This competition for me surpassed my expectations and was just what I needed to get me over the plateaus that I hit with my training and get my nutrition back on track.
by Anthony Graziano
My weight had been gradually climbing over the last three years. Since turning 40, I had somehow managed to pack on twenty pounds, mainly around my midsection. It was happening subtly, just a pound or two each month, but before I knew it I was really out of shape. You know it’s out of control when your wife starts buying you stretchy pants, and you don’t recognize yourself in pictures. Also, as a diabetic, I knew that it wasn’t great for me to be carrying around unnecessary weight.
My workouts and nutrition were mediocre at best. I saw the signs at Fitness Incentive for the Fantastic Four competition and really didn’t think it was right for me. I’m not a competitive person when it comes to my training, and I didn’t think I could get three others to join me even if I did decide to participate. I asked around anyway to see if friends or family would be interested in participating in the competition but I couldn’t find others willing to join me. I spoke to Jourdan Brown at the Front Desk one day about the competition, and she was very encouraging, assuring me that I’d be able to find a team. So with the support of my wife Jen and daughter Mia, I made a commitment to myself, stepped outside my comfort zone, and wholeheartedly joined the competition.
Every team needs a coach to guide and motivate them through the season. Choosing a trainer was the most difficult part of the competition for me because all the trainers at Fitness Incentive are excellent and have different strengths and training philosophies. I decided to join Erin Frawley’s team for the competition because I had taken some TRX classes with her and felt most comfortable with her style of training.
Erin had us email her with our goals prior to our initial weigh in. At initial weigh in I was 178.8 lbs., 24% body fat. My goals were to lose 15 lbs., to get my body fat under 20%, raise my HDL, and improve my A1C. She wanted us to be specific about them too—which I found most helpful. She said we should have daily, weekly, halfway point, and final goals. She said not to focus on the weight loss because we’d be putting on some muscle in the next several weeks. She did an amazing job at customizing our workout each week because our individual goals were all quite different. She kept in constant contact with Jen, Tricia, Linda and me on a daily basis through text messaging.
Being part of this new team was motivating for me. There were times after working a full day that I had no desire to get a workout in, but I did not want to let my trainer and the team down, and this pushed me on those difficult days. The support I received from my teammates was amazing, and I truly believe that without them I would not have been as successful.
I changed my diet to eat cleaner with less processed foods. As Erin put it, “eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.” A baked potato instead of mashed potatoes, for example. Chicken breast instead of chicken salad. I counted my nutrients daily and kept a food log. This was extremely helpful because it teaches you portion control and the importance of meal prep. I allowed for a cheat day once a week. I also cut out alcoholic beverages Monday through Friday, which helped tremendously, but I allowed myself a few drinks on Saturday and Sunday. The team shared food ideas on a regular basis via text messaging and Erin was available to answer any questions that came up regarding nutrition.
To my surprise as my nutrition improved I realized I was needing less and less insulin to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. There were some days when I needed no insulin at all.
I really enjoyed the series of fitness challenges the Fitness Incentive staff put together for people involved in the competition. Challenges like rowing, biking, sprinting and the monkey bars were great team-building events and really helped us bond. These mini competitions set up within the main competition made it exciting for me personally and took my mind off just losing weight.
This is the new part of the competition this year. Once the twelve-week competition was over most people just go back to eating whatever they want, cut back on the intensity and frequency of their workout routines and put back on the pounds. The twelve-week maintenance period is designed to have you keep up with your nutrition and workout regimen. There’s also another challenge during this period which serves to keep the motivation high. It’s called the Fitness Incentive Triathlon, and it involves rowing, biking and running. I was really excited about it. Our final weigh-in took place at the end of August, and I’m determined to keep the pounds off and the body fat down. (Editor’s note: Anthony won the Triathlon competition!)
This competition for me surpassed my expectations and was just what I needed to get me over the plateaus that I hit with my training and get my nutrition back on track. At the end of the first twelve weeks, I had managed to lose 19 pounds to a final weight of 159 lbs. and get my body fat down to about 19%. Hey what do you know—I do have abs! The best part of this competition for me, however, came before the final weigh-in at my 3-month doctor’s visit early this past June. My HDL (good cholesterol) increased, improving my HDL/LDL ratio and my A1c (shows overall glucose control over a three- month period) improved from 6.2 to 5.7 and that was with almost no insulin. I’m really excited about the next twelve weeks to see if I can maintain and perhaps improve my body fat. I’d like to personally thank all the Fitness Incentive staff that worked hard to make this event possible.
Join us in congratulating Anthony for his latest accomplishment! Not only was he the 6th overall Fittest person in the first half of the Fantastic 4Contest, but he is also the winner of the Fantastic 4 Fit 4 Summer Triathlon which consisted of Biking the Expresso Campus Loop, Running a one-mile treadmill race and a five minute Rowing challenge.
About the Author…
Anthony Graziano is a Fitness Incentive member who competed in this year’s Fantastic Four challenge. He not only won the Part 2 Triathlon competition, he was the Fittest Individual and second Most Improved individual in Part 2 of the challenge! He trained with Erin Frawley.