Philadelphia Magazine’s Fitness Challenge 2010: Jim Schindler

A 39-year-old sign-equipment salesman and self-proclaimed fast-food junkie. “The only thing I like better than bacon is cheese-covered bacon.”

Monday, February 22nd – 28th
I was in the gym at 7 AM for my workout with Chris.  The workouts are getting a little harder now.  It’s good because I feel better.  I’m up to the challenge.  We shifted from interval training to straight weight training.   I’m also going to re-examine my diet to make sure that I am sticking to the plan.  

Today was a setback.  I did not get home until 9:30 and I had to prepare for work on Wednesday and I skipped my cardio workout.  I’m going to the gym in the morning so I really did not feel like running.  Mornings have been tough this week because I am battling a cold.

I was flagged from the gym today.  My trainer Chris saw me come in the door and when I said hello he told me not to work out with a cold.  He did not feel like the stress on my body would be good for me while being sick.  Since I could not work out, I went to the store.
There has been a scheduling change at the gym.  I have a new trainer at Sweat.  Megan will be helping me now starting Monday.

I had Spin class today so I did not go to the gym in the morning.  I went 15 minutes early because I wanted to meet with Megan to game plan for the week. 
The Spin Class is always a good workout.  Moving forward I would like to take more classes because it is more intense and beats working out alone.
I have one more concern.  This is the first week that I did not lose weight.  Megan said that it was natural to plateau a bit and she would help me push through it.  

I could not make it to the gym this morning because of snow.  So I ran on the treadmill.  I wanted to get a good workout in today because I will be away tomorrow and I may not get back in time to get to the gym.  Things are good but I would like to finish strong so I’m really going to have to push it for the next few weeks.  I think the easy weight is off.  I should still see weight loss, but I think it will be more gradual from here on out.

I took the day off today and did not work out.  I also went out for lunch and had pizza for the first time in weeks.  Since I was busy today, I did not really have a chance to over-eat.  Workouts for next week start tomorrow. <br>

Today I did a light workout on the treadmill.  I go to Sweat in the mornings so I do not want to be tired for tomorrow.  I have a very busy week of work and traveling.  I’m concerned that it will be difficult to find time to get into the gym.  <br> <br>

WEEK 6 <br>
Monday, March 1st – 7th
Today was my first workout with Megan.  Gym workouts are always more intense and this one did not disappoint.  After about 50 minutes we needed to cut the workout short.  Between my cold and my first day back in the gym after the weekend, I started to feel sick.  However, I felt great later in the day.   <br>

I was in the car most of the day today.  It’s hard to eat healthy when I’m on the run like that.  I ran on the treadmill today for about 30 minutes, alternating between walking and sprints. Tuesday’s are the toughest day of the week for me.  I get home late and the workout puts me right to sleep.<br>

I made it to the gym around 6:30 AM this morning.  I wanted to get finished early because I am flying to Orlando today.  I should have no problem exercising but I’m a little worried about my diet because our hotel room has no kitchen.  <br>

Today is day one of a long weekend in Orlando.  I did not eat well yesterday.  We ate sandwiches at the airport and I had a pizza at the hotel food court after we checked into our room.  Today was a little bit better because we had dinner at my sister’s house.  I was fortunate because she is trying to eat healthy so we had plenty of vegetables. I was able to run for 25 minutes tonight in the hotel fitness center before going to sleep.  <br>

Day 3 of my trip and I was able to work out at the hotel’s fitness center in the morning before heading to Disney World.  I worked out for an hour.  They have a nice fitness center.  I ate fine today until we returned late and I split a pizza with my son.  Hopefully all of the activities will help burn some calories.  <br>

I did not work out today.  I want to give my body a chance to rest.  We’ve been on the run for four straight days.  I miss home and I miss my routine.  It’s harder to eat frequent, small meals when you are away.  It’s also hard to find healthy menu options.  I’m ready to get back home because we only have two more weeks and I would like to lose a few more pounds.<br>

I did not work out again today.  Between my cold and the fatigue from sightseeing I’ve felt run down.  We also had to check out early and we never seem to be ready until the last minute.  We went to a baseball game and out to dinner tonight.  While my diet has suffered, I’ve had a great trip.  I’m anxious to get home and get back into my routine.  I hope that I can shake this cold and finish the competition strong.<br>

WEEK 7<br>
Monday, March 8th – 14th<br>

Today was another Monday morning workout with my trainer, Megan.  Megan made me pay today for my weekend away.  Our workouts are a combination of core-strengthening and weight training.  We are focusing on groups of exercises that are easy to duplicate when I go to the gym by myself.  I leave the gym exhausted.<br>

I ate very well today.  I want to tray to stick to the diet so that I can finish the contest strong.  I want to adhere to the diet until the end of April so that I can lose an additional seven pounds.<br>

Tuesdays are my busiest days and I always find myself trying to squeeze in a cardio workout.  Today was no exception.  The workout is strenuous, alternating running and walking at a 5% incline. 

Keeping the right food in the house has been tough.  I am eating for fresh food and I have not had a chance to shop this week.  I need everything.<br>

Today I am traveling for work.  The hotel that I booked said that they had a gym, but they only have a treadmill.  Since I ran yesterday, I did three sets of core exercises that I do with Megan at the gym. <br>
I had a difficult time finding something to eat tonight.  It seems like there are dozens of places near my hotel that sell French fries, but nobody sells fruit.  I found a café and had a salad and a smoothie.  I was complaining about the lack of supermarkets in the area and the woman who worked there gave me an apple.<br>

I go home tonight.  When I get home I plan on running.  I never sleep well in hotels so I am lacking the energy that I hoped that I would have when I woke up.   I cheated on the diet today.  It was a nice day so I had ice cream for lunch. <br>

I was in the gym early today.  I started core exercises and then did some strength work.  I’m beginning to really feel better.  People are noticing that I am losing weight and that motivates me a little more.  I’m really hoping that I can continue this pace after the contest ends.  My trainer at Sweat said that it would take 90 days to see the major improvements that I am looking for.<br>

I feel lost when I travel and I lose a day in the gym.  I’ve been unable to get to the gym on Wednesdays.  However, I have no trips scheduled for the next week so I am hoping that I end the competition strong.  <br>

I am taking it easy today.  On Saturdays I relax a bit.  It’s a great time for me to let my body rest and enjoy a meal out.  That being said, I still try to adhere to some principles.  There are certain things on menus that I will not touch.  My tastes have changed.  We had dinner out tonight and I had grilled fish.  <br>

No exercise today. I did go for a walk and I was complimented by a neighbor that asked if I lost weight.  That’s always a great feeling.<br>

Since I was home all day I had no trouble eating well today.  I even took a trip to the store to stock up on a few things.  I carefully watch expiration dates and try to make sure that I use up what I have. <br>
Tonight I walked on the treadmill.  I walked for 45 minutes at a 5% incline.  It was just enough to work up a good sweat without getting too tired and sore.  Tomorrow is my day to work with Megan and those sessions end with me crawling out of the gym.  I want to take it easy and be fresh for the morning.<br>

WEEK 8<br>
Monday, March 15th – 21st
Megan did not disappoint.  My workout was intense.  If the gym was empty, I would have cried.  I can not believe that we are on week eight and I am in such poor shape.  Actually I feel much better that I did seven weeks ago and Megan keeps adjusting my routine to include tougher exercises.  It’s good to work from home because I can start my day on the couch with my notebook.

I woke up this morning with a sore back.  Our Monday session involved some twisting exercises and I think that it’s a motion that’s different from my normal movement.  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been sore after a workout.  It’s good because I am hitting new spots.  However I skipped the interval training workout on the treadmill in favor of low impact walking on an incline.<br>
I was hungry all day today.  Some days I feel like I spend the entire day eating. My soda consumption has started to creep back up because I love diet coke.  It’s not a caffeine dependency.  It’s something that I will have to watch.<br>

Another early morning at SWEAT.  I eat toast before leaving the house because it’s good to eat before exercising.  I also took 2 Tylenol for my back.  It’s not as sore as yesterday but I did not want it to flare up while I was in the gym.  I continue to do the core exercises that the trainers like to see.  Seven weeks ago I did not even know what a core was. <br>
After work I met with the SWEAT Dietician in the city near South Street.  I think that we were the only two people in the city that were not wearing green.  Our meeting was brief because my regular diet has been fine.  We talked about smoothie recipes and substitutions for soft drinks.  <br>
She suggested club soda instead of Diet Coke.  She also said that rice crackers and pretzels would help on the days where I always feel hungry.  Another great snack is popcorn because the serving size is large and it’s full of fiber.<br>

I did two treadmill workouts today.  I was feeling bad about the low-intensity workout on Tuesday.  So today I did the high-intensity workout in the morning.    It consists of walking, jogging, and sprinting at different times.  I was a sweaty mess when finished.  At night I walked for 45 minutes at a high grade just to work up a sweat.  <br>
Tomorrow is the final weigh-in at the gym.  I feel terrific.  I really have not been paying attention to the contest or the other participants.  I’ve been competing with myself.  While it’s been a challenge, it’s been well worth it.<br>

Megan was very excited to see me this morning.  First, I thought that it was because she would never have to see me limping out of the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  But she was anxious to see if I was able to get over the plateau that I had been stuck on for the past two weeks.  The scale said 189 lbs.  I was able to lose four pounds over the past two weeks to drop my weight to an even 20 lbs. in 8 weeks.<br>
Today I worked on my core/abs.  I managed to put in quite a workout and I finished in the weight room, working on my chest, shoulders, and arms.  <br>

What a fantastic experience this has been!  It has been a blast.  <br>

Three months ago I was sick from overeating during the holidays.  Our slowdown at work gave be too much time to socialize.  I ate and drank only the worst foods and I could get out of breath playing in the yard with my son.  While I wanted to change, I did not know where to start.  I’ve always been a healthy guy, but I was getting concerned.  <br>

I’ve developed a plan that is sustainable moving forward.  My goal of losing 26 pounds is in reach and I feel terrific. Now that I know how to exercise I can go to the gym and burn fat and build muscle.  The classes at the gym are outstanding and really help to keep me motivated.  My reward for the hard work is the increase energy that I have everyday.  I no longer need a nap after work.<br>

I am no longer a fast-food junkie.  My new diet replaced beef, cheese, and bread with fruit, vegetables, and cereal.  I enjoy eating healthy.  Since I like what I eat I will have no problem eating right in the future.  The key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is eating well. <br>

Thank you, <i>Philadelphia</i> magazine and Sweat Fitness.  I would like to thank my trainers, Megan and Chris, and my dietician, Brittany.  I would also like to thank my wife, Stephanie, and my son, Brian.  I could not have done it without everyone’s help.