Friday, July 2, 2010

Still faithfully working out

But not with Heavyhands, at least for a while. Got injured running, so I just got back into that about 3 weeks ago. The big news is I've started training in gymnastics. Been about 4 months now. It's absolutely great. Grabs the muscles down deep for a fantastic workout.

Having a blast doing handstands, L-sits, V-sits, front levers, wall climbers, etc. And my body has changed accordingly. Like the coach at Gymnastic Bodies says, "You have to train like a gymnast to look like a gymnast." Thanks to my 4-5 days a week training schedule, I'm beginning to look the part. And did I mention gymnastics builds tremendous overall strength? Mine has definitely improved...and without lifting weights.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Changing my training focus yet again. My workouts, my rules :). Recently discovered the Crossfit protocol: a mixture of weightlifting, gymnastics, running and whatnot. I'd always been a fan of  "functional" strength, e.g. being able to unload a 20-lb. grocery bag from your car trunk without throwing your back out. However, my training is a tad more demanding than that.

Doing two different workouts on alternate days, three times a week. Workout A is basically weightlifting. Not Olympic style, though. More like the old-time lifts of the late 19th and early 20th century: overhead press, Turkish get-up (that's not a costume, folks!), overhead squat, suitcase deadlift, coupled with chinup bar work and rope climbing. Workout B is lighter and more bodybuilding : various dumbell presses, rows, curls, calf raise. On the non-lifting days I do chin-up bar work, more rope climbing and beginner's gymnastics.

It's still pretty new, but I'm having a good time and even getting stronger (press=93 lbs. /my bodyweight 132). I'll probably be introducing other Crossfit-type exercises eventually, but for now the weightlifting/gymnastics combo is quite challenging enough.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


  First Tobey. . .now me?

 Losing my one pound a week very nicely since I've been doing Fast Five. An unexpected side effect is that my abs are becoming visible. After decades of ab work, they're developed, but were always covered in fat. That's changing. My abs not yet very prominent yet, but it's just a matter of time. The rest of me is starting to get more muscular, as well. I feel a bit like when Tobey Maguire first sees his new "Spider-man" muscles in the mirror.

So I've been thinking, instead of just working out to keep my muscles from wasting away, why not try to build up some? Popular belief says one cannot lose fat and build muscle at the same time. I'm going to put that to the test. That means more sets, reps and more weight. More work. Lots more. Started easing into a more bodybuilding-type workout a few weeks ago. As of today my bodybuilding routine's set for the upper body. I'll slowly add more work for my legs over the next few weeks.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Random Workout : Dumbell exercises

Incline Press : 2x15 / 20 lbs.
Rowing : 2x12 / 29 lbs.
Standing Press : 2x10 / 20 lbs.
Lateral Raise : 2x8 / 11 lbs.
Lunge : 1x10 / 28.5 lbs.
Curl : 2x8 / 20 lbs.
Roman Chair Situps : 2x12 / BW

I do this workout in between the 2 weekly strength sessions. A light day. My time to play with exercises, sets and reps.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Smashing the Wall

I initially was blindsided by my body's sudden "craving" for carbs after exercise. Been on the "low carb wagon" for years at least partially, and the idea that carbs are "bad" had unfortunately firmly lodged itself in my brain. That was due mostly because the only weight loss success I've had was through following a low carb regime. Ergo, protein and fat was good, while fruit, starchy veggies, pasta and ice cream were BAD. Not to be touched without the risk of getting fat again. Or developing diabetes, or growing hair on my palms.

That was before IF. With IF, I'm off the micronutrient merry-go-round. No more counting carbs or fat or whatever. I don't even count calories. I just eat what I feel I need. And after exercise, especially heavy exercise, I need carbs. Tonight I had a banana slathered in peanut butter and chocolate sauce . And then a plate of spaghetti. Yummy.

Even though I don't count calories, my body does. The fact that I'm fasting 19 hours every day automatically cuts my calorie intake. Rather a lot, I might add. So now, my body just wants FOOD. Not high protein, low-carb, hi-carb, low protein, raw, vegetarian, macrobiotic or fruitarian. But real food that I can enjoy without worrying over every bite. Sometimes it's chocolate, most times meat, fish, veggies and "good" carbs.

What I didn't understand, lo these many years, was that weight loss is mostly calories-in, calories-out. IF lets me hear what my body's telling me very clearly. Instead of me deciding what to eat and how much, I'm starting to let my body decide. This sudden freedom from any diet restrictions, coupled with extremely clear body messages is a little bit unsettling at first. If I keep fasting 19 hours a day, there's no way I'm going to hang on to excess fat if I listen to what my body wants. I'm finally starting to do that. I think it will work out fine after this initial adjustment period. At any rate, I'm staying with the fasts and eating as much or as little as I need. Even carbs. All carbs.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hitting the Wall

After 10 days of successful IF with the Fast-5 program, I hit the wall yesterday. Big time.

Had an early morning workout at 5 am that went extremely well. Felt I could have eaten something afterwards, but I wasn't in my "eating window", so food was not an option. I brushed the feeling aside and went off to work. However, as the day went on I began feeling depleted, headachy and even nauseous. When my eating window came up at 4:30 pm, I gobbled down my meager ration of an apple and a small piece of cheese. It clearly wasn't enough.

That night I didn't exactly binge, but ate things I normally have no taste for: chocolates, jelly beans and a chocolate spread. And hour later I had two big servings of pasta, a thick hamburger patty slathered with mayo and a large salad. Although I was full, I still didn't feel quite normal.

Went to bed very early and woke up hungry this morning. Plus a headache and nausea. This time I didn't put off eating and had a light breakfast. Felt immediately better. At lunch, I had a normal meal and finally felt like myself again.

I don't know exactly why I hit the wall, but it probably has something to do with my weight workout. It was demanding like all my workouts, but within my capacity. Still, I'd been noticing my energy dropping bit by bit after exercise. Since I don't stuff myself at mealtime, apparently fasting every day was keeping me from eating enough to workout hard.

So fasting every day is out. . .maybe. I have no desire to pass out in front of my computer at work, or under a heavy weight during a workout. However, I'm not giving up on fasting. I've lost weight and generally feel good, but just can't cut heavy exercise for the moment.

The originator of Eat Stop Eat has gotten around that problem by recommending a 24-hour fast once or twice a week. He successfully lifts weights in combination with fasting. I'll experiment with his plan this week.

As I've found once again, there's no secret to fat/weight loss. You just have to consistently eat less and the weight will come off. Determining just how much less is the tricky part, but a day or two of fasting a week would certainly help.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

IF : Week One

Finished my first week of intermittent fasting. Felt good right from the first day, but on day 3 I had my one and only bout of (very) temporary lightheadedness/brain fog. Came during a weight workout, between sets. Didn't prevent me from working out. I just ate some protein and proceeded with caution. Completed the workout fairly normally.

However, the next day I felt like I had a rocket pack strapped to my butt. My energy level soared and has remained consistently high. Used to take mid-afternoon naps on the weekends before IF. Not anymore. No longer need to. Plus, I'm never hungry. I eat because I'm in my "eating window". And when I do eat, I really enjoy my food and eat slowly without trying. This is a major accomplishment, because I used to be the "fastest fork in the West", anticipating the next bite even before the first one had been gobbled down. And I'm burning off weight: 1.5 pounds this week. Oh yeah, my food bill for the week is about 30% less, too.

IF has been a smashing success on all counts. To be continued most definitely.

Monday, January 11, 2010

one hundred pushups

Yup, I'm at it again. Crapped out last year, so I'm up for the 100 Pushup Challenge again. I've got 6 weeks to get there.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Next Step: Intermittent Fasting

I've been around the bend a time or two with many diet plans, but what seems to work best for me is cutting food intake along with lower carbs. I naturally tend to eat relatively few carbs most days anyway, focusing on protein, natural fat (butter, cream YES!), veggies and the occasional piece of fruit. I also am not hungry in the morning. Sometimes hunger doesn't call until well after 12 noon. When I eat breakfast, no matter how little, I feel bloated.

So I'm taking the next step: intermittent fasting or IF. Found a super program (and free) Fast-5 Diet and Lifestyle. It was created by a doctor and has solid science behind it. The plan involves basically extending your nightly fast throughout the day until 5 pm.  That's no food and no calories from the time you get up in the morning until 5 pm. Then there's a 5-hour "eating window" up to 10 pm. After 10, no more calories until the next "window" at 5 pm the next day.  During those 5 hours you can eat anything you want, there's no restriction whatsoever on food or quantity. I can certainly live with that.