Friday, January 1, 2010

Weight Loss - The Beginning

So Vince and I have decided to start the Body for Life Challenge. It is a 12 week diet/exercise plan geared towards losing and keeping weight off. You are supposed to do 12 weeks at a time and take a 2 week break in between to get your body used to the changes.

I am currently making out our menu plans with the help of The Daily Plate. From there I will make out a shopping list. We will go through the fridge and all of the cupboards and throw out anything that will not be in our diet for the next 12 weeks. I am one of those people that will eat it if it is in the house, whether I am really hungry for it or not. Out of sight, out of mind works best for me.

The exercise part of the plan is pretty strict but I think we can handle it. It will just take a lot of discipline in the beginning. Thankfully, Vince's company pays for both of us to have a gym membership. The gym we go to offers free personal training, which is pretty cool. That is what we used in the year leading up to our wedding and I was able to drop 3 dress sizes. I'm hoping to do even better this time around.

The exercise plan can be a little complicated but I'm sure you get used to it after doing it for awhile. It requires working out 6 days a week. Day 7 is a free day for both diet and exercise. Basically, you alternate cardio training and weight training days. On cardio days you should do two 20 minutes sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. This will keep your metabolism from peaking and crashing. The theory is that your morning workout will raise your metabolism so that you will burn off breakfast/lunch fairly quickly. The evening workout will keep your metabolism high so that you will be able to continue to burn off dinner quickly as well. The weight training days are split into muscle groups. You will work upper body on 2 days and lower body on 1 day. The plan has specific exercises to choose from for each muscle group and specific reps for each exercise.

OK. So let's get right into the nitty gritty of it. This is the exercise plan that we are going to follow.

Day 1 - Cardio
Day 2 - Upper body
Day 3 - Cardio
Day 4 - Lower body
Day 5 - Cardio
Day 6 - Upper body
Day 7 - Rest

Cardio Workout (Elliptical)
Level 5, warm up for 2 minutes
Level 6, 2 minutes
Level 7, 2 minutes
Level 8, 5 minutes
Level 9, 4 minutes
Level 10, 4 minutes
Level 5, cool down for 1 minute

For all weight training exercises, use the following set/rep/rest pattern:
Set 1 = 12 reps
Rest 1 minute and increase weight
Set 3 = 8 reps
Rest 1 minute and increase weight
Set 4 = 6 reps
Rest 1 minute and decrease weight to starting weight
Set 5 = 12 reps
Set 6 = 12 reps
Rest 2 minutes before beginning the next exercise.

Upper Body Workout (Chest, Back, Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps)
Bench Presses
One-Arm Rows
Straight Arm or Wide Arm Pull-Downs
Front Raises
Lateral Raises
Preacher Curls
Hammer Curls
Tricep Kickbacks
Tricep Pull-Downs

Lower Body Workout (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Abs)
Leg Presses
Leg Extensions
Seated Calf Raises
Standing Heel Raises
Floor Crunches
Oblique Crunches

The diet part of the plan is pretty simple and mostly common sense. The diet is low fat, high protein and high carb. It uses the idea of eating several small meals a day instead of 3 large meals. This particular diet does use nutritional bars and shakes as snack supplements. We don't plan to buy the stuff that is sold on the website but will be finding nutritionally equivalent alternatives.

The website gives a good list of what foods are allowed and what foods are not allowed. However, we find it easier to make an actual menu for ourselves so we can be sure we are eating appropriately each day/meal, rather than guess and end up cheating. The hardest meal will be breakfast. We don't have a lot of time to make and eat huge breakfasts before work. The diet recommends eating a large portion of protein along with a small portion of carb. The easiest source of protein in the morning are eggs. However, Vince doesn't eat eggs. He could substitute cottage cheese, tofu, fish, or meat. He will have to figure out what he likes. I will edit to add a sample menu once I have one finished later today.

This is the beginning of a long journey. It will be difficult and there will be times that we want to give it up but the result will be worth it in the end.

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