Pushing it on my 5k run

April 30th, 2013 Comments off

I usually run between 5k and 6k once or twice during the week.  If I run on the weekend I usually try to run farther.

When I say “run” I mean “trot” or “jog really really slowly”.  I usually just want to make the distance and I’m not too concerned about my times.

This afternoon I went for my usual run. Just as I started running I decided, for some reason, to actually run for the first kilometre.  I kept a decent pace and half way to the 1 km mark I could feel the lactic acid building up in my midsection.  This never happens when I jog.

I made the 1 km mark and I slowed down to my normal jogging pace.  Runtastic played it’s 1 k milestone audio cue.  “5 minutes, 42 seconds” the robotic voice said.  Holy nuggets! Usually my first kilometre is between 7:42 and 8:00.  While I was approaching the second kilometre mark I decide to go for it again.  “Two kilometres” Runtastic said.  I picked up the pace again and ran until kilometre 3.

By the 3km mark I was hurting a bit more.  I actually had to go down to a walk while I turned around to head home. 30 seconds later I picked it up to  jog.

By this point I was going to cut myself some slack and just let myself jog the rest of the way.

kilometre 4 was coming and I thought “bugger it, let’s jog to 5km!”. This time I was sure I’d conk out 500 metres into it.

The lactic acid built up for a third time and I was ready to slow down to a jog.  I kept going, though, and I made it to the 5km mark running. That last kilometre took me 6:13.

I might change my mind in two days when the DOMS for this run sets in but I think I might do this style of running from now on.  Of course my 10km runs will actually be jogs but when I do my short distance runs I’m going to push myself harder.

Hopefully today’s session doesn’t affect my squats tomorrow.  We shall see.

Categories: Health Tags:

Six months of stubborness

April 29th, 2013 2 comments

While watching Ironman 3 I shovelled a medium popcorn and guzzled a large frozen softdrink.  After the movie my wife and I had Indian for dinner.  I ate all of my lamb Vindaloo while my wife ate only half of her Tikka Masala. Desert was a double scoop of gelato in a waffle cone.

Yet another weekend brought a derailment of my nutrition plan.  The cycle of sticking to the plan during the week and breaking the rules over the weekend has been going on since March 2012.  As a result my weight has slowly gone up by 5kg.  Sure, it’s not the 27kg that I had lost but since I was still trying to lose weight it’s still disappointing.

My wife is pregnant and she is due in roughly 6 months.  I know that once the baby comes there’ll be at least a few months where I won’t be able to exercise on a regular schedule nor will my sleep be regular.

Before the baby comes I want to get a fit as I can so that the disruption to my fitness plan is ‘cushioned’ by the work I would have already done.  Once the hectic, baby induced lifestyle calms down I’ll be able to resume my fitness plan.


Recently I’ve been watching the documentary “I want to look like that guy” by Stuart MacDonald.  He transformed his body from the average physique to a ripped and lean figure.  He did it in 6 months by following the instructions of IFBB body builder Jeff Willett.

I’ve also been impressed with Drew Manning from http://www.fit2fat2fit.com/. Drew is a personal trainer who intentionally gained body fat in order to better understand what his clients go through.  He recovered his physique in 6 months.

6 months …

Six months seems to be a reasonable amount of time to expect decent results.  If I am faithful to the plan I should expect a positive transformation that is noticeable and something that I’d be proud of.

Measuring progress

To show myself and others how I’m progressing I’m going to

  • Weigh myself every day
  • Measure various body parts every week
  • Estimate my body fat percentage every week using the body part measurements
  • Take photos of myself every week (front on and side on and of my back)
  • Get three DEXA scans throughout the 6 month period (hopefully the first one will be soon. I need to save up for it)

I’ll be writing blog posts about my plan.  I don’t doubt that my commitment will be tested many times.

I can’t say that I won’t quit but if I do, I promise that I won’t quit until I’ve written a blog post about my quitting.  This way the decision to quit will be taken seriously.

The plan

So my plan is simple.  I’m going to continue the Stronglifts 5×5 programme and continue running 6km on Tuesday and Thursday.  On every second or third Saturday I will run 10km.

My food plan will be to aim for 2000 calories per day with 150 grams or more of protein.  At first I won’t worry too much about getting an exact fat and/or carbohydrate count.  Just as long as my protein is 150 grams or more.

Some specific rules

  • I will record everything I eat in MyFitnessPal (MFP)
  • I will always try to stick to my calorie goal each day
  • If I slip and I go over, I will still record it in MFP
  • If I go out to a restaurant for a meal I will choose a dish that I know won’t put me over my calorie goal
  • If I slip up I won’t give up logging for the rest of the day
  • If can’t weigh a meal’s components I will do my best to estimate how much of it I am having
  • I will drink at least 8 cups of water a day
  • I will try to work my exercise into my schedule
  • If I can’t work my exercise into unavoidable appointments I won’t let that derail my exercise plan for the rest of the week
  • If I experience soreness I will assess the risk of injury more closely. Since my calf tear I have been overly cautious
  • If I do have a treat I will make sure it’s something I can measure.  This means single serve treats e.g. chocolate bars and ice-creams such as Maxibons.  Treats must fit in my calorie goal for the day


I’m hoping that this post will motiviate me to stick to it.  Hopefully it works and I’ll be in pretty good shape by the time our baby arrives.  The DEXA scans should be interesting.  Since they can accurately estimate your BMR using a DEXA scan I’ll be able to adjust my calorie goal after the first scan.

Stay tuned! I won’t let you down :)

My current Stronglifts Numbers

My current numbers in the Stronglifts programme are:

Squat: 90kg

Overhead Press: 45kg

Deadlift: 115kg

Bench: 75kg (I am going to deload, though, as I am fixing my form)

Barbell Row: 62.5kg

Categories: Health Tags:

Overeating: What I wish I had known sooner

March 7th, 2011 2 comments

I made the tag line of my blog “Photography, Application Development and Falafel” because I wanted to talk about taking photos, programming and losing weight.  I have not talked about losing weight yet and since I’m losing a bunch of weight now then it’s appropriate for a post on the subject.

I chose ‘Falafel’ as the word that represents losing weight because of my partial Lebanese ancestry but also because when I have a kebab I always get the falafel kebab with tabouli.  No cheese, no crazy three animal meat etc.

But I digress …

My strategy for losing weight is portion and calorie control.  I realised not too long ago that the amount of food I was eating was the main cause of my weight gain.  Don’t get me wrong!  What I was eating was also a problem.  Lots of ‘fast food’ that not only had plenty of calories but also full of bad nutrients that caused non-weight related health issues.

I’d always get the large size of anything.  I’d finished my friends’ meals when they were done with it.  I’d order an extra burger along with the large meal deal.  I’d have second and third servings.  I’d stuff myself to the point of feeling bloated and awful yet still trying to cram more food in.

The first glimpse of the truth about my overeating was when I read the nutrition information on a box of cereal.  I never measured out my cereal before; I just dumped how much cereal I wanted into the bowl.  I’d get five breakfasts out of a box of cereal and usually bowl number five was small because the first four had been so large.  When I saw that the box should contain 17 servings I was shocked and thought “They’re out of their minds if they expect me to eat such a small amount of cereal for breakfast!”

It took me years of denial and subtle comments from friends about the volume of food I eat to finally accept that the amount I eat is the most significant factor to my weight.  The final straw on my denial’s camel’s back was when I listened to a lecture about physics that was designed to be taught to lawyers and political science students.  It was a brilliant course because it taught people that weren’t into science the basics of physics and energy as a general subject.  The lecturer said that the course was designed to teach the country’s (USA) future leaders enough to help them make good decisions.

The lecturer talked about how energy works and how it’s stored.  There was talk about petroleum and nuclear power and how energy affects politics.

In one of the lectures he talked about energy used by organisms, particularly human beings.  He talked about the fact that it’s incredibly easy to eat a lot of calories yet to work it off takes much more time than it did to eat that food.  The energy expelled while doing one hour of exercise can be completely eaten back in 5 minutes if you eat something with that much energy stored in it.  He even said that the exercise machines in the gym over report the calories burned because obviously people want to use the machine that burns the most so it’s even easier than you think to eat up to and beyond the calories burned in the gym.

At the end of it he simply said “If you want to lose weight, eat less calories”.

Now I realise that it’s an oversimplification and that exercise is very important but there’s a very important message here. No matter how well you do in the gym if you do not watch what you eat you can easily negate all that hard work.  Especially with the number of calories I was eating.

I’ve been going to the gym on and off for nearly ten years now and I’m still overweight.  Up until recently I didn’t take care of my diet and that’s why I hadn’t lost weight.  I did a lot of work in the gym but it meant nothing because I was over eating, undoing all of that good work.

Right now I record everything I eat into a calorie counting website.  When I started calorie counting I was shocked to see how many calories there are in certain foods.  Rice and bread were so shocking to me!  One cup of rice has 200 calories.  I used to have five cups of rice at least!

Two slices of bread have 180 calories.  Add 160 calories for the margarine and that Vegemite on toast becomes a near 350 calorie meal that doesn’t fill you up at all!

One large serve of chips from KFC or Red Rooster is over 500 calories.  I don’t even want to know how many calories there are in the burger!

Those numbers don’t seem that bad until you realise that someone my  weight should be eating maybe 2,500 calories a day.  Less than that to lose weight.

Five cups of rice with what ever curry or casserole on top of that would easily make a 2,000 calorie meal.  That leaves 500 calories for the rest of the day. Yipes!

When visiting my mum she’d make me chicken tortilla’s for dinner.  I’d eat 5 tortillas with marinated chicken, lettuce and grated cheese.  One tortilla bread is 200 calories.  So that’s already up to 1,000 calories just for the bread.  Add to that the chicken, the marinate and the cheese (the lettuce would be 20 calories total) and you’ve got yourself 3,000 calories easily.  If I didn’t eat anything else that day I’d still be over my daily energy intake.

These numbers are just mind blowing! No wonder I’m overweight!  My ideas on how much to eat were so way off.

I’m going to post about this more but I’ll end this post here.  I haven’t provided any concrete numbers but I hope I’ve conveyed the general gist of what I think the reason is for most people’s obesity.