12 Week Fitness Program Review
Interview With Fitness Guru Charles Prosper Creator of The 12-Week Fit Fast System
P.B. Can you give us some background about yourself?
C.P. Basically, I am your everyday guy, well-educated, working man, who at age 57 discovered something. I wasn't the guy that I was physically only 10 years ago. At 5'9' tall, I was weighing about 195 lbs. That's about 35 lbs. over my ideal weight. When I walked, my thighs were so chubby that they actually rubbed together. I was sometimes afraid to run too fast less I might cause a friction fire between my pants legs.
P.B. What got you started in fitness?
C.P. What got me started into fitness is what I like to call the "day of the van". This is what happened. My daughter, Luzemily who was about 7 years old at the time, said to me. "Daddy, I'll race you to the van." Optimistically, I said, okay, but not knowing that my mind and my body had too different agendas. She said, "Go!" And we took out racing to the parked van only about 20 feet in front of us. Before I got half way, I was huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf, totally out of breath. I said to myself, "Oh, no. Something's wrong with this picture. There is no way that I will let myself deteriorate for the sake of my daughter. For her, I must take care of myself to be around for her as long as possible and as healthy as possible. Thus, I immersed myself in a project to learn the best of anything and everything to do with health, physical fitness and longevity. I came across a book by famed bodybuilder Lee Labrada, "The Lean Body Promise" which totally opened my eyes and changed my life.
P.B. What are your favorite exercises?
C.P. My favorite exercises are the bench press, barbell squats and chin ups. I include chin ups because when I started, I couldn't do anything but hang there for 30 seconds before I had to let the bar go. In a couple of months, I began to do what I called "inch-ups". It took me about 6 months before I could do a full pull up. Today at 61 years young, I can blast through 20 wide grip chin ups like nobody's business.
P.B. What are some tips you can give for the beginner?
C.P. I always start out with my most important tip that would apply for the beginner, and that is to have a goal for what you want to achieve, but more importantly than the goal itself must be your knowledge and reason as to "why". Why do you want to achieve what you want to achieve. Is it to impress or please someone else, or is it important to you. No one loses weight, gains muscle, gets in shape and stays in shape but for no other reason than it is vitally important to you and that its importance is so great that it has created a desire to do it, and to be willing to do whatever it takes and to continue to do whatever it takes until that goal is reached - before you set your next and your next goal, ever improving and ever growing.
One other thing, start with where you and with what you can do. If you are in a gym, don't pay attention to how much the guy next to you is bench pressing. We all have to start somewhere, and I will assure you that the biggest and ugliest guy in that gym did not start where he is now. Make progress your progress!
P.B. Where do you stand on the use of steroids and supplements?
C.P. I have never used steroids. As for supplements, I am a strong advocate for supplements, for example, L-Carnitine is one of my favorites for fat-burning, and ginseng extract is one of my favorite energy boosters because it binds and holds oxygen molecules for energy use. And I take healthy doses of vitamin supplements everyday of A, B, C, D and E.
P.B. What are your future goals?
C.P. I would like to show that it is not all over and down the hill when you hit 40, 50, or 60, and I intend to always show that by my own example. I today, at 61, I weigh 162 lbs, with a 30-inch waist, and I have the same body-weight, shape and musculature that I had when I was in 25 years old with just as much energy.
My goal is to be a part of anyone who has set their goal to becoming the best that they can be no matter at what stage that they start or no matter at what shape that they may find themselves be they male or female. As I like to say ~ "It is no longer how old you are but how old you want to be".
P.B. What is the toughest part about fitness for you?
C.P. Honestly, at this point and at this stage, there is no tough part about fitness for me as it is a way of life that I can't see myself without. I believe that the question of discipline and things being tough is a temporary and transitional period that one must go through when he or she is developing new habits and changing unhealthful ways. Discipline is only discipline, in the early stages until it becomes a habit, until it becomes who you are, at that point it becomes pure joy and pleasure to do.
P.B. What are your workouts like?
C.P. I do my workouts outdoors in my garden in the open air at 4:30 a.m., rain or shine; since I live in Southern California, it is mostly shine; though rain or winter cold won't stop me. I just love working out outdoors! (Though I believe that they are very helpful, I haven't belonged to a professional gym in years.) I believe that if you are committed, you can do it, in a professional gym or in a special space in your living room. Commitment is the key.
P.B. What is your diet diet like?
C.P. I eat 5 to 6 small balanced and nutritious meals a day. Each meal has from 500 to 600 calories, they are essentially low fat, that is I do not eat fried foods, only baked or broiled. I try to keep my total fat-calorie ratio at about 20% to 25% of the total calories that I eat.
A typical breakfast might be: 4 scrambled eggs whites (with Pam), 1/2 cup of oatmeal, a cup of blueberries, green tea, a cup of water and my vitamins; my vitamins are taken in the morning.
2 hours later, my second meal could be a glass of soymilk and a scoop of chocolate whey protein; you can substitute 1% skim milk - I am lactose intolerant.
2 hours later lunch, could be a can of tuna packed in water, on a bed of spinach and lettuce, dressing could be low-fat mayo, a pear, and a glass of iced tea.
I would have a glass of water and two scoops of whey protein before my body building workout, and then again (another meal) of a glass of water and two scoops of whey protein right after my weight training workout.
A couple of hours later, I might have broiled salmon with steamed vegetables, a baked yam, maybe some lemon non-fat sorbet for dessert, and an iced tea.
Just before bed, I would eat a cup of non-fat cottage cheese mixed with a tablespoon of flaxseed oil -or- a cup of non-fat cottage cheese and a handful of pecans. Then I would go to sleep.
Oh, and I almost forgot. One day of the week, you get what I call a "cheat day". What this means is that you pick one day of the week where you select one meal of that day where you eat whatever it is that you want: apple pie and ice cream? - okay. A greasy hamburger and fries - cool. By being consistent the other 6 days of the week, you will have trained your body to become metabolically efficient which is a fancy way of saying that you will have converted your body into a fat-burning furnace such that when you "accidently" drop something in that is high-fat once a week, your body will see this as a mistake and just turn the furnace up to burn that fat quicker. You may even sometimes lose weight after a cheat day - No kidding!
P.B. Tell us about the Prosper 12-Week Fit Fast System.
C.P. The concept of the Prosper 12-Week Fit Fast System is based on these principles:
1) Progressive Weight Resistance - four times a week. (Just jogging or other aerobic exercise is not enough. Bodybuilding with barbells and dumbbells shapes and sculpts the body into an aesthetically pleasing work of art. If you are pear-shaped and lose weight through just jogging - you just become a smaller shaped pear.)
2) Cardio Exercises for 20 to 30 minutes non-stop for the other three days of the week, preferably done in the morning on an empty stomach. Just have a glass of water upon awakening, and maybe a cup of black coffee, stretch for 5 minutes or so, then hit the road and start jogging or whatever other aerobic exercise that you practice.
3) Eating 5 small, low fat, balanced meals, spread out at about 2 hours apart of no more than 500 to 600 calories. (Don't forget your once a week "cheat meal".)
4) Attitude and desire - you must really want this change and be committed to changing yourself - nothing less will do.
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