Friday, May 06, 2011

12 Week Body Transformation Challenge.....

I was trying to get some other posts in before this, but I just haven't made the time and this is here it goes.

When I joined the Anytime Fitness Gym just down the street back in January, they hit me up to participate in a 12 Week Body Transformation Challenge.  At the end we have to submit an essay.  The end is tomorrow, Saturday May 7, 2011.  So here is my essay....

Total Body Transformation Challenge Essay

I have struggled with weight gain and loss for the past 15 years.  My self image is one of fitness and my preferred activities in hiking, surfing, snowboarding, volleyball, soccer, softball, and much more outwardly shows this inward view.  However, my combination of poor food choices and inconsistent exercise tend to keep me in a constant state of fat gain and poor physical condition.  As I have aged it has become more difficult to pursue the activities that I really enjoy, and I am much more aware that visceral fat around my internal organs can have a significant impact on my health and my lifestyle.  It is also very unappealing visually and makes me very self conscious about my appearance in public.

I have participated in various exercise and fitness programs in the past with varying degrees of commitment.  Anytime Fitness seemed to me the ideal place to start yet another round with Body For Life.  The Body for Life program is a great combination of weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and diet, but I never seem to be able to commit to it long term.  When I started my exercising at Anytime Fitness, the USA Elite Trainers approached me about participating in the Total Body Transformation Challenge.  I was reluctant because I felt like I knew a lot about exercising, was highly self-motivated, and couldn't really see where it would help me or was different from what I was already doing.  I declined the invitation, but I kept thinking about it.  A few things made me reconsider though.  First, I had never worked with a trainer of any type before aside from my Body For Life book and logs.  Second, I had never worked on a physical fitness goal as a team or in competition before.  When I put some serious thought into this I realized that I was pushing aside something that could be a very valuable experience, and I couldn't have been more right about that.

First I want to tell you about how the trainers and the program helped me.  Right from the beginning I was surprised at how much information they were collecting about my current body fat content and shape.  I was not ready for that, and I seriously was not interested in knowing those things.  Who wants to be shown infallible evidence of past failures?  When we got our booklets and started reviewing the nutrition/diet guides, I was really surprised at how little I had ever paid attention to calories, fat, protein, sodium, and carbohydrates.  Other programs hide this information or concentrate strictly on protein or carbohydrates.  I am a person that likes math and seeing the differences in Basic Metabolic Rates and how all of the nutrition information relates to that was a very enlightening moment.  While I was familiar with the 5-6 meals a day plans and other parts of the guide, I just hadn't ever had it laid out and explained with all the relationships like this before.  Immediately I was glad I had joined the program.  I have been very impressed with how much the trainers really got involved with us too.  It hasn't always been easy to like them when they are pushing us past our comfort zones during our weekly workout sessions, but I wouldn't have accomplished so much without their expert knowledge and constant encouragement.  I think it is important to note that even though you may know a lot about fitness, having an expert trainer that can observe and guide you can help you achieve so much more than you can by yourself.  As humans, we just are not all that good at self assessment, even though most of us are convinced we are.

Secondly, I want to tell you about my co-challengers and how the team/competition aspect has helped me achieve my goals.  I am a competitor, and if we are truthful with ourselves, most of us are.  From the moment I began the competition I felt a heightened sense of urgency with my workouts and their intensity.  Going to the gym everyday was already something I did, but I pushed every workout a little harder knowing that there were others that were doing the same.  As we started our weekly workouts and I started seeing my co-challengers at the gym, I began to get a lot of encouragement by their presence and our conversations.  I could see them putting forth tremendous effort everyday and it helped me to keep up that level of intensity in my own workouts.  During the challenge, I pulled a calf muscle, locked up my lower back, experienced some extreme fatigue and stress, and at times just felt too tired to make it to the gym.  Any one of these items would have derailed my program by a couple of weeks or months in the past.  Knowing that my co-challengers were going to be at the gym really helped me find the energy and the motivation to keep going back and doing everything I possibly could.  Talking about the diet and problems sticking to the numbers with my teammates also helped me to understand that this wasn't easy for anyone, and if they could stick with it so could I.  It has been fantastic to see the physical and emotional changes in each of the participants.  I can see that everyone that has made it this far has accomplished a tremendous amount and it shows outwardly and inwardly.  I love coming to the gym knowing that some of them will be there, working hard, and enjoying the results.  Rather than a competition, it feels much more like a team effort.

In conclusion, the Total Body Transformation Challenge has been a life altering experience for me.  I believe that I am in about the best physical shape I have ever been in.  I believe that what I have learned about nutrition I will continue to apply throughout the rest of my life, and hopefully it will continue to have a positive impact.  I hope I can impart these lessons and knowledge to my children so that they do not have to go through all that I have been through.  I now have to turn and look forward to some new goals and challenges because accomplishing something I did not think was possible at this point in my life has shown me that there is so much more that I can accomplish with the help, support, and encouragement from my family, my trainers, and my teammates.

1 comment:

  1. Really really REALLY impressive! Kudos! (I need to do this, too... )


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