Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Projects?

My daughter Joanna asked me, "So Dad, what summer projects do you have lined up?"

Tennis Courts at CSUF
I paused. My to-do list is very short this summer. With a 10 week summer vacation from teaching, I could, and have done, some pretty substantial multi-day projects in the past. But this summer, my to-do list is kind of puny: wash the dog, fix the sprinklers, repair a window screen, etc. Nothing big there.

Seeing my indecisiveness, Joanna stated the obvious for me: "Well, I guess your big project is your fitness project."

"Oh, yeah. That," I replied, seeing for the first time the elephant in the room.

Water anyone?
I started running back in February as a part of New Year's goal: "I'm in charge of my habits. I let it be easy." I wanted to improve my fitness: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Running was going to be a key component. I hoped to build up to running three days a week, 1/2 hour a day.

Since then, I've established running into a habit. Oh, yeah!

That habit has enabled me to pursue another part of improved fitness: weight loss. Surprisingly, all my running since February really hadn't effected the scale much, although I've done some reshaping: gaining some muscle, and losing some fat... even my face shows it. But the scale hasn't.

I'm very happy with the improved stamina, flexibility, and core strength I've gained, but I decided to readdress the weight issue. At 6 foot tall, 216 pounds was too heavy. Just ask my blood pressure. Since February, I have dropped five pounds, and yesterday's blood pressure was the best it's been in a year, back in the normal range. A pound a month weight loss, while building muscle, is okay, but I wanted to see if I could speed things up a little on the fat loss.

Soccer Stadium at CSUF
"I find it easy to achieve my goals with the help of God and others." That's another one of my affirmations. This time, Joanna supplied a puzzle piece that got me thinking. She said, "Well, they say that if you split the calorie difference, the deficit you want to create, between fewer calories eaten and more expended through exercise, they say you'll lose weight." Hmmm...

Ponderer that I am, I decided to just exercise 500 calories worth a day (3,500 calories a week) which is a pound of fat burned off. In addition to the exercise component, the nutrition part is this:  Eat well: 1750 calories a day, aim for 30% protein, 45% carb, 20% fat, 5% alcohol -- 7 meals a day (250 each) at 7, 9:30, 12, 2:30, 5, 7:30, 10.

On the stadium's wall (CSUF)
So does that sound like a summer project or what? Racquetball, yard work, and house work are rounding out the 500 calorie a day deficit project. I use my new Timex heart rate monitor during exercise to capture the calories burnt and a couple of computer Apps to track other parts of the program. Part of my cool down routine is logging the data! 

I'm about a week it to this new experiment, and I'm happy with the results. I maintained my 210 lb. weight for 3 or 4 days, then, after a blip up after some good celebratory eating, I dropped to 208 for two days in a row. That's where I am now.

I've got a plan. I'm working the plan. And I'm having fun doing it. (Summer projects: Don style.)

(The pictures are taken from the iCare 5K race course at CSUF. I ran the race in April with Joanna, then came back later with a camera. Enjoy.)

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