The OF Blog: An update on my exercising/weight loss, a month before my 38th birthday

Sunday, June 17, 2012

An update on my exercising/weight loss, a month before my 38th birthday

The past month and a half has seen some obstacles that had to be overcome.  Some were inevitable, such as beginning the teaching applications/interviews process (so far, no luck, but still some good possibilities that may open up this week or next) or remodeling work around the house that limited the time I could devote to exercising during daylight hours.  But there's also that "wall" that people often hit after 2-3 months into a major lifestyle/fitness change.  Those moments where you are so exhausted that you don't want to lift one foot and put it in front of another or that one extra set of 10 repetitions feels as though a mountain has to be moved first.

The rate of weight loss slowed somewhat, down to around 1-1.5 lbs. a week.  That was to be expected as my body is trying to find a new equilibrium.  The trick, I found, was to go from working out/walking 90 minutes 5x/week to 120-150 minutes 4-5x/week.  Some days, that would involve splitting the walking into early morning and early evening sessions of 4-6 miles a session.  Other days, the weight lifting might be preceded by a 45 minute brisk walk (2.5-3 miles) and then 30-40 minutes of lifting, before a second, smaller walk in the evening.

I haven't tried to do maxes on free weights yet, but I suspect my free weight bench press max would be somewhere around 225-230 lbs., as I did a set of 5 reps at 200 lbs. with little effort and without a spotter (I won't do more than 200 without someone, maybe my dad, to help spot).  On the machine chest press, doing 3x10 at 240 lbs. and chest fly press at 160 lbs. for 3x10.  Cable rows I vary between 3x10 at 135 lbs. or 3x10 at 150, depending on my mood and what I'm doing.  Triceps curls have improved to 3x10 at either 110 lbs. or 120 lbs., again depending on what I'm doing.

Not only am I walking more (151.0 miles on my iPhone pedometer since May 6, or just over 25 miles a week), but my pace is improving.  Logged my fastest mile walked this evening, going 14:58 during one of the 8.42 miles walked.  Average pace for tonight, my fastest for a walk over 10 km, was 15:44.  Had to deal with a pesky tendonitis issue in my left ankle for most of May, but it's now healed, so I've seen my times drop by nearly two minutes a mile over the past two weeks.  I think a 4.00 mile/hour pace is obtainable in the near future, as tonight I had a 3.86 mile/hour average over my second hour (a slower 3.81 mile/hour for the first, oddly).

I have slipped up a bit on the eating front, due in part to the hustle and bustle that leaves me settling a couple of times a week for fast food or something quick to prepare.  I have had some days where my caloric intake was over 2500 for that day.  That's not leading to weight gain, because I'm burning an additional 1200-1500 calories a day, but it did slow things down some weeks.  But starving the body would be worse, since I want the metabolic rate to remain high.  Probably will eat more oven-fried catfish this week and less red meat or chicken that still has the skin on it.

My checkup nearly three weeks ago (those who have me as FB friends already saw this data) went extremely well.  Back in December, I had elevated cholesterol and triglycerides (with the latter at 341, over double the target of 150 or less).   Here is what came up in the lipid blood test:

Cholesterol (overall) - 181 (target was to get below 200)
LDL - 122
HDL - 31
Triglycerides - 140

My total weight loss stands at nearly 40 lbs. since the beginning of the year.  I am less than 10 lbs. from my short-term goal for my birthday on July 17th, but there is still plenty to go before I reach my ultimate goal of somewhere between 195-215 lbs. of solid muscle.  Also two pants sizes from my ultimate goal (currently can fit, albeit snugly, into 38s), but it is nice having lean muscle mass developing again.  Maybe one day I'll be allowed to play soccer again, provided that my knees and hip aren't too arthritic from the previous 37 years of wear and tear.

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