My genetics disappoint me but I have a plan!
Weekly Fitness Review January 31.mp3
Well, it has finally occurred—dreaded weight gain from what I am assuming is an increase in calories due to protein intake. Lou Schuler suggested not reducing calories immediately and wait to see the results. Now, my job is to start cutting out “useless” calories. The first to go will be alcohol. I have mentioned in my audio posts that I have a cocktail before dinner and that probably adds 150 calories I don’t need. I have also gotten into the habit of having dried fruit after lunch (rather than other treats such as a cookie) but the sugar in the fruit is high and adds another 100 calories. So, in a very few actions, I have reduced my caloric intake by 250 calories. I am also wondering if my recent “hyper” thyroid episode allowed me to increase intake without gaining weight and now that I am more balanced, the weight is going to come back. I am still within my desired range, but it has been slowly creeping into dangerous territory. I will incorporate these changes immediately for the next 3 days (the amount of time I feel I can realistically do this) and then re-evaluate the next time frame and extend that a day or two until I am not doing any of the behaviors within the next 2-3 weeks. I have never been good at cold turkey, so I think this can work.
Training logs are an invaluable tool for monitoring progress. I tend to keep a fairly elaborate log so that I can make the adjustments necessary to continue to make progress. Consider the following when developing your own training journal:
You can put any information you find helpful in your journal as long as you stay consistent and it proves to improve the quality of your workout or provides additional incentive.
For the next 4 workouts, I will be pushing more weight while lower repetitions and increasing sets. This means I will be doing more volume from the previous week and weight. Because I will be starting with a higher weight, I will add some “warm-up” sets for the first exercises of each workout (squats for Workout A and deadlifts for Workout B). These will consist of a set of 8 repetitions at 50% of starting weight, followed by 6 repetitions of 75% of my starting weight. This will help me work into the heavier lifting. I have moved my cardio up to 7 rounds of intervals (from 6 rounds last week). Additionally, I am adding 5 seconds on to every other interval so it will be 3 minutes of warm-up followed by 30/90, 35/85, 35/85, 40/80, 40/80, 45/75, 45/75 and then a 3-5 cooldown. When I finish the four workouts and move to the final phase of this stage, I will have moved to 8 rounds and move to the next level of HIIT (30/60). I alternate my HIIT workouts between the Stairmaster and treadmill. I have 5 yoga routines from library DVDs and will rotate through those as well.
My blood pressure and heart rate remain low; taking less medications this week and seeing if there is a big difference. Should be off all heart medication before seeing the doctor again. Medication is keeping HR and blood pressure down, so my MHR are lower than I would expect with the HIIT workouts but that will have to do; weights are going well and keeping pace with planned increments.
This go-round I do the same exercises but decreasing the repetitions and hopefully, increasing the weights. So far, so good! I have been going up 2.5 lbs – 5.0 lbs per week but it may not be possible to continue doing this so my strategy is to pace myself or rotate the increases between exercises (go up on lower body, but not upper body). The difficulty is using “fixed” free weights where the increments go up by 10 lbs. The issue is finding a light enough bar and then using the 2.5 lbs. At one time, the gym had so 1 lb plates but they have somehow disappeared. The weight machines also have 2.5 lbs which should accommodate my needs. I had to scale back the cardio a bit but will be back on track at the end of this week. Eating has been ok – had a few indulgences; going to lunch with former work buddies – but staying within range for now.
On Tuesday I had a medical scare; my blood pressure was 180/100, heart rate = 80. The only reason I asked to have my blood pressure done while bringing someone for a B12 shot was I had some discomfort in my chest. My physician was able to see me immediately and prescribed a beta blocker to bring down my blood pressure and heart rate, a medication for GERD, and blood work for my thyroid (I am hypothyroid). She also suggested baby aspirin and a return in a few days. Well, the blood pressure/heart rate got quite low and my blood work indicated I was “hyperthyroid” so she cut back my thyroid medication, decreased the beta blocker and said I could return to my workout and monitor the medication over the next 2-3 weeks and then return for a visit. It will be too early to see if the decrease in thyroid has taken effect but we will be able to rule out some things in the meantime. So, I did start the next part of phase one (2x12), same exercises, more weight. I am making sure I take the full 60 second rest and keep track of my heart rate throughout the workout; HIIT will go back to 6 rounds at a lower pace until I see how my heart rate and blood pressure react to the medication. All in all, despite the scare I am moving forward with just a week delay. We will see how it all plays out. Tomorrow—day off—I will be doing an easy 6-mile hike with a local hiking club.
Unfortunately, the issues I spoke about in my audio post have increased and I felt the need to go to the doctor. Not sure of the prognosis as we haven’t really figured out the issues—need some additional tests, etc. Until then, I am off my regular workout and will be walking as a way to stay active but not so active that I over exert myself. Just an update, I did join a hiking group and plan to use this as a way to have fun, stay active, and meet new people.
So far the program has not been out of reach for me. Some surprises—the squats were more difficult than I thought at the weight I used. There is a big difference in doing 15 full squats at a challenging weight versus a light weight. I did experience some upper body soreness changing my back exercises from pull ups to seated row and my movement prep warm-up exercises also pushed hit some muscles I haven’t worked for some time. My sleep has been good and I continue to experience some strange tightness in my chest. I have checked to see if my pulse is racing—it isn’t. My cardio routine is difficult (HIIT) yet I don’t feel “exhausted” after them so I don’t think I am overtraining. The chest issue is a concern and I may need to talk with my primary care physician. Nutritionally, I have been able to keep my protein intake up and stay within my weight range; I need to stop my alcohol use (1 drink nightly) as I think this may be contributing to the chest tightness. I will be checking my blood pressure this week as well.