My drill sergeant comes by to make sure I”m not about to pass out every five minutes or so. It”s obvious to her that other than a couple months” worth of early morning walks with my sister last year this is my first true workout in well over three years, and I”m struggling. Along with four others who don”t seem to be sucking nearly as much wind, I”m in Re-Boot Camp at Fitness Factor
It”s a 60-minute class, which doesn”t sound too bad, but I can assure you that 15 minutes into the workout, I felt like throwing up. (This same nauseated look closely resembles the look on most people”s faces when I inform them that the class starts at 5:30 a.m.)
Let”s back up a little: I”ve been blessed with relatively good genes from each side of my family. Though the phrase “you look like an Imes” has been the theme music to my life in Columbus, my body type has always more closely resembled that of my mother”s father. Anyone who remembers A.D. Hickel will certainly agree with me when I describe him as a massive man. He wasn”t always that large, though.
I remember him showing me photos of himself as a Marine when I was about 18. Muscular and fit in those photos, his body looked nearly identical to mine. I remember realizing that my waistline could be destined to the same expansive journey as his after he left the service.
In 1999, at the age of 21, after a three month backpacking trip, I was in the best shape of my life and weighed in at 202 pounds. Since then I”ve ballooned to 271. Work, kids and a general lack of time have been my excuses for not exercising.
An important component of any fitness program is to track your progress. The folks at the Fitness Factor asked that I get measured at the beginning of the program. They weighed me, took my blood pressure and calcuated my body fat percentage. For me, measuring body fat percentage involved being in a small office with a trainer while he uses a caliper to measure how much fat he can pinch on my thighs, my waist and on that little fatty area you”ll find between your armpit and your chest. He also measured my circumference at various points up and down my body.
After some calculations he informs me that I am 28.5 percent fat, which, according to his chart, places me in the “Very Poor” category. Not satisfied with the description of Very Poor, I returned home and looked up “body fat percentage” on Wikipedia. According to The American Council on Exercise, I fall into the low end of the “Overweight” category, which comes just after “Acceptable.” Every male needs a minimum of 2-4 percent body fat (10-12 percent for women) to protect our organs. Bodybuilders shoot for 2 percent, professional athletes range from 6-13 percent and a healthy 31-year-old should be about 18 percent. I”ve got work to do.
Back to the nausea: The Re-Boot Camp workout is designed to be done outdoors but due to the rain last Tuesday morning, we met at Fitness Factor. The workout is a high intensity regimen that alternates between running and calisthenics mixed with light weight work. Besides the running no one exercise lasts more than about 20 seconds. Each exercise is done in quick succession, and each seems to work a slightly different set of muscles. Some muscles I never knew existed are still aching as I type this.
To complement my intense workouts, I have cut out virtually all sweets and am trying to order water instead of sweet tea. I”m also trying to control my tendency to eat everything available and to instead eat slowly until I am full–not stuffed.
Will six weeks of serious exercising and a slight modification to my eating habits results in any type of measurable weight loss? After my first workout, I”m assured by a trainer I will be able to see a change. Providing these early morning classis don”t kill me, I”ll provide a second part to this column with the results.
Peter Imes is operations manager for The Dispatch. His e-mail address is email@example.com
Peter Imes is publisher of The Dispatch. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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