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  • The Maintenance Routine

    If you've followed my journal, you know that last week I achieved my weight goal and am still bound for a bit more muscle and a leaner body. After a well deserved break over the weekend, I'm beginning a maintenance program to stay where I want to be.

    Oh, you thought it was over? No way! Getting back in shape was only the beginning of the journey. Now comes the hard part. Staying that way.

    The routine this week will consist of three “heavy” days with weights and the Total Gym, and three “light” days of abs and Gazelle.

    Today is Chest and Back day. I did three sets of 10 of: Bench Press @ 100 lbs, Low Seated Rows @ 100 lbs, Inclined Bench Press @ 85 lbs, Bent Over Barbell Rows @ 85 lbs, Seated Upright Presses @ 50 lbs, and Kneeling Dumbbell Rows @ 50 lbs. I'll toss in three sets of 10 pushups (106 lbs), then polish those off with two sets each of Rows and Chest Presses on the Total Gym at level 4, which is the equivalent of 53 lbs or 27% of body weight @ 190 lbs.

    If you're wondering about the declining weights, it's a technique used by most fitness professionals to exhaust the muscles entirely for maximum effect. For me, three sets of 10 reps at 100 pounds is enough to get my chest muscles and back muscles “pumped”, so in order to make sure I have fully exhausted the muscles, I perform additional sets with reduced weights to maintain the proper form.

    Tomorrow will be a concentrated Ab day, with the 250 exercise count. Seems to be working and I can't see changing it. Thursday and Saturday will be the same.

    Wednesday will be Arms and Shoulders, Friday will be Legs.

    I know it sounds a bit light after all the routines I've been doing, but there is a method in my madness. If you'll recall, when I first began this journey, my goal was to be in the best physical shape I could. That goal meant losing about 50 pounds and getting all my muscles back in tone. But it also meant learning to rethink my eating habits, and for the last six months, I've definitely learned to do that.

    I actually plan out my meals now, taking care to avoid excess carbs, sugars and fat, while concentrating on plenty of raw or steamed vegetables, with lean cuts of meats. While I am still a beef junkie (hey, typical American male, I guess), I vary my diet to include pork, chicken and fish during the week, and avoid frying in favor of baking, sauteing, or broiling. I plan to smoke more food when the weather improves, and there is always the occasional family barbecue, both methods which produce less fat and more flavor.

    The point of all this? Well, this is the second time in my adult life I've gone through this effort, and I don't want to have to do it again. Weight loss is not an easy thing to do, despite what the commercials tell you. It takes determination, hard work, and commitment to achieve the goal. So gaining weight now would be throwing away all that work. And I'm just not willing to do that.

    Here's today's menu as an example:

    Breakfast – Coffee, breakfast sandwich on English Toasting bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise on one slice and mustard on the other, two slices of crisp bacon, a slice of Swiss Cheese, and an egg fried hard in a non-stick pan with cooking spray instead of butter.

    Lunch – Can of Sardines in Mustard Sauce mashed with basil, turmeric, and garlic powder with a cheese snack and a navel orange.

    Dinner – Rontini with my own chicken, basil and tomato sauce and a light salad of lettuce, celery, carrots, spring onions, and beets. Coffee or tea, as desired.

    Snack – Microwave popcorn.

    Calories – about 1700, give or take a few. Well under the max of 2200 for me. Lots of protein and vitamins, all the things a growing boy needs to stay healthy.

    For the remainder of the week, I'll post the after notes like I always do, but I want to tell you: the menu you just read is not only satisfying, but delicious and very filling. So eating right doesn't mean you don't get to enjoy your food. It only means you learn to eat to live, not live to eat.

    If you are thinking about getting started on your own weight loss program and need help, let me know.

    Oh, and yes, I am currently working on a fitness book. Guess that is a given.

    I hope you are having a blessed and glorious day.

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