Health Goal Update for March 9, 2009

This past week Steve purchased the P90X program which is basically a 90 day program designed to really challenge you in the area of physical fitness.  So while he was busting his butt doing the intense (I mean really intense) workouts, I kept going to the gym to do my cardio and weight lifting.  By the end of the week, I’d made some discoveries and some changes.

First, I discovered inconsistencies with the elliptical machines at the gym.  At resistance level 10 and ramp level 10, I was getting my heart rate up to 140 easily.  The next day, same resistance and ramp level only got me to 114 beats per minute.  No way I could have possibly adapted in one day.  Sure enough, on the third day, third machine, back to 135 bpm.  I wasn’t going easier or harder; the machines just weren’t consistent.  I was annoyed, but it was good information to have.  Steve purchased us an Omron heart monitor, which hasn’t arrived from Amazon yet, but when it does I think it will be more accurate.  So that will help.

Secondly, my weight workout at the gym has been going great.  I’m already increasing the weights.  I’m really putting a lot of effort into lifting the weights, because I know in the past I didn’t push myself much while weight lifting, and I’m done wasting time at the gym.  If I’m going to go to the gym, I’m going to put in 110% effort.  It’s been great and I’m very happy with my progress here.  As an example, my thigh workoutu started at 80 pounds and is now up to 120 pounds.  Calves started at 60 and are now at 100.

Third, Steve got an Omron body fat measuring device.  Our scale has a built-in body fat measure but here again there are inconsistencies.  On one machine I’ve got 36% body fat and on the other it’s 32%.  I’m going to stick with one and just see if it’s going up or down.  You know the saying, “A man with one watch knows what time it is.  A man with two is never sure.”  Same concept applies here.  I suppose the numbers don’t matter as much as the direction they’re headed.  I like the new Omron so I think I’ll stick with that.  According to that device I started the week at 36% body fat and now it says 35.0%.  I’m going to count that as progress, but honestly I want to see if it’s consistent and if it’s going down before I’ll trust it fully.

One evening I decided I wanted to do a second workout.  I’d already done cardio and weights in the morning but I had some time and some energy so I decided the best thing I could do for myself was to go back to the gym for another round.  My dietician also told me that doing another exercise set in the afternoon will help considerably with my weight loss because it spurs the metabolism on again.  But Steve suggested that instead of driving all the way to the gym that I just do the cardio workout on the P90X.  He told me not to expect to be able to do the entire 40 minute workout, but to just do my best.  Since it was more convenient than going back to the gym, I decided to give it a shot.

Much hilarity ensued.  I wish I had gotten it on film.  No wait, I’m glad I didn’t!  In the first two minutes, aka “the warm up,” my heart was ready to burst out of my chest.  No joke.  I figured I had about 4 minutes to live so I wanted to go down swinging.  I kept going.  My kids thought it looked like fun, so they jumped in to do the workout with me.  It was so adorable watching them do yoga and calisthenics.  This workout had everything.  When we got to the yoga I surprised myself by being able to do a pretty good downward dog.  Couldn’t do much else, but I tried every exercise and just did the best I could.  I found that if I slowed down a little it was easier.  So I was doing 17 reps while the people on screen were doing 20.  I was huffing, puffing, and sweating like the three little pigs with the wolf at the door!  It was awesome!  Now THIS was a workout.  Frak the cardio workout at the gym.  No point in doing the elliptical machine, struggling to get to my target heart rate.  The P90X workout does it for me nearly instantly.  I was panting, I was downing the water, I was trying not to collapse on one of my poor children.  And then it was over.  Forty minutes in my target heart rate (or maybe even beyond, yikes!).  I showered, barely able to lift my arms.  I think I skipped conditioning my hair so I could get to the mortuary to pick out my coffin faster. ;)

Now on to other news.  Just like during my raw trial I’m getting a ton of conflicting advice.  Here is a sample.

Eat every 2-3 hours to keep your blood sugar stable and so your body doesn’t go into starvation mode and conserve fat.

Wait until you’re really hungry before you eat so you don’t get unnecessary calories from snacking when you’re not even hungry.

Stop eating by 6pm.

Keep eating small meals until you go to bed.

Work out all your muscles every day.

Don’t work out all your muscles every day or they won’t have time to heal.

Do an hour of cardio so your body burns fat.

Do just 10 minutes of intense cardio, that’s all your body needs.

Eat this, don’t eat that.  No, eat that, don’t eat this.

And so there’s one thing I know for sure.  Everyone is different, and more than one method will work.  I’ve got to find the one that works for me.  So that’s what I’m still doing.  Experimenting to find what works for me.  I appreciate the feedback, and maybe I’ll end up trying everything, but it’s clear that there is not just one way to be healthy and fit.

Diet-wise things are pretty much the same.  I’m eating a lot more protein-rich foods, keeping my fat down, and not over-eating.  I’m still ending my eating as early as I can, which has been around 6 or 7 pm. 

I think the P90X workouts will have a positive effect on me.  I’m going to pay more attention to body fat than the number on the scale.  I think watching that darn scale is really messing with my head.  I know it’s a tool for measuring improvement, but it’s also becoming an albatross around my neck.  At least 4 people this past week asked me if I’d recently lost some weight.  So I know something is going on.  But that stubborn scale refuses to budge.  His days are numbered methinks. ;) 

How are you all doing?  Any new breakthroughs or insights this week?

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