Friday, April 30, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 4/28/10 & How Much is Too Much or Not Enough?

Posting Wednesday weigh-ins on Friday now. Getting better. I'm hanging on to this blog by a thread lately. Anyway, weighed in at 142.00, about a half-pound loss. No big whoop.

Zombie Walk was, as always, a big party of blood, booze and brains. Our zombie destroya' team double-tapped practically half of the 500+ ghouls, which ain't half bad. Here we are refueling and reloading:

Me, Meg and Mariah

This was the team logo I designed for our clothes. ZWAT...lolz:


Since the beginning of April, I have done a major overhaul of my daily workout routine. Jillian has been shelved, sadly. As much as I loved indulging my Jillian girl-crush and taking on the challenge of completing all levels of the Shred, the benefits did not outweigh some issues. The big drawback is the pounding my knees took. Plyometric training is the foundation of The Shred and Blast Fat/Boost Metabolism: Jump Squats. Rock Stars. You get the idea. While I felt like a badass doing them, I was regularly humbled post-workout by the knee pain that would set in. I had about as much difficulty navigating stairs as I did when I was running.

But not all of the Jillian moves are so easily disposable. Walking pushups, boxing with handweights, and other upper body moves she employs are sure keepers. So, I incorporate them into a new workout plan that I devised and will post later this weekend since I forgot to email it to myself before I left for the office. *slaps self*

Between eliminating plyometrics/intertal training from my daily workout regimen and going back to old-fashioned cardio and reading Merry's blog post recently asking the question How Much Cardio Do You Do?, I got to thinking about how much exercise we really need to get and stay healthy.

Currently, I workout 90 minutes every morning, 6 days a week: 30 minutes strength training followed by 60 minutes of cardio on the bike. Is this too much, not enough, or just right?

The answer depends, I guess, on the type of cardio and a person's age and weight range. The guvment chimes in that adults need at least 150 minutes of exercise every week to maintain good health. Kids/young adults need more, about an hour every day. That is just for maintenance.

As we get older, the amount of minimum exercise goes up. The esteemed Dr. Gupta has cited authority that at least an hour every day is necessary to maintain weight and fend off weight gain. The same amount is recommended for overweight women who are trying to lose weight.

The hour-a-day recommendation mirrors that cited by The Institute of Medicine (click on the internal link on that page to read the full report for free). Not just 60 minutes of any activity, but 60 minutes of vigorous exercise that is in addition to what you normally do day-to-day. So, housecleaning, wrangling kids, and laundry don't count. This is just to maintain healthy weight. For the obese or overweight, while an hour a day is great, you still need to include calorie restrictions in the diet. On the other hand, if you restrict calories, but only walk or exercise 15-30 minutes a day, it still might not be enough for long-term weight gain.

Applying this to my own experience, in the beginning I lost some weight biking only 20 minutes for 3 days a week. But then the weight loss would stop after 20 or so pounds. I increased biking to half hour then 40 minutes 5 days a week. Again, I lost some weight but quickly hit a wall again, even when restricting calories. Long-term, effective weight loss did not happen for me until I upped the cardio to an hour a day. I'm finally at my goalish weight, but does that mean I can scale back? Given my age and weight stats over the last 4 months, probably not. I'm maintaining at an hour a day, with healthy eating.

As for plyometric or interval training, this has become somewhat of a holy grail for those looking to reduce the amount of time devoted to exercising, the theory being that if you work harder for shorter periods of time, you'll achieve the same result. "Get the benefits of 60 minutes of exercise in only 20 minutes!" Really? The effectiveness of interval training remains the subject of much debate, and I'm not convinced that it works over time, especially given that higher-endurance workouts can increase the risk of injury, especially for those of us nearing, at or past middle age.

I tried intervals, loved it, but noticed that I really didn't lose much weight, if any, on an interval/plyometric program. While I sweated my ass off, there were no real results to report on the scale that were significantly different from what I achieved doing traditional cardio for an hour. On the other hand, my physical endurance increased, my muscles definitely strengthened and I lost inches. No small benefit there. But on the other other hand, the pain and injuries around the knees proved too much for me to continue. So in other words, this type of exercise depends on the person and his or her ability to maintain proper form. If it works for you, it works for you.

Developing muscle strength is nonetheless important, so rather than jump around like a kindergarten spaz, upping low-impact strength training seems to be a viable option. Thus the additional half hour of weight training each day. My new fitness goal is to lift my own body weight via chin up or pull up.

Really, everybody should be able to do this in the event of some Poseiden Adventure-type disaster so that we can pull ourselves up and out of a capsized ship or some shit.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 4/21/2010 and Gonna Kill Some Zombies--BRB

Wednesday I was down a little over a pound and a half, to 142.6 lbs.

Just a quick check-in, and them I'm outtie. This is my birthday weekend and today is the semi-annual ZOMBIE WALK, the funnest way to get in one's fitness. This time around, a small group of us are storming the walk as a zombie destroyer team. much better than the NBA playoffs.

Hope everyone stays alive this weekend!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 4/14/2010: The Late Late Late Edition

Wednesday, weighed in at 144.4 lbs. Down, what, half a pound or something? Does weight loss even matter any more now that I'm focusing more on strength training? No. But, I should probably still keep a record of my weight, what with accountability and all. Still, it's hard to resist the extreme reactions with a loss or gain. It shouldn't matter anymore. I'm slowly coming around to my emotional separation from the scale and adopting this new way of thinking.

I'm so late posting this because a) Tax Day. Last minute fire drills with the accountant had me sweating late Wednesday, but I'm happy to report that at least my '09 taxes are paid AND I took care of all of my estimated '10 taxes. For the self-employed, that is a "big deal."But even more importantly, b) it was Bobzilla's 40th Birthday!!

There was much planning and side schemes with a few friends to ensure that Bob's entrance into middle age was memorable. Here was the flyer I made a few months ago that sums up this weekend's plans (yeah, that's Bob as a kid, enjoying his passion--music. Probably Captain and Tenille. Maybe the Statler Bros.):

His band was Gimme Dat Shoe (local Clevelanders who grew up watching Superhost on TV will totally get that). They were awesome, as well as the other bands.

The highlight was Bob's birthday spanking. I went pretty easy on him compared to the other spankers.:

Here is the fertility painting featuring Godzilla, Frankenstein and Tura Satana that Lacey so lovingly painted for Bob:

Aside from the old man jokes and the gag gifts of Depends and Bengay, I am overjoyed to see him reach this rite of passage. When I was young, I always wondered what it would be like to "grow old" with him, not knowing what that really meant. I'm still not 100% sure where aging will find us, but I'm happy to put our 20's and 30's behind us and experience a new stage of life. Plus, he has managed to strike the perfect balance between maintaining maturity and stumbling around in adolescent oblivion. I love and respect and adore and worry about this man:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 4/7/2010 and I've Got Some Nice Garbanzos!

145.2. More of the same, more or less. There was no Easter cheatin' by way of chocolate eggs or bunnies or copious amounts of ham. I did share half a rotisserie chicken with Bobzilla, and our dessert was a GF strawberry shortcake--I supplied the fresh organic berries and homemade whipped cream, Mama Zilla supplied the GF cake. There is no shame in that.

My womanly cycle finally returned earlier this week in all its bizarrely gory glory, and Bob is getting excited about upcoming baby-making exercises. File that under TMI.

During one of our mega-shopping trips to Whole Foods, I bagged about 5 pounds of dried organic chickpeas with the idea we were going to make a lot of hummus and Indian food. BTW, once you go cooked-from-scratch chickpeas, you never go back to canned. Anyway, three months later and there is still about 3 pounds of chickpeas hanging around. Today I improvised and came up with a vegan chickpea salad that I could have for lunch. And it was no less than awesome. Even Bobzilla liked it, going for second dips after the first taste.

It is kinda, sorta like traditional chickpea salad, but I added some tahini to give it a creamy-but-vegan texture and generous amounts of cayenne pepper because its compulsory in our household.

Here's the recipe, what shall I call it? Spicy Mediterranean Chickpea Salad? Sounds bland. Garbanzo Glee? Nope.

Anyway, here it is:


1 cup dried chick peas, soaked overnight

1 green bell pepper, finely diced

1 small or ½ large white or red onion, finely diced

2 medium roma tomatoes, diced

small handful flat leaf or curly parsley

2 small or 1 large clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp kosher salt

juice 1 lemon

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 TB tahini

1/8 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (I'd use more)

Ground black pepper, about 6-7 twists on the grinder

Drain chickpeas and thoroughly rinse. Put chickpeas in medium saucepan and add fresh cold water to pan, topping the beans by about 2 inches. Add a generous amount salt and boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for at least 1 hour or until beans are tender and divine. More more water may need to be added during the cooking process, depending on how thirsty the beans are, so keep an eye on them.

While beans are cooking, chop up all vegetables, garlic and parsley and throw it all into large mixing bowl. In small mixing bowl, whisk together lemon juice, tahini, oil, salt, pepper and other spices.

Once beans are cooked, drain and rinse with cold water until warmish. Add beans to vegetable bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss until well-mixed. Adjust salt, pepper and spices to suit personal taste. Toss/stir each time before serving to properly distribute dressing.


Add finely chopped jalapeno, cukes, kamut or cooked brown rice, feta cheese and/or olives.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In: 3/31/10 and Up Up and Down Down

I've been so caught up getting crap out of the way to enjoy this 3 day weekend,that I pushed off doing my Wednesday report. Realizing it's now Thursday night, I had to force myself away from playing God of War III to be "responsible." *rolls eyes*

I had been doing the Shred for so long that some parts of it are ingrained in my head, like a bad earworm. Yesterday, I weighed in at 150.00, which is about a half pound gain from the prior week. Immediately, I thought of that part on Level III of The Shred where you're doing the walking planks on the second go 'round while Jillian chants "...and UP UP and DOWN DOWN and UP UP and DOWN DOWN..." Yup, that's me. So what of this gain? It could be water weight. It could be muscle gain from increased strength training, it could be last weekend's Amish getaway where we spent the entire time in a hot tub eating cheese and drinking grossly sweet Amish wine , or a combination of everything. What it ain't is something I should concern myself with. But that's not to say that I don't anyway. Stupid scale head games.

Oh, about that strength training, I found some great new (or rather, new to me) videos on Spark People that have been added to my morning workouts:

1. Crunchless abs! I friggin love this workout, and so does my back.

2. Fun with resistance bands. Now, I don't follow this whole video. However, Coach Nicole does an informative demo of how to do rows and chest flies with bands, which I have worked into my regular strength training regimen.

Tomorrow, we're off for a picnic and romp in the park with the doggy. Then a drive-in movie later on. Yup, it's drive-in season! We're going to milk this good weather as much as we can, since it'll probably snow again next week.