Building a Better Body

Bodybuilder Sketch

Since last October I’ve been trying to build a better body. In September, I was somewhere near 300lbs and extremely out of shape. In October I started experimenting with rudimentary diet and exercise routines to measure their success.

What I discovered really surprised me: it is relatively easy to get quick results. It doesn’t take forever. Even running a few times a week, and making light changes to your diet can have profound effects. The first thing I did when I started was I did some jogging at a park near my house for blocks of 15 to 20 minutes (all I could do, really). Eventually I also started eating lighter (lots of salads and breads) instead of fast food and sandwiches. Within the first month I’d lost about 10lbs, and was feeling much healthier.

Since I was seeing results, I decided to start reading some fitness books on various topics and educate myself a bit. As a programmer, the first book I read was The Hacker’s Diet. It’s a famous book with engineers as it takes a pragmatic approach to weight loss. Highly recommended for tech-minded folks. I also read through The Paleo Solution, which was the first book that really taught me about the benefits of low-carb in a straightforward way (also: if you’re looking for a good book on paleo or low-carb diets, check this one out. It’s simple, and really interesting if you’ve never read up on the subject before.). Then I read the classic book Good Calories, Bad Calories, which goes into more depth about the low-carb stuff, why it works the way it does, and how you can use it to your benefit.

After reading some good fitness books, I re-evaluated my approach to weight loss. I decided to adapt the “Hacker’s Diet” approach and just count calories. I made an account on DailyBurn and started tracking everything I ate. I started with a -1000 calorie per day deficit, and gradually lost weight and got to the point I am at now (235 lbs). It wasn’t always easy, I had lots of cheat days in between, and learned a lot along the way about exercise, fitness, and health.

Now that I’m at 235lbs, I’m going finish up my journey and reach my first major goal: 180lbs. For the past week I’ve been creating a game plan for reaching 180lbs, which I’ll share here. For the remainder of my diet, I’m going to be entering ketosis.

In a nutshell, I’ll be consuming less than 30g of carbohydrates in my diet each day. This will force my body to switch its fuel source from sugars (carbohydrates) to fats (fat tissue, and fats in food). This basically makes losing fat a lot faster as you’re only losing fat, and not muscle.

In addition to staying on ketosis from tomorrow until I’m 180lbs, I’m also upgrading my exercise routine a bit. I’m doing 30 minutes of cardio in the mornings before breakfast, and doing CrossFit 5 days a week in the evenings to help burn calories and build muscle.

Hitting 180 is a bit deal for me. Once I hit 180lbs I’m having a little party, and celebrating my discipline by getting the tattoos I’ve wanted for years. Then it’s off to hit my next fitness goals which include a lot of weights and bodybuilding.

To everyone who wants to get in shape, just do it. It’s all in the mind.

I’ll leave you all with this awesome music video from Dead Prez.