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I’m sorry I have been on hiatus lately.  With the end of the year coming I have been very busy with work and family preparing for the holidays.  I will be back after Christmas to update you all on how I’ve been and give you some tips to start the new year right!  For now, Merry Christmas and I hope you have a wonderful end of 2012!

My kids started school a couple of weeks ago and with a new school year comes germs.  I’m a major germophobe, I wash my hands a lot throughout the day and wont us a grocery cart if there are no wipes available to sanitize first.  So it is always so disappointing when germs use my kids to get to me.  First it was my 14 year old, then my 6 and 4 year old.  I have been taking a lot of vitamin C to get ready or the imminent threat.  The germs got my wife before getting me.

I fought the good fight yesterday but was not able to exercise.  Today, however, I’m laying in bed.  My head feels like it is stuffed with cotton and my throat feels like someone scratched it too hard.  Yeah, I’m a baby about it but I don’t get sick very often.  Unfortunately, for me I’m pulling a late nighter at work tonight.   I slept till 1pm today and will not get home until 5am in the morning.  Wish me the best!

I’ll be taking more vitamin C, drinking tea, maybe adding some honey and resting as much as possible.

Ok so today’s post’s title isn’t great.  In fact, it’s pretty bad.  It is slightly descriptive, however.  I took a day of rest yesterday and now I’m back to working out.  My day of rest was good, I guess.  All day I felt as if I should be getting down to do some kind of workout.  I thought “well maybe I could do a few sit ups” but I resisted.  I felt like I just needed to move.  It really is true what they say about humans being creatures of habits.  I am in the habit of working out every day and when I didn’t workout yesterday my mind was telling me to get going.  It is a good feeling to have formed such a great habit but I really needed a day to let my body rest and not have to perform.  As a result of taking a day off I have to say I feel good.  My muscles are rested, they no longer feel tired and my first set of sit ups was 30 reps which felt great.  I plan on doing at least 100 more sit ups today, hopefully more.

So day one of Weight Watchers was not that great.  One, I didn’t lose anything this morning.  On Slow Carb Diet I lose almost every day. Due to binge day I was up 3 1/2 lbs and usually lose it all within two days.  I’m afraid that the spikes in insulin over the course of the day due to adding carbs back in to my diet (bread) may block that loss from occurring.  I’m holding out that tomorrow I’ll have a big loss.  If not, the added weight is likely to stay until I naturally lose it.  On Weight Watchers you can expect a 1-2 lb loss per week.  This is not good news for me but maybe I can achieve more weight loss with some discipline in what I’m eating as opposed to how much I eat.

For example, if I stick with eggs for breakfast and substitute turkey bacon which is fewer points than pig bacon I can perhaps eat the same amount and lose more.  This is purely hypothetical at this point.  Weight Watchers tells you you should eat all your points but I have been eating a much lower amount of calories than I should be for a couple of months now and I have been very successful.  I’ve not only lost fat but I’ve gained muscle.  From research I’ve done online, I should be eating somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,200 calories per day to lose weight.  About 1,700 for “extreme” fat loss.  Unfortunately, the body can only lose weight so fast.  I have been eating about 1,400 calories per day, have not been hungry and have been losing weight kind of slow but steady.  Slow, only because I’ve made some mistakes along the way.

Another problem I have had on Weight Watchers is stomach pains every time I eat.  After curing my carb addiction I seem to no longer have a tolerance for those nasty critters.  On binge day, when I eat anything, I expect to have some stomach pains.  I worry about the day when I don’t have stomach pains from bad carbs.  Then what?  Am I an addict again?  Much research needs to be done but I feel I am doing very well.

This morning I woke up with a sore neck and shoulders.  Is this what happens when people who work out every day take a day off?  When you start a workout program you can expect the opposite.  I think my body is in shock from not moving.  I’ve been doing some stretching and a lot of the pain is going away.  More water, stretching and perhaps some potassium and I should be good as new.

I wish you the best today!  Go out, get moving, drink plenty of water and smile.

For the past couple of months I have been on Tim Ferriss’ “Slow Carb Diet” from the book “4-Hour Body”.  To me, this diet and others like it (Paleo) are great diets because they are more about controlling your insulin levels and giving you fuel than calories in, calories out.  While I have been able to stick with it and get through the first couple weeks where I experienced carb withdrawal, my wife struggled with it and was not really able to work the plan.  Last week she asked me if I would be willing to go on weight watchers with her.  I agreed to it but wanted to finish out this past week because I didn’t want all my slow carb food to go to waste.

New Day, New Diet

Today I’m switching to weight watchers.  I’m a little nervous about it because my body has not had to deal with sugar and bad carbs in a while.  I’m also worried about getting addicted to carbs again.  While I do plan on eating with my family for dinner, I’m going to stick to a carb restricted breakfast and lunch (which due to my work schedule comes at the end of the day).

I’m also a little worried about gaining weight initially on weight watchers.  I believe running will help me quite a but in that department.  I’m at a good point in couch to 5k where I’m burning a lot of fat with longer runs and before too long I’ll be running 3.1 miles three times per week.

Weight Watchers has been very good to me in the past.  I lost 50 lbs on WW in 2010.  This was the weight loss that set me up for what I am doing now.  In fact, my wife and I were watching some old family videos and I cannot believe how big I was back then.  I was over 260 lbs, I had sleep apnea, acid reflux and high cholesterol.  Right now I feel healthy as a horse.  I ran 20 minutes straight yesterday for crying out loud (my grandma used to say for crying out loud all the time).

Taking A Day Off

Today, in addition to starting weight watchers, I am taking a day to rest.  I have struggled a little lately with certain exercises.  Some of the struggle was to be expected but I feel as if I’m a little too worn out and therefore am taking today off.  Yesterday I did Week 5, Day 3 of couch to 5k.  Up until this point, all c25k runs have been intervals.  W5D3, however, is a 20 minute run with no walking.  To me, this is the run that makes people realize they are runners.  I believe you are a runner the day you first put on your shoes and start running but that 20 minute run gives people a lot of confidence because they have proven to themselves that they can do something they never knew they could do.

Couch To 5K Week 5 Complete

At 5.6 miles per hour I ran less than 2 miles which is behind the normal pace of the program.  Most people do not run the 10 minute mile pace that is laid out in the original couch to 5k program.  I had been running at a pace of 5.5 until this point but am trying to slowly build up my speed.  If I increase my speed to 5.7 in week 6 and 5.8 in week 7 I will be close to the 6 mph point by the time I finish my program.  I plan to go on to work on my speed.  When I ran the program in 2008 I always wanted to get to the 10 minute mile point but I ran closer to a 13 minute mile.  This time around I started the program running faster on week 1 to set me up for that 10 minute mile target.   At 5.6 mph I would only get 2.8 miles in 30 minutes.  While I intend on running the entire 3.1 miles I would like to do so in the shortest amount of time.

If you have been planning on starting the couch to 5k program I recommend you don’t worry about speed or even distance really.  Work on completing the program and becoming a 30 minute runner.  You are supposed to run at a pace where you could have a conversation with someone.  A lot of people go very slow but they are running.  At the end of the program, if you wish, you can work on speed or simply increasing your distance at the speed you are running.

A Couple Tips On Running

I’ll give you a couple of tips I discovered on speed.  While I’m not a running coach, I discovered that once you get to 3 miles, 1 mile is so much easier.  You could run 1 mile much faster than you’d be able to run 3 miles.  If you want to run 3 miles faster than you should train at a greater distance.  Also, running isn’t completely about how fast you move your legs.  It is how much pressure you apply to the ground.  This is why Usain Bolt has such big leg muscles and a marathon runner doesn’t.  He is built for speed, not distance.  Distance runners have to have a certain amount of muscles but are built for endurance.  Simply because someone can run 26 miles doesn’t mean they can run 100 meters very fast.  There is a balance between the two.  I looked it up and in 2009 Usain Bolt ran an average of 23.37 mph (see comments on reference page) with a top speed of 27.45 mph.  By comparison, the world record time for a marathon is roughly 2 hour 3, minutes.  That is an average of about 12.7 mph.  Why couldn’t the world record marathon runner beat Usain Bolt in a measly 100 meter dash?  Because his legs are too skinny.

Work on the overall package.  Distance runners have to have strength to get to 12 mph.  My minimalist workout is very complementary to running.  By doing sit ups your work your core, by doing push ups you work your arms which are very important to running.  Squats will give your legs the strength to run faster.  The complete package will take you farther and faster so do yourself a favor and don’t just run, build muscle.

I’ve been really good lately.  I’ve been working out every day for a couple of weeks now and I honestly feel great.  I had a bad day of push ups a couple of days ago.  Even though I did all of my push ups I did struggle with them.  I thought I would take a day to myself to relax my body.  Even if it is all in my head, the mind-body connection is very strong and just not having to think about strength training.

So what did I do on my day off?  Mostly worked.  I woke up at 9:30 am and laid in bed until 10.  Then I got up and put the TV on and finally made breakfast at 10:30.  I know, I know, I should be eating within a half our of waking up.  I’m a little sluggish at time.  Maybe a better term is that I procrastinate.  I didn’t sleep well so I didn’t feel like moving so I didn’t.  Eventually I ate my four eggs and two pieces of bacon and went to work.  I worked my eight hours and then drove home.  I got home at 8:30pm and made dinner.  The rest of the night I plan to do nothing.  I’m going to sit around and watch TV and be lazy and it will be wonderful.  I also will write less than 300 words today.  And it too will be awesome!

I’m vacationing in Michigan for the next week.  It’s hard to be motivated to workout when you’re on vacation and there is so much good soccer on TV.  My quad muscle is still hurting a little but I plan to do some push up and sit ups today.

I’m in Canton, MI visiting family and friends.  It should be a great trip.  My kids are enjoying seeing their grandparents and my sister’s dog.  Yesterday was a travel day and I rested my quad muscle as a result.  It still feels sore when I walk but I can tell it is getting better. When I do start doing my squats again I plan to cut back.  Just because I can do 45 in one day doesn’t mean it is good for my muscles to do so many at this point.  Time will tell.

Working out is supposed to hurt isn’t it?  After all, they say “No Pain, No Gain” right?  I personally don’t believe this but if it is true then I’m gaining and not even working out.  I did 40 push ups and 20 sit ups yesterday and everything I do hurts my quads.  I consulted a friend of mine who has been in fitness for 20 years.  He told me squats are really tough and they’re easy to go overboard on.  As a result of going overboard I’ve strained my quads and need to let them rest.  I don’t want to let them rest.

I have a lot of momentum right now and feel good about my workouts.  I feel as if my legs are getting stronger but I’m not 20 anymore. On top of that I’ve let my body go for so long that its just so far out of shape.  It will take time.  This is a work in progress, it isn’t a setback, it’s just part of the process.  Next week I’ll go easier on quads and not do so many squats.  I’m going to find other ways to work my legs out like more calf raises.  Those I feel I can handle.  Until then I need to find something to keep me moving.

I plan to take today and tomorrow off.  I’m traveling tomorrow so while I will have opportunities to work out, I feel the added day will be good for me.  I’m going to drink more water, have some potassium and eat a sweet potato.

Today is another day of rest.  It is also my day off.  I don’t have a lot to say except I feel pretty good.  I am feeling optimistic and I bought more baked beans…  I’m a baked bean addict lately.  I also started taking potassium today.  I heard it was good for your muscles and I’ve taken it in the past to avoid getting muscle cramps but I haven’t fully researched it.  I will talk more about that another day.  For now, I’m off to enjoy my night.

No working out today.  Today was a rest day.  The funny thing is all I can think about is working out.  I am really enjoying it.  I’ll admit my muscles are a little tired after 50 push ups yesterday but I drank enough water that they weren’t sore.

Tim’s Tip #3 – If your muscles are sore, you didn’t drink enough water period.

Many people have told me that they did, in fact, drink a lot of water but their muscles are still sore.  I’m not buying it.  I’ve heard from professional trainers that you must drink a ton of water to flush out the toxins that your muscles release when you work out or else you will be sore.  I’ve experimented and found this to be completely true.  I have done P90X for 45 minutes (and I’m out of shape), drank a ton of water and not been sore the next day.  I have also done lesser workouts and not drank enough water and been extremely sore the following day.

Wednesdays are very busy for me so I decided that they would be my rest day each week.  I thought to myself a few times, “I could do a workout set right now” but decided not to.  I need the rest in my legs and arms so I took a day off.  Tomorrow I’ll get back to working out and do 2-3 days in a row before I take another rest day.

Today is a day of rest for me.  I had three good days of hard minimalist workouts so I decided to rest my muscles.  It is good to give your muscles a rest from time to time to allow them to heal.  I don’t feel it necessary to rest every other day so I will just listen to my body and let it tell me when enough is enough.  During these days I’ll share some of my thoughts about my program so far and probably point out my progress.

I thought I should point out that I’m not a trainer.  I’m just a regular guy with a day job like anyone else.  I am 6ft 1in, about 215 lbs, 35 years old.  I intend to use this blog as a diary of my progress as I work to gain strength.  Ultimately I’d like to lose weight and become tone.

I have been thinking of a lot of ideas for this blog.  I’d like to add running eventually and am not sure how I want to implement it, although I have a couple ideas.  The key to my workout is to minimalize the effort, limiting my sets to 5 reps each.  In the future this may become too easy and I might have to increase the amount of reps per set.  I do each workout at different times throughout the day so it is always convenient.  Also, I use no weights or equipment except on occasion so I can do the workouts anywhere.  To me this is a true minimalist workout.

My inspirations for this workout are Leo Babauta from ZenHabits.org, Tim Ferriss of 4 Hour Body fame and Pavel Tsatsouline.

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