The original, is here. What follows below is for your edification…and personal motivation. Ever notice how PT is a recurring theme no matter who’s blog you go to in the liberty/preparedness/NPT community? It’s for a reason…remember the bottom line:
Starting 1 August we’ve been revisiting health and fitness. Today continues that trend of pursuing health, hence, it should be a salutary Sunday, quite literally.
We have the usual deficiencies of an older American, to wit, a too-sedentary existence and far too much weight. Some of that came about because a 2004 parachute mishap pretty much ended our ability to indulge our then-favorite exercise, long cross-country runs. But most of it is because we’re as lazy as the next guy, enjoy researching and writing which are largely sedentary activities, and like our chow all too much.
This time, we’ve decided to improve strength and endurance while taking off a significant amount of weight. We’re doing it three ways:
What works for strength is strength training — weight lifting. We have mentioned before that most if not all SF guys are either/or: weights guys or running guys. You’re reading a running guy, who hated weights. Hating it is all the more reason to do it, and all the reason to do it more. So for the last two months, twice a week the day begins with a professional trainer who was a competitive weightlifter, in a weights-focused gym.
Each session is personalized,, although there may be more than one client working out at the same time (there’s an upcharge for fully private lessons). It begins with warmup stretches, then includes work with resistance bands and strength reps on weights, before concluding with intense metabolic conditioning. On a bad day, you leave conscious you’ve had a tough workout. On a good day, you leave smoked.
Already, the strength and flexibility benefits have been profound, and it’s dawned that had we done this when the cast came off in 04, we’d probably have returned to full performance, or something very close, within a few months thereafter. Also, there’s a lot less drama when we need to assume a low position, whether it’s getting into the prone on the range or getting supine on a mechanic’s creeper in the workshop.
Rippetoe isn’t making his stuff up: strength training really works.
Despite the strength gains and some hints of dimensional changes, the strength training has not addressed the elephant in the room — which would be your humble blogger, if he only had grey skin and a prehensile schnoz. That’s the weight, which we’ll get to.
We’d been slacking off on cardio, and our objective has always been 1000 calories of cardio a day, mixed modes (bike, rowing, walking). Interestingly though, in the past when we resumed a PT walk after a month or so off, there have been particular muscle pains associated with that. Thanks, we think, to the squats that are a key component of the strength training, there was no pain when resuming brisk walks. A postprandial walk (or ride) also cures the organism of its desire for a postprandial nap.
If we’re making 1000 calories a day, we’d have 7k at the end of a week. Last week was pretty pathetic, under 3k, but then, we only managed 20 miles of distance. This week we’ll be looking to make the calories and see how close we get to 100 miles (and that will, of course, be heavy on the bicycle. 100 miles of rowing in a week and we’d have the arms of a Greek god).
We don’t count regular daily activities, even if we do hours of hard yard work in the hot sun.
Ah yes, time to address the elephant in the room. Your Humble Blogger is fat. And keenly aware from past experience, that one can’t PT his way out of a weight problem. Weight loss is a highly personal thing, but as we see it there are three basic factors in weight metabolism:
- Simple thermodynamics. Energy in food (E), minus daily routine subsistence requirements (S), minus exercise burn (X), yields figure W.
(E – S) -X = W.
If W is a positive number, it contributes to weight gain. If a negative, to weight loss. This is a valid equation but it’s an oversimplification, because the organism seeks to maintain homeostasis or to store energy and thus seems to reduce S when E is reduced! So the E has to be lowered rather abruptly to achieve and maintain a negative W.
The two figures easiest to control here, of course, are E and X.
- Weight biochemistry. Because of bioavailability and other things that are coming close to being understood, what you eat is as important as how much you eat. In particular, the longtime enemy of nutritionists, saturated fat, seems to be comparatively harmless, and the real villain is looking more like sugars and other carbohydrates. But with calorie restriction, there’s really not a lot of overhead in the meal plan for calorie-rich carbs. Snacks? Sorry, chips and cookies, we’re looking at carrots and celery. (Spices help).
- Self-discipline. Historically, in our case, only by spreadsheeting the calories in and calories out have we ever been able to get our W into weight-loss mode. There’s a certain Heisenberg effect, where the measurement itself affects the result — in this case, in the desired direction. Works for us; might not for you.
So to get from there, to a plan, what we do is:
- Reduce calorie burn to 1700 a day;
- Alter what we eat away from carbs to a degree (the 1700 limit influences this, also; you simply can’t eat filling meals and have room for empty carbs under such a limit).
- Get more rigid about the exercise schedule so we’re not looking at the clock at 11 PM and bemoaning lost days.
Sunday night family dinner is a weekly cheat. A cheat is generally a bad idea; it has to be an escape valve without becoming a gateway for a culture of cheating.
We expect to lose, on average 2 lbs a week and we’d like to shed a whopping 50 pounds — while getting stronger and fit. The thermodynamic equation suggests weight loss would be faster than that (Δ-3500 kcal ≈ – 1 lb.) but we know from experience, it isn’t (that’s the effect of weight biochemistry and the body’s search for homeostasis). If this is the case, we’ll hit -50 lb. some time in the dead of winter; if weight loss tapers off to a pound a week, sometime in the warm months next year.
Intermediate goals: by Christmas and again by next birthday (which is midsummer) we should see significant weight loss and strength and endurance increase.
First week’s results: Δ weight -3.3 lb, distance 20.42 miles, calorie burn 2646 (37.8% of goal)
This week’s plan:
|Week 2, August 2016||S||M||T||W||T||F||S|
|AM||Cardio Walk||Strength||Cardio Bike or Row||Strength||Cardio Bike or Row||Cardio Walk||Bike Distance ride|
|PM||Bike Mid Distance||Cardio Bike or Row||Bike Distance ride||Cardio Bike or Row||Bike Distance ride||Nordic Trak||?|
The plan, of course, is always subject to being overturned by events, weather, etc. Not counting any calories burnt in strength training, that’s conservatively about 5800 calories and 70 miles. It should yield the 2 lb. weight loss sought, given discipline in eating.