A Leaner Meaner Me


It’s been a long, loooooooong winter folks. And I took full advantage of this season in which most Chicagoans choose to hibernate. FULL advantage.

Well, as most of you non-under-a-rock dwellers know, summer is now in full swing and the thought of wearing most of my bikinis for volleyball thoroughly scares the BaJeebuz out of me!

Just before I was about to wallow in self-pity and help myself to yet another serving of ice cream, wouldn’t you know…as luck would have it my gym was about to start their 2010 Fitness Challenge!

Of course, this is a marketing program to get members to purchase personal training sessions and supplements— but I don’t mind. I already had enough training sessions left over from my marathon training last year. Not to mention it won’t be a big deal to get more especially since I’m going to win the $10,000 grand prize! I also realize, of course, that this is what they want me to think. I bet it was even in the damn creative brief.

Winning will not be easy…but it never is; is it? I’ve gained quite a bit of weight but I’m by no means “The Biggest Loser” material, so my work is cut out for me.

[cue evil laugh]
“Yes! Just the way I like it!”

The rules state that I get a point for every pound of weight lost. It’s not however a weight loss competition. It’s a fitness challenge. That said, I also get 2 points for every pound of lean muscle mass gained. On top of that I have to write a 500 word essay about my goals and how my gym and specifically my trainer were a huge impact on my progress. Of course, another marketing ploy but I get it. I’d want something to publish too if were going to give you $10,000. Lastly there’s the before and after photos! I took mine right after playing beach volleyball all day so THAT’S going to be one awesomely horrible before shot.

The body changes throughout the challenge are all calculated with a hand held fat loss monitor and looking at body fat percentage as opposed to BMI, which can be misleading. Full disclosure, I was the Design Lead on the Omron site redesign but these are also the exact monitors my gym uses…no real relation there but just making sure I’m being transparent.

Along with working with my awesome trainer, Ian, once a week I’ve also decided that I will not be drinking in June. So far I went 5 days straight and then the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and while I by no means went overboard, I did have a couple Coronas. BUT so far with just the one training session, really watching what I eat and not drinking I’ve already lost 3 pounds since last Sunday’s weight-in! Only 5 days in, nice!

The challenge runs from June 7 until the end of August. Right now I just want to lose as much fat as possible and gain as much muscle as I can but it’d be great to get back around to 125lbs. I haven’t seen that number since high school though so with more muscle I’d be happy as long as I stop feeling like a slug (oh, and if I could fit in my jeans again. I refuse to go up another size)!

I think one of the main keys to this will be to watch my food intake. I’ve been using an online tool called The Daily Plate for quite some time now (on and off since 2007 actually) and it’s now a part of the Livestrong website. It’s very robust and couldn’t be more easy to use. It tracks both you nutritional intake as well as your fitness activities, weight goals and more. You can also export the data so your trainer can keep you honest.

MyPlate on Livestrong

MyPlate on Livestrong— According to my weight loss goals that I input into MyPlate and my base level of activity I should be consuming 1130 calories. In this example i somehow missed breakfast and then trained later in the day which kicked my butt and I was actually calorie deficient for the day!? This is not good at all. That kind of extreme is not good for the metabolism. I should be consistently aiming for the red line like I did on the 7th & 8th. Had I not been using this tool, I'd have no idea that I actually needed to eat more yesterday.

Other activities I’m weaving into this workout mix include:

  • Biking to work as much as weather and work permits. It’s an 11 mile trek one way and when I was more vigilant about this last year it was supplementing quite a bit of my weekday marathon training runs.
  • Volleyball on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-4pm every week through VballNetwork
  • Running. Not sure how often or when yet but I’d imagine that my more normal routine of Monday, Wednesday, and long run Saturday would be best even though I’m not running the Chicago marathon this year
  • I miss the yoga classes I used to go to at my gym so I’ll try to hit those up when I can
  • I’m also thinking of adding the P90x routine into my mix but that I know would be overkill on top of all of the above. I’m still curious about it and think I may check it out to sprinkle in some at home workouts if I’m ever bored (bored? what’s that?!)

Looking at all of the above I’m now realizing that I pretty much signed myself up for a second (or third) job. This will not be easy…but again…winning never is.

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