Wednesday, August 8, 2012

To the next level...

I have had quite a fitness journey.

Here is how I looked in November of 2009 (320lbs):

...and here I am after finishing my first Half-Marathon in November 2011 (165lbs):

Quite a difference huh?

Well, I'm not done yet. I hope to run the same Half-Marathon this year, and I want to run my first Full marathon next year (possibly in January or February). It's about more than running though.

I pulled my hamstring (pretty bad) in April...on my birthday actually. It kept me from running for about a month, and then I 'just didn't' run for another month and a half after that. I didn't stop working out though, I was still going to the gym, and I started lifting heavy. I got a lot stronger. I added 100lbs to my bench press, 175lbs to my deadlift and 100lbs to my squat (up to 245lbs, 315lbs and 225lbs respectfully, and that's being able to do 'honest' reps). I also added a bit of weight. About 25lbs to be exact I know it wasn't all muscle, but my little BF% measuring scale at home stayed pretty steady as the poundage went up. According to it, I only gained about 2% more Body fat (I'm up to 15% from 13% while going from 165-190lbs). I never changed a size in any of my clothes either - sure some of my shirts fit a little tighter in the chest/shoulders/arms, but my pants still fit just the same.

I don't want to get 'bulky' though. Although I wasn't getting 'fat', I didn't like feeling heavier. Once I decided I really missed running and wanted to start back, it was tough running carrying 190lbs vs carrying 165lbs. I'm now back down to 180, and I'm not going to stop until I hit single-digit body fat this time, whatever weight that happens to be.

Last time, I had too many people telling me I looked 'sickly'. I even had one co-worker tell me she was praying for me because I didn't look well, and that I was too thin (this is when I was exactly the size I was in that picture after the half-marathon above). I will not let external forces sway my progress this time.

I feel my little 'bulking' phase was beneficial. I got a lot stronger, and I'm going to do my best to keep that strength as I cut back down. I'm going to keep lifting heavy, but I've started back running again. I can now comfortably run 10K (6.2 mi) again, but I want to get back to where I can run half-marathon distances on Saturdays like I did before. I caught on to running very quickly. I went from never running a step to finishing that half-marathon in 1:50:00 in 2 months. I didn't start training last year until after summer was over, and I'm sure training through this muggy South Carolina summer heat will only help me once fall/winter gets here.

It's not all about your workouts though..and it's definitely not all about running. Sure, if you want to be good at running, you have to run...a lot. However, last year I did nothing but run, and this year I'm being careful to not only keep up my weight training, but to also do other cardio activities such as the bike, stair machine (the real one that looks like an escalator) and doing HIIT workouts on the elliptical.

It's also about diet. Sure, I keep track of my calories, and I eat pretty good, I could eat better. I don't eat out often, I don't eat a lot of 'junk food', but I do eat a bit of fried foods, and sweets (I love fried chicken, chocolate, and ice cream). I'm going to try at least switching to a more natural, whole food diet, and I'm even toying with the idea of trying a vegetarian diet for the month of September.

Remember, no matter where you are in your fitness journey, there is always another level. Good luck, and keep at it!


  1. Great work Dude. You really dropped weight and got toned. I lost 57 lbs. three years ago. I know how good it feels!

  2. Thanks Greg. Congrats on your weight loss as well!