Making a lifestyle change

Achievement Fitness, San Jose, CA

Achievement Fitness, San Jose, CA

In my last blog, I told you about a fitness and diet routine that I’ve been following for the last 5 months. It started with a 6 week challenge at Achievement Fitness in San Jose. Truly, this gym and the people I’ve met there have changed my life. Anyone who has ever attempted to lose weight has probably heard “It’s not about dieting, it’s about making a lifestyle change.” I don’t think I truly understood those words until now.


One of the requirements when doing the challenge is to do 30 workouts during the 6 weeks. That means at least 5 workouts a week. This can be accomplished Monday – Friday, but many people will do a Saturday workout as well just in case they get sick or need to take a day off during the week. Being ever the overachiever, I worked out 6 times a week and on 2–3 days during the week, I did double workouts. 🙂 Each workout is 45 minutes.

The basic plan is:

  • Monday / Wednesday – LHS days which stands for “Lift Heavy SH*T”
  • Tuesday / Thursday – Boot Camp
  • Friday – Usually known as “Fun Friday.” It’s a combination of LHS and boot camp.

The gym itself isn’t filled with a lot of machines to lift weights. It’s got the basics: kettle balls, dumbbells, medicine balls, TRX, ropes, etc…. Trust me, that’s all the equipment you need to get a kick-ass workout done. The routines are what you’d typically think of when doing boot camp: squats, burpees, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, planks, and jumping jacks with different variations of all of those exercises plus much more.

Unlike other gyms where muscle-bound guys are competing with each other to prove they are better/stronger, in this gym, you compete against yourself. Each and every time I go in there, I strive to do better than I did the last time. I have never pushed myself as hard as I do now and consequently, I had never seen the results that I am seeing now. There is a remarkable difference in my strength and stamina from when I first started and where I am today.

In addition, I love the family environment that is cultivated at the gym. On the days when I’m tired or just don’t want to push it, the coaches and my fellow workout buddies are cheering me on and encouraging me to keep going. Most of the people at the gym are there to lose weight and everyone there is cheering for you to succeed.


Going to the gym 5 times a week really wasn’t too big of a stretch for me. With the exception of last year, I’d been doing that most of my adult life. The diet on the other hand was a different story.

In this program, there is a motto: “FTDI” which stands for “Follow the damn instructions.” They give you a very limited list of foods you are allowed to eat. This is broken down into acceptable proteins, carbohydrates and vegetables. You eat 6 meals a day, and each meal should be spaced approximately 2–3 hours apart.

The food list contains lean proteins such as chicken and fish as well as healthy grains. The vegetable list is chock full of green veggies and the amount we can eat is unlimited. Woohoo?! I get to eat all the broccoli I want! 😉 My go-to grains are brown rice and oatmeal. As an Asian, it’s killing me not to eat white rice!

Oh and let’s not forget the water. Usually you hear “drink eight 8oz glasses of water a day.” We had to drink double that amount!

I know it seems restrictive and militant, but I was not starving when I “FTDIed” it. It’s when I didn’t eat often enough or didn’t have the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables that I got into trouble.

My attitude changed

I love, love, love the gym, the workout and the people in it. I have been amazed at how much my body has changed and how much I can push myself and continue to push myself.

Though it was a little difficult in the beginning to get into the swing of things with regard to the diet, once I got started down the path of clean eating, I became obsessed with creating or finding recipes that I could make “FTDI”.

I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, this stopped being a workout/diet challenge and has become a lifestyle change that I don’t see ending. Some of the motivating factors in my desire to make this a lifestyle change are:

  • Looking lean and fit
  • Being free from the aches and pains I was experiencing as I aged and became more sedentary
  • Feeling awesome

I’m almost 53 years old. It’s taken me a little over half of a century to finally figure things out, but you know what they say “better late than never!”

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