As I haven't made this blog known until now, feel free to read the first entry, below, to find out what it's all about.
I wish I had taken my "before" photos sooner, since I've been doing strength training the last couple of months (when I was running very little or not at all). But, since my "before" condition isn't too terrible (if I can say that myself), it should provide an even greater challenge to tighten the abs even more, while hopefully adding a bit more muscle and strengthening my core.
Just "getting sharper abs" is a bit of an amorphous goal. After all, how do you define success? It's a matter of degrees, I suppose. I know in my mind what I'm looking for. I suppose I could throw a bodyweight and waist measurement goal out. How about 160 lbs. with a waist under 31", by my 44th birthday (Feb. 28, 2011). That would mean a net gain of 8 lbs. of muscle with less bodyfat. That's a pretty lofty goal in that time frame, I know. I do have the benefit of "muscle memory", meaning I used to lift weights fairly seriously until I started running again in January of 2009. I could also throw in a bodyfat measurement, since I have a Tanita scale that gives that reading, but I don't know how accurate it is...and I tend to look more at waist measurement (and appearance) anyway as a gauge.
I guess I should briefly outline my plan of attack. Weights 2-3 days per week and slightly smaller food portions than I've been eating. Vague? I know. I'm going heavy on the fruits and veggies and light on the red meat. Supplements consist of a multi vitamin, vitamin C, Glucosamine, fish oil, and flaxseed oil. Breakfast tends to be a bowl of Cheerios with raisins (or half a banana) on top...or oatmeal with raisins, walnuts & honey, and an english muffin with Adams all-natural peanut butter. I usually eat a lunch consisting of a hard-boiled egg, an orange, half of a large apple, carrot sticks, maybe a slice of wheat toast with Adams all-natural peanut butter, and water. I'm trying to get back into the habit of eating healthy mid-morning and afternoon snacks in order to keep the nutrition flowing all day. As for dinner, I don't want to rock the boat too much...and my wife usually makes nutritious meals, so I'll just eat appropriate portions of our usual dinner. As the final date looms nearer, I'll probably tighten up the dinner, maybe making my own most nights. When I say "final date", I don't mean my quest for lean muscularity and good eating will end there. That's just when I'll post my "after" photo. The journey will go on after that.
Where's the cardio in this approach? I wish it was alive and well, but as I'm in a walking boot for a heel injury, I'm unable to do any at this time (nor can I effectively work my leg muscles). That will make both muscle building and fat loss more difficult...as will the holidays, with all their goodies. Why exactly am I doing this now? Seriously, though, when I'm cleared to start cardio again, it'll likely be in the form of stationary bike, swimming, and possibly walking on a treadmill. Hopefully running won't be far behind.
As for my total approach (weights, diet, cardio), I'm basing it on a gentleman I've followed for years, Clarence Bass. He's an accomplished Olympic lifter, bodybuilder and fitness guru, now in his 70's. His philosophy has always made the most sense to me, regarding a balanced approach to getting and staying fit and healthy. I've gotten to know him via email over the years, and he's a great guy. While he's not a runner, I'll still be applying many of his ideas to my training. And talk about abs...holy cow, he's got 'em!
Anyway, without further adieu, here are my "before" photos. I'll always take the same poses for the weekly photos and include my weight and waist measurement, along with any other pertinent info I think of.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!