I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers yesterday that just broke my heart… Specifically this line: “I am still struggling with weight, even after all of this training”.
I don’t really write too often about what it’s taken me to outrun my diet – to be fair with the definitions, I eat around 2,800 calories – exactly perfect for my height, weight and activity level and I do this naturally without counting calories – in other words, my definition of a “bad diet” really isn’t all that bad. I am a sucker for sweets every now and again but I can make a bag of Better Made licorice last for a week, but I’ve almost completely kicked a gnarly four to five 2-Liter of Coke per week habit (do the math, it’s more than a pound’s worth of sugar a week). I do drink Gatorade like it’s going out of style, but I need the electrolytes (I can feel it when I’m dipping into the reservoir). With the definition of my diet out of the way, at least vaguely so, I can get into the meat and potatoes.
I’m exercising five days a week (30 minutes – 2 hours each day) and that’s during the off-season (late, late fall to early spring). For the on season, I’m going six to seven days a week at least an hour a day and 2-5 hours on Saturdays, both running and cycling. I exercise so much (and so hard) that I have no choice but to supplement my diet with some fast food to keep my caloric intake up… I haven’t worried about my physical appearance in going on a year now and I can tell you, it’s a glorious feeling to be able to look down at your legs and laugh because they’re so muscularly perfect. It’s awesome to be able to not have your gut hanging over your belt when you’re sitting down (or to not have to lean back to hide that little bastard of a gut).
To get there took forever and a day though – more than ten years of running, and once I started cycling daily, it still took another entire year. That last year was spent tweaking my diet and shedding the Coke habit. Now I don’t know if the way I went about things helped or hurt – I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground when I started running more than a decade ago, I was lucky to find it with both hands. The one thing that I did right though, is that I didn’t quit – no matter what. I suppose, after the first year of running I was at a fairly reasonable 170 lbs – at 6′ tall, but I still wasn’t all that happy with a little bit of “old man fat” that I had around by belly. Only in the last year did I lose enough of the stubborn fat to be comfortable (around 155-157). I make no bones about the fact that I’m half nuts for sticking with exercise this long, but long about the second year I grew to need the release I got from setting the endorphins free, and that’s really what kept me going.
To compound the problem, at least as I see it, you’ve now got this “fat burning” zone 2. Call me crazy, but I ride and run for fun too and tooling about at 15-16 mph on a road bike just isn’t that fun – I’ve always been the kind of guy that “if you can talk, you’re not running/riding fast enough. According to the best knowledge I’ve got, this is in the vicinity of zone 3 – the carb burning zone. The truth is, because I like going faster I could have slowed my fat burning potential.
In the end, I really don’t care about much of the zones and heart rates (at least until I wan to get serious and improve on my overall speed to keep up with the Tuesday night group). I’m all about getting my sweat on. The point is, my friends, I had to stick with it until I found out what worked for me. Of course, I could have hired a coach and made life a lot easier, but then I’d have been stuck with a plan that I didn’t like and bored the hell out of me…
UPDATE: Joseph Lampen made a few excellent points in the comments section that were missing from this post:
“…that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The gain in self confidence, lower cholesterol, and increase in energy can’t be measured or valued. But, the other reason to ride is because I’d rather manage that than take on some peas and alfalfa diet. I ride to eat :)”
I read a post last night that posed an interesting set of points – points that I generally agreed with, save one: When it comes to gun control, why can’t we all just get along? Why is it when reasonable people get together, does ‘gun control’ mean confiscation to gun owners? Why can’t we come up with reasonable gun control laws that will prevent things like what happened in Connecticut from happening?
Well, the first problem is that this is a State problem because Congress can’t infringe on the right to bear arms. After all, a well-regulated group of citizen soldiers is an imperative of a free State, but let’s really look at this a little deeper.
The answer is that the anti-gun lobby will stop at nothing to get all guns banned, there is no low that they won’t stoop to and no distortion they aren’t willing to tell to get public opinion to sway their way – no matter how dishonest.
The new comment of the day to get the uninformed to back anti-gun legislation goes like this: 40% of firearms sold in the US don’t require a background check. Unless you know how these arguments are phrased, you could mistakenly jump to the conclusion that almost half of the people who buy guns don’t go through a background check. How could that be? Background checks make sense! How could almost half of guns sold be done so without a check?!
I own one pistol that I had a background check to get. It is a very nice pistol. Does it make sense to run another check on me or require me to go through a waiting period when I purchase another? How about a third? There’s part of your 40% of all guns (if I remember correctly, in my state, a purchase permit must be submitted to the State through the Sherrif’s office for every purchase).
In addition (for the rest), some gun owners are licensed to carry concealed firearms in most States and one of the benefits to having this license is no need for further checks while the four-year renewable license is in effect. Now I know concealed carry laws in every State that I’ve ever visited – but I only know the requirements to get a license in my State so I’ll stick to what I know… To obtain such a license in my State, a person must prove that they’ve passed a training course that requires the participant to show beyond doubt that they are capable of handling their firearm safely. Additionally, a much more rigorous FBI background check is required. To top that off, each licensee must submit a special set of fingerprints to the FBI – and this must all be done and paid for before the State will even think about giving an applicant the license… Does it make sense to run another check before they have to go through the same steps to renew their license that they went through to obtain it in the first place?
Of course not, what this really does is save our government (the County and State) resources from making unnecessary, duplicate or triplicate checks.
The reality is the loser who committed the atrocity in Connecticut couldn’t have passed even the less stringent local police background check to simply purchase a firearm – he had to kill his mother to gain access so if you’re wondering what must be done additionally to prevent someone like that from purchasing a firearm, the real answer is nothing other than make mom’s with nut-cases for sons lock up their stinking guns so they can’t get at them – but that’s not exactly rocket science now is it?
The point is that we’re asked to be a part of an open honest debate with anti-gun nuts that is neither open or honest – 40%of firearms may very well be sold without a point of sale background check, but they’re all sold after some kind of background check.
The discussion smacks of the “90% of firearms confiscated from Mexican drug smugglers can be traced back to the US” distortion. About four years ago the argument was made by both Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama himself that 90% (or something close to that, I don’t remember the actual figure) of all firearms confiscated in Mexico could be traced back to the US. The reality behind the numbers broke like this: Of the weapons that were confiscated in Mexico and sent to the ATF to be traced (11,000), only 6,000 could be traced. Of those 6,000, 90% came from the US. The problem is that the Mexican government confiscated 29,000 weapons in that year… So less than 6,000 of those 29,000 firearms could be traced back to the US. Now in all fairness, because that’s what the discussion supposedly requires, figure that the Mexican government sent 11,000 of the 29,000 firearms to be checked because they were American made but the serial numbers were filed on 5,000… On the high side, 11,000 of the 29,000 firearms that Mexico could have come from the US – or roughly 35%, not 90%, but as low as 20%.
The point is, how can you have an open debate with a group of people who are either completely ignorant or dishonest? And that, in a nutshell, is why the controversy is always such a big deal.
Oh, and the real question that needs to be asked of those who want to limit my ability to protect myself and my family is this: How will making it more difficult for me to buy a firearm make me safer? I will follow the law, whatever it ends up being, but there are tens of thousands who won’t, who will buy firearms on the black market – so how does removing my firearm from the equation make me safer?
Good luck trying to make that argument without being laughed out of the room.
My kid’s school closed for Thursday and Friday…because if the paranoia surrounding the end of the world on Friday – the second such panic in just 12 years.
Of course this one’s different this time. This one isn’t even a computer glitch that they figured out a year earlier, an ancient civilization simply didn’t have a computer to write a calendar that doesn’t end so they need a new one. In other words, it’s even less troublesome this time around.
Isn’t there one Mayan out there who can make a new calendar? Just one so we can wake up on Saturday and go running?
Sadly, this is a little deeper and I actually agree with the school administration’s decision based on what I know but will not put to print. Let’s just say it helps me to understand better why politics is an ugly business.
Actually, if we go by the previous paragraph, can’t we just fake it?