Thursday, July 24, 2008

My B.F.A. (body fat analysis OR big fun afternoon)

Nothing like getting a body fat analysis to make you want to do a tempo run!
That's right, yesterday I had an appointment with a trainer at my gym to get a body fat analysis done. If you've never had one, I'll tell you, it's a delightful experience. They take measurements with calipers from three points on your body: the flab on the back of your arm, the flab on your belly mid-way between your hip bone and belly button, and the flab on the front of your thigh. The person measuring you has to squeeze up as much fat as they can without grabbing muscle, then measure the width. Then you add all those numbers together and use a chart that has age and the fat number to figure out your percentage of body fat.

Lucky for me, they were training a new trainer at the gym yesterday, and asked if I'd mind letting them train her on me. Sure, why not. I was the first one she'd ever measured. So she would take a pinch and get a measurement, then the teacher would grab some more and get a higher number. Then the first gal would have to come back and try again. Then after doing all the measurements, they decided to run through it again.

So here I am standing in a room with two ladies pinching and grabbing as much flab as they can off my arm, stomach, and thigh. Lovely. What a great body-image builder. NOT!

When they finally were satisfied with their numbers, they ran the calculations and determined that I have about 29.7% body fat. Holy crap!!! You mean nearly a third of ME is fat?!?! Yikes.

So after that experience, plus after having sat at my desk working on a very mundate, rote report all day yesterday, I was ready to RUN. I had an easy 30 min run scheduled, with a tempo run scheduled in for this morning. But I couldn't wait. I felt The need. for speed.

It was all I could do to keep it slow and easy for my one-mile warmup. Then I hit the watch and started running laps around the track (yeah, I opted for the A/C of the indoor track rather than the 80 degree sun outside... I'm not THAT tough!). Twenty minutes of lap after lap at 1:09. It was terrific. Just what I needed. I did a great job of keeping my pace steady (I only varied between 1:08 and 1:10 per lap). When after the first mile or so I started getting tired, I thought of how fortunate I was to be here on the track rather than at my desk working on that report some more. And I thought about how in a few more minutes I'd be out of easy-to-reach energy, and my body would have to start digging into some of those fat reserves to keep me going. That was all the motivation I needed to bust out another mile. It was the perfect tempo run-- comfortably hard, but I could have kept going at that pace for a good while longer if I'd needed to.

It was the first tempo run I've done in probably two months or more. While I focused a lot on my running this spring, especially working on speed in preparation for the Run for the Trees 5k, I've since shifted my focus away from speed, exchanging it for distance work in prep for the Missoula 1/2 Marathon. And becuase I've been so slap-happy for cycling since getting my new bike, and since swimming is so much nicer to do in the heat than running is, I just really haven't spent much time or focus on running in a while now.

So yesterday's tempo run was actually refreshing. It felt good to go fast. It felt good to push myself on the track. It felt good to know that I haven't really lost anything-- I still comfortably ran at the same T-pace I was running back in the spring. In short, Walker can still Run!

After being pretty disappointed with my run at the end of my first triathlon, I'm determined to have a better run at Whitefish in a few weeks. Yesterday was a good confidence booster. Yes, it will be hard. But yes, I can have a stronger run this next time around. Because, heck, I have enough stored energy to call upon when things get tough, right?!

So after finishing the tempo portion and then jogging slowly for several minutes to cool down, I ran a few strides, then went to a Power Pump strength training class, then headed home for a super great supper. I had a big spinach salad with thinly sliced cucumbers, chicken breast, green pepper slices, and strawberries. Then I made a dressing with 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt, 2 strawberries, 1 Tbs lemon juice, and salt and pepper. I blended it in my blender, then poured it over the salad. Yum! Add in a few crackers, and it made for a fully filling dinner that was chock-full of protein and vitamins, and satisfied my sweet tooth, as well. All for about 400 calories, and hardly any of those were from fat.

Okay, so back to talking about the fat. What does that body fat analysis mean in terms of my goals? Well, being the math geek that I am, I did some calculations. Right now at 136 lbs and 30% body fat, I'm packing around 40 lbs of fat and 96 lbs of lean body mass (muscle, guts, bones, etc). So assuming that I'd like to keep all that muscle, bone, and whatnot, but just lose some fat, what weight might I shoot for to get to a certain percentage?

Well, to get to 25% body fat, I'd need to lose 8 more pounds, making me 128 lb. At 120 lb I'd have 20% body fat. According to this chart from the American Council on Exercise, at 120 lb I'd finally be considered an Athlete! :) But, hey, I don't really need to be an athlete. I'd settle for "Fitness," or a 24% or less (meaning 127 lbs or less). So, I think that's a pretty reasonable goal to shoot for in the next six months-- to get down to 127. That's just nine pounds from here. Oh, but those are going to be some tough pounds to shed.

In an effort to jump-start my downward trajectory, I've issued a self-imposed injunction against the following items for at least the next 4 days:

Chocolate, Cookies, Pizza, Beer, and Tortilla Chips

In reviewing my food journal over the last month, those are the 5 biggest offenders. They're the foods that give me the toughest time with portion control and can quickly wreck an otherwise good day of eating. With all, I have a hard time just having a little bit. So for the next few days, I'm going to have none, and really focus on getting a few solid days of negative calories. On Monday evening, though, I'll have to make an exception for beer, as folks from work are planning to take me out. So that'll be a good reward for 4 days of abstinence (and luckily will be a Monday night, and I'll have to drive home, so portion control goals will be easier to attain).

Ha! And now I don't even have to do a tempo run today-- I can go for an impromtu extra bike ride on McDreamy instead :) Life is good.

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