January Health Log
This year I’m rebooting some plans from last year. The monthly log is still a solid bit of reflective practice, a chance to celebrate any wins and set the attention for the coming month. I put too much pressure on the Hackney Half last year so I’m going to do four half marathons rather than just one in 2023. That way, I always need to be training and there is no big pressure, just consistency. I’d love to close this year with no love handles, 40 is around the corner and it’d be a delight to feel and look amazing.
- Say goodbye to my gut fat
- Improve cardio performance
- Improve gut health
- Drink less booze
26 days of Jan: down 2.3kg of fat. 9 hours of running, 85.7km. 7 lifting sessions. 42% of the month I drank booze. Gut inflamation down.
|Jan 6th||Jan 31st||Change|
|Fat Mass (kg)||15.1||12.8||-2.3|
2022 featured valiant efforts to run, build muscle and lose fat. These were thwarted by covid, colds, holidays and a decadent summer. Towards the end of the year I got back to running and lifting in a consistent rhythm. As a result of zone two running my resting heart rate dropped down. My nutrition choices were clearly out of whack as my gut started getting more unstable and inflamed. A new year, back from Mexico and I hatched a plan to reset the dials on my health. As much as 2022 did feel like a flop, I ended the year not as fat as I started – I was 73 kg and 25% fat in April 2022. So, not all bad news.
What did I do in January?
Food & Drink
- I landed back in the UK on 6th Jan with food poisoning. A couple of days of fasting and slowly introducing chicken and rice helped my gut inflammation. The plan was to slowly start adding more fibre day by day.
- Cut to one meal a day for ~five days. Started to feel woozy when adding running and lifting back in. I was also concerned about not getting enough nutrition each day.
- Stumbled upon Tim Spector interview, researched further and bought recommended high polyphenol foods.
- Stayed off booze for a few days to give my gut a good chance of restoration.
- Set a rough guide on only drinking when I go out with friends, no drinking at home unless it’s a special occasion. Red wine only and I’m tracking how many I have.
- Purchased three bottles of nice wine to hold back for special occasions. I want to reverse the pattern of home drinking and perhaps build up a collection of good bottles.
- Had one coffee as a test on my first day back to work. It made me anxious and tense, randomly clicking things on the computer with no real sense of focus. I’ve stayed off coffee since.
- Started eating fish, one tin of mackerel in the morning to add omega3 into my diet.
- Ate very little processed food, sugar and take-aways. I had a Five Guys burger and some Chick N’ Sours, but no snacks and puddings from M&S.
- Got back on the treadmill for zone two runs, averaging five runs a week. Got one interval session in which I think gave me a bit of strain due to my treadmill form at a fast pace.
- Ran a half marathon distance set to Maffetone Method heart rate of 148 bpm. The thinking was to mentally and physically get used to it. Went slightly turbo in the last 2km and completed it with a sub 2 hours time. IT bands were quite tight for the next two days, recovery was a breeze though.
- Started stretching a lot more, I think I know enough stretches by memory now to do it zone out and crack on for at least fifteen minutes.
- Tried one (or two?) lifting sessions where the weight was at the top end so I could only do 3-6 reps. Had a couple of mini and long workouts.
Plan for next month
- Accurate heart rate tracking after buying the Polar H10, I want to combine this with heart rate alarms on my watch for outdoor running so I can keep in zones easily.
- Get another half distance in. Add a couple of interval sessions in the park so I can concentrate on form that seems harder for me to get right on a treadmill
- Focused IT band physio sessions at home, I’ve created a Notion gif cheat sheet from YouTube tutorial videos.
- Experiment with ~two minute high intensity exercise bursts through the work days to improve fat loss, vitality and heart strength — probably by doing jumping jacks.
- I’ve already started making sure Peaches gets walked after I’ve eaten dinner, helping smooth out my blood sugar spikes.
- Plan out my training across the week and for the year. Nothing too complex, just picking what will happen in the week and keeping tabs on race dates across as they come into view – reduced booze and training effort.
- Two day long fast. I’m keen to see if I notice any benefits other than fat loss, mainly to gut and skin health.
- Even less drinking. The toughest part to crack is only having three small glasses of red wine when I’m at a pub or bar.
- Continue with Tim Spector approach to nutrition. If time allows I might write down a few recipes so I have dishes I can lean on with no effort.
- I want to say goodbye to vaping. I’m really stuck on how to scrub this one, I’m considering hypnosis.
What have I learned?
- Eating a wide range of plants high in polyphenols helps increase the microbiome diversity which improves gut health, brain activity and supports weight loss.
- Lean protein appears to be more suitable for fat loss for my body, switching from thighs to breasts has made a noticeable difference.
- My heart rate is lowering when running. Both average and maximum are down in my training log when doing the same pace on the treadmill.
- Drinking is getting harder on me as I get older. Even with easing up on the frequency and volume over January I still noticed gut inflammation, fatigue, brain fog and increased heart rate on days after drinks.
- Currently I’m shifting 300 grams of fat a week, I have to remind myself that the initial bit is always easier than the rest