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No pretending to like tofu any more!: Eric's primal transformation

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  • #91
    This morning as I entered the U-Bahn station I noticed that my train was arriving in 1 minute. I decided to run for it. I'd say it is maybe 80 meters to the next escalator then another 10 - 15 meters to the train. As I started, the train was arriving, and I decided to kick it in and sprint. I made the train and felt great. It only took a few moments to recover my breath. Awesome.

    Before lunch, I went to the gym, which is my normal routine. Today happened to be legs. Bulgarian split squats, side lunges, toyotas (squat jumps with arms thrust up in the air as you are jumping), and one-legged Romanian deadlifts. I did this exact routine last week, and I was sore the next day, but felt fine while doing it. This week, though, I was wrecked by the end. I was literally wobbling back to the locker room on unsteady legs. As I was walking back to the office, it suddenly occured to me that my sprint this morning really worked my legs already today and that's why today's routine was so tough.

    I haven't done running sprints yet. I've done sprints in the pool, though I haven't made it to the pool in about a month. I also do intense katas that in some ways serve the same purpose of sprints. But the fact is that I haven't done any actual running sprints yet. I was going to wait until I hit 200 pounds before trying them. Despite my progress, I'm still overweight. My BF according to very inaccurate scales is around 25% (after a workout at the gym, if it is on "athletic" it can register as low as 10%, which is absurd, and my home scale in the morning can register as high as 30%). Anyway, I had planned to wait until I was lighter and my joints wouldn't take such a pounding. But now I think I may give it a go. For one, my knees are fine so far. Two, it actually felt really good. I've never liked running for any distance, but I think I could get into short sprints. And three, I think it will be a great added muscle builder for my legs. And four, for all the reasons that Mark advocates sprinting.
    Last edited by en2ec; 11-14-2012, 01:41 AM.
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    • #92
      I still love doing You are your own gym, and I'm now in week 5 of the second 10 week program. But I've also decided that I want to add in some kettlebell workouts. I bought a 12 kg and a 16 kg kettlebell. Ironically, the gym I go to just this past week finally bought some kettlebells. I had been reading about kettlebells and most of what I've read said that most men should start out with a 16 kg kettlebell. So I tested them at the gym. The test was to do a one arm press and hold it for 10 seconds. If you can do that, then you can work with that kettlebell. I did the 16 kg kettlebell just fine, and I could swing it ok, but then I tried a get up, and I couldn't do it. Well, I probably could have if I really had to, but I didn't feel comfortable or confident. I was able to with a 12 kg kettlebell. So that's why I bought both. I figure I'll get my technique down on the 12 kg one for everything, then quickly move up to the 16 kg one for some things like swings and keep using the 12 kg for things like the get up (until I feel like I can move up).

      So my plan is to do the you are your own gym workout at the gym, and to do some kettlebell workouts at home. I know. I'm doing a largely equipment-free workout in an expensive gym, and an equipment-based workout at home. It doesn't make sense on the surface. You are your own gym doesn't use weights, but you do need equipment. OK. Yeah. I can use a door to do pullups, but I'd much rather use the Smith machine at the gym for pullups, let me ups, and let me ins because I can adjust the bar at any height I want and feel secure that it isn't going to break or tip over like some improvised things you might use at home to do these exercises.

      Unlike a lot of exercise equipment, kettlebells are very small and easy to justify having at home, though they are a bit pricey.

      My challenge now is to try to figure out how to add in a kettlebell routine that is complementary to my bodyweight work.

      I had hoped to do some sprints over the weekend, but now that it is cold in Vienna, I'm not sure how to go about it without pulling a muscle.
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      • #93
        I decided to do a kettlebell workout at the gym today. I don't know what happened, but when I was doing an overhead press with my left arm (my weak arm), my shoulder popped and now it hurts quite a bit. I was even using a 12 kg kettlebell (everyone recommends that men start with a 16 kg kettlebell). This really sucks. When I was doing starting strength, I was doing OHP that was around 50+ kg ... I guess with a barbell, my right side was able to compensate for my left. But I don't think that weight was too heavy. I think it was just one of those weird things that happens.

        This is my first injury since I've been going to the gym. Now it really hurts just to raise my arm in that same motion without any weight. Looks like my kettlebell exercise program will be delayed until it heals. Most likely, I'll have to stop my You Are your own gym workouts for a while too. Crap. And swimming is probably also out. I need to heal in the next couple of weeks because I'm going to Australia on Dec 10th, and I'll need to be able to swim.

        After I hurt my shoulder, I decided to go to the treadmill. I started walking and after a few minutes I cranked it up to a jog/run (about a 13 minute/mile pace), and I ran for a mile. This may not sound very impressive, but this is the first time in my life that I ran for a mile without stopping (OK, I'm sure that a treadmill is easier than actually running, but still). The FIRST time in my LIFE I've run that far without resting. And I wasn't even out of breath. It didn't phase me. That's the remarkable thing. If I didn't need to get back to work, I could have kept going.
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        • #94
          My shoulder is much better now, but still isn't healed. I'm not going to try to exercise it until at least next Monday.
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          • #95
            This is my monthly weigh in reporting day. I cut out dairy again, and my weight loss definitely picked back up. I lost 7 pounds this month.

            Starting weight pre primal (early March): 280+
            Starting weight primal (May 26): 261
            1st month weight (June 26): 249
            2nd month weight (July 26): 241
            3rd month weight (August 26): 232
            4th month weight (September 26): 226
            5th month weight (October 30): 222
            Current (6th) month weight (November 26): 215
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            • #96
              My shoulder is still injured, so I ran again on the treadmill today. I realized that when I ran the other day, part of the mile was walking at the beginning, so I guess I didn't technically run a mile the other day. But today, I was careful to keep track of my running distance (after a little bit of walking as a warmup), and I officially ran (on a treadmill) a shade over a mile today. It felt good. Sadly, my 13 min/mile pace is still very slow as far as running goes. I don't really intend to keep running, but it is something to keep up my cardio conditioning while my shoulder heals (I can't do Uechi Ryu katas either). But I do still want to try to work in sprints. I'm just not sure where to do it, and I'm reluctant to do them in the cold. In any case, it is nice to know that my efforts in the gym seem to be paying off in other activities like running.
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              • #97
                I wish that body fat scales were more accurate. On my scale at home, I hover between 28% - 30% usually, but it can go down to 25%. On the more commercial (and I assume more accurate) scale at the gym, I range between 15% and 25% (the lower after an intense workout and the higher numbers after a moderate workout). I just did a calculator on-line, and it esimated that I'm around 23% body fat. So, I'm guessing that I'm roughly between 20% - 25%, which means ... I'm no longer considered obese, but I'm also just under the 25% "overweight" threshold. OK, I still consider myself to be overweight -- my goal is to get down to around 12% BF, so by that measure, I still have twice as much BF as I want. Nevertheless, it does feel good to be where I am rather than where I was.

                Now, I have a trip coming up this weekend, and I plan to go off primal/paleo for 2.5 days. This weekend only. I hope I don't do too much damage. I have access to a commissary with American products, and I noticed that they still have frozen Hostess cupcakes. I bought a box in preparation for this weekend and since I may never get them again given that Hostess went out of business. Of course, I should never eat them again even if they were still around because it is nothing but industrially processed garbage, nevertheless ... I've been extremely strict for 6 months, and I don't think one weekend will derail me.
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                • #98
                  So I went on my trip last weekend and had a "cheat" weekend where I ate anything and everything I wanted. The amount of weight I gained was impressive -- 11 pounds in 48 hours. Of course, most of this was glycogen and water weight. Now that I've returned to paleo, I lost 9 of those 11 pounds in 5 days. So I guess +2 pounds isn't so bad considering what I ate. I don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon, though. I felt like crap. I still don't feel up to par, though I do feel better now. I felt bloated and sluggish, plus I spent a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom. I also had heartburn again, which is the first time since going paleo that I've had heartburn. All in all it was a successful weekend because it was nice to let go for a change and eat whatever. But it ultimately reinforced my desire to continue on my primal journey because the fleeting enjoyment from wheat and processed sugar doesn't compare to how great I feel on primal (not to mention how bad I felt eating crap).
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                  • #99
                    I went to Australia (home of my lovely wife) for the holidays. We had a great time, and Byron Bay is so beautiful. It was a very welcome, restful and long holiday. I managed to stay paleo for about 10 days out of 22. I slipped when we left the Gold Coast for Byron Bay, where I wasn't really able to cook. Eating out in Byron Bay is insanely expensive. A typical main course at a restaurant for lunch is $20 AUD. Yeah. So I resorted to eating a meat pie for lunch, which sets you back $5. Pies are like a gateway drug for me, and by the time I left I was mainlining some wood-fired sourdough bread and scarfed down most of a meat lovers pizza my last night in Byron Bay. Guess what, I felt like total crap. The good news, though, is that with all the swimming, I weighed 214 this morning, which is a pound lighter than my last (Nov 26) weigh in. I was fully expecting to have gained more than 10 pounds, so I guess I dodged a bullet. I'm now back on primal and hope to get my energy back over the next several days. So far so good. I don't seem to be having carb withdrawal, so perhaps I didn't do as much metabolic damage as I feared.
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                    • My weight has crept up to 218. Not sure what's happening. I've been pretty much back on track with eating (though back on track includes probably too much wine and chocolate), but I guess I haven't gotten back into my regular exercise routine. I may have to do a Whole 30 next month.

                      I found out the other day that there is a kettlebell class at work! I had bought a couple of kettlebells a few months ago, but I injured my shoulder right after with a kettlebell at the gym and decided I needed to take a class. But everything I found was in German. This one is in English and is taught by a world champion cyclist and bodybuilder. I think I'll give it a try for at least a month if only to learn the techniques. The good thing about a class is that I tend to shortcut warmups and post-exercise stretching when I work out alone. I also tend to skip over core work. We did all these things in the class, so I think it will be good for me. If I do it 3 times a week, then I won't be going to the gym much, and that begs the question of whether I really need the membership. It costs a ridiculous 90 euros a month. The kettlebell class costs 30 euros a month. I'm also thinking of taking a jujitsu class that meets 2x a week that costs 30 euros a month. Fitness is expensive, but I think it is cheaper in the long run that being sedentary.
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                      • My weight has been fluctuating a lot. It was 211 today. I was sick last week for about 24 hours. I felt horrible two Sundays ago, but was fine by the next morning. In the past, I would have been sick for days or even weeks. Yay primal! But then my son was sick, and I had a stay home a couple of days with him. All in all, I've gotten off my exercise routine. I will officially start the kettlebell class on Friday, since it is the beginning of the month. I do think that mentally I've needed a bit of a break from the gym. So that I don't whither away, I started doing the "evil Russian push up program," though I've modified it so it isn't really stupid. It calls for doing pushups to failure and then based on that number, doing a percentage of them at regular intervals throughout the day for a week, then testing again and repeating. I've adapted it by giving myself recovery days in between (you are intended to do it every day, but that is just stupid, especially for a 42 year old man).
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                        • I'm getting back to my monthly weigh in, but to make it a bit easier, I'll bump it up to the 1st instead of the 26th.

                          Starting weight pre primal (early March): 280+
                          Starting weight primal (May 26): 261
                          1st month weight (June 26): 249
                          2nd month weight (July 26): 241
                          3rd month weight (August 26): 232
                          4th month weight (September 26): 226
                          5th month weight (October 30): 222
                          6th month weight (November 26): 215
                          7th month weight (December 26): ? (I was on vacation in Australia)
                          8th month weight (Feb 1): 212

                          So obviously I've hit a plateau. But considering the holidays and vacation and all, losing a few pounds is better than gaining. I think the big difference has been that I haven't been going to the gym regularly this month. It snowed a lot, and I was lazy about walking in the cold and snow to go to the gym. The good news is that I've officially signed up for the kettlebell class and went to my second one today. It meets 3x a week, so I've decided to drop the bodyweight routine I had been doing, which was 3 - 4 times per week. As a replacement, I'm doing a modified starting strength routine where I do squat and bench (and also continue to work on progressions for a proper pullup). I will do this on Tuesdays and Thursdays and kettlebells on MWF. Hopefully, it won't be too much. I know I'm neglecting deadlifts and overhead press, but I think the kettlebell swings will be a good enough substitute for deadlfts, and we do a lot of overhead stuff with kettlebells, so that should be a pretty good sub for overhead press.

                          I also plan to start IFing again, which I haven't done this month.

                          Hopefully between the refocus on lifting and kettlebells, along with IFing, I'll break through the plateau in February. I am looking forward to going below 200, which I haven't been in forever. It is so close now, but remains elusive. I'm determined to get there and beyond.
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                          • I just got back from my kettlebell class and then lunch. I feel great! And it is a Monday. It is nice just going to a class and doing what I'm told and not having to be my own motivator. It helps that I trust our instructor to know what she's doing. I'd say she's WAY better as a coach (and as a successful athlete) than any of the personal trainers at the gym. In the class, I feel like I get enough personal instruction that I'm getting the benefit of having personal training, but I'm only paying 30 euros a month, which is a great deal.

                            I realized that I hadn't posted a photo in a while, so I'm attaching one from this morning.

                            Feb 2 2013.jpg
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                            • I got distracted posting the photo and forgot to finish what I was saying about exercise. I already feel much better in general and have more energy now than I have in several months. I think it is because I've gotten back into exercising with intensity regularly. As much as I love You Are Your Own Gym, I think that I wasn't working as hard as I should have been.

                              This will be my first full week doing a combination of kettlebells 3x per week and heavy strength training 2x. If it proves too much, I'll have to drop a day of one or the other.
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                              • I've modified my exercise regime slightly. I now only do heavy squats, bench press, and pull up progressions 1x a week along with kettlebells 3x. The 5th day is either rest or swim sprints depending on how I feel. I started out swinging a 12kg kettlebell with a two-arm swing. Yesterday, I did double one-arm swings with a 12kg kettlebell in each hand, combined with a double snatch and double press.

                                My weight is still basically the same. I can't quite break through the 210 pound barrier and in fact hover between 210 and 215. I don't know if this is in spite of or because of switching from bodyweight exercises to kettlebells and heavy squats/bench press. I'd like to think that I'm gaining muscle while losing fat and maintaining weight, but I have no way to prove it. I'm definitely gaining strength. I think my pants are looser, but that could be only wishful thinking. Even if I am gaining some muscle and losing some fat, I'm not losing as much fat as I'd like.

                                For the last couple of months, I've gradually increased my dark chocolate consumption, which I suspect may be a problem. I was eating 4 squares after lunch and 4 squares after dinner for a total of 8 squares a day. Even though it was 90%, it does add up to more sugar than I really should be consuming. I have also been drinking wine a bit too freely. I'm going to strictly limit myself to 2 squares a day and 1 glass of wine a day to see how that does.

                                I am considering doing a Whole30 just to get back on track.
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