It’s been a few months since I wrote Physical Fitness and Financial Fitness. In the meantime I posted again on the link between health and wealth (see Being Healthy Can Grow Your Net Worth) and there are additional posts coming on this subject.
Before we get to those I thought I’d give you an update on how my fitness plan is going.
I’ll assume you’ve read the first post above for background so I’ll only include some basics to get us started and on the same page.
Here are some quick points to catch everyone up on where we stood last time:
- I hired a trainer when we moved to Colorado
- We started working out together in September 2015
- He helped me put on a ton more muscle and lose some weight
- I moved from 28% body fat to 21%
- In addition my cardio health has improved too (as tracked by my heart rate monitor)
There’s more, of course, but those are the key points that anyone new (or someone who doesn’t remember the last post) will need to know to get the most out of this post.
Since Last Update
Now let’s talk about what’s happened since June. The highlights:
- I’m still working out five times a week — three cardio days and three weights (one day I do both, hence the five days)
- On the off two days I am still active but my trainer wants me to mostly rest (as that is when the body really makes most of its progress according to him). So I shoot baskets for 30 minutes and/or talk a long walk. I like to go early in the morning (around 7 am) while it’s still fairly cool.
- Workouts with my trainer are now down to once a month and I think I’ll keep them there for some time. I don’t want too many set appointments in retirement plus most of my gains at this point will be diet-related. More on that later.
- I’ve added more walking to my overall routine. When I was working I tried to get 7,000 steps in a day and I hit that most days, but not all. Now my goal is at least 14,000 and I average 15,000 or more.
- I can swim if I want on my off days as long as I don’t push it (my trainer says it’s “restorative”). But I injured my left elbow somehow a couple months ago so I’ve missed much of the summer swim season (which is outdoors and which I prefer). I’ll take it back up soon as I’m close to 100% with my elbow.
- I used to do the dry sauna a couple days a week and will probably go back to it in the winter. My trainer prefers the dry sauna to the steam sauna because he says it’s better at getting rid of toxins in the body. Not sure I go for that but it’s relaxing and gives me some time to read.
In addition to the above, I’ve now completed and taken notes on two exercise/nutrition books that were highly recommended to me: The 4 Hour Body and The Bulletproof Diet.
I don’t believe everything they say as there’s a lot of speculative information in each of them, but here are some of the takeaways that I have implemented:
- My diet is high in protein and low carbs, very similar to the Atkins Diet (which I lost 25 pounds on 15 years ago). My trainer also happens to agree with this way of eating.
- I get one cheat day each week (from 4-Hour Body) though I’m having trouble keeping it to just one day. 🙂
- I fast for 24 hours once a month or so.
- I drink lots of water. The rule is one ounce for every two pounds (or half your weight in ounces). So I need to drink 105 ounces a day. That’s a lot but I do it easily, starting with 24 ounces when I get up.
- I have all but cut out sugar/treats from my diet. There’s sugar in just about everything so it’s hard to get rid of it completely, but I’ve certainly eliminated the obvious problems (cake, candy, soda, etc.)
- I weigh myself every day. This keeps me accountable and lets me know if things are getting out of control.
- I track everything. I have a spreadsheet where I track my workouts (time, heart rate, machine used, workout done, etc.) I also weigh in “officially” once a week and record the various measurements (I have a special scale — see below).
- I allow myself two cups of coffee a day. I’m currently grinding my own beans and experimenting with various types to see what I like.
- I’m using cold to try and lose weight. If you want the explanation of why I’m trying it, see this page. I’m not sure it works (science is iffy on it) but it’s easy so why not? I use cold by taking cold/luke warm showers as well as laying on a cold pack around my shoulders/neck while watching TV.
- I visited my doctor and had a check-up and blood work done. Results are not back yet.
- I get rest. In addition to the two days off I get to bed by 10 pm most nights, earlier if I’m tired. I get up when I feel rested which is anywhere between 5 am and 6:15 am. I haven’t had to use an alarm since I retired. 🙂
- I stretch twice a day (morning and night) and roll out my legs/back once a day (at night). More on that below.
I’m probably leaving out something but these cover most of it.
Products I Use
Here are the products I use to help me in the above:
- Life Time Fitness App — Syncs with my heart rate monitor (see below) and records time worked out and heart rate levels. My trainer wants me to be in specific heart rate zones on specific workouts, so having a tool like this is vital. I believe it also uploads my data to the LTF site but I never access it there. I take the data from my phone and load it into my spreadsheet.
- Heart rate monitor — I use the Scosche RHYTHM+ heart rate monitor and recommend it highly. It took me awhile to get used to wearing it on my arm, but it’s TONS better than a chest-strap heart rate monitor (which I used to wear when I biked a lot).
- Walking app — I use “Pedometer++” for the iPhone to track the numbers of steps I take each day. Simple and fairly accurate.
- Earphones — You can’t work out without music, right? I use Photive wireless earbuds. I would say they are “good”, but not great (Amazon buyers give them 4 stars). Sound quality is “ok” but for the price they are a good value. I tried the ones without the over-the-ear holder and they fell out, so I got these and have no problem with them staying in.
- Foam roller — I use the AmazonBasics foam roller (the 36-inch version) to roll out my back, buttocks, and hamstrings every night. They have these at the gym but it’s a bit inconvenient to run over there every night before I go to bed and roll myself out. I was concerned that the Amazon brand roller wouldn’t be as good as the other options, but it’s exactly the same — and much cheaper!
- Stick roller — I use the Massage Stick roller to roll out the kinks in my legs every morning and evening as part of my stretching routine. Works great for the legs — where I really need it.
- Calf stretcher — I use the Medi-Dyne calf stretcher as part of my stretching routine. My calves get very tight and this stretches them out with no problem. I broke the last one I had after several years. Note: use barefooted, not with shoes on! 🙁
- Gym bag — The Under Armour Storm Undeniable II duffle bag is awesome. LTF had given me a gym bag and it wore out in a couple months. This thing is several months old and looks brand new. Since I walk to the gym, I have to have something that carries my stuff but it has to be small enough to fit into a locker. This foots the bill exactly.
- Body fat scale — I scored the Smart Weigh Body Fat Digital Precision Scale for something like $25 on a Black Friday special at Amazon last year. It’s a good scale and gives me tons of readings. Not sure I believe the absolute numbers but I use them more as a directional measure to see if I’m getting better or worse in every area.
I know. It’s a lot of stuff. But I use it all very regularly so I feel as if I’m getting my money’s worth.
Results and Plans
So, want to know my results and plans since last time? Here goes:
- I’m down to 16% body fat!
- I’d like to get my body fat to at least 13-14%, maybe a bit lower.
- To do that, I need to lose about 10 pounds — the hardest 10!
- The results now are mostly diet-related. Oh how I wish the answer was exercising but it’s diet. Ugh. My weakness.
So How Does this Relate to Money
I listed the ways physical fitness is related to financial fitness in my first post, so I won’t reiterate those here. But here are a few more thoughts on the subject:
- Part of having money is so you can enjoy it. Without your health, it’s hard to enjoy any amount of money.
- In addition, the healthier you are, the more enjoyment you get out of life (or at least this is the case for me).
- I want my retirement to be long and happy. A key to this (other than having the money) is being fit to enjoy it.
- Discipline is required to be successful in both money and fitness. There are no shortcuts that lead to great success. Hard, consistent work, making some progress every day is what wins the game.
- Getting in shape has its costs (as you can see from above) but it likely saves a boatload too (on healthcare costs). I’ll be posting on this sometime in the future.
So, that’s the update. Any comments, suggestions, or questions? How is your physical fitness plan working for you?
Mark B. says
That is an incredible transformation. From 38% to 16% BF, great work.
Another way this could relate to money is the wastefulness of all those expensive diet and exercise programs out there. Why would we need those when a relatively low carb diet and lifting weights a few times a week can solve those problems? The answer is usually quite simple, but it is made complex by those looking to make money on the information arbitrage.
The wife and I are planning on moving up somewhere around the Evergreen area in the next year. We feel so much better when we’re up there. We want to walk/hike. We want to get out and do things. This is not the main reason we want to move but it does a play a part in it. Is this one of the reasons you moved there?
Being stuck (for now) in a climate that is so hot and humid for so long during the summer is starting to wear on both of us. Not to mention the lack of winter. Albeit, when it does hit its usually ice.
Its good to see that this is working for you. We hope the same for us.
No, we moved to Colorado for a job. Details here:
I did do the Incline once this summer and will probably do it once a month next year. For those of you who don’t know what it is, details are here:
Mike H says
Outstanding results. I can help you shed those last pounds (they will just fall off) and get to below 10% but we should discuss this over mail instead of in the comments as there is a good level of detail here.
I’ll send you an email. Thanks!
Great job! I’m curious about the 24 hour fast. Do you do that for weight loss? Do you eat like crazy the next day?
I do it mostly to help my body reset and eliminate excess wastes. It’s not really that hard as long as it’s not on a workout day.
I don’t really eat a ton after it’s over. I’m hungry for sure but usually have a regular meal.
I’m over 50 too, so if you’re younger it may be different.
Jon @ Be Net Worthy says
Wow, great job! You’ve really had tremendous success. I’ve been a big believer in making time for exercise for years, even when things are crazy. It helps so much with not only physical health, but emotional health (stress) as well. There is also a ton of data that shows it not only keeps you leaner, but helps with the prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc…
I moved to early morning workouts years ago as well and it helps to make sure I can fit it in the day regardless of what else is going on. Not that YOU have that problem anymore! 🙂
Keep up the good work!
Great progress – and as I constantly remind my friends that complain to me about weight loss, it’s mostly about diet, especially those last few pounds!! I like that you pay attention to stretching… nothing slows you down like sore or tight muscles.
I’m sure you are already doing this, but if not I strongly advocate looking into nighttime fasting to keep your weight in check. It is not exactly a weight loss program except for very overweight people, but it definitely helps me not gain any tummy weight (when I workout I eat a LOT). We eat dinner around 7 or 7.30, so usually the latest I’m eating is 8pm. I usually drink another glass of water after dinner, but otherwise I don’t eat anything until 7am in the morning. So 11 hours without eating (minimum 10 in case I get up earlier or eat later). Some people try to go 12-14 hours, which I think is nuts. This may seem like common sense but a lot of people eat up until they go to bed. And your body works HARD at night and burns calories. You might be resting, but your body is rebuilding itself!
My exceptions for this are going out with friends or enjoying a beer later in the evening. But those nights are in the minority.
This also helps me in the morning for when I’m not very physically active and don’t have much of an appetite for breakfast. Right now I’m super busy with work and personal stuff, so I haven’t worked out properly all month (I’m physically active, but no dedicated workout time). So not only does this get me to eat in the morning, but it helps keep the tummy in check.
All that said, when I don’t workout I start dropping weight. I’ve lost 8 pounds since mid August, I think just due to the heat (not eating much) and stress. Or I have a tapeworm, I’m not sure yet 🙂 Well your post has inspired me that 4 weeks off is enough time.. I’ll throw some weights around later today!
Eating at night is an issue for me if we watch TV or a movie. It’s so easy to grab some chips when my daughter is eating some too. Other than that, I don’t have a problem with night time eating.
As some one that has been a lifter for the 15 years, one thing I will say is that over time you true realize how important recovery is on the body. And “active recovery” certainly falls in that category. I used to train 5 days a week, sometimes more, but as you learn you body over time and the process it goes threw if you have high intensity weight training as part of your life, you quickly learn the importance of off days. Actually learning to “rest” seriously took me 10 years, if not more, but when I embraced it the results that I saw increased dramatically across the board.
On the money and professional side I will also say (at least for me) that maintaining a fit lifestyle has made me realize more than anything that I can go absolutely anything that I desire. Just with money and professional life, getting where you want to be on the fitness scale is no different than the goal setting, conviction and execution needed to be a successful in all other aspect of life. And fitness is the best training platform in my opinion for those skills.
Keep it up my friend!!
How often do you rest? Three days a week? Two? Something else?
Do you do anything like take an entire week off every other month or so?
I used to rest three days a week. So train 4 rest three. As I have gotten older thought I have found that my body feels much better training 3 days and resting 4. That does not mean I do not do anything on these 4 days however. Swim, play racketball, etc.
The the only time I really take whole weeks off is vacation. I do “deload” though when my body tells me to. Basically just lift light for a week.
Really impressive discipline, ESI! You are doing great.
An additional benefit to using ‘cold’ is that it reduces inflammation. If your elbow is a tendon/ligament injury, you may wish to alternate the cold pack between shoulders/neck, and elbow. Also, consumption of cold/ice water makes the body burn a few more calories during processing. Your system is working, your results are fantastic. Thanks for sharing your journey.
Charles Dale says
As for eating, it is written in studies that you should only eat till you are 80% full and then stop. Also, intermittent fasting, where you eat from only let’s say noon to 6 PM and then fast until noon the next day, does wonders for the body. Studies show, it increases energy, fights off disease, strengthens your immune system, helps you at first to lose weight and then maintain a healthy weight, etc. I have been doing this for years and feel great on it. My blood pressure 98/63 is in the category of athlete on a very detailed blood pressure chart. My cholesterol of 180 with very good HDL, low LDL and low triglycerides, keeps me and my doctor very happy. I am on no medications, I do not smoke, drink alcohol, do any drugs, exercise for 2 hours a day, not all at once. I live on the 14th floor in a building with 2 elevators. I always walk down the stairs, do a 30 minute power walk (140 steps per minute or faster) followed immediately by a 30 minute jog (180 steps per minute or faster) then I grab the handrails in the staircase, only on the left side and pull hand over hand my way up the 15 flights as I quickly walk up the stairs (it takes me one minute). Even when I go grocery shopping or do the laundry, I take the stairs down and up and have carried 2 bars of groceries in each hand (weighing 40 pounds total). in the morning I do 20 minutes of body weight calisthenics (pushups, pull-ups. sit-ups, jumping jacks, burpees, jump rope, squats, calf raises, bicep and bicep and forearm exercises, side obliques, lower abdominal, hamstrings, and work all my muscles in my body including neck and face muscles.) I also use hand grippers for hand strength. Then I do another 20 minutes in the afternoon and another 20 minutes in the evening. I eat very clean. Sardines in olive oil, chicken, wild salmon, brown rice, quinoa, Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, broccoli, sweet potato, no salt, no butter but I use lots of herbs, drink water plain, with lemon, and for dessert, either a cup of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, black berries, kiwi, 1 ounce of walnuts or almonds, etc. I take vitamins whey protein, glutamine, D-ribose and a host of other supplements. I exercise outside when it is 97 and feels like 107, that is my hot record, 7 degrees that feel like -16, that is my cold record, I check weather.com for my zip code before I go out to know those temps. People in the neighborhood call me Rocky, Superman, a hero. I smile, thank them, tell them I am none of those but appreciate the compliments. People I don’t even know, say to me in different places, I see you running all the time. I see you from my window and I am surprised they even recognize me. My body fat is 11.6% my waist is 30 inches and I am 55 years old but in better shape than guys in their 20’s. I lost 60 pounds in about a year.
What color is your Under Armour Storm gym bag? My guess, black but I like the hi-vis yellow graphite or the electric blue.
I’m tired just reading that. 😉
Good guess on the gym bag. As you can tell from this site’s logo, my two favorite colors are black and royal blue. I figured the black one would show less dirt.
Mustard Seed Money says
Congrats on the weight loss.
I heard an interesting saying the other day, if you would make time for yourself when you are sick to get better, why wouldn’t you take time for yourself when you are healthy?
I use the words to motivate myself each day because I want to maximize what is in store for me in the future and not spend that potentially sick when I could have prevented it.
Have you ever had a DEXA done to measure your body fat?
I have not. I use the scales they have at the club and the one I have at home.