“I downloaded just about every single fitness app that looked interesting. GAIN was the clear winner for me.” – Ben Lewis, GAIN Fitness user
Can you share any fitness stats regarding your progress?
In the last 6 months, I’ve dropped 75 pounds. My body fat has gone from 35% to 20.6%, waist has gone from 51 to 37, blood pressure from 135/85 to 110/70, and my 3-mile time has dropped from around 40 minutes to 25:46.
Amazing. Nice work! At GAIN, we believe fitness is about the many different kinds of positive benefits you get from working out. What do you personally gain from being fit?
I have two daughters, ages 4 and 3 months. In the short-term, I’ve gained the ability to enjoy time with them much more. For example, the day before this interview, I took the 4-year-old to a water park. There’s an 8-story high 347-foot water slide there that she’s just tall enough to do, but I have to carry both of our mats up the stairs. If I had gone into this summer in the shape I was in back in December, there’s no way I would have wanted to do that more than once. We did it four times and I could have kept doing it if she’d wanted.
As for the long-term, I’m an older father. I’ll be 62 when my youngest graduates from high school. I’d like to be around and still nimble then.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in reaching peak fitness? How did you overcome it?
Well, I don’t consider myself to be at “peak fitness” quite yet, but I’m working toward it! That said, probably my biggest challenge was getting back to the gym in December and January when I was very overweight and couldn’t do much. It was embarrassing. Several of my first forays back into the gym were at around 4am, but eventually I just told myself I was being silly and needed to suck it up.
What do you like about the GAIN apps? Which ones do you use?
I use the Cross Trainer and Shockwave Protocol apps. I love that I can create custom strength training workouts and plans based on my fitness goals, level of fitness, and equipment available. I also appreciate that it displays the amount of weight and repetitions I’ve completed the last time I did a specific exercise, and how it times my rest periods in between sets.
I even use the apps when I don’t have access to a gym. For example, I was visiting my hometown less than a month ago when I was fairly well down the path to fitness, and used the GAIN app to build a workout for me to do in my brother’s basement with no equipment. I worked up quite a sweat and even experienced a little soreness the next day due to working some muscles at some angles that I hadn’t been working in the gym, evidently.
Nice. How do you hold yourself accountable to make it to all those workouts?
I like to set both short-term and long-term goals. The short-term ones help keep me focused on the long-term. Also, making my weight profile public on sites like RunKeeper and LoseIt is a big help. It makes me want to keep it up because I know that people are watching. Even doing an interview like this is helpful in that regard. I don’t want to be the guy who went from fat to fit to fat again.
What was it that initially motivated you to commit to being healthy?
A combination of factors. I found myself not wanting to be in photos and getting winded when doing outdoor stuff with my oldest daughter. When my wife was pregnant with the youngest (born in April 2013), it hit me that I’d be in my 60s when she’s in high school. I realized that it was time to get it done.
Do you tend to workout independently or with others?
Independently. I’ve read that for motivation/accountability it’s often best to workout with others because you won’t be willing to “stand up” a friend, but I tend to be self-motivated and frankly couldn’t imagine having to wait for others to complete sets or having to run at a pace that fits someone else.
How did you discover GAIN?
I did a search in the iPhone App Store “weight training” or something similar. I downloaded just about every single free app that looked interesting and maybe half of the pay apps that had good reviews. I then played around with every one of the ones I downloaded (probably around 10 different ones) and GAIN was the clear winner for me.
What advice would you give someone else just starting out with a fitness goal — especially those who just downloaded the app?
If you’re just starting out, when using the app, I’d recommend creating a 3 or 4-day-per-week “fat loss” plan, then once that plan is completed, switch to “muscle” for the next few weeks. Aside from that, there are seven general points that I found helpful to keep in mind:
- Get moving.
- Take advantage of the information and technology available to you in today’s world.
- It’s ok to start small.
- Body fat reduction begins in the kitchen, not in the gym.
- Just because you have started exercising doesn’t mean you can now eat as much as you want and whatever you want. Consider counting calories for a while, if not permanently.
- Set some long-term goals AND some short-term goals.
- With exercise, push yourself, but don’t overdo it.
You can follow Ben’s fitness journey on his blog.