After one solid year without Soca, followed by extensive COVID curfews and lockdowns, mi soca baddie mash up!! Those of us who are ardent gym-goers know that if you stop going to the gym for a while, when you return, it feels like you are starting all over again.
I must congratulate all those who still have a six-pack. When I grow up I want to be like Jean!!!
Google –The New Aged Look, Jean
Forty-eight percent (48%) of persons surveyed by King’s College London and Ipsos MORI in the United Kingdom revealed that they have gained weight during the lockdowns (www.kcl.ac.uk). Weight gain is one issue among a multiplicity of others that results from the ‘global lockdown’ caused by COVID-19. Our bodies will deteriorate quickly when neglected. Improper eating habits will produce increased mortality and morbidity from food related diseases. Less physical exercises impact the efficiency of our respiratory, digestive and excretory systems. Lack of social engagements create a diverse array of mental issues, including stress, depression and anti-social behaviours. I urge us all to find simple ways during this period to stay active and healthy.
Today, I am a product of inconsistent gym activities and a care-free diet; gaining 18 pounds since June 2020. In just nine (9) months, my melanin body has shown exaggerated distribution of fat in areas most prone for weight gain. I was recently told that “I look like a cute round chocolate bunny”, hoping that was more related to my “cuteness” and not the “fluff” associated with bunnies.
Jacket Unavoidably Open….broad chest or big belly??
Twelve months ago, I was at the peak of my workout and fitness program. On February 21, 2020, when I landed in Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival 2020, I weighed 205 pounds, which is usually my approximate weight for carnival.
Trinidad Carnival February 2020 – 205 lbs
In June 2020 when I landed back in Jamaica after being locked down in Canada by COVID-19 for 3 months, I weighed 198 pounds. This was after an intense training program that included dieting, running and walking.
June 2020 in Canada – I was 198 lbs
My pursuit for good health and wellness has been motivated by my soca chasing activities and my family’s history of comorbidities, for a while now. During this COVID-19 year, my fitness program has been most imperfect. This is caused by inconsistencies in my gym attendance as a result of changing my gym from Spartan Health Club to Hard End Fitness Factory and minimum running and walking because of a damaged left leg sustained on the Airport Road. During the same period, my eating and drinking habits had gone out of control and without discipline. The reduced physical activities coupled with my poor eating habits have redesigned my body. My chest and arms are bigger, my belly and waist are soft and swollen and my legs have gotten small with less muscle strength.
I recently took some pictures of my naked body. My love handles were now loving me from side to side. My belly was imposing itself out front. In the past, it was much easier to do a simple “tuck” while walking around to disguise the additional weight; however, subsequent to the weight gain, it has become increasingly difficult to do so. Please don’t laugh; I am serious. I am really a mess. I wish I had the confidence to show you all a little of my naked flesh. I won’t because this blog is rated PG13.
Clearly, my body’s beauty program has been on suspension or leave of absence.
Why health and wellness?
I truly think that, to have a long, healthy and fulfilling life, we all need to be physically strong and fit. I tell my friends that when I became a fitness freak, my health and wellness objectives were mainly about ‘body building’, now it is mostly about ‘body beauty’. I love looking and feeling sexy in my clothes and I like seeing my muscles bulging out of my fitted clothes. As far as I can remember, I have always been a fitness enthusiast. Back in the days growing up in the country, I used to walk 10 miles to and from school. I worked on my Dad’s farms, some of which were far distances away from our home and I had to carry heavy loads of harvest (Irish and sweet potatoes, cabbage, yams, etc.) over hills and valleys from the farms to our home. I also had to carry water in buckets to feed the cows and pigs in the different pastures and sties respectively.
Fitness was a way of life growing up!
One of a country boy’s favourite sports is running. I use to play many speed games, such as “lick and run” and “catchy and shubby”. Later in life, at the best high school in Jamaica, Meadowbrook High School, I played competitive cricket and football. My favourite coach, the famous ‘Red Dread’, British sports expatriate, our sports master, took us through our gruelling paces by having us run through the communities of Meadowbrook, Havendale and the hills of Chancery Hall. It was this history of fitness that prepared and seasoned my body for my ‘Soca Chasing’ activities across the Americas over the last decade. Dancing, jumping, skanking and whining in the hot Caribbean sun ‘down di avenue’ for two days in a Trinidad and Tobago carnival, remains the best test of my fitness ever.
When I celebrated my 40th birthday, I became even more conscious of my health and wellness objectives. I was more deliberate about what I consumed and how it affected my long-term health. Fortunately, country life taught me well about the importance of fresh air, water, ground provisions, fresh vegetables and meats. My decision to eat right became a necessity to also curtail and protect me from the illnesses that my family has been afflicted by. These illnesses include cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc. I made this conscious decision having, lost both of my parents, a sister and two brothers to these lifestyle diseases. Trust me when I say I know the importance of good health; hence my rationale for living my life per minute.
My health and wellness program includes working out in the gym, running, walking, eating healthy foods and drinking lots of water and juices. I call it the GRED Program, where:
● G – Gyming, which involves the lifting of different weights;
● R – Running/Walking on the treadmill, parks and roads;
● E – Eating foods high in protein and less in fats and carbohydrates;
● D – Drinking lots of water and natural juices low in sugar.
Right now, my body is bawling out for this holistic fitness intervention program. This program will keep my body mass down, increase my stamina and boost my immune system.
GRED Recovery Program
I have been very disappointed with my lack of commitment to my health and wellness goals. I am, however, now motivated to put into action immediately, my "GRED Recovery 60-day Program”. My physiotherapist, Danielle Powell, of Wellspring, expertly treated and restored my damaged leg with her healing hands. I am not 100%, but I am feeling fi di road… I am now back in the gym, running and walking again.
The GRED Recovery 60-day Program will officially start on April 1, 2021 and end May 31, 2021. The plan has 4 major components:
I have reactivated my gym membership at Hard End Fitness Factory and I will attend the gym a minimum of 4 times each week.
My running and walking program will be utilized to build fitness and lose weight. I will, however, moderate them to reduce muscle mass loss and to produce leaner muscles.
Food intake is most critical for body strengthening. My food plan is to reduce body fat while building muscle mass and cuts.
This is a ‘no alcohol’ program. Secure a big gallon bottle to carry around all day. Water is important for our body’s metabolic reactions; all of our training regimen should have water consumption as a central component. Mostly drink water at room temperature; it facilitates the digestion process by allowing food to be broken down and absorbed more quickly into the body.
Dr. DF Tips
My GRED Operation Recovery Plan is surely not for everyone. I therefore suggest that you utilize the following tips to help you stay healthy and fit:
Stop eating heavy meals after 6 pm. If you feel for something to eat, drink a cup of green tea, water and/or eat a fresh fruit.
Eliminate sweet foods and drinks. Only eat ice cream, cakes, buns, drinks and beers on special occasions. Cheat only once per month.
Eliminate refined grains and processed foods. These foods include white flour, cornmeal, white bread, white rice, cereals, cheese, bacon, ham, salami and sausage.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Especially foods with different colours such as oranges, tangerines, bananas, papaya, peas, mangoes, plums, apples, cucumbers, carrots and cabbages.
Eat lots of ground provisions. I am an addict of sweet potatoes, yams and dasheen. These foods not only keep you full, they help with energy and muscle density.
Eat lean meats high in proteins. When I am at the peak of my GRED program, I only eat egg whites, jerk and boiled chicken breasts and steamed fish.
Dancing and fitness go hand in hand. You have to be fit to dance for many hours. I suggest that you walk, run and dance at least 3 days per week.
Drink lots of water. Water is truly the staff of life. Consume it in adequate portions to help you lose weight and flush toxins from your system.
Join me on this amazing journey over the next 60 days, as I try to sculpt my aged body back to its former glory. My GRED Program is always simple and achievable. My targeted outcomes are as follows:
● Workout a minimum of 4 days per week;
● Lose 16 pounds by June 1;
● Burn belly fat;
● Cut and bulk muscles.
I will use all my social media platforms to keep you fully updated on my progress. I will also create an online Forum at https://www.donaldfarquharson.com/forum to facilitate further discussions.
Read more of my blogs at http://www.donaldfarquharson.com/blog. Make sure you subscribe to the email listing and share this article with friends on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
If you want to engage with me more and get access to the exercises in the GRED program, book my services at https://www.donaldfarquharson.com/bookings-checkout/gred-recovery-progrom?referral=service_list_widget.