Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Melt: Results Not Typical

On May 1 I started a limited time program at a local training facility.  The idea of the program was to lean my body out by reducing fat and building muscle.  When I went in for the initial assessment, several measurements were taken including weight, body fat percentage, muscle percentage, and visceral fat - that's the one that lays over your abdomen and is the one doctors tend to be most concerned about.

None of my numbers were good.

The program consisted of 8 small group personal training sessions, unlimited use of the facility and the large group conditioning style classes offered, as well as an eating plan and unlimited support from the staff.

When I looked at the eating program and began meal planning, I realized I already eat the way they were asking - whole foods vs. processed - so I knew I'd have no issue with that.  They also wanted us to remove alcohol and as much added sugar as possible. I knew this wouldn't be a problem for me, all except for 2 days - my anniversary and Mr. Helen's birthday which both fell during the program. But, I also knew that if I didn't adapt this a bit for my own real life, there really was no use.  And so, I began.

I really enjoyed the personal training sessions.  Though there could be up to 4 people that the trainer was working with, at least 5 of my sessions, I was the only person! For my personality, having an appointment where someone was waiting was just the thing I needed - in addition to the fact that I could make the appointments to fit my very busy life. That's not always easy with a full time job, a part time job, and a household to run.

They had straps and bands and items that were used to get around the arthritis in my knees and hands and I was able to do some things like deep squats and lunges for the first time in several years.  While there was a bit of actual weight lifting, it was miniscule in comparison to the other types of strength training I was doing.  In short, I loved it and began to look forward to my sessions each week.

I tried every type of class they offered and while they were fine, I wasn't enthralled with them like I was with the small group personal training. I could easily see myself just not going. The times of the classes weren't necessarily convenient either, but I wanted to try everything they had to offer. With everything I did, except maybe Saturday morning, I was working out at my lowest energy point of the day - between 4 and 6 p.m.  When my energy is like that, it's really easy for me to say I don't feel like going to a class, especially if I've already run in the morning.

So for the last 25 days, my schedule consisted of running 5-6 days a week, 2 personal sessions per week, and 1 extra class.

I want to say up front, I wish I had taken actual tape measurements because I definitely feel thinner through my upper abdomen area (i.e. from the bottom of my chest to my waist).  Especially in the last few days, my shirts were feeling looser, and in fact, two people said something to me yesterday about me looking like I was losing a bit of weight.

I was looking forward to seeing the results of my hard work in black and white and yesterday afternoon I went to get them.

Let's just say, for whatever reason, I am an anomaly when it comes to this sort of thing.  My friend joined this program a while back (her program was 21 days) and lost 10 lbs..  She ended up joining for a year because she was so pleased.  I wasn't expecting that sort of weight loss at all (dumb thyroid) but I also wasn't expecting what I got either.

I lost 3 pounds.  I wasn't thrilled as I was hoping for at least 5, but again, with my history 3 pounds is still 3 pounds.  But even the head of training was stunned when he looked at the rest of my numbers. Not only did I NOT lose any body fat, my percentage went up by .7.  Additionally, my muscle mass went down.

This is pretty much the exact opposite of what they want to see.  He was so shocked that he was almost speechless though he did manage to sputter that my diet probably needed adjusting and that I should have been eating more protein and less carbs (they include fruits and vegetables as carbs). Normally I do eat less carbs, i.e. especially fruit, than what they asked so hey - maybe I know my own body better than they do!

They had asked us to keep a food diary - not counting calories or anything, just write it down.  I did that and turned it in.  The nutritionist emailed me early evening and said my food had been spot and and that even on the two "indulgence" days the only thing she would have picked on was the wine I drank and the cake I ate.

This was a money back guarantee program and I have been mulling over writing them and asking for a refund - or additional classes at no charge, because I really did like it and I'm wondering if, with consistency, those stats could change.

I am also mulling over joining.  The program I was on cost twice what I paid and I cannot afford that at all.  Even the next level down with 4 personal training sessions is more than I can swing right now. The least expensive option does include them designing a program for you that you do on your own.  I just need to think hard about if I would actually do it on my own.

Many of the things I learned I would need to have some equipment to do and looking into that I estimate it would cost about $500 to buy the things I would need to be able to continue.  That might be an option but again, I would run into not being able to do anything in the coldest months as there is no room in my house - our garage is our workout area.

Such a conundrum.

At the least, what I have learned or maybe had reinforced is FOR ME, being the anomaly I am, I cannot concentrate on stats, numbers, scales or any of those things.  I have to concentrate on just eating as clean and healthy as possible and to continuing exercise because it makes me feel better.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Memorial Melt

As long time readers of this blog know, I have a terrible time losing weight due to my wonky thyroid, which has once again decided it doesn't want to work properly.  I just had my blood work done again and it is STILL not where it should be after last fall's malfunction.  Honestly, I can't think about it because it literally makes me want to me cry.

But what I can and do and usually think about is just being as healthy and fit as I can. I have always loved exercise and how it makes me feel so really I have no problem at all doing something in the form of movement every day - except that darned strength training which I'm just not motivated to do. Call me the cardio queen.

Around here we have a well-known training group that built a brand new state-of-the-art facility about 18 months ago. Using smart marketing, they have specials that show up in just about everyone I know who exercises Facebook feed. I actually know someone, around my same age and status (50's, menopausal, tries to eat and be healthy and work out but couldn't seem to beat the midlife weight and spread), who did a 21 day program with them.  She enthusiastically goes on and on about how great the program they gave her was.  She loved the facility and the staff so much, she decided to stay on with them for a while using the facility as her gym in addition to group training.

Recently something called the Memorial Melt kept popping up in my news feed - with the catch phrase, LOOK GREAT NAKED IN 25 DAYS - EVEN IF YOU HAVE TRIED AND FAILED IN THE PAST - OR YOUR MONEY BACK!

Normally, that sort of thing would turn me right off, but his is a local, well established business that has a good reputation. Plus I'd like to look better in clothes, never mind naked. Plus a money back guarantee? That was enough to get me to contact my friend to talk with her a bit more about her personal experience.  Then I decided to go ahead and contact them and set up an initial appointment to discuss their processes more.

The program consists of a food plan (if you want to use it) designed by their on-staff nutritionist, a custom training program designed by the head of training, 8 personal training sessions, and unlimited group training and use of the facility for the 25 days. (A locker room with heated floors!)

The experience was all at once disheartening, fascinating, and enlightening.  I had to fill out a large questionnaire, which was discussed with me by the head of training, and then I was put on a machine that measured muscle, body fat, hydration, and calorie burn.  Finally, I was put through a series of moves to determine my ranges of motion, flexibility, and weak areas.

Much of what he found didn't surprise me at all - the left side of my body is a mess and I have been compensating a lot for that foot I fractured in 2012.  In fact, there was one movement I was supposed to do without lifting my heel and I am incapable of doing it even though there is no pain.  He said my brain is simply in overdrive thinking the foot needs protection. Sort of crazy that it's 4 1/2 years later and this is still happening!  He also found my hip rotation wasn't at all as bad as I'd been thinking and even he said I was remarkably loose in the hips for a runner.

Let's not even discuss the body measurements mmmmmkay? Though I wasn't really surprised, seeing everything in a black and white printout was no fun. Well, except the hydration.  I was wonderfully hydrated as I should have been since I drink about a half gallon of water a day while I'm at work not to mention the sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea and more water I drink at home - now infused!

What did upset me was the calorie burn measurements.  Evidently, if I eat more than 1572 calories in a day I will gain weight as that's what I need to just maintain my current weight and state.  Of course this has to do with the current muscle vs. fat composition of my body. This means in addition to metabolism issues being caused by my thyroid, I've also got issues due to poor muscle mass.  Perfect!

When he saw how upset I was getting, he gave me the pep talk that with increase muscled mass the calorie burn will increase which means either more food, or weight loss if I don't eat more food.  I swear at one point I was in a daze and wanted to look at him and say, "blah, blah, blah." Honestly, though intellectually I know this to be true, I don't trust the process -  I feel like the thyroid issues affect everything and give different results, which is why I attempt health and fitness over weight loss.

Interestingly enough, I already eat exactly like they recommend. Even the nutritionist was surprised when she asked me to describe a typical day of food.  Pretty much they recommend eating your carbohydrates (starches and fruits) before mid-afternoon, then dinner should consist of protein and vegetables.  When I glanced at the food lists, I didn't see anything forbidden other than the usual culprits: alcohol and sugar. She said, if anything, she'd like me to try her recommended portions to see what happens.

I decided to sign up simply for the fact that the 8 personal training sessions and custom program are worth more than the price they're asking. He already told me that my program there is not going to have sustained cardio (i.e. no running or elliptical or anything like that) and I should keep doing my run in the morning. I'm hoping in the 25 days I'll get a bit attached to strength training and get myself in the habit of actually doing it.  I'm also hoping for better movement and flexibility.

This also means that between 2 jobs, regular household chores, and family obligations, May will be a crazy month for me.  But if I can manage to "Melt" a bit so that I look better in a bathing suit on my upcoming vacation, and feel better and stronger, I can sacrifice time and almost anything for 25 days. It's only 25 days.

Today is Day One, my first personal training appointment is at 4:00. Wish me luck.