Getting fitter step by step.
I find I’m much much more likely to achieve something if I set a goal and actively monitor it step by step.
For example, for the last three or four years I’ve kept a spreadsheet of my weight as measured every Monday morning. The spreadsheet has a tab for each year with columns such as date, goal weight (in pounds), actual weight and the difference between the goal and actual weight. The goal starts off at the same weight I was on the first Monday of the year and decreases by a pound per week until it hits my goal weight, the idea being that if I look after myself I should be able to average a pound a week’s loss until I get to where I want to be. It’s a simple matter to then plot a graph alongside the data that shows the goal vs. actual readings. If the “Actual Weight” line roughly follows the “Goal Weight” line, then things are going in the right direction and I’m a happy camper.
I know, you might be thinking this is pretty anal, and I won’t pretend I’ve lost tonnes of weight by doing this either, but what I have been able to do is shame myself into maintaining a weight that although higher than I want it to be, isn’t morbidly over what it should be. Whenever I “slip” (usually when family visits from “Down South” for the weekend or there’s some sort of blow-out on a special occasion) I can instantly see a blip in the graph when those extra two or three pounds exert their force on our poor old scales. It’s usually enough to stop me from having that bacon roll or Double Decker (one of my fav chocolate bars) at work for a week or two.
But, as mentioned above, I’ve not really been achieving my goal. Sure I’m half a stone or more lighter than my heaviest over the last few years, and sometimes my weight doesn’t even change by so much as an ounce for weeks on end which is better than gaining, but I need to start burning more calories than I consume to get that graph heading back in the right direction. My actuals are pretty flat these days.
I’ve talked before about trying to keep an appointment with myself to exercise at least three times a week, but frankly I always start off really well and then slowly find reasons to not do the session, basically because I find it pretty tedious and have no concrete result after each session, except tiredness and a sweat soaked t-shirt that is.
So, as part of my drive to get a little fitter I put a Nike+iPod on my wishlist for my Birthday, and was lucky enough to receive one*.
I really wanted a Nike+iPod so that I could set myself goals and monitor how much running** I’m doing session by session. OK, I could have simply logged each run in a spreadsheet just like I’m logging my weight, but it’s a bit tedious and I often forget to log for a day or two (make that week or two). Having my iPod automatically record my run, distance and time and upload it to my computer whenever I plug it in is the bee’s knees! Now I don’t have to think about recording my run, it’s all done for me.
The Nike+ website where all the data ends up is great, as well as showing a neat graph of your runs with stats you can set goals that are automatically monitored. I’ve already set myself a goal of running 10 times in 4 weeks and am eager to meet or beat it, currently I’m one run ahead of goal.
And what’s super nice is that both Lance Armstrong and Paula Radcliff have taken time out of their busy schedules to magically squeeze themselves into my iPod nano and congratulate me at the end of my run when I’ve recorded a personal best for the mile.
But do you think it’s really mean of me to have thoughts of not plugging in my iPod after the session just so they can’t escape?
The big present I got for my Birthday from my wife was a set of Golf clubs, so that I get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, spend time having some fun with friends and more importantly to Mandy, get away from the ‘puter!
I started off with a couple of trips to the driving range, which was fun except for when my shots went sideways rather than forward and slammed into the wall of the bay with a resounding crack. I’m soooo grateful to those people at the driving range who haven’t even turned a head in my direction at the sound of a very hard ball slamming against a wooden wall at speed, maybe they remember what it was like when they first tried this daft game?
And then yesterday I had my first proper round of golf, which although very long and frustrating was great fun, even if I did loose a couple of balls***.
I think I’m going to enjoy playing golf and hope it’ll also contribute as another step towards getting fitter, especially if I continue to take as many steps as I did yesterday as I zigzagged my way down the course!
Here’s to getting fitter, step by step!
* Ironically I got the Nike+iPod from my Mum and Dad when they visited for the weekend after my Birthday, guess what happened to my weight graph on the following Monday morning after a couple of nice meals out and a few bottles of wine while they were up?!
** I use the term “running” very loosely, it’s more like walk for fifteen minutes, run for a minute or two and then walk for the rest of the session. It’s all part of a slow ramp up plan to avoid damaging my knees etc, honestly, nothing to do with being extremely crap at aerobic exercise!
*** My very first drive was the mother of all slices off into the woods, graciously chalked up as a practice hit by my fellow golfers, luckily all fairly new to the game, out of practice or hung-over and therefore very understanding!