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April 2016



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criminal minds reid runs like a girl

everything is good for you if it doesn't kill you

Since I get asked, and it keeps changing, here's the current state of The Discipline.

Warning: following discussion of fitness and weight management regime may be triggery to some.

[white space!]

When last we left out intrepid girl reporter, it was early May and she was moving from Discipline 1.0 to Discipline 2.0 in an attempt not to destroy her body trying to be an athlete with approximately 70 pounds of famine reserves in surplus of requirements hanging on her ass.

Now, a brief pause to say that your body is your body, and whatever you are comfortable with it being is good by me. But my body is my body, and I want it to climb walls with grace and style, which means stripping down to the muscle in as much as possible for a nearly-40-year-old with a sedentary dayjob.

"I don't care if I look my age," says one of the climbing grannies at my gym. "As long as I don't climb my age."

That means exercise and calorie restrictions. And watching my glycemic index like a hawk, because have I got a famine-tolerant metabolism? Why yes, I do have!

Now, exercise is fun. Calorie restrictions are not. However, I am having some success with Dicipline 2.0 (I managed not to gain weight in a month on the road, and in fact even gained some cardio fitness from all the tromping around, and I'm down 20 pounds since I got back from Leprecon).

This morning I weighed in at 222, which is not quite my low this month (last week I saw 221 for a day, but I think I was dehydrated at the time) but which is the top end of the range where I feel comfortable in my body. I can do a plough position without suffocating myself, for one thing. And climbing is a heck of a lot less painful--and it's starting to get easier to hold myself on the wall.

This, of course, means I need to work harder to maintain strength, since I'm climbing in a lighter weight vest, more or less. So I'm upping my protein intake, and continuing the fitness regime.

In a month, I may be in my next size down pants, which would be comforting. I have a pair of jeans I had when I moved to Las Vegas--getting back into those is one of the goals.

These days, Project: Valkyrie is composed of three elements: strength, cardio, and flexibility training. The flexibility training is yoga--3x a week, preferably more. Sometimes it's a little light stretching; sometimes it's letting Rodney Yee kick my ass for an hour.

That latter also doubles as cardio and as strength training. Seriously, my triceps never hurt so damned much as the day after one of those, and the sweat drips off my nose in a distinct counterargument to that old saw about women "glowing." In addition, I climb and kayak, both of which are strength exercises--the climbing more than the kayaking.

I used to lift; I gave it up about a year after I started climbing, because I realized that the climbing improved the weightlifting, but not the other way around. I prefer functional exercise whenever I can get it.

I also run. Er, jog. Okay, waddle painfully around the neighborhood. But it gets my heart rate up. And someday it may be running again. In thirty pounds or so. (My goal weight is 165, but as I get closer to it I may revise that upwards: the last time I weighed 165 I was not carrying this much muscle.)

I want forearms like the climbers at the gym, which is total vanity. I mean, I have them--I have that hand strength, or I couldn't climb at over 200 pounds--but right now they are hidden from view.

I do have mild exercise-related asthma, and an inhaler for same. It only really troubles me when I'm doing something extremely intense, or involving breath-holding (like swimming).

This past five days, here's what my exercise schedule has looked like:

Today: Jog/walk 2.25 miles (~40 min)
Wednesday: Jog 3.2 miles (~50 min), 1.5 hours climbing, belaying, and hanging around the gym
Tuesday: Jog 2.2 miles (~30 min), 1.5 hours climbing, belaying, and hanging around the gym
Monday: Walk 45 minutes (dog walk) (this more or less counts as a Rest Day)
Sunday: Jog 2.2 miles (~30 min), yoga (1 hour)

Tomorrow I will do yoga again. Saturday I'm traveling, but I'll try to do some yoga when I get to San Diego.

Okay, so that's the workout half of fitness for writer. Anyway, that exercise schedule was not succeeding in getting the weight off me, and I think you will appreciate why I didn't feel I could really step it up any. I have overtrained myself into illness twice; I plan to avoid it making it three if I can.

Which meant that my previous eating plan needed a heavy revision. The Discipline (Mark 1) counted for a varying intake of between 1600-2200 calories a day (I burn somewhere between 2200-3400, depending on my activity level), with emphasis on whole grains, vegetables, and lean protein.

In May, I got mean.

I'm currently sticking to around 1500-1800 calories a day, with occasional metabolism reset days, and seriously limiting carbohydrates and fat. I'm not a proponent of Atkins-style diets (I think they're a great way to wind up with kidney stones and vitamin deficiencies) and I'm not a proponent of ultra-low-fat diets (My cholesterol is fucking fantastic as somewhere around 30% fat a day and plenty of dairy) but I do believe in plenty of protein and veggies and so forth.

So here's an example of what I ate (or plan to eat) today:

Fat-free Greek yogurt with fruit (6 oz): 140 calories
Toast with fig orange jam (1.4 oz toast): 144 calories
Almond milk/protein powder/soluble fiber whizzed in blender: 225 calories

(Normally I would have had this last a little later, as a midmorning snack, but I was starving.)

Thai red curry tofu with dandelion greens, green onions, and fennel, 1 cup: 312 calories (roughly estimated)
brown short grain rice cooked in chicken broth, 1/2 cup: 107 calories
Vegetable juice (beets, carrots, apple, cucumber) (3 cups): 413 calories (I'm guessing here. I enter home made juice as if it were the whole fruit, and figure the calorie overrun will keep me honest--and losing some fiber makes up for losing some calories, but believe me, home made beet and apple juice is not lacking fiber. NB: beet juice has an... er... cleansing effect, and should be taken in small quantities until one knows how it will affect one.)

Dinner (projected):
Salad with chicken on it and blue cheese dressing (we're going to a restaurant tonight, and that's always a good standby): 350 calories

Snack (projected):
AFPS (another fucking protein shake): 225 calories
Handful of almonds: 83 calories

...so we wind up with a grand total of 1850-odd calories, 43g of fiber, 26% fat, 27% protein, 47% complex carbs except the sugar in the jam and the yogurt. Which is my indulgence for the day.

That's more protein than I'd really like (oh, my kidneys: I try to keep it under 20% normally--but I also try to keep it over 100 grams, and with this calorie restriction those are incompatible goals) but what the hell. It's only for a couple more months. And it seems to be working.

Requires a certain amount of privation--I do wind up sharp set a lot (not actually hungry, but aware that I have not eaten as much as the old meat would have liked)--but that's why we call it The Discipline.


Which Rodney Yee videos/DVDs do you use?

*sigh* I wish I found exercise fun. I really, really wish. I know lots of people who do... I just never, ever have. Makes trying to stay in shape not so easy.
Exercise isn't fun. Exercise is fucking torture.

OTOH, it keeps me off only-moderately-effective psych meds that have all kinds of nasty side effects, and it keeps me from dying of a heart attack! Win!

Also, problem-solving exercise, such as rock climbing, is fun. And kayaking and hiking are fun because outdoors is pretty and full of interesting things to look at.

And yoga is worth the suffering for how blissed-out I feel afterwards, and how much less my back hurts...

(oops, hit post too soon)

For a beginner, I recommend his AM Yoga tape. The hardcore ones are Total Power Yoga and Intermediate Yoga.

Edited at 2011-07-07 05:40 pm (UTC)
Gods but I could use some of that hand strength. Upper arms strength is good - and my forearms ripple agreeably - but wrist and hand strength really needs a lot.
I don't have the fine grip strength I once did--typing destroyed it--but I have pretty good lockout these days.
Question for ya - what have you done, other than climbing itself, to increase forearm strength and endurance? That's where I tend to crap out the most in climbing. I'm currently doing Project Pullup, which I expect will help, but I'd like to be improving my forearm performance as well.
Climb laps on crimpers. *G*
Now, exercise is fun. Calorie restrictions are not.

This! Diets just make me feel deprived, but exercise makes me feel like I'm doing positive about it. And a good motivator/energetic dog helps. ;)

Sharing office-space with guys who seem to live on vending-machine snacks is really hard though. But I'm trying to reclassify certain problem items (chocolate!) as 'entertainment' instead of 'food' - so, not banned, but consumed more appropriately now. Mostly.
Thanks for all this detail!

Apple/beet juice really wins, dunnit?
I do wind up sharp set a lot

I learned to recognise this feeling as fat burning, and that made me look forward to it, even seek it.
There's a twist on "pain is weakness leaving the body" that goes "hunger is fat leaving the body."
Thank you for being triggery in a good way: I was thinking of the idea of running, which I did like a mad girl in elementary school (trying to fly in the Santa Anna winds), and which I keep considering taking up, when suddenly I had That Voice in my head shouting, "Don't RUN!" That Voice being my maternal parental unit who wanted a lady not a tomboy who climbed trees and ran and joined track in 7th grade and all that. (Not that I didn't suck at everything but the tree climbing, but I did love doing it.)

I heard That Voice in my head and my breathing stopped (definite sign of Old Tapes/Internalized Bullshit). So just maybe I can get past the restrictions. Once I get to the source of the problem I usually can get past it, and I did buy a book on Starting Running for Women Over 40 a few years back which has step by step instructions from slug to 10K racer and more. Hmm. So, thank you.

(And you're impressive, but you probably knew that.)
You're fucking awesome too. *g* Just remember that.
Terrorist fistbump, even.

When I get back to San Diego, it's back to the handstands.
I need to find something for strength, especially upper-body, to complement the yoga and walking. I'm a serious walker, and have walked well over a thousand miles a year for the past six or seven years. (Wow. That's, um, far.) I do yoga every day, if not always very much, to combat the time spent sitting in a chair.

But I can't find anything I like for strength. Weights? Meh. There doesn't seem to be anywhere to climb around here if you're over 12, or I might try it.

Ideally it would be doable in frequent short bits with minimal equipment, like walking and yoga. Or maybe I should just do more yoga?
Power yoga. It make you strong like ox. Also, hurt like hell.
I think this is admirable: it's a terrific goal to have and you have great discipline.

How are you?
It sounds like our paths are pretty similar - I started out as 267 about a year and some ago, and am now hovering around 220 with the determination to make it to about 180 (I don't know if I can dream about 165...right now all I want is to get below 200). The problem is that most of my workouts bore me. The only thing I'm doing right now that excites me is aikido. My strength training has gotten intermittent, ditto the cardio (biking, and also gym stuff), and although I added swimming laps to the mix it's not on a regular schedule either. That's the part that I find difficult. Really, I should get up early and go in the morning, but...wah. It's hard.

I keep thinking about running, and maybe I'll finally do one of the couch to 5K programs. I'm just intimidated by the idea of running - I worry about my knees, which is silly because aikido is probably just as hard on them.
Find a buddy to go biking or running with. If it bores you, turn it into social hour so you look forward to it.
Thanks for explaining about all of this! I really want to start exercising more regularly to see if it will help my brain/mood issues. Right now it is just frustrating, since it seems like the amount I can physically do is not enough to produce any psychiatric effects, so I'm just flailing around going "Gahhh I am so bad at this whyyyyyy"

But, nothing to be done but to keep at it -- take a walk, because I can't run; do pushups on the kitchen counter, because I can't do them on the floor -- and hope that Future Ellie gets something out of it, at least.
Also, do you have any particular protein powder you like? I've been ordering various flavors of whey concentrate from True Protein, and some (e.g. Bananas N Cream) are genuinely delicious, and some taste like a five year old decided to make a smoothie and threw half the contents of the cupboards into a blender.
I look forward to more handstands with you. :-)
Maybe someday I'll do a real one.
Right, that's it, even if I can't make it to the gym tomorrow because of work and gym-buddy schedule, I'm going jogging. You've inspired me.
Then my work here is done!
Good on you! I can't really manage the calorie restriction bits, which is why I weigh 230 instead of 205-210. Now that my deathmarch has finished, I can get back into training. Fortunately for me, the more I exercise the better I feel, the downside is that I'm high mileage, and am carrying a lot of body damage which holds me back a bit.
You and me both, on the damage.

Somebody pointed out me that I keep crippling characters in ways that are more extreme versions of my body trauma.


Subconscious projection much, what can I say?
good god just reading that made me tired
good luck :)
Thai red curry tofu with dandelion greens, green onions, and fennel

Recipe is required, plz!
Um. Easy! Get firm tofu. Press it out between two plates, wrapped in a tea towel, for an hour or so. Cut up into slices or strips.

Having done this, heat up a pan with some oil or butter or both in over medium heat. Sautee an allium of your choice in the grease. Push to the side.

Add the tofu with spaces between and watch it sizzle. After a few minutes, stir it to get the other side brown.

When the tofu is as cooked as you like, add some veggies. Anything you like.

When the veggies are done, add red curry paste from a jar and coconut milk from a can, also to taste. Correct seasoning (I like lime in mine) and then eat over rice!
Good going. I wish I had your food discipline. The best I can do is snack on fruit instead of junk.
I really, really wanted the mushroom ravioli last night, lemme tell you.

But I want to climb 5.10 more.
I wish I could climb that much...and not just for fitness reasons:there used to be a climbing wall where I lived back in the day, and the men....phew.
also, to all those joggers who find it boring, I listen to the Escape Pod, Pseudopod, Podcastle and Drabblecast podcasts pretty constantly during my workouts, and this works out as about an hour and a half to three hours of podcasty goodness per week. Which is conincidentally my average weekly workout time.
And the podcasts are sort of the reason I found this blog in the first place, after listening to the amazing story Mongoose over on Drabblecast.
Oh yeah. Climbers are hawt.

Everybody's hawt on a wall. Old, young, thin, stout, dressed in horrible ratty climbing clothes and drenched in sweat and covered in gobs of magnesium powder--everybody's hot on a wall.

Also, yay for podcasts. I sometimes listen to music, but having things in my ears while running on the street makes me nervous.

If the link doesn't work, go to youtube and look for Catherine Destivelle, a mountain climber who doesn't use equipment. I was amazed and humbled.
Yeah, she's very well-known.

Free soloing is kind of fucking crazy shit, however. Although I fully endorse people's freedom to get their asses killed in whatever kind of crazy-ass way they desire, be it BASE jumping, cave diving, free solo...
Being on a somewhat similar quest myself, I sympathize with the difficulty. But from what you say here about the relationship between protein and recovery, I wanted to make sure you had seen this, for however many grains of salt you may want to give it: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/phys-ed-what-exercise-science-doesnt-know-about-women/