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Dustan Bricker of Monroe (Contestant)

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Week Twelve - FINAL

Starting Goal: My goal is to increase my level of wellness in each of the 6 dimensions of health. Do you feel that you accomplished your goal? Unfortunately there is no true measurement for my goal. Wellness is an individual measurement of a person’s overall health. Last week I went into detail explaining why I believe I was successful at accomplishing my goal. I have truly embraced the information I learned in school coupled with the practical knowledge from this competition. In a sense, I have reinvented who I am. What are your goals for the future? Throughout this competition there were ups and downs. Along the way I continuously created achievable short term goals that contribute to my long term success of being a more complete and healthy person. This competition really helped me establish a new way of living and it is my responsibility to keep the momentum moving forward. What would you tell someone starting their own Healthy Challenge? Be honest with yourself. Do not embark on a journey to change your life if you are not mentally and emotionally prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead. Being mentally and emotionally prepared will make the hardest days bearable.

Week Eleven

This week I am going to do this review a bit differently. Instead of answering the weekly questions directly, I am going to just roll everything into one big story. Thankfully, this week I did not have any obstacles. Aches and pains are becoming a normal part of life, and unless they are associated with an injury, they are not an excuse to quit. Monday evening my wife was preparing to iron a pair of pants that I had purchased last December so I could wear them to a job fair. Since I have been losing weight and my body reshaping, she insisted that I try them on to make sure they would still fit. It turned out to be a good idea on her part. I put the pants on and there was no way they would stay up. I was able to take the pants off without undoing the button. I remember thinking, OH MY GOODNESS! This posed a new problem, I wasn't certain if I still had any dress pants that would fit. After scouring through the closet, we found some pants that I have not worn for several years. I tried them on and was surprised they fit. I went from wearing a snug size 44 pants to a size 38. That is four, FOUR pant sizes in roughly three months. It was an amazing feeling to see such drastic results. This last week, I had to stop running due to sever pains in my legs from the impact. In place of running, I decided to walk three miles on the treadmill using the random setting. One thing to note is I've lost approximately 30lbs since this challenge began. On Saturday I decided to take my hunting backpack with me so I could get accustomed to wearing a pack while hiking. I loaded it to 25lbs which should be more than what I will actually be carrying during hunting season. So I get the treadmill set for an hour on random setting at 3.0 mph, get my pack situated and began. By the time I hit the half mile mark I wanted to quit. My feet were burning, arches aching, and that pack got very heavy. I managed to push through all the way to the end of the three miles. After carrying that pack on my back for an hour, I truly am proud of the weight I lost. It is an odd feeling knowing that I once carried that weight with me daily. The best feeling was when I took that pack off; I literally felt like I was walking on pillows. As we approach the final week of this challenge, I have really been reflecting on everything that I initially set out to accomplish and the goals I have set along the way. As I have said in last week's update, I feel I have accomplished what I initially set out to do. My original goal was to increase my level of wellness in each of the six dimensions of health. Physically: I am stronger, more flexible, slimmer, and I have significantly better endurance. Socially: I have been able to open up and allow myself to be vulnerable to others. I believe I have made some new friends and I am genuinely friendlier to people I do not know. Intellectually: I have learned to listen to my body and interpret what it needs, take various sources of information and apply the lessons to better myself, and I've allowed myself to become more open minded. Emotionally: trust has been an issue for me due to some unfortunate circumstances in my past, I have been able to overcome a lot of these issues, I believe I am less self-conscious and more self-confident. Environmentally: the family has bought into the concept of eating healthy and exercising, we've changed the foods we bring into the house, we talk about the consequences of certain food choices and we support each other through the highs and lows of becoming healthier people. Spiritually: I have decided to do something I normally would not have done, volunteer. I am part of the committee for the Fund Run, which is to help raise money to support programs to help with teen obesity, child care for low income families, and various teen programs. The event is Saturday October 30 at Tye Lake Park in Monroe. We are still in need of sponsors and contestants for anyone who is interested. Even though this contest ends in a week, there is still so much I want to accomplish. While it is true I feel I have accomplished what I initially set out to achieve, along the way I developed new goals. My routine has become a way of life. The contest was a great start, even when after this next week is over, I will still be in the gym working to achieve my goals. In the beginning, I never thought three months would be enough time to see significant changes, I am glad I was wrong.

Week Ten

What did you find most challenging this week? I have been pushing a little too hard on the treadmill this last week or so. Every time I have stepped on treadmill, I have pushed to beat my previous time and in doing so somewhat last track of the objective of using the machine. I have consistently done a mile but in the process, my legs are paying the price. The hard impact of running coupled with my weight makes for some very painful lower legs. In fact, at times I have struggled to simply sit still as my legs throb in constant pain. I decided I would stop running for a while and just walk against an incline setting at a speed of 3 MPH. Unfortunately when I went to karate class on Thursday, we did jumping jacks and the impact re-ignited the fiery pain in my legs and has not stopped as of today. Also during karate, I injured my right elbow and find it to be very painful when attempting to extend my arm. These pains should make for an interesting week at the gym. What accomplishment were you most proud of this week In a catch 22 sort of way, I was proud to have worked through my pains. On Friday, I went across the mountains to help my father in-law and brother in-law clear a space to set a trailer on a piece of property. It was a neat feeling being able to do some of the activities without feeling like I had ran the Boston Marathon. My endurance was high, I didn't feel worn out or tired and my body didn't hurt from those specific activities. What are your goals for next week? There are two weeks left and I want to reach my weight goal that I set a few weeks ago. I am going to push to achieve that goal. It may be a little more difficult with the physical issues I am facing. If I hit my goal in three weeks I'll be okay with that too. It would just be a personal accomplishment to hit my most recent goal come end of this competition. Sum up your thoughts for this week of Healthy Challenge. I am very glad this challenge is not focused entirely on weight. Since we have different hormones, history, metabolisms, body types etc., it almost seems unfair to even compare weight loss. During this competition people have been ill, injured, dealt with loss, and other hardships which might impact an individual's ability to reduce weight. Life is ever changing and as such we have to learn to adapt. To me, this challenge is about adapting to the challenges and temptations of life and making the decisions to better ones self. I spoke about the six dimensions of health and wellness in previous updates and feel that I have accomplished what I originally set out to do. To accomplish a goal is such a rewarding experience. In my heart and in my mind I feel like a winner and no one can tell me differently nor take that away.

Week Nine

What did you find most challenging this week? This has been a terribly busy week for me with both of my daughters having their birthday parties four days apart. Time to work out was certainly an issue but even more so was the fact that I have been dealing with various stressors that have impacted my sleeping. With the added stress and lack of solid sleep, it becomes challenging to muster the motivation to workout. Even when making the decision to do so, working to my potential is a chore. I feel I handled everything well. I didn't go on an eating binge; I worked to stay on target with my reps. I had to cut time in the gym to participate in other activities but this is life. Life does not revolve around a schedule and ironically, we as human beings often try to control life with our schedules. The lesson here is to stay focused and remain strong when facing obstacles. What accomplishment were you most proud of this week. I am proud of my ability to push through adversity. With the birthday parties, lack of sleep, extra stress, lack of time, and the usual aches and pains, I was able to hold my head up knowing I put in a legitimate effort this week. All this reminds me of the country song by Darrel Worley titled Sounds Like Life To Me. Funny thing is with all of the time restraints and stress; I didn't look for quick and simple eating solutions like fast food. Ironically, I now prefer to not eat at fast food. I have a healthier understanding of food and while sometimes it is okay to eat out, just thinking about what I am putting into my body is sometimes so unappealing that I feel ashamed for even contemplating it. I won't lie and say my diet was the best it could have been, but I feel I am past the calorie counting stage and have progressed to knowing what is acceptable and what is not. What are your goals for next week? Let's see, we have three weeks left and hunting season is just around the corner. I know where I want to be weight wise by the end of the competition. When I am in the gym it is just a matter of sticking to what has been working, mixing a few things up and adding in a few new exercises. I feel as though I have made some significant progress and I really just want to work at meeting or exceeding my personal expectations. Sum up your thoughts for this week of Healthy Challenge. Each day I go to the gym I find myself competing. I am not competing with the contestants in this competition, I am competing with myself. Each time I step on the treadmill I am pushing to do better. Each time I hit a machine that I was able to do all my reps on with moderate effort, I increase the weight to maximize my effort. Each time I reduce my mile time or successfully push to the next level, it is a physically draining, mentally boosting, and emotionally satisfying experience. This competition may officially end in three weeks, but for me, I will be competing to be a better me for a long time after. I have so much left to accomplish to impress my biggest fan and harshest critic…myself.

Week Eight

What did you find most challenging this week? This week was tough! I struggled with my reps, which I sort of expected since increasing my weights, and as a result of the increased weight, I also struggled with completing my full routine. Every day I left the YMCA this week, I fought to keep from being sick to my stomach. I am not sure if this was good or bad. I pushed really hard on everything I did. By the end of my workout though, I was getting dizzy and nauseous which made it hard to do my squats and crunches. I do not feel like I quit on anything though. What accomplishment were you most proud of this week. I was proud to walk in the Monroe Fair Days Parade for the YMCA. For me this was a great way of supporting an organization that is helping to support me with my health goals. For me to give a few hours of my day to hand out flyers and positively represent the YMCA with my two girls was the least I could do. We had a lot of fun and Linda showed up as well and we talked about how each of us were doing. It is really neat to see how we each take a different approach to similar goals. Aside from the parade, I was really proud of my mile time that I was able to record for the Adult Fitness Test results this week. As many may know, I will be taking one more test in week 12 to see how well I have progressed since my first test. Now I do want to point out to everyone that the correct way to measure the mile time is by walking speed. For those wanting to run, it is supposed to be 1.5 miles. I will be honest and say that my time is walking and running. I do want to be able to run the 1.5 mile eventually. Aerobic Fitness
First Attempt Second Attempt - week 4 of Healthy Challenge Third Attempt - week 8 of Healthy Challenge
Mile walk: 42 min 51 sec Mile walk: 20 min 52 secMile walk: 13 min 11 sec
Heart Rate: 89 BPM Heart Rate: 126 BPMHeart Rate: 160 BPM
Weight: 255 lbs. Weight: 245 lbs.
Weight: 235 lbs.
Muscular Strength
First Attempt Second Attempt - week 4 of Healthy Challenge Third Attempt - week 8 of Healthy Challenge
Half Sit-ups: 40 Half Sit-ups: 62 Half Sit-ups: 60
Push-ups: 16 Push-ups: 21 Push-ups: 22
First Attempt Second Attempt - week 4 of Healthy Challenge Third Attempt - week 8 of Healthy Challenge
Sit and Reach: 9 inches Sit and Reach: 12 inches Sit and Reach: 13.5 inches
What are your goals for next week? It is getting harder and harder to answer this question as the weeks go by. I feel as though making smart and healthy decisions are so much easier and less complicated. For instance today instead of playing a game on my PS3 for 2 hours, I decided to go to the gym and work out. I do not have to have beef or burgers for every meal and I have stopped filling my plate or going back for seconds. So my goal is to keep losing the weight, building my endurance, push myself to achieve personal greatness through success. Sum up your thoughts for this week of Healthy Challenge. I have friends and family who keep telling me that I have this competition in the bag. While I hope that they are simply trying to motivate me, I keep telling people that I do not care if I win the grand prize. I have to remind them that everyone in this competition is working hard and succeeding in a personal way. It is amazing to read everyone's story each week. As far as I am concerned, everyone who has put forth an honest effort will ultimately win not the grand prize, they will win the ultimate prize. Health and self-respect are the true prizes to be gained. Money is simply the consolation prize. This week we were asked to share a healthy tip that we have learned in this challenge. One thing that has stuck with me was something Jennifer Okemah had said at the nutritional seminar. The topic was about meat and what is the healthiest. To paraphrase: the less legs the better with the exception of shellfish which are equal to fish. I also learned that small sips of water, for every 15 minutes of exercise, are important. The main point being sips, not gulps as I unfortunately learned a hard lesson with. My tip to help with this is to swish the water in your mouth and swallow slowly. This will help you avoid drinking too much water when your mouth is dry.

Week Seven

What did you find most challenging this week? This week was surprisingly good to me. I cannot say there was anything in particular that was challenging this week. I am getting used to dealing with certain aches and pains. Each pain has its own challenge and impacts a routine to some degree. I suppose if I have to pick something that stood out to me, it would be my arches and shins aching more than anything else. While this issue impacted my running/walking distance, it was not a huge impact on anything I did this week. What accomplishment were you most proud of this week? I started this week extremely strong. On Sunday, I was on the treadmill for of a mile and ran the first mile straight. For the second and third laps, I would walk a quarter of the digital track, then run the next two and so on until I finished. So in total, of the mile, I walked less than a mile. This is a huge accomplishment for me. By the time I got home Sunday, I had worked so hard that I was physically sick from consuming too much water. Monday, I was able to repeat my efforts from Sunday, this time making sure that did not drink too much water, too fast. What is especially interesting about this week is that I messed up my routine on Sunday and Monday. On Sunday I accidentally increased the weight on two machines by 20lbs. My intention was to bump up my resistance by 5lbs. As I was doing my reps I was overly surprised that 5lbs on the machine was so taxing. It was after I finished my reps that I saw my mistake. So I knew that my new minimum was this specific weight. On Monday, I had forgotten which machines I increased and rather than checking my tracker, I went off of memory. That was not the smart thing to do as it turns out I bumped up the weight on the wrong machines. After doing these reps I went to record my results and noticed my error. All in all, the accidental increase is a blessing in disguise. This mistake made me push myself and really re-think what I can do. I can tell you that as the week progressed, the same weight became more challenging as my muscles were extremely sore. What are your goals for next week? Next week I am going to move back to my upper body workout. So I am going to work on boosting my weight in this routine as well. Also, it has been four weeks since I took the Presidents Challenge Adult Fitness Test. As I said in week four, I will be re-taking the test every 4 weeks. Next week, look for my update and see if I've improved. I am hoping that by the end of next week I will have dropped to a steady 235 or less. This week the scale has been up and down between 235 and 240. Sum up your thoughts for this week of Healthy Challenge. I am extremely proud of my accomplishments this week. I am very pleased with the progress I am making and I am now starting to see what others have been saying about my weight loss progress. I hope this contest is reaching out to people to make changes to their lives. I would love to see this contest continue at least annually and help people learn to empower themselves to make positive changes.

Week Six

What did you find most challenging this week? This was a hard week for me in a general. I struggled with motivation all week long. It did not matter if I was working on my studies, motivating myself to go to the gym, or even pushing myself to work as hard as I should. I do not consider this a step back however. I still managed to do everything that needed to be done, though I did not put my best effort forth. I was asked by a person close to me if the novelty had worn off. My response was it isn't about the novelty of going back to school, or this challenge. I am still deeply committed to succeeding in school, and in this challenge, as I told my brother who is convinced I am going to be the grand winner, I do not care if I win or lose. I am already a winner for making these changes in my life. Hopefully next week I will get past this mental slump and get back to driving myself to work to my full potential once more. What accomplishment were you most proud of this week I was proud of a few things this week: reshaping, jogging, and weight loss. I was chatting with a few neighbor ladies prior to heading to the gym the other day. I told them I was heading to the gym and waved my goodbye, when one of them said something to me. I was not sure if I had heard her correctly. I stopped went back to where they were sitting and asked her what she had said. She had told me that it was very noticeable that I was losing weight and to keep up the work. I asked her how she could tell I was losing weight. She told me that my front side (tummy) was looking slimmer. The other neighbor chimed in telling me that she could see the difference under my chin. This made me feel good. I also started to jog this week. I was able to buy a new pair of shoes which is a night and day difference form what I was wearing before. I have decided to start with a half mile and jog/walk the distance. I am working up to eventually being able to run again. Right now, since I am carrying more weight than I am used to, it tends to make my knee, that I had an ACL reconstruction (1992-3), ache and become sore. I am still getting shin splints, however, I am sure that will start to subside as my feet and legs become better conditioned. Lastly, I have been having mixed feelings in regards to my weight these last few weeks. I know that muscle weighs more than fat and that weight loss takes time. I have used my home scale as a barometer and while I am thankful it has not increased, I was bummed that it has not decreased. I stepped on the scale after karate, which I never do, and I saw that the needle moved! Yep, it showed that I was down about 1-2 more pounds, which is at night with my clothes on. So, now if my weight yo-yo's again, I'll still be excited. That is, unless it yo-yo's past the 240 mark that I've been holding steady at. What are your goals for next week? I have a hard time answering this question because I only have one main goal. This is to stay on target with my eating, exercising, and mental awareness. I guess if I am going to narrow anything down to a goal it will be my ability to jog more than I walk while I am on the treadmill. I want to eventually get to the point that I can run at least 1.5 miles. Now I know this isn't going to happen next week or even the week after. I will push myself to run more and work through the pain. I applaud those of you are able to run and do so regularly. It has been a long time since I was able to sustain any distance running. Sum up your thoughts for this week of Healthy Challenge. This challenge is not and has not been a determining factor for me to get healthy and stay healthy. This has been a great tool to help me stay motivated and not give up as easy. Had I not been chosen for this challenge, I know I would not be as far along as I am now in my lifestyle change. Granted I started to change my eating habits shortly before being chosen for this challenge, and I was working out in my living room to On Demand programs since I couldn't afford a gym. This challenge has helped me maintain my choices and work towards my goals. My wife and I were given tickets to the Seahawks pre-season opener as an anniversary gift. Aside from pricing being outrageous as usual, the smell of the stadium food was so tempting. Thankfully, prior to the game, we went and walked around Touchdown City where they were handing out free bags of pistachio nuts. They would hand out 3 bags at a time, so needless to say we made 3 or 4 passes by them. This saved us from temptation of the garlic fries, nachos, and hotdogs that so many people around us were eating. We also signed up to be designated drivers which awarded us a free drink. We did this twice and redeemed them for bottled water. At one point my wife said well, if you want to eat something just remember you have to work harder tomorrow. Thankfully I was not hungry at the time she said that and just thinking of how much more time I would have to spend burning off junk calories was not appealing to me. I hope everyone is doing well and regardless of how we fair in the grand scheme of the contest, everyone is a winner for making the decision to get healthier. Work hard and stay positive even though it can be difficult. Hopefully I'll run into some more people like Linda who by the way, whooped me in Erika's cycling class. GOOD JOB!

Week Five

What an interesting week. This week, I went on a chartered fishing trip in Oregon for my friend's bachelor party. Then I decided to visit my brother since I was only two and a half hours away. I only planned on staying one day, which then turned into a full week. This week was simply a much needed break from my everyday life. I have inspired my younger brother to return to school, my sister in-law is coupling her Cross-Fit program with some of my college reading material regarding health and wellness. I think they are getting as much out of my visit as I did. So lets move on to the questions. Q. What did you find most challenging this week? A. Since I was not planning on being away from my house for more than a day I did not pack my medication. I was experiencing some odd dizziness which could best be described as a vertigo type feeling. I do not know if not having my medication caused that or if it was related to something else. I was not feeling as enthusiastic about working out while I was experiencing these dizzy spells. I tried a Cross-Fit routine with my sister in-law. God bless her for everything she is doing because I was whipped after that workout. I managed to workout in some form for three of the days I was visiting. I tried running a half mile. My knee that had the ACL reconstruction years ago couldn't handle it. Q. What accomplishment were you most proud of this week? A. My sister in-law planned a hike to some place in Oregon called Mary's Peak. I didn't know what to expect. When we got there, I was thinking this hike should be alright, looks like a nice forest trail, mostly flat. WRONG! I was feeling the slight inclines as the hike progressed but when reached the final stretch of the hike; all I could think about was Deliverance. It was not because of hillbillies or anything like that. I just looked up and saw this extremely steep incline and felt screwed. I took a deep breath and away I went. I had to stop about 3 times before I reached the top. It was an exhausting experience but it was worth it. One other thing that I was proud of this week was my ability to make sound and reasonable food choices. Being on a road trip and visiting family sometimes can make food choices a bit more challenging. When I ate out at some fast food restaurants, I made sure to avoid fries and soda. At McDonald's for instance, I ordered two cheeseburgers plain with shredded onions and lettuce. I do not care for the rehydrated onions. I wanted bulk, filler and free. My thought was, if I am eating out, I can drop the extra worthless calories and add some veggies. I encourage people who eat out, to make their burgers the best they can. Load up on onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes. If it is free then you have just made a little burger into a decent dish. Q. What are your goals for next week? A. I need to also start walking more and hopefully get started with some short distance running. When I was doing my half-mile walks and then on my hike, my arches and my lower legs were killing me. Part of my issue is weight bearing the other part is footwear. I need to buy a new pair of shoes to make running and walking easier. While this isn't a weekly goal, I hope to save enough money in the near future to be able to buy a nice, decent pair of shoes that I can run or walk distances in. My $20 pair of shoes, from nearly 10 years ago, doesn't seem to be cutting it. Q. Sum up your thoughts on this week of the Healthy Challenge. A. This challenge is fantastic. I find myself being more appreciative each week. I ate out and made smart decisions, I was able to still remain active and do something outside of my normal routine. It was also really nice to hear that people could see how my efforts are paying off. I may have lost only 10-15 pounds, but my body is reshaping. I live in the same world as everyone else. I am faced with temptations when I walk into a restaurant, store, and even when I turn on my T.V. Heck, just thinking about temptations is tempting me. However, I know that I can over come these addictions. I say addictions because most of the OMG, I want that…whatever, is not out of necessity. I am proud that I am able to make smarter lifestyle choices even when faced with temptation. I can say that part of the reason I can do this is because of this challenge.

Week Four

Image to the right is associated with the information below.

This week, before I update everyone on my status, I wanted to address health and wellness a bit more. In week 2, I spoke about how I believe I moved up the continuum of health and wellness. I wanted to give everyone a quick insight into what the health and wellness continuum is. I thought it would be important for people to understand what I am talking about throughout this competition.
Health is the ever-changing process of achieving individual potential in the physical, social, emotional, mental, spiritual, and environmental dimensions.
Wellness is the achievement of the highest level of health possible in each dimension of health.

➢ Physical health includes characteristics such as body size and shape, sensory acuity and responsiveness, susceptibility to disease and disorders, body functioning, physical fitness, and recuperative abilities. Newer definitions of physical health also include our ability to perform normal activities of daily living (ADLs), the tasks necessary to normal existence in today's society. Getting out of bed in the morning, bending over to tie your shoes, and other usual daily tasks are examples of ADLs.
➢ Social health refers to the ability to have satisfying interpersonal relationships, including interactions with others, adaptation to social situations, and appropriate daily behaviors in society.
➢ Intellectual health refers to the ability to think clearly, reason objectively, analyze critically, and use brain power effectively to meet life's challenges. It means learning from successes and mistakes and making responsible decisions that take into consideration all aspects of a situation.
➢ Emotional health refers to the ability to express emotions when they are appropriate, controlling them when they are not, and avoiding expressing them inappropriately. Self-esteem, self-confidence, self-efficacy, trust, love, and many other emotional reactions and responses are all part of emotional health.
➢ Environmental health refers to an appreciation of the external environment and the role individuals play to preserve, protect, and improve environmental conditions.
➢ Spiritual health involves subscribing to a way of life or a belief in a supreme being based on a particular religious doctrine or feeling of unity with a greater force and a guiding sense of meaning or value in all life. True spiritual health typically goes well beyond an organized religion and includes many more aspects of living a balanced, introspective and meaningful life.
Source: Health: The Basics, Eighth Edition, by Rebecca J. Donatelle.
Last week I said I would be taking the Presidents Challenge Adult Fitness Test every four weeks. So let me begin by showing my results from 10 weeks ago when I first began learning about health and wellness.
Aerobic Fitness

First AttemptThis Week
Mile walk: 42 min 51 sec Mile walk: 20 min 52 sec
Heart Rate: 89 BPM Heart Rate: 126 BPM
Weight: 255 lbs. Weight: 245 lbs.

Muscular Strength

First AttemptThis Week
Half Sit-ups: 40 Half Sit-ups: 62
Push-ups: 16 Push-ups: 21


First AttemptThis Week
Sit and Reach: 9 inches Sit and Reach: 12 inches

What accomplishment were you most proud of this week?
I think it pretty clear that this week the Presidents Challenge Adult Fitness Test is the thing I am most proud of. Sure the first test was 10 weeks ago, but I have only been working out for the last 4 weeks. It is a very good feeling to be able to see measurable results that reflect your hard work. I am only above the national average in my age group for the sit-ups. Every other category I am below the average.
What did you find most challenging this week?
My food choices were probably the most challenging item for me this week. I ran out of healthy snack foods such as fruit and nuts. I gave into eating out a few times this week but I was conscious of my decisions and watched my caloric intake. I stayed away from fries and soda. Even though I did not eat poorly per se, my fast food cravings are soaring sky high. This makes me want to juts stuff my face.
What are your goals for next week?
My goals are to stay on track with my workout routine which could be hindered if I am presented a job offer from a potential employer. If I am offered the job, my workout schedule will have to change drastically so I can complete my school work on time.
Sum up your thoughts for this week of Healthy Challenge?
I keep talking about how this challenge has impacted my family. This week I went over and taught my mom some exercises that I have learned to help her with her goals. We've talked extensively about diet and exercise. I was very proud of her for what she accomplished. Once we finished working out together we took a nice walk together to Blackman's Lake boat launch and back to her house. It was roughly a 2 mile walk. This challenge has impacted more people than I would have ever imagined. I am very thankful to have been chosen. It is helping my family as much as it is helping me.

Week Three

What did you find most challenging this week?
This week I faced a few challenges such as tracking my meals and difficulties with some classes I took. This week I tried a completely different workout routine. Instead of hitting the weight room, I tried a cycling, rep express, and abs class. On Monday I went to these 3 classes which are 30 minutes each and back to back. I came in with a sore lower back and I struggled through some of the exercises while being unable to complete others. I let my lower back pain dictate my routine and in all honesty I quit on some of the exercises. I left class feeling disappointed in my performance and ashamed of my effort. I went back to the classes on Wednesday and I did the best I could while still having some back pains to contend with. I did not participate in the third class due to pain and fatigue. When I left for the night however, I did feel good about my effort. I did not quit and gave everything an honest effort.
Karate on Tuesday and Thursday was great. In fact after taking Ericka's classes on Monday and Wednesday, Karate was not nearly as difficult.
What accomplishment were you most proud of this week
This is sort of difficult for me this week since I was doing something completely different and really have nothing to compare results to. I guess maybe the fact that I worked outside of my comfort zone is one of the things I am most proud of. I am looking forward to going back to the cardio and weight room and seeing how much I have improved in these 3 weeks. It may sound silly but this has been a long 3 weeks and yet 12 weeks seems to be approaching fast. Going from sedentary to active really has had an usual impact on my time perception.
What are your goals for next week?
Next week I am going to retake the President's Challenge Adult Fitness Test and compare the results to the first test I took. I plan on doing this every four weeks and sharing my results. I am not looking forward to the running portion of the exercise however I feel I will be able to improve in all areas. I took the test approximately 10 weeks ago and have been actively working out for the last 3 weeks.
For people who are inspired to test themselves you can head to Click the Get Started button if you think you are up to the challenge and get a snapshot of your fitness level.
Sum up your thoughts for this week of Healthy Challenge.
I am really enjoying the challenge thus far. My family has stayed on board with all of the changes we have made around the house. It is great to see that this challenge is not only helping me and the other contestants it is also extending to our families. While I have not lost much weight so far, I have a lot more energy and am more determined to be active. I am beginning to find it more challenging to sit around doing nothing. I am falling asleep within 30 minutes now instead of 4 hours; I am experiencing much deeper sleep which has helped change my mood in a positive manner.

Week Two

Q. What did you find most challenging this week? A. I found a few things to be quite challenging this week but one in particular. On Tuesday I convinced my son to take a karate class with me. I thought it would be fun to have someone to go with and it would give us some father son time. Keep in mind three hours before I took the class, I wrapped up a 2 hour cardio and circuit workout. Now being a fan of MMA and knowing what those guys put themselves through I still managed to think the class was going to be easy. What in the world was I thinking!?! We lined up and did the stretches which were good static stretches and I was proud I was able to do some of them fairly well. However, when we got into doing some of the punch and kick exercises I found myself struggling at times to the point where I was standing there confused, as was my son. The more experienced people would try to help us through some of the moves and correct us if we were doing things wrong. I have to say it was a lot to take in and the cardio it provided was something else. After the first hour when the instructor called for a break I was thinking to myself I was not going to go back and my son decided he was not going to finish the class. Once break was over, I went back to finish the class and we got to apply the exercises in a practical manner. Once I was able to relate the exercise moves to an actual scenario it really began to click in my head and my confidence rose. I decided I am going to go again. I was thinking of taking Ericka's core and strength class but honestly I am more afraid of her than I am of the black belt instructor Carlos. I'm kidding of course. She is the one who has been working with me on my cardio and circuit routines and I love her for everything she has done even if I feel like death is coming for me after I am done. Q. What accomplishment were you most proud of this week? A. I moved to lower body and core strengthening this week which I was excited about. I know my lower body is by far stronger than my upper body. I was able to accomplish almost every set of my routine this week and in fact I bumped all my weights up at least 10 lbs. My body feels like someone took a board and beat me across the legs. Some of my pants are starting to fall down a bit requiring me to wear a belt which makes me feel good. I have been improving everyday of the week in my routine pushing myself just a little more either by adding a little more weight, pushing for an extra 5 minutes or adding classes to my routine. Q. What are your goals for next week? A. Next week I think I need to increase my fruit and vegetable intake. I really let it slip this week. I did not eat fast food or anything like that though. I simply just did not consume nearly enough. I think this is going to be important especially as my workouts increase and become more intense as well as adding karate into the mix two nights a week. Q. Sum up your thoughts on this week of the Healthy Challenge. A. I felt this week was really good. I added karate to my workout this week and I had some struggles with some illness making my workouts challenging. Overall I really feel as though I am moving up the health and wellness continuum. Physical health: My energy level has come up, I do not get as winded nearly as fast, my AST numbers have decrease and my clothes are starting to become looser. Social health: I am talking to people more about my challenge and I do not feel as ashamed about myself knowing I am doing something to become healthier. It helps to have people supporting me like my friends and family but also the folks I meet at the Y such as the staff who some know me by name now. Intellectual health: Not only have I learned about health risks and how to become healthier, I have also been privileged to attend a diet seminar which also added some good insight into living healthier. Add the knowledge of those to the training meetings and how my body responds to the workouts and change in my diet and I really feel as though this might be my largest area of progression. Emotional health: My self confidence is increasing ten fold. I am really pushing myself to be better and not just go through the motions or do the bare minimums. I know for instance when I am on the stationary bike and my legs are starting to burn that I could easily give up and yet I keep convincing myself to go on and next thing I know it has been 50 minutes. Environmental health: Eliminating going to get fast food and changing what we allow into the house has been a tremendous impact on our environment. We are able to make smarter decisions and temptations are not much of a factor at the moment. Spiritual health: Do not confuse this with religious beliefs as the two are not the same. Spiritually I have a sense of direction and a purpose. Honestly I forget that this is a competition until someone reminds me. To me this is about getting healthy and staying healthy. I am starting to really find a balance in my life. I am even starting to lose interest in some of my favorite video games which were mainly more of an escape from my troubles more than entertainment purposes.

Week One

Q. What did you find most challenging this week? A. I felt self motivation was especially challenging this week. I came down with a cold which impacted my ability to work as hard as I felt I should have been working. I was experiencing muscle fatigue and finding it very difficult to breathe properly. Trying to maintain time or reps on certain machines was very difficult. It is really easy to tell yourself to quit. It is very difficult to convince yourself to continue to work when you are tired, sore and sick. Q. What accomplishment were you most proud of this week? A. This week I was really proud to see my family coming to the gym with me, eating healthier and really taking an active interest in this challenge. While this is not a personal accomplishment in regards to the challenge per se, it is an accomplishment I am proud of. I am setting an example for my children by taking the information I am learning in school and sharing that with them as well as showing them I am willing to do the things that are necessary to be healthy. Q. What are your goals for next week? A. Next week I want to be able to complete all three of my reps on the circuit I am working on. I am going to push through any illness that is merely a discomfort and strive to improve those results. I also want to push my cardio to 45 min to an hour. Currently I am doing about 20 min before I move on to my circuit routine. Part of my cardio is spent on the stair mill, which is my nemesis. I am able to survive 4 min on it before I just can not bear to take another step. So included in the increase in my cardio, I am hoping to up my time on the stair mill to 6 min. Q. Sum up your thoughts on this week of the Healthy Challenge. A. I am really enjoying applying what I am learning in my science class to my life. I never would have imagined I would be participating in this type of challenge. It is really neat to talk to individuals about the challenge. So many people that I have talked to have been very encouraging and supportive which is great because I do not know them from Adam yet the conversations are quite interesting. I have really enjoyed going back to the Y and have the staff give me a verbal pat on the back. Some of them are starting to recognize me and know I am involved in this challenge. It really starts my workout off on a positive note and I am grateful to them for doing so.

Beginning of Challenge:

Goal: My goal is to increase my level of wellness in each of the 6 dimensions of health.
Age: 35
Weight: 254 lbs
Height: 5' 6''

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