Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming…….

SO I took a peek at last week’s goals, and neither went very well.  To my credit I did do better calorie-wise partially because I was swimming my calories away almost every day.

Here’s a summary of my swimming mileage last week:

  • Monday:  3.5km (120 lengths)
  • Tuesday: 2km (80 lengths)
  • Wedensday: Rode the bike for 30 minutes, sweat my butt off
  • Thursday: 5km (200 lengths)
  • Friday: 5km
  • Saturday 5km
  • Sunday 5km

Over the course of the week I swam 25km!  I’m very excited about that.  The motivation was a guys vs. girls swimming challenge where the goal was number of lengths swum.  My team lost, but I feel  like not for lack of effort on my part!  But swimming felt great, and swimming 5km is a great accomplishment.  When I was a kid swimming competitively we always had one day a year that was “Swim-a-thon” and we would do 5km.  My best time was finishing in 1hr and 25min, which I came close to on a couple of days this week.

Swimming is awesome and doing it for 90+ minutes earned me lots of calories, so I ate big last week.  I was a little bit worried that I was priming my appetite to want more and more food so that when I wasn’t swimming so much this week I would over eat.  Luckily that didn’t happen.

And my calorie deficit from last week was over 1000 calories, so it perfectly makes up for my bad week last week.

This morning I hit 233.8 lbs which is an awesome weigh-in.  I did some brief research and realized that I haven’t been this light since before 2010.  Which I didn’t really realize.  Looking back at the numbers I realized that I’ve been yo-yoing between 240 and 260 for three whole years at least.  Here I was thinking that I had gradually gained from 200 to 260 over the last 5 years.  Really between 2009 and 2010 I inflated from a slim 200 to 240 and from there it was on to yo-yo country.

The take away from this realization is that I just need to keep at it this time.  Even when I hit my goal weight of 188lbs (to finally for the first time since Grade 3 have a “normal” BMI) I need to keep tracking calories and weight.

There’s some other interesting data that I’ll be posting in the next couple of days around my BMI decrease so far as well as my body fat composition.  What can I say? I love metrics!

I also hope to do some before/after photos just of my face because it’s amazing how much it’s slimmed down already.  But every time I sit down to do it I feel like a bit of a narcissist so if I can get through it without feeling too self absorbed I will.

Thanks for reading, and happy fitness!

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Strength training. When to start, what to do… ?

I’ve been thinking a lot about strength training lately.

The old conventional wisdom is that it’s not possible to lose fat and build muscly at the same time.  Honestly, I mostly buy in to this wisdom.

It makes sense to me that in order to lose fat the body must be experiencing a calorie deficit each day, in order to seek its required energy from the fat deposits stored in the body, thereby “burning” fat.

It also makes sense that after strength training wherein muscle tissue is torn that for the body to build muscle in the healing process it requires more energy, and it requires protein in order to create new muscle.

What I don’t know is if the body is equipped to use energy from fat stores in the body to build that muscle, as long as there is available protein to use.  Further education is required on that front.

I also have heard that building muscle increases the body’s metabolism, by as much as increasing natural calorie consumption by as many as 50 calories per day for each pound of muscle added.  Some cursory research on the inter webs suggests that this theory is highly contested.  However, it is known that strength training does help to decrease fat composition, and has many other positive effects as well.  It’s just not certain how quantifiable it is.

I have not been focusing on strength.  In my fitness regimen I’ve noticed strength improving as a result of the cardio activities I have been doing, but I know this isn’t the same as weight training.

I want to get in to strength, but I’m not sure how, and I’m not sure when.

Right now my priority is calorie deficit. The most efficient way to achieve calorie deficit is to spend my gym time sweating my butt off doing cardio… right?  I love the feeling of working until I feel like I can’t stand, sweat streaming from my pores, and best of all registering a calorie burn session in my calorie tracker that totals in the region of 400-700 calories burned.  It’s super gratifying and it allows me a little more wiggle room in my diet.

My plan right now is to get down to 189lbs (where my BMI will be considered “normal” for the first time since 1997) and then focus on a strength regime while trying to maintain a relatively low fat body composition.  Optimistically I can hit 189lbs in September of 2013. Is that too long to wait to start doing serious strength training?

And what’s the best strength program out there?  Simple weights? Power lifting? Cross-fit? TRX?