Jun 072016
 

Busy weekend! Friday I went back to work. Then Saturday I went to the gym and ran 1.75 miles on the treadmill. It was 100+ degrees in Portland this weekend (TOO HOT) so it was nice to be in a cool gym.

Getting back into running is going slowly. Some days I feel great when I run, some days it feels like my body is just not ready yet. This particular run felt great and I amped it up a bit. Instead of jogging/running for 90 seconds, then walking for a 60 seconds, rinse repeat…I was running for three minute intervals and walking for one minute. It felt great and I was happy that I was able to go that long after such a long break.

Then I did about 15 minutes on the stairmaster and finished up with some weight lifting.

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It was a good workout. The bad news is that sometime in the last 5 days I did something to screw up my back. I’m not sure what it is but Saturday it felt really, really aggravated. I don’t know if I strained it picking up the baby so many times, or if doing the ab machines at the gym did it, or if it’s a flare up of my bulging disc issue I had last March…but it sucks. UGH! Really poor timing for a back injury. 🙁

Anyways, Saturday afternoon we drove out to Hillsboro (about an hour drive from our house) to go to a birthday party. It was a friend’s daughter’s FIRST birthday! So cute and so much fun. Logan got all dressed up for it:

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He was a real party animal! He slept in a little baby rocker swing thing the whole time. 😉

Sunday a friend stopped by for breakfast and to meet Logan. It was nice to spend some time catching up and the little guy put on quite the show for her–all smiles and giggles!

Then I went swimming, crossing my fingers it felt good on my back. And in a way it did feel good, but as soon as I was done swimming and out of the pool it was NOT good. Hot tub felt nice, steam room and sauna felt great. The nap I took that afternoon felt great…but still, back was cranky.

Sunday night we had some friends over for dinner. It was another 100+ degree day in Portland and they do not have AC in their house so we thought it would be nice to have them over for some relief. It had also been a little while since we saw them so it was good to catch up and be social after two months of sleep-deprived anti-social behavior. 😉

Logan was absolutely fascinated and riveted by the 8 year old and 3 year old boys!

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Since it was so hot I drank lighter beers and ciders:

Dinner was grilled up flanked steak, salad and corn. Ice cream for dessert.

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Logan did great and took a little nap while we ate, which was nice.

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And he slept from 10pm to nearly 6am!!! I think the trick is being social and putting him to bed late. Whatever the cause was, it was a nice treat since Monday was my first day working from home. Getting some extra (and real) sleep was nice. 🙂

May 232016
 

My Weight Loss Story – Part 1

by Michael

 

Every year, I set personal fitness related goals for myself. In the past, my goals have been around cycling a certain amount of miles. I have a back injury that rears its ugly head from time to time and this has lead me to conclude that if I keep doing the same things, I’ll keep getting the same results. As a result, I’ve decided not to ride my bike everyday or do any of the same exercises on consecutive days.

Last year, I pedaled 2,100 miles over several commutes from my home to work and back. For all of my efforts, I lost zero pounds last year. Losing weight wasn’t the focus of riding all those miles but you’d think that I’d be able to shed weight without thinking about it due to the biking but that just wasn’t the case. I concluded that while I enjoyed exercising, the reason I hadn’t lost any weight was because of my diet.

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My goals this year are to be able to do 100 push-ups in one set and do 10 pull-ups in one set. When I say things like, “I’m going to do more push-ups this year” it holds no water because there’s nothing holding me accountable. I need an amount and a time frame in order to be successful. At the start of this year, I was able to do 15 push-ups and zero pull-ups. My goals seemed lofty for sure but I’m a numbers guy and measurables like this are what drive me to success. I just needed to figure out how I was going to be able to accomplish it.

My first goal was to work my way up to being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. On the day of the Super Bowl, I was able to do 100 push-ups in a single day for the first time in my life. I did them in 5 sets of 20 over about a half hour period. This was a major achievement for me and it was the first time I believed that I would be able to accomplish the push-up goal this year.

Then I was able to do them in 4 sets of 25 push-ups. Shortly after that, 30, 30, 30, 10. Last month, I was able to do them in just 3 sets – 35, 35, 30. The next step from this point is challenging and I’ve concluded that in order to be able to do 100 push-ups in just 2 sets, I will need to do 2 things. 1 – I will have to do more than 100 push-ups in a day and 2 – I will have to lose weight. For every 10 lbs I lose, that’s 1000 fewer pounds that I will have to push-up over the set of 100. Tipping the power to weight ratio in my favor was obviously going to be necessary in order to be successful.

Just like I said earlier about exercising, I need a weight loss goal. I cannot just say to myself that I want to lose weight and have it stick. I just don’t operate like that. At the start of every month, I assess my progress and set a new monthly goal for myself and I get on a scale weekly to monitor my progress. I don’t know how much weight in total I want to lose, I just assume that I’ll know it when I get there. I know that I’m looking for an optimal power-to-weight ratio that allows me to accomplish my push-up and pull-up goals.

What I don’t do is count my calories. I don’t do this because it constantly makes me feel bad. It makes me feel oppressed, like I’m doing something bad that needs constant monitoring when in reality, I’m eating food and I don’t want to beat myself up for doing that. I know what’s good for me to eat and what isn’t. I don’t need to quantify all of the calories I’m consuming.

The other piece to this is that I exercise. A lot. But this isn’t the reason why I’ve lost weight. I’ve lost weight because of the diet. My exercise looks like this – M/W/F, I bike about 21 miles to/from work. T/Th/Sa, I run in my neighborhood. I created a running goal for myself this year of being able to run 6 miles in under an hour. I’m currently up to 4.7 miles in about 45 minutes. All of this is in addition to my push-up and pull-up goals, which I’m working on each twice a week. I wear a heart rate monitor to track this data and on average, I’m burning 6000 calories a week while exercising. Unlike tracking the calories that I consume, tracking the calories that I burn is empowering. It’s proof that I’m working hard and that I’m getting better as I’m able to run further and my per-mile pace drops. This also allows me to not feel any guilt when I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner because I’ve earned it.

So where am I at now with my push-up goal? I’m up to doing 160 (8 x 20) or 150 (6 x 25) twice a week. For the pull-up goal, I’m just doing as many as I can with the assistance of resistance bands over a few sets. The best part about these goals is that I’m not concerned about failure at all. If I do fail, I will have done thousands of push-ups and pull-ups this year and that itself is a huge personal victory for me. I’ll post an update in January and will let you know if I was successful or not in achieving my goals.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and will detail the food part of how I lost the weight.