Monday, April 20, 2009

1/2 Marathon is coming up

Okay, I'm super-pumped to be running in my first 1/2 marathon this weekend. If you ever told me that I would be running a 13.1 miles for fun 2 years ago, I would have told you that you were an idiot. Nothing is more fun than pie and bacon. They are even more fun together. I still believe that but pie and bacon are not fun to my current health goals. I was never much of an endurance runner, more of sprinter from years of soccer. Now after months of training and weight loss, I'm about to do my first 1/2 marathon, and I'm thinking about when I can train up for my first marathon. One of my associates still reminds me that all this exercise and running is only good if I can maintain this lifestyle. I affirm my commitment to this lifestyle change, because frankly, I can't imagine going back. I still don't think of myself as a runner. If anything, I consider myself a more of a martial artist, and running is good way to train my body to be in the shape it needs to be in. Running draws in more oxygen and builds strength and speed. You gotta have a plan.

On my mp3 player: Eye of the Tiger - Survivor. This is a great warm-up song for any Rocky fan.

Snack of the day: Fat free yogurt. I like it with a serving of granola to add some fiber and texture. Yogurt helps boost your immune system with good bacteria. It helps in weight loss (from the iodine, I think), and is a good source of diary.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another weight loss contest

It appears that the health revolution in my office has spawned another weight loss contest. I'm throwing in my 5 bucks to help motivate everyone. I'm not really competing as I've hit my weight loss goal, but I feel like I should show my support. Plus it gives me carte blanche to taunt the weak. Just kidding. Maybe. I think that weight loss contests are good in that they help kick-start peeps on a healthier way of living. However, the downside is that people tend to re-bound back to their old bad habits after the contest is over. This is where constantly setting new goals for yourself makes a difference with weight loss. After my first weight loss contest, I saw how easy it was to lose 10 lbs in a month, and I thought I could do better. So my friend Tiffany and I kept challenging each other until I was just doing it to challenge myself. The hardest part was not letting set-backs or a plateau de-rail everything that I did. Fortunately for me, my personality saw even a minor set-back as a challenge to work harder the next day. Setting realistic goals for myself, i.e. losing 5 lbs in 2 weeks, kept me motivated. Understanding that moments of weakness will happen, but not letting them bring me down, kept me on my path.

On my mp3 player: So What - Pink. This is a great angry song to really get you going.

Snack of the day: Red seedless grapes. They are a great antioxidants. They will keep your heart healthy and may even protect against cancer. I love them for their sweet juiciness and they fill me up. I actually replaced chocolate and candy with grapes and other fruit.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Where do you start

Many of my friends have asked me what did I do to start losing weight. At first, I watched what I ate and did some low-impact exercises, like yoga. While that yielded a couple pounds off, I decided that I was not achieving the results that I wanted. After doing some reading in Men's Health and on the Internet, I decided to try a fat burning, muscle building program that focused on my core. In hindsight, that choice was the way to go. Your core affects your endurance, overall strength, and visual appeal. My initial program included several sets of bicycle crunches, decline crunches, cable row wood choppers, dumbbell squats, planks, medicine ball jerks, jump rope, and vertical jumps. Then I would usually finish up with 5 to 10 minutes of cardio on the elliptical. This workout didn't require lots of weights, and for the most part, just used my own weight as resistance. I did that workout 3 days a week for about a month. I eventually phased out the vertical jumps and jump rope, because I was too uncoordinated and those moves really stressed my knees. I replaced them with medicine ball crunches and push-ups. I really pushed myself hard (or at least what I thought was hard) early on to get my heart rate up and make sure that I was burning enough calories to beat Tiffany! I have since abandoned that workout in favor of a more whole body/balanced strength workout, but I do incorporate some of those exercises into my routines for variety.

On my mp3 player: Jesse McCartney - How Can You Sleep? It's pure bubblegum, but it has a good beat.
Snack of the day: Banana nut bread Cliff bar. 6 g of fat, 5 g of fiber, 21 g of sugar and 10 g of protein. As snack/energy bars go, this is one of the best tasting. I would have liked less sugar and more protein but it's pretty comparable to other health snacks. I usually eat 1/2 before a workout and the other 1/2 for after.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back for more

All right, I'm back again. I had kinda given up on the whole blogging thing due mostly to time constraints. I was also running out of things to say. In the spirit of the health Renaissance/revolution sweeping my office, I've decided to re-visit my blog and re-purpose it for a diary/advice device regarding weight loss and exercise.

As a bit of catch-up, I did reach my goal of 165 lbs. I'm sitting at the weight very comfortably now and have been for over a month. I've lost roughly 40+ lbs since I started dieting and exercising last August. My workout routine changes weekly depending on my schedule, but ideally, it is 3 days of weights, 3 days of cardio (running), and 1 day off. I'm also taking a Tai Chi class at the YMCA, 1-2 times a week to work on my stretching, endurance and mental health.

I've run several short races, and I will be running my first 1/2 marathon on April 25th here in Nashville. I'm still losing weight but I'm not obsessed with it. Mostly I do it to keep from back-sliding and to keep challenging myself to work harder. I've found that having achievable goals has really driven my success so far. When I first started, I was trying to lose at least 10 lbs a month or run at least another minute longer on the treadmill or go another mile farther on the street. By keeping achievable goals, I was able to build off my success at weight loss and gain some real momentum to the point that I can't imagine me ever quitting. After the 1/2 marathon, my goals are fairly modest: run a race (no matter what the distance) every other month and get in at least 25 miles of running a week. I also have a big goal that I'm more or less keeping to myself, but we'll see how that works out.

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