Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Archive for October, 2013

So That’s Your Plan?

Do you have a plan?
Do you have a plan?

Do you have a fitness goal?

What is it? Do you want to lose weight? Get stronger? Stay in shape? What are you doing to get there? While any effort will often get you somewhere, if you are having trouble reaching your goal, you may have to spend more time thinking about what your goal is, and what you need to do to get there.

How specific are you?

So, What is your goal? “I want to lose weight”. How much? Can you break that down into manageable proportions? You want to lose a pound a week? Two? To do that, you need to consume approximately 3,500 fewer calories than you burn a week, per pound. The people who lose “5 lbs in the first week!” are losing mostly water from reducing their carb intake, and will gain it back the minute they start eating normally.

The point being, you have to be specific and have a plan. How will you get to that 3,500 calorie deficit? Eat x amount less and exercise x amount more- but fill in that number. How do you know how much you are eating? You HAVE to measure and log it. Not for the rest of your life, but until you get the feel for it.

How consistent are you?

I would rather see someone doing a little bit every day than a sporadic all out effort. Consistency gets better results than any other method. Make a plan you can stick with. Running for 2 hours on Monday and then doing nothing the rest of the week is not going to get you as far as the guy doing a 1/2 hour a day.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Whatever your goal is, make it a S.M.A.R.T. one. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. Don’t say “I want to get stronger”, say, “I want to bench press my body weight”. That’s specific. Make it measurable. It is very similar to specific, but it applies to how you will get there as well. “I will bench press 3 sets of 10, starting with x number of lbs., 3 times a week”. Attainable, realistic and time bound- set your goals to something you can reach in a step like fashion. Maybe your overall goal is to bench press 200 lbs. Depending on your size, gender, age and frame, that may not be attainable, or take so long as to be discouraging. So figure out what you can bench press today, and set about increasing that by 5 lbs a month. Or set about achieving the goal of losing 1 lb a week, and see where that gets you. Your goals have to be tied to how you are going to get there. Bench pressing 3 times a week is a goal in itself. Sticking to an eating plan is a goal. achieving those goals brings you to the others like losing dress sizes and bench pressing x number of lbs.

You also need to  get specific about treats too,of not eating pizza and dessert more than very occasionally. What is occasionally? Once a week? Once a month? I often hear “I haven’t had this in a long time”.  Ok, but did you have something similar? If you only have pizza once a week, and  a sub once a week, and ice cream once a week,…Keep a treat log and be HONEST. Pick a treat day or time, or log your calories enough to know what treats will fit where. You can eat pizza and lose weight, but only if you keep to a true minimum and track it.

It’s fun to have big goals, bucket list goals. But most of those are made up of the little goals. I want everyone out there to have big dreams and goals. I work out so much because I want my body to be ready when I get the opportunity to climb a tree, go snowshoeing, kayak down a river, or climb a mountain. My next goal is rock climbing, since tree climbing was so fun. I also am dying to go toSkydome, the trampoline place. Next summer I want to be out camping every weekend. I want to hit every trail in Ellicottville, since I’ve never gone on those. The number of trails to hike/ bike on, the number of waterways to kayak on, mean that I could go to a different place every weekend just here in Western New York.



Even if it is Chicken…

Most of the time, I get inspired to write based on what I read, and this is no exception. I saw this article about “What is in a chicken nugget?” and it raised some good points. Some researchers picked two random food chains and sampled their nuggets. Spoiler alert, there’s no smoking gun here. They found processed chicken, i.e. not cubes of white meat, but ground up bits of stuff, including bone, gut and skin. We all know about the “pink slime” by now, the process by which they take all the usable bits of meat, including mechanically separating the meat and adding some nasty disinfectants so we don’t get sick from eating it. This mixture is formed and cooked to make nuggets, but it is no worse or different than modern hot dog or sausage preparation. No, I don’t eat any of those things for the most part. I eat our own venison sausage, but that’s about it.

The article was very good in the points it raised, and it’s even handedness. They mentioned small sample sizes aren’t representative of the whole. That’s why anecdotal evidence is so bad- just because one person had an experience, doesn’t mean you can extrapolate it to everyone. Just because Nick Walenda can walk across Niagara falls doesn’t mean we all can. This is important when we talk about science.

They mentioned that even if some food places are using real white meat chicken, it is still breaded and fried. This is important because you don’t need a hideous chemical cocktail to have something be bad for you. Breading and frying leads to those round tummies we all despise. Just because something isn’t awful for you doesn’t mean it is good for you. Weight control is important on many levels.

The last point they made that piqued my interest is how enticing the nuggets are. One of the huge problems with our modern diet is that some of the worst foods for you are so very, very attractive. Large companies are employing researchers to design foods to make them as desirable as possible. From an enjoyment perspective it’s hard to see why that’s a bad thing, until you are trying to watch your weight and finding resisting them so very, very hard. Even if they improve the quality of the nuggets, they are still going to be a high calorie item that entices you to over eat. People love to say “everything in moderation”, but what is moderation? Once a week? A month? And if you moderate the nuggets to once a month, what does the rest of your month look like? Are you having this or that “only once in awhile”, but there is another this or that every day?

Anyway, this was a good article, fun to poke at the food industry and take a look at what makes good science at the same time.

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