It’s back to school time for this teacher. We started today with an in-service for all teachers so I thought I would recap my summer in health and fitness. As always I am up to something and always trying to improve my overall health and fitness lifestyle. This summer I added two new things into my fitness routine. One was biking. The other was CrossFit. I also made a few dietary changes that I hope I can continue into the school year.
Biking was so much fun. I just really enjoyed getting on my bike and exploring new streets and riding through town and just enjoying being outside on a summer day. My longest ride was 20 miles but I found that a nice 10 mile bike ride is just a nice and comfortable distance for me right now. I am sure next summer will include more biking but with my marathon training it made it tough to not overdo it. I also learned that I need to monitor my tire pressure so that I don’t get flats. That probably would have been useful information ahead of time but live and learn.
CrossFit has been great as well. By great I mean that most days I leave there feeling like I am just useless. For me I like having a goal or something to train for so when I am not good at something or not one of the better ones in the classes I enjoy it. I do have to say that I have gotten slowly better and more comfortable with the workouts. I incorporated almost all of the movements and lifts into my previous workout routines but not at that high repetition rate or that high intensity. I really can’t wait until after the NYC Marathon to see what I can do when I completely throw myself into CrossFit and not try to serve two masters by running a marathon at the same time as I am cross-fitting.
Other things I tried to improve my overall health were quitting certain foods. Since losing close to 100 pounds 8 years ago I kind of adopted a eat this not that philosophy. I am always looking for small switches that I can do to improve my diet. Perhaps the biggest was diet soda. For everyone who knows me they know I was for years a diet coke guy. Yes I always drank plenty of water but I had to have my diet coke with a meal. I would maybe drink two or three a day. I went cold turkey and to be honest I don’t even miss it. Even though there are no calories in diet coke there are just too many studies that show how bad it is for you. I do wonder how I will keep that up after going back to work and losing out on the caffeine. My beverages now include coffee, water, iced tea, and beer and thats about it.
The other things I did this summer was try to eat clean. Or at least an 80/20 rule for eating clean. I still have my mandatory cheat meals which are usually Saturday night dinner and one meal on Sunday. By eating clean I mean nothing out of a box. I grilled some meat almost every day for dinner and ate plenty of vegetables. A typical day of eating for me this summer went something like this:
Snack 1: (night time eating) Don’t ask! I have a disease. Grapes or almonds or whatever I had in the fridge.
Breakfast: 6 eggs and an avocado sliced
Dinner: 8 ounce steak with spinach sauteed in butter and garlic
Snack 2: Tomato sliced with salt and pepper
Snack 3: on lifting days Protein Shake on running days a sweet potato with butter
Snack 4: Protein Shake.
This diet usually was about 40% fat, 30% protein, and 30% carbs. My goals were to stay within my calorie allotment which for me is about 2200 calories a day while also getting close to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight which for me is at least 155 grams or 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of overall body weight on days where I did crossfit which is about 190 grams.
Things I no longer eat at least during my 80% of the time are:
Cheese, Milk, or any Dairy.
Protein Bars or any Snack Bars
Anything out of a bag or a box.
High Starch vegetables.
Processed meats such as sandwich cold cuts.
Results: I am about 8 pounds heavier than I was at this time last year but my body fat is down about 2%. That tells me that I have more muscle now and have not added any fat. I have to admit there are times when I look at the scale and see 196 and it bothers me not being at 188 like I was last year but I have to remind myself that the eight pounds gained is mostly muscle. Although I am 8 pounds up I have had multiple people ask me if I lost weight which tells me that I look more lean despite being up 8 pounds from a year ago. I attribute this to the fact that I am consuming more protein and the Crossfit workouts in particular the heavy leg work.
So what can you do today to improve your health and fitness? We are all a creature of habits. Nothing is more habitual than food and exercise. Look into your habits and routines and try to replace one current habit with a new one. If you always stop at Dunkin Donuts for a coffee on your way to work try a lower calorie option off the menu. If you have a sandwich with cheese leave the cheese off and see if you miss it. If you always drive around the parking lot looking for the closest parking spot just park on the far end and walk. One little insignificant change right now leads to another change down the road. Health and Fitness is a continuous lifelong process. One of those changes will be the tipping point that leads to a healthier you.
What changes have you made lately from your regular habits that have led to improved diet or fitness?