“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”
As a busy teacher, grading papers, lesson planning, and investing in your students, at the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is pay attention to your fitness and go workout. That was my mentality. I would get to the end of a busy day teaching, and feel like I had no energy to workout. And, more than that everything seemed so big. The changes I needed to make were so radical, the amount of energy I would need to improve my fitness level just seemed like more than I had in my busy teacher schedule. But, I did it, and I’m going to show you how you can do it too.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to be writing a series of posts on, How I Lost 65 Pounds in Less than Six Months. As I write this, I am a day before 6 months exactly (June 26, 2012) since I started my Lifestyle Transformation. I am currently down 65 pounds. My life is radically different and a lot of people have been interested in how I have made my progress. I thought it would be helpful if I could simplify what I did and break it down so it is easy for anyone to start their own transformation today. Each new post will focus on a different aspect of what helped me be successful. Today’s post will focus on what I did workout wise to lose the weight. Now, before I start, I have to mention one disclaimer, HOW YOU EAT IS AT LEAST 80% of your success. I probably should lead off with the nutrition post, but felt like I needed to write the exercise one right now. For more on my overall strategy of weight loss check out an earlier post I wrote here.
As far as exercise goes, I have never been a huge fan. I always saw working out as “work”. And, work is hard. I still don’t gain much enjoyment out of working out, but I do LOVE the benefits I get from it. So, my approach to working out is to be as efficient as possible. I want to spend as little time as possible working hard to achieve the maximum amount of results. On a side note, I am finding other activities that are fun and active (training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, hiking, and playing basketball). But here is what I do in my workouts. Again, I stole all of this from Mark Sisson’s book,The 21 Day Total Transformation.
I strength train two times a week (Monday and Friday). And, a number of the women I work with are worried strength training will make them big and bulky, but it won’t. As elite level strength and conditioning coach Mike Boyle says, “Do you know how hard people have to work to add even just five pounds of muscle?!” Each workout takes me between 25-40 minutes total. On Wednesday, I sprint. Other than walking, this was the only exercise I was doing. Here are the specifics on these workouts.
Push ups 50
Air Squats 50
Pull ups 12
Plank 2 mins
I started out the first month or two doing two sets of these 4 exercises as a circuit. After I was making progress, and my workout partner could do all 4 exercises completely, we added a third set. This was my workout for the last 6 months. If you can’t do the exercises as they are, modify them (for example if you can’t do 50 push ups, do as many as you can regular and then finish doing knee push ups). I am including a few pictures of how I modify the pull ups when I don’t have a partner to hold my feet (click on the picture to enlarge them). When I first began working out, I couldn’t do a single pull up without help. Honestly, the first few months, my pull ups were probably more of a workout for my workout partner!
A note of caution on this before you start, this was the only exercise I actually injured myself. Nothing too serious, but you have to warm up really well. And, if you haven’t worked out in awhile, you probably shouldn’t be running at 100% of your top speed, 85-90% will get you the results you are looking for. Also, I started sprinting out in the cold, which was not beneficial. Find an indoor area you can sprint if you live in a cold area. I used a hallway at the high school I taught at. This helped me prevent injuries and was easier to motivate myself once I wasn’t fighting the elements. The sprint workout is the easiest one to skip, because its hard. I notice that the people I workout with tend to skip this day more often. I tend to skip this day more often, but it’s critical to fat loss. Again, if you want to know why, check out Mark Sisson’s blog.
For the first month or two my sprint workout was 6 sprints at 12 seconds each, with a minute rest in between. Basically, I would run as far as I could for 12 seconds and then walk back to where I started and sprint again. As my conditioning improved, I added 2 seconds to each sprint so I did 6 sprints at 14 seconds each. Finally, in the final month, I added 2 sprints, so now I do 8 sprints at 14 seconds. This may not sound that hard, but once you try it, you realize how difficult it is.
Nothing I’m giving you here is earth shattering, or cutting edge, but this is what worked for me. It allowed me to be efficient with my time and still get a great workout in. Hopefully, that helps. Try it for 3 weeks and let me know what you think! Also, if you have any questions on the specifics, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to answer any questions you have.