through the eyes of the Average Joe

Life is out there, we just need to live it

The Challenge

By on February 20, 2020

Sitting at dinner tonight, looking at my most recent “bad decision”, I thought, “hmm, I wonder how close I can get to my former self when I was in really good shape?” Of course, “good shape” is completely subjective, and to me, “good shape” may be stunningly mediocre to you, but at one point in time, in my early twenties, I was in relatively decent shape, or at least I was by my standards.

I went to the gym, rode my bike and attended martial arts classes roughly five to six days a week religiously. I still didn’t eat very well, but I had age and metabolism on my side. Fast forward to today and add all the accidents, injuries and bad decisions I’ve had and made over the last 30 years and it’s easy to understand how I have become the train wreck I am today. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not bagging on myself, well, maybe I am a little, but when I say “train wreck” I mean it as a term of endearment. For all none of you that read my blog, (tangent: Get it? All none of you? It’s actually fun for me to make these little side commentaries to myself, but in reality, at some point, there might be more than just me reading this so I’ll have to stick to the point and not run off on a tangent). Now where was I? Oh, yes, for those of you that read my blog (is that better?), you will know that 2019 was a rough year for me regarding injuries. From a pinched nerve in my neck to issues with my shoulder, hips, knees, ankles, etc, I was having a hard time staying consistent. Each injury took its toll on my body and required a recovery period that left me on the couch with my own self-destructive thoughts. Not a good place to be when Double Stuff Oreos are in the pantry just a few short steps away.

As I was eating dinner, stuffing my face with chips, queso and eventually a chimichanga, my wife and I discussed intermittent fasting and that lead to me asking the question, “I wonder at 52, how good of shape could I really get into if I was willing to make the effort and clean up my act?” I know my diet would have to completely change, but I also know I can do it because I have done it before and with great results. In addition to eating better, I would have to be smart about my exercise routines and carefully plan and execute each of them to maximize benefit while reducing risk of injury. Perhaps the one of the biggest areas of concern is pain management. Running hurts. Plain and simple, it hurts, and it hurts a lot, but I would say 70+% of the pain was self-inflicted due to poor running posture (thanks Juan), poor diet consisting of way too much sugar, lack of sleep and so on. After having Juan from The Running Elements straighten out my posture, almost overnight, my hips stopped hurting during long runs. Yes, it really was that simple and amazing what proper posture will do. Having said that, poor running posture wasn’t the only problem I faced while running longer distances. One of my biggest problem areas is my sweet tooth, thanks Lulu! I couldn’t inherit your perfect vision, nope, I got the insatiable drive for sugar, thanks. For those of you who don’t know, sugar is an inflammatory and when things get inflamed, they hurt. I can only take 800mg of Ibuprofen so much before I must consider the collateral damage to my stomach and liver. Back in mid-2018, I stopped eating processed sugar for over three months and I felt like a new person. You would think THAT alone would be motivation enough for me to put aside the bags of Oreos, but sugar is not only an inflammatory, it’s also very addictive. Seriously, ask Uncle Google.

Anyway, getting back to our dinner conversation and the lightbulb hoovering above my head, I had this idea that with proper dietary changes, exercise and rest, I could be in “decent” shape once again, only this time, I would be fifty-two and not twenty-two.

Here’s “the challenge”. I am going to try the intermittent fasting approach to dietary control along with proper exercise and rest and see how much of a difference I can make in both my appearance and performance. As I type this, I am a little over 215lbs (eek! Is it possible to fat-shame one’s self?), but for the sake of the challenge and being accountable, I’ll post all my dirty little secrets, so here goes.

As of 02/20/2020, here is the painful truth:

Weight:                215lbs

Waist:                   38 (ugh)

5K:                          00:33:00-ish

5mi:                       01:00:00-ish

13.1mi                   02:25:00

26.2mi                   05:34:00

Bench Press:      one rep max-ish would most likely be around 140lbs-150lbs

Push-ups:            20

Pull-ups:              0

I’ll try to post weekly updates discussing how the week went, how I’m feeling and so on. I’m not sure if I am going to do a monthly update on the categories listed above or if I should just wait until 02/20/2021 to see the overall difference. Feel free to join in the conversation by leaving a comment below.

By the way, one last “truth” for the sake of being accountable. While I was typing this, I ate a single “Big Cup” Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for dessert. But, in my defense, I already made my caloric mistakes today and wanted it gone so I didn’t have to face it tomorrow. Mission accomplished!

Talk to you soon!