Monday, September 03, 2012
So, I am almost at my goal weight (down from 197.5 to 133.5; goal is 126.5). Having some epiphanies:
1) I like my body! It's fun being able to wear size 8, to be able to try things on in a store and have all of them be flattering. I smile when I look at myself in the mirror, and even though sometimes it takes some getting used to, I'm starting to feel at home in the size I am now. On vacation I bought some perfume and fancy bras, even. It's fun seeing myself as attractive!
2) Fitness is part of my life now. I just got back from vacation, and other than one travel day, I worked out every day. Most days it was hiking: 2+ hours per day, including days with the kids where they stopped for lunch and I kept going. It's fun to see my kids experience the side benefits of my more active life. I kept to my running schedule, clocking in a 6 mile run in 70:14, which is my fastest medium run yet. I know it's not fast by objective standards, but it's so much more than my body has ever been capable of before.
3) BUT I have too much body fat and not enough muscle. Since I lost the weight relatively quickly, and only using cardio, I'm pretty weak and still flabby for the weight I'm at. I want the benefits of being strong as I get older: increased mobility, greater bone strength, decreased chance of falls, etc. I also want bigger and stronger muscles now for aesthetic reasons.
4) Part of maintenance for me will be constantly finding new goals and challenges to keep me motivated and gaining new levels of fitness. There isn't going to be a "soft landing" once I get to my goal weight--no complacency for me! This is especially fitting because it's very easy to regain weight when you've been on a VLCD, and I'm going to need to increase my metabolism to keep that from happening. Setting strength training as a goal will thus help me meet two goals in one: a reshaped body and weight control.
So, with all that in mind, I am starting today on a long term plan to decrease my body fat and increase my strength. This will be about more than losing weight, although I hope it will allow me to lose the last few pounds and keep it all off. I will know I'm successful by a combination of before and after pictures, measurements, and increasing lifting ability.
I've gotten a lot of great advice from both runners who lift and committed strength trainers. Some of it is conflicting, and some is coming with heavy warnings about the advisability of adding in strength training at the same time that I'm training for a half marathon. But I've found a great weight lifting program, The New Rules of Lifting for Women, that I'm excited about and that I think I can adjust to suit my needs. It focuses on whole body movements, rather than isolating individual muscles, on heavy weights and relatively few reps in order to increase muscle size, and mimicking the movements we use in real life--lots of push ups, planks, and squats!
The weight lifting plan starts gradually, and I'll be able to control the amount of weight I use so that I'm not overstressing my body. I also built in lots of off days into the plan and am lifting on the same days that I'm running so that I can get in full days of rest in between workouts for muscle repair. The strength training program will take me about 8 months to complete doing 2-3 times/week (there are 7 increasingly difficult stages). It's also 8 months until my half marathon, so I figure I've got a built-in goal date.
The Plan: A two-week repeating schedule of running and strength training:
Tuesday: Long run (8 mi right now; will increase to 15 eventually)
Thursday: Medium run (5-6 mi) and strength training
Saturday: Medium run and strength training
Monday: Short run (3-4 mi) and strength training
Wednesday: Long run
Friday: Medium run and strength training
Sunday: Medium run and strength training
Current Status: 9/3/12
Body Fat: 29.5%
Neck: 14 in
Upper Arm: 11.25
Upper Chest: 35.5
I plan to do a blog post each week with my training log and also do a monthly progress blog summarizing the gains I'm making (in lifting amounts, measurements, and body composition changes). By April 27, 2013 my goal is to run a 2:30 half marathon, to decrease my body fat from 29.5% to 24%-25%, and to have maintained my weight in a range of 125-129 lbs.