Gather around boys and girls, today I’m going to tell you the story of how I realized I might be the Illegitimate love child of Peter Griffin and Moby Dick.
Throughout the winter I live in hoodies. If my job would allow it, I would still be wearing the 2005 college Dave clothing line, hoodies and cargo shorts.
Up until April I’m very rarely in front of a mirror with my shirt off unless I’m taking a selfless bathroom selfie to track progress. To say I know what’s going on under my clothes as far as beach/shirtless readiness would be an utter lie.
Starting in February I started reverse dieting for the upcoming cut to get sexified for the summer. It’s a whole lot easier cutting calories from 3000 to 2500 than 2000 to 1500. A half glass of water and two leaves of lettuce is not my idea of a filling dinner.
Over the month or so it took me to bump up my calories by 1300, I gained a little bit of water weight. Ok, so maybe I was taking on water like the Titanic. Don’t judge.
I went from right around 50g of carbs a day to roughly 250-300g a day. With that came five pounds of added water as carbs hold onto water. I’m pretty sure just about all the weight gain is water because one well timed medium iced coffee takes me down to my pre-reverse diet weight.
As you can imagine, this excess water I’m holding onto goes places – some good, some not so flattering. I will admit, the pump, when you are full of carbs and water is second to none.
On the other side of that coin, the layer of insulation covering my abs seems to have filled out nicely as well. Since I’ve been living in hoodies, I haven’t really noticed it.
That was until I made the fateful mistake of looking at myself in the mirror right before I turned on the shower. At just the right angle, I looked like the illegitimate love child of Peter Griffin and Moby Dick. There was roundness and general sloppiness that for me, was just too much.
I went from feeling OK about my situation to feeling absolutely disgusted with how I looked. I pass no judgement onto anyone else about how they look and everyone has their own struggles. It just was too much for me…and my ego.
My wife can attest, I turned into a self-conscious little bitch for about a day. I have zero shame admitting that.
That’s when I decided to turn this disheartening experience into a good thing, cultivate motivation and set myself up for a future of sexiness.
Honestly if I didn’t, I’d have no business talking to you right now.
As a direct result of this experience I have a goal of abs by July 1. Being in New England that usually when the weather starts going from nice to “This is what hell must feels like”. I also started a free carb cycling course in the Aesthetic Physiques community to drag other people in on my journey.
A strategy and accountability to ensure I stick to it.
PUT ON YOUR BITCH PANTS
Motivation is a fleeting thing. Don’t count on it, habits are what get you results. Relying on motivation is a fool’s game.
However, sometimes a kick in the ass is what you need. I needed it. I didn’t like it, but I needed it.
So how can you benefit from my horror show?
Take crappy pictures of yourself.
Purposely take a picture of yourself, shirt off, looking like absolute garbage. We all know how to find the good angle or the right lighting to look halfway decent. I want you to do the complete opposite.
Normally I tell people to take pictures for progress because sometimes the scale is a big jerk and doesn’t show you a lighter weight. This picture is going to be for that kick in the ass when you stray off the diet or you don’t feel like hitting the gym after a tough day at work.
The position that worked for me was a ⅔ turn away from the mirror. Catching a partial side view and me bent over just enough to look like Humpty Dumpty.
So go into the bathroom with all the lights on. Make it bright in there. Take your shirt off and try the ⅔ turn away from the mirror. Is there more cushion around the midsection than you remember?
Perfect, take a picture. Keep the picture in your phone for those instances you need a kick in the pants.
After you take your picture, I want you use that crappy feeling you have to your advantage. You can sulk and put on your bitch pants like I did or you can take that to put a strategy together.
FACT: Bitching about a situation will not make it better. A strategy will.
That crappy or disheartening feeling you have is motivation in disguise. You just have to see through the fake mustache and glasses to use it.
MAKING THAT PICTURE WORK FOR YOU
Looking at the picture when you are tired or “not into it” only goes so far. Making a plan in conjunction with the picture is a surefire way to be able to to sans shirt this 4th of July.
Step 1) The first thing you want to do is define what exactly your ideal end result is. If you are in the same boat as me, the end result is to lose fat/weight. How much you need to lose is dependant on your situation.
Go conservative or go crazy but pick a weight you think you’d be happy living with. We can always adjust later.
Step 2) The next step is setting a deadline. Deadlines are important. Without them there is really nothing holding you to what you want.
If weight/fat loss in the goal, a good rule of thumb is a 1% weight loss per week. So for someone that is 200 lbs, a 2 lbs weight loss per week is attainable and most importantly safe. Calculate how many weeks you need from the weight you want to lose from step one. That will be your deadline.
For example the same 200 lbs person wants to lose 10 lbs. So a good deadline would be five to six weeks. Five weeks would be tough but doable, six would be more realistic.
Faster weight loss is possible but not sustainable. The goal here is to keep expectations low, a low bar of success leads to more “rewards” aka better to keep you on track than to set a five pound per week goal and fail in Week 2.
Now before you forget, put your end date and goal in your phone’s calendar. Set the notification for every two days. If you set it for everyday after a week it’ll just be white noise.
Step 3) We now have to figuring out how the hell you are going to get there. If the goal is to lose weight/fat, you’ll need to burn more calories than you eat and drink. How to do that is to pick any diet ever invented and exercises 3-5 days a week.
Not really helpful I know, here is a little better breakdown:
If you can’t live without carbs: Carb Cycling
If you could care-less about carbs: Ketogenic
If you don’t want to change the way you eat: Intermittent Fasting
If you can live without bread and rice but like to eat a lot: Slow Carb
All these diets are aimed at calorie restriction, all you have to do is pick the one that seems like the easiest for you to adopt…and adopt it.
As far as the workout is concerned there is a few ways to skin that cat.
3 Days per week: Full body workout each workout day is your best bet.
4 Days per week: Upper body on Monday/Thursday, Lower on Tuesday/Friday
5 Days per week: Do one body part per day; Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs and Arms.
Every 4-6 weeks change the workout slightly to keep your body guessing. The best and easiest way to do this is to alter the rep ranges. Always keep in mind that as the reps go down, the weight goes up. Here is an example of a rep scheme you could use:
Week 1: 3×10
Week 2: 3×12
Week 3: 4×10
Week 4: 4×12
Week 5: 3×8
Week 6: 3×6
Week 7: 4×8
Week 8: 4×6
Week 9: 3×12
Week 10: 3×15
Week 11: 4×12
Week 12: 4×15
Week 13: Restart at Week 1
Step 4) Join a community or rope in some friends to do it with you. Better yet, rope in some friends into a community. You need people in the trenches with you or at very least supportive of your mission. This goes a long way, ask Joe.
Sometimes we get a little too comfortable with our situation and you need a kick in the ass to get you moving again. It happened to me recently and while it sucked for a little bit, seeing myself at my worst made me better and more focused.
A lot of transformations happen after life altering events like self inflicted diseases or worse. Taking a picture that makes you feel like shit is a whole lot better than finding out too late that you could have changed your habits earlier to live another 20 years.
Plus, I’m all about the bathroom selfie.