To those of you who know me personally, or those who have simple seen my photos online or some of my clothes crumpled up on your floor (HEY-OH!) will no doubt realize that I am not a thin man. And I’ve been that way long enough that I’m OK with it.
I am not OK, however, with not living to see my own kids grow up. This statement isn’t so much about wanting to see them at key moments in their life as it is about sweet, sweet revenge. I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up the prime years of my life settled down to raise them just so I can amass an enormous 401k, pay off my house, and suddenly drop dead walking up the steps after I put the last tuition check in the mail. F. That. I wanna live long enough to laugh at them trying to raise their own stupid kids. And I will work out just hard enough and eat just well enough to make sure that happens.
I’ve tried a few diets over the years, and I’ve signed up for an exercise class in my day, but nothing that really sticks. And that’s when I realize that nothing will even truly stick — I’m not going to do water aerobics or jogging or Tai Chi or anything else every day for the rest of my life. Neither am I going to spend the next 50 years (fingers crossed) eating a shake for breakfast, no carbs for lunch, and a grapefruit for dinner. As such, my plan is to going to be bouncing from one type of exercise and one reasonable diet to the next.
Until of course someone finally develops some sort of weight management plan based entirely on carrying a 12 pack of non-Moosehead beer into your house and then drinking it every day. Nutritional Science, what have you done for me lately?
As with any sort of life-changing epiphany, I turned to infomercials to get me started, and I chose KettleWorX. Tough to go wrong with an in-home workout/nutrition plan that would work for both me and the missus. I ordered up the DVD’s, grabbed a couple of kettlebells, and promptly didn’t open the box for like a month. What can I say. It was right before the holidays, and if history has taught us anything it is that any personal-improvement efforts that start in months not ending in “anuary” are doomed to fail.
The basic premise of the plan is pretty simple. Do three 20 minute workouts a week (1 for cardio, 1 for core, and 1 for resistance) for 6 weeks, and follow the nutrition plan that accompanied the DVDs.
We started the diet on a Sunday, and liked it right away, but we didn’t notice a change in our bodies until the next day after we worked out. The change? I hurt. Badly. I spent a week popping ibuprofen like they were caps and my quads were Crips’ aces. The whole idea of this particular breed of kettlebell training is to keep all of your muscles engaged throughout the entire workout, and it does. If you are working out your arms, you are also squatting. If you are squatting, you are also engaging your core. If you are engaging your core, you are also working on your shoulders. You can imagine how far that whole thing goes. I will say that for me, the resistance seems so far to the the easiest workout, and the cardio is probably the hardest.
With the whole set, I got something like 15 hours of different workouts, which is good. I need that variety. The reason I hate running and working out in a weight room is that its the same crap over and over, which is really, really boring. There are things I’m willing to do over and over again, but pushups aren’t any of them. The formula of these workouts is a warm up, a small set of exercises that you repeat 2 or 3 times, and then a cool down. There are a few painfully hilarious things about the tapes*, though.
- It is pretty clear that the expensive part of the production process was time in the studio. That is pretty clear because they obviously went in and did each exercise one time, then spliced different exercises together in different ways for each set (and then the set is repeated within each workout 2 or 3 times). This drives my sister nuts, because she wants to think that if she is working out for 20 solid minutes, that they are working out for twenty solid minutes with you. I still find it funny because you can tell which exercises were taped later in the day, because in the first exercise everyone will look fresh as a daisy, the next exercise will have everyone worn out with jacked up hair, and then the next exercise has them all fresh again. It’s also great when a joke isn’t funny, but you get to hear it 12 times a week. I amuse easily.
- Another great thing is that since he clearly had only one take with each exercise, sometimes he doesn’t do them evenly. During one particular exercise he does like 3 reps on the right side and like 7 on the other. After a while you know what these exercises are and can adjust.
- The people working out behind Ryan Shanahan (the lead trainer) are typically really, really out of step, partly due to Ryan’s inability to keep a consistent cadence**. But it’s sort of satisfying to try to catch up while the extras are trying to catch up as well.
As for the diet, there actually isn’t too much to it. There is basically a formula for every meal, and it is the same formula for every meal. I won’t give it away, but basically things exist in 4 different acceptable food groups (and not the normal four) and you just have to eat one thing from each of those groups at every meal, and you also need to eat healthy snacks. Not really rocket science.
I actually like the taste of a lot of healthy food, but this diet does, however, have the same problems as any diet (and, in my opinion, the reason the rest of America looks largely like me).
- Cost. Food that is good for you isn’t cheap. Fish costs more than hamburger. A pound of broccoli is twice as much as a a box of macaroni and cheese. Just the way it is. It’s much cheaper to process food into a box of salt than to deliver it to market fresh and healthy.
- Convenience. Fattening food is easier. Say all you want about bananas being at the gas station, but there’s still 100 times more terrible stuff for you. The first week we were on this diet, I spent literally an hour a night packing lunches after spending 30 minutes making dinners. Which is considerably longer than the investment I would make in cooking a freezer pizza. I’m just saying.
I will say that this diet is much easier and more flexible than others I’ve tried, and with its simple formula its much easier to find solutions when dining out.
I’ve obviously only been through a few weeks of this so far, but so far I’m pretty happy with my investment. I’m motivated enough to keep working out being reasonably good at the diet. Currently, on the official Padre Knows Best Sandwich Scale, I’ll give it a Cuban with smoked provolone, placing it well above average but with more research needed. Per my new diet, I’ll try to find that Cuban on whole grain bread, sans the condiments.
* If you are under 25, a tape is what old people sometimes call DVDs. You know how we in the over-30 crowd are.
** Ryan is, I believe Canadian, or at least Canadian-ish, for whatever that’s worth.