Monday, January 07, 2013
OK, I freely admit, I have been on a "No-blog" streak for over 2 months. Certainly, not a streak to be proud of and I have no real reason to have been on a blogging va-ca for so long. It's not like my life is any busier than usual (I'm still on the road 2+ weeks a month), nor have I had any "Spark disasters" (other than gaining about 9 lbs during the holidays, 4 of which have come back off since 1 Jan). Yeah, my last blog I highlighted the disheartening news about my cholesterol numbers being sky high, but truth be told, I look and feel healthier today than at any time in the last 20 years! Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
I guess I just haven't had much to say!
Now none of my friends or family would ever say that I am a man of few words or characterize me as a "quiet man," so why I suddenly canned the blogging....what the hell, I really don't know why. However, as I approach my 3rd year on Spark (join date 9 Jan 11), I look back on the things that have helped me succeed and public blogging is right up there at the top of the list.
The good news is that I can honestly say that I am starting off 2013 feeling great. The past 2 years, but especially the last half of 2012, have given me a degree of control over my weight and health that I had previously viewed as out of my control. Especially over....FOOD!
Right before Thanksgiving, I weighed in at 177.....the lowest I have weighed in probably 20 years. Going into the holidays, I made a conscious decision (yes a conscious one) that I wasn't going to get all bent out of shape about enjoying.....carbs.
Yes carbs, that doughy, sugary, starch-laden food group that comes out in force between Thanksgiving and New Years.
I have been very disciplined since about June 2012 on keeping my carbs real low. Voila, I saw waistline shrinkage, pound droppage, and a sense of appetite control I have never felt before.
Great God in boots, why then would I ever eat carbs again?!?!
Hell, I don't know. SWMBO and I are social animals. We get lots of invitations to all sorts of events.....and I really felt like having some pecan pie....and some brownies.....and some warm, fresh out of the oven, bread.
So I did. Screw the tracker, screw the carbs, to hell with it all, let's just see what happens.
Well 9 lbs happened.....in 3 weeks! The 9 lbs that took me 7 months to drop off came back in 3 freakin' weeks.
Is there any justice in this universe?!?!? Who the hell designs a human body to have to work its ass off to drop 9 lbs in 7 months, only to have them find their way right back on in only 3 short holiday weeks. I wish my bank account worked like that.....work hard to take money out and have it all replaced in no time!
But like I said, it was a conscious decision. I wanted to run a little experiment, and, as with many things I've learned since joining Spark, I will chalk this up as a valuable experience.
Here's the cool part though.....I am not stressed about the gain.....I am confident and know just what I need to do to get back to where I want to be (like I said, 4 lbs have dropped off real quick). Two years of experience here has convinced me that logging food, logging points, working out, checking in with SP buds, welcoming newcomers, and yes, blogging, are all successful tools to get us the healthy body and lives we want.
So coming in to my 3rd year on SP, life is good; I know what works for me (and what doesn't).
I guess my only resolution for this year is to blog more often.....sure, why not!
Have a great night Spark friends!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
OK, I'm pretty pissed off....at myself.....at the world in general.....at so called experts.
Here's the deal;
I had my annual physical done on Friday. Tuesday I went in and gave them a few liters of blood so they could have all the labwork done when I sat down with the doc.
Fast forward to Friday....everything is checking out just fine...hearing, eyes, weight, blood pressure. Even the doc takes a look at me as I walk in and says, "Hey you look great!"
Then we get to the labwork.
Cholestrol is 300!
3 - FRIGGIN - HUNDRED!!!!
Now for the last 25 years my cholesterol has beeped and bopped between 180-210....last year this time it was 202.
So what the hell happened?!?!
Well in my zeal to adapt to a ketogenic diet, I lowered my carbs down to below 50gms/day. Most days I am below 30 gms/day. All the reading I have done tells me I should be in ketosis, that is, switching from burning carbohydrates as a primary fuel to burning fat.
To fuel your new metabolism.....SO THE THEORY GOES....you need to increase your fat intake....of all kinds....mono to saturated fats.
And I did so. For 5 happy months I stopped eating sugars and breads, starches and rice. I watched my waistline and belly tighten & shrink. I saw my bodyfat drop 4-5 percentage points. I started having fresh eggs for breakfast, I ate steaks with the fat, I put butter on my veggies, had bacon every chance I got.
For months I had been waiting for this physical, imagining that I would be the poster boy for this year's "Patient of the Year" award.
Instead the doc had a serious talk with me about starting a regimen of statins to lower my cholesterol!
I confessed to her my recent experiment of increasing my fat intake as I limited my carbs.....she just stared at me and again asked when I wanted to start the statins.
I pleaded for another 3 weeks to readjust my diet....this had to be an anomaly....either that or they switched my blood samples in the lab.
Now I'll admit, everything else looked great.....HDL was way high.....my glucose readings were great (apparently they have the ability from one sample to know what your levels have been for the last 6 weeks....amazing!). Apparently my risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is wicked low (which was my goal).....but I set off the medical alarm bells and warning lights for a potential heart attack!
Needless to say SWMBO was pissed. She gave me the "I told you so" stare. We spent Friday night walking around the beach figuring out how to fix me.
So I've been on a massive re-evaluation these past 2 days.
I think the low carb thing works for me.....I don't think that correlates to increasing my fat intake....definitely not saturated fats.
I track every damn thing I eat, so I'm going to have to do a little chemistry mixing to re-adjust some of my nutrients.
Yeah, I'm pissed, but I've come way to far too screw around. I've been making all sorts of changes in my diet and health these last 2 years on SP and I'm not about to chuck it all out the window because of this. It just means, yet again, a massive re-direction in how I think......how hard can that be?!?!?
More to follow.....have a great night Spark friends!
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Well needless to say, after yesterday's endurance strength training session, I was a tad sore this morning. ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Don't get me wrong, it was a good sore, the kind of sore that reminds you that you have muscles in all sorts of weird parts of your body. It's the kind of sore that says, "hey dumbass, why did you decide to start using us after all these years, we've been pretty happy atrophying away down here!"
As the morning wore on, I wasn't shaking it off, so I made secret plans to duck out at lunchtime and sneak in a spin class under the guise doing some "management by walking around"
Quite possibly the smartest thing I did all day!
Now when I'm in town, it's tough to break away during the day to hit the gym. On the road at conferences and other meetings I have to attend, I've got more opportunities. But this week has been fantastic!
At last week's scheduling meeting, I told my front office staff to leave me wide open this Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday....miraculously, they listened and did just that! Tons of white space on the calendar....I don't think I have been so productive in months. I knocked out tons of things on my never-ending to-do list, got caught up on a bunch of professional reading I had let slack off, prepared a bunch of reports that needed some undivided attention, knocked out tons of correspondence, and basically networked like a madman.....plus I got in a lunchtime workout Tuesday & today.
I strolled in to the spin class today still feeling a little wobbly from yesterday's lower body endurance workout. As I got on the bike I seriously questioned my own sanity and wondered if I hadn't made a monumental blunder attempting a hard cardio session after a tough ST workout.
But once curvilicious instructor gal started pumping up some Black Eyed Peas ("I got a feeling") the world seemed just right and next thing you know I was revving it up past 90 RPM and steadily pushing up the resistance.
And then my legs started loosening up and it felt as if some biophysical miracle flushed out all the leftover lactic acid from yesterday. Hill climbs, sprints, intervals, you name it, I was all over it. 50 straight minutes of pretty damn hi-intensity cardio on the bike, punctuated by 30 second breaks to towel off the sweat and chug down a few gulps of water.
Yeah, so maybe there is something to this endurance strength training after all.....sheesh!
Have a great night spark friends!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
So I really enjoy my workout schedule. I try to get in 3 days of ST plus 3 days of cardio in any given week.
Cardio varies between riding my bike (my supercool Trek which is also my avatar), working out on the elliptical, taking a spin class, and any other activity to get my HR up to 80-90% of max
For ST it's a little more complicated.
Now I freely admit that I've been working out with a trainer for these past 3 years (I'm pretty sure he received some Sadism 101 training as an East German Stasi agent or quite possibly was a Russian Spetsnaz animal cruelty specialist). He changes up routines on me periodically and definitely pushes me past what I would normally do on my own on a regular basis.
We basically alternate doing a heavy weight/low rep workout, followed by the same routine with medium weight and higher reps.
For example on squats, I do 240 lbs for 5 reps (4 sets total) on a heavy day, then do 165 lbs for 15 reps (4 sets also) a couple days later.
You would think the heavy weights are the tough days.
Oh No! No, no, no, no, no......the tough days are the medium weight/hi rep days. "These are the days we train for endurance", says Stasi trainer guy (imagine Arnold saying this).
Today was such a day!
Now I consider myself a fairly tough-minded Mo-Fo. I can endure all sorts of privations & pains. I've run marathons, spent days in the woods eating only what I can catch, and all sorts of other weirdness.
But endurance ST is a whole other ballgame.....I don't think there's a tougher thing I do (at least I think that right now, at this moment, today)
Right as I get to 8, 9, 10 reps, I realize, "Scheisse, I still have 5 more of these to do!"
Meanwhile, my glutes, hamstrings, & back are screaming, and I am getting an incredible aerobic workout as I am huffing and puffing for all I'm worth (Stasi guy says it's technically an anaerobic workout...."Screw you Stasi guy" I mutter to myself as I focus on reps 12 & 13)
Man, oh, man what a combination though...strength training and endurance. I used to think endurance meant running (or biking) for long distances, usually measured in hours. In the ST world it's about how long can you stretch out that time where you are stressing your musculature with repetitive movements while bearing a load. Yes each set is over in under 2 minutes, but it sure feels like hours to me!
But I've come to believe that you have to do both. Doing heavy weights is good to build muscle and strength, but I know a lot of folks that do just that, and are explosively strong for a minute or 2, but ask them to do something repetitive and they're out of Schlitz pretty fast.
Lifting less heavy weights for a higher number of reps is also great for building muscle strength & tone, but also helps build mental strength where you learn to recognize the fatigue and work through it as well as building up your stamina, which may be a better measure of overall health than just the amount of weight you moved in a day.
By Jove, maybe I've got it....maybe I can fire Stasi guy, quit my day job, and become a Personal Trainer myself!
Have a great night spark friends!
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
OK, I freely admit, these days I've been a blog slacker. No real good reason....it's not like I lack things going on....I'm mostly on a pretty stable glide path working, eating, exercising, life, yadda-yadda-yadda.
I've read a lot of blogs & commentary lately on people in maintenance. Hmmmmm......maintenance.....exactly what is THAT?
I've been a pretty steady 178 - 182 lbs now for 4-6 months. I'm wearing 34 inch jeans....but need a belt to hold them up so I don't look like this
I work out because I enjoy it and feel better when I do. I don't view exercise as a tool to counteract the food I eat....this is a pretty huge mental shift. I recently re-wickered my food plan to significantly reduce my carb intake and feel tons better for it.....I feel in control of my appetite for the first time in......DECADES!
So what the hell is maintenance?!?!?
I don't know, mostly because I don't think I've thought my way through it yet.....most of the stuff I've read from folks in or approaching maintenance have said it's pretty much an extension of what they've been doing to get down to their goal weight anyway......I don't think I'll plant a flag, stake my claim, and say, "Today I declare that I am in MAINTENANCE"
In any case, life goes on and thanks to SP, I can handle all the many minefields out there much better today than I could before I joined. This week I've got a dinner event on Thursday night, a going away luncheon on Friday, SWMBO and I are hosting a backyard party for about 30 folks on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday.....
....I fly to Hawaii for a week!
I got a call from the corporate leadership a few days ago and was told I HAD to attend this meeting in Honolulu.
Oh alright, if I really HAVE TO!
Maybe I'll have an epiphany about maintenance as I sit on my breezy lanai, sipping my morning Joe and gazing out upon Diamond Head
Have a great night Spark friends!
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