MORE THAN FITNESS
Summer is fast approaching. Are you confident that you’ll be looking good for the beach?
About a year ago I was heading out to work, and just before I got in my car I realised that I had forgotten my wallet. I was running a bit late, so I made a mad dash up to my flat. As I ran upstairs, I felt the uncomfortable jiggle of my midsection. At that precise moment I had my life-changing epiphany. I was getting fat, and I had to do something about it. Several pairs of jeans were getting tighter and even shorter as my butt grew bigger, and I was still stuck in my complacency, but that jiggle woke me up.
I was going to the gym occasionally, doing the usual boring cardio machines and using a few of those weight machines, but not getting the results I wanted. That very evening, I started searching on the internet for help.
I stumbled across Turbulence Training (TT), created by Craig Ballantyne (www.turbulencetraining.com). I was a bit sceptical at first, and it wasn’t free, but I thought I’d keep an open mind. As I watched the introductory video I started to realise that he was making total sense. I considered how much money I had spent over the years for gym memberships, and came to the swift conclusion that the cost of his programs were actually really cheap. Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, who has written countless articles for magazines like Men’s Health, etc., but besides that, when I saw his abs I thought, “Wow! I want abs like his”. He doesn’t have just washboard abs, he has more like a chain of laundrettes. His programs are for men and women, and can be done at home or in the gym. I paid the money and downloaded the PDF files. The programs are easily laid out (including pictures) with short simple explanations about how to do the exercises properly, with emphasis on keeping the correct form to maximise results and minimise injury. If you become a TT member you also have access to demonstration videos. The programs are great if you want to lose weight or bulk up.
After doing the research I am convinced that all these fancy cardio machines are a waste of time. With the exercises I do, it’s possible to achieve what’s called the afterburn. This is when your body continues to burn calories even after you’ve stopped exercising. It’s amusing to see people in the gym on the bicycles or treadmills, going at a pace slower than what I do when I pop to the convenience store. Literal exercises in futility.
Now, you can exercise till the cows come home, but unless you are making the necessary adjustments with your diet, your fat loss goals may never be achieved. I’d go as far as to say that your diet is 60% of the work. I’m not talking about dieting. I’m talking about your diet – what you eat. While doing my research I came across the downloadable book called The Truth About Six Pack Abs, by Michael D. Geary (www.truthaboutabs.com). If I’m not mistaken, I might have gotten this book as part of the TT package. It’s a bit long, and I made the mistake of ignoring it completely, and went straight into the TT exercises. I was getting some results, but not the results I expected, based on testimonials. The first half of the book focuses on nutrition. Once I got reading I quickly started to realise all the mistakes I had been making with my diet.
In the September/October 2010 issue of RAN, I wrote an article about my conversion to veganism. There is this stereotype that vegans are walking skeletons, but believe me, it’s a myth. Despite me being a vegan, I was still gaining weight. I started to realise that while I had cut out the animal protein, I was compensating with too many carbohydrates (carbs), especially the processed ones (pasta and bread). I’d heard about having a low-carb diet before, but never paid it too much attention. For the most part, I only eat whole natural foods. Get “The Truth”, and read it from cover to cover. It’s an eye opener, and sets you on the path to success.
Also check out www.sixpackshortcuts.com to see Mike Chang in action. An inspirational movie to watch is
Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead.
It was surprising to discover that the calories in alcohol are not as high as some people would believe. A medium glass of wine only has about 120 calories. A pint of lager has about 250. If you’re not excessively drinking, it’s probably not the alcohol that’s giving you the “beer belly”, it’s the food that you have with it – the pizza, the wings, the snacks.
I probably eat more now than I have ever eaten before, but to reiterate, they are whole natural foods, and I don’t obsessively count calories. You don’t need to when your foods are natural. For example, the bag of pre-cut vegetables that I buy in my local supermarket for stir fries is only 46 calories. The small packet of Guacamole-Flavoured Tortilla Chips that I sometimes eat is about 600 calories. Go to any online calorie calculator (There is one on freedieting.com), punch in your age, weight, height, and weekly exercise level, and you’ll soon realise that if you want to lose fat, just that small packet of chips is eating up a big part of your recommended daily calorie intake.
Up your fruit and vegetable intake. You can eat as many as you want. You don’t have to be a vegetarian, but eat meat in moderation, and definitely lower your carb intake. Have about 5-6 meals a day. It’s a sure way to get your metabolism going. And another thing, keep yourself hydrated.
It will take a lot of trips to the supermarket, and it does take a lot of planning and preparation, but the results are well worth it.
Join a gym, or not, but start to exercise and adjust your diet. Every ward in Nagoya has a gym run by the local authorities (http://bit.ly/nagoyasportslist). A monthly membership only costs about ¥1,600.
Since I made the changes I have lost more than 12kgs of fat, gained muscle, and I feel great.
It takes no effort to become overweight, but it takes a lot of work to win the battle of the bulge. Sacrifice and dedication goes without saying. Once you have achieved your goal, which you are very capable of doing, it’s important not to fall back into old habits. Good luck and I’ll see you on the beach.