At my family reunion when I realized I was almost 50 and overweight and my physical health failing quicker than I was comfortable with I knew I had to do something different. I was 245 lbs. then. I needed to improve my health and fitness. The following week my motivation grew when I committed myself to a better quality of life as I get older. I wanted to feel better and look better but most of all I wanted to live strong and fit into my retirement.
Walking in a gym for the first time 5 years ago I really didn’t know what I was doing but I had motivation. I read up on workout programs and tried different types of training. I learned that I really enjoyed lifting weights and conditioning work. The weights made me feel stronger and the conditioning work helped me move better. One of the training types I discovered was boot camp workouts. This is where I met my first coach. He coached lots of people and was starting a new round of bodybuilding stage prep clients. My coach asked if I wanted to compete in a bodybuilding show I had my doubts but he convinced me I had the work ethic.
Training prep started and I had a long way to go and a lot to learn. I learned how to manage calories, macros, and training cycles. My coach had me on a blend of weight lifting and conditioning work. I loved it. The last month of prep was very difficult because my total calories were low and I had a limited food selection. After six months I was down to 165 lbs., on stage and in the best shape of my life. My favorite part was the training and watching my body improve aesthetically and functionally.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process of bodybuilding stage prep and learned a lot about training, conditioning, and nutrition. For me, however, I loved the way I felt and moved but didn’t like being on stage. My takeaway from this process was I built a good foundation for a lifetime of quality physical health. I was grateful to my coach and what he taught me. My goal now was to improve my functional fitness and strength and maintain a relatively low body fat.
Years of a sedentary lifestyle led to fat gain throughout my whole body including a lot around my middle stomach and lower back. This lifestyle also came with poor mobility and flexibility, and weak muscles. Bodybuilding prep was the first step in improving my health. I still had a lot of work to do to improve these areas….and I soon realized this was a lifetime goal not just something I would do within a year and then I was finished. This is something I could work on the rest of my life and the benefits would be a high quality of life as I grow older.
Over the next few years I worked with a couple of strength and conditioning coaches and built my training and nutrition knowledge through coaching and studying books, magazines, and internet searches. My goals then and now are to improve my strength, mobility, and flexibility while maintaining a relatively low body fat. To continually progress over time in these areas. I also learned at my age my body does not heal as quickly as it did when I was 20 or 30. I have too many responsibilities to be injured and unable to do my job. So I had to learn how to eliminate or limit injuries. This meant I couldn’t be all out 100% aggressive in the gym. I had to leave my ego at the door and look for small improvements. I was in this for the long haul.
Today my workouts consist of core strength movements along with accessory movements mixed in with some conditioning work. My nutrition is flexible at times. Most days I eat a consistent number of calories that are high in protein, to support muscle growth, and high in carbohydrates, to fuel my workouts. I keep my fats fairly low to help keep my overall calories at a maintenance level. But I always eat foods I like. This is important for long-term adherence to a nutrition plan. There are times on weekends and special occasions where I indulge and overeat but if I do I just go right back to my normal calorie level the next day. I am not a professional bodybuilder or athlete but just a regular guy who has learned the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. In the end I strive for improvement in strength, mobility, and flexibility, and maintain a certain level of body fat. I will follow-up with posts about my specific training and nutrition as it is today.