Woke up to a pleasant surprise this morning. Actually, I’ve been (more or less) steadily losing weight over time, but I seemed to have lost over a pound and a half between yesterday morning and today. As much as I prefer weightlifting to cardio, I have to admit that cardio, at least for day-to-day results, seems to contribute more to calorie burn and weight loss.
Before going any further, here’s what I did yesterday. For ab work, I only rest ~60 seconds between sets.
Captain’s Chair Leg Lifts (bodyweight)
Weighted Cable Crunches
Weighted Decline Bench Crunches
40 minutes cardio on the Elliptical Trainer including a 5 minute cooldown at the end.
Body Hang Exercise w/shoulders engaged
When I wake up in the morning, I weigh myself after using the bathroom dressed just in my skivveys (sorry if that’s TMI). I usually weigh myself three times and then use the average as my “official” weight just to manage the variance between each measurement. Yesterday, my morning weight was 193.8lbs/87.9kg. This morning upon rising I weighed 192.3lbs/87.22kg.
Well, it looks more impressive when measured in pounds than it does in kilograms.
I’ve been using MyFitnessPal.com to, among other things, track my morning weight. I started recording my weight on that app on March 1st of this year weighing in at 207.7lbs/94.21kg. I used an online date difference calculator and found out that it’s been 105 days or 3 months and 13 days since I started recording my weight. So it’s taken 105 days for me to lose 15.4lbs/6.98kg.
That’s not the most dramatic weight loss story I’ve ever heard, especially if you factor in all those TV ads for Weight Watchers or other similar programs, but it does reflect (sort of) steady progress toward a goal.
I say “sort of” because the graph isn’t a straight downward slope.
Just to give you an idea, the graphic below is the chart of my weight measurements for the past 90 days. As you can see, there’s a lot of ups and downs. There’s a particularly big upward jump in mid to later May that’s a result of a two-day trip to Portland for a conference when my diet and exercise regime was shot to blue blazes. Fortunately, I was able to recover and that’s the point where I changed exercise types to a 5×5 strength training routine.
I think this is the benefit of keeping records of everything having to do with achieving goals. You won’t know your progress in weightlifting unless you keep an exercise log. You won’t know your progress in losing weight unless you keep a record. I find the line chart to be especially useful because it shows progress in seven, thirty, ninety, and 180 day views. It also shows a full year, but that’s not helpful for me yet, having only been doing this 105 days.
One other thing to keep in mind is that while I’ve been reducing my waist line, I’ve also been gaining muscle mass, so there’s a trade-off in terms of weight. Muscle weighs more than the same amount of fat, so if I were just measuring fat loss, it’s probably more than 15 or so pounds.
In terms of waist measurement and getting rid of nasty belly fat, I periodically try on my “skinny” clothes to see how they fit. I mentioned previously over the past week or so, I’ve been able to fit into my 34 inch regular jeans, the one test pair I’ve kept in my closet. That’s the pay off, or part of it. Having clothes fit better.
The ultimate gain though, is general improvement in health, feeling better, having more energy, displaying more endurance.
I’m still not convinced my workouts translate that well into practical strength, though. For instance, my son and I had to carry a large box from my driveway to the back patio and supposedly it weighed only 130lbs/58.96kg. It felt really heavy but the worst part was trying to keep my grip. Since we work out together, and since he exclusively uses bodyweight exercises, he teased me about my grip, since he didn’t seem to have much of a problem. He also recovered his breath faster than I did…well, not that much faster, but the difference was still there.
I do notice that I seem to perform better doing other outdoor chores, mainly yard work, but then again, If I had a lawn mowing and edging competition with my son, he’d probably do better, maybe because he’s younger or who knows, maybe bodyweight work really is more effective.
But even if I never become Superman or Captain America, I’m still seeing what I consider some pretty spectacular results from working out. I’ve lost 15.4 pounds in 105 days. I’ve set my initial goal weight at 185lbs/83.91kg. That means I have to lose another 7.3 pounds. From there, I’ll re-assess my progress and see if I want to continue cutting down the body fat or concentrate on building more strength/lean muscle mass.
Sunday’s a rest day. Tomorrow, I hit the weights again.
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.