I have been thinking about doing this for awhile. My birthday is July 11th, and next year, in 2009 I will turn 50. My goal is to have six pack abs by then. I am starting the program on Jan. 5th, which gives me 6 months to work on it.
About 2 years ago, I decided to lose a few pounds and went from 150 to 144. I did this by losing some muscle in my legs and working out more and eating less---wow! What a concept!
I am genetically pretty lean. My bone structure is on the small side, even though I am tall-5í9Ē. I store body fat unevenly, mostly in my midsection. I have always argued that even though I am lean, the fat in the middle looks out of balance. I have friends who store their body fat in the hips and breasts, giving them a more curvy and balanced look. I always felt those women look better in a two piece bathing suit than I do. My good friend Richard Boyd from ptonthenet.com once told me as we were running in Australia that my arms and legs look like they belong to a triathlete, but my midsection looks like a beer drinkerís---!!! Itís harsh, but I agree, and I definitely love to drink beer, wine too-ok I drink. So I have been thinking of doing this for awhile. What would it take for me to be leaner and see my abs? How lean would the rest of my body need to be? I certainly wouldnít have any breasts, but thatís ok.
I am in good shape. I am a personal trainer, and I teach workshops for personal trainers. So many people say -ďoh, thatís why youíre in such great shapeĒ and that is wrong. I love to move, to exercise, and to feel like I am fit. That is why I got into the fitness business, to help others experience the positive effects of being fit, how that permeates into all other aspects of your life. So that helps-that I love to exercise. I ride my bike for transportation except during the winter. When I ride my bike, I average about 75 miles each week just riding roundtrip from Brooklyn into Manhattan to see my private personal training clients. Besides that, I do cardio either in the gym or go jogging. I lift weights about twice a week, but have done less lower body weights in the last 1.5 years, to reduce the muscle mass in my thighs. I have done yoga through the last 3 years, sometimes more regularly than others, but love the classes. I sometimes take other group classes.
My eating habits are pretty good. I donít eat meat, but eat dairy and seafood. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, but also love pizza and potato chips. I love french fries, and beer and wine. My heritage is German, and we love to party!
I will write about my workouts and my eating so you can give me feedback and get some insight into how much effort it takes and what I am doing to work on this goal.
What I have to do ---I think
I am good at incorporating exercise and activity into my life. Just to be clear, I consider exercise when you demand some work from your body, with a desired response (like burning more calories per minute than you do by just casually walking; or increasing muscle definition. Activity is the stuff you do like walking, or just moving more in general. Activity for me is riding my bike for transportation, since I ride on the streets and canít go that fast, and need to stop a lot. Or walking across central park from the west side to the east to see the next client.
I think I need more ďcoreĒ exercises. That means exercises specifically designed to get your midsection harder, or bigger so you can see the muscles easier. When you bump into me on the subway, my abs have to fire, contract in order for me to avoid falling, to catch my balance, and stabilize my spine. But I think exercisers want more than that. I want more than my abs to function; I want my midsection to look hard! Same with my butt! So, I am thinking about this. I run, and ride my bike, and we all use our lower bodies more than our upper, and our legs look more toned because of it. When I deliberately do upper body exercises, and take more yoga classes, my upper body looks more muscular, more toned. But I donít do that enough for my midsection. I donít deliberately target that are of my body. So that is what I need to change.
I think it would be interesting to try eating less food each time I eat, and to spread them out more during the day. I have listened to many nutritionists say that this is really a good idea to increase the efficiency of calorie burning. So that would mean eating half the egg white sandwich, and then the other half later on. Or eating half the cereal/yogurt mixture and then more later.
I also need to drink less. Besides the health of my liver, I need to cut some calories that way.
Here is an example of what I eat and do for activity/exercise. These are from several days in Sept. 2008.
Sunday 9/21: started a run, but felt really tired. I had taught an 8 hour workshop the day before, and then did a 2.5 hour consultation for 2 peopleís exercise program, and I was fatigued. So I didnít run. I relaxed at home and then went into the city to walk around.
- Veggie quesadilla; small tortilla, cheese, onions, peppers, greens, tomatoes, hot sauce, chips
- 1 small cannoli at the street fair-delicious!
- A bite of a deep fried oreo (at the same street fair)-it was horrible and I threw the rest away
- One beer
- 2 beers a little later
- 2 slices of pizza from our favorite place around the corner: extra cheese, onions, pepper, garlic, jalapenos
- Big homemade salad: mixed greens, baby arugula, onions, peppers, corn, cucumber, beets, lowfat ranch dressing
- 3 glasses of wine
Monday 9/22: rode my bike to work. Saw 6 clients on the upper west and upper east side, and rode my bike across central park a few times to get back and forth.
Went to the gym and did 45 minutes between the stepmill and elliptical. Did 2 sets of rows with 25 lbs.
- 2 hard boiled egg whites, a bit of yolk; lowfat yogurt at 7am
- Handful of mixed nuts at 10
- Medium soup from Hale and Hearty at 11:30
- 7pm: Big salad at home: mixed greens, arugula, onions, red and green peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, low fat ranch dressing
- 2 slices of leftover pizza
- 3 glasses of wine
Tuesday 9/23: rode my bike. Went to the gym and did 45 minutes between elliptical and stepmill. Did 2 sets of negative only chin ups with 10 lbs. around me. Did a few sets of core exercises:
- Planks for 1 minute on both sides and face down
- Leg lifts
- Lowfat yogurt, Kashi cereal (about ĺ cup), blueberries, cranberries at 7am
- Handful of mixed nuts at 11
- Small soup from Hale and Hearty at 12:30
- Big salad at home 7pm
- Homemade macaroni and cheese: whole wheat shells, American and pepper jack cheese, sautťed onions. Ate about 2 cups
- 4 glasses wine
Wednesday 9/24: rode my bike, but legs felt really tired. Didnít do any other exercise besides that.
- 2 scrambled egg whites, cheese, on whole wheat toast sandwich at 7am
- Peanut butter brownie at 10
- Salad from one of those places where you tell them what you want in them (mixed greens, onions, beets, cheese, red pepper, corn, black beans, red beans, croutons), with ranch dressing at noon
- Veggie quesadilla at home: whole wheat tortilla, onions, peppers, greens, cheese, chips; 8pm
- 3 glasses wine
Thur. 9/25: rode my bike into Manhattan, but took the subway home. The weather was turning bad, and my legs were tired of riding. Went to the gym, did treadmill walking at incline 12%, 3.5 mph for 30 min., then running sprints-incline 3%, 6mph for 1 min. intervals, then back to 3.5mph 1 min. for total of 10 min.
- Lowfat yogurt, Kashi cereal, blueberries, cranberries at 7am
- Mixed fruit at 9am
- Small soup at 11:30
- 2 small slices of cheese and arugula at 4
- 2 mozzarella sticks at 6pm before concert
- 3 beers before concert 5-7
- 2 glasses of wine at concert
- Veggie quesadilla at home 10pm
Fri. 9/26: worked at home; no clients. Walked to the gym and did 5 minutes on the rowing machine, 15 minutes incline walking on treadmill, 20 minutes elliptical, 20 minutes stepmill. 2 sets horizontal rows with 25lb., 10 reps ab rollouts with wheel; 1 set double leg lowering with 10lb. medicine ball.
- Leftover mac and cheese-about ĺ cup at 7
- One bag Tings (corn puffs) at 1
- 3 beers 4-6pm
- 3 bowls homemade vegetable soup: roasted cauliflower, onions, carrots, leek 6-8 pm
- Chips and salsa 6-8pm
- 2 glasses wine
Sat. 9/27: went for a run-felt a little tired. Ran 35 min.
- Wrap: 2 egg whites, cheese, arugula, tomato, green pepper, low fat ranch dressing at 10 after running
- A few chips with salsa around 12
- Bowl of soup we made last night at 3
Initial Stuff: Measurements, Pictures and Body Fat
I am going to take pictures and do body fat measurements as well as circumference. I am going to do the body fat in non-traditional ways, which is what I do with my clients and what I teach personal trainers to do with theirs. Traditional body fat measurements done with a caliper would have me pinch the skin at my triceps/back of the upper arm, midsection a little above the hip bone, and the middle of the thigh. These measurement sites are good for me because I donít store much body fat in those areas. I tend to store more body fat in the middle of my midsection, not on the side above my hip. So for this program, I am going to measure where I have the most and use that as a baseline to see results.
These measurements and above pictures are taken on Sunday, Jan. 4th, 2009.
- Weight: 146.7lb.
- Waist at navel: 30 in.
- Waist at smallest: 32.5 in.
- Millimeters of body fat at navel: 27 mm.
- Traditional measure of body fat (at tricep, above hip and at thigh): 17.7% body fat, which is deemed very good. Again, itís my uneven storage of body fat that I am trying to tackle!
Just a side note: the photo where I am looking at a piece of paper is me looking at Dara Torres, who did so well at the Olympics at 40 years old. She is ripped, and an inspiration to all of us wanting better midsections!