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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shaping back up: an update

A long while ago I mentioned that I had been packing on the pudge while studying for the NAPLEX, and that I planned to shape right back up once I passed my boards. The original plan was to cut out desserts except once a week, add ten miles per week to my runs, and strength train daily.
I sort of derailed on that plan for a few reasons:
1. I lost my job, which meant I was sitting at home staring at the refrigerator every day for several weeks.
2. I got sick twice, which prevented me from exercising as much as I'd planned on.
3. As soon as I started upping my miles my knees began to throw tantrums.

So the modification went like this: increase exercise while diversifying, continue daily strength training, eat a healthy diet (still limiting desserts and eating small portions of other unhealthy foods I can't resist).
By diversifying exercise I kept up my interest while changing the impact on my knees. On so-hot-you-could-die days I'd do the elliptical machine at the gym, or even the exercise bike if I had some scientific literature to catch up on. Other days I went roller skating in the park, rode my bike, or played football (I learned that my awesome childhood tackling skills are much diminished when the quarterback is a grown man instead of a 7 year old kid). When I did run, I burned more calories by alternating sprints and jogs for the last mile - the bursts of speed will consume oodles of energy.
If I exercised at the gym, I'd do strength training there. If not, I'd squeeze in some squats, sit-ups, crunches, and push ups before bed.
How did I do? Pretty good! It took me a few more weeks than I planned, but I'm all toned again. I mean as toned as I'm going to get. I don't look like a model or an athlete or anything, but my jeans fit!
You might get the picture that I don't really do that much to stay fit. That's true, really. Basically my one fitness rule is "never gain the first pound". I adopted a healthy lifestyle early and this way it is not difficult to maintain my weight: I only do what is needed to keep my weight stable, not lose weight. Even in the above scenario, I was not really overweight or out of shape - I just noticed I had replaced some areas of lean muscle with a layer of flab instead. Easy to fix by a few small changes. It's all pretty easy actually. Of course, I should be honest and say I don't have very high standards. I've been the same size and shape for like 13 years and since I don't plan on walking the runway anytime soon I'm pretty happy with it.

How about you...what are your shape up tips? Which awesome tips can I add to my arsenal???

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