Sunday, November 04, 2012
A few years ago, pre-Spark, I taught myself to lift weights. I trained to lift, and managed to get my upper body strength to progress from "bad joke" to "below average." I did better with lower body strength, and made major improvement to my core strength.
During that period, I was trying to control my weight by exercising. I had some results that looked like success at the time, but they didn't last. I told myself that I couldn't get down into the recommended BMI range because I was building muscle weight. I may well have been building muscle weight, but I wasn't building *that much* muscle weight.
One of my goals was to deadlift my weight. I developed that goal when I noticed I was deadlifting 185 pounds, and I weighed 190. Not far to go . . . except by the time I was deadlifting 190, I weighed 195. Then when I was deadlifting 195, I weighed 200. I caught up and actually deadlifted my weight for 3 sets of 8 at 205.
The lesson I should have learned from that is, you can't out-train a crappy diet.
I've been off and on the weight lifting wagon over the years since then. Recently, I've been off. I've concentrated on running, I haven't found time to go to the gym, and the weights in my basement were inaccessible due to house repair work. I hadn't actually lifted weights for strength training in several months.
A couple weeks ago, I let the gym membership lapse because I wasn't using it. Last week I cleaned out enough of the basement for the weight rack to be accessible. Thursday I tried a few lifts, going light because it had been so long; on Friday I wasn't sore.
For those of you who didn't catch the implication, lack of soreness on Friday means I wasn't lifting enough weight on Thursday. Re-entry to weight lifting ought to produce noticeable DOMS after the first session.
Saturday I had some Life Happens stuff go on that kept me from the weights, but today I got back to it. I'm working with a protocol of at least 3 lifts, with at least one major leg exercise, one pushing exercise, and one pulling exercise. Today's major leg exercise was the deadlift.
I started with a warmup at 135 lbs., which is the lightest I can load the bar and have it be at the correct height to lift from the floor. 10 reps of that were pretty easy, so I got ambitious and threw on a pair of 25 lb. plates. Can I still do 185? Sure thing. 3 sets of 8, and it didn't feel like the max I could do. So just for grins, let's throw on a pair of 10 pound plates and see if I can pick it up.
I could. I did 3 full reps, then picked the bar up a 4th time to put it on the rack where I loaded it. I might have been able to do 3 sets of 8 at 205, if I hadn't already worked 3 sets at 185.
This is not the most weight I've ever lifted, but I'm pretty happy with this as a first effort after several months without training for strength. I think the next most I've done on a leg exercise since 2011 was some dumbbell squats with a pair of 35 lb. dumbbells.
After the deadlifts, the incline bench press and bent over rows were anti-climactic. They went well, but not dramatically better than expected.
Now I just have to find time and motivation to make this a routine, maybe 3 days a week. I don't need to achieve personal records on anything; I just need to get some strength training in to reduce the chance of injury while running.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Today was a Friday off work. The major task of the day was replacing the tires on my car, which I expected to involve an extended period of sitting on my butt and waiting.
So with the sore thigh indicating I shouldn't run, I set out for a long walk in the morning before getting the tires replaced. Went over the elaborate version of my local neighborhood running route, with all three little hills. Deliberately pushed it for walking, both for time and to see how I'd do.
I ended up walking 4.7 miles in 63 minutes, for an average walking pace of 13:24 per mile. That's faster than I normally walk, and a bit of a surprise that I could maintain that average for an hour. Okay, I did have one segment of running, under 10 seconds, to prove to myself that the thigh still had problems; but the rest was really walking.
The sore thigh didn't complain at all. The bad foot has complained a bit about the aggressive pace. I don't think I'll be as aggressive with the pace tomorrow, but perhaps I'll go for a longer distance. After all, I have a 10K coming up in 3 weeks and it's been a long time since I walked or ran that far in one stretch.
Went to get new tires at Sam's Club, and ended up sitting on my butt for about two hours. Good thing I got my 10K steps in before then. The good thing about the wait was, I wasn't eating. I was reading a book, and I didn't think about food. When the tires were done, I went back home for a late lunch. This worked out OK in part because I had thoughtfully had a snack (cottage cheese and a banana) before heading out to get the tires, just in case they took a long time.
The end result of this minor disruption in routine was that I scrambled to eat enough in the evening to fill out my recently reduced calorie range. That's okay; I've been in that position before, and I know how to manage that without turning it into a binge. It's a lot better than a disruption in routine from eating too much too early.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
It's been a tough few days on the maintenance front, and I made some adjustments. My weight didn't go up much, maybe a pound; but it kind of lingered there, and I noticed my actions were kind of indicating I didn't have my head in the game.
I do pretty well with food when things are routine, or I can think about the non-routine situation in advance. I do less well when a non-routine situation surprises me. Tuesday I went into Taco Bell for a routine meal that is known to fit in my nutrition plan. It was crowded. Gave my order, and the question came back, which free taco did I want? Apparently I walked into a day early trick or treat special. If I'd known about it in advance, I would have changed my order to leave room for the free taco, and ordered the free taco fresco style. As it was, I ate an extra Doritos Locos Taco. I made it fit into the day, but regretted what I had to cut out later.
Yesterday, on Halloween, there was a snack day at work. I'd got an email announcing it on Monday, and forgotten. I figured I'd just ignore it, and did so . . . until a Bruegger's garlic bagel was delivered to my desk. So I had an extra bagel, plus cream cheese then later thought that maybe I should have just left the bagel in its bag, or only eaten half the bagel. That's the kind of thing I might do if I have time to think about it in advance. Oh, well. At least I went minimal on the cream cheese - a flavoring rather than a slathering. I have thought about that with bagels.
I made it though the rest of the day without taking anything from the snack cube, and I adjusted to make the bagel fit; but it rattled me to be that far off course by 9 AM. So . . . I decided to make some adjustments.
Tuesday I reluctantly admitted that I'm not going to be doing any walk/run intervals this week. The bad foot is as good as it's been since last February, and would handle the intervals just fine. But the sore thigh was no better Tuesday than it had been Saturday, when I couldn't get through all the intervals. It's looking like trying to do regular running on that thigh is a recipe for it getting better, roughly never. So it's time to take a week off, or maybe two. At least the thigh and the foot don't bother me with brisk walking; I'm going to be doing a lot of walking in the near future.
The adjustment comes in because I have to admit I won't be burning as many calories exercising as I would if I were running. So yesterday I cut my calorie range by 100 calories. Now, the way I have been eating would still fit in the revised range; but cutting the range gives me permission to eat a little less, and makes me think differently when those mid-day snack choices come up.
Cutting the calorie range might have been the last bit of motivational help I needed to stay away from the snack cube yesterday. It's my current effort to get my head back into the game, and so far it seems to be working.
You may ask, what about Halloween candy? Yesterday morning I had a trip to my eye doctor to deal with my glasses. This happened after the bagel and the decision to cut the calorie range. I was able to stare down the eye doctor's offering of Halloween candy without taking any, even though there were several kinds I like. Then on the way home, I bought a small bag of fun size Milk Duds so I'd have something to hand out. I got no trick or treaters this year, and I ate one box of the fun size Milk Duds. They fit in my revised, lower calorie range so I actually ate below the bottom of the old range. I'm pretty confident I can have the rest of those Milk Duds as a small daily treat until they run out, and not binge on them.
Maintenance is a complex thing. Sometimes, you can go for several weeks on autopilot, doing the same stuff by rote and having it work. It was that way for me in late summer. But now, I need to adjust things. The exercise has to be adjusted to accommodate recovery from injury. The nutrition plan has to be adjusted to accommodate the changed level of exercise. And most importantly, the mindset has to be adjusted to keep my head in the game.
With the mindset adjustment, I'm actually writing a blog tonight instead of playing Sudoku until it's time to head to bed. But more importantly, the changed mindset has got me to making better decisions about what I eat and how I manage my exercise. The exercise, the sleep, the nutrition, and the attitude all interact with each other. Each of them is important. Right now, that attitude or mindset is the key thing for me. Gotta keep my head in the game, or the other pieces won't fit together and work as they should.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Yesterday's light mist turned into today's steady light rain. It was cold as I came home from church, and I didn't feel like going into the grocery store in the rain. So I just went home.
But the local news is full of the prediction that Sandy will be here on Tuesday. They're predicting high winds and possible flooding. Advice on how to prepare for power outages is on all the news media. Granted, the forecasters tend to over-forecast bad weather; but the national weather models show the center of the storm coming very close to where I live. The only question is, how much weaker will it get before it gets here?
So I changed clothes and went to buy the groceries that couldn't wait till Thursday. Got home, and the pedometer read 3600 steps or so.
It was still raining, and today is non-running day. Too bad, this is better weather for running than for walking. But I had to defend that 10K step streak, so I layered up underneath a breathable raincoat, and went for a walk. Didn't map the distance, but it had to be longer than 5K and shorter than 4 miles. That got me past my 10K steps, and I felt better about the day; and the walk in the rain turned out to be pretty pleasant.
Sometimes people question me when I tell them I had "good running weather" on a day when they didn't care for the weather. I tell such people that there is no bad weather; there is only inappropriate clothing. Well, Tuesday is supposed to be the peak of wind and rain here. Tuesday is also my next scheduled day for walk/run intervals.
That will test the theory that there is no bad weather, or at least test whether I have appropriate clothing for whatever weather happens to show up on Tuesday. Of course, this assumes I don't have worse problems like loss of power. After all, the weather forecasters do get it right some of the time.
Along about this time of year, I start thinking that anything I don't have to shovel is good weather. For the short term, I think I have another standard. "Hurricane Sandy" would be bad weather. "Remnants of Sandy" would be good weather.
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