Friday, June 20, 2014

Getting the Numbers @ VO2 Max Sports Science

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I think I mentioned a while ago that I finally have an opportunity to get my resting metabolic rate (RMR) and Vo2 max (maximum oxygen volume my body can use) tested. This is something I've wanted to do for a while. Knowing your RMR is such basic information for someone that is trying to lose or maintain weight loss or make fitness gains.

I'm super excited to be getting the testing done with Michael Tatum and his team at VO2 Max Sports Science in Berkeley. When I talked to Michael about it he emphasized how important he thinks this testing and resulting data is for all athletes, from novice/beginners to pros. That made me feel welcome despite my relatively non-hard-core athlete status.

So, what is RMR? I'll paste in from their site:
Resting Metabolic Rate, also known as metabolism, is an indirect measure of the number of calories your body uses to maintain normal physiological function. This means that RMR will tell you the amount of calories your body would need at rest to keep your heart, lungs, brain and other organs working properly. Even people with a similar age, gender, and body composition can have very different RMRs. Each person is different so it is important to get data that relates specifically to you. The data from an RMR test will give you the information you need to set and reach realistic goals related to weight management, proper nutrition, and health.
There are three different categories that all energy expenditure can be grouped into: 1. Resting Calories - Calories that are burned while the body is at rest. These calories are needed just to maintain life. The majority of all calories burned (about 70-80%) are burned at the resting level. 2. Activity Calories - Calories that are burned through normal daily activities are "Activity Calories." Normal daily activities such as walking, digesting food, typing, etc. are included in activity calories. 3. Exercise Calories - These calories are burned through exercise.
Science measures RMR with gas analysis through indirect calorimerty. Indirect calorimerty calculates the heat we produce from production of carbon dioxide and nitrogen waste or from oxygen consumption. This process is easy and not invasive; the test itself only takes 10 minutes. The operator puts the participant’s information into the RMR machine and the participant relaxes in a chair and breaths into a tube that is connected to the RMR machine for 10 minutes. After the test, results are discussed with the participant to ensure understanding and clarify any questions.
I am so excited to do this! And then, a couple days later I'm going to do my VO2 Max. What's VO2 Max? Again, from their site:
VO2 max is the maximal oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximal or exhaustive exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. VO2 max or maximal oxygen uptake is one factor that can determine an athlete’s capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. It is generally considered the best indicator of cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness. Elite endurance athletes typically have a high VO2 max. And some studies indicate that it is largely due to genetics, although training has been shown to increase VO2 max up to 20 percent. A major goal of most endurance training programs is to increase this number.

VO2MAX Tests help show individuals how to utilize their biochemistry structure effectively to help achieve health and wellness.

Tests Can be performed via treadmill, stationary bike, computrainer using the clients personal bike, elliptical machine, or rowing machine.
I think I'll do mine by way of treadmill. Ack, I'm so looking forward to this, I can't wait. But the "maximal or exhaustive exercise" part sounds a bit scary! There also is a bit of other scary news, which is I woke up with a really bad sore throat this morning. I hope I'm not getting sick.

So by the time the end of the workday came around the last thing on earth I wanted to do was exercise. But I dragged myself to the gym on the promise that I could just take a stroll on the treadmill. Which I did, I started with a slow, almost meditative 5 minute walk. Toward the end of that I considered running but I was so not up for it, so I opted to go on the elliptical, which sounded more my speed for today.

I have to admit, I was happy to be sweating a little bit, even though I was taking it easy and still not really lighting up the exercise buzz. After the cardio I went to the weights area and as soon as I started I knew...Nope, not happening. Not today. I don't know if it's because I'm sick or just worn out or what but my body was having no part of lifting weights. And sometimes, I do actually listen to my body.

So instead, I sat down and did a little writing about the evening snacking. Just getting out some of my thoughts and ideas on how to address it. I wish I could tell you that resulted in NO evening snacking tonight but I can't. I'm still figuring it out. All I know is, as long as I don't give up, as long as I keep thinking and working, all is not lost.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

This Girl is on Fire

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"Looks like a girl, but she's a flame..."

Yep, that's me. You know those days where you just feel like you could jump to the moon if only you had enough time? I'm feeling that way today. I feel strong, alive, positive...just damn good! And I'm rolling with it. I'll hit the gym later and then tonight I'm speaking at Get in Shape for Women about CBT for weight loss and maintenance. I plan to ride this wave of positive energy as long as it lasts!

yesterday's mid-morning snack. Fage and apple
A quick gym re-cap...yesterday I had one hour to do what I could. It was a run day but I didn't have time for my "normal" three miles so I ran a shorter 2.5 mile route with a big hill. A BIG hill. And it was HOT. High 80's. Then Alicia Keys' song, Girl on Fire came on...AND...I was running in my sports bra and shorts for the very first time. Eek! Between the heat, my outfit, my energy... I was on fire! That last half-block nearly killed me.

Re: the sports bra and shorts duo...I didn't really like it. I think it was too hot to not have clothes covering more of my skin. That, and I think having my mid-section exposed was a bit over my comfort level. I think I'll save the half-naked look for when I'm running on the beach.

Anyway, the run took me 24:50 (roughly a 10:25 pace). Back at the gym (and with my tank-top back on) I did chest/triceps/core. I couldn't quite finish my whole routine but for the hour I was exercising, I gave it my all. I left feeling invigorated, and, well, like I said, on fire!

A smile brought to you by hard work!
My eating yesterday was improved. Not great but I feel good about it anyway. Moving in the right direction. By the way, thank you for the comments I've been getting lately both here and on FB/IG/Twitter. They are really helping me to lift my boat. Love my readers!

Speaking of that, my blog is really growing, getting close to 40,000 pageviews a month. Still relatively small in the blogosphere but for me, those are some big numbers! I try not to think about that most of the time. Only makes it harder to tell you about that second bowl of Frosted Flakes at 11pm at night. I hesitate, "Wait, how many people are going to know my deepest darkest?" Ah, ignore it! My point is, thank you for reading and staying along for the journey of maintenance. I learn and get so much from you and I promise to keep it real, no matter how many people come along for the ride.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Singin' the same lines all over again

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I just happened to be reading this blog post from September 2011 and what I noticed is a theme with me "getting back on track." I tend to focus on the exercise and the food is all wonky for a while. The good news is, the eating falls into line eventually. It's hard to believe that's going to happen the way I'm eating lately, but I'm hopeful it will.

Lately I've been all about the evening snacking. Feels very sabotaging, very non-goal-oriented, immediate gratification, I-don't-care-I-want-it type stuff. And I don't like it. I don't like the way I'm left feeling as I go to bed, or when I wake up in the morning. I'm like an alcoholic waking up with a headache, "How much did I drink last night?" But instead, it's crappy food. Not that I'm saying my issues are the same as an addiction, because I don't believe they are, but there are certainly similarities.

I'm thinking about doing some writing about this. In the past, writing out my reasons for wanting to get my eating back to a more positive, goal-oriented, feeling good kind of space has really helped me. And writing the sabotaging (non-true) thoughts out, with the replacement TRUE thought has helped too. I'm due for a refresher. So look for that in an upcoming post.

As before, the exercise is still going well. My week started off with a bang when I went for a 5-mile run on Sunday from my gym. The route included running up one good-sized hill and several tiny ones and even with that I still managed a 9:59 pace! I was so pleased with myself when I looked down and saw my 5 mile time of 49:55.

And the weather was just perfect for a run, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. While I was running I got to thinking about choosing an event. I need to be training for something. The SF Nike Marathon lottery closes tomorrow so I need to decide if this is going to make the cut. The darned thing is $180 though...ouch! I loved that race but seriously, $180?! Anyway, enough about that, check out my splits and elevation profile for my lovely Sunday run.

Normally I wouldn't lift weights after a weekend run but I had the time so why not. I did back/biceps/core and walked out of the gym feeling happy and strong. Monday was back to the gym for a 25 min spin on the upright bike followed by legs/shoulders/core. Despite being in a bit of a hurry I managed to get my whole workout in.

I didn't make it to the gym today, and tomorrow looks bad too. That doesn't make me happy but I'll do my best to make up for it when I can.

That's about all I'm up to these days. How about a few updates by way of pictures? I'll close out with these...

Got a new summer haircut today. It's short, eek!
What I had for lunch today - Kale salad with grilled chicken and black beans. Yum!
A gratuitous post-work ab shot from Monday.
And little man Marek graduated from Pre-k this past Friday. On to kindergarten! A couple pics from the big day.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Dad I Know

I could write a book about what an amazing experience it has been to watch Miguel turn into a dad. When Marek was born in 2009 I remember being amazed by the love Miguel had for him. I always assumed I would love our baby beyond words but I didn't expect him to feel that exact same level of love. Why I made that assumption is another story, but suffice to say, his love for our son amazed and inspired me.

When our daughter was born the following year his love for her was just as clear and deep. He cares for them in such a special way, with tenderness and joy, and it warms my heart and comforts my soul to see it. There is nothing like a father's love and my children enjoy it in spades.

He does all the things I do. He tickles them, bathes them, brushes their teeth. He does their laundry, makes their food and reads them books. He plays with them on the floor, kicks a soccer ball, shoots water guns. He laughs and soothes. He can magically transform a pre-meltdown moment into one full of giggles. He has his moments, he loses his cool and his patience wears thin, just like I do sometimes, just like they do sometimes, but the love is always obvious. How does he do it? He's dad.

Our kids are still too young to verbalize what a gift he is. Still, in their hearts - in their peaceful sleep, in their happy smiles and in their joy - they know. In their outreached arms after a fall, in their sleepy hugs at bedtime, they know. So until they can say it for themselves I'll say it. Thank you Miguel for all you do for our babies. And for making my experience of motherhood that much richer for having you as a partner in raising them.

This picture is a couple years old but it's one of my all-time favorites.