My Body-for-Life Journal

I’ve decided to keep an online journal documenting my progress during my 12 week Body-for-Life program. Each week’s stats represent my fitness at the start of the week and are mostly based on what my old-school Omron HBF-306 tells me. Notes represent my thoughts at the end of the week. I will update this every week for 12 weeks. Feel free to cheer me on, and share your story so I can cheer you on.

Week 1 – 2015/11/16

  • Weight: 232 lb
  • Fat%: 30.7
  • BMI: 31.5
  • Waist: 45.5″
  • End of week notes:

During the first week, I’ve already noticed a difference. Not in appearance. I look the same. But I feel different. Un poco. I have more energy. I feel more solid. Biggest difference? I did an 18 mile long run (my longest distance ever) Saturday and had no back pain and plenty of energy left over at the end. A big part of why I started this challenge is because every time I ran 10 miles or more over the past few weeks my back hurt, and I knew there was only one thing to blame: My growing belly. Despite having increased my weekend long-run distance over the past year from 3 miles to 16, I had actually gained weight. Ya see, burning 1,500 calories over a couple hours of running is great; but, when you consume 3k or 4k calories over the course of that same day, your ass gets fatter regardless.

Week 2 – 2015/11/23

  • Weight: 226.4 lb
  • Fat%: 28.6
  • BMI: 30.7
  • End of week notes:

So I’m just gonna say it: I’m fucking disappointed. I felt good this week. Hit the gym hard. Got more organized with the meal prepping. Turned down all kinds of sweets and treats. And I ran 20 fucking miles on Sunday! Longest distance I’ve ever run. But, get on the scale Monday morning and see I’ve lost less than a half-pound. That sucks. So I thought: Well, I must’ve grown myself 5 pounds of muscle this week, and that’s what’s fooling the scale (yeah, right). But then I get out the ol’ Omron and, nope, sure as shit I’m right where I was at the beginning of the week.

I shouldn’t act all innocent. I cheated a couple times this week. I know this. It was Thanksgiving after all. I had too much turkey. I had sweet potato casserole. I had a few croissants.

Ah, well. I resolve to do better Week 3–much, much better. My goal for this week is to really get organized. Plan those workouts in advance. Fill the whole damn fridge full of Glad containers stuffed with lean proteins and fiber-filled carbs. Wish me luck, people.

  • Week 3 – 2015/11/30

  • Weight: 226 lb
  • Fat%: 28.6
  • BMI: 30.6
  • End of week notes:

Fuuuuuuuuck. So… all that shit I talked about doing better this week? Nope. I fucked up. The week was going good until Thursday. Thursday I skipped my workout. I didn’t think it was a big deal because I did a lunchtime run. I figured I’d make it up Friday. Then Friday comes. I sleep in. I tell myself, “Don’t worry. You can hit the gym after work. And, besides, you’re doing a long run tomorrow.” Nope. I ended up going to a Star Wars marathon party, eating chili dogs and drinking beer and not getting to sleep until 3am. So much for hitting the gym Friday night. So much for running Saturday morning. And Sunday? Let me tell you about Sunday. I was so fucking depressed from blowing Friday and Saturday that it was all I could do to get myself to meal prep for the coming week. In the end, my Week 3 end-of-week stats are the same as they were at the beginning of the week.

So take a lesson from me: Don’t cheat. Don’t sleep in. Don’t be any more flexible than you absolutely have to be or you may find you’ve wandered so far off the path that you don’t even feel it’s worth the trouble finding your way back.

  • Week 4 – 2015/12/07

  • Weight: 226 lb
  • Fat%: 28.6
  • BMI: 30.6
  • End of week notes:

“Admiration for a quality or an art can be so strong that it deters us from striving to possess it.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

2015/12/10: Here, at week 4, I think of this quote when I find myself not wanting to go to the gym in the morning or considering accepting that piece of xmas candy from a well-meaning coworker. Our desire to achieve difficult goals isn’t at all perplexing; what’s hard to understand is our unwillingness to even try for the things we want the most.

2015/12/14: So this week went pretty well. I wish I could say going to the gym before work, running on my lunch break and eating clean was all second nature to me by now; but, unfortunately, it is still more often than not a struggle. I’m not sure why. I think there must be some defeatist seed planted deep inside many of us, and maybe our lives have been structured in such a way as to nourish that seed and allow it to bare fruit: protruding belly, slumped shoulders, downturned head, worn out couch cushions and remote control buttons, a trash can (or, maybe, car floorboard) full of crumpled-up fast-food bags and empty soda bottles.

My attitude towards food has changed. The coworker in the cubicle behind me compulsively eats vending machine food and downs cans of soda throughout the day. I used to be right there with him. Hell, hearing him crack open a Coke made me want to go grab one (and, often, I did). Now the sound of him ripping the foil on a bag of chips or the cracking sound from him opening a can of Dr. Pepper makes me cringe. I want to tell him he’s poisoning his body, that if he drank some water and ate a boiled egg he’d feel a lot better and be consuming fewer calories.

But what are words really worth? He’s probably tried and failed at as many diets as I have. Better to lead by example. He’s probably like I was and thinks it’s all a bunch of bullshit and he’s doomed to live the rest of his life encased in a slowly expanding suit of blubber. If I tell him what I’m doing is working, he’ll just think I’m the blind leading the blind. If he sees me succeed, he’ll know it’s possible.

  • Week 5 – 2015/12/14

  • Weight: 226 lb
  • Fat%: 27.3
  • BMI: 30.6
  • End of week notes:

This week wasn’t as tough as the last couple. I think weeks 3 and 4 were the hardest for me (so far). Not sure why. Maybe my mind and body just needed time to adjust to this lifestyle. Can you go through sugar and sodium withdrawals? I haven’t lost much, but the scale is slowly inching down as is my body fat percentage. My goal for this challenge is to get to 15%. Not sure I’m going to get there by the end of 12 weeks, but, I guaranfuckinty you, I will get there.

Of course, I started this program for the sake of my running, so I am happy to report that I ran 26 miles this past Saturday. That is the length of a marathon; and I did it just to do it. It was just a weekend long run with my running buddy. Nobody cheered us on (in fact, her spouse got onto her for being gone so long). We didn’t get trophies. We just did it to do it. Tomorrow, xmas eve, we’re planning on running 18 miles. And, as long as we don’t blow our knees out beforehand, we’re planning on running 30 miles on New Years Eve. That would be the perfect end to this year!

“You can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. And sometimes that someone is yourself.” – Jane Fonda, Better Living Through Chemistry

  • Week 6 – 2015/12/21

  • Weight: 225 lb
  • Fat%: 26
  • BMI: 30.5
  • End of week notes:

I started the week at 225, was 221 on xmas eve, and was 228 pounds 3 days after xmas. So I kinda fucked up this week. Basically, I did great until xmas eve. On the 24th, I did a 16 mile run in the morning and then drove to my grandmother’s house 4 hours away. I had planned on eating healthy during the trip, but that quickly went out the window and I found myself stopping at a drive through along the way. The next day, xmas, was supposed to be my cheat day, and it was. I ate a lot. I did mostly avoid sweets though, so that’s something. The next day I drove home. Again, I had planned on eating healthy but wound up stopping at the same damn drive through again. Then I didn’t go to the gym when I got home. Then I skipped the gym again the next day. Today, the 28th, is my first day back on the wagon.

Did I learn a lesson? Sure–I learned a couple in fact. Lesson 1: It is really friggin’ hard to follow my eating and exercise routine when the rest of my routine is disturbed. Lesson 2: I need to accelerate my weight loss. When a few days of bad eating can send me almost back to my starting weight, it tells me I’m not burning the fat quickly enough.

Goals for the coming week: study the caloric content of the meals I’ve been eating and figure out to what extent I’m willing to reduce them.

“Half of getting what you want is knowing what you have to give up to get it.” – Bill Phillips, Body of Work

  • Week 7 – 2015/12/28

  • Weight: 228.4 lb
  • Fat%: 26.5
  • BMI: 31
  • End of week notes:

This was a big week for me. Did I lose a lot of weight? Not really. Did I wake up one day with abs that Brandon Carter would give his left oblique for? Hells no. Did Ashley Horner Facebook stalk me and tell the world she loves me and can’t live without me? Eh, not so much.

But I did run 32 fucking miles Saturday. That’s right: 32 foot-pounding, joint-grinding, ITB-inflaming miles! It took me 9 hours. My goal for 2015 was to run a 15k (9.3 miles) by the end of the year. A month after starting Body-for-Life, I blew that one out of the water by running a marathon (26.2 miles) the week before Xmas. My goal for 2016 was to run my first 50k (31 miles) by the end of the year. And, on the second day of the year, I exceeded that goal.

My new goal is to run a 50 miler by the end of the year. And to have a six pack. But the first goal is more important. I mostly just figure that achieving the second one will make the first one easier and a little less perilous to my health.

Keep the faith & carpe annum, motherfuckers!

The sacrifices I made … were nothing in comparison to the life I was giving up when unfit. –Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion

  • Week 8 – 2016/01/04

  • Weight: 224.6 lb
  • Fat%: 26.5
  • BMI: 30.4
  • End of week notes:

This was a decent week. I’m not really sure how to sum it up though. Usually, I weight myself around 8:00 Monday morning and take my BMI reading with my ol’ Omron. Unfortunately, this Monday I was running late and forgot to do that. And, since I’ve made it a point to weigh in at the same time on the same day every week since I started, I decided to just skip measuring my progress this week.

Anyway, yeah, it was an okay week. I missed two workouts and a HIIT run. I ended up making up both workouts by doing a super-intense full body workout Saturday. That was the hardest workout I’ve done since I started this. Normally my workouts last around 30 minutes, but this one was closer to an hour, and I was dripping sweat by the end. My heart was beating so fast I was actually a little worried I was going to fall out right then and there. I felt like a million bucks afterwards though.

Here’s some advice from me based on this week’s slip ups: If you’re doing this or any program and you slip up and miss a workout or two or have more cheat meals than you should or whatever, don’t get frustrated and quit. Don’t say, “Fuck it. I’m going to quit this thing, binge eat for a couple weeks, then restart the program with a clean slate.” That shit doesn’t happen. What happens is you fall into your old lifestyle, gain even more weight than you had before, and keep putting off restarting the program for months or even years. Whatever you do, never quit.

  • Week 9 – 2016/01/11

  • Weight: 224.6 lb
  • Fat%: 26.5
  • BMI: 30.4
  • End of week notes:

Man, I don’t know what the fuck week I’m on. I had to look it up. Ah well. Been hitting the gym hard. My car broke down, so I had to ride my bike to the gym a couple times. It was cold as hell but kind of invigorating. I might ride my bike to the gym more often once it warms up outside. It’s a nice way to get a little cardio in, and it’s pretty much all up hill going to the gym, so it’s a good leg workout.

  • Week 10 – 2016/01/18

  • Weight: 224.6 lb
  • Fat%: 26.5
  • BMI: 30.4
  • End of week notes:

I’ll be honest: I didn’t write anything this week. Not here anyway. I put something up at the BFL forum though, so I’m just gonna cut-and-paste here:

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s response to the question What is the hardest thing in life?

To have a vision. People really struggle with that the most. I think that if you have a vision, everything is easier in life. If you see yourself doing certain things, it’s easier to work your way up that ladder because you know which ladder to climb. Once you know what you want to do, the how-to material is out there. I was lucky to be born as a person who always had very clear vision. It’s hard for me to explain it to people. Vision makes you able to go through pain, crying, and ups and downs, because you know what it is for and where you’re going toward.

This is so true. Starting a program like this is easy; millions of people start these things every year. But statistics show that over 70% fail. People give all kinds of excuses for quitting, but ultimately it comes down to motivation. It’s just hard to stay motivated and focused on a single goal for weeks and months on end–especially if you don’t see immediate, dramatic results. This is why champions like Meredith Brown have put such an emphasis on visualization: The more concrete you can make a goal in your mind, the easier it is for you to stay focused on it for hours, days, weeks and months.

  • Week 11 – 2016/01/25

  • Weight: 228.5 lb
  • Fat%: 26.5
  • BMI: 31
  • End of week notes:

I’m not sure what’s going on with my weight. Am I putting on muscle? Am I putting on fat? Am I losing fat? Maintaining? I don’t know. This is a shitty place to be at Week 11 with the program almost wrapped up.

I started doing the program by the book last week–following the workouts as outlined by Bill Phillips (instead of the alternate routine I came up with to accommodate my distance running). I also started doing the 20 minute HIIT cardio Phillips recommended. I’m really liking the HIIT. It burns like hell–you can feel the lactic acid building up in your legs–but it’s so short there’s really no room for excuses to stop.

Oh well. Physically, I feel really good. I just don’t look it. Looks like I’ll be signing on for another 12 weeks. Not sure if I’m gonna stick with Body-for-Life though. Bodybuilding.com has a similar challenge but with more room for modifying it to one’s own tastes. I Like BFL, but I feel like it’s for newbies, and I’ve learned enough at this point to know that if you really want to refine your physique there’s more to it than just doing one chest exercise, one biceps exercise, et cetera, twice a week. I’s  gots some thinkin’ t’do I guess.

  • Week 12 – 2016/02/01

  • Weight: ? lb
  • Fat%: ?
  • BMI: ?
  • End of week notes:

I’m writing this after the fact–way after the fact. It’s March 26, 2016 right now. I was so upset with my ending weight/fat% that I was pretty much depressed for a solid week after my program ended.

Anyway, while I’m not satisfied with my results, I can’t say that I’m completely unhappy with them. I gained muscle. I burned fat. My body feels stronger, more solid. The ailment that started me on BFL–a back ache every time a ran more than five miles–is gone. The workouts seem to have fixed that problem. I think having a stronger, tighter lower back and abs are what resolved that issue.

So, what’s next? Well, I’ve pretty much been following Body-for-Life (after taking two weeks off). I haven’t signed up for another challenge, but I’m still eating my 4-6 healthful meals a day and working out each muscle group at least once a week. I should sign up for another 12 weeks. Maybe I will. Whatever I do, this is my new lifestyle; and, looking back, I can’t believe I spent so many years weak and fat and blaming everyone/thing but myself for my problems. Give the program a try. You will never regret finishing.

Week 13 – 2016/04/04

  • Weight: 227.4 lb
  • Fat%: 27
  • BMI: 30.8
  • End of week notes:

This is my first week officially back doing BFL. Of course, I never really stopped. I kept eating right(wish) and working out. But I realized that I wasn’t being as consistent with my diet as I was when I was signed up for a challenge, and I was skipping more workouts than when I was signed up; so I signed back up. My main goal this time is to burn fat. Last time, I mainly wanted to improve my total body fitness. I had a n ultra marathon I was preparing for and wanted to be as strong as possible for that. Well, I completed that ultra marathon (the Oak Mountain 50k) on March 19, 2016, and I don’t plan on completing another one until at least the fall, so that gives me all summer to focus on slimming down; and that’s what I intend to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *