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"Sweat Everyday and Don't Put Crap In Your Body"

I'm going to talk about some body image/weight loss stuff, so if that's a trigger for you, I won't be hurt if you skip this one.

I'm sorry you have to look at my half-naked selfie, but sometimes a visual aid is the best way to illustrate a point.

The picture on the left is me last summer. The picture on the right is me this morning. I've dropped a good thirty pounds.

I know that weight is just a number, and often a harmful one to fixate on, so this is less about dropping pounds per se and more about getting to a point where I feel a lot better about myself and my body.

Since about February, I've been living by a mantra: Sweat everyday, and don't put crap in your body.

Before this, I was going to boot camp a few times a week and eating whatever the hell I wanted, whenever I wanted.

What I wanted was, by and large, crap.

I realized it was time to get serious about nutrition, and about working out smarter. For years, I'd taken for granted that my metabolism would get me out of any trouble I ate myself into. Now, I could sense how my body had finally had enough.

I made a few easy tweaks to my diet, right off the bat. I cut out junk food: candy and cookies, ice cream, chips. I stopped going out to eat and focused on cooking healthy meals at home.

And I cut out alcohol, which was painful because I'm a craft beer fanatic, but every night I asked myself whether I wanted a couple of beers or a six pack, and the six pack won out every time.

(I'm still working on the six pack, but I'm happy with my decision anyway.)

I was lucky to have an excellent boot camp trainer, Myles MacKinnon at 3rd Degree Training in Summerside, PEI, who was more than happy to talk through my nutrition questions with me, even when they were basic stuff that probably any adult should know.

These days, my diet goes something like this:

Mornings: A banana, plain greek yogurt with nuts, honey, berries and cocoa nibs mixed in. Probably some raw almonds. If I'm working out in the morning, I swap the yogurt for quick oats.

Lunch: Tuna or chicken sandwich with spinach on whole wheat bread. Baby carrots. An orange.

Afternoon snack/Pre-workout: Nuts/Berries/Grapes/Apple.

Post-workout: Protein Shake.

Dinner: Generally some kind of lean meat with a whole grain pasta or rice, and a spinach salad with goat cheese, baby tomatoes, berries and nuts. I'm partial to ground turkey or healthy chicken curries.

Dessert (not a daily thing): Some kind of healthy baking project I've been working on. Focus on portion size and no added sugar.

Evening snack: Hardboiled egg. A protein shake if I've worked out late. A scoop of crunchy almond butter before bed.

I'm not insane about limiting calories. If I'm hungry, I eat. I just eat healthy things that aren't crap instead of cookies and chips.

And I drink water. Lots of water. No pop or juice or Gatorade at all.

On the exercise side, I walk Lucy about 4kms a day in the mornings. Three days a week I go to boot camp in Summerside, which generally kicks my ass.

On Tuesdays, I do a personal training session in Summerside, which always kicks my ass.

Thursdays and Saturdays I do pushups all day (100-200) and then an interval circuit in the evenings.

Sunday I run 5k on the treadmill, alternating sprints with slower segments.

Before bed I'll often do a five-minute mini weight circuit of bicep curls, Arnold presses, a tricep exercise, chest flies and lat pullovers.

I'm not sure the specifics really matter so much, and I'm sure I could be designing more effective workouts. What matters to me is that I break a sweat every day, and that everything I put into my body has decent nutritional value.

Mostly. I still allow myself a beer on the weekend. And believe me, I savour it a heck of a lot more than I used to.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk about the other side of this equation, and why I had to tweak my mental game to keep up with my physical expectations.

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