First things First for Fitness


Okay, so if you read my first entry, you know that we undertook Martial Arts as a Family group and it helped us collectively as a family unit. In addition to the TKD, I began meeting some fella’s at the gym at 4:30am. Yep, you read that right. We met 3-4 days a week at a gym and worked out. We even did P90X not once, not twice, but three times. Not because we were that great of shape, but because it took us three full attempts to kind of be able to do all the things it called for. Additionally my oldest Son (Dalton) decided that he wanted to start working out with me. Hold on to your hats folks, this meant that I would now be going to the gym twice on some days.

Here is an example of what a regular workout & TKD week looked like:

Monday – Wednesday – Friday:

04:30-05:30 1hr of routine weight training (mostly standard routines or have been shown by others )

05:30-05:50 Drive home to wake up and pick up Dalton

06:00-06:45 45 minutes of routine weight training (standard lifting such as bench, squat, curls, etc.)

17:00-1800 (5-6pm) Tae Kwon Do session

Tuesday – Thursday:

Evenings 1-2 hrs. of TKD

Whew, I am just tired looking back on that schedule…….

The answer to the next question that may come to mind may surprise you. Here’s the question: “I bet all this exercise and movement got you guys get into great shape?” The answer is a bit painful……it did help a little; however, all of this really did not help my overall fitness and personal weight. It seems unreal that all the early morning exercising, practicing, sparring and evening sessions would not influence major weight changes and cause major overall improvement of my fitness. The cold hard fact is “I simply COULD NOT out exercise my own BAD DIET“.

After some serious personal soul searching, I realized the need for me to make real changes in order to reap healthy benefits.  I began a quest to seek out how other people with my similar weight issues were able to make successful long term changes.  Sure, we’ve all seen the infomercials for the latest Magic Diet or 20 Minutes Exercise program that will change us into chiseled granite.  Just 19.99 or 99.99, and you too can look like the TV models.  At first, it felt like a never ending process of reading about things I had to buy or try.  Don’t worry though; I am not going to point you to the magic solution or even a program that I would most recommend you buy.  Instead, I plan on using this forum to share some principles of change that have been followed successfully for years by physically fit and overall healthy people.  Nothing I post or state will be earth shaking new or something that has not been known by many folks for years.  However, I am living proof that implementing these principles do work and they helped me (and my family) to improve health & overall fitness.

One of the hardest things that I ever did was have my oldest son take a photo of me without a shirt on.  Why did I do this?  Well I needed to actually “see myself” in an unaltered painfully truthful way.  Oh man, this was painful!  There before my own eyes was the brutal reality of years of poor choices.  Could that big bellied rascal ever really look different?  Was I destined to always look this way due to my genetics? After all, I couldn’t possibly workout more…………..then the words from years past, spoken to me by a Friend (who was a Natural Body Builder), echoed in the deep closets of my mind. “Chris, in order to achieve lasting changes to your body, you have to first change the junk that you’re eating”.  Of course, I just shrugged at the time while mumbling “Yea, whatever”.

As many of us men can be, I was too stubborn to reach out to him or maybe just too embarrassed to face him.  Whatever the case, I knew that my eating had to change in order to see a physical change.  Furthermore, I needed to be the example for my kids of how to eat healthy and how doing so will reap benefits.  You know it always seems to come back to living by example and not talking about it.  This holds true for our outward living for Christ as an example for our kids and all other aspects of Fatherly areas of guidance that should be led by our example.

After some thoughtful consideration, I decided to share a visual of where I physically started from and what today looks like.  Before looking at the pic, please understand that this is in no way intended to be a fishing expedition for comments.  I just want you to know if this fat rascal can change, then so can you!

214 lbs                       169lbsImage

Before starting to make changes, my daily regiment including taking High Blood Pressure medicine (12+yrs), Re-flux Meds (10+yrs), and other Heart related meds (10+yrs).  After the first 30 days of change, God blessed the efforts by allowing me to get off all of the medicines.  Additionally, I still have not had to take any of these medicines for the last 9 months.  It still amazes me when I take my blood pressure how it has dropped and maintained near perfect readings.

Hmm, does that mean that the key to the health mobile is not found in exercising and the latest program fad?  All those long slow cardio sessions and long workouts following the latest Exercise Guru in futile attempts to lose weight and get my blood pressure down, didn’t really help a thing.  Are you kidding me…….Ah, but that’s a story to be shared another time.  My belief is that the actual KEY to Fitness and Health can be found in what we eat!  Of course, many also subscribe to the belief that it’s more about quantity of food and not so much quality.  We’ll start slowly to peel back the layers of this complex onion.

“Where do I start”, is often the question that I have been asked.  I would say start with the elbow before any other body part.  Get that thing slowed down and pointed in the right eating direction.  One of the fella’s that I interacted with during the early stages of change is a Pastor named Mark who lost over 100lbs.  Now 100lbs of fat loss is pretty incredible, but that’s not what stuck with me.  It was a statement he made that has stuck like glue.  When Mark is asked what does he eat? He responds, “If God created it then I eat it”.  Seems simple huh?!  I add a bit to that simple statement when asked what I eat.  I usually respond with, “If God created it, then I’ll eat it.  But if man added to it or messed with it, then I leave it”.  That statement sums up the basis for my posts on eating & diet moving forward.

Now Step One, get a pencil and a paper and write down every single thing you eat or drink and what time you consumed it.  Do this every day for a week (or two).  You’re probably asking yourself about now, “Is this really necessary?”  My response is “Yes”.  If you do this first, you’ll see some trouble areas right away.  In fact, this same process is the one that I still use today.  Now, I am not suggesting writing the complete details for every product like the carbs, protein, calories, sugars, etc.  Just document the name and portion size if possible.  Keeping a simple food journal allows you to identify not only the bad, but as you lose weight, you will identify what works for you (or does not work).

So, that is your virtual homework until the next time.  Remember that our body is God’s Temple, so we will explore some ideas on doing our part to take care of it!

Until the next time…….

Chris Denson

BTW:  I plan on alternating these posts between exercise activities and diet related topics.  Please feel free to leave me comments on the topics that you want to see for fitness or eating and I’ll try to address them in the future.


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