Taking a fitness challenge

book bestLet’s face it, being a food blogger has its hazards — among them, the battle of the bulge as we plow through menus of the latest restaurants or the newest food trends. Keeping fit on a busy schedule (food blogger or not) is also a challenge of everyday life.

As many of you know, I’ve been an avid runner for decades, having run 18 marathons, and am a member of Central YMCA, but my struggle with weight has not been easy as each year goes by. I’ve tried everything to change it up: zumba, Vasper, Bikram yoga, modified TKB, supplements, you name it, and the weight doesn’t drop. Part of it is due to high cortisol levels brought on by prolonged periods of stress, but that’s a whole other story.

One of my colleagues, Mia Noguchi, recently took on fitness trainer Ryan Pang as a client and pushed me to work on a fitness regimen with him that was different from other programs I’ve tried, and with a different philosophy. I haven’t said much about it since nothing else has worked, but at least I have something to show for it after six weeks, so now I can tell you what it’s about, in case you want to join us for the next phase of the fitness challenge.

Pang’s approach to working out is a method that has you doing high-intensity intervals of strength/core work or metabolic training that spikes your heart rate for 30 to 45 seconds, then brings it down for 30 to 60 seconds (more or less). During a class, you will do two to three sets of exercises like planks, glute raises, pull ups, push ups, sled pushing, kettle bells, and/or lunges. Each class is about 30 minutes, with 15 minutes to stretch, which is why it’s become popular with people who work in the area.

workoutI wasn’t sure what to think of his method, although I understood the science behind it. Pang says you can get more fit doing his program than traditional programs that have you working out for hours — and it’s a cross between TRX and circuit training. I had to give up running for six to eight weeks because he felt my body had become to used to the workout and wasn’t working for me anymore (if he had his way, I’d give up running altogether). His program is also supplemented with a diet regimen that is a lot like a cross between the paleo diet and Atkins, where you eat a lot of protein and less carbs, and stay away from processed foods. That part was hard for me because of the nature of my blog and because processed foods are everywhere, but you’ll see in the next few blog posts that there are ways to keep this up.

The result? At the end of six to eight weeks, I gained two pounds but lost some fat. My everything but my thighs got (slightly) smaller, especially my upper body, and I undeniably got stronger with some muscle definition. When I started, I couldn’t hold a plank; I can now do it for 30 to 40 seconds.

He’s starting up a second session this week, at $400 per person with a stricter diet program and more frequent exercise sessions, in which he claims we can drop two jeans sizes by the end of eight weeks if we follow it to a T. Since I did see some results with the first session, I’m going to continue with a second session, and I hope you’ll join me. It will be interesting to see how it ends up, especially since I can’t follow the diet to a T and will start running again.

If you want to sign up for Pang’s “Rock Your Jeans” challenge, call him at 808-389-9099 this week. Hope to see you there!