Imagination

Planning is everything, they say. All of us who wear these belts are in a social group together, via the proprietary app. Yesterday morning the class trainer took part in the 45 minute version, managing to pull up an impressive 30 minutes in red. Seeing this was hugely helpful: it meant there was potential to run well. I also fuelled with some intent, meeting protein goal at lunchtime, in one hit.

We’ve spoken about aerobic threshold before, last night was all about managing the anaerobic threshold: normally 85% of heart-rate or 75% oxygen intake. Going too far into yellow is tricky for me, because exhaustion has pretty much followed whenever it’s happened. However, stamina training which the last few weeks represents gave me an interesting plateau to run in, and I didn’t stop to ‘recover’ between transitions.

I was exercising before each new round of exercise was supposed to start, so heart-rate did not drop. This ended up not as a HIIT class, but an exercise in endurance. However, form dropped significantly, especially at the end, and if I tried to duplicate this as a run I severely doubt 42 minutes would be doable. What it does show however is that with the right conditions, I’m in a new place.

Question is, can I prove this to confirm that is in fact the case…?

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Not gonna lie, I’m tired this morning, in a way that means a nap will be scheduled later in the day. This is a new and interesting World I find myself within, and potential is not going to be squandered. Day 15’s cross on the back of my shirt for RED January will not just signify almost halfway in my journey, but will serve as the testament to not only hard work, but sticking to a healthy diet.

All this shit really does work when you put it together.

Down Down

Undoubtedly, exercising every day is a contributing factor to this change. However, it is not the only way I am losing weight. There is some quite diligent calorie counting going on, which is making a real difference not only to my mood, but also to energy levels. It’s taken since October however to get to this stage. Three months. If you are lucky enough to be able to shift a pound a week, I salute you. 

We need to talk about calories for a bit.

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Double tap if you LOVE to feel good without the stress 🔥 . Calorie counting can be a useful on a few occasions, like if your diet is full of confusing calorically-dense processed foods, if you genuinely don't have a sense of the energy content of food and are trying to educate yourself, or you're counting to push past a weight loss plateau and have stalled. . One problem is that calorie counts on labels can be misleading. Some of those calories are not fully digested (1), while the energy estimation itself can be off. Legally, labels can have a high margin of error—up to 20 percent—for the stated value versus actual value. That means a 100-calorie snack could contain up to 120 calories, and your attempt at a 1500 calorie day could actually mean 1800 calories! . I propose a better alternative. Real food. Intuition. 😍 . On the right, I have a satiating meal of cauliflower, sweet potato, eggs, and cucumbers, which is not only going to be less calorie dense, but more satiating due to the higher amounts of fiber, water, and protein found within, as compared to the bagel with cream cheese on the right. I don't add a lot of extra oils and fats, save for a nice splash of EVOO for both flavor and health. 🤤 . The amount of calories on each side is actually nearly identical, but notice how much more volume is in the meal on the right side! . Hall et al. recently showed that when we stick to unprocessed foods, we are more inclined to eat to our maintenance calorie intake naturally, or even encourage a deficit (holla, weight loss!), whereas ultra-processed foods are highly palatable and naturally promote weight gain. (2) . Refs: 1: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/138/9/1741S/4750849 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22760558 2: https://osf.io/preprints/nutrixiv/w3zh2 . Happy Thursday. ❤️ Max • • • • • #iifym #flexibledieting #nutrition #macros #protein #calories #caloriecounting #cleaneating #gains #weightloss #mincir #fitfood #perdredupoids #myfitnesspal #mfp #instafit #healthyfood #physique #healthyeating #shredded #maigrir #pertedepoids #wellness #instaregime #reequilibragealimentaire #iifymgirls #plantbased #muscle #abs #healthylifestyle

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I appreciate the sentiments in this Instagram post. It is all basic education: ultra processed foods are bad, eating simply beats just about everything. However, certainly for someone like me, eating nothing but ‘real’ food is the number one, sure fire way of me ending up bingeing. In simplest terms, I need some processed stuff from time to time. The bigger trick is how that’s balanced, and this is why calorific value needs to matter.

I count myself in the ‘weight loss has stalled’ category because it did. Past tense. Now that issue is being addressed, switching to what might be considered ‘real’ food in this definition has potential to send me right back to where I started. The discipline of having to work to a specific target is, like it or not, really quite beneficial to keep everything on the straight and narrow. Also, smart people don’t need a calculator to do calories.

We have apps for that.

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Protein shakes have been hugely helpful to maintain strength gains and restrict calorific intake. There are more vegetables and fruit, lean meat, more experimentation with what is enjoyable, but undoubtedly there are days when all I mentally can handle is picking up a packet from a shelf and sticking it in an oven. Then life becomes an Instagram post where I’d shove the real food on the left and a ready meal on the right with the caption ‘You can still be healthy without being righteous.’

There is too much preaching to the gallery going on right now. There are so many ways to get fit and healthy, and none of them are the ‘right’ way, they’re all part of the same game plan. Telling people you’re way is the only way isn’t just dangerous, it’s damaging because this isn’t about someone just doing what they’re told to be healthier. This is about opening your own mind and accepting the understanding that has to happen.

If you don’t grasp the consequences of not getting healthy, nothing will ever work.

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I got a very useful, inescapable wakeup call late last year. I might look healthy on the outside, but inside that was anything but the truth. When I go back to the Doctors in a fortnight it is with the knowledge that yes, my mentality finally changed. Just exercising is not enough. There needs to be a fundamental understanding not just of the outside of your body, but the inside too. Unless they’re BOTH fit, you are fooling yourself.

If it really matters, calorie counting is a good start. Seeing a doctor and checking your cholesterol levels is also worthwhile. You know that shit they tell you that before starting any new health regime you should do just that? It is. Go talk to someone who knows what’s going on inside you whilst you sort the outside stuff. If there’s one thing to do for yourself this year, it should be that.

Then, you can work out what will be best for YOU to get healthier.

Relax

And Lo, it was Sunday.

Honestly, this is a very strange headspace right now. Last night’s dreams were full on 100% Guilt Edged Wish Fulfilment Exercises. I cycled for nearly an hour last night, at levels that are now close to where body was fitness wise two years ago. There are undeniable signs of body-wide fat loss. Is it really possible that all of this has come as a result of daily, focussed exercise?

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Yes, it is. No mystical teas, or diets, or ridiculous new age flim flam. Fucking hard slog, every day, so that twelve days feels like about three months, if truth be told. First breakthrough was Thursday, only because it then became apparent my brain had got the memo that sleeping longer because I’m knackered will have unexpected fringe benefits. Last night’s dreams are absolutely the product of a well-fuelled imagination.

This is the point I wanted to be post Mslexicon, if truth be told. However, I wasn’t physically fit enough. Now that’s being addressed, everything else appears to be falling into place. Parts of me are still scared, of course: that’s only to be expected. New things are frightening. However, if you do them long enough, and try and learn about yourself whilst that happens, you have more than enough to help combat inability.

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That means this is quite enough time sitting in front of a computer. I wanna try and run further than has ever been managed. There’s a fairly significant application form to be filled in before bedtime. Then, as washing clothes is no longer a national emergency, I could have some time to archive old work and start on some new things. However, nothing takes place until I move.

Moving is the best thing.

New Horizons

When the Labour Party imploded before Christmas, a lot more people should have been surprised. I can remember the rhetoric on Social media when Corbyn was elected leader, that nobody in their right mind would ever trust him as Prime Minister. Of course, that’s no help now, in the darkest days of the Planet, and what is required is someone who can make ordinary people feel as if they truly do have a voice in the void.

If the future entailed voting on someone based solely on the strength of one video, this is pretty compelling stuff. However, as is about to become news once again, The Truth is no longer as black and white as was the case back when there were only four TV channels. Archive footage is irrelevant when placed beside memes and infobursts. Our future is ignoring the memories of old people, because they voted for Brexit.

What matters more than testimonial videos is what That Bloke on Facebook posted an hour ago. Although I may have abandoned the platform some time ago, my husband still sits and watches comedy videos and uses it for Hockey and Cycling groups. I’m fairly confident he’s not being manipulated in any way by fake news, but until he feels physically compelled to leave? Houston, we have a FUCKING HUGE PROBLEM.

That’s not the only issue: no other service is as badly regulated, is as casually used and abused, or easily accessible. Businesses demand employees use it, companies won’t promote themselves anywhere else. It plays on the most basic human need for connection, exploits it mercilessly, and then uses those connections TO SELL SHIT TO YOU. Most people don’t even care, but they won’t be the first to leave.

It is humanity’s inherent laziness that allows this platform to thrive.

I’m still using Instagram, it should be stated for the record, 100% in a promotional capacity. That’s only happening because it is free. However, there was a period before the writing career took precedence that Facebook was considered as a platform. I looked at ads. It scared the life out of me: how much money was needed, where the reach went, how the company pretty much demanded total immersion before anything became worthwhile… and I found myself, not for the first time, considering addiction.

This year is the one I’ve made a conscious decision to stop using Social media as a crutch. Online time is strictly limited on my phone. As this is the last day of the school holidays the tablet by the bed will be removed and left down here so there’s none of that either before sleep or when I wake up. The differences it’s making not only to sleep time but mental awareness is already obvious. Yes, you are addicted to Social media.

Addiction however is acceptable when everybody else is too.

None of this is relevant to anyone else, of course, because they aren’t addicted. It’s just a place to hang out with mates, or watch funny shit your cousin posted. Except there is increasing proof that repeated exposure to bad shit can alter good people. It’s how teens get radicalised, adults become utter morons and Chinese manufacturers convince you that purchasing their cheap generic knockoff is a better bet.

Once you can see through the lies, life becomes easier to rationalise, but no less painful to navigate, because unless EVERYBODY ELSE stops being dependant on the platforms, nothing changes… and eventually, unless we all regress back to a pre-electricity dependant state, someone else will come along and do the exact same thing. The only way life changes now is if EVERYTHING changes, and the chances of that right now seem incredibly slim indeed.

Other people can tell you the horror stories. I can recommend podcasts which explain how Facebook tries to be good, but at a terrible cost. There’s enough conspiracy theories out there to last a thousand lifetimes. The reality is simpler, easier to rationalise. You get one life, it remains finite and right now may not necessarily depend on how long you survive. The planet, for an increasing number of us, may burn before we do.

If that’s the case, this is the moment to stop staring at a screen for whatever reason, and to get out and do some good. Instead of filling social media with complaints and frustrations, this is when we get out there and do some good. Stop looking at other people’s lives and wishing yours was better. Make the change. There’s no statute of limitations on New Year’s Resolutions. Today is a great day to start fresh.

Any day can be the start of something better.

Awakening

In bed at 9am last night may not be some people’s idea of enjoyment the Saturday before Christmas, but it worked for me. Considering how peculiar I’ve felt over the last couple of days, this morning’s full-on cold and only minimal mouth pain is an inconvenience I’ll be more than happy to live with. The wound site is healing very well now, massive hole almost completely closed up.

I’ve learnt a lot about my own tolerance for pain over the last ten days or so. Mentally it’s going to be a tough ask to get everything I want submitted in the next nine days, but I’ll be giving it my best shot. One thing can be shifted forward to January, which helps, and with some clear air tomorrow and Tuesday, first drafts should become second and beyond. Focus is what is being practiced today.

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After that, there’s a pile of domestic tasks to be knocked off, and when those are done it is time to go sort out some new glasses. My Fitbit comes off tomorrow and won’t be going back on, and I’ll be downloading all my historical data before cancelling the account for good. Let’s hope Santa got the memo about a suitable alternative… and I have cycling to do. Having managed to leg press 150kg in the last week, the bottom half of the body also needs some work.

I’m really looking forward to exercise in 2020.

Run for Home

I’ll be ditching my Fitbit over Christmas, because no Google, not happening. Instead, I’ll be picking up a Garmin watch. I’ve been doing some research on what the new system brings me, and it’s already getting me quite excited.

Last night’s Blaze was also a triumph, despite the fact my mouth’s still fucking painful. When I’m told to run at 8/10 for three minutes and not go balls out, a part of my brain quietly celebrates. The irony of course was that I was the only person doing what was asked of them last night. Everybody else struggled. Regulation has become my real, abiding strength.

Yesterday’s workout was also notable for another reason.

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Yes, I ceased to exist at 8.05 :D That drop out is why I’m in blue at 7.44 too: my belt is not happy holding charge right now. It could also be the belt, after a year of use, that’s not optimal, it may be time to investigate that as a possible reason. Despite this, that’s a 77% effort score, closer to 8/10 than seven. Nine minutes of aerobic threshold run was, it must be said, the most satisfying part of all.

It makes me want to now run in three minute bursts, with active recovery in between, to see how long I can go. That’s certainly a game plan going forward. It’s not running at particularly high speed either, just 7 kph. It is why cycling has such massive potential for stamina training too: being able to keep going, for long periods at a time, is massively helpful. Except always, ultimately, I am at a disadvantage.

Lung capacity is the intractable that must be managed.

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There is nothing that can be done about the shortcomings of my body. There’s no way to undo the damage of pneumonia and poor lung function. All I can hope is to maintain a certain level of fitness, and hope that is enough to allow an increase in both strength and capacity. It would help if I could find a peak flow meter to check whether anything has improved on that front since September.

Never tidy anything up, kids.

Yesterday’s Men

Wednesday is normally a bit teeth-grindy. I can’t do that really right now, though this morning it must be said the pain has reduced from yesterday so maybe I should just shut the fuck up and wait to heal. The Bond 25 trailer dropped, and despite best efforts I could not escape it: it even turned up on the electronic advert screens at the Gym. Still not going to the cinema to consume, it can wait for a DVD release.

However, it looks like an improvement on Spectre.

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I’ve not really hit my writing targets this week, mostly because of pain, if truth be told. However, there’s been some major exercise developments, which included me being able to get on a bike yesterday afternoon, do approximately thirty minutes and feel as if it worked for me. It also sets a notional benchmark for the rest of the month. Same course, same time, and if I feel like doing more, I can.

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There’s also been a bit more of a focus on stretching, plus trying to ensure thirty press-ups a day are done regardless of whether I’m resting or not. Stamina doesn’t just come from longer workouts and harder training, it has consistency at its core, and this is a part of the equation I have failed at quite a bit across the years. Things feel like they are coming together too, this is the new status quo.

Yay.