It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my own health and wellness status so I thought an update was in order. As long-time readers know, I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years (vegetarianism, long distance endurance sports, MMA type training, Crossfit) to varying degrees of success and injury. It has been a fun journey, and I’ve always taken an interest in health, fitness, sports, and living a good life. I’m almost 41 years old now, and there are things that are good and not so good about my current lifestyle that I thought I’d share with all of you, to let you peak behind the curtain a little as I always find that interesting when other people do that.
This is me about two months ago before our trip to the Dominican. I’m strong, but have some fat around my midsection that I’d like to lose. I know why it’s there which I’ll get to in a bit.
I should start with my goals, which are minimal. One, I want to be healthy and look good naked or at the beach. Two, I always want to be able to Do Cool Shit ™ at any given time. That could be a Tough Mudder type race, bike ride, backpacking trip, or any number of other things. While these opportunities rarely come up, just knowing I’m zombie-proof is enough incentive to keep my body in good working order.
My workouts are consistent but fairly loosy-goosy these days – meaning they happen regularly, and I have a general plan, but I fit them in my life where I can and modify as needed based on injuries or how I’m feeling that particular day. I got a left knee injury back in October from deadlifting of all things, and that is still limiting some of what I can do with my lower body. My family doctor with a sports medicine background said it wasn’t serious, and gave me some rehab work to do. The right thing to do would be to rest it and let it heal to 100%, but instead I continue to train as I have a hard time sitting still and it is more a matter of pain management than doing more harm. I’m able to do most things, though I haven’t pushed very hard with heavy squats and haven’t yet deadlifted since the injury.
My weekly routine has been consistent. I usually run two to three days per week at roughly 4-5 miles a clip, and walk twice a week. At least one of my walking days is long (2 hours-ish) with a 45 pound weighted vest. I’ve also biked some (indoors) this winter, and will probably bike outside more this year once the weather gets warm again. I love road biking, but as I get older and have heard of various acquaintances hit by cars, I’m less inclined to bike unless it is early on a weekend morning with less traffic – just too much risk. I should probably take up mountain biking, but there is something to be said about just clipping in at home and getting on the road vs. hooking the bike up and driving somewhere to ride.
Besides my aerobic work, I lift probably three days a week on average. Still the basic movements – squat, bench, overhead press, bent-over Pendlay rows, pullups. I’ll roll in dumbbell lunges, ring dips, incline bench, lateral raises, renegade rows, and various bicep curls on occasion as well. I’ve been doing a lot of fly/bench supersets – I forget the exact article I read, but this T-Nation one is close enough. I end up using a lot lighter weight in this scenario, but my chest still pops pretty good. I’ll still do some regular heavy barbell work as well on the bench. My squats have been lighter than normal (50-80% of my “normal” load) with higher reps and that seems ok to my knee and allow me to do the other things I enjoy.
Finally, once a week I’ll do heavy (2 pood) kettlebell swings, boxing (heavybag- usually 5-6 rounds of 3 minutes on/1 minute off), and farmer carries. That’s it. I’m able to do some of this (running, walking) at work, but most of it is in my home gym.
As far as diet goes, I’m still following a higher fat and protein, lower carb approach with limited grains. I’ve followed Tim Ferris’s The 4 Hour Body “Slow carb” diet (beef, chicken, fish plus spinach plus lentils and other veggies) as well as mostly just generally following probably the 80/20 rule of “good” vs. ”bad” foods. Like most years, we have a chest freezer full of grass fed beef and a hog purchased locally from a free-range type farm, making a lot of basic meals, plus some Blue Apron meals a few times a month where the ingredients come. This helps with variety with our busy family. Our family rarely goes to restaurants or eats fast food, so as a whole we’re eating pretty well. Not 100% by any means, but ok.
Now for the part that is problematic. I have two major issues that are preventing me from reaching my body composition goals 1) My sleep is very poor and 2) I midnight snack. About a year ago I did a sleep study that noted I had very mild sleep apnea, so low in fact that it doesn’t get me in the door for a mouth device (guard or CPAP) that would help address my snoring that my wife hates, plus improve the minor obstruction so I can breathe better. I wake up every few hours at night, and have gotten into the habit of snacking. While my snacks are usually “good” they still add hundreds of calories each day to my diet. My belly fat is a result of both of those things methinks. One thing I’m working on is a custom mouthguard to keep my snoring down, and maybe let me sleep better. But this thing is a fucked up hybrid with doctors’ orders and dentistry implementation, so you have multiple insurance companies and parties and it is taking way longer than I thought and I may still end up paying $500 or more out of pocket. My midnight snack habit I’m hoping will take care of itself once I can sleep better. Provided I can improve on those two areas, I expect to improve my body composition and look better than I do now.
So that’s me in a nutshell, a regular dad bod. I’m far from perfect on any of this stuff, but just trying to keep the time wolves at bay. Getting old is a motherfucker, and I want to stay healthy and happy as long as I can. Hopefully I can get my shit tightened up a little, and for her part, my wife is on the same track. Having a partner working toward similar goals holds you more accountable, and no one wants to be the fatter one in the relationship.
Stay strong bromigos,