Blog Post

Getting Ready for Spring and Summer Hiking and Photography


Hello everyone. Thanks for following me.

I’m going to write a slightly different blog post tonight. It is photography related in a way, but I’ve been working very hard on getting back in shape and I have had a ton of people ask me what I did. So one of the main reasons why I did it was to be in better shape for our landscape photography sessions and hiking, I figured I’d do it as a blog post. At the time of writing this I have been doing this for 2 months and have lost 30lbs and over 8% body fat. How I got here and what I did is listed below, but it is a multi-pronged approached, as you will read.

Now I will first start off with a disclaimer. I am not a certified physical trainer, nutritionist or anything in that area. I know photography and that I was out of shape and needed to fix that. So what worked for me may or may not work from you. As with anything physical or dietary, consult with your doctor first, and if you don’t feel right then STOP!

How it started:

So coming through the holidays last year I was approaching my heaviest that I had been probably ever. Scaling in at 247 lbs. I have always been an athletic person, so while this did affect me on our hiking to do our landscape photos, I still stayed very active. I use our gym at work and usually would hit it 3 or 4 days a week, but maybe for 30 minutes at a time.

What I started with:

First off I did my research. There are so many diets out there these days and they all have the pros and cons. KETO is the big thing these days, but I know that I need my energy, so I was not wanting to completely cut out the carbs. I knew I wanted to keep them low because carbs retain water just like sodium does. 1g of carbs holds on to 2g of water. Most people think sodium makes you retain water, well that bag of no sodium chips does the exact same thing!!!

So I knew I was going to go Low Carb and Low Sodium, which isn’t the easiest as a lot of the Low Carb stuff like jerky is high in sodium.

To keep track of my meals I’ve been using Under Armour’s app on my phone “My Fitness Pal". I’ve been using that app for a long time but not REALLY using it. It allows you to keep a food diary during the day and set you goals and limits for calories, protein, carbs, sodium or any other macro nutrients that you want to track.

The next prong of attack:

I knew what I wanted to do with my diet, now I went to my exercises. I knew I needed to step up my game. I had been doing 15-20 minutes on the elliptical in my gym then would do some weight lifting. I decided to take the first week and incrementally increase my cardio on the elliptical up to 45 minutes, then shortly after that I challenged myself to do 60 minutes and had no issues.

Before you start doing your cardio or exercising get you a good band, watch or whatever that will show you your heart rate and track you exercise. I have an Apple Watch and us the Under Armour “Record” app on my watch and phone. Works amazing, and the Record app ties in directly with the My Fitness Pal app so when you finish your workouts it sends what calories you burned over to My Fitness Pal.

Why do you want to monitor your heart rate? Well your hear rate has different zones. Most people get on the elliptical and just slowly move along looking at only the time. You MUST get your heart rate into the proper zone for fat burning, which is called the aerobic zone. Usually that is around 128-138 beats per minute, but it is different for each person. A quick Google Search on how to determine your Aerobic heart rate will bring up multiple calculators where you can calculate what yours is. If you go too high you switch into Anaerobic, which your body starts burning sugar and not fat, which is not what you want.

After I do my cardio I also do some light weight/high number of reps weight training. I do that for another 30 minutes or so. Pick lower weight that you can do 15-20 reps and do 3 sets of those with 30 seconds rest in between. Key here is you are building lean muscle that will burn more fat and you are keeping your heart rate up. I like to mix up my weights and continuously go. Example - bicep curls, tricep push downs, drink of water and repeat, without stopping.

Another prong of attack:

Okay, if you are overweight then there is a high probably that your brain is confused and completely controlling your eating.

I went out to eat 2 days after I started this and decided I was only going to eat half of my dinner to see how it worked. I ate half, asked for a box, and walked out of Carraba’s completely content. I realized right then that my brain had been seeing food in front of me and telling me that I had to eat all of it. Perhaps this came from my childhood of “eat everything on your plate”, LOL I don’t know. What I do know is that after doing this for about a week I had completely reprogrammed my brain into stopping when I feel content, not stuffing myself. That has literally cut my calorie intake in half without even making myself starve.

Putting it all together:

Pretty soon after all of this started I began to feel and see a difference. Low carb, low sodium and my calorie intake was lower. By pushing my cardio to 60 minutes (at 138bpm) and doing weights after I soon was burning 1500 and now 2000 calories a day. All of this while only consuming 1000-1500 calories a day in food. If you figure I’m in a calorie deficit from my workouts and that is not even figuring in my normal daily metabolic rate of calorie burn, the fat is burning off so quickly.

I’m also looking for other ways to exercise, not just the gym. We take the dogs for 3 miles walks around our neighborhood. We try to do at least a 3 or 4 mile hike each weekend if the weather allows it. Anything. Walk some place if you can. Do whatever you can.

The biggest thing that I cannot stress enough. Set small goals for yourself and check the scale once every 2 weeks. Don’t do it every day because you will have good and bad days. And push yourself. If you feel great then don’t stop at 60min of cardio, go more!!!!!!! Always challenge yourself to do more!!!

I hope this helps someone out. This has worked out really well for me and I’m still going. I’m ready for some long hikes to get out and get some great photos.

Enjoy and be safe!!!!