Next week I am turning 44. What comes with that is a pile of wisdom that I could have never have obtained without going through the fire that I have. What also comes with age is that spare tire that constantly rears its ugly muffin-top shaped head.

I was luckily enough to marry a hot chick 13 years my junior which forced me to find new ways to stay on my game and keep things right. The problem was, it got tougher and tougher to fight the bulge. I swear to you I was no slug. I worked out every day and ate healthier than my average counterpart. But, I still felt like the aging 40-something, always having to suck my gut in at the beach.

I decided to enter into a fitness competition to shake things up. It did exactly what I hoped it would do. It got me lean and strong. But, I got to thinking; what was the difference 25 pounds ago?

I worked out then. I work out now. I ate right then. I eat right now. What is the difference? As Shakespeare said “let me count the ways”. The differences are so subtle that you would completely miss them if you were not looking.

Subtle Differences 101:

1. My workout back then almost never changed. Now, my workout changes every week in some small way (reps, weight, exercises etc). I literally mean every week.

2. My diet back then may have been fine but never really changed much. I would have never even thought that changing your diet was important. Now, my diet changes from week to week. Proteins up this week. Carbs down that week. Water intake up this week. Water intake down that week. All for different reasons, which to be honest, are way beyond my understanding. Another thing, I eat way more food now then ever before!

3. My cardio back then was 40 minutes a day until I exploded. Now, my cardio is just a few times per week with a heart monitor that dictates when to spike my intensity. Which is all based upon what my muscle looks like. In other words, evaluating whether or not the cardio is causing me lose muscle mass. Which, I had no idea that cardio training could do.

4. The biggest change and honestly the point of this is adding a coach to this equation. Back then I did not have a coach. Nor did I think it was necessary to do anymore than diet, cardio and exercise. The truth is, there is no way I would have intellectually understood these subtle differences in diet, exercise and cardio with out one. More than anything, having a weekly check in with the coach, with the pictures to prove your success or failure, definitely keeps you honest!

It worked for me. It worked for Kim. It will work for you.