It’s been my dream to do something physical with Marcus, run with him. But his wheelchair sets some limits among others. Weather and outdoor condition are other factors as he’s had history of allergic reactions.
Yesterday seems to be the perfect condition although it was a bit windy late in the afternoon. We set off anyway, stepped out of the house with my running shoes and Marcus looking forward to see the goats along the way.
I ran and pushed at the first kilometer until the goats appeared. Then it was mostly run-walk from then onwards. I let Marcus cherish the moments to see nature and animals beyond Ultra HD 4K.
If only we had this Adaptive Mobility Freedom Push Chairswhich I saw first on Facebook page of Athletes in Tandem. This push chair would allow me to run with Marcus better and safer. His current wheelchair rattles and it poses a challenge when going uphill thus the need to take extra care not to over tilt him backwards. The mobility chair’s price is stiff though at $900 excluding shipping since it would come from USA. Maybe soon.
We covered seven kilometers yesterday so this red wheelchair is good enough for now.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Today’s agenda: Learn the floss. (No) thanks to kid’s Fortnite game.)
The frequency of pull-ups I’ve been doing since I installed the Domyos pull-up bar has its downside. Yes, I now do various routines with it but all the gripping plus the weight my hands have to bear resulted to unsightly calluses.
It was something I despised at first. I was already considering workout gloves until I saw a post from Dan Kavadlo. (Duh!) His hands have far thicker calluses. I was too naive not to expect to see such with the way he does bodyweight workouts. His human flags for one are crazy.
Since then I wear my calluses with pride like my black toenails. I have to ensure though that it does not get any bigger and thicker as my wife and I take turns in giving Marcus a bath. He would always remind me to be gentle when I scrub him because he can feel my calluses and is annoyed by it. This is the reason my cube reeks of Burt’s Bees Hand Cream. Sorry about that folks.
As it turns out, running isn’t exactly a minimalist sports that we all thought it to be. The farther I run the more I agree with expert advice that it pays to switch to a different pair of shoes every other run.
And I’m a sucker, or let’s say I’ve been assimilated. So yesterday coming from a company event in Tagaytay, while fighting lack of sleep, I dropped by Paseo de Sta. Rosa to look for running sneakers.
I was in luck. The Nike Store has an open box item and although it’s not really a stability shoes I got it anyway. Half the price markdown was convincing enough. Can’t wait to test it soon. Crossing my fingers that my toes don’t get calluses.
Getting sports supplies is now a lot easier and better than before. I now have access to whatever I need to support my efforts to stay active and fit, thanks to Decathlon store located inside Festival Mall Alabang. This place is sports heaven for adults as Toy Kingdom or Toys ‘R Us is to kids.
We dropped by yesterday to check out running stuffs on my list and once again Decathlon didn’t disappoint. I got my two-bottle belt (Php800), race bib number belt (Php250), and smartphone armband (Php450). I can now take selfies during my runs. Just kidding. Online stores like Lazada sell similar items, could be even cheaper, but being in a physical store allows me to check the quality and fit so I prefer doing it if I have the time.
On non-running days, normally weekdays, I do daily cross-training at home before I go to work. Weeks ago I started progression on handstand and I can now do it facing the wall. Then I discovered I could perform the human flag progression without a straight pole–though I might have one fabricated in the guise of the kittens’ scratching post and trail. I also found a way to start front levers. Hint: pull-up prep (using Domyos pull-up bar from Decathlon which I bought November last year).
To improve cross-training I also added one small but helpful item in my shopping list–50-kg band. I already tested it today and it made me achieve pull-ups drop sets. A worthy purchase for only Php480.
Marcus also loves Decathlon even if he can’t walk. (I just feel guilty seeing him watch kids use the trampoline and test the bikes.) He likes wearing and trying out items on display. Yesterday he donned the boxing headgear and gloves. Then he asked me to demo the parallel bars and pull-up rack. He also played goalie while I kick the football to him. I hope he keeps the positive attitude.
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Didn’t run but an hour bodyweight training burned yesterday’s cheeseburger.)
There was once a time when losing weight was quite a struggle. There’s the gym but it requires membership. There’s your friendly liposuction clinic but obviously it’s invasive not to mention expensive. There are also self-help books on counting calories but these have limited recipes and rarely include nutritional info while some of it have ingredients that aren’t available locally. Where do you get kale, collard, cottage cheese, or quinoa? Go figure.
Fast forward to the era when almost everyone has mobile phones and almost everything starts to have its own app. Modern technology now makes losing weight interesting and fun. Weight watchers nowadays have more control, timely feedback, and could take actions fast like passing off on a slice of shortcake because calorie goal has been reached. Freeze it and tomorrow’s another day.
Seven months ago I was looking for a solution to my weight loss plateau. It’s the dreaded point of anyone trying to lose (or even gain) weight. Common knowledge dictates eat less, exercise more but it is easier said than done. Often times this hit or miss leads to under nourishment, sickness, and eventually, failure. I’ve seen people going back to square one and never attempting to cut weight ever again due to disappointment and/or lack of motivation.
This is where the apps come in. There are several apps that help count calories but I use Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal which is among the popular ones, if not the most, under its category. Since I started using it in August I have never turned back, never skipped a day without entry of my meals. The results gradually followed and goal finally reached. Thanks to data-driven weight loss.
MyFitnessPal allows its users to customize their own weight loss plan. Goal could be as aggressive as a 2-lb loss per week or just take it easy at .5 lb per week.
The app’s weight goal factors in the user’s activity level from Not Very Active to Very Active. Mine should be the former but since I have the leisure to take short breaks when my Garmin says Move! I set mine on Lightly Active. I normally achieve 10 stairs level (up) and 5,000 steps daily.
Of course, counting calories means food consumed versus daily calorie goal. This is where MyFitnessPal’s huge food database becomes an advantage. You may now start throwing away those diet self-help books you bought from the thrift shop. If you’re Filipino or Asian or anyone but American most likely those paper books do not include local dishes. So far everything I ate are on MyFitnessPal: sinigang, tulingan, sisig, tuna pasta, pizza, adobo, kamoteng kahoy, kangkong, balut, bulalo, sweet potatoes, bananas, eggs, etc. Whether it’s English or Tagalog food name, this app would have a match for it.
After all meal entries are in, the app predicts possible weight result. When I started months ago I smirked when it said I would be 145 lbs. Well, it happened, breached it even further and I never doubted the app since then.
Interestingly, sooner or later calories wouldn’t be the only thing that matters. Anyone who gets more serious about diet and nutrition would be asking about nutrient details like sodium, cholesterol, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and trans. Then there’s also the question if where the calories are coming from. Does it come mainly from carbs, fats, or protein? MyFitnessPal got these covered.
There’s a big caveat to all this. MyFitnessPal computes based on accuracy of the user’s entry so honesty is a big factor here. User details like height, initial weight, activity levels must be all correct. Needless to say, if it’s two slices of apple pie you ate it must be two apple slices that should be entered or else weight predictions would remain a number and not a reality. And your bathroom scale would surely know.
There are also basic tools I use to complement the app. I have a cheap digital kitchen scale my wife got online and on most days I wear a Garmin Vivoactive HR watch that records calories consumed based on my physical activities such as running, walking, intervals, stairs climbed, etc.
The Garmin smart watch pairs with MyFitnessPal app and calorie goals are adjusted accordingly. I found some discrepancies though on how MyFitnessPal adjusts so I would ignore the big numbers whenever I see them.
MyFitnessPal is free but it has a premium package if you want to be more detailed about your diet. Free works for me for now.
Revision: I won’t sleep tight if I don’t include the barcode reader screenshot and change the boring title.
The bathroom weighing scale finally shows the magic numbers: one, three, zero. Months after I started counting calories seriously I have reached my ultimate goal. It was a test of will, patience, and discipline and I did it breaking stereotypes about genes, age, and being endomorph. I have never been this light and fit. Take note: Never been in my entire life.
Measure and control play a big part in all this. Again, “whatever is measurable is controllable” proves itself true. A concept that I first read in school textbook, often heard at work, and now put to good use in achieving weight loss. It started with just wanting to shed off Christmas weight. Then getting out of the dreaded weight loss plateau. Then entertaining the thought of hitting the ideal BMI. Before I know it I was staring down at a scale that says I am already 30 lbs lighter seven months later.
It’s not really a big number but I am now following a new lifestyle–not cliche New Year’s resolution–which I would continue to embrace. Achieving a 130-lb weight is just the start. My current regimen could result to increased muscle mass so whether I maintain my new weight or not is no longer important. For now, I see lighter runs ahead and probably new PRs.
There is so much discussion about coffee. Some days a villain, some days a hero. Whatever, it’s fuel for me. But it’s expensive regardless if it’s Starbucks or home-brewed which is why I will start using a coffee press instead of a drip coffee machine that runs on electricity. I had my first brew last Friday and I like it.
Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Ah, yes coffee is diuretic. Reason I’m up for a very early morning snack and a Ghost Wars episode.)
Can I run farther? I asked myself immediately after I crossed the finish line of the Run 7-11 10K category a month ago. I wasn’t all spent while slowing down towards the staging area so I think I could. Since then I set my mind to try 16K.
Next weekends, however, I was grasping for motivation. Why should I? What for? I seem unable to justify why I would torment myself running farther when 10K seems to be good enough for regular runs. And the funny thing is, in the past weeks I didn’t even do 10K anymore. I also did 5Ks just because my workout plan that’s stuck on our refrigerator says I need to. Telltale signs of boredom.
Thanks to running and fitness pages I follow on Facebook, I got back on track. Surround yourself with like minded people they say. People who had the same challenges, same people who despite challenges have beaten the odds. So this morning I pulled myself out of Netflix’s Ghost Wars. I ran while it’s still dark.
The plan was to cover 12 kilometers only. It’s the distance set based on my newly discovered pre-run meal: .5 multiplied by bodyweight multiplied by number of hours left before run. I read it yesterday, not the whole article but I was eager to give it a try. It says it should be good for an hour’s run.
Experts say that pace is key to avoid early burnout on long runs. I tried slowing down but every time I check my Garmin it shows my 5K pace which is a bad sign if running economy is considered. I was planning my turnaround point at the 6K mark but my legs still seem up for two more kilometers.
An hour and a half later I was on my home stretch. Sun’s already up, school kids already being dropped off, and the Monday chaos starts to set in. Before my watch hits the second hour I finished my run. Not fast but I did it. My 16K baseline has been set.
My first 10K run result is finally available almost a week after the race. Quite, disappointing to be honest. I don’t know if this is normally how long it takes to be processed but I know Nat Geo’s timing seven years ago was out in about 24 hours. There must be a valid reason behind this delay and I would assume that maybe because this race was held simultaneously in three different places in the country?
The result made my day anyway. MyRunTime’s official race analysis shows that it was a good run for a first timer, not to mention my age.
To finish earlier than a thousand plus runners is a big surprise. I don’t care if I overtook youngsters or older participants who either joined the race to really race or just for the sponsors freebies. I don’t even care now if I forgot to get my finisher’s medal and shirt. This race result is more than enough. 163rd place is a win for me. (Gun time and chip time are better explained by this site or Runner’s World.)
So how soon would I be joining another event? Not in the next months. I am now planning to increase mileage slowly. 16K seems doable.
What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve. It’s a twist to a quote by someone named Napoleon Hill (if Google is to be trusted) which everyone might have heard or read already. Such is cryptic however or sounds cliche, even irrelevant for anyone who hasn’t realized that at some point it has happened to them.
This concept became apparent when I started going to the gym. Like most noobs, I went to the gym without understanding fully what it takes to be there. I first set foot in a gym at Intel just because it’s free, cold, and equipment are mostly top of the line. I was there thinking I would lift whatever my physical strength allows me. If I cant, I won’t, I’ll just call it a day.
Few years later, I became more focused on strength training when we first learned about Marcus’ condition. It was something that we need to be prepared of, physically in one aspect. So I went back to the gym again. This time I paid some attention to my nutrition. I eat rice before each session and it was key to lifting relatively heavier weights. But other guys I see can do more.
I was back to the drawing board. Then I saw on YouTube about the mental aspect of lifting. It got me interested and excited. The last gym I had was few meters from our old home so I would time my visits when there are less patrons. I worked out noon time while Marcus is in school or after I have dropped him off. I gradually worked my way up the dumbbells and few sessions later reached the heaviest weights of the rack. True enough, I soon see myself bench pressing two 50-lb dumbbells. It gave me confidence to workout even when the gym is packed.
I haven’t gotten back to the gym for years but thanks to this free Kindle book by Dan Kavadlo, I continue to do my bodyweight workouts at home. Running too is now part of my training plan.
Time and again my body would make up alibi to stay sedentary. “It’s a weekend”, ” it’s cold outside”, “Netflix is calling”, ” bed is better”, and so many other temptations to stay put. Maybe it’s the body’s instinct to preserve itself from stress which is when it becomes more mental than physical. It pays to listen to your body but not all the time. You should know better.
Sometimes when the body says dizzy, you say 5K. That’s just what I did today. Same story as before. And guess what? In this dizzy state I broke my personal time. I’m now two minutes away from my sub 30 goal. See.
Here’s a confession. I haven’t heard Sunday mass for a long time–me and Marcus. But this doesn’t mean I have become less(er) pious. In fact, it is when I workout and run that I pray more sincerely than when I’m in church. In training, I’m alone, focused, no annoying churchgoers, no distracting females who continue to play dumb by defying the church’s dress code. Oopps. Sorry Lord, my bad.
Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Getting gloomy, so it seems like ditching the Hot Air Balloon show was a good idea.)