Heading into Winter Bulking

Measurements: 

Weight: 154# BMI: 26

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 44″
  • Chest: 39″
  • Biceps: 11″
  • Waist: 34″ (-1 inch from last month)
  • Hips: 42″
  • Thigh: 23″ (+1 inch from last month)
  • Calf: 15″

Strength 1RM’s: 

Barbells:

  • Bench Press: 110# (have reached my best PR)
  • Bent Over Rows: 100# (best so far this year, 15# away from best PR)
  • Dead lift: 210# (have reached my best PR)
  • Squat: 120# (+5# from Oct, 25# away from best PR)

Dumbbells:

  • Arm Curls: 30#
  • Arm Extension: 45#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: 85# (kettlebell)

Stacked Machines:

  • Leg Press: 185# (+25# from Oct)
  • Calf Press: 325# (+40# from Oct)
  • Leg Extension: 160# (+15# from Oct)
  • Prone Leg Curls: 110# (+10 from Oct)
  • Chest Press: 90# (+30# from Oct)
  • Lateral Pull Down: 80# (-5# from Oct)
  • Overhead Press: 45#
  • Cable Biceps Curls: 60#
  • Cable Rope Tricep Overhead Extension: 50#
  • Cable Rope Tricep Push Down: 80#

Muscle Balance: 

  • My hamstrings are 69% of my quadriceps strength. I found more research giving a ratio of 50-80%; 75% I think is ideal; both are gradually increasing in overall strength.
  • My biceps are 67-75% of my tricep strength. Ideally this should be a 1:1 ratio, so I’ve been working to increase strength in my biceps.
  • My back muscles are 91% of my chest strength. This should also ideally be a 1:1 ration and if not the focus should be on strengthening the back muscles and looking for a 2:1 ratio. I’ve known this and continue to increase strength in my back; fortunately my back has increased quite a bit of strength these past few weeks.
  • The strength of my contralateral (left to right) muscle groups have evened out and are more 1:1 ratio now.
  • The strength-to-body mass ratio of my upper body is 59.5% of my lower body, which is on point in the 40-60% range.

Overall starting to feel noticeably stronger and better. I’ve been regularly lifting 3-4 days a week at the gym and cycling 3-4 days a week for the past couple months. I have a good foundation and lifting form. My posture has improved and it shows during lifts. The hard part now is really honing in on a proper and consistent diet.

 

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I did a Thing…

In addition to experimenting with foods / diets that work best for me, I like investigating different health related fads. I haven’t experimented with ALL of them since most are quick tricks people use to lose weight fast without putting in real work then end up gaining it all back or more. One fad I’ve been really curious about, is some kind of juice cleanse/fast/detox.

$$$Cost $$$: Pricing depends on a few factors including how many days you want to fast, where you buy your ingredients from – online made for you or make it yourself, and whether you have a really good juicer or need to buy that too. Generally you are looking at spending a couple hundred dollars. I was only able to do this because I found a Groupon deal online.

Research: read up on some of the benefits; potential harm if done incorrectly; different companies to get juices from etc.. I also looked at what people have done to do to prepare, how people have completed cleanses safely, cautions to be mindful of; post cleanse care

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-cleanse: decrease solid food intake about a week before the cleanse; doing a 24-48 hour solid food fast before the juice cleanse; doing some sort of colon therapy before a juice fast (this can help not to overload your gut with toxins as you’re trying to rid of them)

 

 

 

 

 

During the cleanse: hydration is very important – water consumption is very important, hot tea is okay too, maybe soup for 1 meal; if doing a 3-day cleanses do so over 5 days with a day of recovery in between juice days if can or doing so over a weekend where there’s less energy expenditure

                                                   

 

 

 

 

Post cleanse: do a gradual re-introduction of solid foods;  avoid processed foods & high sugar content foods particularly right after the cleanse (this will undo any benefits gained from the cleanse)

Current Eating Habits:

I’ve been eating a vegetarian based diet for about 5 years now and very recently have added fish/seafood (namely sushi, salmon, tuna, & occasionally scallops). I still primarily eat vegetarian based meals but occasionally 1 meal has fish.

  1. My breakfast is usually a yogurt & fresh fruit or a smoothie when I plan ahead, maybe a small cup of coffee; a chai or matcha latte and some sort of pastry (scone, croissant) when I can’t plan ahead
  2. I have a morning snack of granola or nuts or protein balls when I plan ahead; chips, popcorn or a pop tart if I can’t
  3. My lunch is tricky during my work week since I have to bring it to work or put together a lunch from the family dollar store (no bueno). When I plan, I have a variety of veggies/fruits with rice & some sort of protein… often left overs from the previous night’s dinner end up being my lunch… if I’m unable to plan I usually have top ramen or soup
  4. My “afternoon snack,” usually post workout during the work week is protein balls or protein shake and sometimes fruit; my off days I usually have tea or a smoothie or no snack at all
  5. Dinner is usually some rice and veggie combo with a protein like beans/legumes/fish when planned ahead; mac n cheese or pasta of sorts if not.
  6. Before bed I try to have a cup of hot tea (this is a new habit I’m working on)

Dietary/lifestyle changes I’ve been working on or want to improve:

  1. Portion control – being mindful of what I eat and how much based on fitness goals
  2. Decrease caffeine intake, particularly with coffee
  3. Decrease sugar intake = VERY HARD TO DO because this stuff is in EVERYTHING but gotta do it!
  4. Decrease process food intake – again VERY HARD TO DO for many reasons that are worth a whole separate post
  5. Decrease dairy intake because mild-moderately lactose intolerant depending on the dairy (mostly it’s the milk that gets me). I’ve been doing this for years now but still something I’m always trying to be mindful of.
  6. Decrease simple carbohydrates (fits into decreasing dairy, sugar etc.)
  7. Decrease wheat, grain, and gluten intake because I have realized that I’m really gluten intolerant and my digestive tract hates it when I eat things with gluten

I did a 3-day cleanse/fast/detox (whatever you wanna call it). My order came with 6 juices for each day – to be consumed every 2-3 hours. Instructions suggested a schedule of 7am, 10am, 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm intakes or what works best with my schedule.

Meet the Juices:

  1. Sunrise = blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, greens, apple, oats, flax, banana, chia
  2. Power green juice = apple, celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, chard, lemon, parsley, habenero
  3. Recharge = spinach, mango, avocado, celery, orange, apple
  4. Roots = carrots, celery, orange, apple, pineapple, ginger, turmeric, lemon
  5. Passion juice = watermelon, cucumber, strawberry, apple, triphala tea (with added cranberry & hibiscus)
  6. Puri Tea (best heated in a mug, sipped) = fennel, coriander, cumin, senna, cayenne, lemon, turmeric, ginger, apple

Here’s how it went

For breakfast I had the “Sunrise” juice along with a cup of hot tea & water. I usually walk to work each and this morning was nice since it helped work through the energy of the juice. For my morning snack I had the “Power Green” juice. I felt really hungry (stomach growling) around this time and afterward I felt a little light headed like I drank too much too fast, which is why I then added extra snacks of popcorn and a granola bar. My lunch was a little later than usual today, normally I eat around 2pm but today was around 3pm. I had the “Recharge” and some dumpling soup for this meal. I started feeling good again after lunch. No gym workout today so my afternoon snack was had later at home and it included the “Roots” juice and a little granola, nut and berry mix. For dinner I had the “Passion” juice with some top ramen noodles minus the seasoning packet though (I probably shouldn’t have but I needed something soup like with the juice). Unfortunately I was unable to consume all 6 of the juices for this day as it got to be too late for me to have the last juice; “Puri Tea.”

Notes from D1: I had a bowel movement after I woke up, a little soft but good color, girth etc. … no other BM’s for the rest of the day though. I felt a little light headedness and sleep deprived but I also did not get a full night’s rest so the tiredness and fatigue were more likely to due actual lack of sleep rather than the cleanse. A bit of a rocky start but overall not as terrible as thought.

My Day off! this means I got to sleep in; I definitely felt better after getting a full night’s sleep. My period also started (a couple days early). I hadn’t really accounted or thought of the affects this might have and most sites suggest holding off on a juice fast until after the menstrual cycle is complete as this is already a natural detox for my body (my uterus in particular). However, since I had already started the fast I decided to continue and add a little more foods/ snacks such as soup and an assortment of nuts.

For brunch I had a small latte (with almond milk) and a zucchini chocolate chip muffin from Black Forest Cafe along with the “Puri Tea” that was meant for last night oops! I also drank it cold instead of heated as suggested. My juice schedule will be off a little bit today so I did my best to have a juice about every 2 hours. I felt really hungry by afternoon lunch time; had the “Sunrise” juice and a chipotle burrito bowl (white rice, pinto beans, sprinkling of cheese & lettuce plus the new queso because I had to try it lol). My afternoon snack was the “Power Green” and today I had an early evening snack; the “Recharge” and some nut/berry mix. For dinner I had the “Roots” juice and a small glass of cashew chocolate milk. I also had an post dinner snack; the “Passion” juice and a cup of strawberry yogurt. I also added a bowl of oatmeal to add some extra fiber.

Notes from D2: I had a good BM in the late evening. I did complete all of the juices but the order was a little wonky – had the Puri Tea meant for last night this morning and did not have the Puri Tea juice meant for this day.

Another say off! slept in again till about the same time. Had a morning BM and it was looking good. Feeling good today. **My computer went wonky and deleted my nutrition log so this day won’t be as detailed as the other two. **Brunch was the “Sunrise” juice and some water. Ate soup and had the “Power Green” juice for lunch. I had the “Recharge” juice for my afternoon snack and the “Roots” juice a couple hours later. I had the “Passion” juice for dinner along with some white rice and a cup of cashew chocolate milk a little after.

Notes from D3: I had 2 BMs this day. The first was had earlier in the day (was a little more runny but expected due to consuming mostly liquids for the past couple days). The second was sometime in the evening (more like my normal BMs).

Overall I think it went alright, some hiccups along the way (period started during the fast; juice schedule got mixed up; ate more solid foods than anticipated; the fast fell on Halloween weekend and finished the day before Halloween, which made keeping good habits really difficult). I feel more sensitive to things like caffeine and alcohol. Going into this my main thought process was that I wanted to change my diet / habits and use this as a way to transition from old habits to new.

Some immediate changes:

  • Cut caffeine intake down to coffee only 2x a week with a matcha/chai tea once a week. Drinking more tea – green & herbal.
  • The sugar/ process food/simple carbohydrates intake is still a struggle but I’m paying more attention to what and how much I eat in order to limit this.
  • I’ve decrease my wheat/grain/gluten intake some but will really need to work on this one.

I’d considered doing another (3-day) fast with better planning haha and/or doing a 1-day or 3-day fast like once a month or something.

Fitness Strategies

As an exercise scientist, I enjoy experimenting, especially on myself. I’m getting back into training and am looking for what works best for me. For those who read my posts (thanks!) bear with me as I work through my thoughts and such. I like writing things out so I can plan ahead and keep track.

Previously, I was VERY focused on loosing the fat mass I gained over this past year, regaining my strength and speed lost over this year that I lost sight of the bigger picture stuff. I got distracted trying to calculate exactly how I can loose 10-15-20 pounds of fat as quickly as possible, while ALSO trying to gain the same strength & flexibility as quickly as possible. While ALSO trying to be mobile in any way possible as much as possible. While ALSO thinking about how I miss running, biking, and racing. I miss competing and being able to go everywhere I want whenever I want on my bike. I was spending too much time thinking about the wrong parts of getting back into shape. Thinking about everything I lost and how quickly I wanted it back. SO… I got out of my head for a bit then redirected my mental & physical efforts.

I have my list of goals of course:

  • I want to run my first ultra marathon (50K or 31.06 miles)
  • I want to bike my first century (100 miles)
  • I think it’d be cool to bike the Pittsburgh marathon course then run it
  • I want to do more bike touring – I’d like to bike from Pittsburgh to DC, across the US (west coast to east coast or vice versa), and get into international bike touring
  • I want to finish a triathlon for real (completing the swimming portion)
  • I would like to reach my ideal racing/competing weight, which is ~132 pounds of bodyweight at ~14% body fat
  • In general, I’d like to get more trail time and compete again (running, biking, mud runs)
  • I want to hit my previous lifting, running etc. PR’s
  • I would also like to compete in power lifting

These are the things I want to accomplish but before I can even consider that, I must get back to basics. I started with smaller, more obtainable goals. Walking ~10,000 steps a day via my commute to/from work & recreational walks. Biking more with a trainer at home, a stationary bike at the gym, and the occasional group ride around the city. I’m pausing on any running for now. Then added on weight lifting regularly.

It’s been over a month since I’ve started everything and I’m feeling good. I’m using proper form when lifting and creating goods habit via going to the gym often. Additionally I have noticed improvements in my posture as well as a decrease in chronic pain in my neck, back and knees (big thanks to the chiropractic treatments!). I am now starting to just weight training at the gym while cycling on my home trainer; alternating days. This should maximize my efforts for fat loss and muscle gain.

I’m working on correcting some muscular imbalances:

  • I have rounded/ hunched shoulders = poor posture; tight pectoral muscles;  lordosis, sway back, forward head.
    • To correct this I need to strengthen my back muscles (upper, mid, and lower) while stretching & improving flexibility in my chest via doing more back exercises with only 1-2 chest exercises.
  • I also have a weak core particularly my abdominals (i.e. rectus, external & internal obliques), weak posterior chain muscles (i.e. glutes & hamstrings) and tight hip flexors (i.e. quads).
    • To correct this I need to strengthen both of these areas

Body Type:

There are 3 main body types:

  1. Ectomorph – the naturally-slim person, smaller bone-structure and seem to “eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce”
  2. Endomorph – the heavyset end of the scale, typically gains & holds onto fat easily and has a harder time losing it, tends to carry more muscle mass than the ectomorph
  3. Mesomorph – the naturally muscular person, characterized by having broader shoulders & a narrower waist (known as a “V” taper), gain muscle easily & lose fat easily

Here are my body type results…

TRAITS

 ENDOMORPH: 50%
 MESOMORPH: 25%
 ECTOMORPH: 25%

Endomorph: You struggle to lose fat but can usually gain more muscle than the other body types. Strength training should be done to get a better muscle-to-fat ratio, which will help to boost your metabolism. Use moderate weights at a fast training pace, allowing for very little rest between sets & exercises. Get your heart pumping by engaging in some form of daily activity such as brisk walking or biking. Maintain a calorie intake at or near maintenance, and if you’re looking to lose fat, be prepared to eat in a caloric deficit. Sugar, sweets, and junk food may hold you back more than they do for a mesomorph or ectomorph, so be prepared to seriously cut back on them when weight loss is the goal.

Mesomorph: You have a naturally fit body but, to maintain or improve it, you should adopt an exercise and diet regimen that compliments your build. You can strength train more often and for longer periods of time, but be careful not to overdo it. Train with moderate to heavy weights and keep a moderate pace, making sure not to rest too long between sets. If you train and eat well, you may find you gain muscle quite easily. When you’re happy with your muscle size, simply train to maintain. Stick to a good, healthy diet to stay lean and muscular, and watch for any slow-creeping fat gains. Engage in and enjoy aerobic activities, but be careful not to overdo it.

Types of Cardio Training:

  • Low-Intensity – walking or slow cycling, can be done almost every day for longer periods of time. Very easy for the body to recover from. Will have little negative impact on muscle gain & can help burn calories for fat loss.
  • Moderate-Intensity – jogging or swimming, done less frequently. Requires more energy both to perform and to recover from. If trying to lose fat perform 4-6x/wk for 20-30 minutes each session. If trying to gain muscle reduce to 2-3x/wk.
  • High-Intensity – sprinting and interval training, running up/down hills, done less frequently. Is the most difficult but greatest/fastest results, do as hard as you can for a short period of time. Intense weight training with short rest periods is very good for cardio capacity. It is extremely effective for fat loss = burn a lot of calories during the activity, raises metabolism for a long time post activity. If trying to lose fat perform 2-3x/wk. If trying to gain muscle reduce to 1-2x/wk.

Previously my cardio program had been based on whether I was training for a 5K or a Marathon or a bike race. Since I’m not really racing or competing in anything at the moment my cardio is health based. That is reducing rates of health risks, improving VO2 Max rates, etc.. Right now I’m doing weight training 3-4 days a week and low-intensity cardio 2-3 days a week. This looks to fit alongside with the research I did for my body type and goals.

Some Credit Shout outs: bodybuilding.com and NCBI – National Center for Biotechnology Information and other related articles on exercise science/physiology for help with research on programs, benefits, workouts etc.

Physical activity isn’t the only part of the equation to being fit, healthy, and strong etc.. Diet plays a very key role in obtaining and sustaining a healthy life. More on my struggles and strategies in another post.

Check In. Check Up. Part 2

Measurements and 1-RM’s: 

Weight: 155# BF%: will be getting a caliber (6 Best Weight Lifting Tracker for the Gym) BMI: 27 

  • Neck: 13″ (same as Sept; has remained consistent, month to month – year to year)
  • Shoulders: 44″ (same as Sept; stays fairly consistent, usually within 40-44 inches)
  • Chest: 39″ (up 2 inches from Sept; tricky to measure accurately but averages ~36 inches each year – since 2013)
  • Biceps: 11″ (same as Sept & has been throughout 2017 so far; stays fairly consistent, usually within 10-12 inches)
  • Waist: 35″ (down 3 inches from Sept; also tricky to measure accurately without help and tends to yo-yo depending on training & diet)
  • Hips: 42″ (same as Sept; range 37-42 inches)
  • Thigh: 22″ (down 1 inch from Sept; stays fairly consistent, usually within 21-23 inches
  • Calf: 15″ (same as Sept; stays fairly consistent, usually 14 or 15 inches)

Lost 2″ overall since last month (aka since I started going to the gym and biking more)

Barbells:

  • Bench Press: 105# (regaining strength; down 5# from best PR 110#)
  • Bent Over Rows: 95# (regaining strength; down 20# from best PR 115#)
  • Dead Lift: 185# (starting to regain strength; down 25# from best PR 210#)
  • Back Squat: 115# (maintaining strength; down 30# from best PR 145#)

Dumbbells:

  • Arm Curls: L30# R25# (lost a little strength in my right arm)
  • Arm Extension: 45#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: L65# R60# (lost a little strength in my right shoulder)

Stacked Machines:

  • Leg Press: 225# = 160# (this was done on a incline so this number gets multiplied by 0.707 to account for the 40° angle; lost quite a bit of strength; half as much as best PR 450# =320#)
  • Calf Press: 405# = 285# (same x0.707 deal as leg press; lost more strength here than I realized; down 270# from best PR 675# or down 190# from 285#)
  • Leg Extension: 145# (lost strength here; down 55# from best PR 200#)
  • Prone Leg Curls: 100# (lost strength here too; down 85# from best PR 185#)
  • Chest Press: 60# (this was measured on a new machine so not sure can compare to previous maxes but this is down 65# from my best PR 125#)
  • Lateral Pull Down: 85# (this was also taken on a new machine but is comparable; down 31.6# from best PR 116.6# – the add on weights are 5# not 3.3#)

Thoughts:

Keeping track of my progress/ training and de-training has become really important to me. It definitely is a shocking feeling to wake up one morning and realize how out of shape I am and how it happened. A lot of things led up to this point but I’m on the right track now and moving forward. I’ve been getting treatments with a chiropractor and it has helped a lot with the pain and has been improving my posture. This will be a tremendous help during my exercises and help get those lost gains back in a healthy way.

In an effort to makes things simpler for my brain and get started in doing any physical activity, I made the mistake of oversimplifying what I know to be a more integrated process. This had an overwhelming effect on my motivation seeing as in spite of simple math, calories in calories out, burning 500 calories each day through diet and exercise etc. I had zero results. Moving forward with my recovery and physical fitness game I need to consider and work on the following…

10 “Commandments” of Fitness:

  1. aerobic endurance
  2. anaerobic endurance
  3. agility
  4. balance
  5. body composition
  6. coordination
  7. flexibility
  8. power
  9. speed
  10. strength

Muscle Balance:

Current standard ratios recommended for agonist-antagonist muscle groups are:

Muscle Group

Muscle Balance Ratio

1. Ankle Inverters & Everters 1:1
2. Ankle Plantar Flexors & Dorsiflexors 3:1
3. Elbow Flexors & Extensors 1:1
4. Hip Flexors & Extensors 1:1
5. Knee Flexors & Extensors* 2:3
6. Shoulder Internal & External Rotators 3:2
7. Shoulder Flexors & Extensors 2:3
8. Trunk Flexors & Extensors 1:1
  • The hamstrings should have at least 75% of the strength of the quadriceps’ strength.
  • The imbalance between the strength of contralateral muscle groups (left vs. right sides) should not be allowed to become greater than about 10-15%.
  • The strength-to-body mass ratio of the upper body should be at least 40-60% of the lower body relative strength. Ex: compare the bench press 1-RM/BM to the 1-RM/BM to that of the Leg Press.

Any muscular dysfunction caused by muscular imbalance will require 2 or 3 sets/exercises on the weak side/group for every 1 performed on the strong side until balance is obtained.

VO2 Max:

How To Improve Your Cycling VO2MAX

How To Increase Your VO2MAX
Running:
Cycling:
An in depth look at a VO2 max test
Detraining:
Here’s what a few articles I found online have to say about detraining and loss of fitness gains. Normally I’m one for listing sources because credit but since there’s a lot of info bullet pointed below just do a quick Google search on muscle strength loss, fitness loss etc. and you’ll find what I found…
Anaerobic/ Strength Gains:

  • You can lose up to 80% of your fitness level in as few as 2 weeks if new to exercise.
    • If incredibly fit / been training for years, can lose in ~3 months.
  • Detraining can lead to muscle strength loss within 2-6 weeks.
    • However, your age, exercise program and fitness level play significant roles in how long it takes you to detrain.
  • Competitive athletes may experience muscle loss after 2-4 weeks of no exercise, and recreational athletes between 6-31 weeks.
  • Your training program impacts how quickly you detrain and lose muscle.
    • Endurance athletes may experience muscle atrophy slower b/c their muscles are leaner and predominantly slow-twitched muscle fibers vs. power athletes, who predominantly have fast-twitch muscle fibers.
    • Endurance athletes take up to 12 weeks to lose muscle mass & slow-twitched muscle fibers.
    • Power lifters/ competitive weightlifters can lose muscle strength as early as 2 weeks with inactivity.
  • Muscle loss with an increase of fat in the muscle, aka sarcopenia, is a common aging process.
    • The elderly may experience quicker muscle loss or more muscle loss during inactivity compared to younger individuals.
  • Competitive athletes appear to lose muscle quicker than recreational athletes, but their strength levels are typically higher.
    • Competitive athletes also tend to regain muscular strength levels quickly during retraining.
  • Different muscle groups can experience atrophy and strength loss at different rates with inactivity as well.
  • Detraining influences muscle size and strength as well as muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

Aerobic/ Cardio Gains:

  • There are 2 “types” of fitness (when it comes to running or cardiovascular based activities): aerobic fitness aka endurance and your orthopedic/ structural fitness aka the ability of your muscles, bones, tendons & ligaments to withstand the impact of running.
  • For most runners, it takes ~ 7-14 days for aerobic fitness to start declining.
    • Initially you lose the gains made in the last several months of training.
    • If you’re a lifelong runner, you’ll retain much of your aerobic fitness for several months.
    • The better shape you’re in, the more fitness you’ll hold onto when you’re not running.
    • If you run consistently / have a higher level of fitness than a beginner, you won’t lose your gains as much as if just starting out.
  • Structural fitness is critical for injury prevention. It helps absorb the impact of running without suffering an overuse injury.
    • It takes longer to gain structural fitness as opposed to endurance. Many runners experience more rapid declines in this area as well.
    • This means that for any period of inactivity, your body’s ability to tolerate running declines more quickly than its ability to run. This puts you in the injury danger zone.
    • But after a week of faster running and feeling good, aches and pains pop up. You may even experience an injury because your structural fitness is much lower than your aerobic fitness.
  • During any period of inactivity, a small amount of strength work can help you maintain your body’s ability to withstand running. A short gym workout or a series of medicine ball exercises can often mean the difference between staying healthy and taking even more time off because of a running injury.

Weight Loss and Gain:

  • Skipping a few gym sessions won’t derail your weight loss efforts, going 2 weeks without breaking a sweat can though.
    • In addition to taking a toll on your physique, physical fitness & strength, it will take you triple the amount of time you were inactive to regain the muscle mass that you lose after a 2-week hiatus.
  • The old adage “use it or lose it” really does hold true.

Am I A Natural Athlete?

 

Looking to work smarter and harder to correct current muscular imbalances, improve overall fitness and health, gain the strength loss and lose fat mass. Once I’ve maintain a strong foundation, I’ll be able to accomplish my all fitness goals and then some.

Winter has passed – Time to GET BUFF!

Summer is HERE! mostly…

First up:

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 42″
  • Chest: 38″
  • Biceps: 11″
  • Waist: 37.5″
  • Hips: 38.5″
  • Thigh: 23.5″
  • Calf: 15″

Weight: 152# BF: 27% BMI: 27 

Body Fat (BF) % Categories:

Classification Women (% Fat)
Essential Fat 10-12%
Athletes 14-20%
Fitness 21-24%
Acceptable 25-31%
Obese 32% +


Understanding your Body Mass Index:

If BMI is below 18.5: considered underweight.

If BMI is between 18.5-24.9:  considered normal.

If BMI is above 30: considered overweight.

BMI is only a snap shot of what’s going and one should look at all variables such as diet and exercise habits etc.

To maintain my current weight I would need to consume 1,966-2,185 calories per day (based on my sex, height, weight, age, and activity level).

Nutritional needs based on the aforementioned calories per day:

Carbohydrates 222-320/246-356 g/day 885-1278/984-1421 cal/day
Proteins 50-173/55-192 g/day 197-689/219-765 cal/day
Fats 44-77/49-85 g/day 394-689/437-765 cal/day

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): 1,472 (based on sex, height, weight, and age)

Max HR for my age is 189 BPM (beats per minute) and my Target HR range is 103-16- BPM. This will be useful for when I incorporate aerobic (running, biking etc.) based exercises to my day.

One downside to being hit by a car, is being thrown off the wagon of regular exercise and good eating habits. It’s been over 9 months since and my physical activity levels have dramatically decreased. I’ve gain weight (fat mass > muscle mass) and inches (namely around my abdominals – more health issues occur with higher waist circumferences), & haven’t been biking as much (before I was hit: 20mi everyday during the week & 50+ over the weekend).

Fortunately, I now work at a Bike Share, which gives me access to bikes, though not the same as having my own. In the meantime, it is something and my commute to/from work plus test rides equals ~2-3 miles that I get to bike each day. I sometimes ride a couple miles through the cemetery or vacant parking lots. Additionally, I lift 6-13 bikes/day, 4 days/wk as part of my job. Each bike weights 52#!The weather is nicer and I’m getting outside more. I’m walking a lot and biking a little; I want to increase the biking of course and start running/racing again.

OK! now for the fun stats … 1RMs:

Even with all that said, there is some very exciting news…

Barbells:

  • Bench Press: 105# (increased! I just starting hitting 100# & now I’m only 5# from my last PR 3 yrs ago!)
  • Bent Over Rows: 90# (steady increase, 25# away from last PR 3 yrs ago)
  • Dead lift: 210# (new PR! and 40# away from current goal)
  • Squat: 145# (this was a bit of a surprise tbh but also the 2nd time I’ve hit this weight mark since last Dec and I’m only 5# away from current goal)

Dumbbells:

  • Arm Curls: 30# (another surprise & the 2nd time I’ve hit this weight mark since last Dec & only 5# away from current goal)
  • Arm Extension: 45# (new PR! since I surpassed my previously set goal, I have now up’d it to 50#)
  • Shoulder Press: 30# (still keeping it strong and am 5# away from goal)
  • Shoulder Shrug: 65# (still keeping it strong)
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: forgot to test this one, so no data but based on othes probs still able to lift 15#

Stacked Machines:

  • Leg Press: 286.3# (8 [45#] plates plus 45# weight of machine)
  • Calf Press: 477.2# (14 [45#] plates plus 45# weight of machine, maintained this PR from last assessment) my calves are small but mighty!!
  • Leg Extension: 170#
  • Seated Leg Curls: 170# (increased a lot since last assessment)
  • Chest Press: 125# (new PR!)
  • Lateral Pull Down: 100# 

I am really impressed with just walking and biking a few miles everyday (hills and all) and the lifting I do at work I’ve been able to gain or maintain a lot of my strength and in key areas that I had previously been concerned about. I’m very pleased to have hit 3 PR’s this assessment round, one for each category too!

Goals Again:

  • Ideal weight
    • For a person my height that is between: 110-140 lbs – so looking at 132 lbs with about 14% BF
    • Each pound of fat = ~3500 calories
    • Cut 500-1000 calories per day = 1-2 lbs a week
  • Run ultra marathon: 50K
  • The PGH Marathon was earlier this month and unfortunately, due to injuries sustained from the SUV I was unable to participate, so I’m planning to bike/run it next year.
  • Bike a Century
  • Complete a Sprint Triathlon
  • This summer I still plan on hitting the trails (hiking, biking, running), go camping, travel some (small trips), do a bike tour (weekend trip to Ohiopyle and back maybe)

 

 

2016 Recap

A lot has happened this past year…

Academics and some Life: I graduated with my bachelor’s in exercise science now I have the fun task of finding a job – one that is hopefully relevant to my recent studies but also one that pays well and ideally that I enjoy. School isn’t the only change happening, soon I’ll be moving and am dealing with the fun of apartment hunting as well! I also spent the last 6 months cat sitting two kitties – they have now returned to their mom and my own two have adjusted to it being just us again lol!

Back in August I was hit by an SUV while riding my bike, resulting in the injury of my knees (primarily the LF) and some continuous on/off pain. I have been in recovery since then, working to re-gain my health as well as any strength, speed, or agility etc. that I had lost as a result. Overall I am pleased with my fitness levels at the end of 2016 and am just as impressed with my fitness levels considering my injuries.

Fitness: total miles ran = 202.37, total miles biked = 1504.48

  • Jan 89.94 miles running, 15.46 miles biking (13 out of 31 days)
  • Feb 25.28 miles running, 37.08 miles biking (7 out of 29 days – happy leap year)
  • March 28.01 miles running (3 out of 31 days)
  • April 126.7 miles biking (10 out of 30 days)
  • May 6.74 miles running, 328.17 miles biking (20 out of 31 days)
  • June 246.89 miles biking (23 out of 30 days)
  • July 435.88 miles biking (31 out of 31 days)
  • Aug 233.6 miles biking (13 out of 31 days)
  • Sept 6.4 miles running, 42 miles biking (6 out of 30 days)
  • Oct 13.13 miles biking (3 out of 31 days)
  • Nov 31.8 miles running, 9.06 miles biking (7 out of 30 days)
  • Dec 20.6 miles running, 16.51 miles biking (6 out of 31 days)

Final fitness check in for the year: Weight: 145# BF: 29%

Measurements: final inch count = 208.5, which is a total loss of 5″ from the start of the year and only 2.5″ more than end of 2015.

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 41″
  • Chest: 36″
  • Biceps: 10″
  • Waist: 33″
  • Hips: 39″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Calf: 14.5″

Barbell Max Reps: I was able to regain and maintain baseline strength from before the accident

  • Bench Press: 95#
  • Bent Over Rows: 85#
  • Dead lift: 165#
  • Squat: 145# (a new PR! this was most surprising and amazing to hit since I had lost quite a bit of strength in this area)

Dumbbell Max Reps: likewise I was able to regain / maintain baseline strength from before the accident in these areas

  • Arm Curls: 25#
  • Arm Extension: 40#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: 60#
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: 15#

Stacked Machine Max Rep: same here as well

  • Leg Press: 270# (190.9# at a 40° angle)
  • Calf Press: 585# (413.595# at a 40° angle)
  • Leg Extension: 170#
  • Seated Leg Curls: 135#
  • Chest Press: 85#
  • Lateral Pull Down: 85#

Goals for 2017: 

  • Run first ultra marathon, starting with a 50k (31.06 miles)
  • Bike first century (100 miles)
  • Bike the Pittsburgh marathon course followed by running it
  • Finish another triathlon (this time completing the swimming portion)
  • Reach ideal race weight = bonus goal
  • In general; more trail bike rides and runs, mud runs
  • Bike the rails to trails PGH to DC tour (I’ve done DC to PGH)

Suns Out, Guns Out

Summer time fitness check in:

It’s been a couple months since the spring semester has let out and since I’ve been back state side (more on my Taiwan trip to come, my bad for the delay!).

Here’s what I’ve been up to in my fitness game.

First up – Measurements:

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 41″
  • Chest: 36″
  • Biceps: 11.5″
  • Waist: 32″
  • Hips: 39″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Calf: 14.5″

Weight: 142.8# BF: 21%

Next up – 1RMs:

Barbells:

  • Bench Press: 100#
  • Bent Over Rows: 90#
  • Dead lift: 205# (new PR!)
  • Squat: 125#

Dumbbells:

  • Arm Curls: 25#
  • Arm Extension: 40#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: 60#
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: 15#

Stacked Machines:

  • Leg Press: 315# (222.705# at a 40° angle)
  • Calf Press: 585# (413.595# at a 40° angle – another new PR!)
  • Leg Extension: 175#
  • Seated Leg Curls: 145#
  • Hip Abduction: maxed out
  • Hip Adduction: maxed out
  • Chest Press: 100#
  • Lateral Pull Down: 100#
  • Seated Rows: 100#

Haven’t done much running at all this year; missed the PGH Marathon (ran every year since 2010) due to being out of the country (which is a pretty cool reason) but I’ve been biking everywhere and doing my best to keep up with the National Bike Challenge (May – Sept). I’ve also been hitting the gym for some lifting time about 2-3x a week, keeping it casual with alternating upper/lower body focus days plus some abdominal work.

https://i0.wp.com/i.istockimg.com/file_thumbview_approve/64753543/5/stock-photo-64753543-man-practising-weightlifting.jpg

Upper body focus days:

  • Bench press
  • Lat pull downs
  • Bent rows
  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps extensions
  • Overhead press

Abdominals:

  • Incline crunches
  • Incline Russian twists with medicine ball
  • Oblique bends with plate

Lower body focus days:

  • Squats – barbell, on bosu ball, free weights
  • Deadlifts – barbell
  • Leg / Calf press – hip sled
  • Lunges – weighted with plates or dumbbells, walking

Abdominals: variations of above list

Biking:

Stats:
Challenge:
  • 969.2 miles in 46 days
Year to date:
  • 1,359.7 miles in 82 days

January – 13 out of 31 days, 106.1 miles total

February – 7 out of 29 days, 62.5 miles total

March – 3 out of 31 days, 29.2 miles total

April – 13 out of 30 days, 192.8 miles total

May – 20 out of 31 days, 440.6 miles total

June – 25 out of 30 days, 509.6 miles total

July – just started

Aside from commuting I’ve been hitting up some trails and going on group rides at least once a week. Including: Steel City Roll (first Mon of each month – next ride 07.04.16), 412 Flock (third Fri of each month – next ride 07.15.16), PGH undies ride (last Thur of each month – just went on one last night 06.30.16, next ride 07.28.16) and random rides with friends around Pittsburgh, the #LunchLoop (new) with HealthyRidePGH and BikePGH (06.17.16, 07.14.16, and 08.23.16) as well as OpenStreetsPGH (last Sun of May, June, July – new route this month) again with with HealthyRidePGH and BikePGH. For those in the Pittsburgh area feel free to come out and join me for these monthly group rides!