2014 starts in just a couple of days. That means it’s time for New Year’s resolutions and, as usual, fitness goals are some of the most popular. People that have known me a long time have frequently asked me for some advise. I thought I spend a few posts sharing what I tell people when they ask.
With that in mind, I wanted to share my personal story of reaching my fitness goals.
If you’ve only known me the last few years, you probably don’t realize that I used to be really skinny. You may be thinking to yourself, “You’re skinny right now.” You don’t understand. At the time I proposed to my wife, I was 6′ 1″ and 135 pounds. That was an end-of-summer-low but, up to that point in time, I’d never weighed more than 150 pounds.
I didn’t particularly enjoy being that thin, but my metabolism made it very difficult to gain weight. Even with my trademark diet of Slim Jims and Dr. Pepper, my body just didn’t gain weight beyond slight fluctuations.
On many occasions, I had tried gym memberships and slight diets but, while I may have gained strength, my weight stayed just about the same. I even grew my hair to disturbingly long lengths and stopped showering to let the oils and dirt build up to add a few extra pounds, but not even that worked.
The inciting incident that pushed me over the edge towards deciding to change came during my first week at Bible college. We were doing typical orientation, “get to know you” games in groups, and eventually we were called to make a human pyramid. I was the oldest and tallest in the group, and I volunteered to be part of the base. At this point in time, a teenage girl five years younger than me swiftly replied, “You can’t be the base. You’re too thin and breakable.”
As a side note to you ladies, guys don’t like being told how weak, frail, and breakable they are.
Over the rest of the school year, I made some efforts to gain weight, but nothing stuck. The school cafeteria made it easy for me to stuff my face with all I could eat. I did hit some milestones, but that’s not saying much when you’re extremely skinny.
The following summer, I interned at a church with no student pastor and, with my fellow intern, essentially ran the student ministry. It was a great summer where I skipped a lot of meals and my weight dropped to an all-time adult low of 135. I remember being at church staff meeting and my boss (who ironically is now my pastor and boss again) cracked a joke about how extremely thin I was looking (I would tell you what he said but without knowing him he would just come off as insensitive).
A couple of weeks later, I proposed to my now wife, and I decided my engagement time would be the best opportunity to make a change. Or as I put it, I was going to go on a L.G.N. Diet. If you’re not familiar with the term, ask a friend who is currently engaged.
- On September 1st, I weighed roughly 140 pounds.
- By December 23rd, I weighed about 185 pounds…and lots of people were wondering what I was on.
DIET – The Basics
- Eat six meals every day
- First meal is within 20 minutes of waking up
- Last meal is within 30 minutes of going to bed
- Every meal needs to include a serving of protein, carbs, and fat.
- Not all proteins are equal
- Not all carbs are equal
- Not all fats are equal
- You want at least 20 grams of protein with each meal
EXERCISE – The Basics
- Workout at least 3 times, but no more than 4 times per week (there’s a reason not to work out more than this)
- Do VERY little cardio (once again this is a plan for skinny guys)
- Focus on compound exercises with free weights
- Avoid using machines
- Exercise each muscle only once per week
- If you focus on bench press, dumbbell rows, squats, deadlifts, and bicep curls, you’ll be ok.
Here are the core supplements I took:
- Vitamin C
There are no secrets or tricks when it comes to reaching fitness goals. You need to eat right and workout smart.
Tiny changes will give you tiny results.
Big changes will give you big results.
It’s very simple, actually:
…notice that gaining weight did not cause me to make better choices in regards to hair, facial hair, or clothing. If you look closely at my shoulder on the right there is a red dot. That is where my wife shot me point blank with a paintball gun.
More thoughts on fitness: