After he noticed his family’s heart attack history, 25 year-old Luke Tompkins knew that he needed to manage his heart health better. Adding cardio to his daily fitness routine not only built his heart endurance up, but it also helped him lose weight that he put on during the Covid-19 pandemic. These are the small changes he made.
Gaining weight slowly crept up on me. The Covid-19 pandemic put me out of my usual workout routine since the gyms in Vancouver where I lived had closed for several months. And even after they reopened, I was still putting on extra weight. Next thing I knew, I hit my highest weight of 206 pounds at 24 years old.
I didn’t feel healthy at all. I always considered myself a fit guy, but there I was trying to catch my breath after running just a half a mile to get back into the groove. This was a huge shock for me as I had played basketball and ran track in high school, and I knew I had to make some changes.
When my grandfather experienced a heart attack and had to have triple bypass surgery, I began thinking more about my heart health and cardio and realized the time was now to start taking care of myself better. My great-grandfather also had two heart attacks and I did not want to continue the cycle.
To build my endurance up again, I did even more cardio for my heart alongside a weightlifting workout. Soon that cardio turned into fat loss.
First, I started with the goal of walking 10,000 steps every day. Even in the drenching rain I was out there, just walking with an umbrella, dedicated to completing every step. Then I turned up my cardio in the gym.
I added a 20-minute HIIT cycling bike exercise after I was finished with all my lifting sessions. I worked out six days a week for around 45 minutes using weights, doing a shoulders/legs, back/chest, and arms split. I cycle through those two times a week aiming for 12 to 16 hard sets a body part each week, so 6 to 8 hard sets each body part per workout session.
I lost the weight fairly slowly so I could keep as much muscle as possible. I lost just over a pound each week on average during a five-month time period and ended up losing a total of 30 pounds.
My advice to anyone just now beginning their fitness and weight loss journey is that you do not have to be perfect, you just have to be consistent. Don’t be concerned about getting your diet perfect each day because there is always going to be a day that you cave and eat something that does not quite fit. And definitely do not overdo it on cardio the following day to make up for it. Just get back to your routine and take it a day at a time.
Author: Scott Dowdy