Sunday, January 08, 2012
So as I start off my second year on Spark people, I’m pretty amazed at the progress in what now seems like a very short year. This time last year, I was sitting around the house recovering from some pretty massive surgery that had me laid up on crutches, keeping me from bearing any weight on my left leg for about 3 months. Since I couldn’t workout much, I had all the potential in the world to balloon up into a massive couch potato.
As I sat around the house in Jan 2011, I had 2 weeks off from work to recover, so I read like crazy, surfed the net to figure out how to not balloon up like a couch potato in the coming months. And I chanced on Spark people!
Everything I read (and intuitively knew) said it really came down to the food. If I had little opportunity to work out, then I had to cut down on the food intake. But my God that’s hard to do!
I spent hours on the sight reading, blogging, logging, friending, doing everything I could to stay motivated and on track….even when I wanted to wolf down some leftover XMAS cookies or snack on anything to alleviate the boredom of sitting around.
But here I am a year later, much the better for it. It’s still tough to stay motivated and on track all the time, but it really is about steady progress and remembering that we humans are imperfect beings that slip and indulge every now and then. We are sometimes even lazy and need to take breaks. But the key is to get back into it quickly.
And the progress is very satisfying! I can look in the mirror today, or see myself in photos, and I like what I see (always have, but now it’s even better!).
So a good colleague of mine is very fond of speaking in “Truths”. He really enjoys emphasizing things by using these “Truths” to make his point, then using history to back up all his assertions (“Humans are more important than hardware” and “Quality is better than quantity”). He can be a real pain in the ass, but he’s had a positive influence on my life.
Here are some “Truths” I have learned along the way that work pretty darn good for me:
YOU CAN'T WORK OFF A BAD DIET:
I’d like to think I could just work out harder to burn more calories and slim down, but all the evidence of my life points to the fact that eating right is the real key to staying at a healthy weight. I think it’s about 75% diet/25% exercise…staying within or under calorie limits leads to weight loss in a way that working out more can’t. I should stop fighting against this one and accept it.
TRACKING FOOD WORKS
My internal food estimator is broken. I have to log in everything I eat to know how many calories I've taken in and face the hard numbers every day, good or bad. When I stop logging food, I gain weight, pure and simple.
THE SCALE CAN'T BE THE ONLY MEASURE OF SUCCESS:
There are a whole series of “Non Scale Victories” out there. The numbers on the scale are just a measure of gravity. Yeah it's nice to see the scale move down, but when you lose fat and add muscle, your weight can stay the same, but your body shape-shifts into a whole new leaner you. Sometime the fit of the clothes is a better measure of success. Here’s a link to AprilRain and CMJ4V13's photo blog illustrating the same point;
Now I’m no saint about this one….I still put a lot of credence in weight, but I’m willing to accept that tightening belt notches are indicators of success when the scale stagnates.
GOT TO DO CARDIO / GOT TO DO STRENGTH TRAINING
Strength training has really done wonders helping me lose a lot of inches all over the place, and adding inches, and shadows, and muscle definition in all the right places. Got to burn off calories with cardio and have got to add muscle with strength training otherwise you get out of balance. And they have to be changed up periodically. Due to the surgery, my running days are over, but now I mix up biking, ellipticals, rowing machines, walking, and Hi-intensity intervals. ST has to change from higher weight/lower reps to lower weights/higher reps to keep from stagnating.
YOU GAIN WEIGHT BACK MUCH QUICKER THAN YOU CAN LOSE IT
There is no justice! It can take weeks & months to drop a stubborn 5 or 10 lbs, but they can gain come back with a vengeance in just a matter of days! This truth really sucks, but it’s still the truth
SPARK PEOPLE WORKS
Don't ask me why, it just does. Tracking food, logging workouts, blogging about my successes & failures, interacting with friends and teams, encouraging others. It just works!
So 2011 went pretty darn well, and I’m hoping 2012 goes even better. It doesn’t come naturally and it doesn’t just happen. I have yet to achieve health Nirvana where my body mystically transports itself to the gym or naturally craves only good & healthy foods. Nope, it only comes about through daily accountability and effort….and a handful of some pretty good Spark friends!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Friday, January 06, 2012
I'm glad today is over.....I'm glad this week is over!
Now one should never wish time to go by quickly, but I found that coming back to work after the holiday break, everything seemed accelerated. I spent almost the whole friggin' day on the phone today, mostly on personnel issues, trying to hire the right folks for jobs this coming summer, placing some guys that are likely to move on, and I did four interviews in my office.
But what seemed to go the fastest was this past year. I'll have a year on the Spark board in a few days and it's amazing to see how fast it has gone by. I'll not dwell on that yet, I want to collect my thoughts this weekend (in between helping SWMBO take down all the XMAS decorations which she just informed me was our job for tomorrow....so much for me and Kindle time)
But in between the hectic pace this week, I got in some great workouts, and tonight my chest and shoulders are just singing with glee at what we did to them today!
I'm also revving up for some more on-the-road adventures this month. Wednesday-Saturday I'll be in Vegas, a quick turn to Norfolk, VA right after that, then Kansas City here I come at the end of January. As always, I'll need to keep my Spark friends close while on the road....no matter how fast time flies!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Thursday, January 05, 2012
So I've always had a tendency to take things to the extreme. Sometimes that works out good (pack-a-day smoker to marathoner in 8 months)....other times not so good (almost got sucked out to sea in Hawaii on a dare). Problem is I can never tell in advance how it will work out in the end.
After my post-workout counseling session yesterday (see blog: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4658139 ) I found a free 90 minutes on my schedule around lunch time and made a beeline for the gym where I got in a quick hour of cardio. That did the trick for me, because the rest of my afternoon went amazingly well (for me anyway, my staff hates it when I workout at lunch....I always come back with some great ideas for them to start working on)
Anyway, I wrapped up work around 5:30 and as I was driving home I thought...and I thought and I thought....
.....and I decided to get in another workout! Yes, I did a two-fer today, something I haven't done in a while. Was it good? Yes! Was it smart? Who knows! Can I do this every day? Hell no!
But every once in a while, it's good. I'm a firm believer in balance; balancing diet, strength training, cardio, stretching and to not construct a plan that requires an unsustainable amount of work (2 hour workouts every day, 6 days a week, sub-1000 calorie a day diet, etc)....that'll just cause me to quit after a few short successes.
But every now and then it's great to give in to a whim and to know that I am in good enough shape, and motivated enough, to grab that bag out of the trunk and put on those sweaty, lunchtime gym clothes and get in an extra 30 minutes before dinner.
Extreme? Well maybe for me, but you know, there are plenty people crazier than me out there:
and animals too:
So when you really come right down to it, two workouts in a day is pretty tame!
Have a great night and stay thirsty my Spark friends!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
So my Stasi trained trainer changed things up again on me....welcome 2012!
We've been pushing it up with lighter weights at higher reps, which has felt remarkably good, and kept me injury free these past 4 months. But "it's time to shake it up again" he said with that supercilious grin of his that make me want to pick up a cudgel and.....
So we've changed the whole routine around and are now using heavier weights and doing less repetitions.
It felt surprisingly good....and went a lot faster. We had been doing 3 sets of 15 and now we do 3 sets of 5, with heavier weights of course. Then he told me the good news.
"Of course now you're going to have to up your cardio. You won't be as exhausted with this workout, but it will make you stronger. If you want to maintain or lose weight, you need more cardio"
"Great, so how do I find yet another 5-6 hours in a week Jedi Master?!?"
He gave me the "I can't answer that for you" shrug and grin then went back to examining his Stasi files
So it's all good....change is good I keep telling myself. As I close in on my 1 year spark mark, I've developed some basic "truths" about healthy living.....change is good is becoming one of my mantras, especially when I want to remain set in my ways
Have a great night Spark friends!
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
So today was the day I've been dreading for the last 4 weeks....they day everyone is back from their holiday break, full of remorse and regret, resolutions piled high....and packing into the gym, filling up the parking lot and taking all my favorite machines.
Then I thought, "I'm an ass!"
Who the hell am I to judge....am I so far removed from my days starting out that I am now a Gym Snob?
Have I turned into an Alpha-male SOB who has forgotten his roots?
Could I have become "Broseph", THAT GUY, the annoying, elitist jerk at the gym?
I think not Spark friends, it was a momentary weakness of attitude, perhaps brought on from an over-eagerness to get in a good workout.
Because here's the deal....the only reason I have made any progress over this past year is to realize that I can succeed best by being part of a larger community, encouraging others while pursuing my own disciplined way forward. Slow, steady, exercise and a mindful diet has been the key to my success and a determination to live healthy is what works. So when I see others giving it the college try, it's up to me to be encouraging and not so single-minded in my pursuit that I unwittingly turn someone away who may have mustered up incredible courage just to show up at the gym.
Besides, when I start getting frisky, I can always just go bug the regulars who make asses out of themselves....they're such easy targets!
So here's to beginner's and everyone showing up into packed gyms this January! WELCOME!
Get An Email Alert Each Time GETSTRONGRRR Posts