Wednesday, September 26, 2012

PROGRESS UPDATE - (week 12) Finally!

It was time for another one of those dreaded Body Composition Analysis things yesterday and I had been mentally preparing myself for another disappointment. My weight isn't really going down, but then again I do feel there's a difference since some of the clothes I wear have started to feel looser and baggier. Also, when I summed up my last week's workouts I realised that I had burnt 2700 kcal in total by exercising. That made me realise that I really shouldn't stare too much at the kilos the scale is showing but keep working out and being active and trust that eventually I will get there. Every single workout session burns calories and fat and improves my fitness level.

And then the results: I guess it really pays to be pessimistic - yesterday's analysis showed considerable improvement. Here are the most important figures from 24 August and 24 September results compared to 2 July starting figures (the first figures show the progress after 2 months and the second figures show the progress of last month alone):

Weight: -1,4 kg / -0,5 kg = -1,9 kg in total
Body fat percentage: -1,8 % / -4,2 % = -6 % in total
Body fat mass: -2,2 kg / -4 kg = -6,2 kg in total
Muscle mass: +0,8 kg / +3,5 kg = +4,3 kg in total
BMI: -0,4 / -0,2 = -0,6 in total

In addition, the fitness level tests (restHR, crunches, push ups and squats) showed that I had moved from average range to good.

After staring at the figures and graphs at home I was absolutely amazed to notice that my fat percentage had dropped twice as much during just one month compared to the progress in the first two months. Even better with the gained muscle mass: over four times as much muscle mass gained! Wow. My Personal Trainer has definitely found the right mix for me now - especially if you consider that I spent one week in bed because of the bronchitis and had to start slowly after the sick leave.

I was so pleased with the results that I had to toast myself with a lovely glass of freshly pressed apple-celery-cucumber-kale-broccoli-ginger juice, seasoned with spirulina and wheat grass powder. (I can so hear some of you go "Ewwww!" right now... Trust me - it tastes better than it sounds. Or looks!)

I have to say the graph that made me the happiest was the one showing my body fat percentage being within the healthy range for the first time since the beginning of July. Back then it was nearing the obese range, which was a major wake up call. That one result right there is why I'm really doing this: to be healthy. 

All in all, I'm very pleased with the results and determined to keep going. I would love to see similar or even better results in next month's analysis!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Runner's High?

You can blame this on my recent high fever or possibly runner's high. Something I have always thought of as impossible and utterly unreachable for me has really started to fascinate me lately: running a half marathon! I realised after completing my first successful 60 min run/jog (covering 7,35 km, pace 8.09 min/km) that hey - if that workout felt so easy, if I'll try a little harder each time and if I'll keep doing these workouts regularly throughout the winter season... I just might be able to handle a half marathon in May 2013, right? Right? That would be absolutely amazing for me and something I would feel very proud of for years to come. Yes, I really want to do this!

Now I just need to get myself some proper winter running gear. Speaking of which, I would love to get this Nike 21st C. Windrunner jacket to be really visible in the dark Finnish autumn and winter evenings. Asics winter running shoes are a must as I hate running on ice and snow when the shoes are slipping all the time. You can't even call it running! Also, freezing your toes during an hour's run is not a good idea...


Well, there's always the possibility of running indoors, too. I'm not exactly compatible with a treadmill (serious balance issues) but there is an indoor running track at Kouvola ice hall that is available for the general public. The shorter length of the track (261 metres) is the only real downside: If I want to run 10 km I will have to do 38,3 rounds on it. *Yawn* But then again - no slippery and dark roads, no extremely cold weather, no blizzards or pouring rain. I think I can live with a bit shorter track!

I did some research about the average half marathon times for beginners and I also found a little table for calculating your own goal time at (in Finnish). If I would go with the slowest time the goals would be as follows:

Goal time on marathon: < 6.00 (8.34 min / km)
Training per week: 30 - 40 km
Goal time in 10 km test or competition run: 1.00 - 1.15 (6.00 min/km - 7.30 min/km)
Goal time on half marathon: 2.15 - 2.45 (6.24 min/km - 7.49 min/km)

Doable, right? I already managed to run 8,06 km in 60 min (pace 7.34 min/km) before my sick leave. Basically I just need to push a little bit harder every time I go for a run to get to 7.00 min/km or so and to be able to cover longer distances, too. Let's knock on wood now and hope for a healthy and injury-free training period and maybe you will see me completing something I thought I could never ever do. Now I'm just waiting for the Helsinki City Run registration to start, download some jogging music suggested by and go go go! 

Who's with me?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Sickness And In Health...

You know what? Being sick sucks. You know what sucks even more? Being sick when you have finally managed to get a good workout rhythm going and you are looking forward to constantly improving your fitness and getting better and better results.

On Monday I was supposed to have another workout session with the Personal Trainer, but I started feeling tired and quite strange in the afternoon. First I thought it was just some muscle pain from Sunday's Body Pump workout, but nope. By the time I got home I knew I was properly sick and the fever kept climbing all the way to 38,6 °C. Tuesday and Wednesday showed some signs of the fever letting go - until it jumped right back up to 38,4 °C on Thursday morning! I mean... WHAT the ****?! So off to the doctor I went and oh yay, bronchitis acuta something something was the verdict. And since according to my blood test it's a virus based decease the antibiotics would not help. Therefore I was only ordered to... wait for it... REST. *insert facepalm* I have been doing that for three days now! It's so boring! Help!

By my calculations this is now the third time I have gotten sick during this whole Personal Trainer project: in Belgium in July, in August after returning to work from the holiday in Spain and Norway and now in September. My resistance power has completely gone down the drain and the only major thing I am doing differently is exercising! Isn't that supposed to help your body's resistance power and not weaken it?!

Anyway, let me introduce you to my Sickbed Buddies: woolly socks (a must), warm blanket, herbal drops, sinus rinser, some medication, loads of green or white tea with a good spoonful of honey (and I hate honey so I must be really sick) and thermometer. Of course my entertainment should also be mentioned: my laptop and tablet PC, magazines, mobile phone, TV... I noticed that playing Angry Birds fits my current mood perfectly.

Rinsing my sinuses this morning felt so good, after waking up with a terrible sinus pain and head ache. Sinus rinsing can look and sound a bit tricky but it's actually quite easy when you get the hang of it. Another thing I have tried to do to stop the bronchitis is breathing in some steam. You know the old trick, right? Boil some water and put it in a bowl, cover the bowl and your head with a towel and breathe. Apparently inhaling the steam through your mouth helps the steam to get to the bronchial tubes more effectively.

So, as I mentioned I'm supposed to rest until I'm healthy again. And I'm already so bored! Any suggestions for resting and entertaining myself at the same time? Or better yet - any suggestions for anything (legal) at all that would cure me faster?