Hello Habitude Fitness Family! I am especially excited about today’s post. Anytime that I get the honor to celebrate with you, it’s a special time for me as your trainer and as your friend. A little while back you may remember my interview with a fitness friend, Corey. In that interview, a part of Corey’s transformation included his son Cody. One of my absolute favorite things about this community is that we are young and old, men and women, tall and short. We come with different abilities, backgrounds and of course many different shapes, sizes, and colors! Cody is a young, up and comer and is just getting started in his adult life. As far as his health and wellness journey goes, I believe he has learned and experienced a lot already and has an awesome story to tell. I also trust that we can all relate to his journey in some way.
Recently I had the opportunity to interview your dad and find out more about his lifestyle transformation. It was incredibly moving and motivating. In his story, he referred to you as being part of the catalyst for change in his own life. Can you tell me more about this time?
My dad had a much longer commitment to working out prior to myself. My dad had been going to local gyms for multiple years and I was in good shape because of sports in high school, with no real workout plan or vision. After I started my first year of college I gained the typical amount of weight that most enrolling students do. By the time it had gotten to the next summer I had decided that I really wanted to consistently work out and have a full body transformation. My dad and I started working out together daily, without any sort of diet or vision in place. By the end of that summer, we both had hit a point where we were losing motivation because we did not have the visual results that we thought we had deserved. Frustrated from working out daily without getting the results I wanted led to me actually creating my own diet at the beginning of 2013. When I came back for spring break 3 months earlier my dad could not believe how quickly I had gotten the results that I had set out for. This led him to adjust his diet to be similar to the one I had which led him as well to start achieving the image that he desired. While I was of great help to my dad in maximizing his healthy lifestyle, I don’t think I would ever have been able to stick with my own transformation if I did not have an exercise partner day in and day out at the beginning. Today we still push each other to further improve and maintain the progress that we have made.
When or what was it in your own life that led you to consider changing your habits and attitudes about your health and fitness?
What really made me begin my transformation was that I needed an escape. I was struggling with my grades in school, my emotional life was unbalanced, my social life led to bad habits, and I was all around stressed. To relieve the stress I started to take walks. Walks turned into runs. Running became my escape from everything. The best part was that after I started running more, my attitude got better, my motivation to excel in school increased, and I felt well. This increased feeling of wellness led me to begin strength exercises, and eventually change my diet as well. Today I find that my healthy lifestyle not only increases my physical state but increases my academic and occupational performance, as well as improves my emotional and social lives.
What goals did you set for yourself in order to make the change and keep it?
I think having goals is an absolute must when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Without goals, it is very hard to keep a vision of what you want out of your lifestyle, and it becomes difficult to contain motivation. At all times I have for myself two goals: performance-based, and image based. The performance-based goals are easy to track as there is a number associated with them (a mileage, a time, and weight, etc). The image goals are difficult because they do not come as quickly, and are not quantitative. When I first started my transformation my goals were simply to run a certain distance. This distance gradually increased from 3 miles – 3 times a week, to a point where I was able to run 40+ miles a week with a half marathon at the end. Once my performances increased I eventually began to realize that a body transformation was desired as well. Having these two goals helped me centralize my intentions and focus while I strived to improve, and is essential to my future improvements.
What are some of the roadblocks you face in maintaining your lifestyle and how do you get through them?
The hardest setbacks for me to maintain my lifestyle is keeping a social presence. Being a young college student there are constantly unhealthy activities that can be a great distraction and disturbance to reaching my goals. Although I sometimes do sacrifice my health for the sake of improving my social life, I restrict myself to small amounts in order to consistently keep both aspects of my life intact.
What is one old thought or idea you used to have about being healthy that has been transformed by your new approach?
I think that the absolute most important thing that I’ve learned throughout my transformation is how to perceive my motivation. When I was not having as successful of commitments or results, it was due to me not recognizing where my motivation should come. Originally I used how other people viewed my physical appearance as my inspiration to exercise, and I always viewed dieting as a self-torture that I could just try to “willpower” through. This would always lead to eventually pausing in routines, and breaks from diets. Today, I recognize that my source of motivation is no longer how other people view, but rather how I view myself. That dieting is my “torture” or even a power of will, rather it is a simple decision of what you want more. A line that I constantly tell my friends and family is: “What it comes down to is what tastes better: The taste of a burger? (pizza, chocolate, etc.) Or the taste of satisfaction you get when you look in the mirror?” The burger will only last 5-10 minutes, but the taste of satisfaction can last a lifetime. In life, we constantly face decisions that need to be made between alternatives, and when capable we always choose the more desirable. Having a healthy diet is no different; it is not a matter of willpower or self-punishment, it is merely another life decision to be made. These two recognitions have led to much stronger commitments to my new lifestyle.
You recently said to me that you don’t follow any specific plan, but have taken bits and pieces that you have learned along the way to come up The Cody Plan. What are some of your most valuable bits or pieces?
As my New Year resolution, I did plenty of research into different diets, and nutritional facts and laid out for myself very strict guidelines. I called it the suicide (which has now been changed to swolicide) diet. It was plain and simple, with more restrictions than allowances: no red meat, no white flour, no bread, no nuts, no high fructose corn syrup, no dairy, no eating after 9, and a minimum amount of non-whole foods. This insane by some diet consisted of only eggs, chicken, fish, whole wheat pasta, fruits (and a lot of them), and vegetables. I was able to strictly maintain this diet for the first three whole months of the year and my results blew myself away. In addition to losing over 20 pounds of pure fat while maintaining the same strength levels, my well being and happiness were as high as they had ever been. My peers and family members saw this diet as a result of a bad addiction, or warped body images; however, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the foods that I ate and never regretted my commitment. Today I have revoked a lot of the previously made restrictions because to answer my previously stated question: (“what tastes better: The taste of a burger? (pizza, chocolate, etc.) Or the taste of satisfaction you get when you look in the mirror? The burger that will only last 5-10 minutes, or the taste of satisfaction that can last a lifetime?”) -sometimes that burger or candy bar does taste better than the absolute ideal body image. What I focus on today is still being aware of what I eat, and restricting the unhealthy choices that lead me to stray from my personal goals.
What is your favorite workout and why?
My favorite cardio activity is a simple long outdoor run. Running long distances is how I started my transformation, and I continue to love running. There is nothing more relaxing and soothing than relaxing my mind and traveling long distances.
My favorite strength workouts are body resistance workouts (pushups, pull-ups, hanging abs), but my absolute favorite strength work out is weighted dips. It helps me quickly release large amounts of energy while exerting great amounts of strength.
Would you be willing to share some of your short and long-term goals and how they relate to more than just your fitness level?
While I do have goals that are related to strength and my appearance I will only get into detail for my cardio based goals:
Short term: After running my first half marathon race earlier this spring, I immediately wanted to do more races. I will be running my first full marathon in October this fall; my goal is to simply finish the race.
Long-term: Although I have a lot of work to do, the goal that I made for myself earlier this spring was to qualify for the Boston Marathon by the end of 2014 and to run in the event in 2015.
While these goals are strictly based on running they are much more than that. When making a goal for my first half marathon I put out what I thought was a ridiculous goal of averaging an 8:00-minute mile. I trained long and hard only to crush my goal by nearly 7 minutes. Achieving and exceeding this goal lead me to apply reaching and excelling goals in other aspects of my life. It gave me a sense of confidence that transcended my physical life and was applied to my occupational, academic, and social lives. Today I constantly push my limits on everything that I do. Only fools are satisfied.
Tell me about the Whittenkeller Workout!
Similar to my goals and desired image, my workouts are constantly changing to reflect my new intentions. One thing too that remains consistent, however; is a balance of cardiovascular and strength exercises. For the most part this summer my workouts have been based on gaining speed and increasing body resistance strength. My speed work consists of sprints, jumps, and other high-intensity leg drills. My favorite strength workouts lately are what have been called by Youtubers as the “Ghetto workout”. Slang aside, the workout is great because you don’t need a pass to a gym, rather just a jungle gym. This consists of using a local playground for dips, pull-ups/chin-ups, pushups, hanging abs, balance workouts, and at times mediocre gymnastics. I love this “ghetto workout” because it is simple, easily accessible, and can easily be a full body workout. Combining these different areas of endurance, fat burning, body strength, and speed work I developed what I call “The Wittenkeller Mile”.
At the local track, I start at the 100m dash start line and perform the following:
-Sprint the 100 meters through the finish line
-Turn around, go back to the finish line and do 10 (quantity varies) pushups
-Jog (recovery) back to the starting line, do 10 tuck jumps
-Repeat until a mile has been ran (8 sprints, and 8 recovers) and decrease the pushup and tuck jump values by 1 with each following set (9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2).
This workout is perfect for me because it has a perfect balance of speed production, endurance training, strength, and athleticism. I try to do two of these with a break in-between and although I am incredibly exhausted afterward, it feels amazing when I’m done.
This is me the summer of 2011. I weighed 190 pounds, could only run 3-4 miles, could not do a single full pull-up or dip:
These much more flattering pictures were taken this July. I weigh a little less than 165 pounds, have ran up to 15 miles (and capable of more), can do 15 full pull-ups, and can do full dips with as much as 70 pounds added to my body weight hanging from a belt.
Your Trainer and Your Friend,
Cassie & Cody