The Get My College Body Back campaign is not a New Year's resolution. This has been brewing for a while. After college I did what a lot of people do: Gain 1-2 pounds a year for over 10 years. That's how people look up to find themselves overweight.
About five years ago I hired a personal trainer. I lost weight. Then I started slowly backsliding. I've gradually gained almost half of it back. So, I'm pretty annoyed with myself. I decided to do a lot of introspection about why the backsliding happened before I would engage in another regimen to get the remaining excess weight off. As I'll explain, there are still some aspects to all of this that I need to ponder. But I'll cross those bridges after I get my college body back!*Smile*
I. Power 90
After doing some research I decided to start the Power 90 program. Power 90 is a 90-day long diet and fitness plan that's designed to strengthen and tone your entire physique. AND get the excess weight off. It's a 2-disc DVD set that has three separate workout routines. It comes with a resistance band so there's no need to buy any other equipment (like dumbbells, if you don't already own some).
The three separate routines (cardio, resistance/weight training, ab exercises) come in two versions. The easier one (Phase 1-2), and the more difficult one (Phase 3-4). Actually, it's all hard. Being nosy as well as ambitious, I decided to try the Phase 3-4 cardio workout on Day 1. I had to take breaks. Keep in mind that I haven't been a complete couch potato. I regularly ride my exercise bike, and do rounds of kettlebell swings. However, I normally do these things about 3 times a week. NOT the 6 days per week workouts that are required for the program. So, I sensibly dropped down to the Phase 1 cardio routine. The literature indicates that most people transition to the Phase 3-4 workouts somewhere around Days 45-60.
Getting my college body back is just the first step. I was slender in college, but I wasn't toned. What I really want is to have a body that is what one of my friends calls "tight and right." Not crazy-ripped like Linda Hamilton was in Terminator 2, but definitely toned. After I finish the Power 90 program, the plan is to do a second 90-day program called P90x. The "x" stands for extreme. And it IS about extreme fitness. It has a reputation of whipping people into the best shape of their lives. If you're curious, check out the "P90x" YouTube videos that plenty of folks have sent in about their experiences with the program.
There's even a minimum fitness test that the makers suggest that you pass before attempting this program. Here are some P90x minimum requirements:
Pull-Ups. "Should be able to do at least 3 if male, 1 if female." [In my dreams.]
Vertical Leap. "Should have a vertical leap of at least 5 inches if male, 3 inches if female." [I've never done plyometric exercises in my life.]
Push-Ups. "Should be able to do at least 15 if male, 3 if female (or 15 push-ups off your knees). " [Umm . . . no. I haven't done push-ups since the martial arts classes. And I don't accept the notion of counting "off the knees" as real push-ups.]
Wall Squat. "Should be able to hold wall squat for at least 1 minute." [Finally! Something I can do! Hooray for me!]
Bicep Curls. "Should be able to do at least 10 curls with 20 lbs. if male, at least 10 curls with 8 lbs. if female." [Yep, I can do the 20 lbs. curls. That's the benefit of playing with kettlebells.]
The Ab Test (In & Out Crunches). "Should be able to do at least 25." [Umm . . . no.]
There are some other aspects to the test, but you get the idea.
III. Check-In for Accountability
I'm going to check in with you each week, and let you know how I've been doing with the program.
Today is a Day 4 for me of the Power 90 program. I do the workouts in the morning. That works best for me, because if I wait until later in the day there's a good chance that I won't do it at all. Somehow, I find so many other compelling things to do once the day gets started. The downside is that this means getting up an hour earlier.
Gold Star: I did the workouts, AND resisted yesterday's almost overwhelming urge to continue sleeping instead of getting up to exercise (Day 3).
The Awful Truth: On Day 2 I gave in to a craving for potato chips, and bought some while grocery shopping. Of course, this is contrary to the point of eliminating empty calories from my diet while I'm on this program. Which brings me to another point. For me, these programs are not-so-quick fixes. I'll have to figure out things that I'm willing to do for the rest of my life to maintain my future physique. That's part of why I did the previous backsliding. I was not (and am not) willing to follow the personal trainer's diet program for the rest of my life. It's just too restrictive.
This is why I'm so excited about the suggestion that an audience member named Blackout made in a comment to the Wildest Dreams, Part 1 post: becoming a "vegetarian before 6:00 p.m." This is something that I'm willing to do for the rest of my life to maintain a "tight and right" body.
Another bit of awful truth: I'm (moderately) sore. In all the little muscles (like triceps) that I rarely exercise. That's what I've noticed about the program. It has quickly pointed out the muscle groups that I have totally neglected.
I'll check in each week. I'm inviting you to do so as well, with your own efforts. I'd like to hear about your daily triumphs, and your not-so-great moments on the road to better nutrition and fitness.