A lot of folks are kicking off their New Years resolutions to work out more and eat healthy right about now. Heck, some have already given up. I already have a 4-month head start.
After we had found out Erica was pregnant, I had this desire to begin working out. All my life I have been what I classify as “awkwardly lanky.” I’m 6′ 2″ and at the time only 165 pounds. I was content with my body image and considered myself to be quite lucky to have such a high metabolism.
However, as I said, right after I knew I was going to become a father, I realized I wanted to change. I wanted my kid to have a strong and healthy looking father, someone they could look up to and feel safe, so I embarked on a tough journey – try to gain weight.
When I tell people I am attempting to gain weight, I usually receive confused looks, “But you are skinny, you don’t need to gain weight.” I’m not quite sure why I receive bewilderment instead of support. But my theory is this – our culture glorifies the skinny and shames the fat.
People automatically associate health and well-being with weight loss and seem to forget that everybody is different. There are folks, myself included that struggle with gaining weight to be healthy. Just as overweight people have their struggles losing weight, underweight people have their struggles gaining weight.
I’ve spent a lot of time going over my main reason for undertaking this “project.” I know I don’t have a body image issue, but like I said previously, knowing that I am going to have a little one soon kickstarted this desire to take my health more seriously.
I didn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on this because I still felt this is a trivial thing for me to do. Therefore, I sought out the help of as much free stuff as I could find on the interwebs and smartphone apps.
I can honestly say the key to a healthy lifestyle is information. So far, my new eating and workout habits have allowed me to finally break the 170 mark. My New Years resolution is to hit the 180 mark by the end of this year.
Below I have reviewed a list of “tools” that I’ve been using to help me make better decisions and put in place healthy practices.
I can’t express enough how amazing Fitness Blender is. It is run by a cute married couple, Daniel and Kelli Segars, out of their home in Washington state. They currently have over 400 workout videos on YouTube and it is completely FREE!! This is due to their incredible philosophy about health and wellness:
We believe fitness should be accessible to everyone, everywhere, regardless of income level or access to a gym. That’s why we provide full-length workout videos and quality health information completely free of charge. It’s our goal to make sure everyone has access to what they need to keep their bodies strong and healthy.
They just launched their new site at the beginning of the year which now features a workout calendar where you can add their workout videos and customize your own plan. Or you can take the route I took and pay a small fee for a pre-packaged plan. When I say small, I mean small.
I paid only $6.99 for the 4-week mass building program. They take the legwork of researching and planning your own routine, plus I trust them much more than myself on what types of exercises I should be doing.
They offer a wide variety of programs to suit anyone’s goals. I feel so guilty that I am receiving all this training and info for hardly anything, that I think I might donate to them or at least buy one of their water bottles or tee shirts.
I also want to mention that I really admire the fact that, even in the face of all their success, Daniel and Kelli have never sold out. Even with the big companies pressuring them with big bucks to promote their products, supplements, or programs on Fitness Blender, Daniel and Kelli have never wavered.
Not once in any of their videos I have watched have I felt pressured to “buy something.” The only thing they promote is fitness and a healthy lifestyle. I like that.
My Fitness Pal
A lot of people I’ve talked to have already heard of or use this My Fitness Pal. It’s a robust app that lets you track almost anything fitness related (calories, weight, size, etc.). You can even use it to connect your FitBit to it, but I don’t have one yet (it would make a nice birthday present Erica, hint, hint).
I’ve mainly used it to track my calorie and nutrition intake. Since my goal is to gain weight, I have to eat 3,000 calories a day and trying to hit 262 g of carbohydrates, 187 g of protein and 133 g of fat. It may seem like I’m obsessive over the numbers (I am a statistics nerd) but I use this as a baseline.
I know that my day-to-day eating habits will change so I never fret if I don’t hit any of my goals. I tend to use this app to review my weekly totals to make sure I am receiving a good balance of my nutrition needed to gain healthy muscle weight.
Simple Science Fitness
This is my go-to guide on everything fitness.
Simple Science Fitness is an interactive guide to help you learn more about how your body works, how nutrition affects your body, and of course how to exercise properly. I’ve read over this site multiple times.
My favorite part, and what I find to be the most helpful, are all the “calculators” that help you to determine things like Macronutrient Intake, Basal Metabolic Rate, and Strength Standards. There are also practical guides on planning meals and exercise routines.
I’m confident that you will find at least one thing helpful for you and your goals.
Eat This Much
I’m going to be honest, I haven’t used Eat This Much all that often but I still wanted to include it in my list for those who might find it useful.
Basically, you plug in some basic information about yourself (height, weight, age, etc.) and what your fitness goals are and this will churn out a weekly meal plan for you to achieve the proper amount of calories and nutrition, or as they say on their site, “Put your diet on autopilot.”
The only reason I haven’t used Eat This Much is Erica and I love to cook and are pretty set in our meal planning and eating habits (we wrote a cooking blog once). Also, after 4 months of my new regiment, I’ve become quite familiar with the foods I need to eat to hit my goals.
Nevertheless, I highly recommend this to anyone who struggles with meal planning as eating the right foods is equal if not more important than exercise. There are a lot more handy features such as a grocery list generator that make this tool worth the $7 a month (if you sign up for a year), heck that’s as much as your Netflix subscription.
To wrap up, if you have any great tools you use for your own personal fitness, please let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for new things to try!
***I did not receive any compensation for the tools and services promoted above. Everything is my own opinion.***