The Other Fitness Thread

I was going to necro-post on The Fitness Thread but it was all about bicycling. You nut jobs. (Wish I could bike.)

In theory a year of isolation would have been a good opportunity for self-improvement but in practice for me the political and public health crises just sank me into a downward spiral of doomscrolling. To counter that we got a pair of puppies, and while they did bring companionship to our lives, they also brought their own stress factor as we worked to housebreak them (one is dramatically stubborn).

Accordingly, stress eating and alcoholic self-medication gave me an extra (COVID-)19 pounds and I also had gained some (2020-)20 pounds on top of that since January 2020. I knew what caused the weight gain, and I knew how to fix it… I just didn’t want to.

Fast forward to a mental health break in mid-February. The weight gain, booze, doomscrolling, and needy puppies caused me to have severe sleep deficiency and I am no longer young enough to cope with inadequate rest. From then on I went cold turkey, and also jumped on an intermittent fasting diet that I know works well for me (16:8, 16 hours fasting, 8 hours feeding).

Since February 18, I lost 15 pounds and I have a goal of losing at least 20 more. That is a dramatic change in weight and I don’t have huge hopes of sustaining this rate but I’m going to ride this train until it stops. It’s hard to be hungry but it helps to look at the big picture. I’m already sleeping better, even if the stubborn puppy still wakes me up to go outside in the middle of the night.

To maintain focus on improving my body I’ve resumed a strength training program that helps me with self image, and goal setting. I’ve also hopped on my Concept2 indoor rower to work on cardiorespiratory health, hoping to create a healthy habit to sustain me through my middle age and beyond. Finally, to keep my dogs from destroying the house, I walk them 3-5 miles a day over 2-3 sessions. I look forward to taking them on hikes when the weather starts to cooperate.

As for mental health, I’m reading up (again) on mindfulness and meditation. I keep it secular and filter out the woo-woo but it’s important to me to relearn the peace I’ve had in my younger years. The frequent walks have been great for this and sketching/drawing has been a great form of meditation.

This is a lot of things to tackle at once and I’m sure I’ll have to scale it back somewhere. The point is, for me, there is such a great relief in the political climate normalizing (sort of) and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout that it’s time to get ready to join civilization again.

Congrats on the weight loss! The stressors of this time are real for sure - I mentioned me getting the vaccine and my emotions at the time helped me realize it was much bigger for me than I realized. I also cope with stress by bad eating habits and while I achieved some fitness and health habits last summer into the fall, my bike accident derailed a lot of the good work I did. Time to buck back up and get back to healthy eating. I haven’t really looked into the intermittent fasting trend, but know a lot of people who swear by it.

I miss my 20s when losing a few pounds was a matter of thinking hard about it and the weight magically disappeared.

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Intermittent fasting is more or less “skip a meal” but it does help you set rules for yourself on when you should eat (always when you’re hungry and within your feeding schedule) and when you should not snack (most of the time).

It’s caloric restriction by another name really but is an effective guideline to apply will power.

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Lose weight now. Ask me how.

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Nice turn-around, I’m sure that last 30 days and the changes you’ve implemented have worked wonders for your attitude as well.

On top of the sort of stressors that you mentioned, I cannot tell you how much better I’m feeling as I see spring approaching. I don’t know how others feel about this, but the older I get, the more the winter months take a toll on me. Short days, long nights, lack of sunshine, bad air in the valley, all conspire to to slowly turn the happy fellow I was in the late fall, into a sullen, grumpy misfit.

This winter I made a conscious effort to get out and ride my bike regularly regardless of the weather, and as soon as we had some real snow, I started XC skiing, at Mountain Dell, and on Highway 65 toward Big Mountain. These helped, but I still realized that by about February, I had turned into that old, ornery, winter guy, I hate to become.

For years I commuted to Park City, and getting up into the sunshine and being able to easily XC ski in fresh air and sunshine helped.

As I approach retirement, I am, for this reason, for the first time in my life, thinking about relocating. I’ve never wanted to go anywhere else, and I love winter sports, and enjoy four season climates, but with the ever deteriorating air quality in SLC, and the effect the darkness now has on me, I may have to strongly consider moving.

Is it just me? Or to others dread the dark months?

I hate the winter months.

Really great job on the weight loss. As Rocker said, stressors are there. I’ve felt them, and they’re a real PITA. Much of the weight I lost last year has come back, I hope that I can reverse this course sooner rather than later.

I’m glad to see that you can be an inspiration to all of us.

You’re not alone. Elsewhere someone else said they were taking Vitamin D pills to counteract the effect of seasonal affective disorder. I tried to do the same but I am… just not… good at taking pills. It’s also hard to convince myself those tiny gel caps do any good.

I’m not sure I’m ready to move though. I often tell anyone who will listen to me that I appreciate having four seasons because it gives me something to complain about all year round. I don’t particularly like winter but my favorite winter sport is sitting by the fireplace reading a book. I need that down time away from yardwork.

I will add that there is no way intermittent fasting is giving me enough calories to sustain a good exercise program. My weight lifting numbers are pathetically weak right now compared even to just a month ago when I was eating plenty of food.

People who do IF as a life choice have ways to use the fast/feed cycle and supplements to fuel their workouts but I haven’t really explored them. As such, I’d be very wary to suggest it for a long-distance cyclist without some consideration and modification.

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I can tell if I’m low on body fuel on rides. It usually stems from not enough prior to the ride. During the ride, it’s usually too late to fix unless you find something that’s high in sugar and fat. With rides under 2hrs it’s not too hard to just eat something light prior to a ride, mostly to keep my stomach busy so to speak. My drinks right now have been the no cal Propel or a G2 from gatorade, just find the flavor(s) that I like to drink. If I were to race again, I’d probably start back on Cytomax that has sugars for fuel, and something solid in my pocket as a fuel too.

So what you said about IF for cyclists is accurate. I don’t know any, here, that use it with any consistency. In Salt Lake, that may be different, but it has a larger cycling base too.

Not trying to high jack, just agreeing with you about the cycling portion.

I don’t have the stomach for that.

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Hey man, the newbomb method works.

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He doesn’t either! :wink:

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I am one of the group of people who signed up to do the #597forTy challenge this year. I’ve been walking everyday for the past year anyway but I’ve been very conscious about tracking my walks everyday since January 1. It’s slow going but I’m over 78 miles on the year so far. I plan to add more and longer walks as the weather gets warmer. Without changing anything else I’m down about 20 lbs as well. The only thing I’m doing different is taking vitamin D everyday.

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That’s awesome. I’m probably well on my way to 597 miles for the year but since that’s mostly dog walking at a very slow stop-and-go pace, I’d be hard pressed to call it exercise. I hope to add some jogging to these walks when my stamina increases.

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My wife and I have been skate skiing for 20 years now and it’s easily learned (impossible to master) but it sure is a wonderful way to spend time in the winter environment. The sound of the wind in the pines the snow, animal tracks etc… it’s really quite serene and beautiful. From a cardiovascular point of view it’s demanding, but accessible and they’re aren’t a lot of chunky skate skiers out there. There’s a reason for that.
Anyway, if you ever have interest, I would recommend the solitude Nordic center where rental prices and lessons are quite reasonable.

https://strava.app.link/MccKGVsYFeb

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