Life Advice from Josh: Exercise

Legs of a young man running

I should preface this by pointing out that I’m not a doctor, trainer, coach, dietician or weight loss expert. I’m like most folks and I got to that point where I looked in the mirror one day and really just did not like the shape of the guy who was looking back at me. He was flabby. I’m a pretty small-framed guy, so fat doesn’t really distribute well on me. Excess fat positions itself as love handles and man boobs on yours truly.

So I decided to do something about it. I’m not an ease-into-it kind of guy. I went in full force. And, like they all say, the way to getting into shape (and losing weight, if that’s your goal), is diet and exercise. I can make a suggestion that makes that formula 50% easier. Exercise. The diet part will naturally follow if you commit to the exercise part.

I started running. And I started out slowly. I started by running one mile. That one mile didn’t kill me, so I went out the very next day and I ran another mile. Since that second day and second mile didn’t kill me either, I went out the third day and ran two miles. I pushed myself. I had a goal to lose weight, so I was going to push myself to achieve that goal. I didn’t have a specific number of pounds in mind that I wanted to shed, but I was going to keep running every day until I no longer jiggled when I ran. And I knew, realistically, it was probably doing to take at least one year of hard work before I noticed the change in myself. So I committed myself. Every. single. day. And that’s what it takes. Exercise and a commitment to your goal.

I didn’t focus on my diet. I’d already maintained a relatively healthy diet (I rarely drank cokes, Starbucks, no alcohol, etc.) – you know, square meals kind of stuff. We’re pretty good about cooking at home. We generally make healthy choices at the grocery store. Elise and I truly try to make nutritious grocery and meal preparation decisions. We’re not perfect, and we admittedly indulge. And we do our fair share of eating out. We love pizza, tacos, Chinese food. But I knew that the choices I made at meal time were the calories I’d be battling at run time. So I consciously created a caloric deficit. Caloric deficit means you burn more calories than you consume. If I’d need/burn 2,000 calories a day just by existing, and I’d burn 300 calories by running two miles, I’d only consume what I’d guess to be 1,800 – 2,000 calories a day. My body would need fuel from something, and after it’d burned off available glycogen (carbs/sugar), it would start burning the fat. And it’s NOT a fast and easy process.

And as I continued to focus on my commitment to running, my body naturally began craving fuel to endure and survive – not the junk that I’d ordinarily eat out of boredom or for taste alone (chips, gummy bears, bacon). Presently I’ll run between 6-20 miles on any given day. And my brain, body and taste buds genuinely want salmon, sweet potatoes, berries, Greek yogurt and whole grains. I actually kind of have an aversion to red meat now. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat the hell out of some barbecue, but my gut will hate me for it if I over-indulge. I guess my point is that your body is a really cool machine that’s capable of amazing things. If you treat it and run it like a high-performance machine, it’s going to crave and need high-performance fuel. It’s going to tell you, “quit jacking around and pouring this crap down my gullet. Give me some stuff I can really use to win this thing!”

Listen to the machine that is you. Start slow. Start by walking at least 30 minutes. Then go for an hour. Then run. Or join the gym. Or take a martial arts/spin/yoga/pilates/barre class. Whatever. Find your thing. This is your journey. And understand and realize that it is a personal journey. Take your time. It’s a process and the infantile stage of building the machine. I love running because I’m a loner and running requires nothing more than some shoes, shorts and good music (for me).

Log your miles or workouts. Log the food you eat and the calories you consume if you want to commit and get hard core about your diet. Drink lots of water.

You have to commit. No excuses. Don’t think you have time? Bull. That’s an excuse. You have to make the time, not make excuses. Your machine doesn’t care about time.

Commit, machine.

-by Josh Janicek

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