The inspiration for doing 48 minutes a day. (My Cardio has never been great.) The back story... I've spent the last couple of years building up my garage gym. One of my favorite pieces of equipment is the Air Assault bike I bought from Rouge Fitness. Used it about everyday until I accumulated some unrelated injuries (refused to de-load for months at a time) and it became extremely cold.
I shifted most of my exercise sessions indoors (lunch break at work, basement, and Orangetheory Fitness. But on this particular day I was determined to use the AAB. My favorite workout comes from rowing coach John Bancheri, something he calls the Dirty Dozen (1 minute hard as you can, 1 minute paddle). It's a fantastic 24 minute gut check.
Unless you program your AAB wrong and get a 48 minutes workout.
No worries. I needed to do 48 minutes anyway. Cardio always been my weak link.
Maybe I should do more of it.
This was a real quick workout. As you can see, I didn't have time to finish. It was better than nothing.
This morning I made a quick video about walking in a fasted state and what it means to me. Walking is a good way to improve health and peace of mind. Walking before breakfast is one way to burn some fat (although I do not consider exercise to be the best tool for weight management. More on that later.)
My thirty minute walk went well. Once I was home, I stretched for about fifteen minutes with special attention to hamstrings and hip flexors. I felt good, so I did a very simple strength training workout:
Deadlift: 135lbs x 5, short rest with careful lung stretches for the hips, and two walking laps around the garage (about 30 seconds). Repeated 5 times. Total time, 7 minutes and 25 seconds. (I made a spreadsheet that measures total weight lifted divided by total time for the series. This is how I am currently measuring the metabolic load of my strength training.)
Push-ups with pause at the bottom: 10 reps, with 30 seconds of walking and stretching as above. Repeated 3 times. Then 8 reps, with same recovery routine. Repeated 2 times. Total time, 6 minutes and 30 seconds.
Total strength training time: 14 minutes.
Okay, what is this about not using exercise for weight control? Well, to be blunt, food controls eighty to ninety-nine percent of weight loss or weight gain goals.
Period. Paragraph. End of story.
But we should all exercise. Body weight is only one part of being healthy, happy, and fearless.
Fitness might, depending on intensity and volume, account for twenty percent of effective weight management. The problem is that exercise will effect your hunger, basically canceling out the weight management benefit unless you are trying to gain weight.
Use exercise for health and fitness, not weight management. Exercise is essential, but not for the reasons many people believe.
I mention that I walked in a fasted state; drinking plenty of water but not eating.
In general, diets with lots of vegetables and protein are good. Carbs and fat will just happen, but it is best to be aware of how many carbohydrates and fats are consumed each day, what kind they are, and when they are consumed.
I do eat carbs, but prefer to eat them after a strength training workout, based on the logic that carbs boots insulin and insulting tells the body to grow.
I want to increase my muscle mass, even at my age, so I have a bowl of cereal after lifting weights or doing body weight strength training.
All I must do now to meet my goals is getting better quality sleep and stop binge eating at work when the food pusher bring cake, cookies, brownies, barbecue, mashed potatoes, chips, and so forth. (Yes, it is a regular buffet at my work. People offer the food with the best intentions. The problem is not with their generosity, it is with the simple fact that once I start on a buffet I can’t stop.)
Anyway, good luck!
I hope this article was useful. Please leave your comments questions in the chat box.
OTF (Orangetheory Fitness) is basically interval training with a heart rate monitor. They have "strength" days and "power" days and "endurance" days. Depending on how many people show up, there are either two or three groups that rotate. I prefer two groups, because this divides us into a treadmill group and a weights / rowing machine group. (Which means fewer switches than treadmill, rowers, and weight groups.)
My preference, since one of my top goals is to gain and maintain strength, is to go heavier on the weights than is always called for by the WOD (Workout of the Day). This causes me to pause a few extra seconds between sets. For example, today I used a forty pound dumbbell for snatches. (That's not going to seem like much to a powerlifter, I know. But when you do a lot of reps and superset it with squad jumps, alligators, and whatever other nutty stuff the program calls for, it creates oxygen debt and vast pools of lactic acid.)
Other people in the class are there for the cardio super-burn. They select weights appropriate for them and run on the treadmill at their own speed (much faster than I run, nine times of ten). On my left might be a marathon runner cruising along at ten miles an hour, while the person on my right is just starting out at a walk.
We all get a great workout.
As is often the case, just showing up turns into the best workout of the week. Go figure, right?
Whether your goals are to lose weight, build muscle, or the magical chimera of doing both at the same time, calories do matter. Macro nutrients ratios (fat, carbohydrates, and protein) will influence not only weight loss or weight gain, but body composition as well. Nutrient timing is another part of the puzzle.
My best results have always come while tracking what I am eating, especially for weight loss. The question is what is your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and what changes when you add exercise. Here a link to a BMR calculator. All we are talking about her is the amount of calories your body burns while at rest on an empty stomach.
Now, you might have noticed from this picture that I burn a ton of calories when I exercise... probably because I am aerobically inefficient and can get my heart rate up and keep it up.
We started working out at Orangetheory Fitness about a year ago. They use heart rate monitors to guide workout intensity into the fat-burning, post workout calorie burn promised land. You are supposed to stay in the green, orange, and red zones.
I pretty much just stay in the red, because I am dumb and a glutton for punishment. The great thing about Orangetheory and similar programs is that you can adjust your pace while still working out with the group. Enough about me; we all see that I can push myself hard.
Is that enough to lose weight?
No. Because it probably means I am going to eat more.
The trick is to track your macro nutrients, measure results, and adjust.
Pro Tips & Takeaways
Able to run a few miles at an easy pace. No six pack. No abs of steel to blast across Instagram.
Why would anyone listen to me about fitness and nutrition?
Neither my physique or my performance in various sports (collegiate rowing, various martial arts, and recreational activities like snow skiing) will stand out. I have struggled with my weight and body image all of my life, but thanks to the way I am built I can hide fat well. When I complain about getting in shape, my friends and family sigh and shake their heads. My doctor tells me I am healthy and that I should just keep doing what I have been doing.
I have no before and after pictures to share, no inspirational near death experience. All I can bring is a lifetime of sorting health and fitness information, struggling to meet my goals, and a sincere desire to improve.
Who would read my blog?
Then, something happened. I started getting older. At 47, I am holding my own. Sometimes I improve when conventional wisdom suggests I should start reciting the phrase, “It sucks getting old.”
No. It doesn’t suck getting old. What sucks is feeling older than I should. Or suffering health problems that might have been at least minimized. I have friends my age with pacemakers.
I don’t want a pacemaker.
I want to have enough energy and health left that I can travel the world with my wife when I retire.
Throughout the course of this blog I will discuss books and blogs I have read and advice from gurus I have known. But for now, since this blog post is already too long, I will begin.
My First Step - Food Preparation
Today I woke up, drank a glass of water, poured coffee (with some coconut oil #BulletProofCoffee, sort of), and started making all of my food for the day. Why? 1) To really know and control what I am eating, and 2) to remove decisions later in the day.
Science has shown that willpower decreases throughout the day. (I will look up the reference when I have time.) Staying up really late is a bad food choice waiting to happen.
The following menu starts out low carb, but I am not trying to follow any specific diet at this point. My goal is to know what I am eating, how it makes me feel, and to track the results.
Bulletproof Coffee (kinda sorta)
Frozen Berries and Whey Protein
Pro Tips & Takeaways