Making Slow and Steady Progress
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Current weight: 179 lbs. It's sad yet amazing that my weight is the
exact same reading from the last entry on January 22.
It would be easy to believe that I am making no progress in my fitness
goals, but I believe that fitness is not just read by the
number on the scale. Body fat percentage is another factor, and muscle
mass is not accounted for in the Body Mass Index (BMI).
According to the Body Mass Index, I would be considered borderline
overweight for someone of my height and age.
I know where I need to make adjustments:
- continue striving for a calorie deficit by reducing total amount
of food consumed.
- reduce the amount of refined and processed carbohydrates, which
include cereals and breads, but which also include
cakes and other sweets (cakes and doughnuts are a weakness for me).
- increase the amount of fruits and vegetables.
- pair carbs with lean meats such as fish, poultry, and lean
After my then wife and I separated, I made a conscious effort to lose
weight by tracking my consumption of carbs and other
nutrients. I used a Word document formatted with a chart. You can
download the chart and amend it to your own needs by
right-clicking on the link entitled
"The Dieter's daybook"
and downloading it to your own hard drive. The whole experiment is
Men's Health's October issue. The image below was taken in 1999,
three years before I became single again. You can clearly see
that the guy in the picture had an expanding gut. My level of activity
was minimal, and I had not started any resistance or weight training
program. Looking at my appearance then, it is understandable how my
spouse could become dissatisfied with the physical aspect of our
relationship, though that is not the only aspect of a person's marriage
that can contribute to the breakup of the marriage.
Before fitness with Gabe, then 4.
understandable how my spouse could become dissatisfied with
the physical aspect of our relationship, though that is not
the only aspect of a person's marriage that can contribute
to the breakup of the marriage.
My weight training progress has just about reached the level at which
I was operating before I took my three-month hiatus last year.
I have been consistent in my workouts, adding weight to a consistent
number of repetitions over time, which has added strength I had
lost during the months out of the weight room. My attendance at Anytime
Fitness has contributed to progress because it maintains a full
free weight array while also having machines available. That way, I can
switch up my routine to prevent boredom and to increase "muscle
confusion," which promotes growth and strength. It also reduces the
amount of time between sets. I can allow for 30 seconds to one minute
rest between sets, and then I can go right to the free weights and get
into another set of repetitions. At home, I would have to change plates
for each set, which adds time to my resting period and limits the
variety of muscle groups and methods to work them.
Basketball has helped immensely in terms of maintaining a health weight
through daily cardio activity. It prompts me to consume more
water and to be more weight-conscious as I move through the dieter's
minefield that is my workplace. I have read that too much cardio can
undo some of your weight training gains because the muscles feed off
themselves in a process called catabolism if their is insufficient
energy to feed them. The trick is to provide muscles with food that will
help repair them as quickly as possible. I prefer a turkey sandwich, but
sometimes a serving of Muscle Milk or a protein bar will do.
I hope you are getting sufficient numbers of workouts, both strength
training and cardio, throughout your week. Not only will you feel the
difference physically, but your chances of getting sick will go down and
your ability to handle stress will improve. The release of endorphins
generated by high-intensity cardio and strength training acts as a
natural pain killer and pleasure-producer, so if you get a good session
in early, your work day will be more enjoyable. If you get it in later
in the day, your stress levels from the negative affects of the workday
will subside. Your metabolism will increase for hours and even days
after your workout, thereby burning calories while you are at rest.
Either way, you will be adding time to your life by reducing the chances
of life-taking or debilitating disease. That makes me feel good just
thinking about it.