Tag Archives: BMI

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

The title lists a very simple equation, and yet the solution seems to evade so many people. Let me write it out again:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

It’s not to say that Hard Work is more important than Nutrition – I just happened to list them alphabetically. The opposite is probably true that proper nutrition will benefit you more long-term than hard work if you could only pick one. By Hard Work, I mean strenuous, physically-exerting exercise. And by Proper Nutrition, I mean eating foods that are actually good for the body (that’s a dissertation in itself) and getting proper sleep and hydration.

I often run into people that I haven’t seen in awhile, and they typically remark how much thinner and more fit I look. Of course, they want to know what I’ve been doing to achieve my level of fitness. When I tell them about my workouts and changed eating habits, their peaked interest usually dwindles. It amazes me that practical living and hard work are a major turnoff to people. I mean, when you see how hard people will work to live in a certain community or get to a certain position at work, it’s obvious that hard work is not a foreign concept to them; and they seem to have enough common sense that they would seriously evaluate the food their body intakes.

Let me reiterate:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

There are no quick fixes or magic potions that will turn you from a lump of dough to a fit, vibrant person. It will take hard, strenuous work. I have stated it before, but I am a strong advocate of working out with kettlebells and bodyweight exercise.

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The benefits are clear:

  1. You will get strong
  2. You don’t need much space
  3. You don’t need to go to a gym
  4. You don’t need to make much of a financial commitment
  5. You can accomplish a lot of hard work in a fairly short period of time

It will take some effort to research the foods you eat, read the labels, understand what ingredients/foods/medicines are good or bad for you, make well-informed food purchases, plan and prepare nutritious meals, etc.

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Again, the benefits are clear:

  1. If you are overweight, you will lose weight
  2. You will be healthier with a stronger immune system
  3. You will have more natural energy (this will fit perfectly into your strenuous workouts)
  4. You will be likely live longer
  5. You will maintain the weight your body was designed to support and your joints will thank you profusely for that

The solution to true fitness couldn’t really be this simple, could it? If you read most of the trendy health and fitness magazines, then to them, the answer is no. There’s always a new gimmick workout or diet (or even diet pill). There’s a huge industry devoted to the millions of people who keep futilely chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

If you truly want to live a longer, healthier life where…

  • You are physically strong
  • You are able to run and play with your kids (or grandkids)
  • You wear normal clothing sizes
  • You get sick less often
  • You won’t need an untimely knee replacement
  • You won’t increase your risk of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

Then review the formula 1 more time:

True Fitness = Hard Work + Proper Nutrition

Decide today to be equally committed to both components of the solution, and you will be the better for it. Don’t expect many others to join you, but hey, you are living your life in your body. Only you can directly change and affect you.

My Journey from Unfit to Fit

Carefully taming the 24″ box jump

My name is Andrew, and this blog will describe my year-long journey from being unhealthy, overweight, and out-of-shape to becoming healthy, fit, and strong! My goal is to share what I have learned along the way in order to encourage others in their journeys to a sustainable lifestyle of health and fitness.

Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, I lived a fairly active lifestyle. At an early age, I was outdoors playing with friends and running nonstop all day; and as I got older, I played a lot of sports – thin without even trying (although not all that healthy, mind you). Then came college – life got busier, but so did my activity. The problem was, even though I was still playing sports and lifting weights, I started eating even larger quantity meals, including junk food. After graduating college, I started working a desk job and got married shortly after. I still tried to work out from time-to-time; but I began to work longer hours and suddenly, I had more things to think about: kids, graduate school, advancing my career, etc.

For the next 8 years, I went through a constant roller coaster ride of sort of caring about my health and well being to not caring at all. My appetite for those larger portion meals wasn’t going away; and as my level of physical activity dwindled, my weight increased… not rapidly or in a way that would cause alarm but slowly and surely, my weight was increasing and so was my waist size. “I’m just getting older,” I thought. “Nobody is able to maintain high school / college weight. It just isn’t realistic… at least for a regular guy. I can’t work out for hours a day!”

To sum it up, one year ago, I was 30 years old, 6′ 1”, and north of 250 pounds – not obese necessarily, but definitely not in shape and certainly not eating healthy. There were many reasons that I felt I could justify my condition: I was getting older, I was busy with my job, I had other leadership responsibilities, and I couldn’t afford to go to a gym. However, I began to have growing concerns, and I even began experiencing pain in my knees when I would stand or sit down or even go down steps. Would I need replacement knee surgery? Would I be able to play with my kids at the park as they (and I) got older? Would I ever care about the way that I ate? If I did, would I be able to afford it?

It was just a short while later that I had a life-altering experience. One of my coworkers, Mark had begun leading lunchtime workouts three times a week using kettlebells, box jumps, body weight exercises, and other types of physical activity. I scoffed at his invitation to join them – I was still in decent shape, or so I thought. They always seemed so enthused after finishing a workout, but I ignored their enthusiasm (well, I tried to anyway). I kept telling myself that I could get into really good shape if I wanted to, and I didn’t need advice or opinions from anyone else on how to do that. I had played sports before, I had pumped iron, I knew what I was doing. When I looked in the mirror, though, I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. My face was fuller than I wanted it to be, and I tried to hide the double chin by growing facial hair. I pretended my visible stomach and “love handles” weren’t that big – this was the way that that men who had families and worked desk jobs turned out, right?

WRONG!

One day, I decided to join their workout. I knew going in that the intensity level would be high, but I was ready. Boy, was I wrong. About 6 minutes into the workout, I was exhausted and breathing heavily almost to the point of hyperventilating, and I was white as a ghost. Fortunately, Mark had the experience to have me stop. What a wake-up call! As I walked back to my desk, I faced a decision: would I do anything about what had just happened, or would I ignore it and pretend that it never happened? As the reality of what I had become (a lazy couch potato) slowly sank in, I decided right then and there that I was going to commit to completely changing my workout habits and more importantly, the way that I ate and lived my life. I committed to doing whatever it would take to get into the shape and health that I knew that I needed to be.

Fast forward 11 months. I have lost more than 50 pounds and about 4-5 inches off my waist. My BMI and body fat percentages have significantly decreased, and the joint pain (especially in the knees) is gone. At a trim, healthy, and strong 200 pounds, I am not quite down to my target weight, but I am more than well on my way. In subsequent blog posts, I will unravel the story of how I achieved my goals and how you can too! I didn’t join a gym, I didn’t do CrossFit, I didn’t start eating vegan, I didn’t take any magic weight loss pills – what I did do was make a lifestyle change that I can sustain for the remainder of my life. Through self-evaluation, planning, monitoring, setting goals, and hard work, I achieved what I set out to accomplish. I am hopeful that by sharing my year-long journey, others will be helped and encouraged in their goals of fitness and health. While the methods I outline will not help you achieve overnight success; you will succeed in the long run if you put in the effort, and you will change your life for the better!