193, 194, 19…5. My scale kept climbing toward 200 lbs. At 5’8, that is not a healthy weight. I managed to gain 40 lbs in one semester of college at Penn State’s Main Campus. It was no secret why. Well at the time, I did not know why exactly. Here are the no-brainer reasons I gained 40 lbs.
1.) I drank way too much alcohol (beer and mixed drinks for the most part)
2.) I ate way too much pizza (often after a night of beer and/or mixed drinks)
3.) I ate until I was stuffed quite often at the “all you can eat” style cafeterias…especially on those West Halls Cookies (best tasting cookies ever…except for my Grandma’s)
4.) I pretty much stopped doing cardio (unless I was running late to class, then I ran)
5.) I tried to take the bus as much as possible instead of walking around
6.) I actually still lifted weights twice a week, but I talked a lot. I pretty much just did the bench, incline bench, bicep curls, tricep pushdowns, and a lot of crunches
7.) I drank a lot of campus frappuccinos or lattes to stay awake (I had no idea how many calories were actually in those things, I just knew meal points paid for them!)
At the time, I preferred a baggier style of clothes, and I did not notice my jeans getting too tight, because the clothes were too big to begin with. I think the first reality check really hit me when I came home for the holidays. Some people had noticed I looked “different”. I noticed my stomach getting larger and a noticeably rounder face in my pictures. New Years could not come soon enough. I was ready for a resolution. I did not know exactly how to go about it, but I was determined not to reach 200 lbs. Luckily I accomplished that.
Here is what I did the next semester. It was not perfect. I did not really have the best of plans. I had no idea what I was doing except I knew I wanted to lose weight.
1.) I still drank a lot, but I concentrated the drinking over Thursday-Saturday instead of almost every day.
2.) I drastically reduced the pizza consumption. There were several weeks I did not eat pizza at all.
3.) I still ate too much at the cafeteria as I went for “low fat” items. I ate grilled chicken and salads a lot more often. However, I used a lot of fat free and low fat dressings (which had tons of sugar). I used lots of barbecue sauce and ketchup for toppings. I ate frozen yogurt soft serve 3-5 nights a week. I ate cereal almost every day. I ate too many starchy carbs (2-3 servings of pasta in one setting). Do you see a pattern?
4.) I started running again. I usually did 2-4 mile runs on the treadmill at a medium pace or outside when the weather got nicer. Luckily I did not lose that much endurance over one semester.
5.) I walked a lot more, and I took the bus less. I probably walked 3-4 miles a day.
6.) I started lifting 3-4 times a week. Still was not on a focused program featuring many compounds. I infrequently trained legs, aside from leg extensions, calf raises, and leg curls. Oh, I benched like 2-3 times a week, along with regular curls, hammer curls, reverse curls, lots of curls, even wrist curls.
7.) I still drank the frappucinos and lattes, until halfway through the semester when nutrition information became available…I pretty much cried…400 to 600 calories for my favorite drinks. I quit them immediately. I switched to coffee with skim milk (before lactose and I didn’t get along) and Splenda.
So I went from 195 lbs on January 1st to 195 lbs on May 1st. However, the coming summer will be the transformation that changed me.
I took a summer job at Cedar Point Amusement Park for the second summer. You worked crazy hours there. 12-14 hour work days were not uncommon. I stood and walked around all day with only two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute break. I joined a gym two miles down the road that gave a great discount for Cedar Point employees. My car was on its last legs, so I didn’t have it up there. The shuttles did not go to that gym, so I had to run there and back! Here is what I did.
1.) Yeah, I still drank beer! Liquor was very limited since you were not allowed to have it in the commons area where we lived (dorms and apartments the park owned)…you cannot blame them, I mean it was more of a policy for the ride operators. I worked outdoor games. I had some wild, crazy nights, but sometimes I would learn my lesson for a week or two and not get a hangover for a 14 hour work day.
2.) I ate pizza twice the entire summer
3.) The cafeteria was a 10 minute walk to my game. I chowed down salad and grilled chicken every day pretty much at lunch. I would get a lean TV dinner at the commons. I had big jugs of protein powder in my dorm. I drank protein shakes 1-2x a day. I rarely ate junk food. In fact, I was so busy, I forgot to eat half the time! Major calorie deficit almost every day!
4.) I ran to the gym and back 4 times a week plus sometimes more cardio in the gym. Also, I walked a ton at work some days.
5.) I had no choice but to take the bus to work (sometimes I would get a ride). I was not walking the bridge over the big lake a couple miles to work!
6.) I lifted 4 times a week. Still not really know what I was doing, but got some great pointers from some of the big guys who lifted there. All of a sudden I could do push-ups and pull-ups again though! More on that in a minute.
7.) Coffee was prohibited in the games. Plus, I wanted fresh breath. I had Listerine strips, water, and no-doz pills as my supplies!
I lost 20 lbs in 3 weeks. On top of that, I went to lose 50 lbs in a month and a half. Now, I do not recommend dropping weight that quickly! However, the main point was getting back into more normal life my next semester of college and not putting that weight back on. Fast forward several years later, and I have only put on a 10 pounds of that weight in lean muscle. In fact, my waist is an inch smaller than it was at 145 lbs. How did I maintain my weight loss? That is a complicated answer. So here are my short answers.
1.) I reduced my alcohol consumption. I barely drink at all anymore. I feel so much better for it. It gives me the opportunity to crush challenging workouts 5-6x a week.
2.) A good, local pizza is a cheat meal once in a while. Otherwise, I maintain a slight calorie deficit in the summer when I want to reduce a little body fat, and a very slight surplus in the colder months when I want to put more muscle on. I never go above 10% body fat.
3.) Vegetables and Protein are dominant in my daily routine. Complex carbs are also a part of it due to being active as a personal trainer, and the high intensity of some of my personal workouts.
4.) I actually run less now. I do more HIIT training (sprints, rows, bike, elliptical). I do 1-2 longer distance runs per week, and that’s it.
5.) I walk when I can. I park as far away from a store as possible, for instance.
6.) Strength Training is much more intense with more compounds, a mix of weights and calisthenics, and training smart around my cardio routine. I currently make sure I hit every muscle twice a week.
7.) Sometimes I drink low calorie pre-workouts. Often, I drink coffee (with stevia and a splash of almond milk, but sometimes even black…turning into my parents!), black tea, and green tea. I never put anything in my green tea or any herbal teas.
Again, although this was a little lengthy, this is the condensed version of my continuing journey to never regain the weight I put on. I mention seven points each time I responded to a situation. I provided information on exactly why I gained or lost weight. We are all human, and we let situations get the best of us sometimes. Are you ready to skip past the time I wasted in losing weight? Let’s work together and help you build the body and lifestyle of your dreams! Start training with us today! Get in before the January rush! Learn more about our personal training services here: http://cassfitness.net/personal-training/