Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today, Goals, Fatigue and Six Pack Abs?

Today
Haven't subbed at all this week but I'm getting a lot done around the house. Catching up on cleaning, laundry, paperwork, bills, phone calls, financial planning, and some rest. Today I'll be baking bread, ordering some photos from Costco, writing a monthly menu and making a town shopping list. I'm going to try to get some surfing in at lunchtime too.
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Tracking Goals
Last week's running goals have had to be put on hold. Though I got myself some new shoes my back wasn't feeling immediately better. I thought I'd better lay off running a bit so it could heal. I've been keeping track of my workouts on dailymile.com which is in the little widget over there------------------->
It is helping me stay motivated and to track how I am feeling and progressing.
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Two Weeks of Fatigue Overcome
I was feeling really tired and run down for a few weeks. I was wanting to take naps all the time and was low on energy.  I could get through my workouts fine (in fact my workouts gave me more energy) but everything else felt like a chore to drag myself through. As I was contemplating what was the cause I thought perhaps it was either I wasn't eating enough calories or that I was working out too much.

I try to keep my calories to about 1200 net calories per day.  Net calories means how many calories I eat minus how many calories I burn exercising.  My average workout burns about 300-500 calories so I eat on average 1500-1700 calories each day split between 5-6 mini meals. I've done a lot of research on what to eat and when to eat and how much to eat because I don't want to go to extremes and starve myself and ruin my metabolism but I thought perhaps some of my research or computations were faulty and perhaps my body needed some more calories. So, in an effort to rid myself of the fatigue I upped my calories for a few days. There were no changes in fatigue and, in fact, I was feeling more sluggish and had headaches (probably because of the sugar I was allowing myself).  I cut back down and tried a different approach.

My workouts have been pretty brutal lately. I've been exercising 6 days a week.  I've been running and cross training on alternating days.  My back has been hurting from the running and I thought that perhaps I wasn't giving myself enough rest days for my body to rebuild.  I decided to take an extra day off.  Monday was going to be the day but when Monday morning came around I couldn't just lie there in bed, I was antsy to get out and move.  So, I changed strategies. Instead of taking an extra day off I'd just take it easy for a while.  That didn't really work either because I felt better when I exercised hard.

I did some more research and found some great studies on fatigue, burn-out and over-training in recreational athletes (I think I can categorize myself as this now). I learned that the number one thing that fatigued recreational athletes needed was water! Minor dehydration causes fatigue. I also learned that new athletes should be on a good routine of taking vitamin supplements as their bodies are adjusting to new demands of fitness and well-being. Lastly I learned that sleep is especially important for an athlete because the body does most of it's muscle repair as we sleep.

I have been drinking more water, taking my vitamins every day and sleeping more (10pm-5am) and in 3 days time I felt much better. Could it have been a combination of the calories the reduction in workout and the water, vits and sleep? Yes, but the water, vits and sleep were the ones that finally did the trick.  I'm sticking with that as my solution.
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Six Pack Abs?
Way back in 1995 Dave and I were first married and we were both attending BYU. At the time I was taking a dance/PE class that was really working me out and that I was really enjoying and Dave was the coach of and a player on the BYU men's waterpolo team. We were both pretty fit and decided to have a fitness challenge: to see who could get six pack abs first. Soon thereafter I found out I was pregnant and the challenge fizzled and neither of us ever accomplished the goal. Occasionally over the years we have contemplated reviving the goal but for so long I was either nursing or pregnant and Dave was incredibly busy with work and neither of us really wanted to do it.

About a month ago I brought up the challenge and asked if Dave was still in. He responded that he was in, he just needed "a couple weeks" notice and he'd have me beat. I laughed thinking he'd need more than a couple of weeks and told him he had a couple months.

A couple weeks ago as I was pulling on my new smaller workout clothes I pointed out to Dave that I was beginning to spot a little bit of definition on my stomach. He looked, said "yep, there's a little bit" and rolled over and went back to sleep.

A few days later after leaving for a workout I had to run back into the house to grab something I'd forgotten. As I ran in I ran into Dave sneaking out. He was heading to the BYU gym! I don't know how long he has been doing that but for all this time I thought he was ignoring my challenge.  I thought he wasn't doing anything because he didn't think I was a threat, didn't think I could build a stronger body. I knew he'd been losing weight but that was just because he was eating healthier foods and proper portions, I thought.

So now I guess the challenge is on because he's no longer sneaking out to go to the gym, he's just going, everyday. I still think I'm a lot closer to the finish line than he is but I figure whether I have the six pack abs first or he has the six pack abs first, either way I'm the winner (wink, wink).

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***please note I adjusted this posts calorie guidelines on 4/16/2012. I HAD been consuming  too few calories to support a healthy weight and weight loss. Around the 1st of April I adjusted my intake to a healthier spot which is the amount that is now reflected in this post.  I don't want anyone reading this post and trying to replicate what I was doing and make themselves sick. What is listed here is based on my current weight, activity level, estimated BMR and exercise schedule. I do not recommend that anyone do the same thing without basing it on their own personal stats and if possible with the help of a nutritionist.****

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