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It’s been 1 week since starting this challenge and unfortunately I don’t have much to show for it. Realistically, it’s not unusual to see little to no difference visually at this point. I have high expectations and it’s been a tough week, but I have faith the results I’m looking for will come at the end. I suppose the important takeaway from this week is adjusting to the strict guidelines both physically and mentally.

Being self-employed, I’ve had the luxury of sleeping a little longer than most people during the week. It’s been years since I’ve gotten up at 5:30 am so often. When I did, I certainly wasn’t exercising right afterward. However, it does feel really good getting it out of the way so that I can concentrate on work and other priorities. Is it possible I can become a morning person when the challenge is complete? Perhaps.

I’ll have some photos to show my progress but the majority of this entry will be discussing my routine. That includes everything from dealing with hunger, the exercise format, and an unexpected surprise. Of course, my main goal is to get a 6-pack but at the very least I’m guaranteed to shed the holiday pounds I put on. I’ve been yo-yo-ing 10 pounds up and down since my last challenge mainly due to bad eating habits. Now, unless I break or quit, my goal weight is finally going to happen.

Getting Into the Routine

I’m not the type of person who can just spring out of bed when the alarm goes off. I need some time to gradually wake up before getting right into exercising. What I’ve found extremely helpful is drinking a cup of tea beforehand. I’m trying to limit my caffeine intake which means sticking with organic and more natural teas. Celestial Seasonings have a variety of teas that fit this criteria. However, it’s their rooibos tea that I usually choose for my morning beverage.

Celestial Seasonings African Red Herbal tea, Rooibos Madagascar Vanilla, 20 Count Box (Pack of 6)

Why rooibos? There are many health benefits that make it stand out from the others. Some people say it is great to drink right before bed as sleepy time tea. Although, it’s not a sedative and I actually feel refreshed in the morning after finishing a cup. The taste isn’t anything spectacular but adding a teaspoon of monk fruit sugar adds the right amount of sweetness to make it enjoyable.

Exercising

Kettlebell Rack & Equipment
I moved the rack to my workout area for quicker access.

Shortly after tea time is when I begin exercising with kettlebells. That’s typically around 6:15 am at which point I’m fully awake. Now here comes that surprise I mentioned earlier. My wife has decided to join me during my workouts to help accelerate her own fitness goals. I was elated when she told me this because I know that using kettlebells will absolutely help her. So to be able to support each in this way is a huge motivator for both of us.

Instead of my usual cycle of favorite kettlebell workouts, I wanted to find routines we could do together. Something that wasn’t too easy for me but manageable for her. That means none of the workouts that I love to hate. Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises that scale well no matter what size kettlebell you’re using. So my focus has been choosing several and keeping the duration anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

One of the formats we’ve been enjoying is the Tabata style. That’s where you perform 20 seconds of exercises followed by 10 seconds of rest for a set time. It really gets the heart racing but has just enough recovery time to make it sustainable. For instance, on the very first day of the challenge we did four 4 minute sets of Tabata consisting of the kettlebell bob & weave, swings, high pulls, and cleans. I with my 45 lb. kettlebell and her with a 15 lb. kettlebell which provided an equally intense workout.

If you’re reading this because you want to tone up, build abs, or lose weight, see if you can convince your significant other to join. Time shouldn’t be an excuse and you’d be amazed at how far a little support can take you! I only wish I did a better job of convincing my wife a long time ago.

Dieting

Logging my dietary habits
An example of my logsheet for tracking diet and calories.

Here is the real challenge I’m faced with every day. I love food, especially unhealthy ones. The problem is that in order to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. It’s not possible to slim down when you eat pizza, Chinese food, and other junk on a regular basis. Well, perhaps if you have a very physical job that demands you move heavy objects around all day such as a warehouse worker. For us office folks, burning 400 calories in 20 minutes won’t be much of a factor when you chow down on a Big Mac Meal later in the day.

I’m not advocating for completely eliminating junk food from your life. Rather, it should just be on special occasions and not used as an excuse because of time constraints or stress. I’m lucky to be home all day away from coworkers and friends with their delicious smelling foods so as not to tempt me. I have a hard enough time going grocery shopping without being tempted!

Interestingly enough, limiting my caloric intake isn’t the most difficult part of my diet routine, it’s fasting until 2 pm. This is another benefit of the herbal teas I’ve been drinking as I’ve found them to be somewhat of an appetite suppressant. Although, I’ve been having Zero Calorie Monster Energy drinks before my eating window too. On the plus side, once I do reach my goal weight there is no need to continue intermittent fasting since it will just be about maintaining my body at that point.

Current Progress and Photos

Now it’s time to share my results. Again, nothing really too surprising. I’ve logged all of my results, workout routines, and food consumption in spreadsheets. Unless people are really curious, I’m not gonna clutter up the page with all that data. I’ll just focus on the basics. Otherwise, if you’d like, I can share these spreadsheets with a hyperlink in those areas.

Exercise & Caloric Intake Information

Each workout session was preceded by 50 ab roller exercises and light warm-up activities. Brief rest periods were done in between sets of Tabata and EMOM workouts. Nothing longer than a couple of minutes.

1/2/20

Weight: 174 lbs.
Calories Consumed: 867
Workout: 16 min. Tabata (4×4), 45 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 136 bpm average and 171 bpm peak.

1/3/20

Weight: 171.8 lbs
Calories Consumed: 1235
Workout: 16 min. Tabata (4×4), 45 lb. & 35 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 139 bpm average and 173 bpm peak.

1/4/20

Weight: 169.8 lbs.
Calories Consumed: 1281
Workout: OFF

1/5/20

Weight: 172.8 lbs
Calories Consumed: 1259
Workout: OFF

1/6/20

Weight: 170 lbs.
Calories Consumed: 1085
Workout: 16 min. EMOM (2×8), 45 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 143 bpm average and 171 bpm peak.

1/7/20

Weight: 169.6 lbs
Calories Consumed: 1085
Workout: 18 min. Tabata (3×6), 35 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 103 bpm average and 147 bpm peak.

1/8/20

Weight: 167.8 lbs.
Calories Consumed: 943
Workout: 20 min. Skogg System – Roots Level 2, 45 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 143 bpm average and 171 bpm peak.

1/9/20

Weight: 168.4 lbs
Calories Consumed: 1129
Workout: 20 min. Flow, 35 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 137 bpm average and 160 bpm peak.

My up and down weight is most likely due to various water levels in my body at those times. Overall, I lost roughly 6 pounds according to the numbers. The biggest drop coming after day 1. A large initial drop like that isn’t all that surprising when first starting a diet/exercise routine.

Physique After 1 Week

Day 8 - No noticeable changes
Day 8 – No noticeable changes

To the naked eye, there isn’t much change from when I started a week ago to now. Although, my wife does say she notices a slight difference and that it has firmed up a little bit in the stomach area. Hopefully the halfway point next week will provide some more exciting results.

Ryan Faucher

I'm a web designer and kettlebell enthusiast on a quest to lose fat, build muscles and live a healthier lifestyle. I truly believe that exercising with kettlebells in conjunction with dieting is the most effective and efficient way to reach this goal. If you have the will and motivation, there is no reason you can't do the same.
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