I promised in my last post under this title I’d cut back on my exercise statistics, but I have to keep them somewhere, so I guess another post after 2.5 months isn’t too much. But first a little clickbait to point out what I’ve mostly been doing, which you can read about at my exciting blog about my adventures in graphics.
Now onto the boring exercise stuff. As I mentioned I’m doing three types of workout to replace what I used to be doing at home, but I’m finding it difficult to keep up. At my previous home just heading to the basement any time of day made it easy to rack up miles on either bike or treadmill, but now I have to get ready and drive to the gym, change clothes, workout (mostly without pauses) and drive home and cleanup. So I do much more strenuous workouts there, but the total (daily) calorie burn is much less and my frequency (days/week) is much less. It’s much easier to skip but I’m trying.
So here’s probably the “bottom line” on my gym activity:
I subjectively rate the difficulty of my gym sessions (I am keeping detailed records but haven’t figured out a single metric to derive from the details) so this graph shows my cumulative score versus calendar days. You can see a few of the gaps (and subsequent drop in slope of the regression line) plus the the visibly more sparse data points later in the graph. The net result is 0.63 “points”/elapsed day where 1.5 score is a full day’s workout. I am deliberately taking it easy (if not skipping altogether) the day after a full workout because I decided to believe some anecdotal analysis that muscles, after hard strength workout, should be given a day to recover and actually build up more and strong fibers – we’ll see if that works.
The following graph just shows the raw count of gym sessions without the weighting for intensity of workouts:
This is even a bit more discouraging as it shows I’m just barely able to average doing a gym session once every three days where, before at home, I was managing almost five days per week. So it’s just tough to get the quantity of workouts.
Of the myriad of graphs I have for tracking my strength training I’ll just bore you with one:
This is my total iron moved per workout just with upper body workout machines. My iron moved totals are much higher as I’ve kept my legs strong via other exercise over past five years and for most people your legs are stronger so my average is only about 45% of my total (of my full, not truncated, routines) is upper. You can see both the gaps and, worse, the actual decline. My early enthusiasm led to the steep growth, starting around 7,000 lbs to nearly 15,000 in about a month, but after my long pause I have yet to even achieve those numbers. My individual sets (no, won’t do another graph) is now about back enough to where I was before but the total sets (esp. including the maximum weight, but few reps sets) is way down. It’s just tough to do this, esp. as: a) my rate of growth has definitely slowed down (out of shape easily cured, gain in strength – not so easy), and, b) it really is boring and hard to focus. Plus I really don’t know what my goal should be and so it’s hard to get the same sense of progress, as with treadmill, where I both had a goal (long walk, with long daily distance) and both a sense of progress and how much more I had to gain. Just as a number, my average rep is about 55lbs, with my weakest averaging a bit over 30lbs and my strongest averaging a bit over 70lbs (at least I’m not too embarrassed when I lower the weight setting from the previous user).
But I suppose the big news is, given my first post on gym was claiming the big deal of having done 14,000 lbs in a workout that now my average is up to nearly 25,000 (just of the “full” routines) and my total has now passed the half million mark, 549,480 total recorded pounds of iron moved or about 274 tons (which means I’m now past what those very large mining machines can move in their single load). Now given I’ve done zero (deliberate) weight moving since crew days in college I suppose I can claim some sort of success.
The more disappointing part of using gym is the relatively low amount of calorie burn I’m getting (and it shows, a bit, on the scales). I was averaging about 700 calories/day (day meaning all days, not just workout days) and now I’m much lower. I’m doing treadmill (hard) and both types of bikes (hard), but it’s still just not enough time (or miles, even lower than the calorie burn drop):
I only count calorie burn based on the readout of the aerobic machines (which, I believe, read lower at the gym than my machines at previous home, but still…) so the slope, 224.78 or the slightly different “average”, 232.64 cals/elapsed day is at least down to just 1/3rd of what I was doing before. Putting that in different terms that’s about 35,000 calories less burned or about 10 pounds of fat, which, not coincidentally, is about my weight gain (albeit over about 150 days) since ending my regular aerobic calorie burns at home. In fact, I’m a little surprised my weight has increased more but I might be near my “set point” (as many dietitians claim exists) and so it hasn’t been worse. My previous low weight was probably a bit “unnatural” for me and thus hard to sustain, so I guess I can, at least, be pleased I haven’t gone up even more (about 17lbs, from best to worst, or about 10lbs from relatively “steady” values). But I can still feel a bit more blubber around my middle than I’d like so I just have to not let this slide. So I hope I can at least stay stabilized where I am and maybe even flatter myself I’ve had some increase in muscle mass which weighs more than fat.
But without a doubt my walking has suffered. Instead of peak daily rates of 12 miles/day (still short of what I’d need to do for a long walk) I’m down to more like 5 miles/day and I suspect I’d be very tired if I attempted 12 miles, which in about another month may become possible again as spring is coming and I can get back on the trail.
As far as my other two, at home, activities, those have slacked off hugely. The first thing I did moving in here was write a “nag” program (just went off with its nag) to at least get me doing some exercise while sitting long hours in front of computer. I was averaging over a 1000 reps/day (in eight different exercises) and I’m lucky if I’m now maintaining 100:
While this was my only upper body exercise before and I have done over 55,000 reps (half without any weights) but total iron moved is only about 138,000 pounds, or about six full upper body workout days at the gym (which totals 277,200 pounds). So I’m not too upset about decreasing this number which was probably a modest help, although at least something if I hadn’t also joined the gym.
Likewise I’ve dropped a lot on my one exercise device here at home, the stretchy springs thing, but I’ve actually slightly increased my maximum reps (in a single set) over time but even that’s almost leveling out. But, nonetheless doing 8169 total reps on that device (when I started I could not even do one!) is something.
So I’m finding strength workouts both much harder to do (as regularly or intensely as I should) and also difficult to measure with all these graphs I need for self-motivation to set and achieve goals. I was never very good at this, but strength can be regained at any age and it’s probably more important to be doing this at my current age (and beyond). I do have the feeling, certainly of a bit more muscle mass (or at least harder muscles), but more importantly a bit more agility, which is really important. While walking late at night I recently slipped on some nearly invisible black ice and I think I would have fallen (rather than caught myself) if I hadn’t been doing this exercise, insufficient thought it may be. Falls are the real devil to older people and fitness is the best remedy so I can, subjectively believe all this has done some good, just not enough.
So there’s my story, my update for about last three months, so I won’t need to bore you with any more, but I do expect to stick with this enough to hit 1,000,000 pounds of iron moved and that’s too much of a milestone to overlook, so there’s bound to be a -3 version of this post, but so long for now.