Happy New Year, Fellow Fitness Fanatics or Why I Hate New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, Jan. 4. 2016's run.
Monday, Jan. 4. 2016’s run splits.

Okay, maybe “fanatics” is a bit strong. I wouldn’t exactly say that I am a fitness fanatic. However, I am addicted to exercise and I have been for the past three years. Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary of the launch of this blog and a polar shift in my lifestyle. I adopted better nutrition and exercise as a way of life. At the most I dropped 60 pounds in just over two years. I have put some back on due to a miscalculation and of course, the dreaded winter or holiday weight.

Where to begin? I have spent the past couple of months writing about some adventures and a couple of obsessions – Halloween and Christmas. Loyal readers know that I had back surgery in May and it has been a long road to feeling better.

I opted against physical therapy after surgery thinking I could do what I learned in physical therapy the first time it was prescribed on my own. I worked hard after I was cleared for activity; two-a-day workouts; interval running training. I may have done too much too soon. My body eventually screamed at me. My surgeon doesn’t like my running and believes a facet joint and nerve damage are causing chronic pain. Six months to a year is the prognosis now. It’s been eight months.

I decided to try physical therapy after all and I gotta tell ya, I have been experiencing some improvement. More on that later.

Homunculus House posted this on Facebook. Sometimes, this is what I think my Macbook looks like.
Homunculus House posted this on Facebook. Sometimes, this is what I think my Macbook looks like.

I started this blog for a few of reasons.

  1. Track my progress. This blog is a written and visual record of all that I have done to lose weight, eat right and get in shape.
  2. Keep myself honest. If I ever get down or forget where I came from all I have to do is go back and look. It also keeps me motivated to move forward.
  3. A creative outlet. I write for a living but my writing is industry-specific so I use this forum to vent, discuss things I enjoy, tell stories of my adventures, etc.
  4. Inspire others. That’s a lie. I never set out to inspire anyone. I know that I have, and that’s great. If you are one of those people, I hope you find similar success.

What I find interesting is what happens to the blog traffic based on the topic of any particular entry. Maybe it’s the tags I chose, but when I write about fitness my numbers skyrocket. I write about life, readership dwindles. It’s not a complaint, just an observation.

So, my back was bothering me to the point I needed help. Prescription painkillers, over the counter pain relievers, bourbon, scotch all helped but were only treating the symptoms and not the cause. My surgeon is convinced it’s not a disc problem or herniation or anything of the sort. The physical therapists believe it’s a muscle and core strength issue. I have been making some measure of progress with physical therapy. I have been making it through the day without painkillers of any kind and I feel good enough to go back to my full exercise regimen.

Now, many people who live where there is inclement weather use meteorology (and the holiday season) as an excuse to back off exercise and overindulge. I am not exception. Well, the weather isn’t that big of a factor for me but El Niño is admittedly becoming a pain in the ass. The biggest problem with the holiday season is the overabundance of treats at the ready. Throughout my workplace, little caches of candy, cookies and other confections were everywhere. My sweet tooth had a hard time saying no this past holiday season. Couple that with back pain and I took a little time off. Not completely, but I backed it way down.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I think they’re stupid. I set goals. The only reason I started this journey three years ago when I did had nothing to do with the start of the new year rather a break in my work schedule. I now have a similar break and I am ratcheting up my efforts. I always find the Facebook posts and memes from my pals who go to the gym on a regular basis hilarious this time of year. All the folks who make New Year’s Resolutions to get in shape crowd the gym in January and vanish like the lost colony of Roanoke, Va., overnight by February. I would have started my process in September or November had my work schedule allowed it or if my dull wits would have wrapped my head around making it fit in my schedule sooner.

I am never going back.

Hey, if you need a resolution to try to get in shape, more power to you. If you just want to wait until the holidays are over to try and shed your winter weight, that’s fine too. Just stick to it. Make it your lifestyle. Don’t go in for the fads or lose weight quick scams. And you sure as hell better not listen to quacks like Dr. Oz. If cardio is your thing, then cardio yourself silly. You like weights? Then lift. Find a program, make an effort to eat healthier, count calories (you don’t need as many as you think you do), and make it happen.

Man, if every day could be like today, I’d be in killer shape in no time. Thanks to three Isopure low carb whey protein shakes and what I have eaten today, I am well over 150g of protein for the day. I did Day 8 of Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Shred (chest, triceps and abs) sans cardio acceleration, ran three miles, did the Daniel Craig “Tuesday” chest and shoulders lift and finished with 30 minutes on the recumbent bike. I do like two-a-days, I just don’t have time or energy for it most of the time.

I do feel like I have some weight to lose. Now this is funny.

This is from Calculator.net:

Based on the Robinson formula (1983), your ideal weight is 156.5 lbs
Based on the Miller formula (1983), your ideal weight is 155.0 lbs
Based on the Devine formula (1974), your ideal weight is 160.9 lbs
Based on the Hamwi formula (1964), your ideal weight is 165.3 lbs
Based on the healthy BMI recommendation, your recommended weight is 128.9 lbs174.2 lbs

This was in 2004, 170 pounds maybe?
This was in 2004, 170 pounds maybe?

The last time I was under 170 pounds I looked emaciated. Maybe not Christian Bale in The Machinist thin, but you get the idea. I do think my new target should be about 175. That means I need to lose about 10-12. I got to 176.6 but couldn’t stay there. I was at 180 for months before miscalculating my daily caloric intake led to gaining about five pounds. I have been fluctuating between 180 and 189 the last several months. I still have what I consider a lot of belly fat I’d like to get rid of.

The New Year has doubled my resolve, renewed my commitment and given me a new starting point.

Since I travel for work from August – December I set a goal to run in every city I visited in 2015. I missed one. Detroit. Not because I forgot to pack my Kevlar body armor, but because I was sick as a dog. I made 10 trips and ran in nine cities. Not to shabby if you ask me. The shortest run was 2 ¼ miles in Seattle. The 18-degree grade was a bitch. Minneapolis, Chicago and Pittsburgh were the most scenic of the places I visited. Denver was freezing, as was Kansas City (although not quite as bad). I did run in snow, ice, mud and wet leaves in KC. It was kind of fun but slow.

City to city I'm running my rhyme. Got four good miles in San Diego.
City to city I’m running my rhyme. Got four good miles in San Diego.

I ran and walked quite a bit last year despite back surgery, 319.1 miles. I have been trying to increase my mileage or go faster. Going faster got derailed thanks to my back injury but I am getting there. My body can’t handle running every day and can only deal with every other day in spurts.

My body has become hypersensitive to what I put in it. My weight fluctuates up and down depending on what I eat, how many calories I take in, how much sugar I indulge on, how much water I drink and how much I exercise. The past few months I haven’t been able to get the protein or water I need into this 1969.

I guess the new goal isn’t really new. But I am determined to finally start to look how I want to look, shred the fat and build muscle. I’ll be looking at an trying new workouts, further refining my nutrition (somebody help me please) and continuing to try to eliminate by back pain.

It’s going to be a fun ride and I’ll post new photos soon as I chart my progress. I hope you follow along and get something out of it.

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