Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fat Guy Update VIII

When I went into the gym today I asked the staff if they kept the paperwork from the first Gold's Gym Body Success Challenge. They did. I asked if I could see my starting weight from the first contest. 197.4 lbs.

Damn. I'm still fatter than I was when I started that first contest back on June 16, 2008.

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I didn't keep up with my exercise regimen over the weekend. I played a pickup game of soccer on Thursday and didn't run, I overexerted myself lifting weights and doing situps on Friday and didn't run, and I had a coed soccer game on Monday and didn't run.

I'm also still not eating right. My dinner last night consisted of two slices of pizza and three Bud Lites in a smoke filled bar (no need to mention which one).

Even so, the pounds are dripping off. When I stepped on the scale this morning my weight was 200.8 lbs, making me 11.8 lbs lighter than my starting weight of 212.6.

3.4 lbs more and I'll be right where I was last June, except last June I couldn't run six miles in an hour. Hell, last June I couldn't run period because my achilles heels were injured.

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I really am feeling great these days. I'm running around the soccer field better than I have since 2007 and I feel like I look healthier when I look in the mirror. More than half of my beer gut has disappeared and I get almost daily comments from people who notice. I'm increasing my speed on my runs and I'm also adding more weight and doing more repetitions on my weight lifting days. I'm still not where I was at my peak, but I'm getting there. Even my flexibility has improved. I stretch for about 15 minutes before and after every run. I haven't been able to do the splits since I was about 23, but I can still put my palms flat on the ground when I reach for my toes.

I've written this before, but my fitness plan is to maintain an active lifestyle on top of 60 minutes of running each day. I know I should work on my diet, but man, I really like beer and fried chicken. Maybe next month.

I attribute all of my weight loss to the 60 minutes of running each day. When I first started running again I had a hard time maintaining even a 4.5 mph pace. It took a few weeks before the runs weren't completely wiping me out. I slept a lot. My legs were sore. But I kept at it. Everyday I would get back on the treadmill and knock out 60 minutes, no matter the speed. What mattered was getting to 60 minutes.

When I was a competitive runner we would always talk about something called "The Wall." You hit The Wall while you were training and the sheer force of it made you want to quit. To stop. To take a rest. When you hit The Wall your body has run out of glycogen, out of energy. The only way for you to continue is to start burning fat, using the energy stored in fat cells to keep your body moving.

We thought that breaking through The Wall would take us to the next level of running. We thought that once The Wall was overcome, you would be able to run forever.

I still think of that when I'm running, even if I'm only doing 4.5 mph on the treadmill. There comes a point in a tough run when you want to rest. Maybe your lungs burn or your legs scream, but whatever it is, it makes you want to stop. Forcing your body to overcome the pain and fatigue is how you become a better runner. Overcome The Wall and you'll be able to push your body to its limits.

I'm sure I'm getting the concept of The Wall wrong here, but when I was in high school and college this is how we imagined it. That is the secret to my weight loss. 60 minutes on the treadmill, not 45, not 55, no matter what.

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