Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fighting the Flab

Today is my Dad's birthday! Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Papa!! :-) As usual over his birthday, he got a couple of his sailing buddies together and they charter a boat for a week in e.g. the Baltic Sea. I called him on the cell phone when it was already afternoon over there and he sounded like he had a good time sightseeing in Flensburg. According to him, the weather still leaves some room for improvement but overall it's okay. Safe sailing!

This is not only my Dad's birthday, but also the first full day of fall and in the Runner's World blog from today, you find tons of reasons, why this is good news for us runners! :-)

But this is not what I wanted to talk about today, because I want to talk about my FLAB!

Like I mentioned previously, I lost a lot of weight in 2008. I did this with a mix of change in nutrition and a lot of exercising... Cardio and strength. That combination is the oldest recipe in the world and I believe the only one that actually works in order to keep the weight off over time. The strength training helps with toning up the body which is especially interesting, if there is a lot of stuff on you that needs toning up and on top of that, added muscle mass means your body has a higher resting metabolic rate. My exercise routine included one hour of strength exercises specifically for sculpting. Of course, you use your muscles and build your muscles during running and cycling as well, but the strength training gives you the opportunity to balance out your muscle mass over the whole body, since you mostly use your lower body to do these sports (nice article on muscular imbalances here).

Over the summer I pretty much slacked off on the strength training and focused mostly on the tri sports and maybe some yoga. Yupp... And now I am paying for it big time! I am trying to re-vamp my exercise routine in order to adapt to the new living location as well as the fact that fall is here and long evening rides are pretty much out of the discussion... Sorry, call me a sissy, but I am just not feeling like riding my bike in the dark. I started out with the Boot Camp Class last Saturday and yesterday I tried out an "Intense Fitness" Class which is basically the same thing with a different name. Well, I wanted to join the early bird run at the Cleveland YMCA this morning, but every time I turned around in bed last night, I woke up, because something was hurting bad. So I reset my alarm to 6AM and slept in. Good choice. Today I don't walk, I waddle... Very attractive indeed. Neither the class on Saturday nor yesterday felt like a hard effort to me. I was able to keep up with the class no problem, but as it turns out, I lost a lot of my muscles and now they are screaming at me. Last year I started out working on 100 consecutive push ups... I never made it to the 100 as I gave up six or seven months into the whole deal, but at the very end of it, I was able to squeeze out over 80. In those classes they make you do push ups too and it's amazing how much I struggle with doing 20 now.... I can do them, but it's tough.

That reminded me of this month's motivational story in Runner's World about Dr. Ed Wolfgram. At 76, he is currently training for the Ironman World Championships in Kona next month. In the article, they quoted him saying:

"You can't put fitness in the bank. You have to maintain it."
Looking at my recent knee issues, I feel like there was an overuse thing going on while I was ramping up my mileage a tad too fast. But talking to my chiropractor, the possibility of muscular imbalance was mentioned over and over again. Seeing, how my body is reacting to strength training, makes me think that there is quite a possibility that exactly this is the case. Believe me, this would be the preferred diagnosis, because it would be a fairly easy fix. Also, I still have some flab to tighten up and therefore I would kill several birds with this stone.

Running feels like hard work for me these days. I hardly get any mileage in. Last week it was a whopping total of 3.79 miles only topped with the 3.88 miles run that I did tonight. The run was fairly good, speed-wise and also my knees held up pretty good, but it still feels like hard work at the moment. I know things come in seasons and right now, this is not the season for running for me... It will get better sooner or later... I will start to love running again... hopefully.

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