Blake Ordway

Software Developer, Pensacola, FL

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The Trigger:

I was at Disney World in May 2018 when I realized that with all the heat, walking, standing in lines, I was uncomfortable in my body. I was never obese, but rather just a bit larger than I would like. I started working out the next week!

The Change:

First, my nutrition changed drastically. In July 2018, I wasn't losing as much fat as I wanted, in fact, I'm fairly sure I was gaining fat from overcompensating how many calories I needed. So I started the keto diet. This lasted about 6 weeks until I went on a business trip. During the diet, I went from 190 pounds to 165 pounds at my lowest. After I returned from Montreal, I had intentions to 'restart' the diet, but realized that I had only gained 3 pounds in 3 weeks up there eating almost whatever I wanted (I was walking 3 miles a day up there and working out some). Since then, I've watched what I eat--resulting in fewer desserts/sweets and definitely less overeating in general!

The day that I got a gym membership, I also ended up buying an Apple Watch to try to help motivate me to go to the gym ("I can't not go to the gym or else I've wasted $350!!!" I told myself).

The first day I went to the gym, I had no real goals other than: I need to be more active since I sit around on a computer all day. The next day, I remember I looked around for a good fitness app that would also work on the phone. One of the most highly rated ones was  Fitbod. I instantly fell in love with the app. The user interface was mesmerizing; the muscle recovery percentage was something I'd never seen before. Of course, also having Apple Watch (and Health!) integration was a key factor in my decision. Ultimately, I ended up sticking with  Fitbod because I didn't know how I wanted to work out. When I started out, I had no direction in which exercises I should do, or how to do more complex ones.  Fitbod gave me that direction when I needed it. At the start, each day I was given new exercises that I had never done before. Each workout was logged. When I started working out, I probably only worked out 2 or 3 times a week. This resulted in me actually getting to my highest weight of 190 pounds, probably from my brain over compensating how much food I should be eating. That's when I started keto. 

I had signed up to become a beta tester. So not only am I working out and helping myself in the gym, I'm also helping others have better workouts by making sure the updates that get pushed to them work like they should! I've had a blast being able to see the new features that come out of Fitbod. 

Finally, I started going to my gym 4 or 5 times a week based on how my muscles feel, and every day I'm not at the gym, I do a 20-30 minute walk to make sure I get my exercise in! (At the writing of this, I'm on a 52 day move streak on my Apple Watch!). I had a DXA scan done right around this time and ended up getting results of 22% body fat at 170 lbs. Now I'm around 170 lbs, but have since seen my lifts increase, so I can only assume my body fat has decreased significantly (probably closer to 15% now). 

In the last two months, I've started meditating 10-20 minutes a day to help calm my restless mind.

Results:

Sometimes I look in the mirror and think, "Wow. I've been working out for 6 months--3 months heavily--and I see so few results." And then, I look at older pictures and realize that I had a bit of a stomach; there was some arm fat that's now gone; my forearms are more vascular; my face is slimmer. And if I don't think that's true, I can simply go into the FitBod app and look at my very first workout and realize how far I've come. (My first dumbbell bench press was 12 x 12.5 lbs--the other day I did 6 x 45 easily).

Looking at any weight above 35 lbs was daunting to me when I started. I felt like everyone else at the gym was so much more advanced than I was. But now, because I stuck with my routine, I feel like I fit right in. Some lifts I still struggle on, but I know that if I continue, I'll eventually get to where I want to be. 

Honestly, I never used to walk past a mirror and check myself out, but now I do. Almost every time. My fiancee has noticed I do this as well and just laughs at me. I feel more confident in my own body as a result of being pushed in the gym. All in all, I feel more energetic (most days!), more confident, and more relaxed since my stress disappears after the gym.

Advice for others:

My biggest advice for working out specifically is to have a set time that you're going to workout. For me, it's right after work. I bike about .3 miles to the gym after I finish work (at any given time, usually 4:45pm-6:00pm based on the day). Some Saturdays I go to the gym, but that's if I'm motivated on that particular day. Most days I'm still motivated to go to the gym since I'm seeing gains, but having a specific time when I told myself I had to workout really helped me.

My second piece of advice is to meet people at the gym. The experience of the gym is a lot more enjoyable now that I know people there. It's become a social time that I can enjoy.

 

Disclaimer: This post has been edited for brevity and clarity.

 
Jesse Venticinque