28 Day Results- 3 realizations learned during the challenge
For 8 years of my life, I served in the US Army and maintained a peak performance body. As many learn when they return to the civilian world, beer is cheap and plentiful, not having to live in the gym or on the track is a new type of vacation, and it all catches up to you quickly.
It has been 6 years since I have put much effort into my health and conditioning and found myself 40 pounds (220) over my military fighting weight. Finally, after hearing my doctors concerns, my wifes complaints, and the increasing risk of health issues brought on by my lazy lifestyle, I had to make a drastic effort to get back on track. Not to mention i dreaded the climb through the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Virginia while chasing turkeys this spring.
Both my wife and I took the 28 day Challenge, completing it this past Sunday, the 16th of April. I Weighed in Monday morning at 202 lbs! I lost 2 inches of my waist, rendering my wardrobe to large to wear comfortably, and I can see the definition returning to every aspect of my body. That being said, I wanted to talk alittle bit about my journey to this point.
Day 1, we followed the routine layed out in the tracker that comes with the package. Being the Former athlete i was, i was under the impression i would jump back on the weights near where i left off 6 years ago...Boy was I wrong. I couldnt complete a single simple workout. That was my real wake up call to how bad I had let my body get. Forgetting every reason I thought i started this, I had a new drive. I had to fix my failure to myself. There is a line in the "Soldiers Creed" that I always took for granted that has rang in my mind every day since. "I will Always maintain My Arms, My Equipment, And Myself". I can check the box on the first two, but failed miserably on the final and most important aspect of the statement.
I backed my expectations way off, determining that I needed to get my cardio in place before i consider bulking up. 5 days a week, due to a bad knee, I would spend an hour a day after work on a seated bike machine that i had collecting dust in the garage, slowly increasing the resistance each day as I rebuilt my legs and lungs. I complimented the cardio with a 45 minute Core/Balance Ball workout to build up my upper body. I used to look at people in the Gym who used these things and laugh at how week they must to be, but again, I learned how wrong I was. That ball was the bane of my existence for the first week! I wouldn't continue this regiment without it now.
As the second week came around, I was already seeing and feeling the results. My pants actually fit my waist again, and i felt energy all day long. I was able to wake up in the mornings without feeling like i was 60 as I have for the past couple years. As my confidence started to grow, i added in light dumbell exercises with the Balance Ball, taking my workouts to an average of 2 hours a day. Now I also want to point out that life did happen along the way, I had to miss workouts a couple days, and only do Cardio a few day due to other requirements, but I always made sure to get 5 workouts a week in, regardless of if it was complete or not.
I pushed my diet to 2200 healthy calories a day, on a very low carb based diet that consited of primarily Venison, Wild Turkey,Fish, alot of Vegetables steamed or baked, Fruit, Nuts and experimented with a couple different protein bars/Snacks for the afternoon. This in itself probably made the biggest difference. Getting my Metabolism back on track was easy following this daily routine: Superman when i woke up, Shake for breakfast, Fruit for mid morning, Turkey Spinach Wraps or Salads with Chicken Breasts for lunch, Protein based Mid afternoon snacks, and a correctly portioned dinners. It may sound repetitive or drab, but there are so many variations and options to how you fix your food, that you could have something different every day through the whole challenge, while sustaining a healthy diet. This is by no means a "starvation diet". There were many meals i simply couldnt finish. I found i needed less food to fill up with each meal and rarely found myself hungry throughout the day, except prior to bedtime.
The 3rd and 4th week felt more like a routine and didnt take any effort to continue, and every morning I would look in the mirror and find pride that i was doing what i needed to get the results i wanted. Many who know me have noticed the differences instantly and many showed interest in learning more about how. That in itself is rewarding.
This morning, I weighed in at 198 lbs, could see my abs taking shape for the first time in years, and had to buy a new belt, as I had passed the last hole in all three of my previously used ones.
This Challenge is Easy if you make it so. You HAVE to have a Reason, a commitment, a goal. It doesnt have to be a number goal, it could be as simple as wanting to feel healthier, but a goal non the less. I have re inspired myself to go further and harder. I plan to do one more month of the 28 Day challenge, then move to the Elite package as I train myself to participate in "Train to Hunt" competition coming up in Pennsylvania or North Carolina.
Learn from my mistakes.
1.Your not as invincible as you felt when you were 25, so dont expect to be able to do the same now as you did then. You have to earn that back.
2. Judge yourself, not others. Everyone has their own reason and method to how they maintain their body. Never laugh at anyone willing to maintain themselves, cause its only a matter of time before you find yourself in their shoes. I sure did!
3. Reasons Change, but Purpose Doesn't. The most important thing you have is yourself. Always Maintain it no matter what your reason it.
I look forward to a long a fruitful partnership with Wilderness Athlete as i continue to train to be a better Man, Husband, and Outdoorsman.
Thanks for Reading,
Stephen, I really enjoyed reading your journey! Your success can be attributed not only to the 28 day challenge but also the hard work that you have put in. I hope that you will continue to push yourself and hope you enjoy the Elite line along the way. Train to hunt is a great event/community with some great people and I know that you will enjoy that.