Tracking fitness progress

This is the blog post I never thought I’d write in a million years because, in it, I admit to how much I weight. But, I decided to share it anyway because it’s just numbers and they do not dictate who I am or my worth, and because maybe someone can relate.

Last week, I had my body fat percentage measured, twice. My personal trainer (PT) measured it on Monday and on Tuesday we got a free assessment done by a nutritionist whose company is partnered with the gym.

My PT and I just did it to give us one more thing to track. We already track body measurements, weight, and various strength and fitness measurements each month:

1. My weight. We do this to watch for trends, more than anything. Weight loss has not been a priority for me, but it will be necessary for improved health and for reaching some of my fitness goals more easily (jogging, push-ups, etc. will all be easier if I have less weight to carry). To put things in perspective, about 2 years ago, I maxed out around 300 lbs (I actually don’t know how much for sure, but based on trends before and after and on my max pant size, I’m pretty sure I was about that). For most of last year, despite going down in pant size, I weighted about the same (255-260) until I starting getting my groove at the gym and started being able to push myself harder. My first official weight in (November) had me at 254. Six weeks later I somehow found myself at 240. I gained 5 over Christmas, but those 5 miraculously went away over my birthday weekend. So, I weight a lot, but it’s the trend that matters, because I can also go to the gym each day (often, twice).

2. Body measurements. Again, we’re looking for trends, both in each individual measurement and as the set of measurements as a whole. We measure hips, thigh, calf, bust, and upper arm. Last week, all my measurements either increased a tiny bit or decreased a tiny bit, but the set trend was essentially no change (not bad, considering I just had my first guilt free, cookie-devouring Christmas in over a decade). I won’t share these, but mostly because I can’t remember any of them.

3. A few fitness and strength measurements.

(a) For cardio, we test how long I can run at a set speed. So far, the improvement has been minimal, but I do know I’m improving because I did a an double set of 1:1 (1 minute jogging to 1 minute recovery) before Christmas (5 sets of 1:1 at the easier jogging pace, a short “rest” of slow walking, some incline work, and then 4 sets of 1:1 at the harder-for-me jogging pace). Until recently, I struggled with even getting 3 sets of the easier 1:1 intervals. Hell, when I first started, I had trouble with more than 30 seconds of jogging.

(b) For strength we measured chest presses (I was very close to getting 95lbs last week, but I’m still officially at 90), leg presses (skipped this week because of a minor injury that I sustained from landing hard on my knee a few hours earlier, but very close to my body weight last time, if I remember correctly), lat pull downs (115 lbs), bicep curls (only 45 lbs, and that’s still struggle for me at the part where you have to get from a straight arm to just enough of a bend to keep going, all without any momentum being used), and plank (for as long as a I can, which is sadly just 45 seconds at this point, though I do it on my toes, which I only started to do for everything about a month ago).

Back to the body fat measurements: the tools that were used aren’t 100% accurate, but the key is, like weight, to look for trends and aim for a general goal. The healthy percent range for women is under 20%. I’m above this – well above this. But, according to Tuesday’s measurement with the nutritionist, I have a crap load of muscle for a “fat” person. The number does need to decrease, but she seemed less worried about me then some of my classmates, including one of the thinnest, who turns out to be skinny fat (very petite, but with a body fat percentage of about 30%, which is in the dangerous range). Considering I used to be a lethargic blob, I’m pretty comfortable with where I am right now.

Actually, I’m pretty freaking impressed with where I’m at right now. It’s been really hard work and sometimes I felt a bit like I wasn’t making progress. I still think of myself as the least fit person in the class, though at least I keep really pushing and my PT corrected me and reminded me that we all have our own strengths. I’m at a point where I go on my own, even when the last thing I want to do is go to the gym and even when I won’t be joining a class (it’s always easier to go with someone or to be meeting people there). I also have my own goals outside of the gym. For example, I’ve been working more on trying to do at least 10 minutes of yoga each day to help with the stiffness I get after a hard workout.

It’s been a long journey and I still have a long way to go, but at least I started the journey and I’m finding ways to make sure I enjoy the journey … I as much as one can when she occasionally has to do effing burpees!

A note about the 5 lbs I gained over Christmas: My PT was worried about it. I was not. Given that I have spent most of my life convinced that I was fat, it’s been a really long time since I’d had a guilt free Christmas (or, guilt free anything). That one week of feeling ok with all the cookies I ate, not caring what people thought about what I put on my plate, and having the confidence that I could lose whatever I gained fairly quickly because now I know how to eat right for me and I know that I can bust my butt at the gym … all that made me feel like a million bucks. The mental and emotional boost did wonders for me and increased my commitment and drive to keep working on all of this. So, yeah, I gained 5 lbs, but it was worth it!

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2 Responses to Tracking fitness progress

  1. kandisebrown says:

    I’m so happy for you that you’re working so hard at this, enjoying it, and getting the results you want! We all gain weight over Christmas, I think that’s normal and healthy, too. :)

    Like

    • Thanks, Kandise. I have to admit that I’m pretty impressed with myself. Incidentally, and and another yoga-loving friend have inspired me to give it another try. I’ve been doing 10-15 minutes most mornings and while I still really hate some poses and still haven’t got the flexibility to do many, I’m finding that it’s a great way to start the morning.

      Like

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