I’ll be honest, I’m not fully certain what truly pushed me onto the path of wanting to lose weight and get fit. This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve tried to diet or exercise, but it is the time that it’s actually working. If I had to pin it down, I’d probably go with this being my version of a midlife crisis. I get the vague feeling that the underlying motivation to all of this work I’m doing is to look younger, which certainly sounds like a midlife crisis to me – albeit a much less annoying version than the one where I buy a corvette and start dressing like a douchebag. Don’t get me wrong, my wardrobe will get significantly more expensive when I’m down to the weight I want to be at, but they’ll still be clothes in a similar style to what I wear now. They will just look nicer.
At this point I’m down 17 pounds out of 46 that I want to lose. I weigh less now than I have in probably 7 years, maybe longer. It seems to be accelerating a bit over the past few days thanks to the high intensity interval training, making me a big fan. Previously I had fixed my diet and was going almost daily to the gym for roughly 30-40 minutes of endurance cardio; I would get on the exercise bike, crank it to a mid level, and pedal furiously at a more or less fixed rate for the entire time. The caloric burn was large, and that was what I thought mattered. I began to stabilize however, prompting me to scour the ‘net for more information.
In a way that kind of search can be pointless – everyone has a different idea of how best to exercise, and they tend to scoff and decry other methods as worthless or dangerous. In the end I tried to find information from people who were more or less like me in thought processes or bodily history, and it didn’t take long to discover some interesting studies that showed randomized, high-intensity exercise in shorter bursts burned less calories but MORE fat. Logically, it makes sense. My body strives for equilibrium and adjusts rapidly to constants, so in theory – and as it turns out in practice – the random, high-intensity spikes throw it for a loop and keep it in “panic” mode, burning fat at a better rate. Maybe it isn’t the same for everyone, but it certainly seems to work for me. I feel more worked over when I leave, I seem to be losing more weight, and it throws the true responsibility for total caloric consumption where it should be – my diet. To that end I’ve also started lifting weights, as it also puts a variable, intense strain on me. Much to my surprise I have found that lifting weights is an incredibly good thing for me.
I never got runner’s high. I certainly feel satisfied relief when I’m done with cardio, but I never, ever felt an endorphin spike. Well, it turns out I do get a weight lifter’s high. Doing them properly to the extent that the last few reps of the last set require every ounce of energy I have leaves me feeling like the freaking Hulk when I’ve stopped. The muscle pain actually feels like I’ve done something big, and that leads to an incredible endorphin spike. I never thought I’d say it, but lifting weights is fun and definitely for me, especially at home. I’d used machines in the gym before but always felt so self-conscious that it tended to outweigh (no pun intended) the feelings of satisfaction. I mean, honestly, I’m lifting 10 pounds right now. If I were in a gym I’d feel so embarrassed I’d barely be able to finish, but the truth is I have pathetic little noodle arms. It takes time to work up to the stuff everyone else is doing, and I’m smart enough to know my limits and work to increase them safely.
On a final note, I have discovered that Fitocracy and the Lose It! web site that’s linked to the iPhone app I use to track meals and exercise don’t have a public version of your profile. That’s really too bad, I wanted to link them here. Not to brag, but to keep me honest. It’s the same reason I constantly talk about what I’m doing with friends and family. Yes, I take pride in it, but at the same time it’s more so that if I stop talking about it someone will ask, and I’ll be forced to admit I slacked off for whatever reason. It’s all psychological trickery for my own mind, but it helped a LOT during National Novel Writing Month. I was constantly tweeting and talking about my writing, which forced me to keep writing so that I’d have actual updates to talk about.
Hell, that’s kind of why this blog even exists – to give me a forum to talk about things I’m doing so that in turn I’m reminded to keep doing them so that I have something to talk about. It’s a funny little loop, but it works.
Originally published at impulsive / designs. You can comment here or there.