Inspired by Ellington Darden’s article Florida Dreamin’, and his book Flat Stomach ASAP, I’m setting out to do something similar. If you like Dr. Darden’s writings, check out his short piece called Chiseled Abs: A Little Understanding Means A Lot. He tells it like it is, no b.s., which is unusual in the “abs industry.” If you don’t know Dr. Darden’s writing, he is associated with the Nautilus and Med-X fitness equipment companies, and most recently with the Bowflex, and has been writing books about fitness for years. His perspective is from the high-intensity training school of strength training, where usually a weight lifting exercise is done for a single set until the trainee can’t lift the weight anymore. This approach is not the mainstream, but it is consistent with the recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine. Except for the fact that Dr. Darden does not recommend cardiovascular exercise for slimming. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if one of his clients were active, walked or played some recreational sports, though.
So, what am I up to. I will lift 3x/week, a single set to muscular fatigue of: leg press, leg curl, machine crunch, chest press, seated row, overhead seated press, cable pulldown, seated chest flyes, preacher biceps machine, triceps pushdown. 10 exercises, with three seconds of lifting and three seconds of lowering, for 8-12 reps each (increasing the weight when I can get over 12). After the initial workout or two, I will lift as many times as I can until fatigue even if it goes over 12 reps. Then I will increase the weight in the next workout. Since I get hardly any activity outside of work and exercise, I will start each session with 5 mins on a bike, do my lifting, then return to the bike for whatever time makes it a 20 minute total session. As long as my heart rate stays elevated, I will comply with the basic exercise recommendations of the AHA/ACSM. Keep in mind that this is not what Dr. Darden would advise, based on my reading of his works.
Diet plan will be 1500 calories per day. Less than the 1900 in the Florida Dreamin’ article, because I am older, fatter and less active. It will be as follows:
Breakfast (400 calories): 2 large omega-3 eggs, 1 packet instant oatmeal (TJ’s Heart Healthy flavored brand), 1 cup strawberries, coffee, 1/2 cup skim milk. Alternative: 2 frozen TJ’s blueberry waffles, 2 T maple syrup, 1 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup skim milk, coffee
Lunch (400 calories): 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread, 3 oz deli chicken/turkey, 1 oz slice Jarlsberg lite, 1 T sweet pickle relish, 1 T light mayo, 2 tomato slices. Alternative: 2 slices whole wheat, 1 T light mayo, 1 T relish, 1/2 can tuna, 1/2 apple, 1/2 cup canned corn (recipie from Dr. Darden’s site)
Dinner (400 calories): choice of frozen meal: for example TJ’s Kung Pao Chicken Rice Bowl, or Lean Cusine Comfort Classics Chicken Parmesean + 1 1/2 slices whole wheat bread (to make the calories up to 400), etc. See this article by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for a list of better frozen meal options. I realize this isn’t for everyone, but for a time pressed bachelor it makes sense to enable having some variety and calorie control with no waste, cooking, cleaning, or time wasting. I stole the idea from Dr. Darden’s article. It’s hard to be too specific on the meals right now, depends on what’s in the store or on sale. Alternative if I want to cook: 1/2 cup dry whole what pasta, 3 oz grilled chicken, 1 cup broccoli, 1 t olive oil, 2-3 T pasta sauce.
Snacks (300 calories): 2 string cheese sticks, apple, orange. May substitute in some almonds, yogurt, etc. Right now I have some string cheese to use up.
Shortfalls? Well, obviously there isn’t enough vegetation. It probably technically hits the 400 gram “five a day” standard but mostly because of fruit. Right now I am going for convenience, and a way to avoid calorie bombs when I get home late and feel wiped out. Usually I order some take out, and have some beers. Frozen entrees are not necessarily health food, but I am looking for improvement not perfection. I will be looking to make it more healthy after I pick up some momentum.
The other shortfall is so little exercise. We’ll see how it goes. The scale and the mirror will tell the tale, and I can adapt from there.