Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Yes, the video contained herein shows a shirtless, soon-to-be middle-aged man who is out of shape. It is my "before" video as I begin the Body For Life program. This is the simple plan: Exercise six days a week and keep a record of the foods I eat. Every other day I run or do some aerobic exercise, and every other day I lift weights.

Today is day 10 of the program, which is designed to go 12 weeks. But I hope to make this a permanent lifestyle change. Also, one part of the program is to list 3-5 goals you hope to get out of the program. Here are mine.

1. Lose 30 pounds and get down to 200 pounds. Maintain a weight between 190-200 pounds the rest of my life.

2. Get six-pack abs. I've always wanted those.

3. Get a full-time job or part-time equivalents during the 12 weeks I am on the program. I know this has nothing to do with physical fitness, but I hope the extra energy, motivation, and confidence I gain from this program will lead to gainful employment.

Why am I doing this program now? First, I know myself and I tend to sink into an isolated depressive funk in the winter time. My brain doesn't forget to tell me that half of my genetic make-up, the fiery Sicilian half, is not used to winter, cold temperatures, and shortened days. I also know from past experience that regular exercise helps me stay emotionally even-keeled.

Another reason is I let myself get heavier than I've ever been, 240 pounds and wearing size 38 pants. I know from the experiences of immediate and extended family, that if I let this trend continue, I could get very big. I want to have the energy and stamina to keep up with my young son. I'm also motivated by the positive examples of my mother, who lost 35 pounds in the last year, and my brother Ken, who is in great shape and ran the Boston Marathon this year. If he can stay in shape, so can I.

I like Body for Life because it is a common sense approach to weight loss. All it requires is for me to exercise regularly and watch what I eat. Luckily, I do not obsess about food and I like exercise and hard work. I did not have to spend any money on the program. Print out eating and exercise logs are available for free at I checked out the book from the library. It cost me exactly $100 for a 3-month membership at a local gym.

How is it going so far in week 2? I am sore as hell. My first upper body workout had me hurting for days. And my lower body exercises have my quadriceps on fire. I know it will get easier with time, but these first workouts have been painful. My approach to weightlifting is to move slow, concentrate on correct form, and don't overdo it with the weights. It's humbling to work out amidst body builders in much greater shape than myself. I don't want to look like a body builder except for the six pack abs.

The following video shows me with my shirt off explaining what I want to do. Posting it to my blog and making weekly updates is part of the accountability process to myself and others. Keeping track of the changes will provide positive reinforcement as well.

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