Fitness Challenge: Looking to Trim Down Before Son’s Graduation

Last Updated on April 19, 2017 by Michael Brockbank

One of my sons graduates this year. In fact, I have just over a month before the big day. The sad part is that I haven’t lost as much weight as I wanted. So, my friend and I are challenging each other to trim down before the 20th of May. How much can I lose before she picks me up from Los Angeles? Here is my tentative plan.

The Plan to Trim Down Much as Possible in 30 Days

Me April 19, 2017
Me at 240 April 19, 2017

In the past, I haven’t been too committed when it comes to challenges. This one, however, has a bit more importance to it. Not only do I want to look my best for my son’s graduation, but it will also be the first time my family has seen me in a year.

While I’ve lost 40 pounds since then, I still have 50 to go to hit my goal. I know I won’t lose 50 pounds in 30 days, but I’m confident I can squeeze out another 10.

So, what is my plan to trim down before leaving California?

Increasing Physical Activity

Increasing physical activity does more than just help you lose weight. It improves the cardiovascular system, strengthens the body, reduces the impact from injuries and illnesses while enhancing your mood.

For instance, I was having severe heart troubles at the end of 2016. At times, I was truly impressed that I didn’t suffer a heart attack. Since I’ve increased my walking and physical activity, I’ve felt better than I have in years.

For this challenge, I am focusing on burning more than my average number of calories. Since I have a Fitbit Charge HR, I can track my calorie burn. My average burn was 2,859 calories per day last week. I will make sure I surpass that before the end of the night.

I’m not stopping there, though. Each week it will be my goal to surpass my average from the one before. This is quite easy to do, as long as I spend less time watching YouTube and Netflix.

Ways I will do this include:

  • Increasing my daily walks.
  • Gradually adding more exercises to strengthen and tone.
  • Doing more activities that cause me to sweat – thus increasing cardio.

The system is based on the rhythm of your heart. The faster your pulse, the more calories your body is consuming to keep you active. Being physical increases your heart rate.

If you’re following along and don’t have a Fitbit, then any activity beyond what you normally do is going to be beneficial. For instance, wake up to doing a few jumping jacks, walk around the block and crack out some push-ups. Any movement you make that is different from your regular routine is good.

It’s all about keeping the heart rate elevated. Just make sure you don’t over do it. There is such as thing as too much, especially if you’re incredibly out of shape. Pushing too hard could land you in the emergency room.

Sticking to Reduced Food Intake

Too Much FoodAnother obvious aspect to losing weight is reducing the food intake. It’s not just reducing how much you eat, though. You need to include some healthier alternatives. Increase fruits and vegetables while reducing carbs is a good place to start.

I don’t believe in starving yourself or denying some of the finer foods in life. I’m living proof you don’t need to be on a fad diet plan. I do, unfortunately, have a bit of an issue when it comes to snacking.

My goal to trim down in this challenge is to maintain a 1200 calorie diet according to MyFitnessPal. I need to keep my balance in the green. If you don’t know what MyFitnessPal is, it’s an app that tracks the type of food you eat while adjusting your caloric balance with your physical activity.

If you exercise more, the calories are deducted from your total for the day.

In reality, 1200 calories is actually quite low – especially if you increase physical activity. If I begin to feel sick or start feeling too tired, I’ll increase it to 1500.

It’s not just calories you need to consider, though. You can have nothing but cupcakes all day and still maintain a specific calorie diet. However, the health benefits wouldn’t be there. If you’re following along, eat a balance of nutritious goodies to keep yourself from falling apart.

I will recording every single thing I consume and you can see my progress by visiting my profile on MyFitnessPal.

Increase Water Intake

WaterDrinking more water is one of those things that helps a variety of things in the body. Not only does it help you flush excess elements out of your system, but it also helps improve everything from digestion to thinking clearly. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the things I have the biggest problem remembering to do.

The goal to trim down this time is to make sure I drink 32oz before lunch, 32oz before dinner and 32oz before bed. For me, that is a lot of water. There is currently a bit of debate surrounding how much is the perfect amount for drinking water. According to the Harvard Medical School, the perfect amount of water is different for everyone.

But, this plan will vastly increase how much I normally drink.

Personally, I keep a 32oz water bottle sitting next to my desk. It helps remember to drink water, especially when I run out of coffee.

Think of it this way. You want to drink enough water to turn your urine clear. The more clear it is, the more hydrated you’ve become. Good luck to you if you eat a lot of asparagus.

Getting More Sleep

A lack of sleep is extremely disruptive when you’re trying to be healthy. It can cause everything from high blood pressure to hallucinations and a lack of concentration. It will also sap your motivation and compound the difficulty of doing exercises.

I’ve done a decent job of getting enough sleep over the last week or so. I’ve been drinking the Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Echinacea Complete Care tea. It’s loaded with vitamins and all kinds of goodies to help you sleep as well as keep you from getting sick.

Sleeping at WorkThe human body does a lot when it’s resting. From fighting off illness to repairing various systems, getting rest doesn’t just keep you from feeling tired throughout the day. It’s advisable to get between seven and nine hours of rest each night. Again, my Fitbit tracks this and I will use it to develop a sleep strategy.

What is a sleep strategy? See, quality sleep is different from just simply resting. When you’re restless or wake up in the middle of the night, it stops you from getting quality sleep. Since the Fitbit tracks my movement and heart rate, it shows when I am actually sleeping and restless.

Using these numbers, I can determine how long I need to be in bed to reach seven hours of quality sleep. On a side note, that Sleepytime tea has made a huge impact in how restless I am throughout the night.

And that’s the plan…

I still have a lot of work to trim down before my ultimate goal of dressing like Captain America for Halloween. However, I am confident I will look pretty good by the time I get to my son’s graduation. The reality is that I am proud of myself for getting this far. I feel better, I’m stronger and I geek out when I feel how dense my chest is getting.

It’s not vanity to appreciate the amount of work you put into yourself to be healthy and capable of going grocery shopping without driving around in a cart.

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About Author

Michael Brockbank

Since 2015, Michael has put in the effort to lose more than 80 pounds by gamifying fitness and eating proper portion sizes. He conducts extensive research into various health and fitness products to provide the best answers possible according to his own experience and knowledge.

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