Burning fat, building muscle ABSolutely a lot of work

SANDUSKY A lot has changed since my first column ran in January. My mission was to de
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



A lot has changed since my first column ran in January.

My mission was to develop the body of a Greek god.

I won't lie. I've slacked off.

I started out extremely motivated. For about one month, I worked out at least four days a week and was eating six to eight meals a day.

My mission was not to lose weight, but to gain a few pounds of muscle. The plan was to build muscle first and then burn my fat.

I was following a workout plan detailed in a muscle and fitness magazine.

I told myself a bulky cut-up black guy on the cover was gonna be me by the summer. Not likely. But the magazine detailed the part of getting in shape that's the toughest for me: dieting.

Most people who want to get in shape are trying to lose weight. There's a lot of ways to do it, but I've been told by doctors and dietitians losing weight is simple addition and subtraction.

You have to burn off more calories than you take in every day.

But building muscle works the opposite way because building muscle requires more energy. You have to eat more calories than you burn off. But those still have to be good, healthy calories, not hamburgers and french fries.

Eating too little food has never been my problem, but eating to build muscle is hard.

I've read the average person should eat 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day.

But I needed to eat between 3,000 and 3,500 calories per day.

This was not as fun as it sounds because that food has to be spaced out over the course of six to eight meals throughout the day.

Fitting those meals into my busy schedule as a reporter was not easy. I'd bring a bag full of turkey sandwiches and protein bars with me to work.

In the back of their minds, I think my co-workers thought I was going to get fat, but after about a week of doing this, I actually started to see results.

Others did, too. My uncle died in January and I had to go to Kentucky to be with my family. My mother asked me what I was eating because I looked fat. But she said it was all in my shoulders. The difference she noticed was mostly from me lifting weights and all the protein and creatine I'd consumed.

She did this thing only a mom would do-- patted my chest and shoulders to determine the truth. Then, impressed, she raised her eyebrows and puckered her lips.

Anyway, everything was going well until I had a little "car trouble." I had to rely on my girlfriend, recently upgraded to fiancee, for transportation and, as sweet as she can be, sometimes our conflicting schedules meant she wasn't going to be able to drive me to and from the gym or to my mixed martial arts classes. After that, I lost my motivation.

But then something unexpected happened. I received a few e-mails from readers asking me about my progress, and that motivated me to rededicate myself to my goal. Consequently, I came up with a plan.

I had a personal trainer from the Sandusky YMCA take all my measurements, height, weight, body fat, etc.

She also tested me on several key weight-lifting exercises, including bench press, squats and bicep curls. Over the next few months, I will track and monitor my progress and report back to FIT.

I want to lower my body fat to 10 percent or less, and increase my bench press and squats by at least 50 pounds.

At the end of the summer we'll see how far I've come. I'm really going to try to give this my best shot, but I know it won't be easy.

My trainer's name is Cheryl Yancey. She's got this Napoleon-like thing going on. She may be small, but she doesn't play games. I didn't think I would break a sweat on my test day, but I was mistaken. Cheryl will help me throughout my mission.

My workout venue of choice is the Mapleview Ohio Health and Wellness 24- hour gym on Main Street in Norwalk. The 24-hour access is a must because of my work schedule.

While I was there, I discovered there were plenty of guys just like me, and quite a few who dedicate themselves to body building. Ladies, men are just as self-conscious about their bodies these days as any woman. That's a fact.

Guys would talk about how their trapezius muscles -- the muscles located where the shoulder meets the neck -- didn't stick out enough. Some guys said their biceps weren't defined enough. They want the separation between the bicep and the tricep to be more evident. Some even looked through men's magazines and talked about how they wanted their veins to protrude like the guys in the magazine.

It's a way of life for these guys. They change their diet and their schedule to accommodate their obsession with their bodies. I don't know if I can keep up with that. But I'll try. This isn't going to be easy. I'll keep you posted.