By Bart Zandbergen
It was time for a reset. After so many years of being committed to a fit lifestyle, there are certain things you can pick-up in the way you feel that are actually signals from your body telling you that you need to adjust. Just like our smart phones and devices, every device seems to work well again after a brief realignment of its internal systems.
As a sommelier, many would think giving up wine would have been a challenge for me which of course is essential in a fitness challenge. The reason for this is two-fold. For one, alcohol = empty calories, which makes it hard to reach ultimate body fat goals. Second, alcohol is a diuretic and causes dehydration which can be detrimental in workouts. That being said, I had my eye on the prize so it was actually not much of an obstacle to give up my wine temporarily. However, I did choose to have one wine dinner around day 45 of my challenge though. It was a great winery and my progress was on point, so I decided to enjoy the wine but made sure to make smart food choices and limit my consumption to two, half glass tastes.
Most people think that when they agree to a fitness challenge they will always be hungry or have low energy. For me, I have found it has a lot to do with managing your food intake and energy output. Although I have completed various fitness challenges throughout my life, this time around I chose to keep my calories higher which helped me manage moments when I could have felt an energy lull.
I think it’s also key to understand body fat vs weight loss. These are two completely different things as muscle weighs more than fat, so two people at the same “weight” with different body fat levels can actually be at very different true fitness levels. Additionally, we all have different body types, frames, density, and muscle amounts. This is why one of my biggest pet peeves is with the National Health Charts that state the “optimum weight” for one’s gender and height –they are way too generalized to be accurate. For example, if those charts were accurate, I would be close to being considered obese at 6’3” and 200lbs with 10% body fat! Personally, I believe body fat percentage is a truer metric to go by versus weight.
To start and effectively finish a fitness challenge, the key is to have clear goals, stick to your strategy and modify as needed to course correct, be accountable and measure your results.
Here were my goals:
Starting Body Fat 14.5% – Goal Body Fat 9.9% or less
Keep Body weight as high as possible – strive to lower body fat
Starting Body Weight – 206
Here were the basics of my strategy:
Nutrition – Choose whole foods that are organic, fresh, NON- GMO, grass fed and free range
Keep my calories between 2400-2500
Ensure my Macronutrient intake was at: 50% Protein/25% Fat/ 25% Carb
No Wine or Alcohol
Fitness – Weight Train 6x per week, Cardio 7 days per week at 30-40 minutes per day.
Accountability – My Fitness Pal for Daily Tracking of food and activity. Weekly weigh-ins and body fat test.
These components were key in helping me reach my desired goals. I’m grateful that over the years I have learned how to manage my body to achieve results in a healthy, effective way. Ultimately, I did get very close to my goals. On day 60 my body fat was 10.5% and my final weight was 198. I lost very little weight overall and was within a percent of my target body fat. I have decided these challenges for me will be essential 1-2 times per year and look forward to pushing myself to achieve new levels of overall health.
As both a wine and fitness enthusiast, I am constantly walking a “tight rope” to maintain my optimum fitness level, while still enjoying something that I’m passionate about. I have learned that “moderation”, like in most things in life, is most relevant to wine and fitness.