Since I’m no stranger to starting fitness routines over again it’s always the constant reminder of how far I’ve fallen when I start back up a fitness routine again. Of course with each passing year the threshold drops further and further on the fitness levels at the beginning of each phase. On this particular startup phase I started up this week with elliptical cardio. Yes, I’d like to get back to running long distances again, but I’m still very early in the building phase and I know I have lots of body strength symmetry issues I want to work through. It was shocking and disappointing when after ten minutes of a thirty minute “easy” elliptical workout that I could feel the burn in my quads and calves. Because of some stuff around the house I have to get done I couldn’t risk having rigor mortis for the rest of the day so at that point I switched off to do an additional ten minutes of medium-speed walking on the treadmill. My heart rate which was in the high-160s to low-170s during the “easy” elliptical routine was now in the 110-115 range. That’s a perfect sustainable pace.
I’m sure I’ll be able to work up to much greater cardio levels over time. I’ll have a similar problem with my strength training as that kicks in. But it’s better to do the build up as baby steps rather a huge burst and then a crash and burn. It’s easy enough to lose focus with a sustainable pace much less with a crazy fast one.
While I’ve mostly been absent from writing to the blog, and my fitness routine has only been slightly less absent than that, I have been able to maintain one thing completely dialed in over all this time: fitness tracking (as usual). With all of that data together I decided to create my first annual review post. I’d say compared to the average American I had a very normal year. Unfortunately I don’t want to have the fitness level and longevity of the average American, so while I’m not going to say things were bad they weren’t where I want them to be either.
Continue reading Annual Review 2017 Good and (mostly) Bad
Being the new year is almost upon us and I’ve spent most of the last year lamenting my lack of progress on health fronts (besides that sweet spot in the summer) I was looking forward to dialing in my lifestyle and diet over the next month and into 2018. It wasn’t going to be anything more structured than 2017, which may or may not have led to more or less the same results, but I was going to be focusing in on the same core Blue Zones lifestyle elements that I’ve previously highlighted. It was therefore a bit of a coincidence when I received an e-mail from 23andMe about enrolling in a genetic weight loss study they are doing.
According to the study they are looking at coming up with up to 100,000 volunteers to try three different combinations of diet and lifestyle changes to see if it can create weight loss over a twelve week period of time. They are then going to use that data combined with our detailed genetic data to find correlations in weight loss and the various lifestyle changes. That type of thing sounds fascinating to me in its own right and I certainly would love to contribute to that body of work, so I decided to enroll.
Their initial survey information lined up exactly with all of the things I currently track religiously: food patterns, sleep patterns, sleep quality, stress patterns, exercise level, meditation patterns, and trunk body measurements. Sadly most of those elements they were looking for a weekly survey on. That’s obviously heavily skewed by the holidays. I want to e-mail them about that. Also sadly is that my current levels diet and exercise are about as piss poor as they could ever be. They would be improving anyway (hypothetically) but perhaps that gives them a better baseline to start from. Based on the diet/exercise recommendations I may have to tweak what I was planning on doing into the start of the new year, the study beginning sometime in January, but I think doing that for 12 weeks is a pretty small price to pay (assuming I get accepted for the study).
At the end of June, part of the way through this year’s 7th goal accountability phase I decided to finally get my shit together. I carried that momentum into the 8th phase. I haven’t done too many summaries this year, since I’ve mostly been sucking wind, but I have been keeping up my daily grading. Now that I’m dialed in from the goal perspective, so too will I be dialed in on reporting it. I am happy to report straight A’s across all my goals, finally!
Continue reading 2017 Phase 8 Goal Accountability: Finally Dialed In
Since I started dialing my fitness regiment in three weeks ago I’ve been striving to get a perfect 4.0 grade across all five of my daily goals for an entire week. I was getting really close, but each week had one or two hiccups/slip ups that kept me off the perfect mark. No longer. I finally got a 4.0 across all my categories for an entire week for the first time since I started trying to do this whole daily grading thing (even back to my Nutritarian Experiment of 2016). First, I’ll congratulate myself for a job well done. Now, a word of warning. When I nail something like this I often have an impulse to try to extend it longer and longer. Inevitably I stumble, just like anyone else does with anything like this. That stumble then usually leads to a crash. That crash then leads to a period of rationalization of how I was doing well so deserve a little “reward” for it, whatever that means, and that I’ll get back to it tomorrow. String a bunch of tomorrows together and I get years of getting back to it “tomorrow”.
This week may be a perfect week again, or it may not not. Instead of focusing on these longer term trends like I usually do I’m going to take my “being in the present” mindset that has been working these past three weeks forward. I’ll concentrate on nailing my goals today, and only today. I’m not going to worry about what I screwed up yesterday, or if I’ll screw up tomorrow. I’ll still track and trend all of these things as an observational and historical thing, but I’m not going to expend mental energy on it beyond just working it out today.
In a world where “life” didn’t get in the way of me doing my exercise/fitness things I’m sure I’d still find a way to avoid them. Part of the reason for doing the daily metrics and grading is to make how lax I am getting in those areas apparent. In the past three weeks I’ve had it dialed in really well though. My 10K steps goal is one that my fitness watch tracks for me. As the consecutive day counter goes up every day it seems like an even bigger shame to break my record. Yesterday work really got in the way of me getting to over 10K steps. It wasn’t that abnormal of a day compared to my normal schedule, but it was the first time since I decided to dial everything in that it happened. If it was three weeks ago I would have just said to myself, “Screw it! So I get a low grade on that that goal for the day!” Yesterday was different though. The low grade may not be enough to move my hand but the idea that I’d break my streak was enough. I hadn’t had time to squeeze in a morning walk (or run) before work, it wasn’t until mid-day that I realized I wouldn’t be home in time to do it before dark, I didn’t have exercise clothes, and it was 100 degrees outside. I even had “other things” I could have done to kill some time waiting for traffic to die down to make my way home. But I didn’t. Not this time. This time I just started walking and more walking for an hour, until the counter clicked just over 10K steps. The streak continues for another day and I registered another 4.0 day. It’s a minor victory to be sure, but string enough minor victories together and you get real progress.
After a year of false starts, many written about here ad nauseum, but with maintaining my tracking of nutrition and fitness goals every day, I can say that this time around I’ve started off on the right foot on dialing in my fitness/lifestyle goals and getting myself back on track.
Continue reading Coming Out of Fitness Hibernation
I’ve written several times about the use of periodic fasting days to counteract our periodic feast days as well as health benefits of fasting from the perspective of supposed cancer fighting and potentially longevity. I’ve also mentioned fasting as a means of accomplishing weight loss too. Now that I’m a couple months into that practice, I figured I’d show what that actually looks like.
Continue reading What Does Fasting For Weightloss Look Like?
The 2011 documentary Forks Over Knives had lots of testimonials. Has anyone done any follow ups to see where they are years later?
Continue reading Forks Over Knives Follow Up?
I’m not a professional blogger. I’m just a guy that had been doing quantitative self (QS) type stuff, has an interest in overall health and longevity (albeit not with as much discipline in the follow through as I would like), and decided to write this in a blog format rather than just use a personal journal. My thought that maybe someone could find this information was a bonus. It turns out that I’m the one who is finding this information useful several times recently.
Continue reading Using my own blog as a research tool is cool!