Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why My Pants Don't Fit Anymore

Today, I want to expand on what I’m doing to try to lose weight and get into shape, and some of the websites and apps that I’m using to try to track everything. I don’t know if I’m doing it right, but since I have lost weight and I think I need to punch some more holes into my belt, I don’t think I’m doing it totally wrong.

Now, for those who have never met me, let me give you a bit of info. When I started this, I was 5’11, weighed 271 pounds. I have never been that active, unless I’ve been in a job that requires it. In High School, I averaged 240-250 pounds. The lightest I’ve been was my freshman year in college, where I disliked the food so much I dropped to 205 pounds. I am now pushing 35, have two bad knees and a bad ankle that causes me to worry when I walk or exercise, so that’s kind of scared me off of pretty much any physical activity.

I started daily going to the apartment complex’s fitness center and spent half an hour on the treadmill. I’ve worked up to a fairly steady 3.8 miles an hour, switching between 0 and 1.0 for the incline. I’d also head over to the stationary bike when I was done, and start pedaling for half an hour. I’m averaging 6.5 miles an hour and not letting the resistance level drop below 4, sometimes pushing up to 7. Add in doing sets of 10 pushups every chance I could find an empty conference room at work, I was burnt out by Wednesday physically.

I took Wednesday off and went back Thursday, and felt better. Took Friday off, went back Saturday, and started to get improvement, especially when you add in remembering to stay HYDRATED while doing this, as I was sweating like a woman of ill repute in a holy place. So now, I’m still doing pushups at work to help break the monotony of sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours at a stretch, but I’m cutting back on the fitness center runs to every other day. I might go back up to daily, but starting out like this, I’m not seeing any benefit to going every day, especially when almost everything I’m reading is saying to try to start 3 days a week with the cardio.

Now, being a geek, I can’t just exercise. I also use the internet and my Android phone to track it. First, I use Runkeeper to keep track of my mileage. Right now, I’m using manual input for the treadmill, but I’m hoping by spring I can get outside and use the GPS to track me. I like Runkeeper because it allows me to keep track on my phone, and then refer back to it on the internet if I’m curious about how far I had gone on a certain day. For weight tracking, I use CardioTrainer, which I USED to use for distance tracking, and still do out of habit, but I was never able to find a website that let me look at my info online, so I switched over to Runkeeper.

SparkPeople is a decent website/app combo that I like, as well, that helps me keep track of my goals. It tracks fitness, weight, food and water intake, and other goals you’d like to keep track of. It is more of a group website, with group challenges, articles, and information about Fitness and Wellness. The only thing I don’t like is how their app doesn’t quite sync up with their website, but I’ve been able to work around that.

Finally, a really FUN one to use is a website called Fitocracy. It turns exercise into a social game, giving points for different exercises and allowing you to level up and earn achievements. It has groups you can join that have group challenges, and it just is enjoyable to see your points, and see your level go up. It really appeals to the Xbox player in me. It doesn’t have an app for Android, but they have an easy to navigate mobile site, and it works very well. I just have a shortcut to it on the same page as my apps for the others.

None of those websites or apps are really required, and I’ll admit that there are certain things I have to put in multiple times. One example is inputting my walking and biking. I put it into Runkeeper, CardioTrainer, SparkPeople, and Fitocracy. However, Runkeeper and CardioTrainer only track cardio, not strength training, so that is why I have SparkPeople, and everything still goes into Fitocracy for points. I figure if I had to go down to just ONE app, it would be SparkPeople. It tracks my exercise, my caloric intake, and it’s my main go-to with information, but being a creature of habit, I just fill in all of them because it’s easy to catch up on while riding the bike.

So, if you follow me and want to play along, what do you do? What’s your preferred workout routine? Do you use any websites or apps to track your progress? Let me know in the comments!


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