Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 16 - Routine and Renewal

One big problem with maintaining the gains and motivation I had earlier is that, after I had settled into an acceptable routine, my schedule at work changed, which threw my routine into chaos. It was sometimes hard to find an acceptable window of daylight to fit a workout into between sleep and work. Also, as I mentioned before, the slow cadence workouts I was trying were killing my focus and motivation.

So I took a full week off of strength workouts while I tried to decide what to do. I've had a general bias against doing workouts overnight, but it looks like I'll have to rethink that. I'm also going to increase the speed on my reps, or maybe alternate fast and slow sets to help my motivation.

Another problem is that myfitnesspal (the app I use to track my food) recalibrates your calorie targets every ten pounds lost. I had established an eating routine that put me just under that target number, but having hit the 20 lbs off mark, my new target is getting harder to hit. I could pad that number by running more frequently, but I run into that time crunch problem again, unless I'm willing to run after dark, which is not the best idea in my neighborhood, I'm thinking.

Part of me wants to make more radical changes in my workout schedule, or even throw it away and start fresh. Based on past experience, I'm worried about trying it. The reason I've been able to sustain for almost four months is that I've developed a routine, which is how you get past that early rush of enthusiasm and borderline obsession.

Starting fresh means having to renew that enthusiasm and obsession again, until I've settled into the new routine. I've never been able to accomplish that successfully before. With luck, coming back to a tweaked strength workout after a week off will help the stale routine feel a little fresh again without completely throwing me off track.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

15 Weeks - Hitting Milestones and Losing Steam

I love round numbers, so having finally hit the 20 lb. lost mark was a big thing, in a way, although after so many weeks of hovering just above that mark then bouncing back up, it was also sort of anti-climactic. I did go out Friday night after work and have a cigar to celebrate, though, so hte effort wasn't wasted.

However, now I have to face the fact that I'm only halfway to my goals, and everything is starting to wear on me.  I've said before that three months tends to be the limit of my patience with workout/diet obsession cycles. I'm just past that and starting to debate whether all this frustration is worth it.

For instance, the way my "morning" routine takes up so much of my day. See, that fancy digital scale that measures body fat? You need to maintain a pretty consistent level of hyrdration to get consistent results. So the first thing I do upon waking is drink 750ml of water before I weigh myself, because I also need to weigh myself before eating. But because I supposedly need to eat within an hour of getting up for best results, I have to slam that water down, wait a few minutes, weigh and then eat. This takes the entire first hour of my day, and sometimes due to my odd sleep schedule, time gets a little tight, especially with a new schedule at work.

Also, the timing of my breakfast then makes it so that I can't work out very early, because I don't want to work out too hard immediately after eating. And my current approach to strength workouts is not giving me very good results. Even Zombies, Run! (whici I finally broke down and purchased all the available content for) is starting to wear a little thin.

And this doesn't even take into account the inconvenience of cooking so much of my food, not to mention the fact that I haven't had some of my favorite foods, like gyros and pizza, in months.

Part of me wants to take a break, treat myself to some forbidden foods for a couple of weeks while I figure out how to retool my workouts to be more interesting and also relax my morning rituals a bit. Another part of me is worried (from past experience) that breaking the routine now will let me spring back into my old habits and lose all the progress I've made way too soon.