Saturday, October 7, 2017

It Can Be Done 1: Tracking

I posted this Like-bait, brag-post over at FB and Twitter:

“Slashed my body fat% by half from last month. Gained muscle mass of 3kg. I AM doing something right.”

First, the disclaimer. I realized I have my math wrong. I went from 8.7% to 6.7% pala in one month. Hardly ‘slashing by half’. The ‘half’ was achieved in 3 months, coming from 11+% in June. Muscle mass did increase correctly. So I still AM doing something right.

So what is it that I have been doing. Well, this will be a series of posts to try to document what this 51yo has been doing to show It Can Be Done. It has to be a series because it is not just one thing. It can’t be, not just diet, or exercise, etc. It is a combination of many things. So I have to discuss this one at a time.

For the record, Day 1 of this quest was June 16, when I went back to my FF personal trainer in Trinoma (after staying away for almost 5 months).

I’ll start by saying that this journey is highly personal. What worked for me may not work for you. Hence, the most basic first step for me is a commitment to track and measure as much as possible, as obsessively as possible to know what will work.

This is relatively easy for me, being OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) LOL. But applying it to this quest for health and fitness did not come easy.

What do I track?

My workouts. My diet. My weight. I track this on a daily basis using the most basic of tools: a worksheet. Yeah, there are so many apps out there that will do this for you. But somehow, something I ‘assembled’ from ground up makes me more committed to it. Other stats like body fat %, muscle mass and even actual body measurements are tracked on a monthly basis.

Why track?

This is the only way you would really know if something works or doesn’t. There are just too much stuff out there on working out, on eating right, most of them conflicting with one another. You just have to try it out and see if the results are there. Tracking the results give you immediate feedback. Pouring over the data, seeing correlations allow are all part of this.

Workout

I never tracked my workout. I had always left this up to my personal trainer. I never actually saw him write anything down. LOL. I did that for years and years. And I never really knew if I was actually gaining strength due to one workout or the other. So on day 1, I told him I wanted my workout written out so we could monitor progress. This includes poundage, reps. I am using a good old Excel worksheet for my workouts. He updates the worksheet during our session.

Diet

This is easy enough to do. I see people using myfitnesspal app by Under Armour. But I do this crudely, again on a worksheet. I made mine based on the computations of the nutritionist I consulted about 5 years ago. I track my caloric intake, with emphasis on protein servings. I am able to estimate, with fair accuracy, what caloric intake would burn calories. (About 1,700 to 1,800 for my height and build).

Weight and Stats

This is the ‘outcome’ part that I relate to the first two. I weigh myself every morning, right after my morning pee, without clothes. Every month, my PT uses the machine at the gym to weigh me. He also measures body parts (chest, hips, biceps, thighs) using my own tape measure.

That’s Part 1. Commit to track the input and the output.



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Thursday, July 20, 2017

He Is Michael

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3713030/

Last Sunday, c3 and I watched “I Am Michael” over at Netflix. First off, I just have to hand it to James Franco for his inclusiveness! I can’t name any other straight actor who has played so many gay male roles. It almost seems like an advocacy for him (or a career-diffentiating move).

The film itself tries to present a non-judgemental view of Michael Glatze’s journey from gay rights to gay renunciation. It agonizingly details the process, the extenuating circumstances that surround it. For some part of it, his growing embrace of Christian religion I can relate to. I did try to turn back on being so Catholic-religious at a point in my life. But I had to be honest to myself and realize that believing was a real, natural part of me that couldn’t be denied.

And being gay is as much a part of that. But Michael, in the movie, eventually comes to the conclusion that it is just a construct, an idea that one can choose to accept or reject. But certainly, he labels that as unnatural.

I did detect, though, some judgment from the producers. The movie ended with that tentative, or even self-doubting, look on Michael’s face as he welcomed his first audience as a pastor of his own church. And you get to see how his countenance changes from being light and happy to grim and determined (in reference to a friend of mine. Hehehe. Inside joke). He became serious and sullen. Hence, as much as the producers claim that it was non-judgemental, I still felt that there was this undercurrent equivalent of either rolling eyes or a raised eyebrow.

I would have thought the real Michael would have seen that, too, and be totally livid. But as I researched further, it didn’t turn out that way:

https://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/film/2015/02/04/watch-ex-gay-subject-new-film-grateful-james-franco

It is an interesting watch for those with an open-enough mind to consider the idea of “ex-gayness”. If my memory serves me right, wasn’t there this TV reporter who flipped that way, too, previously? I wonder what his story is like. Oh sorry. I don’t even have to look far:

https://www.facebook.com/ansel.beluso/posts/10153706843391237



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Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Look Inside Of Me

My internist insisted I have an endoscopy. At my age, I should be aware if there are any developing problems in my gastrointestinal tract.

I knew it had to be done. So I had this scheduled. Mine had to be both gastroscopy and colonoscopy, on both ends of the 'tube'. I had my apprehensions knowing how I gag when I take in a big one. LOL. But there is a grain of truth there.

The preparations started a day before my procedure. I had to go on a soft diet, with no fruits and vegetables (the fiber will obstruct the scene, I guess). Then it was just clear liquids (no coloring that would falsely appear in the tract) from after lunch till dinner. Well, I was allowed to take egg whites and crackers for dinner.

The laxatives just wore me down. Throughout the night, I was pooping liquid. Now I know what colonic cleansing means. And it was very draining, coupled with the insomnia of it.

Once at the endoscopy center, I was put on a needle-less iV drip where they would administer the general anesthetic. When I was ready, the anesthesiologist started dosing me. I suddenly felt dizzy and I was out.

In 20 minutes, I was already at the recovery area, still groggy. But I was amazed that they were also able to control the dose enough to wake me up just in time. After another 30 minutes, I was out of the procedure room. It was absolutely painless and hassle-free.

Then the good doctor came to me showing me the selfies of my voice box, my throat, my stomach, my small and large intestines. I finally saw how my own bowels looked like. Hahaha.

There was minor finding of some erosion at the stomach area. When the doctor found out about my intermittent fasting, he quickly blamed it on that. Though he did mention that stress causes that, too. But he said that the erosion was nothing to worry about.

I'm hesitating about that conclusion, though. I've been on IF for years now, I should have massive ulcerations if it was really about that.

I'm tempted to post my GI selfies. But who would like to see that? LOL


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Saturday, July 1, 2017

50s Fitness

Exactly one month ago, I decided to get back on track on my fitness regimen. By sheer force of will, I just said I needed to lose all the extra weight and flab gained in the past 5 months.

At the start of the year, I hit the wall when it comes to working out. I was getting injured easily. I was always tired. My body was aching all the time. I had to make a drastic change. I didn't renew my personal training sessions with my trainer in FF Trinoma and avoided that branch altogether.

I tried another branch and even went for the personal training there. Then I stumbled on another gym, Kinetix. They are into functional fitness with emphasis on the fundamental exercises: squats, bench, deadlifts. No wonder that gym is full of huge guys, mostly powerlifters. My sessions there had me going back to those basics with strictest form. I learned so much from my
trainer there.

During this time, I wasn't on a diet. I was eating and drinking as I pleased. It showed as my clothes started getting tighter. And even my liver showed some distress from the alcohol.

Yet I knew I had to go back to FF Trinoma and my trainer there. FF is just so convenient for me. I made the most gains when I was under him previously. Besides, what I have learned from the other trainers, I could just ask my Trinoma trainer to adapt. So I had to go back.

Cut to end-May. I made the decision to 'kem bek to a young and beeyutiful' me. (Sorry. Joke limited to those who saw that film.) I went back to my diet and calorie-monitoring. I went back to FF Trinoma and my trainer there. I established baseline weight: 148 lbs with 16% Body Fat.

End-June, I lost 10 lbs and went down to 13% Body Fat. Yet I even gained lean mass.

What worked for me

Intermittent Fasting - I start ingesting food by 12nn and stop by 8pm. Funny though because this ain't 'intermittent' as I have been doing this continuously.

Proper Food Combination - I eat meat only with vegetables, not with carbs like rice or bread.

Less Sugar and Carbs - Though I can eat carbs if combined with vegetables, I avoided rice, bread, noodles. I had to deny my sweet tooth of cakes and chocolates.

Calorie Monitoring - I had to be strict about the amount of calories I was taking in. That included weighing my food and writing all of it down daily. Also, I am conscious of 'active calorie burning' (calories used up in exercise). I approximate calories burned via my Polar heartbeat monitor. I try to burn 500 - 600 calories everyday.

Low-intensity Steady State Cardio - Those 500 calories take about 1hr and 10mins as I average a low heart rate of about 120-130bpm. By next month, I'll try doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) instead for comparison. I'll check out how it relates to my fat loss.

I emphasize the words "what works for me". Our anatomy and physiology can never be the same so I wouldn't know whether this would work for anybody else. But an important thing for me is the monitoring of key metrics (calories in and out, weight, fat%, heart rate) and the analysis of such.

And before I forget, I also cut down on alcohol consumption drastically. It wasn't doing my liver any good. Thankfully, my liver has recovered.

I'm in my early 50's and I'm feeling good about my body again.


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

A friend wanted to catch up one of these days as he is in town. He has been based abroad for quite a while. As we connected over Messenger and finalized our plans for that catch up, he requested that there would be no talk of politics. He declared that we hold different views and would rather not talk about that.

I respected that and respected him more for that. I have been blissfully unaware of his views. Either he is not as active in social media or somehow, I have not seen any of his politics-related posts.

"We remain friends, right?" I immediately replied in the affirmative.

But that exchange has got me thinking about my friendships, especially with those who hold different, even opposing views from mine.

It's just amazing how polarizing recent turn of events in politics have become. Suddenly, you realize that your friends, with whom you seem to share so many things in common, could be so different in looking at others. And some of them are even very vocal about their views.

Conceptually, friendships should be able to withstand such differences, right? Political, even religious views are just some aspects of what makes a person. There are many other aspects that can bind. Yet why do I find it hard to swallow a difference of opinion from a dear friend?


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Saturday, June 3, 2017

My fault

My confession. I didn't vote during the last election. I held off registering till the last day. Then that last day was the day I was scheduled to leave for South America. I tried but failed during that last day, due to the volume of people.

Perhaps that also explains why I wasn't as impassioned about the candidates, either for or against. Though I knew I was not going to vote for Du30. That was sure.

Fast forward to the violence that claimed so many lives in Marawi and at Resorts World. And the ongoing, though at the sidelines for now, murders related to the drug war. Yes, I call them murders. Thousands remain unsolved murders.

Violence begets violence. The vicious cycle has started. I bleed for those who have died and those who were left behind without fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, siblings.

I blame myself for not voting, for not expressing myself through that right of suffrage.


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