The One Year Project

A Personal Experiment in Deadline Transition

Week 7: Strength Training, Cardio and Fat Loss

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Body Fat Analyzer

Body Fat Analyzer

All aspects of Week 7 were a success except one.  Monday through Friday included light cardio.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday were weightlifting days.  I ate clean every day between 1800 and 2100 calories.

When I jumped on the scales yesterday, I weighed in at a surprising 244lbs.  Three pounds more than last week.  I don’t necessarily consider this a bad thing, though, as I could be gaining muscle (and I’m sure I’ve gained a bit of muscle in the last two weeks), but I’ve had to analyze the last week to see if I can pick out any bad habits.  I’ve narrowed down a list that I think explains it.

  1. Too Little Cardio/Too Little Variety

    Since the beginning I’ve been doing 10 minutes of light cardio based on this video at SparkPeople.com.  And in the beginning the workout totally tore me up.  I think it’s one of the reasons I lost weight so quickly and so well in the first couple weeks.  Now, however, I barely break a sweat on this video.  My body has gotten so used to doing it that it’s almost second nature.  So, ten minutes is as good as doing no cardio in this case.  Plus since my body is so used to it, it’d likely be very ineffective even if I bumped it up to 30 minutes.

    Solution: I’ve chosen two other videos that I’ll cycle through either week-to-week or day-to-day to prevent my body from getting used to any cardio routine.  I’ve also already taken the initial steps to begin running when the weather warms up (or at the earliest, when the snow melts).  Starting today I’ve bumped my cardio up to 30 minutes per day.

  2. Eating Carbs Before Cardio

    All last week I ate a bowl of bran flakes topped with a little honey and covered in milk for breakfast *right before* my cardio workout.  From what I’ve read, this seems to have been a truly awful move on my part.  From what I understand (and correct me if I’m wrong), carbs are converted to glycogen when they are eaten and hang around a bit in glycogen stores before they are converted to fat.  When you expend energy, your body goes for the glycogen first and *then* the fat, so by eating carbs before exercising I ended up burning zero fat.

    Solution: I’ve read that eating pre-workout isn’t necessary for moderate-intensity, steady state exercises like the type I do.  So, this morning I drank some water and jumped right into the cardio before I ate anything.  Post workout I drank a couple protein drinks for 52g of protein and 32g of carbs.  I’ll continue to do this every day this week and hopefully I’ll see some results.

  3. Entering “Starvation Mode”

    I found out that in as little as 4 hours of not eating the body can go into “starvation mode” where more fat is stored.  I have been aware of “starvation mode” for a long time but had I known that it could get started in 4 hours I’d have been eating more strictly.  I’m fairly certain that in this week I’ve waited more then 4 hours to eat.

    Solution: Starting today I’ve timed 6 meals/snacks two hours apart.  I’ll eat at 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm, or if I get a late start (like I did today), 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.  This will ensure that my metabolism stays working and that I never enter starvation mode.

  4. Inaccurate Measurements

    I’ve known this was an issue from the beginning but in the beginning I hadn’t planned on lifting weights so it didn’t seem like such a big deal.  Lifting weights means I may lose fat, but gain muscle.  So I’d be in better shape but the scales would lie and possibly discourage me.

    Solution: Wednesday, when I noticed something was up this week, I bought a body fat analyzer.  This analyzer gives me a reasonably accurate measurement of body fat percentage.  I’m not so much concerned with the accuracy because the device is *very* consistent.  From week to week I’ll measure the reduction in my percentage of body fat.  I’ll also add another widget to the side of the page to track body fat percentage and BMI.  I may eventually start measuring my arms/chest/waist/etc., too.  This week my body fat percentage was 28.0%.

So with all these changes in place, I’m looking forward to an awesome Week 8!  Almost two months!

Written by J. Bentley

February 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Losing Weight

Weight Loss: Week 5 and Week 6

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No, I’m not dead.  No, I haven’t given up!

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted.  I apologize!  I’ll try not to make a habit of it.  So, down to business!

Week 5

Photo by whyld

Photo by whyld

But Friday morning came and I picked up like I had never stopped.  I jumped straight into some weight training and made sure to make a trip to the grocery store.  I was more than happy to see that, by the time Sunday rolled around, I only gained one pound that week.  Feeling as fat and awful as I did, I was sure I had gained nine pounds.  Not so!  This encouraged me so much more for Week 6.

Week 6 – Down 2lbs!

Week 6 ended today and I dropped from 243 to 241.  This week has involved quite a few changes.

I had finished reading The Abs Diet at the end of week 5 and decided to put its principles to work.  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I did strength training.  I only did cardio once or twice this week because the Abs Diet doesn’t emphasize cardio so much.  However, while I realize I’d probably keep losing weight just eating healthy and lifting weights, in Week 7 I’ll be bumping cardio up to 6 days a week.  Having lost two pounds this week with just strength training, I see no reason why that number couldn’t be 3 – 5 pounds per week.

This week I also expanded my food options (restriction = bad + destined for failure).  I’ve bought whole grain breads and cereals, skim milk, eggs, more turkey burger (which I love), string cheese and ketchup (which makes me love the burgers more).  My one real problem was with Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi.  For some reason it seems to make my weight loss stall (I’ve observed the same results twice.)  I’m staying away from that from now on.

For the first time ever I have bought some kind of health supplement.  I picked up a 2lb tub of Whey Protein yesterday morning in preparation for this week.  I’ve had a couple cups of milk with it and made a smoothie, but I’m really wanting to try it out post-workout and see if it amplifies my results.

I’m really looking forward to Week 7!  Wow, Week 7.  Kinda hard to believe it’s almost been two months since I started and I’m 14lbs down.  While I’m happy with my progress, I do believe that if I take it a bit more seriously and stay determined not to fail on any week that I can up my weight loss rate.

So here’s to Week 7!  I think I’ll set the goal of 5 pounds for this week.  This time next week I hope to be 5 pounds lighter.

Written by J. Bentley

January 25, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Posted in Losing Weight

Weight Loss – Week 4: One Month Later and 13 Pounds Lighter!

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Photo by justabiggeek

Photo by justabiggeek

This has been a fairly awful week.  I’ve been sick since Monday.  Headaches and backaches and, more terrible than anything, coughing!  I’ve felt completely and totally healthy except for these nasty sounding coughs that have lasted since about Tuesday.

There were a couple days this week I didn’t exercise.  I just didn’t feel well enough.  For anyone following my calories, you might have noticed I stopped tracking.  For good reason!  I haven’t felt like eating much since I’ve gotten sick.  It’s mostly been apples and milk and occasionally vegetables.

But, at the end of the week, here I am at 242lbs! Four pounds down this week!  I can’t wait to get in the 230s.  I really can’t wait to get to 225.

In November of 2007, a job at the hospital that involved lots of running and walking and a brief session of Nutrisystem had gotten me down to my all time low of 225.  So, right now weight loss doesn’t feel as good as it could.  I feel like I’m just relosing weight I should have kept off.  This is weight I’ve probably lost 3 times before.

When I get down to 225, then every pound I lose will feel awesome.  I can imagine saying every week, “222! I’ve never weighed 222 before!”… “218! I’ve never weighed 218 before!”… “215! I’ve never weighed 215 before!”  So I’m really looking forward to that number.

In my laying-around-and-doing-nothingness I was able to finish reading the Abs Diet.  The eating plan isn’t too different from what I’m doing, so I wasn’t really concerned with that.  What really drew me to it was the workout program.  It’s the kind of program that will build muscle and help me lose weight while I’m *not* exercising, which is really important.

I’ll start on that tomorrow morning!  Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’ll do strength exercises.  Tuesday and Thursday some light cardio (maybe 30 minutes).  I might do the cardio Monday, Wednesday and Friday, too.  It depends on how it works out the first week.  If I’m happy with the results at just Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll leave it.

I’ll post quite a bit more in the next week than I did this week.  I’ve just been too sick to care about posting.

So, on to week 5!  And I’m happy to say that because as I think I’ve said before, my health kicks have only ever made it to week 4.  Once week 5 is completed and successful it really represents a new chapter in my life!

Written by J. Bentley

January 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Losing Weight

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