Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Fitness Program, Results, and Rationale: Part I

For all of you who regularly follow this blog, I wrote this post and the next post to give you a transparent view of where I'm at (health-wise and fitness-wise), what I do, and why I do what I do. I would be a complete hypocrite and lack credibility to write about health and fitness but be in poor standing myself. 

Summer of 2010 versus April, 2017

In this post, I'll share my current health status and results. In part two of this series, I'll discuss my current training routine, diet, and other lifestyle habits. If you have no interest...I don't blame you...and come back next week when I get back to general exercise and nutrition topics.

Before diving into my current health and fitness, you should know what I'm aiming to do. While I'd like to be very muscular and build my athletic skills, I don't care enough to focus on those at the expense of my primary goals. Just as it's difficult to date the woman in California while living in New York, it's difficult to train for health and longevity, maintain leanness, and maximize muscle mass. We can't have everything we want, so we have to prioritize what's most important and focus on that.

Here are my primary fitness-related goals (in order):
  1. Health (short- and long-term) and longevity
  2. Being satisfied with how I look naked (how's that for honesty?)
  3. Having an above average amount of strength and muscle

My Results and Status

Here's an overview of my body composition and health with a little context on how I've fluctuated over the past few years.

Body Composition

Measurement Type
Current Measurements (taken 4/25/17)
181.4 lbs 
Waist Circumference
81.8 cm (32.3 inches)
Hip Circumference
101.4 cm (40 inches)
Waist-to-Hip Ratio

4/25/2017 (no oil, no filter...just me)

For most of my adult life, I've weighed around 187-190 lbs. At my heaviest (left side of the photo at the top of this article), I weighed 201 lbs. I've maintained my current weight range (179-183 lbs.) mostly since mid-2011. (This post details how I lost the weight.)

Since I've started tracking waist and hip measurements (2014), my waist and hip have increased by one and 1.5 centimeters.

As mentioned, I care most about health and being satisfied with how I look, so I track my body composition using photos and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). WHR is more effective than weight or body fat percentage in determining a person's risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. With a WHR of 80.7, I fall into the "excellent" or "low risk" range for men, which is below 85. My BMI is 24.6 (I'm 6' tall), which is classified in the "normal" or "healthy" weight range.

Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health

Here are snippets of my most recent measurements. I'm 33 years old (birth date: 7/19/1983).

On 4/21/2017, my total cholesterol was 134 mg/dl and my blood pressure was 107/59 mmHg.

On 3/23/16, my HDLs were 70, LDLs were 86, and my triglycerides were 41 mg/dl.

This is my last fasting blood glucose test, measured at 83 mg/dl.

I fall into healthy ranges for all measures. Healthy ranges for each are the following:

  • Blood pressure (me: 107/59): 80-120 (systolic)/60-80 (diastolic) mmHg
  • Total cholesterol (134): under 200 mg/dl
  • HDLs (70): the desirable level is greater than 60 mg/dl 
  • LDLs (86): less than 100 mg/dl
  • Triglycerides (41): less than 150 mg/dl
  • Fasting blood glucose (83): 70-99 mg/dl

Joint Health

As you will see in part two of this series, I exercise regularly but not as much as many fitness professionals. One reason for this is out of concern for joint health. One four-year study showed people who exercise very frequently experience just as much joint deterioration as people who don't exercise at all (1).

I have no regular joint pain. However, I experience back stiffness and ache about two or three times per year. Also, I recently experienced left knee pain on a 12-mile hike (a one-time event). While my lower back is generally pain-free (thanks to back extensions) despite an injury in 2008, the ache usually follows exercise "experiments." Examples are trying new exercises with more loading on the spine (hack squats, deadlifts, etc.) or adding volume with exercises that put force on the spine.

Final Thoughts for Part I

One thing I want to improve on is being a little smarter in my exercise experiments; while I love experiencing what others are doing, some pursuits aren't wise for joint health. As I mentioned at the start, I want to be around for a long time and to be functional during all of those years. Some risks aren't worth the minor benefits they might provide.

In part two, I'll share what I'm currently doing with my exercise program, diet, and in other areas.


  1. Lin, W., Alizai, H., Joseph, G. B., Srikhum, W., Nevitt, M. C., Lynch, J. A., ... & Link, T. M. (2013). Physical activity in relation to knee cartilage T2 progression measured with 3 T MRI over a period of 4 years: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage21(10), 1558-1566.


Kat Marie said...

Congratulations Can't wait to follow your journey

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is great, I'm excited to see your progress. As well as hear your feedback on what's working for you and what's not. I'm especially intrigued on how you feel you've improved on your primary goals weeks from now.

Another great read!

Dr. Sean Preuss said...

Kat - thanks. I'll post (shorter) updates in the future in a few months.

Dr. Sean Preuss said...

I will gladly share in another post with updates on my experiments. Thanks for reading.

Dr. Sean Preuss said...

I will gladly share in another post with updates on my experiments. Thanks for reading.

Melissa said...

Just curious, why are you checking your cholesterol so often and how are you having it checked?

Dr. Sean Preuss said...

Hi Melissa,
United Blood Services measures my plasma cholesterol during every visit, and I typically donate platelets every two weeks. I wouldn't think to check it so often, but seeing the fluctuations has been an interesting learning experience.