A Very Special Present

I decided that I needed to get back in shape and nothing was going to stop me, right after my next pizza. For the first couple of months, that is exactly how I did it. I was always going to start tomorrow until one day I decided that this was the day.

I have always loved lifting weights so that was how I started, eventually I added a mile run to the end of a 30-minute workout and all-in-all, I lost about five pounds.

I started to give up when I remembered a saying I had heard years before when I was competing in bodybuilding, “if you want to look extreme, you have to be extreme.” I took this saying to heart and started training extreme and somehow, contrary to popular ideas about training, it worked and it worked pretty fast. I must once again urge that anyone starting a program like this should get the OK from a doctor first.

Are you ready? Here it goes!

The first thing I did was set down and formulate a program that incorporated aerobic fitness and muscle strength along with a pretty well-balanced diet. I set down a few “laws” and started working toward them knowing that I had set them so high, I couldn’t help but be in great shape when I hit them. I wanted to be able to run five miles, squat 405 pounds, bench 315 pounds and comfortable fit into 32 waist jeans. I knew that if I hit all four of these goals, I would be where I wanted to be.

First of all, lets start with the diet. I believe it to be the base from which all the others factors hinge. I knew I needed enough calories, but not too much so I set a base line of 2,500 to start with. I only ate four meals per day because in the real world, it is very hard to fit in the six that are typically recommended. I decided to go high-protein since protein is the least likely micro nutrient to be turned to fat, about 350-400 grams or 1,400-1,600 calories per day.

Although this worked for me, you need to experiment for yourself. The rest of the calories were pretty evenly divided between carbs and fats. A typical breakfast consisted of a 60 gram whey protein shake blended with a cup of oatmeal, six egg whites and three whole eggs made into an omelet with a little bit of cheese.

I tried to be creative with the other three meals, but you have to face the facts that you can only be so creative with protein shakes, chicken breast and eggs. Like it or leave it.

There were about six days per week that I didn’t want to stay on this diet but I made myself and oddly enough, every time I used a little self-discipline, I grew stronger.

The next area of my training I want to talk about was aerobics. I was so out of shape when I ran I would get dizzy. I would always stop when I got dizzy until I decide I would rather fall out and die than stay fat and out of shape and somehow the dizziness stopped.

As I stated before, I knew that when I was able to run five miles, I wouldn’t have to worry about being too fat and out of shape. Guess what. It took much longer than I had planned to get to the five-mile mark. I was so heavy for my build that I kept getting shin splints and sore ankles so I started doing my aerobics on the Stairmaster, 45 minutes six days per week. I also started on some jumping and sprinting exercises to increase my vertical jump and 40-yard dash time, but these were sport-specific exercises you would only really need if you were going to be graded on them. You may have to adjust your training too and this is OK as long as you really need to adjust and your not just doing it to make it easier.

The last part of my training was the weight lifting. I decided to go a little crazy. I worked into supersetting antagonistic body parts for 20 sets (really 40) for anywhere from five reps to 20. For example, I would pick one exercise for each body part and do them back to back with no rest. I supersetted thighs/hamstrings, chest/back, shoulder/traps, abs/low back, bis/tris. This is one area where you can pretty much use your own favorites.

I was able to used this intense work out to get in the shape of my life and accomplish a dream. The main thing someone really needs to realize is that it took me over a year to achieve the goals I mentioned before and get into great shape. I first came down to a very lean 182 pounds and then built up to around 198 – 200 while still wearing my 32-waist jeans.

There is nothing special about me that would make me accomplish this while someone else could not. I tend to think just the opposite, if I can do it, anyone can. I see so many people, men and women, in the gym just going through the motions and not pushing to get to the next level. I think it is actually a fear of something, maybe getting hurt. If you do fear getting hurt, just do safe exercises and use machines but above all push, push, push. I feel confident that anyone could use this type of program of intensity and attain just about any goal he or she set for themselves but first you need to do one thing, start.