How much time does it take to maintain fitness?
I remember when I needed to allocate an hour or even more to get in a workout. I also remember that despite doing workouts exceeding an hour or more, I was still fat!
Yea, people would always say to me, you are not fat, just a little husky. But if you look at my before and after pictures that I have posted, you can clearly see that I had no visible neck or jawline! That is not fat? I know for a fact that my BMI, body mass index was 30, and that is considered obese. Yes, 230lbs does not come close to the type of weight we are used to seeing on shows like the biggest loser, but the point is that the pictures do not lie. They are very objective. We or friends can delude ourselves that we really do not have a double chin, or that our belly is not really hanging over our belt.
So, if we just go by the objective pictures, you can see quite a difference between the pictures in the blue plaid shirt and my latest pictures in a suit which were taken last week. And during that period, yes, I always worked out, I was always on the elliptical or the treadmill, and I was always lifting some sort of weights, but granted, nothing like I am doing now.
Let’s examine how I can be more lean now with a half hour workout than I was when doing 45min to an hour of cardio with some weights on top of it.
First and foremost is the food. I am eating real food. Today at no specific times, only when I was hungry, I had my Hashi Mashi vegetable omelet using omega 3 eggs with lots of spincach and pepper, humus and half an avocado. Honestly that keeps me quite full for a good part of the day. When I started feeling hungry, I had some grapes and pumpkin seeds, cause I happened to have them in my apartment, plus some blackberries, which I have become a big fan of. And not just the blackberries, the raspberries as well. They almost feel like I am popping little candies, pretty delish, convenient, fairly available, I even found fresh raspberries and blackberries tonight in a Duane Reade all night market on 2nd avenue. That was great.
Later on today, I had alot of salad, mainly greens with some roast beef. I do not have beef often, but that is all that was available, so I had a little beef and alot of salad. And plenty of water.
And then when I got hungry again, I snacked on some pistachio nuts and a few grapes, and zehhuu, that’s it, I am a happy camper, low maintenance!
So that is the type of food that I had today and fairly similar to most days. Not much processed there, no bread, no pasta, no rice, some fruit, alot of vegetables, a little protein, alot of berries and some nuts, usually pistachios, macadamia, pecans, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. If I really want to splurge, I have some spicy cajun cashews which are made with red paprika and is hot but great!
So the type of food is number one. That is the only thing to me that explains the changes to my physical appearance. And it is enough motivation for me to stay on track and keep going.
Second, I am sure that the type of exercises I am doing and the consistency has also made a difference, not as big as the food, but definitely plays a role, a significant role.
Tonight I did a free weight workout in 30 minutes. What could I accomplish in such a brief amount of time?
5 sets of 5 reps of squats, making sure that at the bottom of the squat, my hips have gone below parallel knee level. This is to ensure that I am engaging my hamstrings and not putting pressure on my knees. Tonight I started off with the highest initial weight ever, for me. Remember I first started with the 45lb bar only, but tonight I stared with 85lbs, then went up to 90lbs, 95lbs, 100lbs and for my last set, I did 110lbs, made it to 3 reps but I was struggling and did not have any spotters, so I called it a night there.
5 sets of 5 reps dumbbell rows. This is one of my favorite exercises besides the squats and deadlifts. I like it because I use the bench to stabilize my back and my weights have increased from the initial 10lb dumbell I used , to starting the sets off now with 30lb, to 35lb, 40lb, 45lb and the last set was using 50lbs, not to shabby! I am starting to feel that I will be able to move up to 55lbs which is shocking to me but feels great. I also feel that when I am becoming physically stronger from the rows, I am also becoming mentally stronger, emotionally stronger. If I can change my body, I can change my brain, I can change my attitudes, some of which have frankly sucked for many years and are no fun to live with. I like changing them.
5 sets of 5 reps doing pullups using the kneepad as support. I am currently reducing my weight by 85lbs using that knee bench, my goal of course is to be able to do an actual pullup and then keep going from there.
In 30minutes, 3 good exercises, mostly free weight save the pullups. The squats are the main course and the toughest, but will yield the most benefits. I can feel that in my body without anyone telling me based on research. I can feel it without research how I feel after doing 5 sets of squats.
I am really grateful that I can finally do exercise and actually see the results! But that is layered on top of the foundation of the type of food that I am having on a consistent basis.
So, don’t be fooled or bamboozled, the exercise alone is not enough, you need a change in your food as well. The good news is that it is NOT complicated, it is quite easy and straightforward. But once you have the food change under control, even 30minutes is enough time to get in a great workout.