Tag Archives: exercise

The 4-Minute Workout

that seven minute workout plan is so last month. the the 4-minute workout is the new hotness for people who don’t need to lose weight and are looking to answer the question, “how little exercise can i get away with while maximizing my fitness gains?” fitness gurus and gyms with fancy equipment will be disappointed. according to the researchers, “…the workout can effectively be practiced anywhere, Dr. Tjonna says. Sprint uphill for four minutes or race up multiple flights of steps. Bicycle, swim or even walk briskly, as long as you raise your heart rate sufficiently for four minutes.”

the seven minute scientific fitness program.

i’m still working on meeting my 100 consecutive push-up and 200 consecutive sit-up goal. it’s hard to believe i’ve done almost 4,000 push-ups and 7,000 sit-ups over the past 12 weeks! it might be a few more weeks before i actually hit the goal, but then i’ll definitely be looking for a “maintenance” fitness routine that fits my original requirements:

“i’m looking for something that doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment ( maybe a few dumb bells), that can be done a few times a week for relatively short periods of time ( 30-60 minutes ) that will play well with running ( i.e. not looking to bulk up )”

with perfect timing, this new york times article, “the scientific 7-minute workout”, caught my eye. the article covers new research published in the american college of sports medicine (acsm) health and fitness journal , high intensity circuit training using body weight: maximum results with minimal investment, which claims to whittle down the benefits of a long run and a gym routine into a 7 minute workout with “…12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall.”:

“The following is an example of a 12-station HICT program. All exercises can be done with body weight and implements easily acquired in almost any setting (e.g., home, office, hotel room, etc.). The exercise order allows for a total body exercise to significantly increase the heart rate while the lower, upper, and core exercises function to maintain the increased heart rate while developing strength.

Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between bouts. Total time for the entire circuit workout is approximately 7 minutes. The circuit can be repeated 2 to 3 times.

1. Jumping jacks Total body
2. Wall sit Lower body
3. Push-up Upper body
4. Abdominal crunch Core
5. Step-up onto chair Total body
6. Squat Lower body
7. Triceps dip on chair Upper body
8. Plank Core
9. High knees/running in place Total body
10. Lunge Lower body
11. Push-up and rotation Upper body
12. Side plank Core

while it’s only 7 minutes, as the nyt article points out, intensity is the key:

“The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.”

( via kottke )

80 weeks later – I LOST 106 POUNDS!

4 weeks after hitting the hundred pounds lost mark, i’ve lost 6 more pounds which means, through the magic of math, i’ve lost 106 pounds!

according to the BMI calculators, at 189 pounds i have a body mass index of 23 which puts me in the the 23rd weight percentile for my 6’4″ frame and also means i weigh what most other people my height wish they weighed. it also means i’ve erased 23 years of weight gains and now weigh what i did in high school.

truth be told, i haven’t really been trying to lose any more weight. in fact, i’ve been trying to not lose any more! i guess i’ll have to try a little harder. after running clear across the country i’ve been gradually cutting back my miles and have been averaging 25 miles a week, down from 45 a week. alas, it’s going to be tough but i’ll just have to eat a little more :-)

and, yes, i’m still working on phase II fitness towards the goal of doing 100 consecutive push-ups and 200 consecutive sit-ups and am making steady progress.

after 5 weeks, i’m heading into the last week of the training and did 175 push-ups today, 480 for the week and 1,308 total. and i did 261 sit-ups today, 698 for the week and 1,970 total which is all a little mind-blowing since i could barely do 10 push-ups and 30 sit-ups when i started. progress! just one week until the test to see if i can do 100 consecutive push-ups and 200 consecutive sit-ups!

i guess it’s probably time for a before and after picture :-)

visualizing running 2,422 miles


View San Diego to Jacksonville, 1 Fuel Stop in a larger map

i get asked every day how i lost lost 100 pounds and the shortest answer i give is that i ran a lot and a little less. at the time i hit the 100# mark i had run 2,357 miles ( as of writing this i’ve now run 2422 miles ).

i wondered how far 2,422 miles is, in terms of driving across the U.S., and thanks to this ask metafilter post learned that 2,357 miles is almost exactly the same distance as the shortest drive across the continental U.S. from san diego, california to jacksonville, florida.

so, i’ve run the equivalent of the shortest drive across the U.S. with plus two marathons and a half marathon!

and that’s how you lose 100 pounds :-)

76 weeks later – I LOST 100 POUNDS!

i almost can’t believe it, but 76 weeks after starting running again after a 7 year hiatus, i’ve logged 2,357 miles and finally hit my goal of losing 100 pounds!

it’s been just a year since i committed to running another marathon and i’ve kept losing weight since meeting my original goal of losing 70 pounds by the time i ran the chicago marathon 4 months ago and hit a big fitness milestone a month later at 75 pounds and realized i could keep going and lost 90 pounds by the new year.

at that point i thought, why not just hit a nice round number and erase a full 17 years of weight gains and go for 100. AND I DID IT! of the many wonderful things to love about losing 100 pounds, one of the best is that at 195 pounds i’m now no longer a clydesdale!

so, now i’m reprogramming the reprogramming and am a couple of weeks into phase II fitness – stage I. 100 push-ups and 200 sit-ups ( already for the first time in my life i can do 60 push-ups and 91 sit-ups ) while i think about new ways to kick 30 year old me’s ass.

as you might imagine, i get a lot of questions about how i lost so much weight and i do plan to write a longer post revealing all my secrets! the abridged version? i ran a lot and i ate a little less. it adds up over time :-)

according to the BMI calculators at 195 pounds, i’m now solidly in the “normal” range for body mass index and the 28th percentile for my age. but BMI is a rather imprecise gauge for body composition and given the number of questions i get about how much more weight i plan to lose ( the implication being that i don’t need to lose anymore ), i think it’s time to get a more rigorous assessment of how much i should lose. at most i might try for 5 or 10 more pounds, if for no other reason than to weigh what i weighed in high school lo those many years ago.

but for now, i’m happy to have lost 350,000 calories worth of weight and am hopeful that i never, ever, ever have to do this again :-)

also, i need new pants.

the hardest part? reprogramming the reprogramming.

i’m within a pound or so of hitting 100 pounds lost and increasingly getting “you look great, but you’re not going to lose anymore weight, right?” comments. turns out, the hardest part after embarking on The Great Reprogramming and running 6-7 days a week for 73 weeks, logging 2134 miles, eating 1,700 calories a day for over 6 months and crushing every fitness goal i set for myself?

reprogramming the reprogramming – taking it easy, eating a little more and not kicking myself for not going out for a run.

it’s tough, but i think i can do it.

phase II fitness – stage I. 100 push-ups and 200 sit-ups.

i cruised past losing 90 pounds by the year and even though i’ve slowed up a bit on the rate of weight loss, i’ll hit 100 pounds lost sometime in february.

so what about that phase II fitness program focused on strength training?

i’ve been slowly working with dumbbells doing a few reps here and there to get out of the OW! OW! OW! phase and am now ready to commit to a fairly simple goal – build up to 100 push-ups and two hundred sit-ups over the next 7 or 8 weeks or so.

it certainly fits in my original requirements of not requiring a lot of expensive equipment ( maybe a few dumb bells), that can be done a few times a week for relatively short periods of time ( 30-60 minutes ) that will play well with running ( i.e. not looking to bulk up ).

and, as importantly, i’ve never been able to do either in my entire life. so i get to kick 30 year old me’s ass all over again :-)

whose in with me? if you start, let me know how the progress goes!

the lies we tell ourselves while running with a chest cold.

the lies we tell ourselves while running with a chest cold.

“oh, a -5°F wind chill isn’t really that cold. and it’s only 4 miles. i mean, the cold will agitate my chest in a good way and help, you know, clear the gunk out.”

uh, huh. the icicle’s hanging from my eyelashes produced from my breath venting out the face mask are messing with the “it’s good for you” narrative. that said, it did clear things out. briefly. sort-of.

YOU GUYS, I DID IT! I LOST 90 POUNDS BY THE NEW YEAR!

i really didn’t think i was going to do be able to do it over the holidays, but thanks in part to burning over 2,000 calories on a new year’s eve 13 miler with a new toy i weighed in this morning and have lost 15 pounds since my big fitness milestone ( and 12 pounds over december alone! ) which means I LOST 90 POUNDS BY THE NEW YEAR!

it’s hard to believe i’ve lost 30 pounds since running the chicago marathon and 55 pounds since august when i adjusted the weight loss program and began doubling my monthly weight losses to average 11-12 pounds a month ( i’ll write up more about how i did it at another time since, unsurprisingly, i get a lot of questions about how i managed to lose 90 pounds from people who can’t seem to lose 10 ).

i suppose it’s worth noting that, at 205 pounds ( yes, if you do the math i weighed an astonishing 295 when i started running again ), i have now reversed 18 years of weight gains and am now, finally, at a “normal” BMI ( and the 36th percentile for my age and height ). i do plan on losing 10 or 15 more pounds over the next couple of month to finally escape the brutal math of Being A Clydesdale and get solidly in the middle of a normal BMI ( at least in the US! ).

so, what’s next? i’m going to try and take a break from running in the freezing cold and blizzards ( or at least run a lot less ) and read up on how to design a Phase II fitness program focused on strength training ( send me your reading suggestions! ).

and while i realize the challenge of losing 90 pounds is only going to be surpassed by actually keeping it off, you can bet i’m going to enjoy a new year’s day 100% grass-fed, bacon, blue cheese, olive burger with caramelized onions and french fries while relishing in the fact that i don’t have to make a new year’s resolution to lose 90 pounds.