Fitness Improvements

Just a quick thing before I go wandering off into the wilderness of the weekend and you don’t hear from me for a few days. I also had some links I meant to post on the last link thing but forgot to, so I’m going to add them here. And probably some others. Because links are great.

This morning, I decided to do some pushups, v-sits, squats and tricep dips, like I often do. I’m back up to the region of 30-ish pushups in a row. Not impressive, I know. One of the most frustrating things for me, fitness/strength-wise has always been my low strength-to-mass ratio. I am stronger than most people I know in an absolute sense, but that’s largely because I’m large. When it comes to manipulating my own body, I’ve always just been weak sauce. Bad at pushups, bad at pull ups, etc. So I’m trying to work on that, and losing a bunch of weight has definitely helped. I’m far from the strongest I’ve ever been, but I’m able to do much more with my body now that I’m not lifting an extra 40 pounds of dead weight. So that’s good.

Also, I attempted my very first single-leg squats (“Pistols”) this morning, and was able to get at least one or two with each leg. I tried them first while holding on to the bathroom counter for balance, but ended up doing one with each leg completely unassisted, balance-wise. That feels pretty good, as it’s something I’ve never been able to do before (even when I was much stronger, but also much heavier). I’ve been doing some weighted squats, which are probably helping my leg strength overall, so I’m definitely going to keep up with that. Same thing with bench press and pushups, I’m thinking.

I know I’ve been saying “I’m going to try to do more…” for a long time now, but I’ve actually been doing it the past few weeks. I’ve been walking more, doing my calisthenics more and lifting more. The only thing I still want to add into my regimen that I haven’t yet is sprinting. It’s warming up and after this weekend (spring forward and all that) it will also be lighter in the morning, so I think I might start hitting the trail again. Probably sprinting intervals, maybe even just once a week. Honestly, I’m thinking that doing my body weight stuff maybe 2-3 times a week, walking 4-5 times a week, lifting heavy (for me) once a week and sprinting once a week is a pretty good schedule. I’ve got a baby coming, so we’ll see how long that lasts. But I’m fully planning to strap that baby to my body and go do my walks, and I’ll probably strap him to me and do pullups and pushups, too. Because that’s adorable.

Also, I hopped on the scale and grabbed the Omron last night and it came up at 207.4 and 13.8%. That’s the lowest body fat I’ve ever seen on the Omron, which is awesome. So I really do think I’m maintaining my level of leanness, and I’m just putting on some more muscle. There’s enough variation in the Omron (and the scale, for that matter) that I’m not calling anything 100% solid, but it’s definitely looking like my fat mass is either stable or slowly decreasing, and my muscle mass is either stable or slowly increasing. Not too bad for not making a huge effort at either, I’d say. I’m not significantly changing my eating habits or being overly restrictive with anything these days, and I’m working out for an average of maybe 15 minutes a day (that’s counting the 5-10 minutes of body weight stuff I do, some days where I do nothing, and some days where I go spend 30-45 minutes in the gym). That’s a lifestyle I can live with, for sure.

Okay, that’s enough of that. Links, right? I promised links. Lots of Robb Wolf today, because Robb Wolf is awesome.

Paleo Diet, Inflammation and Metformin – A great article on how sepsis causes insulin resistance, and how a permeable gut lining may put us into a low-grade state of sepsis, which can cause our metabolic derangement. He’s not making any super solid claims here, but just sort of leaning towards a new hypothesis of the cause of metabolic problems. Yes, a low-carb paleo diet fixes the problem, but maybe the carbohydrate load isn’t causing the initial problem? The Kitavans would seem to indicate that. Anyway, it’s really interesting stuff, and is something I’ve been trying to work through in my own way for a while now. We need a model that explains why the Kitavans can be lean on 60% carbs, why people can lose giant loads of fat on a juice fast (I watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” a while back, and have been struggling to fit their results into my insulin-hypothesis paradigm), and all the rest. I’m going to keep reading and following all of it as best I can, and hopefully I’ll learn enough to get a handle on it eventually.

What is the paleo diet? – Robb’s breakdown of the basics. I’ve been thinking I need to revise my own definition, or at least expand it or something, and so reading this was helpful to me. It’s the dynamic and variable nature of the paleo diet that really appeals to me, and Robb goes into that here very well. Everyone always says “There’s no one diet for everyone.” I’m calling bullshit on that, right here and right now. There is one diet for everyone, it’s just not as strictly prescriptive as people are used to diets being. You start with 30 days of no grains, no legumes and no dairy, and then you tinker to find the best fit for your health and your goals. Easy. And that works for everyone. Your fat, protein and carb intakes, as well as how strict you are with your compliance are all based on your body and your goals. It’s easily tailored for everyone, and there’s a path within it to get everyone to their optimal health. It just takes a little commitment to get started, and then the results keep you on track. If my choices are between not eating wheat and gaining 40 pounds of fat, having screwed up digestion, no energy, bad sleep, and losing my hair, that’s not even really a decision.

Framework Matters – Robb really knocks this one out of the park. He references it in the other articles I linked here, which is what got me re-reading it. And maybe re-posting it. I don’t recall. But anyway, here it is. Enjoy. It might not be what you want to hear, but it’s very important for us to keep in mind. We can’t solve the problems of modern health if we aren’t all even talking about the same thing.

World-Renowned Heart Surgeon Speaks Out on What Really Causes Heart Disease – Yet another doc stepping up to say that the lipid hypothesis is bunk. This is happening so often now that it’s hard to keep up with all the stories. I hear Rush Limbaugh had someone on his show yesterday talking about the same thing. I’ve seen it in newspapers, on various health websites, TV news shows, etc. It’s really starting to turn around on us, and that’s a very good thing.

Eat Like a Predator, Not Like Prey – I’ve been enjoying this website for about a week now. I like the guy’s style, and his perspective. It’s an inspiring way to think about ourselves, and is definitely motivating to me. I haven’t read nearly as much of his stuff as I’d like to, but I’m going to keep chewing through all of it because there’s a lot of quality in there.

Okay, that’s it for now. Hope all is well with you all, and I’ll catch you on Monday. Thanks for reading!

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