About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Exercise Plan

I’ve put it off for long enough, finally I’ve created my exercise plan. I’ll start on Monday; here’s the plan:

Time of Day – Mornings (6:00AM – 6:45AM)

Amount of exercise each week – approximately 160 minutes each week spread over 5 days

Type of exercise – Strength Training (M-W-F), Cardio Training (T-TH)

Strength Training Specifics – I’ve made 3 distinct strength training workouts for each of the days during the week. Each workout is a complete body workout, but each day adds focus to a specific area of the body. Monday has extra focus on the upper body, Wednesday has extra focus on the abs and back, and Friday has extra focus on the legs. Each workout is made up of 8 exercises; at 5 minutes per exercise it should take about 40 minutes to complete a workout. For each exercise, I plan to do 3 sets with a minute rest in between. The number of reps will vary from 10-20 depending on the weight used. As a certain weight gets easier I will increase the reps until I get to 20, then I will add more weight and drop the reps back down.

Cardio Training Specifics – The cardio training is going to be a little less formal. It will be 20 minute elliptical sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When I work out on the elliptical, I tend to favor a type of workout known as interval training. Simply put, interval training is when you go hard for short bursts and then give yourself a small amount of time to recover. I Usually warm-up for about 3 minutes and then I do 15 minutes of intervals where I go hard (60 rpms) for about 60 seconds followed by moderate work (45 rpms) for 60 seconds. The workout is followed by 2 minutes of cool-down.

Duration – I plan to do this exercise program for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks I will take a 1 week rest and then start a new program which may or may not be similar to this plan. I’ve learned that you need to keep things fresh and after 6 weeks I tend to get bored with my routine so I’ll definitely need to change it up somehow.

What if I miss a workout? - I do not plan on missing any workouts over these 6 weeks, but inevitably something will come up that could cause me to miss a workout. My first line of defense if a workout is missed is to make it up later in the day (after work). That is one of the benefits to working out in the morning. If I miss the day entirely, then my new schedule depends on the day missed. If it is a cardio workout day, then I will just skip it, move on to the next day of strength training, and then make up the cardio workout on the weekend. If it is a strength day, then the whole schedule will shift by one day. For example, if I miss Wednesday, then I will do the remaining strength training workouts on Thursday and Saturday and I will do the cardio on Friday. This might seem strange at first, but the reason for making the scheduled make-ups this way is to avoid ever having to lift weights on consecutive days. When you lift weights, you need to give your body time to recover; most experts recommend taking 1 day off in between workouts.

SMART Goal – I’m always harping about setting SMART goals, so I need to set one for this plan. My goal is to complete the entire 6 week plan without missing a workout. Note that for this goal, “missing a workout” means that I do not get my 5 days of working out in during the week. It’s OK to miss a day two for legitimate reasons as long as they get made up over the weekend. The reward for this goal is not completely defined, but it will have something to do with improving my music capabilities in my home gym. Currently I have a beat up old boom box with a coat hanger for an antenna. I’d like to start listening to my MP3s down so my goal will be to buy something to provide the capability.

In addition to my SMART goal, I’m also going to track my progress on all my exercises. I have no specific targets on how much improvement I want to see on each exercise, but at least I’ll be able to look back at the end of 6 weeks and see how far I got.

Diet Modifications – Since I will be lifting weights, I may need to add a little more protein to my diet. Most likely I will add a scoop of vanilla protein powder to my morning oatmeal, and if needed (depending on how tired my muscles feel) I may increase my lunch protein from 4 ounces to 6 ounces.

As you can see, my main focus is more on strength training (120 minutes/week) than it is on cardio (40 minutes/week). This is not simply because I am male and like lifting weights, new research is coming out all the time showing that strength training is far more effective at losing weight than cardio training. I tend to believe this and I have always had more success when I use weights in my exercise plan.

So this is my plan and I’m really excited to get going. I’m following my own advice from my article on starting an exercise plan and I will start this first week at very low weights so I don’t end up sore or injured. If anyone is interested in my specific exercises, please feel free to email me and I can send you the spreadsheet.

Daily Planner Workout Journal                       

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