A post I wrote here Saturday was the first of several in which I plan to discuss positive steps and routines I’m adding this year to lose the weight I gained last year and to simply get healthier overall.
My first step has been to get more sleep each day. Saturday, the day I wrote that post, I was sleeping until 1 p.m after going to bed at 1 a.m. I did get up at 7 a.m. to move my car for local snow plowing after the Chicago area had its first major snowfall of the winter, but then went back to bed.
My second effort this year is to mix up my exercise routine. I don’t like to exercise, I never get any sort of high from it as some runners claim (even when I’ve been a runner) and it usually leaves me sweaty and exhausted. But I know it matters and so I have built an hour into every day when I ride my exercise bike at a pace of about 14-15 miles per hour.
Week three of my new exercise regime saw Workout Boy (my trainer) put me on a new torture device, something called a Bosu ball.
It’s actually half a ball on a platform. Standing on it is a bit like being on a sinking ship trying to maintain your balance. I had to do squats with a 15 pound weight, something akin to the picture here except he’s not holding any weight. I also had to swivel from side to side with the same weight.
Imagine me squatting down with a 15-pound weight between my legs.
I think it’s fair to say that most exercise places are geared to women because they care more about how they look than do most men. Men tend to think they look good no matter how terribly out-of-shape they’ve become.
As I mentioned in my last post, I have started a regular exercise night at a local workout place.
Given that it’s a suburban storefront not far from my suburban office, I assumed I’d walk into a room full of suburban housewives worried that their husbands didn’t find them attractive anymore. So you can imagine how happily surprised I was to arrive there and see a room that had more roly-poly suburban middle-aged men than women.
Two women who were there when I arrived were finishing up and left not long after I started, so for a bit there were only men there.
Then a woman did arrive. She was doing an advanced workout and looked in great shape even though she was complaining to the young, male trainer who was suddenly doting on her that she had a cold. I don’t think he cared, nor did the other guys in the room who seemed to keep staring at her…well I’ll leave that to your imagination.
My point here is don’t be afraid to exercise in public. I normally am, I admit that freely, but my first session reminded me that other men want to get in shape too. If you’re one of us, go out and do it.
I’ve been fighting a cold this week, which generally means restless nights and lots of aches and pains.
And, for me, it also usually means gaining weight. My body tends to shut down when I’m sick and the weight comes. Taking a pain-killer and something like Comtrex to sleep makes it worse in terms of normal body routine.
I’ve been continuing my daily biking while sick, something Biggest Loser trainer Jillian says is ok, but I’m gaining weight. LoseIt tells me I’m under in my calorie count each day this week so far, yet I’ve gained about two pounds.
I’m not going to let that throw me off my usual routine. Hopefully by next week the germs, and the pounds, will be gone.
I was amazed at all the articles dealing with healthy eating and exercise in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune. January is traditionally when people’s attention turns to working off holiday pounds. That’s why health clubs and gyms gear up their promotional efforts this time of year. So the Trib was picking up on the get into shape after the holidays theme too.
It included a special magazine supplement headlined “Get Fit,” its usual Parade magazine insert with a cover story “What is Your Health I.Q.?” and a front page story in its Sunday section entitled “Pick Your Carbs.” It’s a bit difficult to find these on the Trib Web site, I’d try the health section.
The carbs piece seemed basic to me, but might help if you’ve never given the topic much thought. The Parade piece had some interesting quizzes to take. Does gargling with salt water help a sore throat? See what Parade has to say.
Let’s face it, most exercise is boring. I ride an exercise bike largely because I can watch TV while I do it and so be diverted from the fact that I’m exercising.
But I started this year looking for something different in the world of exercise and found it last night. My wife and I have begun attending a Bollywood dance class. While it’s billed as dancing, it’s really more of an aerobic workout. After 45 minutes, I was sweating and gasping for air. And I was not the only one in the class doing so.
Not us, but maybe someday...
My shoulders ache this morning since there are a lot of shoulder moves in Bollywood, really Indian, dancing. I also can feel it in my legs.
Did I drop any pounds from the class? No, I actually gained weight yesterday, likely because I ate more during the day assuming I would work it off at class. That’s my mistake, as always, I can eat more than I can exercise away.
But that weight issue aside, I found the class fun and am looking forward to next week. It got me to exercise without being bored. That has to be worth something, health-wise.
It’s been an interesting week for me, three days of no weight change and then, this morning, I weighed in at 200.4, down from the 202 I’d seen in recent days.
I’ve exercised less but eaten less this week too, worried about the impact of my inability to workout because of my knee injury. As of Thursday, I was 2,128 calories under my weekly net calorie budget, roughly a day’s worth of calories since Lose It, which you’ve seen me talk about here, prescribes I consume no more than 2,082 net calories (calories in minus those burned up in exercise) a day.
The trick now, though, is not celebrating my weight loss with a lot of eating. That’s a familiar pattern for me since I always feel hungry and because I know I have another calorie-burning weekend ahead as I try to finish at least the primer coat on my long, long backyard fence. I’m of course worried that more painting is going to re-aggravate the knee injury I sustained in the first round of painting. And I’m still 2.6 pounds heavier than I was before our recent New York trip so there’s work to be done, weight-wise.
It’s been an interesting week for me, weight-wise. I hurt my right knee Saturday painting my backyard fence (too many squats I guess).
That’s meant I’ve had a limited ability to exercise. Did no exercise Sunday and Monday, only 10 minutes on the bike and some weights Tuesday and, finally, 55 minutes on the bike, at a slower speed than usual, yesterday as the knee started to feel better.
This has been an interesting week for me, weight-wise. I was sick two weeks ago and lost several pounds because of dehydration, getting down to 198 which is below the always-difficult-for-me-to-cross 200-pound plateau. By last weekend though, I was back at 201, having recovered and rehydrated.
This past week, I returned to my usual exercise routine, which I had let slide while sick. Several nights this week, I put in an hour on my exercise cycle at relatively high speeds (14 miles an hour for an hour). The results have been impressive for me.
This morning I weighed in at 199.4, the second day in a row I’m below 200. The exercising is helping. Plus it’s a good reminder to mix up your exercise routine.
When I consistently ride the exercise bike every week my body adapts somehow and the weight loss doesn’t happen. Trainers and exercise experts advise mixing up your workout routines, types of exercise you do, etc., to keep your body from settling in. I’m proof that’s worth doing. It can be tough to find new routines all the time, but give it a try and see what happens.
As always, we advise consulting with a doctor and professional trainer before starting any exercise or weight loss program (that may sound like legalese, but it’s also good advice).
Last week I battled a cold from Friday through Friday. The common cold has a way of laying me out for seven days, it’s been that way since I was a boy, perhaps because I grew up in a house that was always filled with cigarette smoke which damaged by immune system, or perhaps because a full week is what my body needs to fight back.
Whatever the reason, a week is my normal sick period. The worse I feel as the week goes on, the tougher it gets to keep up my normal exercise routine of about an hour a day on my exercise bike. I was still doing my morning 15 minutes every day but not my more intense evening workouts.
And according to my scale, which tells me percentages of body fat and water every time I weigh in, I paid the price, losing muscle and gaining body fat in the week I was off the bike. What should I have done?
Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels answers that it’s ok to exercise with ailments above the stomach, i.e. a head cold, etc., but not with problems in the stomach and below.
I’d never heard that rule before but will remember it for my next 7-day battle — hopefully next winter sometime. It’s back to the bike this week, did a total of 55 minutes Monday as I get back to my normal routine.
Editor’s note: Jillian Michaels notwithstanding, I don’t do any exercise at all when I have a head cold. I let my body fight the affliction and not be sidetracked by working out. I rarely go more than three days with a cold. Tony