At Christmas, like many of us, I noticed that I had put on a couple of extra kilos. I felt bigger and heavier than I had for a while. I needed to do something. Back in 2015, I embarked on my first ever Body Experiment . Thanks to the Tim Ferris book, the 4 Hour Body and a friend badgering me. In 2015, I dropped from 104kg to 85kg in 5 months. An incredible feat, something that I thought was impossible. This year, my focus was on getting healthier, not simply losing weight.
Just after Christmas, I weighed in at just over 93kg. In nearly 5 years, I had managed to slip, and start to put on weight. 8kgs of more weight to carry around. It’s a slow and steady process, but worst still, it’s very easy to not even realise.
So once that penny dropped, something clicked inside me, just like back in 2015. I knew what I wanted to achieve. At 36, I’m on the fast track to 40, and in the back of my head, I was thinking it’s now or never.
After having had such success with the Slow Carb Diet in the 4HB book, the diet element was clear. So I started eating healthy again. That helped a lot, and fast, as the 4HB does for most people.
Next up was a plan to exercise. That’s a bigger challenge for me. I haven’t ever exercised for prolonged periods. Never really been very interested in it, which now that I think about it, I realise was a bad way to work.
So I wanted to start doing something, and I knew I couldn’t dive right in. When you’re starting from nothing, you have to build up. Another mistake I learned very quickly after deciding to try and do 75 kettlebell swings, and then not being able to walk properly for 3 days.
I had to start doing something and then build.
Getting Healthier: A Simple Start
My plan to get started was simple. I was eating healthy already, weight was dropping off, so I figured, let’s add 10 press-ups every day. That’s it. Just 10 press-ups, and see how I felt, and that I could keep it going.
For the first 2 weeks, I continued, usually in the mornings, but sometimes in the afternoons, to perform a simple set of 10 press-ups. At first, it was a challenge to even do that. Then, by the end of week 2, I realised that it was starting to feel much easier than it did at the beginning.
Like so many things in like, I guess, getting healthier was about small incremental changes that helped me towards a far bigger goal.
Tracking To Make Sure I Was Getting Healthier
At this point I want to jump in to say, I’m a data nut. I love data, what it can help us learn, understand and predict. Working in Digital Marketing opened my eyes, 12 years ago, to just how powerful the data was. That then ported to my personal life, with the invention of Apple Watch and the other such tracking apps on our phone.
I was able to keep a close eye on what I had done, what I had been doing, what results from that had on me. Back in 2015, I kept a food journal and regularly weighed in, as well as recorded how I was feeling throughout the process.
This time was no different. So I can show the data that has helped me on this journey.
Back to Getting Healthier: The Exercise
After 2 weeks of just 10 press-ups, it was time to start increasing the exercise input. So it became 2 sets of 10 press-ups and a set of 10 squats for good measure.
These are easy to do exercises, require no equipment and takes nearly no time at all. It was the perfect “you’re all out of excuses Chris” kind of exercise program.
I needed, and I’m sure others do too, an exercise programme that I could stick to, that was realistic for my abilities and that wouldn’t take too much time.
Getting Healthier Incrementally
From then, every week I increased the exercises, bit by bit, each week. Before I knew it, a couple of months had passed and my exercise routine was blooming (at least at my level).
- Week 1: 10 Press-ups Daily
- Week 2: 10 Press-ups Daily
- Week 3: 2 x 10 Press-ups + 10 Squats Daily
- Week 4: 2 x 10 Press-ups + 2 x 10 Squats + 5 Bicep Curls Daily
- Week 5: 3 x 10 Press-ups + 2 x 10 Squats + 2 x 5 Bicep Curls Daily
- Week 6: 3 x 10 Press-ups + 3 x 10 Squats + 3 x 5 Bicep Curls Daily
- Week 7: 3 x 10 Press-ups + 3 x 10 Squats + 3 x 5 Bicep Curls Daily
- Week 8: 2 x 15 Press-ups + 2 x 15 Squats + 2 x 7 Bicep Curls Daily
- Week 9: 2 x 15 Press-ups + 2 x 15 Squats + 2 x 8 Bicep Curls Daily
- Week 10: 2 x 15 Press-ups + 2 x 15 Squats + 2 x 8 Bicep Curls Daily
- Week 11: 2 x 18 Press-ups + 2 x 15 Squats + 2 x 9 Bicep Curls Daily + 0-5k App – 3 x (~3km) runs + 4 x 4km walks
- Week 12: 1 X 22 Press-ups + 20 Squats + 10 Bicep Curls + 15 Shoulder Exercises (with band) Daily + 0-5k App – 4 x (~4km) runs + 3 x 4km Walks
This was all about getting healthier, more than anything else, so I wasn’t looking for weight loss directly, that had already been taken care of through the 4HB Slow Carb Diet. But getting stronger, and building a habit of exercising every day was very important to me.
When I first started, 10 press-ups was a challenge. It is for most of us if you haven’t exercised for years.
But now, with increasing exercises, adding in running, and then continuing to build by adding in more stretching and maybe some yoga, I can honestly say, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting healthier.
I’ve still got a long way to go, but I wanted to share this because too many of us are scared of getting started because it can be very hard. No one has to go from a standing start to push through a 60-minute workout. It all takes time and progress.
Just getting started was the hardest step for me. 3 months down the line, I feel confident about keeping exercise in my daily routine going forward. But it all started with just 10 press-ups every day.