Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Group Training - 5/17/11

Whew! Sorry about the big gap in posting here. We got super sick last week and did absolutely nothing fitness-related. On Monday, I was so sick I was literally in bed, on the couch, or in the bathroom the entire day. I had a fever, I was dehydrating myself by every possible avenue and I ate maybe half a cup of applesauce the whole day. Not ideal. I couldn't even keep down water earlier in the day. Jenna stayed home and looked after me all day like a champion. I really couldn't have done it without her. I don't remember the last time I was so sick, but I hope it doesn't happen again for a very long time. Tuesday I stayed home again but felt much better. No more puking, and the fever was gone. Tuesday night, though, Jenna started feeling it. Wednesday she stayed home and I wasn't able to stay with her, unfortunately. Thursday she stayed home again and was feeling much better by the end. By Friday, we were both back at work and feeling much closer to 100%, but still not quite there. Over the weekend we took it pretty easy and rested up a lot more. So we completely stopped tracking calories and didn't do any workouts for a whole week. I lost about 4-5 pounds just in water weight because I was so dehydrated. I ended up pounding a fair amount of low-cal Gatorade just to get myself back up to snuff. By the end of the week, I was feeling pretty good on hydration. It was weird to have non-water again after so long, but it really felt like it helped me out.

So, last night, we got back into action. We had our first group training session with Gilles. There are seven people in the group, including us. One other married couple, a lady who is recovering from having a baby, Gilles' wife (Danielle, I think?) and another petite woman who is all kinds of lean and muscley. She's pretty hardcore and I'm almost certain she could outlift me. Everyone is really nice, and we all got along well. I think the other guy in the group is thankful that there's another man now, but he might be a little happier if I weren't so young. I didn't feel young or fit at all while we were working, but I managed to keep up with everything pretty well. Here's what we did:

We started out doing a dynamic warmup. High knees and buttkicks followed by mummies and jogging, with some backwards jogging thrown in for good measure. After that, We did a circuit of pushups for 45 seconds (Hah! I had to go to my knees after maybe 30 seconds) followed by a jog to the other side of the gym and back two times, then figure 8s with a medicine ball. Those are cool. They're like v-sit chops, but instead of just touching the ball on the ground side to side, you weave it under and over your legs while maintaining the v-sit. Very tough, but a very good progression. The last stage of the circuit was chest passes against the wall with the medicine ball. We did that circuit three times. Then we had a nice long rest and Gilles had us start on the second circuit. It was a 7-stage circuit and we all cycled through it at 45 seconds on, 15 seconds of rest. I started on pushup position planks, then went to figure 8s, then lateral jumps over a big rope, then running back and forth across the gym. After that, it was dragging a weight sled with two 45-pound plates on it. No idea how much the sled weighed, but it was pretty heavy. At least 100 pounds, maybe more like 110 or 115, I'm thinking. Then I did a wall sit, then did high knees on an agility ladder and that was the end of the circuit. A bit of rest, then back through. This time we did 30 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. The final run through the circuit was 30 on and 10 off, but he really wanted us to push ourselves 100% on every exercise. We also reversed the order we went through the circuit. The final bit of fun was forward/backward suicides across the width of the gym. Gilles set cones out at 5-yard intervals, and we had to sprint to the far cone and run backwards back to the start. Then sprint out to the second-farthest cone and run backwards to the start. I think there were 7 cones in all, and we did the whole exercise twice. I felt pretty good about it. I can backpedal pretty quickly and my transitions are fast.

My heart rate was up in the 160 BPM plus for a large portion of this session. I think I maxed out at 178 BPM. I have no idea where my zones actually are, but I'm pretty sure that's a high 4 or 5. I was definitely sucking wind more than a few times over the course of the session. I didn't really get close to throwing up, but it was at least on my mind that I might. One thing I really wish my watch would do is to estimate calorie burn based on heart rate. It does it based on distance which is fine for running or swimming, but doesn't work so well for jumping in place or dragging a weight sled. I may have to do some research online and see if I can find a conversion table or something. Alternatively, I may need to look into a "Gym HRM" and an "Outdoor Running HRM" as separate entities. I really like my Garmin, but it is only well-suited to one of my regular exercise activities, and it's the least-regular one I do these days.

We also (before the session) had Gilles get our weight and do a pinch test for body fat. Here are my results:

Weight: 235 pounds (this is late in the day, after having eaten and everything all day long)
BMI: 29.4
Body Fat: 16.4%
Lean Mass: 196.46
Fat Mass: 38.54

If you compare this to my original numbers from about 6 weeks ago, You'll see the following changes:

Weight: -10 pounds
BMI: -1.2 (Moved from Obese to Overweight)
Body Fat: -6%
Lean Mass: +6.3 pounds
Fat Mass: -16.3 pounds

Given that my goal originally was to lose 20 pounds of fat and not lose any lean mass in 12 weeks, I'd say I am absolutely dominating. In half that time, I have already almost lost all of the body fat I wanted to lose and have gained a lot more muscle than I would have expected. I have come to the conclusion that my body really does want to be lean and muscular. There's just a limit on what it can do with a steady diet of candy, pizza and couch-surfing. I'm seeing and feeling significant changes already. My stomach is flatter and harder, especially in the obliques. I'm seeing more muscle tone in my chest, arms and shoulders as well. I still have a long way to go, for sure. I'm happy to be reaching my initial goal so soon, but I'm going to push myself and try to get down to 12% body fat by the end of 12 weeks now. Here's what that would look like if i didn't gain any more lean mass (which seems unlikely, but there you go):

Weight: 223.3 pounds
BMI: 27.9
Body Fat: 12.0%
Lean Mass: 196.46 pounds
Fat Mass: 26.79 pounds

That looks like a loss of another 11.75 pounds of fat. Obviously that's feasible in 6 weeks, since I've already done that and more. Any additional lean mass will just be gravy. So there it is. Setting another finish line out even farther for myself so I have more to shoot for. I really think these group sessions will help a great deal, because the intensity level is so much higher.

Thanks for reading!

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