Here’s where I got a lot of my inspiration to get my act together, after making the decision to leave my job but struggling with a couple weeks of soul-searching.  I don’t agree with Mike Cernovich’s politics and am not here to promote a political agenda, but discovered him on my path and have to give him his due credit for his role in kick-starting my self-improvement.

The big changes that led to my initial weight loss — the first 50 pounds — involved green juicing, intermittent fasting, daily walking, and circuit training.  Since then I have continued to refine my approach while enjoying a varied diet and “cheating” more often than perhaps I should.  I have dropped 70 pounds in 10 months, and have had many plateaus along the way, which is perfectly OK.

Danger and Play

I am 37, which I consider “pre-40,” and as such, can’t help but highly recommend Fabulously Fit Over 40 especially after hearing Jay Campbell hash out some serious details on podcasts with Mike at Danger and Play.

As far as books go, these have been hugely beneficial for me in getting started and motivated:

Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior by Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg

The New Rules of Lifting (Supercharged!) by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove

I’ve also gotten a lot of good advice from  Yes, it’s a Bodybuilding site populated by many “bros” and there’s a lot of “bro-science” in the forums, but a lot of legit, researched science elsewhere.  I often find myself Googling for NIH (National Institute of Health) studies and quickly realized that is pretty heavily reliant on well-supported research.  Taken with a grain of salt (the advice is often geared towards twenty-somethings), you will find a treasure trove of information and experience there.  And guess what, you’re not just trying to lose weight.  You probably do want to gain some muscle, or at least maintain the muscle you already have.

You’re building your body to provide you with the satisfaction you want from life, to provide you the sort of body that can put up with everyday stress and the occasional illness.  You’re not trying to build huge impressive muscles to get double-takes.  Or maybe you are?  But ultimately you’re doing this for yourself, and “bodybuilding” really doesn’t have to mean “getting huge.”  It means that you simply can’t rely on cardiovascular exercise if you want to have enough muscle mass to let you eat what you want without doing hours and hours of oxidatively stressful, catabolic, muscle-wasting cardio.  I made a huge mistake more than once in the past of relying solely on cardio, sometimes with a tiny bit of dumbbell work, and rest assured, if you’re an endomorph, you will work harder and do more damage to your body relying entirely on cardio if you want to be free to eat reasonable amounts of food.  The more time you spend dedicating yourself solely to cardiovascular exercise (beyond simple walking), the more injuries you will accumulate, and the more free-radical damage you will do to your body.  Huffing and puffing for an hour at a stretch with little rest isn’t the healthiest thing you could be doing with your musculoskeletal system.