Update: This post is now available at a new location:
Since the begin of May, so for the past 5 months, I've been doing a lot in order to get rid of some extra weight. Unlike my previous attempts in the past, this time I succeeded like never before.
The key to this success was measuring pretty much everything. I bought a new phone just for that reason. My old phone, a really old HTC Touch Diamond still works fine. However the internet and the GPS didn't work. I bought a relatively cheap phone (LG E610, around €150) and added two apps: one for calculating how many calories I burn jogging and how many I consume with food.
To calculate the food calories, I bought a small scale. Measuring how much 'healthy' cereal I was eating was a bit of a shock. Seeing how much running it required to burn it off was a bigger shock.
Armed with the knowledge, I kept on going. For 5 months, I have been jogging in the mornings at 6am, almost every day. For 5 months, I have been jogging every Saturday and Sunday. From a point where I couldn't run 6km without stopping a few times to catch my breath, I've come to a point where I run every Saturday a half marathon.
I have also been going to the gym a lot. I used to do that also for a year before May, but it had no effect. The reason for that was my eating habits (quality and quantity) and the lack of cardio outside the gym. After May, that changed. The numbers don't lie. I actually reduced the days of going to the gym to 4. At some point before May I was even going 7 days per week at the gym. That didn't work. Four days is still getting a bit too much and I'm trying to figure out a way of reducing it to three.
Going to the gym and doing free weights really helps to convince the body that it should burn the fat instead of the muscles. I think that our bodies are programmed to withstand the ice age. Sitting behind a computer for the most part of the day means that I don't use my muscles that much. Dieting and cardio without doing some serious weights will just lead to the body burning a few muscles off. Use it or lose it.
The weather also helped a lot. This summer it didn't rain at all, so it was easy to wake up at 6 (the sun comes up at 5) and go for a 45' jog before work. Now I keep on doing it 2-3 days per week, even though it's dark. I got to like running. I had never run that much ever in my life.
The result so far is that from 94kg around May I've gotten down to 72kg. Body fat percentage (according to my not so trustworthy scale) has gone from around 24% to 18% and I'm trying to reach 15%. I had to throw all my clothes away and buy new ones.
So, the title of the post is the big Tuesday. I'd like to share what I typically do on Tuesdays these days 🙂
- 6:00: alarm clock goes off.
- 6:30: I'm off jogging in the night. Music (same playlist for 5 months), check. Flashing lights on left arm, check. Phone measuring my run on right arm, check. I go out in the cold night for 42 minutes, 6,5km and 500 calories.
- 7:10: The big breakfast. Food deserves a separate post, but I just want to say it's very important to eat better in any case. Avoid processed food (I should also avoid it more). So, omelette, bread (not too much), ham, cheese, honey, milk. 800 calories later, it's time to go to work. How? Cycling of course 🙂 Not many calories here (around 150 these days) but always remember that small consistent numbers projected over great periods of time can make a difference. Plus, if you can convert your daily commute to work into a form of exercise, you should.
- 12:00: Lunch time. I bring my own food. Monday and Tuesday it's chicken-brocolli-rice that I've cooked on Sunday. It's funny that some Dutch colleagues pointed out that I eat always the same (that's true), because they also always eat Nutella and processed meat and white bread…
- 17:00: Leaving the stress of work behind. I make one protein shake at work and cycle to hit the gym at around 17:30
- 17:30: Tuesday is chest and biceps day. Around 15' cardio just for the warmup (200 calories). I don't like doing cardio at the gym. The quality of the air can never much the quality of nature's air. Treadmills are for mice. A lot of weights, on all rep ranges. Today I managed to do 5rep sets on 65kg bench press (without counting the bar's weight) for the first time. But I also do 40rep on 8kg dumbbells. Low rep (rep = repetition), moderate rep, high rep ranges. A few biceps curls too. I don't really focus that much on biceps, I like to work more on the big muscle groups.
- 18:45: Post workout protein shake and time to go home.
- 19:30: I put the clothes in the washing machine and press the button. It's Tuesday so it's also cooking night. Tonight I prepare my lunch for Wednesday and Thursday: cod fish-potato-courgette-carots.
With the food in the making and the washing machine spinning, I have dinner and, well, write this long post 🙂
I'm not an expert, I'm not a nutritionist, I'm not a sports instructor, I'm not a doctor. I do think that the numbers don't lie and that all it takes in the end is commitment. I wish I had found a way to do this back when I was in my twenties, when I actually had more time to do it. Now, as you can see, my schedule is totally packed. I've got a bunch of books that I've bought and haven't even began reading. My whole schedule revolves around fitness. But I guess a passion is a passion!
I hope I'll manage to maintain my weight and reduce my fat percentage a bit more. Even though I've lost a lot of weight, the belly is still covered with a nice layer of flabby fat (while my shoulders are getting ripped). You can't really instruct the body where it should lose the fat from.
I might be doing some follow up posts on some of the things I've learned during this process. Whenever people ask me in person, I tend to go on talking about it in great lengths, so maybe it's useful to share that information in public too.
Stay active, eat healthy!