Category Archives: WGOM Fitness

Dedicated to posts about member’s on-going efforts to get and stay in shape.

Back in the saddle

After being in the hospital ("big-house") from January 3rd thru most of March - most of it in the ICU and all of it on my back in a bed, I did 20 days in a re-hab hospital (the "hotel"), and now have been home for about a month.  Still a lot of healing in my wounds.

I can walk now (without a walker), averaging 1.5mi and don't get winded.  Also, on Sunday, I swam for the first time this year (2 laps), and on Tuesday 4 laps.  Honestly, I cried after the first half lap I was so happy.  My arms are weak (like a little girl), but they do the job and my SWOLF (google Garmin for this) is only 10 points above where I was before IT happened.

So Nation, how are you keeping active/healthy?

WGOM Fitness: Progress, but at a cost

As I've mentioned before I both refurbished my bike and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Both events lit the proverbial fire under me in terms of getting the exercise I just hadn't been getting enough of.  Overall, its been a great success! I was in pretty bad shape as of 2-3 years ago and had plateaued after only losing about ten pounds. This summer, though, I've pushed that weight loss to over 50 pounds and am on the verge of dropping below 200 lbs for the first time in over a decade. I look and feel pretty amazing. I've been working up my riding to where I am doing about 80-100 miles per week, or so, although I feel a bit like I've plateaued on gainz there, the weight is still coming off. As a result, I am already off of insulin and I'll find out in a couple weeks how my A1C is doing. In short, biking rules.

My second reason for writing this, though, is something of a warning. Shortly after I got out of the hospital, the ring and pinkie finger on my left hand stopped working like they are supposed to. I basically can't move them towards the rest of my fingers. It makes doing simple things like tying my shoes difficult. At first I figured it might be related to the diabetes, but since it was only in my left hand was told that was not the case. I didn't immediately make the connection to the increased amount of cycling I'd been doing. Seems I've come down with a case of cyclsists palsy. I am almost certain I've been putting too much weight on my hands while I ride, so I am starting to look into getting a professional fit done to see if I can alleviate that. (and spreading copious amounts of NSAID gel on my arm). One of the hospitals in Madison does it, so I'm hoping it can be covered by the insurance.

Anyway, moral of the story is, biking rules but do it wisely. Building your own bike from scratch also rules, but you gotta be very cognizant of where you locate everything. Hopefully the damage to my nerve is not permanent, but take a lesson from me here.

(but also, seriously and holy crap, I've lost over 50 lbs and am working on getting to 60. I'm very impressed with myself, ngl.)

WGOM Fitness: Happy, But Not Satisfied

We haven't had a dedicated fitness post in a while, so I thought I'd kick one off.

I'd mentioned a while back that I've made some progress in the weight loss category. On January 4th I weighed in at (a holiday-inflated, late-in-the-day inflated) 236. That was the highest I've ever been. This morning I weighed in at 206. The weight loss has been pretty consistent - about a pound a week, sometimes less, sometimes a little more (30 lbs over 24 weeks - that math works out).

The thing is, it has really only been small changes that have paid off. A quick list of some of those changes/factors that contributed:

1. I have essentially given up pop.
2. I had Covid (lost a few extra pounds that week, post-covid parsomia contributes to not wanting to eat so much).
3. Far less snacking at night. I'm not quite doing intermittent fasting, but I suppose it is structurally similar. A little bit of leeway with myself keeps it from feeling oppressive.
4. Lunches from home. I've often gone through spells where I don't plan ahead and/or go home for lunch, and that often leads to eating something from the gas station kitchen, or one of the few restaurants in town, or stopping at the grocery store and grabbing something microwavable. Philosofette has been at home over the past 6 months, and that's enabled a lot more attention to my lunchtime diet.
5. Finding small activity. More walks. I took Aquinas kayaking a few weeks ago. I started a small amount of lifting 2 times a week. I'm making sure I'm playing ball or tossing around the frisbee with my kids more often. Etc. Just finding little things, instead of feeling like I need to go for a run.

Ultimately, turning 40 was a really good motivator for me. I knew that was coming up, so I had a good goal in mind and I was able to stick with it. Then, I quickly set another goal and I'm working towards that. Keeping the goals at the forefront has been what has enabled the other changes.

I genuinely don't remember the last time my weight was this low. Probably at least 10 years - I think I came out of law school over 200 (law school was very unkind to me weight-wise). But even though I weighed about the same 10 years ago, I know that weight sat a lot better - it was more muscle, less fat - so I'm aware of how much further I have to go. Essentially, I'm happy, but not satisfied. Because, when it really comes down to it, I think the goal-setting has been as important as anything else.

Phlegm hacking – exercise?

Back in Feb, I came down with a lung infection while in Minny.  A heavy dose of antibiotics cleared up the pneumonia, but it took a while to shake the nasal/coughing/sweats.  I thot I was in the clear, then two weeks ago it all started again.  The house doc at my company attacked it with an aggressive Prednisone regimen, which seems to have worked.

The violent coughing seemed to have caused a fractured rib, but that cleared up - must've been a muscle strain - and now there is much less pain.

Today I swam for the first time since 3/24, with no pain.

What are you Citizens doing besides shoveling snow?

One-upped by a Maine’ah

So I went to the club on Thursday to swim, and from the window I could see that some people were swimming, yet there was a sign on the Men's locker room door saying that the pool was temporarily closed. I donned my kit, showered, and went in to the pool, thinking at worst case I'd shvitz in the hot tub.

The pool was open (just minutes earlier), but the lifeguard said that it was only 70F (usually 81F), as they had just added a bunch of water and it hadn't heated up yet.

On with the cap and goggles, I descended into the cold pool. It was bracing.  I thought, Suck it up, Boyo, clicked 'Schwimmbad' on my Garmin, and proceeded to do my standard set.  I never did warm up.

Afterwards, in the hot tub, I was talking with another guy about the pool being cold.

He:  "Well, you know, I'm from Maine.  We swam in the ocean all the time.  It nevah got more than 56F but we didn't care." (i.e. we are real men)

So Nation, how's your New Year's Fitness McFithouse  going?

WGOM Fitness: Chicken Or The Egg

I had a thought as out I was out huffing through the forest: do you burn more calories when you out of shape because you're heavier so your body has to work harder OR do you burn more when you're in better shape because your body can go faster, do more, etc? I mean, like, in the same amount of time, say 30 minutes of jogging.

Also, weather's getting warmer, the forest paths are drying out, and the side trails are more navigable. Happy not to lug around a pound of mud on my shoes when I go running now. What outdoor activities are everyone looking forward to now that things are starting to thaw out?

WGOM Fitness: The Right Side

I made it a New Year's Resolution to lose 10% of my body weight, since I'd hit an all-time high. I haven't done nearly enough physical activity (so this is less of a "fitness" post and more "weight" post), but I've managed to hit a benchmark already: for the first time in far too long, I'm on the right side of 220. It first happened on Monday, and today is day 3 of the same, so I feel comfortable putting it down on paper (or whatever we call this).

That's about 10 pounds lower than I started the year. It's all been very little changes, but they are really adding up, much quicker than I anticipated.

First, I bought a scale, and I just write my weight down every day (or nearly. I keep it at work, so if I don't go in to work, I don't weigh myself). Just having an idea of where I'm at has been helpful. It keeps it in my mind a little bit throughout the day.

Second, I have cut dramatically back on the pop that I'm drinking. I haven't given it up entirely, but instead of almost 2 cans a day, I'm now somewhere in the the 4 cans a week range. Along with this, I've tried to cut back on the cream and sugar I'm adding to my coffee. That's been made easier since I've been buying better coffee. Pricier, but I think it's a good balance.

Third, I've been trying to have smaller lunches. This is one area where I can still make a lot of progress. There are far too many days where I don't plan ahead, or I let myself have an extra sandwich or something along those lines. I started off very well in this area, just limiting myself to a can of soup and a few crackers, but that has gotten a bit tiring. I plan to work on this more.

Fourth, my after-supper snacks have been pared back. Instead of 4 or 5 nights a week having something to eat around 9 or 10, I'm going with maybe 3, and the things are often smaller than they were before.

Fifth, I bought some small exercise bands for my office - just a little thing to do to mindlessly move around and work some muscles a small amount when I'm doing other tasks.

Anyway, these are all really small things, and I am amazed at how much they've added up in less than 3 months. I know at some point these changes won't be enough, and I'll have to add more efforts. I hope that I will, even before I get to that point. But I'm glad for where I've gotten, and I'm excited for where I'm hopefully going. The small changes are really important.

WGOM Fitness: Run For Your Life

I’ve had a nagging case of Achilles tendonitis for some time. High impact activities like running were strongly discouraged at the initial diagnosis. However, I’ve been staying off of it for a long time now, and though I admittedly could do a better job of daily stretching, I feel like I could conceivably try some light jogging again.

I tried biking for a little while. It was all right, especially out on the trails, but I think I’d need a much higher priced piece of hardware to enjoy it properly. Seems cheaper to invest in some decent running shoes with better support*. Also, some good insoles. And compression socks. And ankle braces. Going to have to start suiting up for battle to get a little exercise.

*On that topic, I want to invest in some shoes with better arch support and the like. I had always just used whatever cheap running shoe they had at Costco, but that likely helped lead to the injury. Any recommendations? A couple different places recommended these, but I’m open to suggestion (more likely to be used for light trail running, but not exclusively). I’d even entertain the notion of a custom job if it isn’t ridiculously expensive.

2017 Fitness+Health Redux

Had a weird year in 2017 for health and fitness.  Started the year with a month of planks (starting with 50 second plank and ending with a monster 6 minute plank, but it was an ugly plank).  Feb was a month of squats (starting with 30 and ending with 130).

Got the colonoscopy done this year (no polyps), but bowel prep OMG.

Had some great skate-skiing at Winding Trails in WeHa, but a spectacular wipeout on ice left me beaten/bruised, and soon I was at PT with a torn MCL.

Oncet the knee was healed, I picked up roller skate-skiing, and it is hard-going balance-wise:  any crack in the road or stick can send you caterwauling.

Noticed some blood in the urine after longish runs in May, and had visits to Dr. Fear, ultrasound (nada), and a cystoscopy (all clear).  Still had coloration until kidney stone passed in Sept.  Yikes, that was an awakening.

Lots of quality hiking in Scotland, Santa Barbara, and H'istan through the summer.

The race wall had been empty until a 5K in August (lousy timing, had to walk).  Started filling up the fall with short races, including Twin Cities 5K at the Capitol - first race I didn't have to walk some this year.  Last race was Moustache Run 5K in Minneapolis.

NBBW and I got mountain bikes for each other for our anniversary, so started getting into that - there are good trails not far from where we live.

Lots of swimming throughout the year - the only constant through all of this other stuff.

Discovered that Forest Lake School has their pool open for public lap swimming on weekdays from 5:30-7:30AM ($3) so started taking advantage of that over Thanksgiving and Xmas breaks.

Closed out the year with some cold-weather grouse-hunting with the little Hnos earlier this week, and an indoor triathlon this morning in Stillwater at a club (short swim, long spin, short run).

So Nation, what are you doing to keep yourself healthy and sane?