Thursday, 16 April 2015

Weight still slowly dropping - Mid-April training and weight loss update.

Three and a half months on the "exercise" diet!
This time I've started with the "raw" data.
No fancy smoothing algorithms or stuff like that.
Just the numbers that I wrote in my weight diary from our domestic scales.
Same scales, same piece of the floor, same (where possible) part of the day - first thing in the morning after my first bathroom visit, but before my morning cuppa and breakfast.
The important point is the consistency - my weight will go up and down during the day, as I sweat out fluid, go to the bathroom, eat, etc. etc., but by using my "first thing in the morning" weights I am deliberately attempting to weigh the same thing each time.

The numbers still go up and down though - just look at the jaggedy nature of the chart above.
One thing is clear, though - I am clearly losing weight!
And that is the point.
There are other ways of checking your weight - I work with a chap that has joined an organisation which is similar to the well-known "Weight Watchers" - for him, the "weight that counts" is the once-a-week weigh-in at the weekly meeting. Some folks will skip food that day, I'm sure, to try and force down the numbers, But guess what, you can't keep doing that trick, because you are comparing a "light weight" with a "light weight" each time. So, after a few weeks, one still has to lose weight properly, or it will show up.

The fact that I have been losing weight over a 3 1/2 month period means it is "real weight2 I am losing, not just "water weight", which one can shift with sweating a lot or diuretics, but as soon as one re-hydrates, all the "water weight" comes back.

Another sign of losing weight is that your clothes seem big.
I had to find a smaller belt yesterday, because my trousers will barely stay up - I needed a smaller belt hole (by about an inch / 2.5 cm), and I'm on the smallest hole of this belt, too, so I'm either going to have to either buy an even smaller belt, root through my wardrobe to find a belt from the late 1990's (or earlier), or take a old-fashioned awl and make an extra hole in my belt (just like I used to do in my teens!)
My trousers, which were getting to be a bit tight, are now a bit "baggy", and without the belt fall to my knees quite quickly, leaving me walking "like a penguin" :-)
Anyway, onto my "Training Diary", which I have been keeping since the beginning of March:
Training dieary for cycling, runnin, and walking.
Clearly the 50km and 60km cycle trips look the "hardest" - they are both "single events", too, not composite efforts made up of several shorter rides.

But are all activities equal?
For me, they are not.
When walking, I am down in the lower zone(s), not really doing that much of a "cardio" load.
When cycling, I am mixed, but there is always some freewheeling - I cycle at a modest overall pace, after all!
When running, I run at the point that I am slightly out of breath, which seems to coincide with about 75 to 85% of my maximum heart rate, and I tend to keep that up, too.
So for me running is the "hardest" per kilometre travelled.

I will use cycling as my "base" units, and I will rate walking as, say, three times as hard (no freewheeling while walking, and if you stop moving your feet you stop!), and running as, say, five times as hard (because of the MUCH higher "cardio" element).

Applying those new "weightings to the chart for training gives me this:
"Weighted" training diary, applying relative multipliers based on the effort involved.
Now things look a little different.
Compare this with the chart above (reprinted again, here, for your convenient viewing):
"Raw" Training Diary (in kilometres)
Now the "hardest" two activities were two days composed mostly of running.
One was a 16.4 km run (about 10 miles), and, to be frank, that is currently about my running "limit"!
The other was a day when I did a 5k interval run (based on "Peak 8" - a mixture of flat-out sprinting and recovery running) that almost destroyed me, then a "regular" 7km run later in the day, then another "regular" 5km run in the evening. That was one tough day, and my legs took several days to recover, and my lungs felt "stretched" by the end of only the "interval" session!
So, in "perceived effort" terms, my 1.3.5 weightings look about right to me.
If you cycle much more intensely than me, or you are training on rollers, you may wish to apply other "weightings" to YOUR own personal training diary.

Note also that my training diary contains quite a lot of walking. Calories are calories, and walking is exercise, so it burns a lot more calories than sitting about.
Want to run a marathon?
First you need to be able to even WALK that far (!).
Walking is a major part of my exercise program, and allows me to lose weight while still allowing recovery from the "harder" part of my exercise.

See that day (the 29th March) where I have logged nothing?
We all need time to recover, so don't be afraid to take the occasional day without training.
As I mentioned before, exercise only provides the STIMULUS for improvement - the body still has to have the chance to rebuild the "newer, stronger" bits that result from that stimulus.

I expect I'll do a longer write-up at the end of the month.
But I still have quite a few miles to ride - this month's target is 400km (March was only 300km!), and so far I've only done 210 of them!

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