My Exercise Plan 2015

Exercise Monday: My Exercise Plan 2015

Work it Out!

Work it Out!

Hello People,

This is the big doozy. The part of my plan that is really pushing things into high gear. I posted a few weeks ago about the diet portion of this plan, which isn’t really ground-breaking news but what sets this time apart from the other times I have attempted to lose weight on this blog is my exercising combined with eating lower calorie.  Let me explain a few unfortunate things.

I lost and reached my goal weight twice before in my life.  Once I did it  on Weight Watchers and the other on a little known diet called Prism.  Both of those attempts had me eating extremely low calorie, 1000 to 1200 a day, with no cheat meals EVER. Due to the low calorie nature and the choices of what I was eating then (lots of processed foods) I was unable to exercise because I had zero energy.  Yes, I lost weight, I had no energy, but I lost weight. The unfortunate thing about losing weight is that when one loses weight or is in a fat losing state the body will lose some of its lean muscle tissue in the process. It is just what happens and you can’t stop it; even if you are lifting weights during the process of losing.  Muscle is what keeps your metabolism humming when you are young.  It is often easier to lose weight when you are young because your fat to muscle tissue is usually different than when you are older.  I am older and have lost weight twice losing lots of my lean muscle tissue twice; up to 25% of it both times!!! Therefore, at a certain weight, like 130 pounds, I can weigh the same today as then, but I may be far fatter now at that weight than when I was younger because I just have more fat than muscle on my body. Aging also causes us to lose muscle over time if you are not diligent to keep it from deteriorating over the years.  I did not want to lose weight again and not exercise. This was in the hopes that I could protect some of that lean tissue and at the same time change the shape of my body, not just lose weight. Note: this is one reason health experts say that weighing yourself is only a fraction of the truth.  A really healthy person has a healthy BMI. Weight is just a number that is not really telling you what it is like on the inside.

I was also noticing that weight was not coming off of me at this age (43) as easy as it was when I was younger (20’s and early 30’s) without exercise. In some instances I didn’t lose weight at all even eating 1200 cals a day.  In other words, I have to exercise now in order for true weight loss to happen especially as I get closer to my goal weight. My calories aren’t too far off from those former diets but the difference now is what I eat. It makes a huge difference in my energy and performance output. Eating lower glycemic and having a balanced fresh Macronutrient diet is a world of difference to eating fake food out of boxes heated in the microwave.

You may be surprised to find that I am pushing myself to exercise a lot.  I am. It’s because I want the weight gone and don’t want to wait around for it to happen. It is not a quick fix, it is discipline and determination. I am not perfect and this is only an outline.  If I can accomplish it all then bravo.  Recently I had a bike accident and sprained my hand and cut up my knee so I had to make adjustments and not lift any weight for a week. I try to follow this program to the best of my ability and it is making a huge difference.

 be slim

My Program:

Mon: Jog/Walk Intervals 1 hour, Walk Dog uphill 1 hour, Arms/Back, Yoga 30 min

Tue: HIIT Cardio (such as jump rope) 16 min, Legs/Butt, Walk Dog flat route 1 hour

Wed: Day Off

Thurs: HIIT Cardio, Arms/Back, Walk Dog flat route 1 hour

Fri: Jog/Walk Intervals 1 hour, Walk Dog uphill 1 hour, Legs/Butt, Yoga 30 min

Sat: 2 hours Medium Intensity Cardio of choice (such as Bike Riding)

Sun: 1 hour Cardio (such as Tae Bo Kickboxing), Legs/Butt, Yoga 30 min

NOTE:

  • Cardio is medium intensity unless it is HIIT, then it is full out.
  • Strength Training is done with and without weights, depends on the routine
  • Strength Training varies in time; 20 min to an hour
  • I often am not able to walk my dog due to time constraints, so I do my best

The BEST Cardio

Exercise Monday: The BEST Cardio

Hello People!

Just love this video by the Hodge Twins. It gives me such a laugh!  It also amazes me that something so simple (but not that easy…at least at first) can have such a humungous result.  I’ll give you a hint about what it is:

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Please Note: The language these two use is geared for high school teenage boys with way too much testosterone running through the system.  Try to see past if the vulgarity.  It’s just an act. Oh, and I agree with them.

P.S. Do this for about 10 to 20 min on your non-strength training days

The Marathon Effect: Extra

Hi there!

I have been searching day and night since I posted the article about The Marathon Effect.  I wanted to give you all a reference for where I got my information. Leaving it open-ended seemed a bit unfinished.  So after hunting down the radio interview (this took hours on end to find) with JJ Virgin, I have a viable source you can decipher for yourself about what I stated.

I’m referring to the section where I said: exercising/endurance training in the fat burning zone for long distances will make your body store more fat when you are done to replace what it has burned.  You literally become a fat storer professional.  You will lose muscle also in the process compounding the problem of screwing up your metabolism. And…you release tons of stress hormones like cortisol that will also help you to store fat like a boss.  This is cardio for hours on end that I am talking about- not working out in the weight room for 3 hours.  That is different.

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JJ Virgin has a resume as long as my body.  She was a health advocate on the Dr. Phil show and has done numerous appearances on T.V., written tons of magazine articles and her own army of books, and has appeared and spoken at tons of health conferences.  She has every credential in the book and is a huge believer in “Burst Training” or what I call HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  Please listen to this incredible interview with her on Blog Talk Radio hosted by Underground Wellness.  The marathon discussion happens around 31 minutes.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2010/05/05/six-weeks-to-sleeveless-and-sexy-with-jj-virgin

The Marathon Effect

Exercise Monday: The Marathon Effect

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Hello People!

This is going to be a controversial post but I don’t care.  I need to talk about it because it is something that is near and dear to my heart personally.  About 4 years ago I participated in a Marathon; the Lake Tahoe one to be exact.  It is about 6,000 ft elevation and I not only had to train for endurance, but I had to train for high altitude. The “track” is around the lake and the up and down mountainous climbs also needed to be trained for.  Some of the inclines felt about 50% grade or more. It took me about 5 months to train and that was short. One more thing, I walked it – not ran.  I am not, nor will ever be, a runner.  My body is not built for it and I make no apologies.  I completed it in 7 hours which is a good time for a walker.

I trained in horrible summer heat of about 95 -100 degrees due to the marathon taking place at the end of Sept.  It also happened to be a bad fire season in southern CA that year.  I had to wear a surgical mask when I trained so that I wouldn’t breathe in ash. On one excruciatingly hot day, I was at mile 18 and fainted from the heat. I also needed to eat something because training can be strenuous on the body especially when you are up past 3 hours.  There is no stopping to rest in training. I wore one of those strap on waist packs that carries two water bottles.  I looked like a freak with my fanny pack and mask on marching around in sweltering heat, but I had a mission to accomplish. One woman, after seeing me look like hell, asked if she could give me a ride somewhere.  That was embarrassing!  After the fainting spell, I ran out of days to train. I was actually supposed to go 2 more miles that day, but the fainting/heat/fires put a stop to it. Plus, I didn’t want to experience that again.  So I knew going into the marathon it would be painful because I had only trained up to mile 18. A marathon is 26.2 miles for the record.  On one afternoon, around mile 16, I ran into a bear.  He actually saw me first and ran away, but I was about 30 feet from him.  That got me running!

Anyways, I want to talk about the fact that while I was doing hours and hours of training for this monstrous feat, I gained a lot of weight in the process. This was the most frustrating and irritating problem for me.  I wanted to do the marathon to lose weight, not gain it for heaven’s sake!  Think about it: exercising for hours on end burning hundreds if not thousands of calories only to gain weight steadily every week you train harder!!!  This was confounding.  Then I heard someone explain a principal of fat storage that began to make a lot of sense to me.

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It was about 2 months after the marathon that I heard about this concept or bodily process, but it suddenly dawned on me that it made perfect sense and that I was an unfortunate victim of it.  I want to say up front that I don’t have any facts to share with you yet, but just theories and guesses.  I also have my own body as a guinea pig to prove it.  The idea goes that your body uses different types of fuel to get you through a workout session: Fat, Glycogen (sugar in bloodstream), and Muscle.  Muscle is used in a desperate situation when the body is overtaxed and has nothing left to operate on (you NEVER want to be in this state).  Most people burn either fat or glycogen when they exercise.  An endurance trainer needs to exercise at a pace that will carry them through a long period of time. If they go too hard, they will burn out quickly and have nothing left.  I saw this happen in the marathon.  Many runners racing past me were cramping and sitting down up the road when I reached them due to them either not training enough, or pushing too hard too fast. They were probably pacing themselves wrongly in what I call the High Intensity Heart Rate Zone which is approximately 80 – 90% of your maximum heart rate.  This is very hard on the heart and lungs for long periods of time and is usually only done in short spurts of energy output such as what a sprinter or pole vaulter would do.  Endurance runners/walkers have to not work out as hard and keep their pace in the Fat Burning Heart Rate Zone which is about 60 -75% of your maximum heart rate. This will ensure that they have enough energy to empower them to go long distances without fatigue or failure. And to go even further, those who work out in the HIHRZ burn/use glycogen as their fuel (at first, until it runs out) and those who exercise in the FBHRZ burn fat as their fuel.

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Here’s the problem.  Once upon a time it was thought that burning fat as you worked out was a great thing! It sounds it, doesn’t it? The idea of piles of fat melting off as you walk up and down the block is a dieters dream come true.  The controversial part of this post comes here: Only burning fat as fuel while you work out sets up the body to immediately store fat once you stop exercising and eat your next meal.  The fat burned off will be replaced by more fat (the body protecting itself) and the more you keep doing that,the more fat you store making you gain more and more weight. Even if you are working out 6 hours a day like I was.  You also have to keep in mind that strict endurance training does very little in building muscle mass or tone.  It can also use muscle as fuel if you start to overtax yourself.  Burning glycogen on the other hand, like sprinters who work out in minutes of fast explosive episodes, makes the body replace glycogen when you are done exercising and not fat.  Also, exercising in the HIHRZ makes the body burn fat when you are at rest, oddly enough. (I’ll keep searching for relevant articles relating to my conjecture here.  I know that this may sound like a bunch of hoo-haw.)

So I was gaining weight even though my diet was roughly the same and I was working out like a bitch. Oh the frustration!!! (I am not the only one who has experienced this and has talked about it).  Look at the difference between an endurance trainer and a sprinter.  The sprinter is often times very muscular; whereas the endurance runner can be skinny (scrawny?), and oddly flabby in the upper body.  Those who are older than 35 look down right pudgy. I know because I passed thousands of them the day I raced.

Side Note: The people who look ”buff” also do strength training in addition to running and/or are usually below the age of 30 (males).

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Conclusion: Don’t do endurance training if you want to build muscle and be fit and toned. Keep workouts short: 20 -30 minutes, but with high intensity.  Do endurance training if you like wind in your hair and running all day long.

Think of it this way as well, endurance training such as walking or running on a machine for an hour or more while reading a magazine or talking to a friend will burn calories.  But the minute you get off that machine, the calorie burn is over.  Strength Training on the other hand allows you to quit exercising and burn fat for hours on end after the workout has ended.  That sounds like a better bargain to me.  I’m not against cardio training, but only do it in moderation of short periods of high intensity now.

P.S. I couldn’t walk for 4 entire days after the marathon.  This is not a good thing to do to the body.  It wreaks havoc on the joints, ligaments and sockets. The repetitive motion causes way too much stress and strain. There is a reason that the original marathon runner promptly died after doing it.

5 Things

Think It Through Thursday: 5 Things

Hello People!

It has been a few months….6, to be exact, that I have been a blogger.  My weight hasn’t really gone down a whole lot during this process, but I have been discussing the reasons why here periodically.  Particularly, I think most of my issues relate to blood sugar problems, and I’m currently working those out.

So I wanted to do a post that was upbeat and positive today because there isn’t enough positivity in the world, in my opinion.  Therefore, I want to discuss 5 things I have learned during these 6 months of blogging that I will continue to implement for the rest of my life regardless of weight-loss or not.  They are healthy habits that I wish to pass on to you, dear reader.

5 Things

1. What You Eat Matters

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This means that it doesn’t matter if a “calorie is a calorie.” The quality of the food is utmost important.  Forget the counting calories bit.  Look to the nutrition of the food/meal/snack first.  Calories matter too, no doubt about it, but there is a hell of a big difference between the nutritional makeup of two foods with the same amount of calories: a snickers bar vs. a  a few pieces of fruit.  Those nutritional qualities differ in that one of those items your body will store most of it’s calories as fat because of the high sugar content, and the other will be used by the body for re-building, supporting, digesting, etc.  Now which one do you want?

2. Vegetables & Fruit Are Your FRIENDS!!!

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You’re hungry?  You want to binge out? Have a tangerine.  Still hungry? Have a cucumber.  Still hungry? Have a bowl of cherry tomatoes.  Still hungry? No?…..Well even if you were, the calories in these foods are so small in comparison to junk foods that even if you binged on them, the worst case scenario would give you gas and bloating.  Junk Foods? You will be seen wearing them on your thighs the next day for sure.

3.  All Exercise is Not Created Equal

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The older you get, the more muscle you lose (up to a pound a year!!!).  This is key to understanding why your treadmill antics ain’t working like they were at 20.  Don’t do tons of cardio.  Do tons of weights/strength training/bodybuilding workouts.  Then do some cardio – but no more than 20 minutes (HIIT would be optimal).  You can start burning your muscles right off if it’s any more than that.  EEEKK!

4.  The G-Free Life is For Me

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Gluten was giving me blood sugar spikes. Why? Mostly the gluten was in the form of bread which has flour.  Flour, in any form, 100% whole wheat or otherwise, digests fast.  Gluten was also coating the villi in my intestine causing me to have skin irritation problems.  Going gluten free is not easy, but it is doable and I am not starving like I feared I would be.  It definitely has cut down on the carb consumption in my life.  I am not a no-carb preacher, but I would advocate low-carb (220 grams or less a day) eating. I am eating approximately 120 – 100 grams a day now.

5. Plan Meals For the Week

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Not planning what to eat is planning to FAIL! If it is 12:00 noon and you don’t know what you are eating for lunch…you are doomed friend.  Your hunger will override any will you had to stick to a calorie regime.  Don’t fool around, designate 1 day a week to prepare, cook, and portion out your meals for the week.  No second guessing, no last minute drive-thru runs, no excuses. (Video on this subject to come!)