This is the 4th part of an ongoing series. Click here for the prior posts.

Not My ArmMany of you reading this article may already know me, but let me give a quick bio.  I am a 33 year old father of three (fourth is expected in mid-November). After swimming for almost a decade, I stopped competing my senior year of high school and proceeded to add a multiple of the ‘freshman 15’ during my first three-and-a-half years of college. In January of 2002, I joined Weight Watchers and lost nearly 100 lbs in about a year. I lost almost all of the weight through a calorie restricted diet, or in the WW vernacular, by counting ‘points’.

I have kept most of that weight off, but at age 30 I had noticed some of my clothes not fitting as well as I’d like. A colleague in my office at the time mentioned p90x and I quickly signed up to try it out. I legitimately completed 87 of the 90 days. I loved it. I saw great results in my physique and overall health. I didn’t, however, feel that it was sustainable for me. I was working out in a small closet, and I couldn’t really go any further with it on my own. I tried Insanity. It was a good workout, but again, you aren’t going to keep it up for long, it go very repetitive.. That said, if I am on the road, I still enjoy doing an Insanity workout once-and-awhile.

In early 2012 I needed to find something more sustainable. For years I had tried to lose weight through cardio, and as I got older it seemed to get harder and harder to do. I actually felt that my cardio workouts were working against me, a thought that is now getting more and more ink (See, here, here and here). I had heard of Crossfit, but I wasn’t aware of anyone who actually did it. After some more web surfing, I decided to pull the trigger and join Lincoln Park Crossfit in February 2012. I worked out at LPCF until we moved back to Minneapolis in May that year. Back in Minneapolis I joined Lifetime Fitness with my wife. I tried to find classes that I enjoyed, that  worked with my work schedule and that got the results I was looking for. Many of the classes met at least two of those requirements, but as I wrote in an earlier post, anything less than 100% really doesn’t cut it when you want sustainable results.

I am not doing this challenge to simply look better in a bathing suit. I am doing it to … prove to myself that I can do it. It is important for doing all the things that I want to do as a dad, as a husband and as a person.

A good class I liked, but could not make it to, is worthless. A class I can make it to, but which I don’t enjoy . . . well why would I want to subject myself to that? The most uncomfortable part of a workout shouldn’t be the bike seat you are sitting on, the intense heat or the fact that you are dancing in a room full of stay-at-home moms. (That being said, I do miss my Cardio Blast crew.)

In January 2013 I realized that my prefered home-away-from-home was a crossfit gym. Specifically, the 6am crew at Crossfit Minneapolis. I haven’t looked back since. CF-MPLS is also the sponsor of this nutrition challenge. I spoke a bit about the ongoing components of the challenge in my last post, but there are also some other factors that the gym and I use to assess my progress.

I don’t recall the last time I did Fran, and when I did it, it certainly wasn’t Rx, but here are a few other metrics I have compiled and will reassess at the end of the challenge.

It was in my last post, but for those who don’t remember, here is how I did on the benchmark workout, which is completed at the start and end of the of the challenge: broad jump – 95.5”; 3 min. 10k shuttle sprints – 48; 3k row – 11:23. In addition, I performed two benchmark workouts just before starting the challenge. They were the Crossfit Total and the Oly Total. Crossfit Total consisted of one rep max of a:  back squat – 275# (my PR was a week earlier at 285#); strict press – 130#PR; and a deadlift 365#PR. The Oly Total was a single rep max for a snatch and a clean & jerk. I got 145#PR and 175#PR, respectively.

Those numbers are not particularly great, but I was never originally out to get strong. I really wanted to improve my physique and fitness level. My weight, since starting Crossfit in 2012 has not gone down at all. When I started the challenge, I weighed about 233#. While I have certainly gotten a lot stronger and maintained that weight, I’d really like to be much closer to 210, or even 200. If I could maintain my lifts while dropping that weight, I would be really happy. It would also greatly increase, i believe, my speed, and my ability to perform bodyweight movements, such as pull-ups and burpees.

In order to determine my body fat, I got a DEXA Total Body Composition Scan. This was a $25 scan that took about 30 minutes from start to finish. Essentially, you lie on a table while a machine scans your body and assess the composition of your tissue – bone, muscle, fat. I wanted to have this to compare against after the challenge. That way, even if the number on the scale does not change, I will know whether I gained muscle or not.  In addition to giving you an overall body fat percentage, the scan assesses your body by region. It also tells you your android and gynoid fat composition. I didn’t even know what those were, but apparently, android fat makes you look like santa, and gynoid fat makes you look like a pear (top-heavy versus bottom heavy).

As I said above, I am about 230 lbs. I am 73” tall, and my Dexa scan reflected a body fat % in the neighborhood of 27.7%. Of my total mass, nearly 60 lbs. of it is fat. I don’t think most people seeing me in clothes would guess that. But, if I want to perform better and be healthier, that fat number is something I need to change. I also took some measurements (waist, hips, chest, etc.) and I even have some before pictures. If these posts get enough traction and start accumulating some Facebook likes, I’ll post the pictures, and you can all judge for yourself.

However, I am not doing this challenge to simply look better in a bathing suit. I am doing it to improve my athletic ability, to feel better physically and to prove to myself that I can do it. This challenge isn’t just to post a faster time on my gym’s whiteboard, it is important for doing all the things that I want to do as a dad, as a husband and as a person. Whether that means carrying my 65 lb. son on my shoulders while we hike up a mountain, moving furniture around the house or playing pick-up basketball at the park, improving my fitness level will help me excel in all these areas.





About The Author

Steven Schoenberger

Steven is a former estate planning and trust attorney turned life insurance and wealth management professional with Tamar Fink, in Minneapolis, MN. He is a husband and father of four. Steven is a CrossFitter and former swimmer.