March 12, 2018 was the lowest health point of my life thus far. I weighed in at 215 pounds and my blood pressure was through the roof. Medication would be necessary but hopefully not permanent. My life began anew that very day. Physical training became a daily requirement. My diet underwent a dramatic change as well.
Weekdays now begin at 4 AM. I splash water on my face, brush my teeth, and lace up my workout shoes. My wife purchased a Beachbody On Demand (BBOD) subscription and that became the daily regimen.
In March, I trained with Chris Downing. His program was Shift Shop. Think of a football training camp and adapt it to daily 40-minute sessions. By the end of the month, it was clear that a change was happening. My stamina was better despite the lack of visual changes.
I reacquainted myself with an old workout friend in April. His name, Shaun T. His program, Insanity Max 30. This is the shorter version of Shaun T’s well-known Insanity, which I completed 5 years prior. Like the original, it uses only your body for resistance exercises in a non-stop cardio workout.
There was a visual change happening by May when I switched to Tony Horton’s P90 (not P90X). P90 is slightly lighter work than the “X” version. Had I started with this program back in March, it would have been a nice way to ease into the new daily grind but at this point in the process, it was too slow-paced.
June marked three months since my new life began and it was the month of my doctor’s follow-up. The month’s exercise program was Core de Force: an intense program derived from boxing and MMA training. Combined with my weekly visit to a boxing gym, it quickly became my favorite workout of the BBOD assortment.
I adapted relatively easily to the exercise part of the health plan but the diet has been a bit tougher to follow. The weekdays are easy enough: yogurt for breakfast, salad for lunch, and a low-carb, high-veggie homemade dinner. The weekends tend to include more takeout and meals on the run but we as a family try to choose healthier options, or at least higher-quality food than the average fast-food fare.
The morning of my doctor’s appointment finally arrived and I could not help but feel nervous. I sat in the waiting room breathing calmly to stay in control until my name was called. Thankfully, the results were in line with the sacrifices of the previous three months. My blood pressure was down to 130/79; much closer to the 120/80 doctors want to see. As for weight, I came in 20 pounds lighter than when it all began in March.
The health program is now in its second three-month period. Weight loss is now visible and I’m beginning to notice muscle definition. More important than the visual results is a normalization of blood pressure. The goal is to begin to wean off hypertension medication by the end of this period. My determination will certainly be tested by the blistering Los Angeles summer.