How Chris Used the Riddle of Steel to Get Fit!

Editors Note: Since I am still recovering from San Diego Comic Con, and not entirely capable of writing more than a few coherent sentences, I thought it might be helpful to have a one of my geeky compatriots share some thoughts about health and fitness. So today, 1/3rd of the Geeked Out Fitness gang decided to share the first leg of his personal journey…

The Road to Getting Fit and Healthy - Conan

There comes a time in every nerd’s life when you stop, look around at the wasteland of empty soda cans, crumpled chip bags, and crushed pizza boxes and think…

“IS THIS WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE?!?”

I had an epiphany one day as I stood before my feast of Hamburger Helper and realized that the only green colored sustenance I had consumed in weeks was Mountain Dew. Not a vegetable in sight for miles…

The worst part of all?

I was in the military at the time. I was supposed to be in the best shape of my life but I couldn’t run a mile without wanting to hack up a lung. The reality of the situation was that I had gained a bunch of weight, it certainly wasn’t the good kind, and I had a really unhealthy diet.

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Heroes’ Transformations: How Amanda Dropped 7 Dress Sizes

Meet Amanda, a consultant and Whovian with a FANTASTIC success story.

Amanda’s transformation started like so many others:

  • Heroes Transformation - How Amanda Lost 7 Dress Sizes - Before 1Amanda realized one day that she was unhappy with the way she looked and felt.
  • She didn’t focus on the quality of the food she was eating.
  • After work, Amanda would find herself napping on the couch instead of doing something productive.
  • Amanda had self-image issues and needed to find a way out of the rut she was in.

Last year this all changed though.

She woke up one day and realized the person looking back at her in the mirror wasn’t someone she was happy with anymore.

Amanda then made a few habit and outlook changes that added up to an INCREDIBLE transformation.

So what happened?

Amanda is Unhappy

So last October Amanda faced a challenge all women seem to struggle with – finding a dress for a wedding.

“… I was shopping in Macy’s for a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding, and the only thing that even remotely fit me was a size 14. I had never been that big, and I was heart-broken.”

This is something that happens to so many people… the changes in their bodies are so subtle that it takes awhile to notice how far they have slipped. This is when Amanda reached out to me, downloaded the Top 7 Fitness Obstacles Newbies Face and started making positive changes in her life!

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The Heroes’ Transformation – Stunt Work

Stunt Work for Fitness - DC Stunt Coalition

This website started with a single idea – That if my fellow geeks and nerds were introduced to physical activities that were both mentally engaging and fun, that they would be more inclined to get off their couch and exercise.

Originally I envisioned doing a web-series on YouTube where I traveled around finding geeky physical activities, trying them out and then grading them for the viewers.

After having this brilliant idea, and starting this website with no forethought or planning at all, (you can see our origin story here) I realized three very important things:

  1. I had no idea what I was doing when it came to making or editing videos.
  2. Even if I knew what I was doing, I would not be able to produce them fast enough to make it worthwhile on it’s own.
  3. Since proper diet is such a huge part of living a healthier lifestyle, a big piece of the fitness puzzle would still be missing. (I don’t think anyone wants to see a video of me shopping for my kitchen essentials!)

Stunt Work for Fitness - DC Stunt CoalitionI didn’t let that stop me though, I had a vision and a goal I wanted to achieve so I just modified things a little and kept moving forward!

If I learned anything from the things that inspired this site, namely Kevin Smith’s book Tough Sh*t (seriously, read it… it changed my outlook on life) and Felicia Day’s single-minded devotion to bringing her web-series “The Guild” to fruition, it is that if you believe in something just do it.

Being scared that you are going to fail, or putting things off until you are “more prepared” is a surefire way to never get anywhere. In fact, this mirrors my view on fitness as well; stop waiting and just get moving! (Check out my thoughts on the Basics of Getting in Shape)

So what exactly am I rambling about?

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Heroes Transformations: Kat’s Story

Kats Success Story 1 - The Jerd

Today I thought I would take a minute and highlight a reader, her personal trainer woes and her story of success.

So grab a healthy snack and let’s talk about Kat for a few minutes.

I have known Kat for several years; she’s 48 (although you would never know it looking at her), a breast-cancer survivor, loves horses waaaay more than a normal person should, and evidently has horrible taste in personal trainers.

About a month and a half ago I saw a rant she had posted on her Facebook wall that really bothered me; both as her friend and in my capacity as Dominus Jerdicus Emeritus.

Let’s just take a look at some of what she said:

“I just kicked out over an hour and forty-five minutes work out at gym – 35 minutes with the trainer – about 55 minutes on the elliptical and then 20 minutes on the treadmill – only to have my trainer tell me I’m not working hard enough – or doing enough and I should look ‘better’ than I do.

I actually made an ASS out of myself and cried in the gym – then marched into the bathroom got on the scale – brought it to her to show her I’m down another 3.2 pounds – but REALLY? I’m not WORKING HARD ENOUGH? The last months payment comes out Friday – which means I have another month – then I may never work with a trainer again…”

Ouch!

Before we go any further I want to preface this entire article by saying that I think personal trainers are great; if you can afford one they can be extremely helpful in your fitness journey!

They will help you build custom workouts based on your goals, ensure you have proper exercise form, and hold you accountable.

That being said they are also human, and just like all humans some are going to be super-heroes and some super-villains. Unfortunately it looks like Kat ran into the Lex Luthor of trainers.

So how did she end up dealing with this villainous trainer? How did she manage to shed the pounds she wanted all the while spending less time working out and eating more of the foods she loves?

Let’s break it down…

Kat’s Obstacles

After she calmed down a bit we dug into exactly what was going on. In a nutshell here’s what was happening:

  • The trainer had her on a 6 day a week exercise plan.
  • The trainer had her doing an hour of cardio on the elliptical machine every day.
  • The trainer had her restricting her caloric intake to 900-1000 a day.
  • The trainer was making her miserable by treating her like crap.

Now there is a veritable cornucopia of fail happening in the above list, so let’s take this one by one.

The easiest thing to fix is that last bullet.

If a trainer is treating you poorly, stop paying them and find a new trainer!

It really is that simple. While shame or guilt based “motivation” may work for a few people, I will go out on a limb and say the majority of people won’t react well to it; Kat is a perfect case in point!

It’s also important to remember that not only are you paying a personal trainer for their service, but you are also going to develop a rapport with them over time.

Just like in any other circumstance, some people you are going to like and some people you just aren’t going to click with.

Most trainers will completely understand if after a couple of sessions you decide they aren’t for you; so if you aren’t really digging the vibe with a specific trainer then go find one that suits you better!

Now onto the specifics of Kat’s workout plan…

Kats Success Story - The Jerd

The 6 day a week exercise plan – Depending on someone’s goals I can go either way on this. The minimum someone should be working out is 3 times a week, and I personally think that 4-5 times is what people should be shooting for. 6 times a week means you have to be extremely meticulous in dividing up your routines so that muscle groups still have the proper recovery time, and it’s more suited for people with extremely lofty goals (and a short period of time to reach them) or athletes.

I told her that unless she loved being in the gym that much, she could cut back and still be successful.

An hour of cardio every day – While I was on the fence about the whole 6x a week in the gym thing, this is where I started shaking my head. Kat’s trainer told her this was “how she lost weight” and that’s why she was prescribing an hour of elliptical therapy a day.

I pointed Kat to the article about being “Skinny Fat” and reminded her that weight-training is much more effective for weight-loss and overall health than mindlessly running on a treadmill.

Eating 900-1000 calories a day – This is where the Jerd-Rage set in and I got angry. Unless Kat was a member of the Lollipop Guild there was no way that 900 calories a day was healthy for her; especially considering how much she was exercising! Not only was it not healthy, she was also miserable… always hungry and irritable.

I told Kat to stop starving herself and to take 15 minutes and calculate her individual BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), then figure out how many calories she should be eating on a daily basis (Science!)

So how did that advice work out for her?

Kat’s Results

Kats Success Story - Unikitty - The Jerd

Right after we talked she took a week off and went to Vegas on vacation, and when she came back she adjusted her routine based on the advice she garnered from reading The Jerd and she posted this on her Facebook wall:

“What did the Jerd teach me? I’m starving myself… the BMR and Calorie scale says I should be eating about 1600-1700 calories a day to LOSE weight – oh my.”

And then a couple of weeks later she made this update:

“Since following the advice on The Jerd (please check out the website it ROCKS) I have dropped 5 pounds! I am no longer KILLING myself on the cross-trainer and work out with weights – and I feel great! AND Friday my Doctor finally took me off one of my blood pressure meds! My BP was running at 90/55 in the A.M. and at night at my peak stress was 128/88 – which is completely normal for ANYONE!

So I have to say – after spending A LOT OF MONEY on a trainer and not going anywhere, some free advice from a good friend and his great website – YIPPEE!”

Think about it – she almost doubled what she is eating daily, reduced how long she is in the gym dramatically, began to regulate her Blood Pressure (which I am convinced was out of whack due to the fact she was basically starving herself) and lost 5 pounds in a couple of weeks (even with a trip to Vegas in the mix!)

Most importantly, she said she is now feeling great.

So let’s give Kat a warm round of applause for taking some Jerd-Wisdom to heart and hope she quickly meets her goal of another 10 pounds shed!

What about you? Do you have a success story, or personal trainer horror story, you would like to share?

I’d love to hear them!

Let me know in the comments below or email me directly! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow me on Twitter, and like us on Facebook and Google+ (there is content on both not available here on the site)!

(Photo #1 credit)

PS: Make sure to get your free e-book, “The 7 Fitness Obstacles Newbies Face” by subscribing to our newsletter… no spam, I promise!
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PPS: Looking for detailed advice on how to eat healthier and lose weight? Grab a copy of the Heroes’ Transformation Guide now!