Thursday, April 04, 2013
Even though I had a lot to get done, I still took a walk this morning. I actually made a lot of revisions on my paper in my head.
My paper is done! I wish I had mentioned my topic earlier because you all had some really good input! I made my final revisions last night and today, and I'm ready to turn it in. At least, I'm at the point where I don't want to read it again because I know I'll want to change something, and I just want to leave well enough alone! DH is reading through it, though, and already caught one mistake - doh!
DH brought home my favorite food while I was working on my paper - fresh Georgia shrimp! We ate a pound of it each, at least.
He wanted to take me out for a martini, but I said no, it's a school night. I'm such a nerd! We're going out for dinner and drinks tomorrow instead.
I lurk on bodybuilder forums because they know something about manipulating body weight. I found a really fascinating argument about what were the best dumbbells, and a lot of them favored a brand called Powerblocks. You change the weight of the blocks with pins, like some of the machines at the gyms. It allows for quick change of weight based on different exercises - much easier than the screw-lock type. That sounded just like what I wanted! They arrived today, and are super cool looking! They range in weight from 3-24lbs. I tried a one arm raise with the 24lb just to see and...erm...yeah...that's going to take a while!
I got the book "New Rules of Lifting for Life" based on the recommendation of A*L*P. I've read through part of it, and I like what it has to say. I particularly like the "Chinese Menu" aspect where I can mix and match exercises to fit my needs and equipment. I'll read through more, design my plan, and I'm eager to get to work!
I'm enjoying a celebratory glass of wine, then calling it a night.
Hope you have a super Friday!
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I was hoping to get a good workout today, but this morning I'm still feeling a little stiffness and burn in my hamstrings and shoulders. I'm going to rest them out another day. I don't feel comfortable doing nothing, though, so I'm going to take a walk around my neighborhood.
I've been having trouble sleeping, and I think my afternoon tea is the problem. I'm a slow sipper, and I tend to drink the same cup over a period of hours. I'm going to have to make sure that I'm not drinking any caffeinated beverages past 5pm. I'm also going to stop drinking anything after 8pm because it's been waking me up to go to the bathroom.
My dumbbells should be arriving tomorrow. I am ok with lifting weights due to previous experience, but my problem is setting up a program. I kind of liked having a personal trainer just tell me what to do - lol.
I ordered the book "New Rules of Lifting for Women," but it seems there's some kind of backlog on it! I love ordering on the internet as much as the next person, but I kind of miss the ability to just go to a bookstore, thumb through the pages, and walk out with it. I only have one bookstore retailer in my area, and they are out. I'm hoping the book will give me the guidance and motivation to set up a program so I can be self directed. I considered getting the ebook, but I want the print version so I can make bookmarks and take notes.
Today I'll mostly be working out my brain and typing fingers as I have a research paper due on Friday. I'm writing about how the constant distractions of modern mobile devices changes how we learn. When I restarted college, I was shocked at how many of my professors made a point of saying texting in class was not allowed. Really? This is a problem? I've noticed some of my classmates taking a peek at facebook or pinterest in between pauses in lectures. Why are some students today unable to unplug for a 50 minute lecture? I'm exploring neuroscience journals that explain why our brains are still Stone Age adapted rather than Space Age, and why we can't efficiently hold multiple streams of thought concurrently. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, but texting while walking sometimes leads to tripping and falling into a garden planter (I witnessed this!)
Hope your midweek is going strong!
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Since I've restructured my plan for body recomposition rather than weight loss, I've been doing a lot of things 'backwards' to what I was taught about dieting and exercise.
I'm not focusing on calorie consumption or expenditure; I'm focusing on nutrients.
Long time Sparkfriends will recall my old spreadsheets where I diligently tracked the composition of every single morsel I ate. I've reorganized my spreedsheet for lean mass training rather than weight loss. There's now sections where I record strength.
I'm tracking my food and exercise, but I don't necessarily care about hitting target ranges. I have one objective: Do more than the week before.
Here's a sample of yesterday's food and exercise:
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs and 1/2 cup cottage cheese
Lunch: Leftover easter ham, 1 over easy egg, and 2 cups mixed vegetables
Second Lunch: Smoked salmon, herring, hard boiled egg, 1 head romaine lettuce, tomato and a small bell pepper
Dinner: Homemade egg fried rice with ham.
Snack: Smoked salmon wrapped over cucumber wedges, 1 cup cottage cheese, and an apple
Workout: "Ripped in 30 DVD" Level 2; assorted dumbbell exercises; pushups
If this sounds like a lot of food, it was. I ate four meals and a snack.
Am I scared to be eating this much food?
Yeah, sure I am.
I've been conditioned to think that if I want to get leaner, I have to eat less.
To some degree, this is true. Lots of people will disagree, but I do not believe that a calorie is a calorie. 30 days on a Twinkie diet will destroy lean mass and damage insulin receptors. So eat fewer nutritionally devoid calories.
Did any of us get fat overeating freggies and whole protein? I didn't. I've never heard anyone say, "I used to be thin, but then I started overeating salads and grilled fish." Does that make ANY freaking sense?
We have daily protein requirements. Undereat protein, and it will be taken from muscle. That is not due to a calorie deficit, but a protein deficit. We have zero metabolic pathways to synthesize protein. It either comes from the protein we eat, or our muscle.
Here's a woman who weighed the same with different body composition based on how she trained and ate.
Whether the fitness competitor figure is attractive or unattractive is not the point. There IS a difference in body shape depending on how we train and eat, even at the same weight.
I'm at a healthy weight, but it isn't the shape I want.
I was hungry all day yesterday, so I kept eating. It is a leap of faith. I'm trusting that my workouts are stressing my muscles to the point where I need more high quality calories to repair them. I'm trusting that high quality food is going to be used for good, not evil.
If I looked solely at my numbers, my weight gain would be alarming. My body fat percentage hasn't even changed.
However, my lean mass is a net positive.
What is lean mass exactly? It is a combination of muscle, organ tissue, bone and blood. It is calculated by subtracting total weight minus body fat. It is impossible to know the exact ratios without a body composition analysis, but approximately 65% of body weight is water, and 16% is muscle. 70% of the weight of muscle is water.
Look at how incredibly powerful a small amount of muscle is. It comprises a fraction of total weight, and yet is is responsible for moving everything around. Amazing.
Is my weight gain muscle? No, probably not yet. My body is pretty sore, though, which means I have inflammation. When there is inflammation, it means time for rest, even though I am eager to work harder. Water is being retained, and my body is busy at work repairing those tiny, torn muscles. It is really important that I push the protein sky high so there is enough building material to do the job. You can't finish building a house if you run out of bricks.
I pick my food choices based on nutrients, not calories.
Monday, April 01, 2013
On April Fool's day, many people think about whoopie cushions and pranks. This is what I think of on April Fool's day:
3 years ago, my then-fiance "D" and I lived in Seattle. We had a very good life there and were very happy, but unfortunately "D" was laid off. After a very stressful six months of unemployment, he finally got a job offer in Savannah, so we had a cross country move ahead of us. His new employer sent movers to pack up our stuff, so since we didn't have to do any heavy lifting, we decided to take a little vacation with the time before he started his new job.
"D" is British, so I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to show him the great American tradition of a road trip! We rented a RV and planned to drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way from Washington to California, see the Grand Canyon, then end the journey at my parents' house in Colorado. From there, we would fly from Denver to Savannah and start our new life.
We decided to bring our two cats with us on this adventure instead of flying them to a boarder.
I very meticulously planned our route. "D" had to start a new job, so we didn't have unlimited time to drive leisurely, but I tried to make sure we had interesting view points along the way. However, we did have a time table.
Unfortunately, "D" and I weren't exactly on the same page. He stopped at every single "scenic" viewpoint to look around and take pictures. Ummm...yes...the Pacific Coast Highway is very scenic. There are a bazillion scenic viewpoints.
I started freaking out about our time tables. If we didn't make it to each of the stopovers, there was no way we were going to make our flights in Colorado in 10 days. My original map had us reaching our RV rest stops before dusk each day, but that wasn't counting on stopping every 10 miles to snap pictures. There were 2,000 miles to drive. Oh dear.
Then there were the cats. Dogs love road trips. Cats not so much. The fluffy and dumb cat kept getting tangled in her harness. The smart cat was a Houdini and figured out how to escape her harness.
This was putting a strain on our relationship. Not at all the idyllic Americana road trip I hoped for!
On the plus side, we saw gorgeous scenery down the California coast, and drank wine in Sonoma and Napa. On March 31st, just a little bit outside of Monterray Bay, we bought fresh, sweet California strawberries at a roadside farmer's stall. When we got to Monterray Bay, "D" asked if I wanted to pull over and look at the beach. After all the stopping at every freaking viewpoint, I very grumpily snapped no, I didn't want to stop. He pulled over anyway. He grabbed the strawberries and said, "Let's go find a park bench and eat these." I sighed and went along.
As we traveled the boardwalk looking for a place to sit, I munched on the strawberries. I ate almost all of them before we settled on a spot overlooking a stone arch in the bay carved by the crashing waves. As I was admiring the scenery, "D" suddenly pops out a ring box and asked if I would marry him! I was shocked. I hoped he would propose eventually, but I didn't think it would be on our trip!
And he still wanted to marry me after my grousing about all the scenic stops. D'awww.
Our next stop was supposed to be in Morro Bay. We planned to find a nice restaurant where we could celebrate our engagement with a bottle of wine we bought in Sonoma, except the stretch of windy road down the southern California coast was a lot longer than I remembered.
It became dark, and we had a 40' RV on the seacliffs of the 101. I had visions of newspapers running a story about the couple who drove off the edge into the sea. I imagined rescuers retrieving our bodies, discovering my engagement ring, then running a sad story about the newly engaged couple's stupidity of driving a 40' RV on the 101 at night.
Fortunately, we made it to Morro Bay in one piece. Because the drive was a lot longer than we expected, the cats didn't get to use the litterbox and made a mess in their carriers. We were so stressed, we decided not to go out to eat, and just popped Lean Cuisines in the microwave. After seeing a death at sea flash before my eyes, it was the best meal I ever had.
As we settled in for the night, I noted where we were on the schedule, and where we were supposed to be the next day.
I said to my new fiance, "Do you know where we are supposed to be tomorrow?"
"Do you know what today's date is?"
"Yes. Thank you for not proposing to me on April Fool's Day in Death Valley."
We laugh about it every year. At least the date is easy to remember!
Monday, April 01, 2013
I've been freaking out since last Friday when I took my Calc exam. I was certain that I bombed it. When we got the test, I couldn't solve the first problem. It's not that I blanked or couldn't do it, but the question as posed was unsolvable without a calculator because of the complex roots, and we aren't allowed calculators. I took one look at it, and skipped it to finish the rest of the exam instead.
It was a good strategy. The professor threw out the question because he made a mistake with setting up the equation. I got an 88%; it would have been 78% with that problem included, so yay! I still have an A average overall - whew! That was a great start to the day!
My weight went up this morning, which might normally be viewed as a bad thing, but I'm not sweating it. Weight goes up down and all around, and it's not helpful for me. I've changed my Spark tracker to body fat percentage instead of weight. I don't know what my end weight is going to be because I don't have a reference point.
I'm not even sure what my target body fat percentage is going to be, either. My measured bodyfat is approximately 28%, which puts me in between the 25-30% according to this visual picture. I started off at 44%.
What's my target? Ideally, I'd like to be the awesome 17%! But being realistic, I know that takes tons of discipline. I'm currently aiming for 24%. I think that should give me a good balance between aesthetics and lifestyle.
Doing a little math, my current weight is 128lbs, and bodyfat % is 28.
128 * (1 - 0.28) = 92.16lbs of lean mass
If I lost only bodyfat and kept my lean mass the same, that would mean that my final weight would be:
92.16 / (1 - 0.24) = ~121 lbs total mass
The thing is, I don't want to keep my lean mass the same. I want to be stronger. I don't want to grunt and groan with puny 5lbs weights. Thus, my lean mass has to go up, and I don't know what my final weight is going to be.
I have a set of quick change dumbells and the book "New Rules of Lifting for Women" on order. I should have them next week.
I was very upset a few weeks ago to realize that I had lost a number of Sparkfriends along the way with the divergence of our goals. I am so glad to have new Sparkfriends, though, to share this new phase of our fitness together. I have already learned so much from reading your blogs, and enthusiasm is contagious!
I'm ready! Let's do this!
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