My buddy Kelly and I have been going to the gym for about a year now. I have always been in pretty good shape — I have run the LA Marathon three times; I rowed for Florida Crew in college; and I have been lifting weights pretty regularly for more than a decade — but this last year has just been amazing. I am without a doubt in the best shape of my life. My body fat is low and my stamina is high. I have seen greater gains in my max bench press and leg press than at any point since I started seriously exercising. I’m a pretty solid 200 lbs and most of it is muscle.
The only problem is my abs. It seems like I’ve spent my whole life trying to get a washboard stomach. In just about three months I’ll be 36. (Kelly is 43.) So now I’m going to do something drastic.
This Saturday (the 21st) Kelly and I are going to visit a company that offers a mobile hydrostatic body fat analysis. We’ll jump into a big tank and the technicians will accurately measure our body fat. (I really have no idea at all what my current body fat percentage is. I’ve read that you can’t see a guy’s abs unless he’s got less than 12% body fat, so I’m assuming I’m somewhere around 17%. We’ll see.)
And then starting on Monday we are going to begin the Testosterone Nation Velocity Diet. This four-week program has been designed with one goal: to help a guy get a washboard stomach. You can read all of the details at the website, but the quick and dirty description of it goes like this: For four weeks you consume nothing except specially-formulated protein shakes, supplements, and one “solid food meal” per week. (I have already told Kelly that I will be cheating by having my 16 oz ‘regular’ Starbucks every morning, but otherwise I will be sticking to the program, and unless I’m wildly mistaken, coffee is not fattening.) Based on the algorithm provided by the makers of the system, I’ll be taking in approximately 1400 calories on non-workout days and 1600 calories on days when we hit the gym.
We’ve already purchased all the shake mixes and supplements and they’re sitting right here in my office. I spent just about $500 for four weeks’ worth of “food”. (Kelly spent a little more because he’s 30 lbs bigger than I am.) That’s certainly not bad when you consider I usually spend $10/weekday just on lunches.
The “diet” includes an intensive workout regimen which includes at least 3 full-body workouts each week in addition to numerous “light” workouts (e.g. 5 mile brisk walks, jumping jacks, etc.) every day.
The folks at my office have been quite merciless about it. Most are worried that I am going to go ballistic after a few days of not being able to eat “real” food. Or they just think we are crazy. We had a company lunch at Tony Roma’s today and they presented Kelly and me with custom t-shirts they had made. On the back of the shirt is a top ten list of “Reasons Why This Diet Won’t Work”, although, incongruously, they claimed this was for moral support.
I’ll take a bunch of photographs this weekend of myself so that — hopefully — in a month I’ll be able to post “before” and “after” shots and be ready to appear on Oprah.
Sidebar #1: I do not think I have honestly gone a full month without consuming any alcohol since I turned fifteen, so it will be interesting to see if I notice. I’d say I average about two beers and two glasses of wine each week, with a cocktail or two on the weekends. I haven’t been a “serious” drinker since I graduated college.
Sidebar #2: In a wicked twist of fate, I gave up two of my favorite foods — potatoes and popcorn — for Lent. So that means by the time the diet is over I will have gone more than two months without any popcorn or potato products (chips, french fries, baked, mashed …). That is definitely something I have never done.
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