Reflect, Revive, and Move Forward…

 

Like so many others, the new year has brought about a new resolution.  Or in the case of many, the same resolution with a renewed vigor to stay focused.  Rather than claim I want to lose weight, or I want to fit into a size whatever, my resolution is to be a better me.  Better in all aspects of my life… health, wealth, life, fatherhood, etc…  So I have decided to revive my blog under a new name – “11 Squared Fit (just trying to make a better me)”

20140121-225728.jpgWith that said health is the foundation to many of the other aspects.  Over the course of the last two years, my health has declined.  I have gained back all of the weight that I lost, have had bouts of acute colitis, and have been diagnose with high blood pressure and placed on medication for it.  It seems awkward to be putting these things out there for public consumption, however, I feel that by actually talking about these things, they no longer define me or limit me.  I have come to the realization that I am like so many others and am no longer ashamed that I have gained weight back.

Before writing this post, I took a cruise down memory lane with this blog and came across posts like “my fitness journey…“, “100 days…” and “…no excuses!“.  These past posts now serve as motivation to get back to the place and surpass where I was at that time.  I decided to leave them up as they are a reminder as well as a chapter in what is truly my journey to a better me.  I am particularly struck by the “…no excuses!” post that states “you are NOT a quitter!, you are not what you may have been in the past!.

So as the title of this post states… I have taken a little time to reflect on where I was and how I got to where I am today.  That has lead me to revive my blog and hold myself accountable by continuing to document my journey as I move forward on the path to a better me!

Thank you for taking the time to read my entry.  Please feel free to peruse the archive and keep checking back as will be updating this site often.

Cheers!

 

100 days…

It is hard to believe that just over 3 months ago… 100 days to be exact… I used to be a raging “Sodaholic”!  I couldn’t live without my Diet Mountain Dew!.  My soda habit had gotten so bad that  I was downing almost 2 2-liters a day and that didn’t include the occasional 16 oz. energy drink.  I could literally feel my kidneys hurting at the end of the day… something had to change!

One fateful day, about 100 days ago, I was scrolling though Instagram and came across a picture from Alan @sweatinguntilhappy.  Alan had posted an image of a screen caption from his iPhone showing that he had gone over 700 days without a soda.  At first I was curious what App he was using to track this and found out that it is called Streaks.  Then i was astounded at the amount of dedication and motivation that it must have taken to do without something for so long!  It was at that moment that I decided it was my turn… that very day I swore off carbonated beverages!!

Needless to say, the first few days took a lot of focus and intentional decisions not to grab a can of soda or visit the vending machine at the office.  To add to the difficulty, my wife still enjoys soda (however, not ever remotely in the amounts that I used to) and keeps it in the house.  Nevetheless, as the days went by, choosing something other than soda to drink became less of an intentional action and more of a habit.

By doing away with carbonated beverages, I was able to drink more water which keeps me better hydrated and feeling better all around.  No longer to my kidneys hurt, no more bloated feeling, no more heart burn, etc., etc., etc…  The benefits are enormous from what seems to be such a small action.

With all of that said, in case you haven’t guessed I have now gone 100 days without a carbonated beverage of any sort!  I have to thank Alan for his Instagram post!  His seemingly harmless post has changed my life for the healthier.  Now let’s see if I can make it to that 365 day mark!

Supplement Review: “Spyked” by Venettis Nutrition

Well folks… It’s time for another supplement review.  This time I am bringing you Spyked from Venettis Nutrition.

After reading  TheOrangeMask’s review of this pre-workout (PWO) supplement I began following @VN_Supplements on Twitter, and I am so glad I did.  This little known company’s motto is “Supplements should be inexpensive, effective and safe.”  Seems simple enough… right?  However, more and more I see concentrated and super concentrated pre-workout formulas that require you to take up to 3 scoops to get the full effect.  Not Spyked!

Spyked worked like a champ with only one scoop!  You heard me, 1 SCOOP!  Ok… Ok… you are right, this is not an economics lesson.  Does it work?  That’s ultimately what you are after.  The short answer is hell yes this stuff works, and works like a champ!Since each 45 tub serving is $30.00, that equates to $0.67 per serving compared to others, like MuscleTech’s Neurocore, that break down to $2.00 per serving (assume 3 scoops per serving/workout).

Now for the long answer… I was a little leary at the “lemon lime” flavor, but was pleasantly surprised as the flavor was good and was actually, somewhat, refreshing..??  It mixed well with no residue left at the bottom.

After downing Spyked, I had about a 10 minute drive to the gym.  I did not feel a rush of energy, but by the time I got my stuff in the locker and walked upstairs to the weights, I was raring to go!  It wasn’t an anxious or jittery feeling, just a super focused feeling backed up with a lot of confidence….  like a huge dose of “I GOT  THIS!”  The energy sustained me through my entire workout, which, on this particular night was chest and triceps.

I started off with flat bench barbell benchpresses.  By the end of the 3rd set I knew this was good stuff as I had already surpassed by my personal best weight on this exercise and for more reps!  The rest of the workout was no different.  I had more increases of weight and for more reps than any other night previous!

The pump that I got from Spyked was superior to all of the other PWO’s that I have tried.  Now, let me qualify this a little bit.  Chest and triceps is usually a good pump night for me, but with the increase in weights and reps and this PWO… I felt like the Incredible Hulk… and the pump lasted for a good bit too.

If you have ever read any of my blog posts, or guest blog posts, you already know that I workout at night.  This isn’t ideal for taking PWO’s, but with Spyked I was able to fall asleep with no problem.  There was no crash and I woke the following morning clear headed and rested, however, still a little tight from the incredible pump.

This is the the only PWO that I have taken so far where I feel like it truly enhanced everything about my workout.  My energy was plentiful and long lasting, my focus was spot on and dialed in, the pump was awesome… I really did not experience any side effects.

As I told Andrew, President/CEO at Venettis Nutrition LLC., I gladly give Spyked a solid 9 out 10 rating… 10 being the best of course.

This little know n supplement company is now at the top of my list for my PWO!

I think these guys are going places and it goes to show you that you actually can get great affordable supplements that actually do what they say they do!  Andrew and his team got it right, and I hope nothing but the best for them.

So just like others before me have said, do yourself a favor, well 3 actually…

If you have used Spyked, leave me a comment below (bottom of the page) and let me know what you think!

Supplement Review: The New MuscleTech: Neurocore Pt. 5

Check out my latest guest blog post / supplement review on TheOrangeMask.  Click here to read it.

my fitness journey…

*WARNING – long-winded post… there are some pictures though…*

It’s 11:20 pm and I just wrapped up a shoulders and core workout.  Since I’m wired from the great workout I decided to read some of the blogs that I follow and I checked in at http://theorangemask.com/ where I read his post “My Current Fitness State… “.  This reminded me that I had not given an update on my fitness journey over the last several months.  Which, by the way, has resulted in some pretty good numbers and results…. so here it goes.

Way back in November of 2011 I was accepted to a 90 day fitness challenge with Fit 4 You.  (if you would do me a favor and please like them on FaceBook here.  Please help me get them to 1,000 likes. Also, follow them on Twitter @Fit4YouJax)  This challenge would prove to be harder than I ever thought because it spanned over 3 major holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  Nevertheless, I accepted the challenge and devoted myself to giving it my all!  At 36 years of age, I had to do something to better my life and be a positive influence on my kids… and so the journey began.

11/1/2011

I started the challenge at 231 lbs and a whopping 29.6% body fat…. ughh.  For all you fitness geeks out there, this meant that I had about 163 lbs of lean mass and 68.5lbs of fat draped on body.  All the obvious measurement were taken and recorded.  You can imagine they were just as disappointing as the body fat number…. but the numbers would soon become the past!Working one on one with Eric Leister, owner of Fit 4 You, we met 3 days a week for about 45 minutes each day and I recorded my food intake with Daily Burn  (twitter: @dailyburn) which allowed me to track every calorie, good and bad.  Eric took me through a series of interval training sessions working multiple muscle groups with compound movements using mostly bodyweight exercises.  As time passed, the movements got easier, but Eric kept switching up the routine, the order and the intensity of the movements.  This constant changing hit every muscle group from every direction while keeping my heart rate up allowing me to burn as many calories as possible.

As one can imagine, spending that much time with someone, you are bound to open up yourself and connect with each other and now Eric is a great friend.  He is someone who I know I can depend and will be there with words of encouragement if they are needed and answers if I have questions…. but I digress.

So…. fast forward to February 17th, 2012, 113 days after my first weigh in and we are at my last training session of the fitness challenge.  To my delight, my weight has dropped 18.5 lbs. to 213lbs and my body fat percentage has dropped 6.3 % to 23.3%.  Again for all the fitness geeks, that means that my lean mass was still at 163lbs.  This meant that the 6.3% of body fat that I lost was all fat!  While I did not add to my lean mass, I didn’t lose any lean mass either.

You may not think that 18.5 lbs is a lot for more than three months, but that equates to a touch more than a pound lost each week and the effect these 18.5 lbs had on my self-esteem is ginormous!  You see, with those pounds being shed from my body, so too went the inches… I lost a total of 12.5 inches from all areas of my body.  Starting the challenge I barely fit into a size 40 waste.  I now fit into a 36 waist!  My wardrobe was now either fitting correctly, or was too big and people were noticing!  I walked taller, with purpose, and with a sense of pride that would not allow my head to hang.

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Eric Leister and Fit 4 You.  You not only managed to change my body, but you changed my philosophy and my way of life!  I now know that fit is for me!

With that said…. fast forward another 63 days and another 12.5 lbs down I am sitting at 200.6 lbs as of this morning.  I have maintained my fit lifestyle and continue to workout at least 4 days a week, most of the time 5 days a week.  My routine is as follows:

Doin' some core work at the gym.

  • Monday – Chest, Triceps, and Cardio (at least 30 minutes of running)
  • Tuesday – Back, Biceps and Cardio (at least 30 minutes of running)
  • Wednesday – Active Rest Day
  • Thursday – Shoulders, Core, and Cardio (at least 30 minutes of running)
  • Friday – Legs and Cardio (at least 20 minutes on the Stairmaster)
  • Saturday -Core and 3-5 mile run (weather permitting)
  • Sunday – Active Rest Day

I have seen some very positive changes in my body since the completion of the challenge.  muscle definition is taking shape due in part to a continued reduction in my body fat percentage as well as development of lean muscle because of the lifting 4 days a week.

My diet continues to improve trying to eat complex carbs early in the day and limit them at night.  One strategy that Eric taught me was to “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a peasant”, meaning that I need to eat the more calorie dense meals early in the day and by dinner time be eating a very lean, low-calorie meal.

One of the major changes that I have made in my diet is doing away with carbonated drinks!  This I think was harder that cleaning up my eating.  However, after the first 2 days of headaches due to the caffeine withdrawal, it became easier with each passing day to drink something other than soda or diet soda.

I am at a good place physically, but most of all, I am in a better place mentally.  I now put health and fitness first and only second when competing with family.  Exercising is no longer a have to and is now a want to.  I look forward to my gym time because it is literally time that I am giving to myself, both in the now and in the years I am adding to my life.  I continue to learn and develop my routine as my body responds and am focussed currently on breaking the 200 lb threshold.

I warned you in the first line that this was a long post, but that is what has transpired in my life over the last 6 months.  I am planning on posting updates and more image of my progress as I break though barriers and achieve goals that I have set for myself.

Thank you for reading and I will leave you with the same question that The Orange Mask ended  his “current fitness” post  with:

What is the current “State of your fitness” right now? What are your future goals? Where have you been? How has your diet changed in the last year? Do you try extra hard to look good for the summer?