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27 July 2014

After considerable going back and forth, I've decided to go with a folding stationary bike instead of putting an outdoor bike on a training stand. The outside bike would take up more space and wouldn't be that easy to set up and take down. For $20 more than a training stand and a riser block, I could get a folding bike. After reading a lot of reviews, I decided to go with the Marcy Foldable Excercise Bike. It's $20 more than the other Marcy bike, but I decided the foldable feature was worth the extra $20. The reviews of the foldable are more favorable than the other Marcy. They pretty much agree that is has a small footprint, which is important in my small bedroom, and it's quiet. The other Marcy got dinged on assembly and build quality.

I thinking that before I got the cycle I should go ahead and get a better scale. The one I'm using right now is good as far as it goes, a generic I got for $20 on sale, better than the generic Walgreen's scale I had before (which I'm trying to give away on Freecycle). I'm mainly interested in getting one that measures muscle mass, since I already have a hand-held Omron that measures body fat.

Even before that, I decided to order a Stamina folding equipment mat to double as an exercise mat and for putting the rowing machine and the bike on. I've been using the Reebok fitness mat, but that's not what it's designed for. I'm not sure it will hold up to sustained use for that purpose. I have an area rug under that, but it keeps bunching up so I'm going to move it.

I keep making incremental changes that I hope will result in improvements. I'm trying to get into the habit of propping my feet on the stepper when watching tv or using the tablet. It's supposed to help the back.

Got my sleep on last night, more than I wanted, around nine hours. I woke up several times during the night but was able to fall back asleep.

Today is a cheat day for my 4:3 diet. I don't expect it will have that much impact since I didn't eat that much yesterday. Today is a rest day for exercise.

It rained early this morning. It really made a difference in terms of comfort level - the stickiness was gone this morning. It's supposed to rain tonight, which I hope will reduce the humidity even further. The clouds kept things in the eighties, which was nice because it was originally supposed to hit the nineties.

Interesting essay over at the Greatist by a guy who achieved a six-pack in six weeks and the long-term consequences. He sees it as a critique of six-pack abs, but I see it as more of a critique of any crash course.

26 July 2014

The ThunderBell arrived. Looks good. The red-and-black color scheme matches my Ab Wheel and Iron Gym Push Up Rotating Push Up Grips. I'm slowly building up a budget home gym. Hope I haven't paid $40 for a gimmick along the lines of the Shake Weight. There seems to be some disagreement as to whether you can combine strength training and cardio. At the very least, I feel the ThunderBell is a safer way to do overhead crunches - eight pounds is all I feel comfortable with while the ThunderBell is ten pounds - because it has a handle you can get a better grip with than with a dumbbell. A ten-pound Reebok dumbbell costs $17 so that's $23 bucks more for a three-DVD program which isn't bad and $60 less than what Amazon charges.

Bought "The Mediterranean Diet for Beginners: The Complete Guide - 40 Delicious Recipes, 7-Day Diet Meal Plan, and 10 Tips for Success" on the Kindle for $1.99. Once I hit my target weight, I'm going to work on better nutrition and transitioning to the Mediterranean Diet. I want to dig up my copy of the every-other-day diet book that started me on this journey and reread parts of it for inspiration.

Whole body dumbbell program: lunge to press with three sets of eight reps of six pounds - my form isn't that great - I'm only approximating - shows how deconditioned I am - floor press with three sets of 10 reps with eight pounds, overhead triceps extension with two sets of ten reps with six pounds, reverse-grip bent-over row with three sets of ten reps with six pounds, three sets of overhead crunches with eight pounds of dumbbell, shoulder press with three sets of eight reps with six pounds, sumo squats with three sets of 20 reps with 23 pounds,wrist curls, two sets of ten reps with ten pounds, for a total of about an hour. Really had to push to finish the last segment in this weather. I was tempted to postpone rowing, but I got 30 minutes in while watching "The Blacklist."

Another really brutal sticky day although it only hit 90. We supposed to get thunderstorms tomorrow so I hope it will wring some of that humidity out of the air. I haven't eaten much except for a biscuit since breakfast even though today is an up day, although I have been drinking fruit juice and water steadily throughout the day. I just haven't been hungry. It really is true that heat and humidity take away your appetite.

26 July 2014

Weigh-in: 152.9 lb lost so far: 3.1 lb still to go: 22.9 lb Diet followed reasonably well
   (6 comments) on diet Intermittent Fasting (4:3 basically)    losing 1.1 lb a week

25 July 2014

I'm thinking about putting together a People Chow (Soylent) 3.0 recipe for my down days on the 4:3 diet (500 calories). It's a way to vary the monotony of diet shakes and will probably wind up being cheaper and better for me: no sugar and sodium. I'm going to order the ingredients one-by-one from Amazon.

Body fat: 28.05 (somewhat dehydrated). Today is a down day on the 4:3 diet (500 calories). Half hour nap. Nice thing about the Android for Sleep app is that you can set an alarm so that you don't oversleep.

Exercise: wall slides (planks for your legs) six reps of 30 seconds each, 19 minutes of stretching in bed, 26 minutes of leg exercises on the mat with 1 1/2 pound ankle weights, 33 minutes of leg exercises on the chair with ankle weights, 20 minutes of leg exercises with resistance bands and yoga block, 30 minutes of rowing.

The Lifeline fitness band system arrived today. Comes with three 40-pound bands and an accessory to attach to doors. There's a trick to securing the bands to the handles. The accompanying poster is pretty rudimentary - shows exercises but doesn't outline a whole body workout. I would think a book on resistance bands would be a good investment. The DVD that was supposed to come with it was MIA. Wrote to Woot but haven't heard back.

25 July 2014

Yesterday was a wash - literally and figuratively. Headed over to Kroger during a window when it wasn't raining. I stayed too long at the fair, er, Kroger, and got trapped by a line of thunderstorms. After a month of two of rain predictions that rarely materialized, we had a real sustained gulley washer - nine inches an hour at one point, and a tornado that killed two people on the Eastern Shore.

I had a bistro meal for lunch. After reading The New York Times, went shopping. By then it was coming down hard. Had a f'real with arabica coffee and read The Washington Post. Made a pass by the day-old bread rack. Half a red velvet cake there. Was going to rationalize buying as a birthday cake but bought a big cupcake instead. I did buy six biscuits for $1 which are probably loaded with sodium.

Did more shopping and then went back to the cafe, had a bistro meal for dinner and I did a lot of adding content to my Flipboard magazines on my smart phone and read The Richmond Times-Dispatch because it was still coming down hard. Finally, I ran out of stuff to do and my smart phone battery was dying. It was still raining, albeit without the thunder so I decided to head home. Fortunately, I had an emergency poncho in my backpack.

One problem with my trips to Kroger is that I tend to buy more than I have space for on the panniers. Overloading isn't safe or good for the bike so I want to monitor my purchases more carefully. My bulk buying is understandable in a way because stocking up means fewer trips.

Not too long ago, I got a Planet bike front light for sale even though I have a front light because I think it's always a good idea to have a backup and it was on sale. I have a history with front light failure. There's another side of me that beats myself up for over-buying gadgets. Going home in the dusk, I noticed that my front light was dead. I don't know whether it's the batteries or the light itself but at least I have a backup.

When I got home, I was soaked and didn't have any energy left for exercise. I watched "Last Comic Standing" and ate the burger I took home from the bistro meal and the cupcake.

Last night was my first night sleeping with the new setup: memory foam pillow and a regular pillow under my knees. I had more problems getting to sleep than usual because I was still recovering my trip to Kroger. I also used the Sleep for Android sleep tracker app for the first time. It's the free version but will probably buy the locked version when my two-week trial expires. It has a lot of features which I have just begun to explore. Studies show a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. Set the alarm for seven hours, supposedly the optimal sleep time. It showed a deficit of deep sleep of 57 minutes, probably because of my trouble getting to sleep. I will also use it to track my naps.

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