Personal Training: Here We Go

When I graduated high school, I weighed in at a slim, though certainly not wiry, 115 pounds. Sometime after that, I was taking 18 credit hours, working full time and editing the school newspaper. Exercise wasn't an option, and I would eat at any time I had the chance. At some point, I hit about 215 pounds. If you've not met me, I'm 5'3" on a good day; that made me really big.

The past few years, I've had my good seasons and my bad seasons. I tend to go between about 160 and 175 pounds; according to the Body Mass Index (BMI), that puts me on the lower side of obese – although social convention is such that you'd probably classify me as "thick," not obese. But social convention and health are much different.

Also, BMI is a bunch of hooey, as it doesn't take into account fat percentage and body type, classifying your average pro athlete as borderline obese and someone like Shaquille O'Neal as morbidly obese at 7'1" and 325 pounds and well under 10% body fat.

I'm stepping off on a 12-week personal training journey, which will overlap with a more intensive program I'm starting in January. Basically, it's going to work like this. Once a week for 12 weeks, starting next week, I'll meet for a half hour with a personal trainer. I started yesterday with a preliminary session that gave me a workout routine, took my measurements, and came away with a sample meal plan.

Today I start with some cardio (a couple of tennis matches), and tomorrow I begin more of a cardio-plus-resistance training workout. I'm working with Roger at Gold's Gym in Dewitt. He gave me a couple of options on each muscle group, and also gave me some exercises I could do at home.

For me, the hardest part, I think, will be to control my eating. I've always been OK at eating decent foods, but portion control is an issue for me.

Beginning in mid-January, which is about 9 weeks away, I'll be doing a more intensive 12-week program, which involves small group personal training three times a week, as well as a diet plan.

In an effort to keep myself accountable, I'm blogging here, and there will be something going on elsewhere on the web, but I can't tell you about that yet (before the end of the month, I hope).

My goal is to drop some pounds and a bunch of body fat. My stated goal for the 12-week program is 20 pounds, but I'm willing to trade a few pounds for body fat, since muscle weighs more than fat.

I'll spare you the before pictures, unless and until they become interesting for my story. But here are the beginning measurements:

Weight: 169.7 (shoes on)
Chest: 40.5 inches
Waist: 39.5 inches at the navel (If you're buying me pants, though, get me a 33. 39.5 would be a tight hula hoop.)
Hips: 40.25 inches
Waist:Hips Ratio: 0.98 (This is a new number to me; the goal should be to get under 0.95.)
Bicep: 13.375 inches (flexed)

Body fat (skin fold/calipers):

Bicep: 5.9 (This, I'm told, is really good and shows I'm doing something right there.)
Tricep: 13.7
Subscapular: 18.1 (This is that roll of fat on the back.)
Illiac Crest: 20.1 (This is the love handle.)
Total body fat percentage: 23.1%

To give you an idea of what I've started eating...

Dinner last night: One baked chicken breast (baked in pear nectar); half baked sweet potato with a pat of low-fat butter substitute; 1/4 cup broccoli sauteed in 1/2 tsp of butter substitute and oregano

Breakfast this morning: 1 cup Special K with 1/3 cup 1% milk; 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese; 6 oz black coffee; 5.5 oz V8 vegetable juice.