Monday, January 22, 2007

40 Day Fail My Way to Success Fitness Challenge

It’s Richard here, and okay… I admit it – I am an over-eater! Always have been (my nickname in the fifth grade was “Chub-Chub”) and if past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, I probably always will be.

This is not to say that I’ve given up on my life-long personal quest to get in shape. To the contrary – my thoughts (now that I’m in my 50’s) about the ability of my vessel (my body) to take on the rest of life’s journey have been increasingly health-oriented. But, for right now, my immediate quest is simply to get in my favorite black Hart Schaffner & Marx suit!

Like a bear who has stored up for winter hibernation, I’ve packed on a few pounds during the holidays. But looking at my speaking calendar I discover an important (and rapidly appraoching!) engagement on March 4th that will be video taped for an upcoming DVD product. And while I am aware of the need to reduce calorie intake, I also must acknowledge that my eating habits will probably not change (at least not significantly). So I’m turning to the gym and making exercise the key to my weight-loss quest.

The problem with this plan is that at the gym I see the same people there every time I go… sometimes for years… and they never seem to make any progress! They “workout” 3-5 times a week, and yet they never seem to change (maybe you’re one of them, I know I am!) The question is: Why? Why is it that we workout and yet the work doesn’t seem to pay off? The answer, I’ve come to understand, is that we’re not working to failure – we’re working to the edge of failure… sometime just short of it… but not to it.

And that’s where the magic happens! I’ve come to discover, through the guidance of Laurie, our gym’s personal trainer and resident fitness expert, that muscle is built through the process of tearing it down – destroying it, in a sense – and then allowing it to “repair” through the process of scarring over, which is how muscle is actually built. But most people simply work to the level where they’re just tired… to the edge of failure… but not to failure and exhaustion where muscle is actually destroyed and then repaired and grown.

So, combining my expertise in failing your way to success in sales with my video taping deadline, I intend to fail my way to muscle-building and weight-loss success by going on a personal 40 Day “Fail My Way to Fitness” Challenge. And, using the concepts we teach people in our breakthrough performance workshops, here are the rules I’ve set for myself:

For the next 40 days (January 22-March 2) I will…

1) Exercise to “failure”… to the point where I cannot run any more or do another weight-lifting rep (as opposed to simply treadmilling for 20 minutes or doing three sets of 12 reps in weight lifting)
2) Not weigh myself during the entire 40 day period, but will put my entire focus on simply engaging in the BEHAVIOR of exercising to FAILURE
3) Not count my calories! Yes, I will work hard at eating a reasonable diet, but calorie-counting is OUT!

But to make the process interesting for those who are following my progress, I will engage in what we’ll call BLIND WEIGH-INS where I’ll get on the scale blind-folded, with Andrea noting the weight and entering it into this blog (I promise not to look!)
To get into my suit I must get under 210 pounds. My starting weight (as you can see from my “weigh-in” scale photo) is 235½ pounds, so there’s a lot of failing to be done. (Also, a photo of me with the aforementioned suit appears below). Stay tuned!

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