Monday, June 15, 2015

Halfway There With Two Weeks To Spare

Last week, I passed the half way point in my Cross Canada Challenge, walking the equivalent of the straight line distance between Halifax and Vancouver as measured by my pedometer.  It is turning out to be quite the challenge since it requires a lot of discipline to log in the miles week after week, like walking two complete marathons and then some each week.  As well, because of the energy it requires, I am no longer riding my bike and I have reduced my gym time to one workout per week.  Barring injury, I can keep up the pace for the rest of the year, but once it is over, I think I'll reduce the number of kilometers that I walk, get back to cycling. and add another workout each week.

One thing that I have to say is that setting a SMART goal for distance does make a big difference.  I know how many kilometers I need to walk each day and that it is OK to walk less on the day I work out since I know I can make it up later in the week.  Having the overall goal broken down into daily tally also forces me to plan out the activity spread out over the day, taking into consideration the weather and any social plans that I have made, knowing full well that more often than not visiting someone means sitting for a long stretch.

In two weeks, I'll be half way though the calendar year.  That's when I'll have another official weigh in, letting me know if I have continued to lose fat and hopefully having retained muscle mass.  In any case, I feel great and that's what really counts.

Hasta luego.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sittin', I Mean Standin', on the Dock of the Bay

Well, five months have passed since I took up the Cross Canada Challenge (walking the equivalent of the straight line distance across Canada in one year or less) and I have pushed past the 2000 km mark.  To put that into perspective, that's the straight line distance between Halifax and Thunder Bay.  In order to keep on pace to meet the challenge, one has to walk the equivalent of two marathons per week, each and every week, for an entire year.  Of course, it helps to break up each marathon into many shorter distances that can be walked several times a day.

That's what I'm doing.

In the morning when I arrive to work, I park my car as far as I can from the door to the building.  Instead of going for coffee in the morning, I go for a 15-20 minute walk.  I always take the stairs, only three flights.  At noon, after eating my lunch, I go for a 40 minute walk.  Throughout the day, I try to maximise my steps.  Three weeks ago, I received a standing desk at work and while I'm waiting for my computer to refresh, I take a few more steps.  I also deposit any garbage in the lunch room garbage bin and not in the waste basket in my cubicle.  After work, when I pick up the ingredients for supper, I again park far from the supermarket.  After supper, I take a final 30-40 minute walk.  By the end of the day, I have taken 20,000 or more steps or approximately 15 km.

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As you can see, my strategy has changed since I started out on my journey to become lean and fit.  Now, I only make it to the gym once a week to lift weights.  Importantly, I want to lose fat but retain my muscle mass, so the time spent in the gym (only 1 hour) focuses on building muscle, and the fat loss comes through my non-exercise physical activity: walking, standing, doing the dishes, making supper, ironing clothes, etc.  In other words, I want to keep the slow burning fat loss going as long as I can during the day and to avoid sitting for long bouts like the plague.

Speaking about the plague of excessive sitting, I invite you to read the following article: Confirmed: He Who Sits the Most Dies the Soonest.

In closing, for anyone who sets out on the Cross Canada Challenge from east to west, there is a special moment when arriving in Thunder Bay, the place where Terry Fox had to abandon his Marathon of Hope for health reasons.  Terry, wherever you are, you inspired a nation, and we are forever humbled by your courage.

God bless you Terry.