If you’re reading this and you’re not me, it probably won’t be that thrilling. There are plenty of other content nuggets more compelling and scientific to consume on exercise and health. This is the third web post that logs what is on my mind so I can refer back to it later. Read April’s here and May’s here. The aim is these monthly posts will be valuable to rewire habits and thinking with my training.
Goal: Keep on reducing body fat so I look good on the beach
Results: Slow start to the month but a strong finish, closing in on sub 20% body fat
|April 1st||April 29th||May 31st||June 28th||Month
|Fat Mass (kg)||18.3||15.8||15.1||13.6||-1.5||-4.7|
I didn’t get back into jogging until half way through the month, once I’m in a rut I stay there and I’d love to design a way that I can break out of it. The last two weeks I’ve got three weights sessions in, several one meal per day days and I’m really chuffed to be seeing 66’s-kgs on the scale for what I think might be a decade.
Context: For the last 12 weeks I’ve been working towards the goal of shifting fat, growing a bit of muscle and increasing my cardiovascular performance. Last month in May the plan took a slight detour when I got quite sick for a long time, spent a long time not moving and recovering. Q2’s plan was all about the Hackney Half training, better attention to diet and following one all round weights routine that ensured I worked my core and legs as well as my upper body.
June has been pretty good, considering it gets harder to shift mass as you lose more of it, the numbers above are quite strong. I’m still really motivated by the idea of looking great on the beach, I’ve never felt confident in my body to wonder around in the sun without keeping a baggy t-shirt on. The longer this journey goes on, the less the numbers are really in my head and more the visual of not having a podgy overhang on my trousers, boxers or shorts. They are still handy to keep the balance of “what happens next?” when getting on the scales twice a week.
What has happened?
- Longer durations between eating, sometimes eating once a day
- Some meals are just protein and veg
- There were a couple of spikes in weight data, from memory this was poor eating and no running
- Two experiments ran with weights sessions flat out (~30min)
- Upped weights on a few exercises, made some harder by body position
- Jogging at the gym started again half way through the month, pace 7km/h
- Lowered boozing during the week for half the month
When I was sick in May I extended skipping meals a bit longer than just breakfast. This month I’ve done it again a few times and it works especially well after a weekend of eating out and catching up with people. For example, eating between 3-5pm on Sunday and then waiting until Monday 5-6pm to eat again is pretty easy for me. I have wondered about setting fixed days in the week to do this but I think it’s better to do it ad hoc to allow for a flexible social and couples calendar.
Look at the graph below. The start of the month had a couple of spikes (“Lynn, I’ve pierced my foot on a spiiiiike!“). I can’t remember specifically what happened there, my bet is it was sweets, take-aways, eating out and booze compounded. I wasn’t back running again at the start of the month either. The fasting, dog walking and weights seemed to nicely correct them pretty quickly. I did end up thinking about when I’m my ideal body weight and shape – what will my maintenance intake of food look like? My bet is on skipping meals, the benefits are huge and I will always be doing this in some form regardless of how steady I feel.
Weights. The two sessions I did at fast pace – fifteen exercises with zero rest in between until one set was complete – were an absolute energy drain for nearly three days afterwards. I haven’t looked into if the increase in pace is beneficial in any way. It is reassuring to know it can be done in ~30 mins, but it kind of sucked doing it. As soon as form vanishes or motivation dips, it feels like it would be easy to get out of the rhythm of 2-3 routines a week. I started upping some weights 2kgs, second sets was mostly possible, sometimes a reduction in reps. I also made press ups a touch harder by changing hand positioning and switched to a leg elevated bench dip.
The plan is that Q3 will have two weights routines. One normal mode, one functional strength. My bet right now is that doing every single one as functional strength may be too hard to sustain three times a week. Somedays you need to show up and get on with it after a bad sleep or a night out – so I’m building in that insurance layer to the plan. I need to start the routine tomorrow and currently it’ very scrappy – Russian twists, farmer carries, press up and raise above head, walking lunges, standing press, pull ups, jackknife sit-up, push to dumbbell burpie, squats, calve raises. Not yet added to my Strong app as a routine. Let’s see.
Not much to say about the running itself, it just needs to happen. I’ve started making a techno playlist on YouTube so I can watch DJs mixing while running, probably the easiest way to zone out for 30/40 mins.
Finally, here are the quarters numbers:
Plan for next month
- Call me crazy, I might do a dexa body scan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (might)
- More skipping meals, boost that mitochondria fat breaking function
- Fast runs need to come back, two weeks of jogging under my belt so this should be easy
- Functional strength routine should help grow and develop more interesting muscles than the isolated normie ones
- Training while in Barcelona, don’t let the flights make you fat
- Stability training of some type, probably combined with warm ups and cool downs on running
- I feel slightly under prepared with the details on the training, it will help to get a few basics down on paper for the month
- Drop 2% fat (<18% body fat by August 1st)