Health Update – Pushing and Pulling da Heavy Tings

Aside from family, work and gaming, I also play hockey.  I find that sports are a great stress relief, whether it’s competitive or just pickup.  But 5 years on since my first daughter was born, I was feeling a little pudgy.  Apparently, beer gives you a belly.  I think they should have a warning on the label.

6 weeks ago I started getting back into an exercise routine.  Nothing too fancy, just some dumbbells, a pull-up bar (or rather a pull down bar) and a yoga mat.  I live in Canada.  Running works for about 4 months of the year and who runs in the dark?  I had previously done the original P90X routine before I had kids and that was quite an effective exercise routine.  You’ll lose weight and built some muscle for sure, but you’ll never be as big as the guys on the TV doing high intensity workouts.  Tony H is a great instructor and has a good rapport with the other folks in the video.  If you’re going to pop in a DVD every day for 3 months, you don’t want them to be annoying.

Later on, I tried the Insanity workout, which is borderline stupid if you ask me.  It is a pure cardio exercise, with a large helping of plyometrics.  It’s not possible to do the routine completely, and on schedule unless you are already fairly close to fitness.  I mean, the people on the video can’t even complete them without dropping.  Shaun T is an ok instructor but the people in the video are the type you’d want to punch in the face.  Tonya in particular.

I’ve tried the Jillian Michaels stuff my sister had passed me.  The Ripped in 30 is the better of the bunch and a decent way to start a program.  The pace is solid, but the workouts are very repetitive.  Plus, she’s all hell annoying.

So I went back looking and found the P90X3 program.  Yes, a 3rd one.  Actually, the 2nd one was the sequel with some new workouts but this one is a different beast.  It’s 90X in 30 minutes.  Imagine taking a 1 hour workout, rests and all, and then crushing it down to 30 minutes.  There’s one workout, The Challenge, where my sheet afterwards indicated I did about 200 pushups and nearly 100 pullups in 30 minutes – including warmup time.  Nutbar.  But the results are great and the relationship between Tony and the workout folks is even better than in the first set.

Exercise doesn’t mean much if you’re not eating well.  A recent article stated that obese Americans outnumber overweight.  The only way to put on weight is to eat more calories than you burn and that can be an extremely easy thing to do.  The bad news is that in North America, most foods are empty calories due to the abundance of corn and artificial filler in everything we eat.  The good news is that I have a rather severe intolerance to animal fat and artificial preservatives (specifically nitrates), better news is that my wife is intolerant to corn.  I am absolutely incapable of eating fast food and most food in a restaurant doesn’t jive.  My shopping is on the outside of a grocery store, rarely in the aisles aside from some cereal, pasta and baking goods.  So calorie management is pretty easy for me, aside from the beer.  I will say that the food portion of weight management is the hardest part.  Exercise is easy, you only do it 30-60 minutes a day.  Food is around you 24/7.  Its own long topic…

Finally, I being a tech guy, I have a few gadgets to help out.  A FitBit One to measure steps taken and sleep (which the wife has appropriated), an Amiigo for workout tracking (with so-so results so far) and a smart scale that measured weight, BMI, body fat and water ratio.   Well, that scale took a data dump.  One day I was 270, the other 190, the next I was weightless.  So we bought a FitBit Aria, which works with the FitBit app (score) and on wifi.  Well, let me tell you that this scale is something else altogether to setup.  First, it only works in an 802b network.  You know, the one that’s been out the door for 10 years?  Plus the security only works with WEP/WPA.  In a day and age of “push to connect” this is like an ancient relic.  It took me 3 hours to complete the setup, searching the bowels of the interwebs.  I had to reset nearly ever setting on the router to get it to work, and now I need to reconfigure all my other appliances to connect back.  Well, the good news is that it works at least… but for $150, I would recommend everyone stay away until it undergoes a big engineering redesign.

That really long post to say that I’m down over half my weight goal so far.  My eldest daughter is interested in fitness (always a plus) and I’m slowly pulling my wife into a more active lifestyle, given the ease of tools and quite obvious results.  Results are certainly motivating and since I’ve past the 1 month mark, I’m in more of a habit than anything else now.  And once you’re in that groove, you start looking forward to the next time.

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