Friday, August 8, 2008

Lessons learned

The lessons I've learned this week, at least health/fitness wise can be summed up thusly: Location & timing.

The location is mostly a gym thing. Turns out there's a lot to choosing the right machine, and where it's located in the grand scheme of things is going to be a big indicator of the quality of my workout.

I 'enjoy' (using the term loosely, and also figures into the timing lessons I learned) working out in the morning and while I, and apparently my HRM, like using the machines to the right of the building when you first walk in, rather than those to the left, it also means getting full blast of the sunrise. It's ok for the first part of session, but about midway through it's hard to keep they eyes open and see the display. And no matter how thick the window, or supposedly tinted they are, it's August. In Tucson. It gets hot as soon as the sun comes up. Yeah... So this morning I decided that I would go to the left side and use a machine. Turns out most of the elliptical's squeak. A lot. The one I settled on wasn't horribly loud, and wasn't too close to the edge where everyone walks (it's very disconcerting for me to be focused on the music and not keeling over from exertion and having people walking around you.)

Well, it turns out that this machine is also in the evil vortex of doom for my HRM. I'm thinking that it's a crossfire zone for several of the TV transmitters and makes the HRM go wonky (not to mention the leftover electrical ozone issues from the major storms we've been having.) I was huffing and puffing - and I think a house got blown down, not sure - at an incline of 12 and resistance level of 6, but my HRM read that I only had 130 beats per minute... uh, no, don't think so. Sweat is streaming down my face, I'm working harder than that. So I hold the watch part next to the monitor itself and eventually it catches up to my 155 beats... whee. Then it gets stuck there for a while during the cool down part. It's really difficult to monitor my heart rate when I have to have the two pieces right next to each other, ya know!? And the machine itself was having an equally difficult time - going from 110-215 in a matter of seconds. erg.

I had problems with the machines in the middle, too... wonky crossfire of radio signals. I guess that means that I need to stick to my trusty machines on the perimeters, because it's true: Location is everything!

As far as timing, there's several lessons that made themselves apparent this week. First was the whole "when to go" fiasco on Wednesday. I went in the afternoon as planned and remembered why I dislike that time of day. Yes, I'm more awake and have a bit better endurance in the afternoon, but I'm also tired, just wanna go home and veg, don't want to deal with people, and since I did my HIIT workout, I didn't have a lot of recovery time between it, and the Thurs. workout, meaning my legs were saying a few choice words that morning. It tends to have a trickle down effect so if I exercise last one day, I should take the next one off or move that one to later in the day and so on. So, lesson learned: mornings are best for me to exercise.

In the same vein, I've learned that mornings aren't the best time to make decisions. Like food - you won't make the best choices of what to have for lunch when you're half asleep. I got stuff ready for today last night and recorded 75% of my food at the same time. Very handy for knowing where I was by the time dinner is going to roll around. Not to mention it minimizes temptation from fresh bagels and yummy fruity cream cheese offered by co-workers. For some reason my brain went "nope, you've already had aaaalll this food". Doesn't matter if it was just on my tracker and not in my belly at the time.

Same with the whole exercise thing - best to decide the night before if you are or aren't going to do it, not when the alarm goes off. It /never/ sounds like a good idea at 5:30 am. At least not to me. But the decision was made the day/week/month before, so I had to follow through. Besides tomorrow is sleep in day - I gotta earn it! :)

The last one is based on my rebellion from all things advice oriented about what to/not to eat and when to eat/not eat it. I get the eating several small meals instead of 3 big ones, I get the eating protein at every 'meal', I get the not eating a couple of hours before bed, yadda yadda... but aside from that, who cares what I eat when!? Well, apparently the whole 'not eating lots of carbs late in the day/evening' _isn't_ the load of hooey I thought it was. If they'd said, "Eating lots-o-carbs at night will leave you lethargic, bloaty and cranky that night and in the morning" maybe, just maybe I would have listened. Instead I had to learn it the hard way. Had my whole wheat pasta, all measured out, had a bit of foccacia to mop up any sauce that got away, had ground pork in the sauce for my protein, and a nice salad on the side. Thought I was good. Nope. It sat like a rock in my tummy, then this morning, with the other issues, made for a slow going workout.

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