October 17, 2010

Exercise Program Update

Well, I've been running and exercising now for 14 weeks, since the middle of summer and I thought I'd give you a run down on how it's going. Below is a chart of my progress so far.

Let's start at the bottom. Because I sit so much on the computer (and didn't do much physical exercise) I was shocked how swollen my legs seemed. So, right off the bat, that became a priority. I measured across the ball of my foot and around the ankle. As you can see there was a huge drop, thank goodness. At the end of the day I can still see a bit of edema, but I hope that will stop all together in the coming months if I can loose weight elsewhere.

I was a bit surprised by the drop in my run/walk pace. Those times are per kilometer, not per mile. I'm still walking some of my 3.4 km route. I think I'm at a place where if I can loose some weight, the pace will get faster, or if I can speed up the pace, I'll loose a bit more weight. Running this winter is going to be tough. Mornings should be around -30F for a good part of time from November to February. I still plan on running but that is a big question mark really. My goal is to get to doing a full 3.4 km run, then on to a 5 km and then finally on to 10 km.

I don't have a weight scale which can be a good thing. Like they always say, muscle weighs more than fat, so if you're exercising, you might actually gain weight while at the same time loosing fat. So for me it was simply a matter of measuring the fat and on me, that's my waist. As you can see, it is slowly, slowly coming down but not really fast enough for me. At this rate I should be at my goal of 32" sometime around May 1st, some 28 weeks away, over a half a year. But hey, I've spent the last 45 weeks adding on that weight, so I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed.

Here's how I've gotten here so far:

Meditation: Really, this is probably the most important, but even as a Buddhist I've found it easy to skip which isn't great. I mean, if you look at the world, I'd say we're in desperate need of 'mind' work to increase our compassion and wisdom than our 'body' work. But they're both tightly interconnected anyway, a healthy mind will lead to a healthy body and a healthy body will lead to a healthy mind. So, get up and do your meditation first so you don't keep putting it off until it's too easy to just skip it.

Bodyweight Exercises: I just couldn't justify buying another set of weights. How many of you have weights or some such workout equipment just gathering dust in your closet? Too many of you I suppose. But really all you need is what you have, your own body. There is a ton of stuff on the internet about bodyweight exercises and even for those of you young and fit, I'm sure there are exercises out there to even challenge you. The great things is that they are such 'all encompassing' exercises working on strength, balance and cardiofitness. Below is my list but I'm sure it will change. I'm on a three day schedule (two days workout, one rest day) twice a week using a tabeta time limite (20 seconds exercise, 10 seconds rest):
Day 1,4
bicycle crunch
vertical leg crunch
squat thrusts
chair dips
one-legged squats
lunge arms up
sissy squats
wall sit
Day 2,5
lying leg crunch
abdominal crunch
sissy squat
wall sit
mountain climbers
staggered push-ups
tricep dips
single-leg lift squat
walking lunge

Running: Tried to do a program called 'Couch to 5k' but when both my iPod got stolen and my watch stopped, it wasn't possible to accurately measure how much I was running and how much I was walking. But I stuck with the running and see there are improvements. Still walking a bit of the 3.4 km but its getting less and less. Plus, no I have a new iPod. One place I found great support and motivation from was DailyMile.com. If you need a virtual running buddy, or a thousand, check out this site. It's like the Facebook of runners, cyclists and triathletes. I ran a virtual 5k race last week, competing with about 700 other runners in 40 countries at the Worldwide Festival of Races

Stretching: I'm already too tight so with exercise it's extra important to stretch. Some days I'll even try to stretch twice. This should lessen the chance of injury. Still don't do this enough.

Plan for the next 14 weeks:

Meditation: Every day, trying to be more consistent.

Bodyweight Exercise: To get more of a challenge and to add variety, I'm going to start doing routines posted on Bodyrock.tv. I'll let ya' know how much harder the routines are.

Running: continue on to do a full 3.4 km, then I might follow a 5k followed by a 10k program. We'll see.

Stretching: I almost need this more than anything else. I shouldn't just do it with exercise, but morning and night.

Well, that's it. I'll try and give you an update at the end of December (10 weeks) and let ya' know if I was able to keep the healthy numbers coming. Take care and see ya' on the road.