My 8-Week Birthday Photo Shoot Challenge
I’m about to turn 42 years old, and I want to keep pushing myself to make fitness gains. It isn’t enough to maintain: For as long as you can grow, you should. To keep myself going, and to show how good my program is, I have designed a fitness challenge for myself using my INTEGRE8T Wellness program as the template.
Good morning. It’s June 17, 2018. It’s the end of Week 7, so it’s time to check in and see how I did.
Okay, so this is the end of Week 7. Let’s check in right quick. So, as you can see, my leg definition has remained very clear, no worries there.
The abs. Okay, so, I regressed a little bit this week. I did some Keto recipes, and I went overboard on those. Just because something is low glycemic index, does not mean it is low glycemic load. So just be aware of that.
I think that I actually went backwards a little bit this week, because I’m not right where I’d like to be. This line, I don’t feel, is quite as defined as I wanted. This one caught up a little bit, but still not quite where I want to be.
The pads here, a little bit flatter maybe. Here you can see my crest a little bit further up. Before it was like down here – you can see this a little bit more. But this line, these folds aren’t quite gone. So, I think that I actually lost a little ground this week.
So, with that in mind, I’m going to be very strict with intermittent fasting. Instead of doing 8:16, I’m probably going to shoot more for 24-hour fasts, and I might even do a water fast towards the very end to try to flatten all of this out here in the last few days.
The shoot is on Friday. Today is Sunday, so that only gives me a few days. But hopefully with some very strict dieting, changing some of my carbs over to fats, hopefully I can force this through here at the very, very end stretch, so that I can get where I would like to be for the shoot itself. So, that is what I will be trying to do: Make this all clear and flat. Alright, so, see what I can do in the last few days. Cross your fingers for me.
How to measure my progress toward my fitness goals
Hi, it’s Jack again. So, I missed the last couple of weeks, because of technical difficulties, but I’m back to do a full update. As a reminder, you can see the grading system explanation in the video update for week number one.
Pattern 1: Breath
For breath, I used my breath consciously all five days this week to help me while I was working out. And I also used it to check in and make sure that my mood was aligned, and just generally was aware of my breath. So, I am going to give myself an A for the week.
Pattern 2: Hydration
As I’ve said in the past for hydration, my goal is 96 ounces per day. And I did do that every day, so I am going to give myself an A for hydration. However, I am finding that I’m staying dehydrated for some reason. I think it’s one of the medications I’m taking – I forgot to up my goal. But since it was set to 96 and I hit that, I’m going to give myself an A for hydration this week.
Pattern 3: Nutrition
Okay, so nutrition was wonky this week. I switched over to something akin to a Keto diet, and I didn’t really think it through very well. So, although Keto foods are low on the glycemic index and they don’t necessarily spike your insulin or your blood sugar all that high, glycemic load is still something to keep in mind, and I wasn’t thinking in terms of portion sizes, so I think I regressed a little bit on my leaning out this week. So, my numbers are completely wonky for body fat and weight, and I’m just going to ignore them, because generally I do feel like I’m getting leaner.
But before I talk about that, my overall trend is leaner, but I regressed some, so I’m focusing hard on 24-hour fasts and a lot of water. More sleep would help reduce cortisol and that would help, too. So, I’ve been doing an 8/16 format for fasting, but I think this week I’m going to do 24-hour fasts throughout the week, and the last day I might even do a water fast to try to catch back up on the leaning out that I feel like I lost ground this week, because of not thinking properly about portion sizes. So, for nutrition I’m going to give myself a C for the week.
Pattern 4: Strength
Okay, strength. So, I had three days of strength training this week instead of five, and I did them all three days. The camera work has gotten much faster during the workouts, because I’m being a lot less specific and not trying to hit every exercise from three different angles and then edit it all together. So, I’ve simplified the Instagram daily update videos, and that has allowed me to speed through the filming. So, my camera work did not slow me down badly. And so, for that reason, I’m giving myself an A for strength this week.
Pattern 5: Conditioning
Okay I’ve been saying it every single week: Conditioning was not part of the formatting, but now it is. This week I had two high intensity interval training days, and I did both of them. I also did conditioning on the strength days, because I included jump rope on the strength days, as well as on the calisthenics days. So, I actually did conditioning five days this week. For the two days that were specifically set aside for it, I did do some interval training. Not as much as I should have, but I couldn’t use my timer on my phone, because I was using my phone to record the videos, and I can’t use both at the same time. So, I need to think of how I’m going to keep track of the peaks and the active rests next week, to try to get more out of the interval training. However, I did do it five days this week, so I’m giving myself an A for conditioning for the first time.
Pattern 6: Flexibility
Okay, flexibility. I did perform light stretching each day throughout the week; however, I didn’t lead any flexibility sessions this week. My early morning clients cancelled for most of the week, and that’s when I was teaching those flexibility sessions. So, I didn’t do that this week. I missed out on that. However, I did set aside a few minutes each day to get some stretching through my shoulders or my hamstrings in.
And I did consistently check in with my posture, always correcting my feet and my alignment and just now, I just corrected myself. So, it’s a habit you have to develop. But having been a dancer for so long, I’m pretty sensitive to when I’m too far over one way or the other.
Anyway, I do need to increase stretching each day and I’ve been saying that the whole time, but it just keeps getting away from me. So, I gave myself a B for flexibility last week I think, and B’s before that. Today I’m going to give myself a C for this week, because I didn’t do the sessions with my clients, and I did not add any of the yoga or personalized stretching sessions that I had discussed before, so I’m going to drop myself to a C on flexibility this week.
Pattern 7: Focus
Okay, focus. So, I did not say my mantra each night falling asleep. I didn’t do it at all. And I didn’t do the intentions that I mentioned needing to update. So, in those regards I did not maintain focus well this week.
However, I kept my accomplishment journal each day. I stayed organized and I kept my intention on work goals. I did research. I worked on a course that I’ll be updating to Udemy. I made progress on my recertification. I was very productive, and I made progress and updates on my site and profiles.
So all in all, although I didn’t meditate, and I forgot to incorporate the yoga, I did do pretty well for focus, because I was so productive. I didn’t focus on those little tiny personal moments of focus, so instead of an A for focus this week, I’m going to give myself a B, because although I was productive, I wasn’t particularly good at self-care this week.
Pattern 8: Rest
Rest, okay. So, this is a point that I had been struggling with for a while, but last week I did much better, and this week I did even better than last week. I got more sleep on average this week. A few times I hit my seven-hour goal, because, like I said, my early morning clients all cancelled, so I was able to sleep in. That means I won’t always be able to count on that extra sleep in the mornings, but I did get it this week.
I did take a few hours off from working each afternoon to come home and disengage a little bit, and eat, and spend time with the kitty. I did nap a little one day, so that was good.
I had to work Saturday again – I have to work every Saturday – so I didn’t go socialize. I didn’t go to Carowinds. I’ve been saying that every week. But I’m busy! I’m an entrepreneur. It’s hard. This is – and that’s an excuse, I know, but it’s hard to set time aside to not do anything when there are hundreds of items on your to-do list (without exaggeration). There’s always so much to do. And it’s hard to disengage and rest.
But, despite that, because of the extra sleep, and because of the disengagement that I practiced each day, I’m going to go ahead and give myself a B for rest this week. I need to be better about socializing, but I’ll figure it out somehow, so a B for rest.
Summary: Grade for the week
Okay, so here are the final results. As you can see, there is still room for improvement, and there always will be. I’m going to give myself an A- for the week, because although I slipped a little bit on nutrition, I did make gains on rest, and I held steady in most other areas.
So, although I flubbed a little on nutrition, I’m quite pleased with how well I’ve kept rest these last couple of weeks, and I think overall I’ve made pretty good progress. This is the end of Week 7. There’s only one week to go.
Today is June 17th, the photo shoot is on June 22nd, but I think that with some really hard-core fasting and some real attention to detail with the conditioning and calisthenics, I think that I’ll be able to pull off a pretty good photo shoot. It’ll be for my 42nd birthday, and I think it’ll be okay.
I’m scared. I’m nervous, but at the same time I’ve worked pretty hard, and I’ve been pretty consistent. So I’m not looking forward to it as much as I had been, but I still think that – I still think that maybe it’ll be okay.
This score indicates how damaging a food will be to your blood sugar levels. Foods that score 0-55 are rated low impact (and thus presumed to be better for diabetics and those looking to maintain healthy weight and/or body fat ratios), but this is not the whole picture.
Nearly a year ago to the dot, I wrote an article about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but there I focused on the importance of getting access to a full range spectrum of light. Here I’d like to focus on caffeine and sleep’s effect on SAD. I’ll also offer suggestions for what to do to help you feel better on the dark days.
I don’t generally promote supplements. Most of them play to specific, isolated points of medical research to serve as a magic pill. One remarkable example of this is fish oil.