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What happens now that the Cardio Streak ended

Friday, November 30, 2012

I got a lot of comments about the abrupt end to my 572 consecutive days of cardio and I want to thank you all for the encouragement.

If you didn't read the last blog, I got hit by the flu this past Sunday. I lost Monday and Tuesday this week as my first days off in about a year and a half, but ventured gingerly back into light cardio (walking) on Wednesday.

I started with only ten minutes at a walking pace of about 18 min/mile and today I moved the total up to twenty minutes. I'm clearly not ready to get back to High Intensity Intervals, and may not be for a while yet to come. It's one day at a time but I'm not stopping.

I looked at MY TRACKERS/SparkStreaks today. My former 572 consecutive days of exercise now reads "3" days. However, I've still got 80+ weeks of a streak called "Exercise at least 90 minutes per week." So, one streak dies and another survives.

Why are streaks important?

When I started SP, I looked at the program and wanted something to keep me going, especially on days when I wouldn't want to get out and run. I have written many times about the two little guys on my shoulders who would argue about whether I should blow off the run or go ahead and get out the door. The one basic that kept appearing was my commitment to write a blog at the end of the day, or more importantly what was to be the content of that blog.

That was one of my first goals - to write a daily blog about my exercise and weight loss. I committed to exercising seven days per week and the streak became a measuring tool and a point of honor. The streak was instrumental in losing over 90 pounds during about a year of consistent exercise. But measuring and writing about the streak allowed me to discover other things about the process.

I believed that only cardio and strength were necessary in a proper weight loss program. About halfway through the year, though, I learned about calorie management.

After writing about trouble losing pounds because of seemingly constant plateaus, a member pointed me to a SparkTeam called "The Hackers Diet." Only then did I begin doing something with the calories I was tracking every day. One of the secrets of the universe then became apparent - why track if you're not going to do something with the information!!??

If I hadn't been writing the blogs, I would not have learned about The Hackers Diet. Once I wrote about that revelation, another member mentioned one of his favorite truisms: you can't out-train a crappy diet.

The new found knowledge of calorie maintenance spurred me to lower my intake to produce a deficit of about 500 calories per day. Once I began calorie management, weight loss was virtually automatic as long as I maintained cardio and strength and proper water consumption!

Cardio / strength / calorie maintenance. That's what it takes. Do these things consistently (streaks), and you too will lose.

But it's not easy. The calorie deficit will give you hunger pangs, especially at night, but the body will adapt and get used to it. More importantly, the body will throw off fat and excess weight. You'll be in better health, you will look better, and you will feel better.

What a miracle ... it's like a math formula: Properly structure the calorie intake along with cardio and strength training and you'll lose weight. It now seems so simple, and I suppose it really is.

The thing that makes it hard is "the doing." I read a blog the other day about people who just didn't have time to do a workout, but had time to sit at the computer and play around. Re-adjust your priorities if you must, but get out the door and do at least ten minutes today and every day (start your own streak). Manage your calorie intake. Drink eight to ten glasses of water. Do it today, then do it tomorrow. Stay with it and in a year, you won't recognize yourself.

Do it... streak it... live it... write about it!

Thanks again for all the warm comments. I'm still here, I'm still working out, and I've got an 84 week streak going!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CTMOM2KIDS
    This blog post is a "eureka" moment for me! It's a fantastic message, which I will take to heart!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2128 days ago
  • CAMSEDGE
    Sorry you came down with the flu. I am impressed with your ability to persist and bounce back...you exhibit good common sense with your insights. I am just beginning to work on myself after a long time being elsewhere in my focus. This site and the people on it are an inspiration to me.
    2144 days ago
  • JSALERNO
    GLAD YOU ARE BACK FROM THE FLU. GLAD YOU WILL START STREAKING AGAIN. I THINK WE ALL NEED THAT LITTLE SOMETHING TO KEEP OUR MINDS INTO SPARK.
    2145 days ago
  • BLUE48DOWN
    emoticon perspective!
    2145 days ago
  • MOBYCARP
    It's good to see you back in the game, streak broken but determination to do what's healthy intact. I've been thinking in terms of diet and exercise; your classification of exercise into two parts, strength and cardio, is a timely reminder that I need to watch what kind of exercise I do, and make sure I do both.
    2146 days ago
  • KARMSTRON
    There is so much truth in this post! I have really enjoyed reading your blogs over the past year. You have been an inspiration to me - more than you can ever know!
    2146 days ago
  • LESLIELENORE
    Absolutely true! Hope you feel much better soon.
    2146 days ago
  • COMEONMA
    You are amazing. Thank you for this blog! I love all the ideas and motivation you have given me.
    I am doing a 5K tomorrow morning so I will start it then since I was told not to do any workout today.
    Wish me luck! It's 25 degrees right now, so by morning, I can't imagine what the temp will be!
    Congratulations and I hope you're feeling better.
    2146 days ago
  • SUSANBEAMON
    emoticon
    2146 days ago
  • ITSMATT
    emoticon message here.

    Make it a great day!
    Matt
    2146 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.