Once again, I’m attempting to lose weight. It seems like I’m always trying to do that, but I suppose that will be the case until I finally get down to the weight I would like to be.
I bought a new scale. The old one, it seems, may have been broken. I weigh myself fairly often and noticed that I appeared stuck at 210 or there about. A little up, a little down, but not much. On a whim, I decided that I wanted a digital scale instead of the old non-digital one we had, plus it was only $12. Anyway, first time I step on – 217. My other scale had been lying to me. Oddly enough, the previous couple weeks I’d been doing the light eating again, so I suspect that I was at 220 or so. I’m down to 216 and trending downwards.
Trending… that’s another key this time around. I’ve got a Google Doc spreadsheet I’m using to track my weight. I’m weighing myself 3 times a day – morning, after work, before bed – and recording the lowest weight for the day (because it makes me feel better), but that weight is less important than the moving average. The average will give me a better picture of where my weight really is by smoothing out the fluctuations that occur from retaining water, the occasional big (heavy) meal, and more. Also, by adding “Science!” to my daily routine it feels more like a real project and not just “eat less, exercise more”.
Speaking of exercise, I have a 10k to run in under a month, so, you know, I should probably get to training a bit. The past year has been fairly shitty for me in regards to exercise and diet so I expect to do worse than I have in the previous two years. I did, however, download a Couch-to-5k program for the old Zune that I plan on beginning, maybe this weekend. Also, you know, Rule #1 of the Zombie Apocalypse: Cardio.
Another common element of my “I’m going to start a diet” plan is cutting out sodas, which I’m doing again. Consistently, I’m drinking less sodas now that I used to – there was a time where I was drinking a 6-pack of can sodas a day plus whatever I got out at meals. Now I drink mainly on the weekends and sometimes after hosting a party at our house I’ll have some left over hanging around, and I have little to no willpower, and I refuse to let things go to waste. Oddly enough, as I was thinking about cutting out sodas again, I ran across this wonderful little infographic.
It really makes me not want to eat fast food anymore. Or at the very least, order the smalls and from the value menus. It would help my ego if they stopped calling them “junior” or “kid’s” sizes, but I think I’m just going to have to get over it. I may also start ordering food from the kid’s menu at other restaurants or trying to split a meal with the wife or something. Portions are really out of control.
Also, the CDC has some really awesome stuff about diet. Which makes sense, now that over-eating and obesity are being considered diseases. You can start with the source of that infographic here.
Anyway… enough about me being fat. I return you to your regularly scheduled Friday.
Second week complete. See the first week’s post here.
So how did it go? This is probably the most cardio work I’ve done in a very long time. There was a moment, more than a decade ago, where I joined a gym and went every day and ran about 5 miles per day. That might have been more than the Insanity workout, but I don’t remember it being this exhausting.
The one thing I like most about this workout is that while I am very tired at the end of the workout, after a little rest, some water and food, I feel good. I don’t feel wiped out. I don’t hurt for days.
I’m still behind the experts. I have to rest more often than the people on the DVD, and I’m seriously considering altering the program to repeat month 1 twice and then do month 2 twice in other to give myself more opportunity to progress, but I’ve got a couple of weeks before I need to make that decision. For now, I just feel great that I’m able to complete it each day.
I will be running the Peachtree Road Race again this year, and one of the goals of all this is to beat my time from last year of 1:41:31. Just for frame of reference for my time, the Peachtree is a 10k, or 6.2 miles, and the Boston Marathon is 26 miles. The guy who won the Boston Marathon this year ran it in 2:03:02. He ran an average of a 4.7 minute mile. I ran a 16.37 minute mile. I don’t expect to ever be quite that fast, but I’d obviously love to bring my time down a bit. One day, I might even consider running a marathon, but not yet.
The last time I wrote in the Getting Fit category was back in October when I ran a 5k. So here it is, almost 6 months later… what have I been up to?
Throughout the winter I (mostly) kept up with a simple workout. 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats, 100 dips, 100 reverse sit ups. Not all of them every just, just one per day, a 5 day program. And occasionally I’d run for 30 minutes to an hour on the elliptical machine. This has worked well for me. I’ve built up a decent bit of strength in all those areas, but it was time to do something else.
Now, before people go all off on commenting about how I should be careful and not hurt myself, allow me to state emphatically, I am not an idiot. I am fully aware that I have only one body (until science advances far enough) and I have to take care of it (which, coincidently, is why I am exercising), and this is actually why I chose Insanity over other workouts (I actually watch the videos with a critical eye prior to ever attempting the exercises myself). And throughout, while Shaun T is screaming things like “Work!”, “Faster!”, “Push it!” and all the other things instructors say to make you move, he’s also constantly saying “Know your limits.”, “You don’t have to keep up with me.”, “Take a break whenever you need to.” and this makes all the difference. In other workouts that I’ve tried, they always made me feel like a failure when I couldn’t do their programs to their level, but here, I always feel like I’m doing my best, and my goal is to make my best better over time, and not to meet some arbitrary goal set by a guy who already has a perfect body.
Right now, my best is pretty pitiful. Each day when I do it, I am winded and exhausted by the end of the warm up, and it is a struggle to get through the rest of the day’s program. I attempt each exercise, do what I can, and then take a break. However, after just the first week, I feel better.
I also know I’ve picked the right workout because doing it is hard work, but after I stop, shower and relax a little, I don’t feel like I’ve been dragged through the street behind a car. A workout should work you out, not devastate you.
Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind later. I’m only one week into the program, but right now I feel great.
If I have any quibble about the Insanity program, it’s the same one I have for almost every workout program: perfect people. They have a group of a dozen people doing the exercises, but none of the guys have guts or love handles and none of the women have hips or chests. But that is minor and common, so it really isn’t worth being bothered by it.
It isn’t fancy, so the times aren’t exact, but I crossed the like at exactly 53 minutes and 0 seconds, on the nose. In fact, seeing the time tick toward 53 is what caused me to actually run across the finish instead of continuing to walk.
53 minutes is a decent time. Not a good time. Definitely not a great time. It also happens to be roughly half my Peachtree Road Race, a 10k, time from July. So, despite making little effort to train or exercise in the past few months, I haven’t backslid any.
I do want to bring down my time for next July, so today is the kicking off point of trying to get back into exercising. No. Forget the trying, I am back to exercising.
Anyway, I had a great time, and as you can see from the picture I ran dressed as Charlie Brown’s Evil Twin. Really, that’s what makes the Run Like Hell a fun run: the costumes. Batman, Supergirl, people with blue hair, painted faces, tutus and all manner of different things. I look forward to next year.
I am no longer doing 100 push-ups a day. The reason I began doing them is because I recognized that the first step to getting fit is actually starting. Honestly, getting started is usually the hardest part of almost any project. For me, anyway. I’m not an amatuercrastinator, I’m a procrastinator. So to get started on the road to fitness I needed an easy way to get into the habit. Push-ups are simple in that practically anyone can do them, even if you have to start on your knees instead of your toes and it takes you all day to do the whole hundred. Eventually I did get myself down to being able to do the hundred, on my toes, in under ten minutes. But the real achievement was that I was doing this (nearly) every day.
The second phase of my journey was portion control. One of the main issues many people face in getting thinner is that they overeat. And I’m not talking about sitting down with a bucket of chicken or a tub of ice cream and polishing it off. I’m talking about eating a little too much at every meal that adds up over time. Before starting this road to fitness for real, I wrote about cutting my morning cereal down to one cup. I started doing this again, and limiting my lunches, and watching out for sizes of dinners, and cutting out extra snacks. I also switched to drinking mainly water except for special occasions and sometimes for meals. And I also trained myself to order smaller when we eat out, or order with the expectation that half the meal is going home in a box for another time. Eating at restaurants is really bad for you when it comes to portion control because they often won’t let you control the portions, you just get the plate of food they serve and it is left to you to stop eating. Of course, having a spot of unemployment and being broke really helps here since eating out is one of the first things to go. Fast food is also a pain here since many places have eliminated their old “small” size and made “medium” the new small, “large” the new medium, and the bucket of soda with a barrel of fries the new large. If you are in the habit of ordering the large or medium combos, you might need to reevaluate and switch to the small, or even start ordering off the kid’s menu.
Following these two phases I was able to reach one of my big goals: 200lbs. Phase three is now in full effect. What is phase three? Realistic expectations.
Look, I didn’t get up to 250lbs overnight, or even in a couple months, not even a year. It took a long time for the weight to creep up on me. With that in mind, I don’t expect to lose it all in a short period of time either. I’ve seen tons of propaganda for diets and exercise plans that claim I can shed thirty, fifty, even a hundred pounds in a matter of weeks or months, but the largest problem with losing weight fast is that you usually lack the discipline to keep the weight off. The “crash” in most crash diets isn’t the sudden loss of weight but the crash of depression when months later you find you’ve gained most or all of it back. With that in mind, my current goal is to lose just one pound a week. That seems very small, and it is, purposefully so. Each pound that goes away I am determined to keep gone.
I’ve stopped doing my push-ups and sit-ups routine. It served its purpose of getting me in the habit of exercising and now it is time to move on. I was a big fan of the idea of the Wii Fit, but the implementation was lacking. Since I already owned the balance board, buying Wii Fit Plus for under $20 was a no-brainer. Having used it for a month now, I can say that this sequel successfully fixed all the issues I had with the original. The main fix being that I can build a workout, not have to stop between exercises to choose another and also not have to see the scores and rankings which I really don’t care about. The best part being you can simply select an amount of time, select a type of workout (yoga, strength, or a mix of both) and hit start. I now do a random selection of yoga three days a week, and a random selection of strength exercises two days a week, each workout for thirty minutes. Of course, I continue to examine what I eat, making small changes as I see places to improve without throwing out all the foods I love just to see an improvement in my waste line.
If I can maintain my goal of one pound a week that is fifty-two pounds in a year. 148lbs is my new goal for October 2010. I’m looking forward to it…
One of the hardest things for me about getting fit is just keeping at it. Over the last year I forced myself into the habit of exercising every day, my push-ups and sit-ups plan has worked fairly well, but I know I need to incorporate more exercises in order to work the whole body and not leave things out. Back when I bought a Wii, I was excited about Wii Sports and the coming Wii Fit. Wii Fit turned out to be a disappointment because you couldn’t build a real workout, you had to do everything one exercise at a time and the constant stopping and starting was annoying. That single feature is why I’ve pre-ordered and am eagerly awaiting Wii Fit Plus.
But as much as I like it, I do have to admit the Balance Board is kinda retarded. I suppose that is why I saw Your Shape with its camera and was immediately intrigued.
I am tempted, but really want to see some honest reviews of the product before I buy in. An exercise game without a board or hand held controllers would be awesome if it works.
It has been very close for a while now, but I finally hit the mark, and maintained it for a few days (maintaining is the key). Two hundred pounds.
The best part about this is that I am doing it slow and steady. I’m watching my diet, but I don’t feel like I’m starving or cheating myself. I’m exercising, but I don’t feel like I’m “working out”. I’m just getting leaner, and stronger, and feeling better. I don’t think I would ever actually want to do one of those crash diet and exercise programs where you lose fifty pounds in two weeks because I don’t think I’d actually keep the weight off. But the way I am approaching it, breaking one bad habit at a time and instilling one good habit at a time, it feels good and I doubt I’ll have trouble sticking with it.
I’m still doing my 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups daily (most of the time, some days I skip but I’d like to think I still hit 5 days a week). Before spring got here I was doing a cardio step thing once a week, but I’ve since replaced it with mowing the lawn and other yard work. I use a push reel mower for the lawn. Look it up, you’ll think I’m crazy. But crazy like a fox… I’m to the point now where I’ll keep the yard work and try to add a cardio bit somewhere in the middle of the week.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. 199, here I come…
One of my goals when it came to working out and getting in shape was to see my weight fall south of two hundred pounds. At my heaviest, I was probably close to 250. I can only guess because once I crossed 240, weighing myself became too depressing. Last week I finally decided to weigh myself for the first time since I started my new routines (Mid-December). Previously I had weighed myself a couple of weeks after kicking caffeine and sodas, and I had been at 221. Now I am down to 206.
In addition to dropping the weight, I also generally feel a whole lot better. I have more energy and my back pain, which has been fairly constant for years, is much less, almost non-existent.
Currently, my workout goes like this:
First, I do some stretching. This is a mixture of some straight muscle stretching and some yoga poses. This, more than anything else, has led to me feeling a lot better. Good stretching really opens you up.
Second, I do my push-ups. I’m still doing them slow, and I have no expectation of speeding them up. Fast isn’t the point. Each one takes a little more than a second to complete, and I’m at the point now where I do five sets of twenty to make my 100. A short (30 second to 1 minute) break between sets.
Thirds, I do my sit-ups. Same at the push-ups. Slow. Sets of twenty. Break between sets. Five sets.
After that I do some more stretching and some breathing as a cool down.
I do want to put some leg work/cardio in my workout, but for the moment I’m happy because this is a workout that I can do anytime, anywhere.
Of course, I can’t attribute everything to the workout. I’ve also been watching my diet. One thing I’ve learned reading books and listening to trainers and specialists is that the most important element is portion control. So I’ve been learning to eat leftovers and make sure I’m not stuffing myself at mealtimes.
All in all, I am very pleased so far and really looking forward to the day I get myself under two hundred for good.
It has been a bit over a month since I started my most recent run at getting in shape. Phase 1 was 100 Push-ups, and at this point I am actually doing my 100 within ten to fifteen minutes. I’m still a bit away from my goal of going it in three minutes or less, but I have definitely seen huge improvements. So, I feel it is time to institute Phase 2: 100 Sit-ups.
Now, doing sit-ups is both going to be easier and harder for me. My abdominal muscles are actually in pretty good shape… however, I have cleverly hidden them under a plump gut. See, I actually use my abs quite a bit, getting on and off the couch, lifting things incorrectly, and other stuff, much more than I use the muscles in my arms (as a computer geek, my arms spend a lot of time resting on the desk while my fingers do all the real work). That said, I did my first 100 Sit-ups last night in well under an hour, probably less than half an hour, but they were more crunches than sit-ups. That gut covering my six-pack does a decent job of preventing me from completing the full sit-up (and I can’t touch my toes either).
I see getting through Phase 2 much more quickly than Phase 1, so I already need to start looking for a Phase 3… I’m thinking it is going to be some form of cardio… I do own an elliptical machine, so I might as well start using it. The key here is that I am not currently in any life-threatening danger, but I do want to make sure I never am, so I want to add and make changes to my life a little at a time. Small changes are easier to keep than drastic ones.
As another year draws to a close, I again find myself still not in as good a shape as I’d like to be. I mean, I’m not morbidly obese or facing serious health issues… and if the zombie apocalypse comes, I am confident that I could fight off the hordes of the undead and be able to outrun them when needed. However, while sheer will and adrenaline can get you through many ordeals, it would be nice to be in better overall shape.
So, to that end I have (once again) decided to try to get more healthy. Since many of my previous attempts has failed, I am going to use an approach that has worked in other areas of my life. See… the problem is that my lack of good health can actually be chalked up to a large number of bad habits, and rather than to simply try to cram a new lifestyle on top of or around my current one, I need to identify my bad habits and break them one by one, and to instill new habits one by one.
About a year ago I broke my habit of drinking sodas. I was literally drinking a half dozen cans of soda a day. The first step was to cut out caffeine, so I switched from Coke to Sprite. After I got used to that, I switched to water, and sometimes lemonade (Crystal Light to be exact). Overall, dropping soda for water caused me to drop about ten pounds, maybe fifteen.
My next step is to add in a new habit. My goal is to do 100 push-ups a day. That is in a 24 hour period. Right now, it takes nearly twelve hours for me to do my 100 push-ups. I can do 10 at a time easily, and I can do 20 at a time alright, but beyond 20 in a row my arms get tired. So I do 20 when I can, and 10 when I can’t, and take long rests in between. My goal is to be able to do the 100 push-ups in a couple or three minutes.
That’s where I am… I’ll post updates as I feel inspired to.