Hundred Pushups, Week 1, Day 2

I actually did this one last night but I made it through the workout in Column 2: 9, 8, 6, 5, and a max of 10, for a total of 38 pushups.

I'm being generous with my rest periods in between the levels. The sheet calls for 90 seconds (or more if necessary) and I always seem to feel that more is necessary. 🙂

There's probably a trade-off between conditioning myself to power through the sets with only the minimum time in between levels or trying to take it a little “easier” and do more pushups at this stage of the game. What little I do know (or think I know) is that the strength building comes from the last part of the set at which point the muscles tear under the exertion and are repaired, stronger, over the rest period. Maybe taking the levels a little bit slower makes the workout more aerobic and less strength training?

I don't know. But I do know that doing the pushups either way is better than not doing the pushups. Like Jim said, yesterday I did 38 more pushups than I probably would have done without the program.

My Fit Bank on Wii Fit got an upgrade tonight

Tonight I passed the ten-hour mark on Wii Fit and my “Fit Bank” got a bronze-color upgrade along with a brief fanfare. These little touches are nice and remind me that I'm sticking to this pretty well.

If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, here it is in a nutshell. The Fit Bank is a squarish animated piggy bank of sorts that stores the “Fit Credits” I earn for doing the activities. One minute of activity is one fit credit (FC) and counts as one minute in the Fit Bank. The strength training exercises are usually 1 FC, the yoga exercises are usually 2 FC, and the balance and cardio activities run me anywhere from 1 to 20 FC. The FCs drop into the Fit Bank with a satisfying sound one by one after each exercise.

I'll need to make this goal a little more formal but I'm on pace to earn 30 minutes worth of FC each week. (I get a short fanfare each day that I put in 30 minutes or more. I'm such a sucker for these little encouragements!)

Hundred Pushups, Week 1, Day 1

Tonight was a bit of a strange time to start the Hundred Pushups program, but I did.

Since I only did eight pushups on the initial test I started in Column 2. Day 1 of Week 1 calls for five levels (sets) of pushups: 7, 7, 5, 4, and max (as many as I can do), with a rest period of 60 seconds (or more) in between. I did the first four levels as prescribed, and did 12 pushups on the fifth, for a total of 35 pushups. The next day I'll do on Monday so I'll have a day's rest in between.

We'll see how sore I am tomorrow. I'll drink plenty of water before I hit the sack tonight.

Ninety-two more pushups

After reading about a few of my blogging colleagues getting into the Hundred Pushup Challenge I decided to get into it, too.

My performance on the initial test was pretty poor: eight. Only ninety-two more to go.

NCN at No. Calories Needed managed 13 on his first go-around. JD of Get Fit Slowly is working up and Jim at Journal of Healthy Living powered through 27 the first time around. Nickel and Flexo are in, too.

The program at HundredPushups.com looks pretty easy to follow! Definitely not easy to do, but easy to follow!

Having a cheering section really helps

For those of you that already have a Wii, you know that you can make a Mii (pronounced “me”) for yourself that usually can look a great deal like you if you want it to. And so can everyone in your family. And so can all of your friends.

Most of the games in Wii Sports and Wii Fit (and even Wii Play) incorporate other Miis that you know as a cheering section. The skiing events have Miis you know at the bottom of the hill. Step Aerobics has Miis working out right beside you and smiling at you. And so on. It's a really nice touch that the game designer added, and makes much of the workout feel personal and even a bit social even if no one else is around.

As fun as this is, it really doesn't compare to having my three-year-old daughter cheering me along as I do the hula-hoop exercise. That's absolutely priceless.

Easy hack for really thin pats of butter

Once in a great, great, great while I'll do something and my wife will laugh and say, “That was smart!”

I cooked up some tortellini and vegetables for dinner a couple of weekends ago, and asked my wife what she wanted on it. “A little butter,” she said. We store our butter in the refrigerator because we don't really use a whole lot of it, so it's pretty hard when it comes out. This makes it a little more difficult to cut than if the butter's at room temperature.

So I just got out a cheese slicerthis one in particular — and sliced off a few pats, maybe a couple of millimeters thick. Way easier than trying to mess with a butter knife or stirring the meal to melt and coat a couple of big pats.

This is also a good way to enjoy a little butter and control the portion carefully.

Free goodies at work are evil

I guess I have a really serious oral fixation or something like that. Or a sweet tooth. Or both.

One of my colleagues gets a gift and decides to spread the wealth with the rest of us, which is nice. They get bonus points for their big heart. But man, a bowl of candy or a birthday cake or a plate of brownies is so tempting. It's right there, and it's free.

I'm a bargain hunter so “free” is my favorite word. Once in a great while there will be a retirement party and there will be leftovers from a vegetable snack tray, but usually the calories lying around are just empty carbs.

For the past few days I'd been pretty good about passing by the sweets, but today I fell off the wagon, and man, the sweets hitting my system just shut it down. I knew that refined sugar promotes tooth decay and suppresses the immune system but here are several dozen bad things that sugar does to your body. (Scroll down to the salmon-colored box.)

Water can be a good substitute for those occasional cravings, and as long as I get it out of the fountain, it's free, too.

Working out with the Wii Fit

On Memorial Day we went over to a good friend's house. There were a lot of kids there and eventually we congregated around the Nintendo Wii. They've had the Wii for a while but they had recently gotten the Wii Fit, which is a balance board and scale that is meant to be stood on. Sensors detect how evenly you are bearing your weight both left to right and front to back.

We played with the Wii Fit and had a blast. So much so that we shelled out the dough to get the Wii console and the balance board on eBay.

I had been reluctant to just get a Wii. Sure that's exercise and my arms were tired after playing baseball with it, but those games were exercising a very limited muscle group. It didn't seem like that kind of exercise would be worth the money.

Not so with the Wii Fit. The yoga and strength training exercises kick my butt! They're tough. I'm really sore afterwards! They're tough for my friend who's in way better shape than I am. Yes, it's a video game — and not a cheap one — but it's a video game that I'm hoping that will keep my interest long enough for me to see some deflabbification.

Here are a few specific reasons why I think it will:

  • I'm very competitive at video games. I'm not competitive at team sports, and never really was, but man, get me in front of a video game, and you're my worst enemy. That, and I get pretty frustrated when I've done better before at a particular exercise or balance game. I'll try several more times until I've given it a good shot at beating my high score. Meanwhile, I'm exercising, which is the whole point, right?
  • It's graduated. They make you ease into things pretty slowly by unlocking easy activities first. The game encourages you not to overdo your workout.
  • No additional work to record progress. It keeps track of how much, how often, as well as how much you weigh.
  • It covers a lot of territory. Stretching, balance, strength training, aerobic workout — it's all there.
  • There's a neat reward system. The more you use it, the more games you get. Each exercise gives you “fit credits” that drop into a futuristic piggy bank — which I respond to well, considering I also write on personal finance.
  • It will be a long time before I beat these games. Some games you can finish, or you get good enough at them that they're no longer a challenge. This will be challenging for me for a long time.
  • The games are fun. Frustrating at times, but it's almost always because I don't have good enough control over my body's movements to do well. Overall they're a blast to play.

Here are a few things I need to watch out for, though:

  • I'm very competitive at video games. I have to watch that I don't break the thing. I'm serious!
  • It is possible to cheat the system. But isn't that possible with just about anything? I've used it honestly so far and need to continue doing so. I'm only fooling myself if I cheat.
  • I may lose interest. At this point I just need to take it for the exercise it is and keep at it. Hopefully this will be easier if I've developed the habit of exercising by then. I don't see it getting old within the next couple of months. And hopefully I'll be down around ten pounds.

Anyway, this is going to be a fairly big part of my exercise program. I'll keep you posted.

Welcome to Deflabbify

I'm a 36-year-old guy, and I'm fat.

I'm 5'7″ and weigh 241 pounds.  My BMI is over 35.  I've never been heavier and my weight worries me.  A cubicle job, poor eating habits, poor sleep habits, and general laziness have taken their toll.

The full range of my ideal body weight according to the calculator at CaloriesPerHour.com is 133 pounds to 163 pounds.

Getting down to 151 pounds would be a loss of 90 pounds, so there's my goal.  I've heard a pound per week is a good rate to lose weight, so let's set the goal to lose that weight for May 28th, 2010.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so here we go!