My 8-Week Birthday Photo Shoot Challenge
I’m about to turn 42 years old, and I want to keep pushing myself to make fitness gains. It isn’t enough to maintain: For as long as you can grow, you should. To keep myself going, and to show how good my program is, I have designed a fitness challenge for myself using my INTEGRE8T Wellness program as the template.
Good morning! It is May 20th, 2018. I have finished Week 3, so it’s time to check in and see how we progressed for the week.
Okay, so this is Week 3. As you can see, the definition continues to improve across here; however, my numbers have gone a little wonky and they don’t really make sense. They show that my body fat’s gone way back up, but I show more definition. So I’m pretty sure that what that means is that I’ve had too much salt in the last week, and that I’ve retained water.
But this is relaxed… and flexed. You can see that even without touching, this line is pretty much complete across here. It’s more defined here. I barely have to do anything to make that lower line open up completely. So that’s gonna be in place within the next week or two.
So I’m not worried about the numbers right now even though my weight and everything looks a little strange this week, I think it’s because I’ve just eaten some late meals, I know they were heavy with salt. Across here, this is pretty much gone, this fold here is pretty much gone, I would like this to flatten out more here. These pads are the stubborn part that I’ve mentioned, are gonna come off last. But even the folds are smoother and flatter. And this is gonna be the most stubborn part right here. It always has been on me and on most people. But otherwise I think I’m leaning out fine, and I do feel that my musculature looks fuller and thicker. I feel stronger. So I definitely feel like I’ve made progress, though the numbers don’t necessarily back that up. I do feel that visually I’ve made progress, so sometimes you just have to let the numbers go a little bit. Boom!
How to measure my progress toward my fitness goals
Okay, so I explained my grading system in the video for Week 1, and the link for that will be right up here somewhere (I can never remember where it shows up). But if you want to understand how I’m grading each of these eight patterns you can watch that video. I’m gonna try to keep these subsequent videos as short as possible.
Pattern 1: Breath
Okay, Breath. I used my breath consciously, purposefully for each of my workouts; and I did check in throughout the day to make sure that I was taking deep breaths and using my breath to help myself throughout the day; and I did that five days out of five. And so yet again, I’m giving myself an A for Breath.
Pattern 2: Hydration
Okay, Hydration. So my goal is 96 ounces per day. I did that four days out of five. There is one day when I missed drinking a glass, a big glass. And so for that reason, I’m giving myself a B for Hydration this week.
Pattern 3: Nutrition
Okay, Nutrition. So food was really wonky this week, and I think that’s why I have some strange numbers for this week. If you remember just a moment ago, my weight and my body fat percentage were both up.
Now last weekend I had wine and really salty food at my mother’s house for her birthday (if you remember that from last time), so between that and a really off day – I think it was on Wednesday – I had only one meal. It was huge, and it was right before I worked out… I think it was for arms actually, so it must have been Thursday. Anyway, that meal was huge, and it was also very salty, so I suspect that this uptake in weight and body fat is actually water retention. So I’m not worried about it just yet. We’ll see if those numbers come back down this week.
I’m going to really try to come back to my principled treatment of Nutrition. So this week there was so much variation from the norm that, in all honesty, I’m gonna have to give myself an F for Nutrition this week. I have to get back on track for that, if I’m going to be ready in time in five weeks. So an F for Nutrition.
Pattern 4: Strength
Okay, Strength. I did all five of my workouts this week. Sometimes it didn’t feel very complete. I would lose my ability to focus, and I think that might be because of the way I’m having my food actually.
So although I did all five of the workouts, and although I got through them relatively quickly despite all the cameras set up, I still feel that I didn’t really work quite as hard as I could have if I had just been able to concentrate better.
I want to give myself an A for Strength this week, but I honestly have to say that I know I could’ve worked harder. And frankly, setting up the camera is a major point of distraction. Last time I said I needed a camera minion, and for back on Friday I did have a camera minion, and that helped significantly. But I don’t know that I can always have him helping me. So I do have to figure out how to keep the intensity up for my workouts.
I did all five days. I don’t feel like they were 100%… Do I give myself an A? No. I give myself a B for Strength this week.
Pattern 5: Conditioning
Okay, third week in a row for Conditioning, and it’s not part of the programming yet. I’m going to give myself a C, as I have the last couple of times. I anticipate adding it probably around week five or six, depending on how I’m looking. I might not ever need it at all, so we’ll just have to take it day by day. I don’t want to risk losing muscle, so I won’t add Conditioning until I know I need it, and, when I do, it will be interval training.
Pattern 6: Flexibility
Flexibility this week was actually better for me. I led Flexibility sessions with my clients, as I have been doing. I did do my own stretching throughout each day, and I did actually take some time to specifically stretch problem areas like my shoulders, hamstrings and glutes. So I really did set aside some care and energy and attention for Flexibility and stretching this week. Not just flexibility, but also mobility, which is moving through a long range of motion using strength.
So for Flexibility this week I need to increase my stretching some, but I did better. And I am gonna give myself a B for Flexibility this week, only because I know that I could’ve gone a little bit more purposefully through that. I gave myself a B last time. I’m gonna give myself a B again, because I know deep down that I could’ve done a more consistent job of working Flexibility. So B for Flexibility.
At the beginning, Focus was one of my weak points, and I feel like I’ve gotten much better at it (or at least understanding better what I consider training for Focus).
I said my mantra each night while I was falling asleep, so there’s that. I did not meditate, and I did not do my intentions. However I’m not gonna ding myself for that this time, because although I didn’t do those forms of Focus training, I did keep my accomplishment journal every day. I stayed very organized, I was very purposeful in my business, I was very purposeful with everything I wanted to accomplish for the week, and I did a lot of research. Focus isn’t just about concentration for me, Focus is also about maintaining drive and maintaining direction.
So although I didn’t meditate, and although I didn’t recite those intentions, they were on my mind. I didn’t really feel particularly stressed out this week, so maybe that’s an excuse or maybe it’s not. But I feel like I’m managing stress better, now that I am being more purposeful with my energy and what it is I am doing, whether I’m working out – eating was a flub up some of this week – but generally speaking, I feel like I’ve already gotten better at Focus. I got a lot done. And for these reasons I’m gonna go ahead and give myself an A for Focus this week. I think I did well on that.
Pattern 8: Rest
Okay, Rest. When I first started a few weeks ago, this was definitely my weakest point. It’s improved; however my goal is seven hours of sleep per night… Oh, even saying the world sleep… Wow! And I was only getting six to six and a half hours, so by that measure I would still be failing at rest. However six to six and a half by my standards is not terrible – not great – it’s not my goal.
But I did take a few hours off from working each afternoon this week to workout, or to come home and have lunch and visit with kitty (I love my kitty). I napped a couple of times. I visited with some friends yesterday.
So I really love Carowinds. Going to ride roller coasters is like a mini-vacation for me, and I didn’t do that again. I have a season pass, I’ve only used it once so far this season, I need to make better use of it. I didn’t go this weekend, so I do need to get out and go do that, it’s fun.
I am also way overdue for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have a convertible, and I like to put the top down on the convertible and just cruise the parkway and just let the mountains take all my stress away.
So I’m gonna give myself a C for Rest, because I need to get more sleep. I am like a child: I don’t go to bed when I need to for some reason. I have this tendency to stay up, even though I could fall asleep. Even though I could go to bed, for some reason I feel compelled to stay up later than I ought to. So I could’ve had a B for Rest this week (given everything else I did), but the purposeful self-sabotage on bed time really does drag me back down to a C this week for Rest.
Summary: Grade for the week
So as you can see there is room for improvement. There always will be. I’m never going to be perfect. Some weeks are better than others.
The first week I gave myself a C+, then I bumped up pretty far to a B last week. However the numbers are messing with me, and it makes me think that I have not been as purposeful with Nutrition as I ought to, even though it has been pretty clean. With everything else going on, I am giving myself a C this week.
So this is actually, all things considered, the lowest grade I’ve had so far. So Week 3 is definitely a low point, in terms of my analysis. And yet, at the same time, I feel like I’ve made progress for fitness. Yet again, this is Integre8t Wellness not Integre8t Fitness. So I’m not just looking at whether I’m leaner, I can lift heavier. It’s, “Am I taking care of myself? Am I breathing properly?” Is the entire lifestyle doing well? And it could be better. So Week 3 is a C.
This score indicates how damaging a food will be to your blood sugar levels. Foods that score 0-55 are rated low impact (and thus presumed to be better for diabetics and those looking to maintain healthy weight and/or body fat ratios), but this is not the whole picture.
Nearly a year ago to the dot, I wrote an article about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but there I focused on the importance of getting access to a full range spectrum of light. Here I’d like to focus on caffeine and sleep’s effect on SAD. I’ll also offer suggestions for what to do to help you feel better on the dark days.
I don’t generally promote supplements. Most of them play to specific, isolated points of medical research to serve as a magic pill. One remarkable example of this is fish oil.