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.
I am a few days late on this, but it’s time to check in on Week 8 and judge how I did overall for the entire process.
I did it: I got the fat pads down. I’ve smoothed out my lower back, so let’s dig in and see how I did.
OK, well here we are at the very end, and this is the Week 8 update, so we’ll be winding all this down, and I’ll give you my final thoughts on how everything went. Also as a reminder, I explained my grading system in the video for Week 1, so be sure to go check that out.
Did I arrive at my fitness goals?
Pattern 1: Breath
This is another good week for Breath. I did use it intentionally, and I have to say that this is probably the pattern I did best throughout. I got an ‘A’ every single time I did this, so over all for breath I give myself an ‘A’ all round.
Pattern 2: Hydration
Hydration was almost perfect this week. I did have one day where I was a little bit off. Also, I think that one of the medications I am taking is keeping me permanently dehydrated. So I did hit my 96 ounces per day practically every day of each week, so for this week I’m giving myself a ‘B’ for Hydration, because I did go to Carowinds. I’ll tell you more during the Rest portion of this video, but I didn’t drink enough while I was walking around in the heat. However, although this week for Hydration is a ‘B’ overall, I give myself for the 8-week program an ‘A-’ for Hydration.
Pattern 3: Nutrition
For Nutrition this week I’m giving myself a B. I have been a little bit more organic and flexible about eating lately, because I’m experimenting with a modified Keto diet where I’m removing carbohydrates and replacing them with fats. But I’m not doing Keto per se. I’m just trying to be cognizant of the way in which my food is affecting my insulin response. So when you put that together (that cognition about insulin response, along with intermittent fasting), I found that I had very good results from that.
So I do highly recommend a modified Keto diet with intermittent fasting. This week I give myself a ‘B’ for Nutrition; however, for the entirety of the entire programme it looks like I’m getting a ‘B’ for Nutrition for the full 8 weeks.
Pattern 4: Strength
Strength this week was also modified based on what I needed going into the photoshoot itself, so I’m giving myself a B. Because although I did strength training 3 or 4 times this week, I didn’t do it with any particular sense of direction or intensity. I was just trying to stay active, so I didn’t feel any excellence in strength training. But I did it each day practically. So I am giving myself a ‘B’ for this week, and overall Strength training is a ‘B+’ for the entire 8 Week program.
Pattern 5: Conditioning
Week 8 also included Conditioning, just like I did for Week 7. And I did stay up with Conditioning. I am giving myself an ‘A’ for conditioning this week, and because of all the ‘C’s’ that I got through the weeks 1-6 (because I wasn’t doing conditioning at all), that artificially lowers, tampers, the effect of my Conditioning grade overall.
So although I am giving myself an ‘A’ for this week, Conditioning overall is still a C for the entire programme, because I didn’t include it very much. So I think it’s fair to give myself a ‘C’ for Conditioning overall.
Pattern 6: Flexibility
With Flexibility this week, I did make more time to do that for myself, so it was an improvement. I was looking to add more thoughtful effort towards Flexibility training. I did do some of that this week, so I am giving myself a ‘B’ for Flexibility this week, and overall a ‘B.’ I am giving myself a ‘B’ overall for Flexibility.
Pattern 7: Focus
I think I did pretty well with Focus this week. I never did include any of the meditation that I was talking about, and going forward in my life that is something that I need to look at, because I do benefit from it. I enjoy when I do it.
I did have quite thoughtful time to myself several times this week. I don’t know If I would call it mediation per se, but on top of the other professional practices with Instagram and my accomplishment journal and everything that I was already doing… I think that I felt very focused and productive for the week, so this week I am going to go ahead and give myself a ‘B’ for Focus and overall I get a ‘B+’ for Focus.
Pattern 8: Rest
Rest, as you will know (if you’ve watched these videos), has been a point of concern for me throughout the entire process. But I have good news: This is Week 8, and I’ve finally – finally in Week 8 – I’m giving myself an A for Rest.
I had lots of mornings where I was able to sleep in, so I felt much better rested. I took time off from work completely. A lot of it’s because clients are out of town for July 4, as well as Gay Pride trips all over the place.
I was productive with my own INTEGRE8T Wellness projects when those studio clients were gone. However, I did get more sleep. I did get to take more time off, and finally, finally this weekend (yesterday), I went to Carowinds. I was there for 9 hours. we rode the Fury325 seven times. We rode a couple of the other rides once each. We saw two shows. It felt really good to be out and about to socialize. So, I am finally – here at the very, very end – giving myself an ‘A’ for Rest for this week, and overall for the entire 8 Week programme, my grade for Rest Is a ‘C-’
Summary: Final Thoughts
Something I’ve said every week is that there is always room for improvement, and that there always will be. Part of what I was trying to do with these eight weeks was to get ready for a photoshoot, but also to reconnect very specifically with the sense of order and discipline that has helped me age very gracefully… which is – I’m about to turn 42 on June 29th, which is less than a week away. I think I’m doing pretty good. You could do worse at 42.
So I have done the photoshoot, and I found that I was a little bit off the mark for my goals – my personal goals – I didn’t get quite as lean as I wanted to, but I still made very good progress, and I am going to use this as the jumping off point for another 8 Week program.
It will be very different from the one I’ve done this time around, in terms of the exercises and everything. So, I think that when I go forward, I’m going to have to be stricter about food. And now that I have found (over the course of this process) a strategy that I think is working for me, I will make even better progress.
So, for the overall programme for the all eight weeks together, I am giving myself a ‘B,’ and I think that is justified, because if I had really honed in on everything as strictly and clearly as I had originally intended, I would have had even better results. But the results speak for themselves, so I can’t give myself an ‘A,’ if I’d missed the mark.
So I think it’s fair to give myself a ‘B’ for this entire 8 Week process. I consider it pretty successful, and I look forward to doing it again. Doing these videos and having these updates kept me honest, kept me consistent. And so I will be doing this again.
I am going on vacation for my birthday, and when I get back I’ll start another process. In the meantime, I hope that you have found this encouraging and helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and I look forward to doing this again.
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.