As part of training I’ve been doing recently, I’ve been learning a lot about the advanced functions of Microsoft Excel. This includes formulas and conditional formatting (*yawn!) So I’ve been geeky this past week making up a pretty spreadsheet that shows my fitness progress to date; and it’s all singing all dancing too, as the cells automatically change colour to show my progress at a glance. You’ll get to see my work of art in a moment. I’ve done this because sometimes it just helps to see the bigger picture, rather than “winging it” week after week and just hoping I lose fat or gain muscle. More on that shortly, but right now I’m feeling better than ever.
When I started on this fitness journey, I was solely focused on losing ‘weight’, nothing else, just shredding off body fat, and let’s face it there was a lot of it too. 231 pounds of Brophy flubber, which in our more familiar and preferred British weight format is 16 stone and 7lbs (16 1/2 stone).
However, as time has gone by I’ve become less obsessed with losing “weight” and more focused on my overall body composition. This means I’ve been taking into consideration many factors such as muscle mass, visceral fat and my BMI for example. To be fair, what is more important is that I feel good.
I would say that I look good now too, and I don’t mean that in a big-headed way because let’s face it I’m not exactly Jason Statham. What I mean is that I look good in formal wear, in casuals, in swimming gear, in shorts and so on. There’s no clothing that makes me look like a huge wobbling pile of ugly blubber like I was in August last year. I’ve not hit my target yet and I didn’t expect to by now either, but I feel good about myself and that’s what really matters to me.
What’s really weird is that I can stand naked, look down and see below the belly now! There are things down there I didn’t even know I had…. my feet if you must know… (keep your rude jokes to yourself please!! 😉 I can look in the mirror whilst wearing a suit and know that I look ok now. Again, I’m not a funky hunky handsome fella destined for a career in modelling. I’m just a former obese guy who is proud of his fitness achievements so far. It’s been hard work and that hard work must continue.
Let’s look at my Excel work of art!
I’ll explain this in simple terms just in case you’re not familiar with the jargon you’ll see in the cells below. Firstly, you’ll see the dates down the left-hand column, each one a week apart since starting on my fitness journey last August. Across the top there are various columns:
- Weight: This is in lbs (pounds)
- Bone: Also in pounds; this is my bone health!
- Body Fat: This is the percentage of my body which is fat
- Muscle Mass: An obvious one. Needs no explanation
- Body Water: In percent, my total amount of body water
- Visceral Fat: That’s the flab around my belly!
- BMI: Oh the doctors obsess over this one! It’s the figure that shows how healthy you are for your age and height.
CLICK THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE!
Underneath the headings, you will see my “healthy target” for each category of weight, bone, fat, etc. This has been researched by myself and is based on a person of my height and age. So your target would be much different. This is followed by an indication of how much fat, muscle, water, I have lost since I started on my fitness journey. You’ll note that I’ve made great progress in all of these areas.
As you can see, the start of my journey was in the red. This means I was in poor health right across the board. In BMI terms I was obese and only entered the “overweight” category in the week of October 3rd last year. I am still overweight and need to get below a BMI of 25 to go green! At this rate, I could be another 6 months away from that!
Weight wise, you’ll see it’s not always been a steady loss, and that’s the kind of thing that makes people quit. Not me! You see, those people who have standard bathroom scales that display ‘overall’ weight are the kind of people who would have given up by now. But my scales are advanced and produce detailed information which I’ve shown in my spreadsheet here. My BMI has been going down, and I’ve noticed there’s a difference every week to my overall physique. If I wasn’t noticing these kind of changes, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to continue I don’t think.
This isn’t solely about losing weight though. It’s about fat, muscle, bone, water, BMI and feelings! Take a look at the chart and check out my progress to date. There are some progress images below also.
It’s very important that you have goals if you’re like me … on a fitness journey. I don’t believe that anybody should just jump around in a gym, lift any old size weights however they like and eat well one day and unhealthily the next. You need structure and motivation.
Until recently I didn’t realise just how much science there is behind weight lifting. For example, the actual weight you lift, how you lift it, how long you rest between sets and the tempo you lift at are all important factors to consider when creating a workout plan. It’s the same with running. I always thought I could jump on a treadmill 3 days a week and lose a load of weight, but I’ve since learnt that I’d shred fat quicker by doing HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training, something that I’ve been doing since September last year. All of those workouts I’ve been talking about in Part Two onwards are all HIIT workouts.
I monitor what food I’m eating and when I eat it too, including watching those portion sizes, and as you can see I have overall fitness goals, such as to get to a BMI of 25; an overall weight of just over 12 stone would be ideal. But as I’ve said before, it’s about feeling good and how I look with my clothes on that matters, not solely about what scales are showing. In fact, I’ve lost several inches of fat around the waist and chest since starting on this journey! I’ve lost an inch off my waist since the beginning of March.
Right now, I feel amazing, I look better than I have done for well over a decade and this has helped boost my self-esteem, kill stress and helped me handle situations more calmly than I did before I started on this journey.
So how am I looking now compared to how I looked 8 months ago today when I started on my fitness journey?
I’ve heard from a number of people over the past few weeks (via Facebook) who have congratulated me on my fitness success so far. Many have asked how I do it, and I simply send them to this site and request that they read from Part One How I Changed My Life For The Better I’m not being lazy nor avoiding conversation. I think it’s important that people read more about me, my background, my challenges, my interests and life before they think they can lose weight the way I have.
There are many different kinds of “diets” and even more ways of exercising for weight loss and there’s no perfect solution for everyone. You should research what’s out there and do something that suits you. What will you enjoy? There’s very little point in buying a treadmill if you hate running. There’s no point in buying weights if you have a bad back or a heart condition! My first recommendation is to go and see your doctor and get the all clear before exercising or changing your diet, because it’s a big deal, a huge step and shock to your system.
Remember this; I hadn’t exercised properly for a very long time. I’d never eaten a salad nor any cereal before, and the thought of drinking water made me put off my fitness journey for years. What you have been seeing here on my journey is a complete transformation from fat to fit without going on any diet (no Atkins diets etc!) and I haven’t been down at the gym all the time. I made gradual changes to what I ate and did my workouts at home in my large kitchen area.
Healthy food doesn’t cost a lot of money and crash diets are dangerous, so take everything at a steady pace. You won’t go from fat to fit overnight. It takes time, patience and loads of motivation. If you’re not “feeling it!” then drop me a line and I’ll motivate you as much as possible. Sometimes it’s about having someone to cheer you on, offer support and encouragement, and if I can offer that then I’ve achieved the main objective of this site.
I’m not 100% there myself, so please keep showing your support here and across social media. It’s always great to read your messages of support, and again I’m here to offer it back.
No excuses. You can do this!
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* Main image: “Relaxing”: photography by Chris Bedwell