Sunday, August 19, 2012

My fit life journey takes me to Tsoodził's summit

I've been thinking a lot about where I am, right now, in the midst of my fit life journey. I'm saying things to people like, I'm ready to take it to the next level (fitness-wise), and I'm not sure they know what I mean by that. Lots of people see the progress I've made losing a bunch of weight and trading in my old lethargic lifestyle for an active one, hiking mountains and what not. But still, I'm not where I want to be, where I need to be, in order to do the things I'm doing now - sustainably - for the next few decades of life.
Among the aspens along CDT near Gooseberry Spring, Mt. Taylor
With few exceptions, when I hike, I still get winded more often than the folks I'm hiking with. This probably has to do with my weight - I'm usually carrying 100 pounds or more than my compañeros del sendero. Surely, too, it owes to my overall level of conditioning, the fact that I spent ten years in lethargy prior to deciding to live fit a few years ago, and the fact that I loathe doing cardio for cardio's sake. It's getting clear to me now, though, that I need to infuse more cardio into my weekly workout routine if I want to continue challenging myself with hikes of greater intensity and elevation gain.

View from Gooseberry Spring Trail, part of the CDT, Mt. Taylor, NM
This weekend I hiked to over 11,301 feet along a portions of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) to summit Mt. Taylor, near Grants, NM. This is Navajo's sacred south mountain, Tsoodził, or Turquoise Mountain, a lush, grassy, Alpine cone towering above the desert below. I did the 3.5-mile hike to the top in about 3.5 hours, which wasn't too bad - I wasn't out to break speed records. And fortunately my trail bud Leanne was kind enough to stick with me on my frequent breath-breaks.

My trail bud, Leanne - a great hiking companion!
Besides, taking breaks for breathing from time to time allowed me to somehow become more mindful of the the strikingly diverse beauty of the landscape, from the my immediate environs and stretching out, away from the mountain to the diffuse horizon. I'd pause and sit, or just bend over and look at various angles, stretching and noticing the many unexpected things all around me, close to me. The critters on and off the trail (like horny toads and technicolor insects) and the delicate intra-workings of the multi-use forest ecology - I took it all in, deeply, with each breath, even the cow patties, which by the way Leanne said are good for making adobe bricks.

At Mt. Taylor summit (Tsoodził, Navajo's sacred south mountain)
So I guess that's where I am on my fit life journey. I'm at a very mindful place right now, and there is a great calm in that. But there is also a call to action. I'm taking my fit life journey on the road in a little over a week. I'm heading to Southern California to begin working on a couple of projects related to motivating others to live the fit life more fully. I've got a huge goal ahead of me (which you can read about on my blog Man of Merit). And I'm connecting more with the person I was meant to be, have always been and forever will be - me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

(My) 5 motivations to lose weight now

Dear Reader,

As of today, I weigh 280 lbs. I want to lose weight - 60 pounds to be exact.

More exactly, I want to weigh 90 pounds less than I do right now. Since I'm putting on more muscle even as I shed the fat, I'm thinking that my final goal weight might change, so it'll all depend on that really. Regardless, here are the five principle motivations for me to lose weight now:

1) I long to tear up the trail at a weight that won't tear up my back and knees.
2) I want to fit comfortably in size 36 jeans.
3) One day I'll be out thrifting, and I'll come across some vintage Levi's jeans jacket - don't laugh - and I won't want to miss the opportunity to snatch it. They run small, so...
4) I might end up making some insane goal in the near future, like hiking the Inca Trail in Peru or spending a month trekking south to north on the Virginia portion of the AT.
5) For once in my life, it'd be nice to be too sexy for my shirt.

These are my motivations, and they're solid. So what am I going to do to lose this weight? I'm just going to go ahead and do it is all. And I'm going to write about it. I'm going to draw encouragement from my readers, and I'm going to celebrate with you ALL when I achieve this goal. Sound like a plan?

Alright. Thanks.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What a difference three years makes!

This picture of me (above) was taken around my birthday in 2009 - I was 38 years old. Today, I turn 41. The picture (below) shows me on top of Sandia Mountain during a strenuous 10-mile hike. I'm so thankful that I was able to recognize the deadly path I was on due to my unhealthy habits. But now, I'm eating clean, exercising strong and ready to take on my 40s with the same youthful optimism with which I attacked my 20s! What a difference three years makes!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Optimism, faith and mindfulness - my journey to the La Luz Trail

I began my fit life journey with the launch of this blog back in December 2008 (follow this link to read my first post). It's been trip full of ups and downs, highs and lows. But it's always been a journey moving forward. Even when I'm knocked down, I get back up and learn from the experience. I rely on optimism, faith and mindfulness of purpose to keep on going, even when I stumble hard.

The first year of my journey was a kind of half-ass attempt; I lacked a specific, measurable goal. But in January of 2010 I set a very specific goal - to lose 200 pounds, to nearly halve my body weight, from 420 to 220, and overcome obesity by my 40th birthday. The plan was to celebrate my success by coming out to Albuquerque on my birthday last year and hike the famous La Luz Trail - nearly 10 miles with an elevation gain of 3,775 ft (1,151 m) and a grade of 12%. It would have been an amazing a capstone to my blog, I thought.

The La Luz Trail from the upper tram terminal. From the lower terminal, it's
about 10 miles to this point. This pic was taken on a recent 10-mile hike
of the 10K and Crest Trails - read about it on my Man of Merit blog.
Well, life has a funny way of altering plans. Once I reached 255 pounds, with just 35 pounds to go, I decided I needed to take a break from the strict diet of 1,800 calories a day I had been on for nearly a year and a half. I would continue to exercise, but I wanted to give myself a break, eat like a "normal" person and let my body adjust. It was a great idea, one that I don't regret in the slightest.

But over the course of the past year since I transitioned from "weight loss" to "weight maintenance", my body has adjusted to a comfortable weight 25 pounds heavier than my low weight. I'm now close to 280 again, and as I've blogged recently, I'm trying to re-gain focus and begin losing weight again in pursuit of my ultimate goal. 

Now I am at a point where big changes must be made again. As a result, I've decided that I'm going to take a big leap and attempt hiking the La Luz Trail now, in celebration of my 41st birthday. I know I'm fit enough to take on the challenge, even though I'm nearly 60 pounds heavier than I wanted to be when hiking it. So I figure, why wait until reaching my goal? Why not use it as inspiration to push forward again in pursuit of it?

I'll be taking the hike on Saturday, August 11, two days after I turn 41. This hike will not only mark the beginning of the next phase of my journey, it is also to be a conditioning hike for the epic 20-mile Cactus-to-Clouds hike I'll be taking sometime during the next year.

I want to thank my friend and fellow Toastmaster Leanne Yanabu for organizing this hike. This will be the toughest hike in terms of elevation gain I've done, so it's nice to know that she's done it before - makes me feel more confident about tackling such a strenuous hike.

I also want to thank all of you who read my blogs and encourage me along my path. I get lots of feedback from folks who say I inspire them - but really, you all inspire me!!! So please, keep reading, keep commenting and I WILL reach my goal. Then we can all celebrate together!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Korean fitness product beats Shake Weight (for a good laugh!)

Apparently horseback riding is an incredible workout. But horses are expensive! Well, the Koreans have solved this problem, bringing an incredible ab-enhancing (and albeit sexually suggestive workout) right into your home (where you can do it in front of family and friends)!

Shake Weight - you have met your match! Ace Power is really something you have to see it to believe. So saddle up and watch the vid below for a good laugh (and maybe a bit of cringing)!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Globesity: global health epidemic or cash cow?

Those of us with a soul look at worldwide obesity trends with sadness; something is severely wrong and must be fixed. To some, though, the obesity epidemic is a chance to cash in. In case you're wondering where the money to be made is, check out this article on Foreign Policy's blog, Passport. According to the experts, there are a number of ways that investors can take advantage of the "globesity" trend. 

Obesity in Mexico is out of control - Is it genetics?

In case you haven't heard, Mexico recently beat out the U.S. as the top ranked country for obesity worldwide. Well, researchers are pointing to a unique genetic predisposition among indigenous and mestizo populations in Mexico. It's sure to be controversial. Read about it on the blog LatAm News Translations.

I'll be posting soon on a trend in Mexico to publicly fund bariatric surgery clinics in Mexico to combat the obesity epidemic. It seems to me that there are better ways to treat obesity with public funding, but I'm not Mexican so it's not my place to judge. But I will be translating an article on the subject very soon, so check it out here, or "like" LatAm News Translations on Facebook to get it when it's hot off the presses!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Plank at the office? Take five on the floor!

For me, the plank is one of my favorite exercises because of how it makes me feel. I swear it changes the chemistry of my brain! Whenever I'm having one of those days at the office, I take a quick break and do plank, just five minutes on the floor, and I'm refreshed, re-energized and pumped to take on the next project.

The plank can be done in different ways to target a variety of core muscles. Search the ACE Fitness GetFit online exercise library for the best technique for your mid-day mini workout. Or if you're ready to start with the basic front plank, go here!

And don't forget to "like" MyFitLife2Day on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fitness fashion: "Strong is the new skinny!"

I had to share this website with you all, since, like me, I know you're always on the look out for things that inspire your fit life today. This online shop, called Gym Motivation Shirts, caught my attention via Twitter today, and I just had to share it with you.

The shirt slogan that caught my eye was "STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY". I absolutely love this, because all along my fit life journey I have focused on strength - losing weight and working out is a way of making me stronger. Weight loss, in my opinion, is just a desirable side effect of the pursuit of overall fitness.

In any case, whether you buy a shirt from them is none of my concern - I neither promote or am paid by them, so what do I care! But definitely check it out for some inspiration next time you're feeling like skipping the gym.

Stuck in a rut? This online exercise library helped me!

I love the gym, but sometimes I get bored with the same old routine. And so does my body! But even though I'm well aware of the importance of switching things up every couple of weeks to keep shedding fat and growing my muscles, I sometimes get stuck in a rut. I'm not an expert (yet), so I'm thankful for the experts at ACE Fitness for ACE GetFit - a FREE online library of exercises!

One area I'm focusing on now is abs, and the online library of ab exercises is simply amazing - I can even access it on my smart phone while I'm at the gym. It's like having your own personal trainer.

Now, if you can afford a personal trainer, by all means hire one - they not only motivate but teach, and that's invaluable. But if you can't afford a trainer but are looking to change it up at the gym, look no further than the ACE GetFit exercise library. And thank me when you do!