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Where I write about things that have bothered me this week.

by John on October 23rd, 2014

The other day, I came upon this article: Science Says You Should Start Your Workouts With Cardio at the My Fitness Pal blog. Now, I <3 My Fitness Pal -- if there is a tool that I can credit for why I believe I'm healthier, now, than I've ever been in my life, My Fitness Pal is that tool. But, there is so much about this article that pisses me off. First, it's a blog1, and, much like the haters in the whole #GamerGate sucktitude, because you have the ability to post means you have a voice — and that sucks sometimes.

First, the premise for the “best” workout seems to be what “increases your heartrate the least.” Now, if you’re a newbie to working out, this isn’t horrible advice, because you don’t know how hard to push your body – so, in theory, you can push yourself too hard, to the point of injury. And that would be horrible, especially for the fact that early injury might mean that you stop working out, altogether. But, well, I’m a believer that the more your heart rate elevates, the harder you’re pushing yourself, the more calories you’re burning doing the exercise, and the more calories you’ll burn while recovering from the exercise. Basically, as long as you don’t injure yourself, you should aim for the greatest increase in average heart rate during a workout.

Next is an item of actual safety. Lifting heavy is beneficial — it’s how you make yourself stronger, the fastest. Every time I lift2, I’m keenly aware of what I achieved the last time I worked out. If I my best set was a 275 pound squat for 5 reps, I’ll be thinking about that through my warm-ups, up until my heaviest set. Let’s assume, for the sake of simplicity, that you have a finite amount of strength in each muscle — well, if you do cardio first, you use up some of that strength — so, it’s entirely possible that I’m D-O-N-E after 4 sets at 275, just because of a run at the beginning of the workout. But, in the back of my head, I’m thinking “I did five the other day,” so I’ll try for one more . . . and introduce the possibility of injury by pushing myself too hard. I like to think that I know my body well-enough to avoid this, but, well, I can be stubborn when I’m asking of my own body.

So, in short, be cautious as to the source of an article — here, I simply don’t know what My Fitness Pal was trying to get across, unless they think everyone should be pushing themselves as little as possible, which seems beyond backward.

So, away from the My Fitness Pal blog & onto the application. The other day, I ended up in a lunch meeting. At the start of the meeting, I opened the app & logged everything that I was about to eat. This gathered some odd looks & a “why would you do that?”. Well, I do this to ensure that I’m keeping my eating in track. If I don’t consciously stop & think about what I think I’ll be eating, I’m likely to allow my eating to get out of control. While I think I’m disciplined enough to follow my body, I really don’t want to test the hypothesis. I log what I eat, every bite. Where possible, I log every bite before I eat it.

“What if you’re going to go over your calories?”

Well, at that point, I log, end up over my caloric budget for the day, and move on. I don’t stress over it. And then I showed the person a day where, despite “earning” 2000+ calories from exercise, I still went over my 3000 calorie budget, by an additional 2000 calories. In short, I ate like a pig for a day. The person, simply, didn’t understand why I’d log if I was going over.

My only answer was “if I don’t log when I’m going over, what’s the point of logging in the first place?”

Oh well, I’ll admit that logging is a pain in the ass, at times, but, well, I need something that keeps my eating in check. And this is what works for me.

Lastly, there seems to be a small, but vocal, minority of people who see their diet choices are superior to others. I don’t get this . . . everyone is on their own plan, with their own goals & methods. A snarky facebook post about the amount of sugar in a Pumpkin Spice Latte or the ilk — well, I don’t get it. I’ll fully admit that, since I’ve reduced the amount of refined sugars/flours in my diet, I seem to be making progress toward the body that I want, but, if anything, I feel stupid for this. The act of making dinner requires way more thought than the act of making food should require. I have to bring in my lunch, every day. I miss snacking. Choosing to eat one way or the other doesn’t make you superior to anyone. Now, if you bring in your lunches and then donate the money you’re saving to a food shelter? Well, maybe then, you actually do stand on a moral high ground. But, chicken breast & broccoli, while delicious, does not a good person make.

1 Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, this is a blog, too . . . but, I would be bothered to find anyone coming here for honest-to-goodness fitness advice. I write about what I have tried in my “quest for fit.” I write about what has worked for me. I write about what I plan to do. I write thinly-veiled dick jokes. But I don’t say “you should do this…” and this blog article, well, it seems to be saying “you should do this,” without backing up any of it.
2 I may do, primarily, bodyweight exercises right now, so “lifting” usually involves me getting my chin up & over a bar so many times.
  1. Covert_Ali permalink

    I really like your point about logging food. ” “if I don’t log when I’m going over, what’s the point of logging in the first place?””

    I was very dedicated and logged everything before I ate even if I went over. I would get comments about it as well.

    I got out of the habit when I was injured a few months ago bad reason but that’s what happened. You have inspired me to log today. One day at a time and then it will become a good habit for me again.

    Thank you for sharing your bothers. 🙂

    • Injuries suck — but I’m very glad to hear of anyone using any excuse (especially a silly blog post) about getting back to work.

      Hope things work out well.

  2. Well I am just in awe of anyone who takes their exercise seriously and logs anything.
    So there ….

    • Well, thank you. I’m in awe of anyone who can manage to write well, raise kids, and look damn good doing it 🙂

  3. Getting one’s chin up over a bar that requires doing more than standing on tiptoe is pretty hard core in my book.

    I think some people just like being right and “better than”. It gives them a sense of power. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to find that so many things work for so many different people in many different ways, and I’m good with that. I write and share about what works for me, in the hope that maybe someone can glean something helpful (or even learn from my mistakes), but I’m no expert and would never tout myself as such. The ones who do always end up looking arrogant and silly in the end.

    It’s admirable to stick to the habits and practices that keep you focused on your health and your goal. Keep it up.

    • Why thank you.

      I’ll feel a lot better about what I’ve been doing as soon as I have the upcoming marathon in my rear-view mirror 🙂

  4. Ugh. I don’t want to talk about diet and exercise. It just makes upset.

    Also Facebook is a bitch fest/superiority contest most days. What’s wrong with everyone? If I see one more Kelly Ripa says about parenting post….jeez, who cares what Kelly Ripa does?

    Wow. I sound bitter.

    • I’m almost afraid to ask why Kelly Ripa is a topic of conversation — am I that far removed from societal norms?

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