You know you’re doing something you enjoy when you can’t help but tell everyone you know about it. That’s how I feel about our Transformation Challenge. No matter who I run into – old friends, my barber, people in business meetings – I can’t help but tell them about what we’re doing and try to get them in on the action.
I’m having so much fun participating in this 12-week fitness challenge that I want to share the fun with others. I want to help people that I come in contact with feel the same way I feel making positive changes as well as being a part of the community we have and helping others.
As I mentioned in my first blog post about the challenge (you can check that out here if you missed it), we formally announced our company’s mission to “Transform the World with Fitness.”
We have been finding new ways to make that mission come to life, and one of the best projects we worked on was coordinating with an after-school program for underprivileged kids.
The time after school before parents come home from work is often a time when young people end up in trouble. A number or organizations are working hard to provide a safe and positive place for these kids, and we connected with one called Dallas After School.
They put us in touch with a group of kids that we could spend a few hours with at the Jubilee Community Center in South Dallas, to give them a fun afternoon and also talk to them about the importance of exercise and healthy habits. Check out the video and full story here!
Transformation Challenge Week 4
I started week 4 with some great momentum. The first 2 weeks in, my Transformation Challenge had a slow start because of my travel schedule, but I really hit my stride in week 3 – and week 4 was even better.
I started to pick up training again with one of my longtime friends and on-and-off training partner over the past 8 years, Tyrus Hughes. Tyrus and I met back in 2009 at my old facility, and we’ve had some great times over the years.
He walked into my old gym with very little knowledge of diet and training, but with a TON of potential. In 3 years of working together, we took him from just another big guy in the gym to the 2012 NPC Mr. Texas. We always push each other in the gym, and I always like to train with guys stronger than me to help push me past mental barriers.
Week 4 also included some fun social moments. I love motocross, and every year I attend the AMA Supercross Race when it comes to Dallas. This year was especially fun as I was with a great group of friends and colleagues, and we had special access to the pit area which had the trailers for some of the best race teams in the world.
We were at the races for nearly 12 hours, and I included this story in this post because I planned ahead and was able to keep to my diet 100% through that day.
Although no outside food was not allowed, I did sneak in 3 servings of whey protein powder, which I funneled into water bottles throughout the day, and I spaced my meals out very far so that I would undereat throughout the day. I also weighted my calories towards my last meal which I was able to eat at home.
This was important to me because I got a slow start in the challenge and I wanted to skip having a cheat meal this week to expedite my progress. As I mentioned before, I would like to keep one cheat meal per week in my program for at least 8 – 10 of the 12 weeks to help with the mental and social aspects that come with a tough diet.
Week 4 also included the all-important Valentine’s Day!
Tawna and I enjoy getting dressed up and having a nice dinner together at fancy restaurants. Being one of the top IFBB physiques in the world, Tawna knows better than anyone what it takes to get in tip-top shape. She is not dieting for any competitions right now, but she eats like she is 95% of the time.
We both wanted to enjoy the evening, but in a very clean way, so we made sure to pick a restaurant with some good options. We both ate a filet mignon (cooked without butter), gold potatoes, and mixed vegetables. We did, however, each have a glass of champagne and split a crème brulee for dessert! Since we planned ahead, we both adjusted our calories leading up to dinner to make some extra room for a small treat.
The momentum continued into week 5. I was very motivated starting this week. While I didn’t have the calorie boost from a cheat meal (if you don’t count the small treat at Valentine’s), my energy was still good even though I’m in a big calorie deficit each day and have been putting in 5 – 6 days of cardio each week
I got a text message on Saturday from my friend Max Fairchild who I have had some epic workouts with over the years. Max and I have trained together on-and-off since 2009, and we trained together a lot in 2013 when we were both preparing for the NPC Ronnie Coleman Classic – a show in which Max ended up winning both the Superheavyweight Bodybuilding Class and Overall Title.
Max’s text message said “Legs Monday?”. I took a full 24 hours to write Max back! Training legs with Max isn’t just your average workout. Max thinks up some of the hardest and most insane workouts you can imagine. I have a tough time backing down from any challenge, and even though I haven’t been training legs with the weight or intensity that I did during my competitive days and hadn’t hung out with Max in a while, I was feeling up for a challenge.
Max was battling a pain in his hips so when he arrived at the gym, he said “it won’t be anything crazy,” which in hindsight I wish he never would’ve said because I let me guard down a bit.
The workout that followed may not have registered as crazy in Max’s book, but it punished me and would’ve been a taxing workout for any hard training person. I don’t often throw up during workouts, probably less than 10 times in my life, but halfway through this workout, I had to walk outside our bay doors and let the demons out. But after few swishes of water and a fist bump, we went back at it. The 7 days of quad soreness to follow was a reminder of the fun we had that night!
Following our annual day at AMA Supercross, we took a trip to our favorite track in Houston, Texas – 3 Palms – the following weekend – a trip we’ve been making for the last couple of years.
3 palms is one of the best tracks I’ve ever been to anywhere in the world, and it’s always a great few days of riding. We traveled in Michael’s Toy-Hauler which is an awesome way to “camp” at the track. Not only do we have a nice place to sleep, but we can cook our own food, continue our normal meeting schedule with a good WiFi connection, and watch some TV together before bed after a long day of riding.
We also had Enduro Pro Stefan Dasilva from Sweden with us on the trip who has been coaching us on riding for the past 3 years, and Johan Gustafsson who also made the trip over from Sweden for 2 weeks of work and motor fun.
Motocross is VERY physically demanding for those that don’t know. YES, you do have a motor, but it’s very taxing. Michael has been wearing a heart rate monitor during his riding lately and, as an example, in a 30-minute session on the track, his heart rate stayed at an average of 172 BPM, and maxed out at 191 during the ride.
We rode 5 – 6 sessions per day, so you can imagine that we were quite tired after 3 days of hard riding! It’s such a fun activity and its great exercise. It’s important to find ways of exercising that you truly enjoy. When I’m on a treadmill or jogging, usually all I can think about is “When will this be OVER?!” I have never once thought that while riding motocross, and my heart rate is actually much higher than any aerobic work I do on stationary machines or jogging.
After returning from our Motor trip, I had a GREAT cheat meal with Tawna. I probably under-ate during the 3 days of riding considering the high output of calories but, to be honest, I like to do that sometimes to feel ahead and to afford some junk food.
I ordered a ½ pound bison burger with Swiss Cheese and Sweet Potato French Fries from Fuddrucker’s and then took a trip to our favorite Frozen Yogurt Shop, Menchie’s, for some peanut butter fro-yo with all my favorite toppings: peanuts, almonds, chocolate sprinkles, granola and peanut butter sauce!
I took one extra day of rest after the trip because my body was very run down and that ended up being a good decision. On Monday, I resumed my normal training schedule and started off the week with a great chest workout with Tyrus. The following day, we hit arms.
The only dietary change I’ve made at this point is to move my carbs around in my schedule, although I haven’t actually removed any calories. I’m trying a new strategy that’s been gaining popularity which is removing the carbs from my first meal.
I have been eating roughly 150g of carbs per day, and I was eating those spread over meals 1 – 5. Now, I’m eating all 150 around my weight training sessions. I’ve been doing 3 – 4 days of fasted cardio per week, and I can feel that doing the fasted cardio and then not have carbs following the session in my first meal is making a big dent in my stored body fat. I feel like I stay in fat burning mode for longer into the day following that cardio.