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Author Topic: The 201X Health Improvement Thread  (Read 17773 times)
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PeteRock
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« Reply #160 on: March 01, 2012, 04:08:50 PM »

Quote from: rshetts2 on March 01, 2012, 03:53:24 PM

Damn,  sorry to hear that PR.  I have back issues  ( chronic pain ) due to years of physical labor and know how difficult it can be to deal with.  I wish you the best and hope there is something they can do to reverse the damage.  Good Luck!

The "nice" thing about my visit was that it was at a "sports and spine" institute that focuses on athletes, and both the doctor and his PA were shocked and impressed by my strength, especially when considering my size.  During a few of their strength tests they couldn't move me at all, so it was "nice" to have them comment on my strength levels despite being there for spinal problems. 

Fortunately I don't have much loss of strength in my left arm, although the nerve impingement does hinder my reflex response as they hammered away on my left arm and it wouldn't react.  Best I can do is go through my current treatment plan and see where I stand next month.  If things don't improve, the next step is a shot in the neck, and if that doesn't work we'll just cross that bridge when we get there.  I can't fret about it and outside of following my treatment plan there's little else I can do. 

I'll be hitting the gym this afternoon like usual and I'm hoping to bench my own weight in DBs today (two 75's).  Funny how a degenerative setback can inspire the want to hit a new personal best.  And to bench one's own weight in DBs is no small feat. 

I guess I'm feeling more disappointment than anything else.  I could see being in poor health and having associated problems, but "bad" genes are completely outside of my control.  For now I'll just focus on picking progressively heavier things up and putting them back down. 

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« Reply #161 on: March 01, 2012, 05:57:21 PM »

Sucks man. frown There is a bright side to this though - imagine if you WEREN'T so physically active.

Have you suggested beer as a muscle relaxant?

Also, depending on how hot the nurse is, I'd suggest the oral treatment to start.
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« Reply #162 on: March 01, 2012, 10:21:28 PM »

Quote from: Purge on March 01, 2012, 05:57:21 PM

Sucks man. frown There is a bright side to this though - imagine if you WEREN'T so physically active.

I have to wonder if it would impact my disc degeneration, but ultimately it certainly works in my favor in most other areas.

Quote
Have you suggested beer as a muscle relaxant?

Suggested?  As a pharmacy student I've already prescribed it for myself as supplemental treatment.   

Quote
Also, depending on how hot the nurse is, I'd suggest the oral treatment to start.

Both the nurse and the PA were striking.  At least my flexing wasn't unsolicited, as they requested it as part of my strength tests.  Okay, so the one pose when I checked the time was a bit premeditated.  Also when I asked which way to the exit.   ninja 
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« Reply #163 on: March 01, 2012, 10:40:44 PM »

Ok.  In the "what the hell was I thinking" category, a friend and I enrolled in a month long boot camp.  It's every damned day, 40 minutes a day, no exercise ever repeated.  As I've researched it, this level of muscle confusion is the best way to build strength and lose body fat.  For a 20 dollar Groupon, I can't see why not.
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« Reply #164 on: March 01, 2012, 11:21:43 PM »

That sounds sorta cool.
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« Reply #165 on: March 02, 2012, 02:58:37 PM »

Sounds cool Ron, good luck!

At the urging of both Pete and Trent Steel, I did actual squats for the first time in 20+ years this morning.  I've been avoiding them because my lower back is such a mess, but I'm actually feeling pretty good afterwards.  I didn't do much weight (one set at 135 and two at 145), but it didn't put as much strain as I remember on my back.  Felt strange to go back to a lift I haven't done since college.
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« Reply #166 on: March 02, 2012, 03:27:21 PM »

Code:
03/02 - 253.4 (34.4)
02/24 -
02/17 - 251.2 (34.1)
02/10 - 250.8 (34.0)
02/03 - 252.2 (34.2)
01/27 - 251.4 (34.1)
01/20 - 253.6 (34.4)
01/13 - 250.4 (34.0)
01/06 - 251.8 (34.1)
01/02 - 253.0 (34.3)

Saturday after my trip, I weighed in and saw 257.  But then, I ate three meals a day, and ate well.  Good eating is as much a routine as anything else, and business travel pretty much throws any semblance of routine out the window.

But I've made some good recovery from that over the week.  If nothing else, the first two months of the year have shown a stability that was lacking over the nine months prior.  Now to turn the corner and start on a downward trend.
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« Reply #167 on: March 02, 2012, 03:32:47 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 02, 2012, 02:58:37 PM

Sounds cool Ron, good luck!

At the urging of both Pete and Trent Steel, I did actual squats for the first time in 20+ years this morning.  I've been avoiding them because my lower back is such a mess, but I'm actually feeling pretty good afterwards.  I didn't do much weight (one set at 135 and two at 145), but it didn't put as much strain as I remember on my back.  Felt strange to go back to a lift I haven't done since college.

If you haven't squatted for 20 years, I would strongly recommend starting at well below those weights and going through the range of motion for a week or two, focusing on core stability and balance. Then slowly build the weight up. I am a HUGE fan of squats as an exercise, but if you have a history of back problems, jumping into squatting an adult female isn't probably the best way to get back into it.
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« Reply #168 on: March 02, 2012, 03:44:25 PM »

Quote from: Crux on March 02, 2012, 03:32:47 PM

Quote from: Gratch on March 02, 2012, 02:58:37 PM

Sounds cool Ron, good luck!

At the urging of both Pete and Trent Steel, I did actual squats for the first time in 20+ years this morning.  I've been avoiding them because my lower back is such a mess, but I'm actually feeling pretty good afterwards.  I didn't do much weight (one set at 135 and two at 145), but it didn't put as much strain as I remember on my back.  Felt strange to go back to a lift I haven't done since college.

If you haven't squatted for 20 years, I would strongly recommend starting at well below those weights and going through the range of motion for a week or two, focusing on core stability and balance. Then slowly build the weight up. I am a HUGE fan of squats as an exercise, but if you have a history of back problems, jumping into squatting an adult female isn't probably the best way to get back into it.

I'm with Crux on perfecting form and ROM before going too heavy, but odds are you can handle heavier weight starting out than I could being that I'm such a "wee man."  I started around 95lbs back when I did my first squat in 15 or so years, then slowly went up 5 lbs each session.  At first my form was squirrely and all over the place.  I was using too much of my back and not getting enough explosion from my legs.  I also gripped the bar too tightly and it strained my elbows.  Took me some time to get the bar balanced just right on my shoulders so I only need my fingers to lightly hold it in place. 

Also, make sure to go through the full ROM, squatting at least to parallel before coming back up.  Half-squats do little good, and if you do the research you'll find that going to parallel gives you the most return.  I'm against going beyond parallel, but there are some who squat pretty deep, and that's just not something I'm willing to try with my knees. 

Your core should really develop some great strength if you keep good form.  Throughout the ROM your core should be tight all around (abs and back), and you shouldn't have any strain on your lower back if you do them correctly.

Really glad to see you putting squats into your workout.  It's one of the best full-body compound exercises out there.  I was shocked at how fatigued my abs were when I first started doing squats.  And compound lifts almost eliminate the need for ab isolation work.  I don't know about you, but I despise crunches.  They put more strain on your lower back than squats.
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« Reply #169 on: March 02, 2012, 04:18:37 PM »

Thanks for the pointers.  Knowing I'd be doing squats today, I've been practicing my form (using body weight) for the last couple days and feel pretty good about it.  I never go below parallel, and always use a weight belt as well.  That weight actually felt just about right...one of the benefits of playing soccer for 25 years is that I have pretty decent leg strength.  smile  The surprise soreness is actually coming from my hip flexors, but I think that's probably more a by-product of my run yesterday.
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« Reply #170 on: March 02, 2012, 04:24:51 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 02, 2012, 04:18:37 PM

The surprise soreness is actually coming from my hip flexors, but I think that's probably more a by-product of my run yesterday.

Not necessarily.  I've had similar soreness, and I know people on Fitocracy after going super heavy have had pretty dramatic hip flexor soreness.  

Another way to make sure to save your knees is to slightly point your toes outward a bit, like a duck.  That was one of the best tips I got from experienced lifters at Fitocracy.  If I keep my toes pointed too forward I start to feel strain in my knees, but rotating my toes outward helped a lot.

Edit:  A few more tips you may or may not already know.  When squatting, you should never roll forward onto the balls of your feet or back onto your heels.  Always keep your weight evenly distributed in the middle.  Also, if the bar is positioned properly, it should almost balance across your shoulders on its own with only a very loose, light grip to ensure it stays in place (otherwise the torque will strain your elbows).  Also, in the beginning be sure to consciously flex your core, otherwise it's easy to allow your form to falter and more strain will be put on your lower back.  You'll know when it happens, and it's not always pleasant, so I'd rather see you avoid any problems by being conscious of the support your core provides right from the start.  Finally, avoid the bar pad.  If you can't hold the bar without the pad then your shoulders aren't strong enough.  And if it places pressure on your neck vertebrae then you have it positioned incorrectly.  Plus, the pad undermines the bar's stability on your shoulders.  By starting light and slowly moving your way up your shoulders will develop enough strength to support the bar.  If you go too big too soon your shoulders may lag behind and make the pad an appealing alternative.  It isn't, don't use it.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 09:20:14 PM by PeteRock » Logged

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« Reply #171 on: March 02, 2012, 04:36:11 PM »

I'm using MyFitnessPal to track the calories consumed and I work out 40-60 minutes per day (5-6 days per week).  The calories are the big thing this year since my fitness level is pretty good.  I'm on a 1850 calorie diet and I don't eat my workout calories (except for rare occasions).

Here's the February results - down 8 pounds.  I'll take that.
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« Reply #172 on: March 02, 2012, 04:44:15 PM »

Quote from: Crux on March 02, 2012, 03:32:47 PM

jumping into squatting an adult female isn't probably the best way to get back into it.

 eek

I. DisAFuckingGree.

icon_twisted

Now, if he was squatting more than 175lbs, and THAT was the adult female, I'd have to evaluate the adult female to decide if that was a good idea or not.

Your hip flexors may not be able to handle that much woman.

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« Reply #173 on: March 02, 2012, 04:49:05 PM »

Quote from: Purge on March 02, 2012, 04:44:15 PM

Your hip flexors may not be able to handle that much woman.



Perhaps kegel exercises might help?
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« Reply #174 on: March 02, 2012, 05:10:44 PM »

I've been back on low carb for about 6 weeks or so, and I've lost 15 pounds so far. I don't recall if I mentioned this before or not, but I want to get my weight back down so I can hopefully reduce the need for CPAP. I have another 12 or so to go before I think that might be a possibility.
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« Reply #175 on: March 02, 2012, 05:15:59 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on March 02, 2012, 04:49:05 PM

Quote from: Purge on March 02, 2012, 04:44:15 PM

Your hip flexors may not be able to handle that much woman.


Perhaps kegel exercises might help?

Let me use baseball terms:

Hip Flexors - your arm action in a pitch to throw the ball.
Kegel muscles - hand grip on the ball

I don't care if you can crush coconuts, if you can't swing - your ball's ain't going anywhere but down.

You don't wanna be on the pitchers mound just clutching balls ... cuz she's just gonna walk.
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« Reply #176 on: March 02, 2012, 10:14:11 PM »


Missed my lifting this morning. Gonna hit it right after work.

I did try some benches at lunch to see if I could bench kratz. I put up 205 (my weight) without much warmup. Guessing I could hit 215 if I was fully prepped. I either gotta get stronger or kratz needs to lose more weight.
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« Reply #177 on: March 02, 2012, 10:25:42 PM »

Like I said, until you find a barbell with a raging hard on, I refuse to accept any results you come up with.
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« Reply #178 on: March 03, 2012, 02:00:13 AM »

Quote from: PeteRock on March 02, 2012, 04:49:05 PM

Quote from: Purge on March 02, 2012, 04:44:15 PM

Your hip flexors may not be able to handle that much woman.



Perhaps kegel exercises might help?

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« Reply #179 on: March 03, 2012, 02:28:12 PM »

My back feels fine this morning, but if I catch the bastard who shoved red-hot pokers through my quads last night, he's a dead man.
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« Reply #180 on: March 03, 2012, 02:59:14 PM »

If only you could run after him...
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« Reply #181 on: March 03, 2012, 04:16:40 PM »

Went to the Doctors yesterday for a follow up on my back pain and got my vitals.   BP 120/80 dead on.....  in December it was bouncing around 137/96.   Weight 205,  in  December it was 249.  LOL my height even went up about a half an inch ( probably because I dont slouch as much ) I still have to wait on the labs for cholesterol and such but damn do I feel so much better than I did last year!  Oh and my asthma flare ups have been greatly reduced.   I can not wait until I reach my target weight!  Biggest, smartest favor I have ever done for myself.    BUT.......  for the record Cortisone shots in the back SUCK!  Well at least for the first 10 - 12 hours.  Feeling better now.
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« Reply #182 on: March 03, 2012, 04:17:54 PM »

Quote from: rshetts2 on March 03, 2012, 04:16:40 PM

... BUT.......  for the record Cortisone shots in the back SUCK!  Well at least for the first 10 - 12 hours.  Feeling better now.

Good to know, especially since I may have to get one at C7 in my neck.  

Congrats on the great progress.  It's amazing how many ailments can be alleviated through better health practices, weight loss, and better fitness.  I'm really happy to hear how far you've come.   thumbsup
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« Reply #183 on: March 03, 2012, 04:38:49 PM »

I really wish a few of my friends frequented this thread.  Two close friends of ours buy into every nonsensical diet fad they can find, and while they typically see results pretty quickly, the results are short-lived as the methods aren't sustainable at all and they inevitably gain the weight back.  They also focus too much on cardio, completely ignore strength training, and make the typical false correlation between eating something and "working it off" on the treadmill.  Drives me crazy, especially when I see some progress and then when the "diet" ends they regress right back to where they were. 
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« Reply #184 on: March 04, 2012, 12:59:28 AM »

Quote from: PeteRock on March 03, 2012, 04:38:49 PM

I really wish a few of my friends frequented this thread.  Two close friends of ours buy into every nonsensical diet fad they can find, and while they typically see results pretty quickly, the results are short-lived as the methods aren't sustainable at all and they inevitably gain the weight back.  They also focus too much on cardio, completely ignore strength training, and make the typical false correlation between eating something and "working it off" on the treadmill.  Drives me crazy, especially when I see some progress and then when the "diet" ends they regress right back to where they were. 

The ONLY thing that I've found that works for me is a Ketogenic diet.  All the other diets are too hard to follow and the second you stop for even a moment you lose all the momentum.  I can't see myself suddenly saying "Uh...no, I don't think I want to eat a NY Strip Steak today."
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« Reply #185 on: March 04, 2012, 01:47:55 AM »

Diets are much easier when you allow yourself a specific day to cheat.  I don't have much of any problem following a paleo-style diet when I can pig out on Sunday.  If you're "good" six days a week, there's basically nothing you can do on that last day that will undo your progress.
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« Reply #186 on: March 04, 2012, 03:02:45 AM »

Quote from: kathode on March 04, 2012, 01:47:55 AM

Diets are much easier when you allow yourself a specific day to cheat.  I don't have much of any problem following a paleo-style diet when I can pig out on Sunday.  If you're "good" six days a week, there's basically nothing you can do on that last day that will undo your progress.
+10! this is key.  Depriving yourself of things you want will always lead to bingeing and eventually you just give up.  Learn to make the necessary dietary changes for 6 days and give yourself a day to "free range"   The truth is after awhile, your body adjusts to the changes you've committed to and you'll find you don't go berserk on those free range days.  As Kathode said you're not going blow up a weeks worth of healthy eating in one day.
  Remember weight loss is pretty basic, try to eat balanced healthy meals and take in less calories than you burn.  You don't need any fancy fad diets, just find what works for you and commit to it.  Pretty much every failed weight loss program isnt lost by the body but by the mind.  Prove to yourself you can recognize and control your urges to eat half a cow each day and follow through on your commitment to lose weight and you've won the real battle.
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« Reply #187 on: March 07, 2012, 09:20:24 PM »

Started PT today and it went surprisingly well.  Each session will start with electrical stimulation treatment with heat, followed by a massage, stretching focused on my neck, chest, and shoulders, then strength conditioning of the muscles lining my spine.  This should help to alleviate some of the compression and reduce the bulging of my discs, and my current anti-inflammatory prescription should also help with existing inflammation.  My therapist is confident that we may be able to make some positive headway and hopefully avoid any need for injections or future surgery.  In between sessions I can do stretching and strength training exercises frequently throughout the day to aid in my progress.  Here's to hoping for eventual improvement, and as I'm fully invested in the program to avoid invasive treatment, I'm hoping my progress with be noticeable. 
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« Reply #188 on: March 08, 2012, 11:15:24 PM »

Great article (thanks tik!)

http://gizmodo.com/5891619/stop-complicating-a-simple-obesity-solution-eat-less-exercise-more


Quote from: Key Passages
"I don't doubt that the researchers quoted in The Atlantic article are finding something bad associated with organic contaminants, and that we don't want them in our diet. But all of this hand wringing about obesogens and fat versus sugar and glycemic indexes and cave man diets ignores the one thing that we know for sure about how Americans can become less obese: eat less, exercise more."

"But instead of distracting folks with complicated new terminology and possibly evil ingredients, maybe we should be focusing on how good it feels to be fit?"
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« Reply #189 on: March 09, 2012, 03:15:01 AM »

Quote from: kratz on March 08, 2012, 11:15:24 PM

Great article (thanks tik!)

http://gizmodo.com/5891619/stop-complicating-a-simple-obesity-solution-eat-less-exercise-more


Quote from: Key Passages
"I don't doubt that the researchers quoted in The Atlantic article are finding something bad associated with organic contaminants, and that we don't want them in our diet. But all of this hand wringing about obesogens and fat versus sugar and glycemic indexes and cave man diets ignores the one thing that we know for sure about how Americans can become less obese: eat less, exercise more."

"But instead of distracting folks with complicated new terminology and possibly evil ingredients, maybe we should be focusing on how good it feels to be fit?"

I had a giant comment, but it boils down to this:

You're taking the food advice from a pilates instructor on a tech geek website.

Neato. Her points are attacking the idea that we shouldn't question the old "all calories are the same" with no science to back it up, just "common knowledge". At more than 74% obesity rate in the US (Forbes, 2007), do you think that this common knowledge is working?

Good for her. In 15 years when her ass is three times the size it is now, ask her how it's working out for her.

I'd dig out rolly-eyes, but her "insight" isn't worth the effort.
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« Reply #190 on: March 09, 2012, 03:38:46 AM »

If that's what you are taking away from that article, you are missing the point.

Which is this:  not all calories are the same, and this research is interesting, but until people address the key issues of why they are fat, namely that they sit around stuffing their faces and not exercising, they aren't going to get anywhere.
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« Reply #191 on: March 09, 2012, 04:25:56 AM »

74% obesity rate?  That's hilariously wrong.
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« Reply #192 on: March 09, 2012, 06:08:59 AM »

Quote from: Purge on March 09, 2012, 03:15:01 AM

I'd dig out rolly-eyes, but her "insight" isn't worth the effort.

Edit:  My initial response was snarky and fueled primarily by crankiness and irritation with a bad day of nerve pain and discomfort.  Ultimately, while all calories are certainly not the same, and the author's credentials may not be exemplary, isn't the underlying idea of "eat less, exercise more, and feel good about being fit" still applicable, especially to those who are unhealthily overweight?
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« Reply #193 on: March 09, 2012, 02:52:08 PM »

Last week, I worked out every day, ate a strict 2,100 calorie diet, and completely ditched the soda for a full week and only lost .5 lbs. This week I was traveling all week, exercised once, ate like a freaking pig (hit 3 steak houses, had 2 Jimmy John's #9's, a couple cheeseburgers, about 14 gallons of Pepsi, and a ton of chips, crackers, etc)...and somehow lost 2 lbs. I was seriously dreading stepping on the scale this morning after all the shit I consumed over the last 5 days, and thought maybe it was broken when it read 211.

I give up trying to figure out how my body processes calories.
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kratz
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« Reply #194 on: March 09, 2012, 03:00:14 PM »

Weighing yourself is a tricky proposition, Gratch - there are a LOT of variables that go into any given weigh in... how much water weight are you packing for whatever reason, how long ago was your last enormous dump, etc.  If you get on the scale after putting in a lot of work and see a disappointing number, I always get back on the scale the next day, or two days later, and often see a much larger swing.

Also, are you weighing yourself at the same time each day?  That matters.  Look at what the numbers do over a long period of time - a week or two isn't enough to really know what's going on.
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #195 on: March 09, 2012, 03:35:06 PM »

Code:
03/09 - 251.4 (34.1)
03/02 - 253.4 (34.4)
02/24 -
02/17 - 251.2 (34.1)
02/10 - 250.8 (34.0)
02/03 - 252.2 (34.2)
01/27 - 251.4 (34.1)
01/20 - 253.6 (34.4)
01/13 - 250.4 (34.0)
01/06 - 251.8 (34.1)
01/02 - 253.0 (34.3)

Down almost to where I was pre-business trip, two pounds down on the week.  The horrible head cold has probably been helping.
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« Reply #196 on: March 09, 2012, 03:51:17 PM »

My weight gain/loss has been stagnant the past few months, but with the weather finally starting to get nice, I think it's about time I restarted the bicycle work commute.  I forget exactly how the math works out, but I remember it coming to about a full pound's worth of calories a week burned a week without significantly lengthening my commute time.
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tiktokman
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« Reply #197 on: March 09, 2012, 04:25:13 PM »


And another week in the books. I'm scared of the 5lb increase in my bench on Monday. I think I'm close to the wall for good form reps.

I've started doing this on Tuesday/Thursday now -




It definitely works the core muscles and will hopefully help me with my joint pain and flexibility.
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« Reply #198 on: March 09, 2012, 04:27:06 PM »

Quote from: kratz on March 09, 2012, 03:00:14 PM

Also, are you weighing yourself at the same time each day?  That matters.  Look at what the numbers do over a long period of time - a week or two isn't enough to really know what's going on.

Yep, weigh-in at the same time every morning, after all excess fluids are removed. 

The overall downward trend is continuing though (lost 20 lbs since September), so I'm not going to lose a ton of sleep over it. 
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“My next great decision is just lying in wait.
The action might turn out to be the world's most grievous mistake."
- Bad Religion, Past is Dead
kratz
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« Reply #199 on: March 09, 2012, 04:37:57 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on March 09, 2012, 04:27:06 PM

Quote from: kratz on March 09, 2012, 03:00:14 PM

Also, are you weighing yourself at the same time each day?  That matters.  Look at what the numbers do over a long period of time - a week or two isn't enough to really know what's going on.

Yep, weigh-in at the same time every morning, after all excess fluids are removed. 

The overall downward trend is continuing though (lost 20 lbs since September), so I'm not going to lose a ton of sleep over it. 

Nice.
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