirty dozen list I generally purchase an organic version of it. I don’t eat overly processed foods at all any more. I make better choices when I eat out. I certainly eat a lot better than I did during my cardio phase. I drink lots of water.
And I sleep well every night… The way I see it, fitness is a three legged stool (exercise, diet and recovery). They are all very interrelated so you have to keep them in balance to be healthy.
I honestly love the life style changes I have made and the positive effects it has had on my life.
I do find it interesting that in the beginning I was concerned with weight loss due in large part to the fact that I was morbidly obese. Then I became more concerned with weight gain as I continued down the path of my fitness journey.
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