Exercise Isolation: Mixed Results

I’m one month into my exercise isolation experiment to see what would happen if I really crank up my crappy exercise regiment (which means not exercising at all) while holding my pretty decent diet pretty static.  Over the month I’ve seen some good changes, but some other things stayed more static than I was expecting.  A full writeup of my experiment methodology is here.  I’ll do a full break down later, but I wanted to do a quick summary with the last day done.

First, did I stick to my parameters over the last month like I expected:

  1. I did successfully keep my diet pretty constant.  I ate slightly more calories, but it was well within the couple hundred calories a day I was targeting to stay within.  I also didn’t clean up my diet too too much, but I did have a tendency to eat more salads and snack on vegetables instead of “health” bars and crackers.  But overall, it was pretty much the same, especially on the weekend
  2. I didn’t do 10,000 steps a day but instead I ended up cranking up my running training since right after this started I decided to run my second marathon.  This is more than the same, although it’s more like well north of 10,000 steps a day some days and 5000-7000 a day the others.
  3. I’ve managed to keep up with my strength training and improve my strength significantly.  It’s also related to my marathon training since that has cross training involved.
  4. I have been doing yoga, stretching, and foam rolling but not as much as I would have liked.
  5. I have managed to work out 5-6 days a week, which is right where I wanted to be.
  6. I’ve listened to my body and made sure that I didn’t push myself too hard nor go too light on the working out.

Since I pretty much nailed the parameters what changes did I see?

  1. My cardio fitness is drastically improving each week.  I’m going further and faster, within reasonable ramp up each week.  I started with almost dying from running a couple of minutes to rapidly approaching running for several miles at a good pace and at a reasonable heart rate.
  2. My strength fitness is drastically improving each week as well.  Each week I’m lifting a bit more, doing a bit longer on the core workouts, et cetera.
  3. The body measurements I want to go up, like arm and leg circumferences, are going up, and the ones I want to go down, like my waist and midsection, are going down.
  4. My percent body fat has gone down at least one percentage point (still trying to nail that down).
  5. My resting heart rate has gone down a bit too.
  6. My trending on weight by looking at calories in versus calories out is matching pretty well.

What didn’t change as much as I’d hoped/expected:

  1. While my resting heart rate dropped a bit, it’s still within the range it’s been for the second half of last year (mid 50s).  I was expecting it to get down to the levels I had seen when I went uber-fit in July and August( mid-to-high 40s).
  2. My weight has gone up.  Yes, up.  My percent body fat is down, as is the total number of pounds of fat, but I still actually picked up a little weight.
  3. My upper body and lower leg measurements are pretty much the same. I figured with the extra muscle mass I would have seen a difference in my chest, shoulders, thighs, and calves.  I didn’t see much or any changes there.  Is that the fat receding as fast as the muscle is growing?  TBD.
  4. My blood pressure is pretty much identical to where it was from the beginning (always in the healthy range though)

So, at this point I’m making great progress towards improving my body composition.  My biomarkers are holding steady or slightly improving.  The question will be if I decide to move forward with holding the diet the same or try tweaking it a bit.  I will be continuing to hold the exercise where it is for sure.  Stay tuned for a detailed breakdown.