Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thoughts on Exercise and Weight Loss

Lovely Sexy Beauty had kind of an interesting post on her plans to drop 10 or so pounds. I've struggled with weight issues since getting out of the Marine Corps 16 years ago. In fact, that first year back in the civilian world  I think I gained 15 to 20 pounds. It was rough. 

Last spring, I came to the conclusion that I was basically wasting my time in the gym. Yes, it was good that I was going and getting regular exercise, but at the end of the day, my self-directed workouts were inconsistent and brutally inneffective in helping me drop weight and make progress towards a higher level of fitness and an improved body. So, I started changing things up and slowly escalating my workout.  I'm 39 and overweight, so I wanted to make sure I didn't try too much at once, but the major trend was that I moved away from doing my own thing and towards structured exercise classes.

In April and May, I started taking a class that Bally's calls Powerflex, which is basically weight training with lighter weights and an emphasis on lower body (squats, lunges) and core work. I started doing this and Spinning twice a week and began to notice a difference.

In June, I tried (and liked) a bootcamp workout, which, as I understand it, is somewhat based on CrossFit principles. I found the workout extremely effective. Unfortunately, when I moved back into the ranks of the employed in July, I had to give that up due to scheduling conflicts. But, also in July, I started doing Step Aerobics for the first time, which I found I really enjoyed. I don't why more guys don't do Step.

So, what I do now is a combination of Step Aerobics, Spinning, and Powerflex. This combination has been very effective. From June through August, I dropped about 15 pounds.

Unfortunately, about three weeks ago I strained a calf muscle or something, so since then I've had to really take it easy.  I'm kind of easing myself back into it now, with the idea that by October I should be back to where I was before the injury. The injury is pretty minor, but I figured out how easy it was to reaggravate when I did one step class a week or so ago. This is part of the problem with being 39 and overweight. Next week, I'm hoping to be able to do both Powerflex and Spinning, but I'm staying off the step for at least another week, and probably two.

Tomorrow I'm looking into a shared housing situation down in Greenlake, which is one of the more desirable areas to live in Seattle. Assuming all goes well, I'll move in probably the first or second week of October. I'm pretty certain about this place because I looked at this house last year with one of the guys that lives there right now. But, then I had to back out and so he found someone else. Anyway, I found out via Facebook that they have an opening, so I jumped right on it.

Assuming this does work out, I'm very likely to look for a CrossFit gym in Seattle at some point in the next few months. I'm not sure if I want to do the hardcore CrossFit workouts right away, but I think a lot of them do offer classes like the indoor bootcamp that I did before. My brief experience with the bootcamp workout showed me how effective this can be. I'm also likely to purchase an LA Fitness membership, as Bally's no longer has a facility inside Seattle.

Incidentally, I first got interested in CrossFit back in June, when I found this article in The Seattle Times.

Given that September has been basically a wash, my weight loss goal is now is to drop another 10 - 12 pounds by Christmas. I think that's very doable. Looking farther out, an additional 20 pounds by June seems achievable as well - that would only be 4 lbs/month from January to May.


Firepower said...

lsb would be intrigued if you were still on active with, preferably, a post in the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs. Think fruit salad. Shape, would not then matter. An Ambassordship to India with frequent jaunts to Bollywood and even more frequent treks to Mumbai shopping potlatches would get you a pass to look like Jabba the Hutt.

Most alphas don't give a shit what they look like - especially past 35.


Rake said...

Yeah, well, I left active duty 16 years ago. But, I agree. She's the type that would go for that kind of status.

In terms of career status, I'm doing okay - finally. The first six or seven years out of college were basically flat, with very little upward movement, but then the trajectory of that curve took a sharp angle upwards about 5 years ago. I'm still not high status, but my career position doesn't hurt me.

The thing is, I'm someone that should care what he looks like because I am actually pretty good looking. But, when I'm real heavy my face fills out and I don't look nearly as good. I mean, why wouldn't I want to maximize my good looks? The other thing is that being heavy just sucks, because you can't do as much. It just doesn't feel good, you aren't as good in bed, etc. And then, going back to the career thing, getting myself trimmed up WILL help me move into higher status positions. If you look at the exec ranks of most companies, you will see that most don't have weight issues.

Firepower said...

It could be argued that execs maintain fitness also because of the opportunities for exercise their wealth provides: personal trainers, company provided executive fitness rooms, large suburban homes with available space for much expensive equipment, etc.

A quick scan of CNBC interviews of execs (minus the current cultural attention to Mad Men)would prove you generally correct, although there are many exceptions like Steve Ballmer of MicroSoft and Amazon's Jeff Bezos, for instance.

IMO, having membership to the socially elite, connected, Ivy League WASP is more indicative of the corporate structure. Entrepreneurs who "pave their own way" and have something to prove, seemingly come from the ranks of mavericks excluded from this world.

Fitness as a factor is an outward reflection of personal discipline and makes the implicit statement that one's appetites are in check. Also, the wealthy eat less because they eat better. One tiny helping of Suisse Fudge Mousse served at The Four Seasons equates to far less calories than the Middle Class staple of an entire drum of Edy's Fudge Madness Ice cream and a bag of Oreos.

Your notable observation of the prime mover of fitness being "it sucks and you can't do as much" is the main factor to take positive action versus looking good for the honeys at Sky Bar.

I like your posts.

Firepower said...

i really feel my contributions make a difference here. its sort of like lilgirls bloggy, but without the pix.

i have found a home

Rake said...

She's way hotter than me anyway. :)