It’s time to admit I’ve fallen off the bandwagon lately. Am I overweight right now? Not yet, but I’ve gotten close to that line again. As someone who’s dealt with weight issues since I was a little kid it’s still tough to remember to be smart and eat right. That said I’ve also had trouble keeping up anything active except for running.
My one release in life has been the 30 to 180 minute runs that I’ve done primarily spring to fall every year and raced 5K to a full marathon in the last 18 years. The problem is I don’t have quite the same enjoyment in getting out there and don’t find the miles quite as easy. I’ve also started listening to the advice that long distance cardio might not be great for us.
Another study in the January 2016 issue of Physiological Reviews concluded that long-term endurance training at high levels seems to increase the incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF), which is an irregular, sometimes rapid heartbeat that can cause reduced blood flow. The study concluded that the risk of AF increased with the number of days per week of vigorous physical activity.
This isn’t to say I’m likely to have heart problems from 3 miles three times a week, but I often take off from there and by July every year I’m running 12+ miles on Sundays getting ready for a half marathon. That still might not be the level to start seeing these signs, but perhaps persistent running only exercise in itself might not be the answer.
I’m a casual weight lifter and have off and on done several programs trying to get stronger as well as healthier. The one I’ve done the longest was Stronglifts 5x5 and I find myself viewing this as where I see myself proceeding now.
Stronglifts says for a beginner as well as previous lifters you can gain the most strength by doing lifts that use complex movements and multiple muscles. This is the standard 5; Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Overhead Press and the Bent Row. These lifts work your entire body and doing so three days a week gives your body time to recover between workouts.
If done properly you should be Squatting and Deadlifting over 220 lbs by 12 weeks and Benching 135 lbs. That all requires committing to three days a week though and truly resting on your off days or risk plateauing. I’ll have to commit to no running and only play hockey once a week.
This is where I often fall off the wagon when it comes to weight lifting. I don’t know how to eat still to this day. I’ve lost the weight and balanced myself in the 170-180 pound range for almost 15 years, but I still don’t know how to eat as a maintenance level. I’m constantly floating from 170-180 and back and always going back on my moderate eating. I also lean toward vegetarian diet for health and environment, but that can often get left behind when eating poorly.
I still to this day do not recognize or truly respect the work I put in to lose over 80 pounds of weight. That isn’t entirely true, but I fail to realize how great I’ve done and that I am at a healthy weight. I’m constantly fretting about the last five pounds and struggling to maintain the current weight.
This brings me to what I face going back to Stronglifts in a week (healing a triceps pull playing hockey for another few days). I need to eat more if I want to get stronger. That said I also need to eat healthy to get stronger. I can’t just turn off the brakes and eat anything I want. Yes an Oreo is Vegetarian and so is a whole bag of chips and guacamole.
Here’s what I need to do as I see it. I’m going to continue to aim for 10K steps every day to make sure I’m moving and active. Be it walks during my lunch break or walks and playing with the kids when I get home I need to stay active.
I’m going to be working out three days a week at my new gym using the stronglifts program for at least 12 weeks. I’ll be doing weekly weight checks less for my weight, but more so for the body fat measurement. I know it’s not super accurate, but over the course of a month it should be going down even if the weight stays the same.
Lastly I’ll be playing Hockey once a week during my Thursday/Friday off days with more recovery time. I’ve recently found a great rink to play weekly at and won’t be willing to give that up. This should give me a good test of increasing strength as well. Can I see better speed and power on the ice?
Lastly is my diet. I need to make sure I eat enough, but also that it stays healthy or risk adding fat and muscle. According to my TDEE I should be eating 2800 calories a day on this level of exercise and in maintenance cause I’m not ready to say I’m bulking just yet. That is almost 1,000 calories than what I generally eat and going to take some time to get used to.
Running has done wonders for me and kept me from ever seeing the other side of 200 pounds again. I’ve maintained a “normal” BMI for the last 18 years and much of that is from running. It’s also made me kind of view myself as never really completed the mission. I think I’ve lost a lot of muscle along the way and that lifting could be the answer. My goal right now is to stay at the same approximate weight but drop my BF% a few points and hit the goals ascribed to 12 weeks of Stronglifts and I’ll be more than happy with the results.