Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weight Goal Tracking

So far I am doing well with the weight goal. I am using FitDay for PC (we purchased it a few years ago and it helped then, as it is now). I am using it to plan my daily calorie intake, track my exercise and plan my weight loss goal.

The PC program costs money but you can use the web based software for free. Go to and sign up for an account. You can even sync your online account with your PC software for an extra cost (not something I plan to do).

So how does it work for weight loss? You put in your stats (weight, age, height, etc.), select a desired weight goal and an end date when you'd like to reach that weight. The software then tells you the average weight per week that you must lose to reach your goal. I currently need to lose 1.34 lb/week to reach my target of 175 lb for April 5. As you will see, at the start I have been losing more than that a week.

So how is it going? Well, first a disclaimer on my results. I was sick with Tonsillitis one of the weeks and I have been fitting a mild stomach flu this week which is mostly just curbing my appetite (nothing serious). So far, since Jan 1, I have lost 7 lb.

How have I done that besides the extra help with appetite suppression brought on by a wickedly sore throat and an upset stomach? By having a calorie deficit everyday since I started tracking with Fitday (I know that for sure, but I am pretty sure I was eating less than I burned while I had Tonsillitis as well) I am losing weight steadily for now. I am sure the weight loss will start to slow as it usually does, but hopefully the combination of running 3 days/week, strength training 2x/week, and cross training 3 days/week will help to keep the fat burning alive.

Here are some Fitday graphs to show my progress so far. The first shows my progress so far this month. As you can see, I have lost 2.33lb/week on average. A little higher than I'd like but I find that when you first start a diet you lose your first few pounds fast.

Next up is a graphs showing the last five days of calorie intake versus output. As you can see the long run on Sunday is a real big deficit. I'd aim to eat more after those long runs but I already fill up on food immediately after a run and feel pretty good. I think I might add a sports drink as well to increase the carb intake for muscle refueling (beer is a good choice as well ;-).

I'll give further updates as time goes on to show how tracking my calorie intake/outtake, tracking my exercise, and the increased exercise routine is helping me with my goal. Two of the big reasons I am doing this is to help reduce running injuries and to be lighter which means faster when I run. My sneakers might even last longer which means I save some money ;-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dial Up The Distance

Well, this weekend was a bit of a stress test. Was I ready to start dialing up the distance in my training?

Apparently so. I did a 19km run this Sunday and though I start to lag a bit on the last 3 km, I kept a fairly consistent pace for the first 16km. I was also feeling pretty good (though very tired) last night and today I was tired. My legs were pretty good today given the run, but my muscles were tired and the hips were a little sore.

This is good, since I have to start logging the long runs if I stand a chance of completing the Marathon on April 5. That's only 11 weeks left of training.

Last week I started strength training and that really did my legs in. My large butt muscles were very sore Thursday and Friday. So I took off Friday, got 4km of skating in on the canal on Saturday, and then my run on Sunday.

Today was another strength training day and I am not as sore this time around. I skipped the rowing today since I am still run down from the big run yesterday. Tomorrow is back at it though with another rowing workout and strength training.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Be Gone Sickness

Ok, the meds worked and I am feeling better. I am back at work and back into training.

Here was training the past two days:
* Monday, Jan 12, 2009: Rowing Machine for 30 mins
* Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009: Running, 20 min warm-up, 3x1 mile (1600 metre) repeats with 1 min Rest Interval between miles, 10 min cool-down.

Plan is to get in some gym time tomorrow including strength training and some spinning. Then Thursday is swimming for 30 mins. Running again on Friday and Sunday.

Rest on Saturday.

It feels good to be back.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Repeat of 2008?

So far, this winter and this year is shaping up to be a repeat of last year. How is that? Well, I had a nasty cold in early December, another cold at the start of Christmas vacation which lasted a week, and to top it off, I have been suffering, what I thought was a flu, this week.

How did the week begin? Saturday was a very low in energy day as was Sunday, then Sunday evening I started to get as sore throat and fever. The fever turned into 102 degrees with Advil (at one point early Monday morning) and then started alternating between a wicked fever and then cold sweats.

So, since Sunday I have been fighting the recurring fever/cold sweat. I figured, ahh this is a flu, ride it out for 3 days and see how I feel. Well, today I went to the Doctor and he looks at me, listens to me try to talk, and before looking in my mouth says "You have Tonsillitis." He then checks my throat and sure enough (something I should have looked at in the mirror) there are white globs (puss for the non-squeamish) on the back of my throat.

A prescription of antibiotics and I am now (hopefully) on the road to recovery. I am hoping that my throat starts to feel better tomorrow sometime. I can't sleep because my throat gets so sore. I basically lie in a heap and pass out between small hacking fits. Then the fever and chills kick in.

So, as with last years multiple colds in the winter, the year is starting the same.

And I have a physical scheduled for tomorrow which the Doctor thought would be fine to do given he knows my normal pitiful state.

I really want to run and each time I start to feel a little better I think, ok if this keeps up for another hour then I am going for a run. Feeling good sometimes lasts about 15-30 mins before another fever hits.

Anyways, I am rambling along here (since talking out loud hurts most of the time) but I am not deterred. Once my body starts to right itself I will be out pounding the pavement again.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year, 1000km to Go

Well, a new year as rung itself in. Being sleep deprived due to a sick 5 month old that we are trying to help learn to sleep through the night (hard when he is up with a hacking cough); our night was decidedly uneventful (if you minus the 2 hours of non-stop prep work for Christmas Part 2 today) as we went to bed our usual "late" time of 11pm.

To clear a couple things up from the previous paragraph:
  • "Early" bed-time around here is 10pm. Anything else is late.
  • Christmas Part 2: Held around New Years when some of the Family comes to visit my wife's side of the family. It consists of gift giving and a second Christmas Dinner (most excellent).
So, with 1000 km in 2008 completed, what is the plan for 2009? First, steady as she goes for the running. Running 1000 km in 2008 kept me on track with running all year and kept my fitness level up all year round. So, for 2009 I will again be running 1000 km. I have thought of adding distance or another sport but things progressed well last year and was a good balance of fitness, work, and family time. Hence, no change.

As for additional goals. I figured that running all year would help me shed a couple pounds and bring me back to my weight of 175 lbs when I am doing regular exercise (and eating properly). Well, the unstated weight goal last year did not materialize. Oh yes, I lost a little. But no where near what I hoped. What went wrong with that one? Well, for starters I never stated it, I never wrote a plan, hence I stuck to no plan.

No plan for me means, "Ahh, I did a big run, how about a donut? Sure." These are the thoughts and actions of sinking ship before it even sets sail. So, for 2009, call it a resolution if you want but I will call it Phase 2 from Mark's Brain, "Reach desired long term weight." (Phase 1 being run 1000 km a year to keep me on the exercise track.)

Phase 2 consists of the following measurable targets:
  • Achieve a 10% reduction in body weight at the beginning of 2009. Current weight is 195lb so we are aiming for let's call it a round 20lb weight loss.
  • 2009 Goal weight is therefore 175lb by Dec 31, 2009.
Phase 2 Strategies:
  • Post about this goal on my blog so I have publicly stated my intentions (studies show that this helps one stick to a goal).
  • Track food daily.
  • Figure out target calorie intake and aim to achieve this.
  • Cut out crap (opps, I mean the little bit of junk food I still eat, such as the reward donuts). Stick to healthy, whole food rewards such as my favs; dates and almonds.
  • Measure the damn dates and almonds.
  • Cut out the cream and sugar in my coffees and switch to black or skim. Both very doable for me but I've slipped in the past few months.
  • Dear I say, post a graph on this web site tracking my weekly/monthly weigh-ins.
Ok, so that is 2009's Phase 1 "1000 km/year" and Phase 2 "Reach desired goal weight" for Long Term Health. Let's see how that works out over the next year.