Tuesday, August 14, 2007
As mentioned previously, last week wednesday marked the end of my 8th week of membership at my gym. So, of course, that also means it was my 3rd body composition check.. I was kind of anxious about this one, since I didn't do too well in July, but I suppose it turned out as well as can be expected, taking my crappy performance into consideration. The results are as follows:
Internal fluid: 16.4 L
External fluid: 9.9 L
Protein content: 7.1 kg
Mineral content: 2.53 kg
Fat content: 17.6 kg
Muscle to Fat ratio:
Body weight: 53.6 kg (prev: 55.1 kg/ - 1.5 kg)
Muscle mass: 19.4 kg (prev: 19.0 kg/ +0.4 kg)
Body fat mass: 17.6 kg (prev: 19.6 kg/ - 2.0 kg)
Something in kanji about fatness:
BMI: 21.7 (prev: 22.4/ - 0.7)
Body fat: 32.8% (prev: 35.6%/ - 2.8%)
Hip/Waist ratio: 0.81 (prev: 0.82/ -0.1)
Internal fat: +54.6 (prev: +62.8.. she said in the 30s was good, I think?)
Base metabolic rate: 1148 kcal
Body weight/content goals:
Current weight: 53.6
Ideal weight: 51.8 kg
Fat to lose: -5.6 kg
Muscle to gain: +3.8 kg
Total weight change recommended: -1.8 kg
This time I managed to come in at healthy levels for minerals and protein (previously it was only minerals) which is good, because I kicked into really focusing on my protein intake again. I was low on water (by .1 L -_-) which I attribute entirely to skipping my morning water that day in anticipation of being weighed. Oops. As before, my fat content is high.. this time by exactly 1 kg.
I was pleasantly surprised at my muscle/fat change, considering how horribly I fell off the horse in July. I was expecting the -1.5 kg in total weight, but after loosing 0.2 kg of muscle mass at my last check, I wasn't sure what to expect in that area. 0.4 kg might not be much, but I'd have been okay with even just maintaining the same mass as last time, so yay. It also means that in total I lost a whole 2.0 kg of fat, which is more than I'd been anticipating and was kinda nice to see. I can only imagine what those numbers might have looked like if I'd been good the whole time. I might have even managed to make it out of orange on the muscle mass scale and up into yellow. =P
Predictably, my BMI went down a little bit. I wasn't expecting quite the change in the bodyfat percentage, but the addition of muscle makes it make a lot of sense. Just another 4.8% and I'll break the top of healthy. Of course, ideally I'd like to be somewhere in the middle, so there's still a ways to go. The hip/waist ratio is the only thing I take issue with. The machine doesn't really take your measurements, it just estimates them.. and for me it's WAY off. It's okay on the hips, but it seems to think that my waist is 73.8 cm when my own personal measuring tape reads 64 cm. That is QUITE the difference. It also goes to illustrate how my body fat is distributed totally different from the machine's guess. Rather than having all of that up there in my core, I come in at roughly 7 cm fatter in each of my thighs. ugh. At least my little dot on the body type chart is finally off the line between fat and obese and firmly in the fat section. She said that if I don't gain more muscle soon I'll be entering the 'hidden fat' section real soon. I fail to see how that's a problem, though.. *coughcough*
As far as muscle distribution, what little I did gain is fairly evenly distributed across the different parts of my body. I was expecting it in my arms, as they are the only part that I really noticed getting stronger when I was doing my strength training. My core gained the biggest share of muscle, but that's probably because it's the largest overall area. The staff was particularly concerned about that area when we discussed my current program and what to do for the next several weeks. I mentioned that the ab and back extension machines never really seemed to make me sore or anything, and so the chick I was talking to (not the same one that did my initial and 4 week checks) decided to take me off those machines entirely and give me a new set of exercises to replace them.
My new program has me going over to the scary free weights section of the gym rather than the nice, comfortable, friendly machine area. For my abs, she gave me a series of crunches to do on the crunch bench thingie. I have to hold a rubber ball (about dodgeball sized) between my knees and do three different types of crunches. Regular, twist, and then with my butt muscles squeezed and lifted into the air. Three sets of ten of each of those three times a week. Ouch. For my back I stand on the weird slanty back extension support apparatus and let my torso hang down over the bar so I'm staring at my feet, and then lift up and backwards to work my back. The second exercise is the same, only twisting alternately right or left on the way up to work my sides. Three sets of ten of each of THOSE three times a week.
I was in severe pain after the first day/week. It's the back extensions that are doing it. I find that my entire body gets in on the action doing those. I feel it down in the back of my legs from trying to keep myself straight on the machine thingie. Hopefully that means that next time I'll be seeing much more muscle gain in my core.
I mentioned to the staff chick that I was also interested in going to the 15 minute stomach shaping class on thursdays, and she got all happy because apparently she teaches that one. So the next day I went to her 15 minute short stretch and stomach classes. They were interesting and I'm planning on doing them again this week.. but three straight days of ab work had me in pain with every sneeze over the weekend.. which is good, I suppose.
Still a ways to go...
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I got my 8 week results from the gym and updated my workout on wednesday, but I think I'll wait until I have a little bit more time to write about that. Right now I just want to whine a little..
I have been over my daily calorie range six times out of the past nine days. OUCH. And I'm not talking by just a little bit either, but by several hundred calories each day. This is due 100% to the fact that our friend is visiting from the states for two weeks and we've been going out with him a lot. Not being able to plan and eat my own meals each day has really screwed up my routine. Especially considering the choices.. an izakaya yesterday, and all you can eat shabu-shabu tonight, among the worst offenders. Not to mention that it's been about 34 degrees out every day here, with ridiculously high humidity to top it off.. and that tends to lead to the purchasing of tasty frozen treats to keep from overheating while walking down the street.
And it's not over yet. Tomorrow we'll be heading to Yokohama for the J birthday live, and that definitely means another dinner out.. though I should have control of breakfast, possibly lunch, and any snacks that might be needed. I'm not sure about monday, it'll be the last day I have the opportunity to hang out with Josh before I return to work and he heads home on tuesday.. but it might only be for dinner or something, so it's theoretically possible that it won't be nearly as bad as the last couple all day, multiple meal blow-outs.
I know that once things get back to normal I'll get back to my routine and things will even out again, but I still can't help feeling bad about this.. it's got me back about 1.5 kg above my goal line again (after I was so pleased to finally break the damned plateau I was stuck in for weeks) and is definitely going to slow me down on my way towards my goals, and that's really annoying.. but at the same time it's nice to be able to go out and do things with frequency like we used to when all our friends were still here with us.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Today was apparently my 50th day on Spark. Time flies, no? I think it's time for a state of the maya address..
I started out seven weeks ago with very high motivation to get results, and what I consider to be a very good (or at least significantly higher than average) grasp on the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Thanks to that, rather than doing the Spark-recommended gradual ease into the program, I dove in head first and got some pretty good results from it the first few weeks.
These results in turn pumped up the motivation and I had me a little bit of a streak going on there for a while. A couple weeks into the program I decided to pay particular attention to reaching my daily protein and fiber goals (a big challenge for me if I don't concentrate real hard) in addition to all the hard work I was putting in at the gym, and again this got me some nice results.
Of course, then, at around week four, life happened and kinda screwed with my plan. The first thing out the window was the fiber and protein goals which had been working so well for me. In a two week period I made my mininim protein six times, and my fiber only once. The second thing out the window was motivation to keep pushing myself at the gym. The first week or so I managed to push myself a bit as a release from the stress, but after that it became increasingly more difficult to keep myself motivated. I skipped a day at the gym for the first time at the start of week five. Week six was no better.. my gym was closed on monday, and I found myself arriving consistently late for the rest of the week and really cheating myself out of a full workout. The absolute rock bottom since starting had to have been last week, though.. week seven. I skipped monday at the gym again, and then tuesday as well. I was terribly late getting there on wednesday and thursday, which resulted in very short workouts, and then I topped it all off by skipping friday as well.
To my defense I have to say that every night last week I stayed up late reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but that doesn't really make it any better.
Long story short. Though I'd fallen into a pattern of steady, if not exactly rapid, weight loss for the first several weeks, for the vast majority of July I have been holding steady at the same general weight. I've also been feeling very sluggish and gross all around, and my legs have been getting tired going up stairs again. It's just not a good thing.
So last week (my worst gym week, yes) I decided to start paying attention to protein and fiber again. And over the weekend, when I realized that my eight week check is next wednesday, I resolved to do the best I could to work hard until then and get back on track so that the month of July isn't a complete and total loss. So far I've been to the gym twice, and I've already surpassed last week in calories burned. I'm also planning on making up one of my strength training sessions this thursday, so I'll have a total of four this week instead of my usual three. As far as weight, I have finally broken past the 54.2 that I seemed to hover around for almost three weeks. I think this was probably more due to upping my fiber than anything else, and I hope that it will continue to move downward at a decent rate to catch up with my goal line, which is about 1 kg underneath my actual weight at the moment (I was doing pretty good at staying close to it before.. =P)
The other thing I have to battle this week is The Carrot Cake. I baked a carrot cake on request this week, and it's sitting in the fridge right now. Did you know that an 8x8 carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is about 6000 kcals? Well now you do. I'm making sure that it gets sliced into 1/16th sized pieces, each of which comes out to about 360 kcals. I love carrot cake, and I love eating my own baking creations, so I have resolved that even though the cake scared the crap out of me prior to baking, I will not deny myself. That means that each night, I have to plan out IN DETAIL the next day's meals.. with the carrot cake being the first thing that gets added. Of course, since I am concentrating on fiber and protein, I have been having to plan in advance anyway, so it's not so bad. I'll just have to live with the fact that this week I will be skimming along the top of my calorie range and try and work harder to compensate for it.
I also had to work around my Cajun Chicken Pasta for dinner tonight... it having a cream-based sauce and being just about the unhealthiest-- and one of the tastiest-- meals that I make. It was also by request, of course.
So that's where I am. Goals for this week:
--Go to the gym, ON TIME, every day
--Get in at least a full 30 m of cardio every day
--Get in four complete strength training sessions
--Stay within calorie, protein, and fiber goals all week despite The Cake
--Drink even more water than previously (I'm good at making my 8 glasses)
--Get a full night's sleep every night
And with that, I'm off to bed so I can get my 8 hours.
Monday, July 02, 2007
I went to my first beginning yoga class at the gym this morning. It was.. interesting. Sadly, because of the schedule at the gym, I had to go without any cardio past my 5 minute-warm up on the stationary bike in order to get my strength training in and still make the class.
I had been a little apprehensive about the whole thing, but I suppose it turned out okay. Of course, I was the only foreigner in a room full of Japanese people, and got plenty of stares when I walked into the studio, grabbed a mat from the pile and went looking for a little piece of floor to call my own. Before class started, the instructor came up to me and asked "Can you speak Japanese?" of course. I said yes, even though I figured I'd have issues with the specialized words. And I did, of course. I probably understood a good 60-80% of the instructions, and could mostly pick up what I missed by watching the people next to me, but there were a few things that just went over my head. The guy came around a checked on me two or three times over the course of the hour and repeated the more complicated instructions in decent english. It was really nice of him, but of course I felt odd for the extra attention. Not that I was the only one, he corrected people's poses when he saw them struggling.. just not in english like with me.
Anyway.. it was interesting. Some parts of it were really easy, and other parts a little difficult.. but on the whole I'd say I enjoyed it. I think I'd enjoy it MORE if there was a class available on Thursdays so it could be an addition to rather than replacement of my standard 30 minutes of cardio.. but sadly this is not the case. I don't know if it's efficient enough to take the place of 30 minutes of higher intensity cardio, but I'm interested in the relaxation and flexibility that I'd gain from it.. so at present the plan is to try and make it once a week to yoga. The only two classes I can make w/ my membership are 9:20 - 10:20 on Monday, and 9:05 - 10:05 on Wednesday.. and I have to get my MWF strength training in before class, so Monday it is, I guess.
In other news, the going is slow as far as fat loss for me. The scale says that I've lost between 1 and 1.5 kg since starting (depending in the day) and my work pants feel a touch looser, but my measurements are staying pretty much the same. It's annoying. I want to know where that 1 kg came from, and I'd like to have something to show me that I'm making progress here. At least my legs do feel a little stronger than they did 2-3 weeks ago.. but a loss of a cm or so off my hips and/or thighs sure would give me a little boost. I'm pretty sure the slowness is due to my attempts at keeping my food intake healthy, though. I've been staying in the middle/upper half of my recommended calorie range most days due to my efforts to keep my protein and fiber intake in range and get my fruits and vegetables.
Monday, June 25, 2007
My weight was up to where I started this morning. Of course, I blame going out over my birthday weekend, and then again this weekend (two consecutive nights out.. very rare). My general philosophy is that if I have to restrict myself to the point of unhappiness then it's not worth doing in the long run, and that I shouldn't feel too obligated to stay within my target range that I deny myself in situations like that. But that doesn't mean that I can't be kinda meh when I get dragged into three such occasions in the space of one week (after weeks of nothing, too.. of course =P) and end up all bloated. I'm pretty sure it's mostly just a temporary bloat and I'll have evened out at least a little tomorrow or so.. but that doesn't prevent it from being annoying.
Today I added towel rental onto my gym membership. That brings the monthly total up to nearly 8000 a month (4700 + 1575 for the shoe locker + 1575 for the towel service), which is kind of a lot.. but considering that I plan on going in everyday that I can it still works out to just about 415 per day, and I get a fresh bath and face towel each time. And really, there's a lot worse things I could be spending my money on than improving my gym experience, no? O:)
Speaking of the gym, today was my first day going in with my shuffle. It was nifty. I'm finding myself liking the thing more than I thought I would. Of course, that's probably because I'm still working my way chronologically through my J playlist and haven't had to deal with the constraints of only having 1 gb available to me yet. It's really convenient to have something so tiny in some situations, though. I could actually see me using it in non-gym contexts on occasion even after I get a new full sized ipod later on.. ie: on days when it's impractical to take a big bag around with me.
But back to gym stuff. I did 10 minutes on the bike and 30 on the cross trainer today, in addition to my strength training. I'd considered checking out the Monday yoga class, but I got to the gym later than I'd planned so I decided to skip it this week. This time I instead of using the standard stationary bike (which I think has a really uncomfortable seat and hurts my back) I tried out one of the reclining(?) bike things they have as an alternative. They have a full seat with a back and you pedal more forward than on a standard bike... and I liked it much better. So if I have to use the bike, that'll be my preferred machine.
For the CT I did something a little different.. I started out at training level 2, and then increased the resistance by one level every five minutes for 30 minutes and ended on level 7. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and I actually think it might have made the whole 30 minutes go by faster.. perhaps because instead of counting down to the next five minute increment I was slightly dreading the increase in level? haha.. I don't know. Either way, I'll probably do that again for a few days, and then start from level 3 and do the same thing, etc. Seems like a good plan.
I'm still having issues finding out what weight I should be using on each of the strength training machines. I'm pretty sure the chest press is fine at 10 kg, as I have to work really hard to finish up the last set. I think I'm also getting closer with the abdominal.. I upped it to 20 kg today and actually felt my muscles have to work a bit to finish. The lateral pulldown is also probably okay at 15 kg, though it's kind of hard to tell with that one. I did leg presses at 30 kg today and was pretty tired after 5 sets, but I think mayhaps I should increase the weight so that I can't get through more than 3 sets next time. The back extension is where I'm totally unsure though.. I had it up to 45 kg today and I still didn't feel much from it. I don't know if I'm using that one right. I think I'll experiment a little more this week, and if it doesn't improve I'll have a staff member follow me around and check my form on Friday or so..
Since it was my day off I did some shopping today. I got lots of whole grain goodness to stock the house. I think whole grains have always been my biggest fixation when it comes to trying to eat healthy.. today I bought whole wheat pastry and bread flours, the whole wheat bread I love from Peacock (now that they're finally finished remodeling), some whole wheat pasta, and wheat bran. I've never used wheat bran before, so I'm kinda unsure at the moment on what to do with it. I know it's good for smoothies and stuff, but I'm going to have to do some research for other suggestions.
I also made some damned good lentils for dinner. I sorta just made up the recipe on the spot, but it came out pretty close to Dal curry, which was nice.
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