Friday, June 23, 2006

Here's the skinny...

I've had a couple of e-mails from folks asking me about what I'm doing to get fit and lose weight. It seems once I came out of the closet about trying to get fit, people started being interested. I didn't say a word for ages because I wanted to wait and see how long it would take before someone noticed and made a comment. I waited almost four months. I'd lost over thirty pounds before anyone noticed. That was a major kick in the teeth, I mean, I know I'm not the center of the universe and everything but I figured someone would've noticed before that. My ego was bruised a bit, I'll admit.

Now, I find it something of a dull topic - too self-absorbed, and I never want to bore people with me talking about me. I avoid that most costs...well except here because it's kind of my diary so it's allowed here. Yet in the real world, I'm somewhat reserved, in a silly way though. I'll laugh and make jokes to make folks stop asking about me, I don't like talking about myself. I don't like sharing passionate opinions, I like to toe the line and be nice, pleasant, entertaining company. I want to have fun - not get into deep discussions, if i can avoid it. I'll listen to everything you want to say, but not big on the giving back.

So. The diet stuff. Well, it's changed over the five months, and I've discovered it's got a life of its own. I let my body be the trainer now. I'm a slave to beat, the beat of my heart. I let it tell me when to slow down, and when to speed up. My maximum heart rate should be 140-156 beats per minute. That's me in a cardio zone, and it's not too fast that I'm sucking wind and getting side pains...what are those called? I forget, but I don't push so hard that I get them. An example being, on the treadmill; I'll set the machine to a 20 minute routine on hill climbing at 4 mph. I'll start off on a light jog until I get my heart rate up to 150 bpm, and then speed walk until it drops down to 139, then jog it back up again. That'll have me nicely tired and have burned about 250 calories. I'll similar on all the cardio machines, I get bored easily so I tend to hop around to different ones and I don't stick to a set routine. So long as I get 40 minutes total, I don't care.

I've started following this routine for weights, though. I think with weight training you have to have a routine or you can forget what you were doing and end up overworking a muscle and risk injury. I'll do three sets of 15-20 repetitions. When using handweights I'll use 10kg/22lbs for most exercises. For a leg press or bench press I'll double that. Now, that's what I do currently, I didn't start out like that. When I started I could manage 10 minutes on any one machine before I got uncomfortable, sore or tired. So I'd swap around on four different machines until I got the 40 minute goal, and weights were optional - if I had time. I was afraid of them, I'll be honest, but I started out with a few easy looking ones, and as I got used them, I got more confident. More confidence got me asking questions about the scarier looking machines, which turned out not to be scary in the slightest. In fact I only started using the bench press this week, because it's been in the weights corner, and that's a man zone, I didn't think I had a right to be in the man zone where I was pumping my little weights. But, I figure I pay the same membership fee they do, and I have the same determination, so why the hell not.

That's the key for me: determination. It's not willpower, it's having the determination to make a change. Be it quitting smoking, giving up sweets or starting a workout, if you aren't determined to make this a lifetime habit then you will fail. I was thinking today about Nike, and their brilliant ad campaign "Just Do It." it sums it all up, it's perfection, the best damned slogan ever. Don't think for a minute I don't wake up every morning and think, "Fuck it I'm not going today", or think about putting on jeans instead of sweats, or think about going for a coffee instead of up the hill to the gym, or think about sitting down and reading a book instead of going into the gym, or thinking about doing a half-assed workout. I just do it, and I do it hard. I am completely soaked in sweat by the end of every workout, that's how I know I've done a good job. I'm really proud of myself at the end of it. I prefer being proud of myself over being disappointed for being a puss who gave up.

In the end, I don't expect to look like this woman although you have to respect the amount of work she's put in (let's be honest, ahem, steroids.) But I don't know how I'll end up, I guess that's the mystery, the surprise. My diet isn't extreme enough to get those kind of results. I've read lots on what body builders eat - please pity these poor poor souls - they are hungry, and bored. It's all egg whites, chicken breast, white fish and tuna out of the tin. A few vegetables but that's about it. I know it's food for fuel not fun, but come one - there's got to be something tasty once in a while. I tend to have bowls of beans with low fat curry sauce, or brown rice and vegetables. Lots of salads with tomatoes and cucumber but I don't really like salad dressing so I just put a couple dashes of soy sauce on it. I do like the occasional egg white omelet and I'll have maybe three a week. I don't like eggs too much, or rather, they don't like me.

So, today I've done:

20 minutes on the treadmill with heart rate sprints.
15 minutes on the recumbent bike level five.
5 minutes on the rower machine (I'd do longer but it makes this awful squeak noise for every pull that drives me nuts)

As I just started using a higher weight, I've cut my reps to 10.

30 rope pulldowns
30 pulldowns
30 dumb bell lifts
30 straight arm lat pull down
30 French curl
30 lateral rise
30 triceps dips
30 preacher curls
and I was knackered today. Tomorrow is an off day, and I'll need it because I'm a bit sore. I'm still sore from leg day when I did 40 weighted lunges. I have to hold onto something to sit because my backside aches. But it's a good pain, I earned that pain. It'll make me stronger. I'm not afraid of a little discomfort, and it goes away in a day or so.

So, there it is. That's what I do for an hour and a half, five days a week. Now, someone mentioned pictures. Well, I'm not so keen on the idea just yet. I don't think the differences are that noticeable that it would look all that dramatic. I'm not slim, I still have bodyfat covering all this muscle. You could give me a squeeze and feel the changes, but not really see them. I have worries about being left with saggy skin on my belly - side effects of pregnancy. I worry I'll end up with dirty pillows (I can thank Stephen King for that image of saggy breasts) although the bra fitter (who is the closest breast expert I know after the tit squisher at the mamogram clinic.) says that the breast tissue shouldn't shrink, just the back and rib fat. Fingers crossed, eh folks.

Having said that, I got four compliments from four different people who have noticed I've made changes to my body. Five months on, most people notice the change. This is definitely not an exercise in instant gratification.

And, on that note, go see Newfiegirl. She's been making cheesecake. Talk about instant gratification - MMMMmmmooore!

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