Cortisol vs. endorphins

More weight loss for me recorded today :)  A few days ago I was 94.4kg and today I’m 93.7kg. That means I’m almost under 200 pounds. I just seem to love getting on the scales lately.  And I find converting the amount to pounds, or calculating my new BMI (28.6) adds to my enjoyment of the results.

Today I want to post about cortisol. My understanding is pretty basic; it’s the chemical in your body that is produced when you worry, stress or are anxious. I am usually a pretty anxious person – especially in social situations – so it’s fair to say that I would often have a lot of cortisol in my system.  And this isn’t good for the body.

When you exercise you release endorphins – the feel good chemicals that make you more relaxed and carefree.

imagesNow this is probably an incredibly lame, over-simplified analogy but let’s think about it like Pacman.  We go about our lives with anxiety (ghosts) chasing us.  So what’s the answer?  Exercise (the corner pellets).  When we do good feelings are released, we become more powerful over the anxiety (ghosts), and with our new endorphins we have the power to reduce or eliminate it (them)!

Lame analogy aside, this is what happens to me.  When I walk into the gym, I usually feel anxious.  If I have to walk past one of the trainers, I might meekly say hi but I don’t have the confidence to stay around and talk.  After my workout, though, it’s a completely different story.  I’m quite happy standing around at the desk talking with them.

I wish I could have that feeling all the time…  but I think in general I am a bit more relaxed these days because of the exercise.  They say that joining a gym improves your confidence.  Well, I don’t think it’s just because you look better.  I think it really does make you feel better;  I think it’s great for your biochemistry.  And I think people underestimate how our biochemistry affects our moods.  If you’ve never experienced depression or anxiety, I guess you haven’t needed to think about it.

My sleeping pattern sucks at the moment and I’m sleeping past noon, but tomorrow I’m determined to go to circuit training at the gym at noon.  Wish me luck (getting up!)

Compound exercises

Great to keep in mind

thetruthaboutexercise

So, as an “expert” in your given field, it is always a good idea to try and stay up with the latest trends, right?  So why are most trainers showing their clients exercises and methods that have been around since the 70s?  Popular opinion has not changed on what is good exercise.  I feel (and I’m by no means alone) that that is just not right nor is it the way to do things.  For example, single joint exercise.  Single joint exercises are exercises that move only one joint at a time, like a bicep curl or a leg extension.  Therefore, since they only work one joint, they only work one major muscle group, while pretty much ignoring (or minimizing, at best) all the other stuff around it.  When was the last time that you had to isolate ONE system or muscle group in your body to do anything? …

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23 1/2 Hours – Awesome video!

 

Catch-up of past week

I haven’t posted much recently – I guess my mood has been little low.  But I’ve maintained my exercise (4 days at the gym this week, plus Strike FX on Monday) and I’m proud to say I’m still losing weight.

Last weigh in: 95.6kg
This week:  94.4kg

I haven’t a clue when I was last this weight…. years ago I think.

Have eaten out a few times this week and have been a little bit more relaxed with food. My recommended intake, factoring in weight loss, is 2700 calories which is still quite a lot. 

imageJanuary is almost over and I’m proud to say I haven’t got fish ‘n chips once.  I did make some roast potatoes with minimal oil once, but they weren’t that great… think I have to cook them longer on a lower heat.  But to compare, I went to a friends house for dinner and took her some potatoes to roast.  I was gob-smacked with how much olive oil she put in the pan… they were basically swimming in it.  They were nice… but I think I’d prefer to do with about 10% of the oil.

Anyway… will keep on keeping on…

This is quite fascinating. I know a lot of people turn to high sugar foods when they’re depressed or sluggish, but personally I turn to high-fat foods. I wonder what that says about me?

More weight loss & 30 Day Shred

imageIt seems I just found the answer to my own question re: rest days.

In the past five days I’ve only been to the gym twice.  I found my cardio routine on Monday really difficult because of the heat.  Apparently the trainers at the gym had forgotten to turn on the air conditioning until later in the day.  Anyway, I couldn’t finish. I just felt… spent.  The next day I felt too energy-less to go.  I did my weights day on Wednesday which was fine, but again the next day I felt too energy-less to go to the gym.  Not sure what’s up with that… maybe I’m not eating enough.  It’s hard to get the right balance of taking in enough energy to work out, but having a big enough deficit to lose weight.

But I am losing!  A week ago I weighed in at 96.2kg and this week I am 95.6kg.  I’m pretty happy with that!  Eating fresh-fruit  smoothies, and my resolution not to eat fish ‘n chips for the month of January seem to be paying off!

imageRecently my cousin told me about a DVD she got – Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. I obtained it myself and tried the first workout (Level 1) today.  Phew, that thing’s tough! I managed to get through it, but my legs were like jelly afterwards and I was sweating like a pig.

There’s a reason this DVD rates so well – it’s really good!  The workouts are only 20 minutes long but they’re intense and non-stop.  It follows the 3-2-1 model which is 3 minutes of strength, 2 of cardio and 1 of ab work.  For me this is a great alternative to using EA Sports Active 2 because there’s much less hassle (less finicky) and in my opinion just as effective.  I don’t care if it’s targeted at women.  This is my new "rainy day" workout.  But whilst I don’t doubt that it’s effective doing it every day for 30 days,  I’m happy with my current gym workouts.

Are days off the gym necessary?

I’ve been at the gym for the past four days.  Today was pouring with rain so it seemed an ideal time to have a rest day.  But I wonder how necessary these are.  Because I have alternating gym days where I target different muscles, I never feel too sore to go to the gym.

One thing I notice on my off days is that I invariably crave and eat high fat and sugar foods.  I suspect it’s because I’m no longer releasing endorphins and my mood usually needs a lift one way or another.  But eating junk food on an off day seems very counter-productive. (Though, I guess eating it on a gym day is asking for a heart attack, too)

I’ve been reading a bit of Davey Wavey’s fitness blog, and here he mentions that gyming 6 days a week should be the maximum.  Maybe days off are recommend not to give your muscles a break, but to help with overall energy levels.  I guess if you go every single day, you might get burnt out.  Still, the impatient side of me can’t help but feel that days off are wasted days.

Could I perhaps do some lighter exercise on my days off? Go for a walk? Or does that defeat the purpose? For the moment, I’m happy doing 4 days on, 1 day off.  But I’d appreciate any comments readers might have.

Food poisoning = weight loss!

6a00e551d294ef88330147e30f8cee970b-800wi… but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I still don’t know what caused it, but on New Year’s night I suddenly started liquid pooping and vomiting… it wasn’t pretty.  On the advice of my parents I starved myself for the next day and stayed in bed for the day after too.

By Jan 4th I was ready to go back to the gym and I was surprised by my ability…  I got through it all no problems, which continued for the next 3 days (Yep, 4 days in a row, baby!)

What’s probably unsurprising is that I lost weight as a result (2kg since the week before).  I thought this weight would go straight back on when I began to eat solids again, but after a couple of days it seems to have stayed off.  Fingers crossed.  Still loving the smoothies too.  Definitely getting a lot more fruit into me.  I wonder if they’re helping with the weight loss.

Current weight:  96.2kg

Image 1

Happy New Year!

I’m a bit off track.  Firstly, my gym is shut for a couple days.  Second, it’s been pouring non stop.  Third, drinkies last night and a huge lunchtime meal with friends.  Hopefully dancing last night burnt a few calories.

Anyway, thinking of New Year’s Resolutions…  I was recently linked to a blog post from this guy who made a resolution to exercise every single day of 2011 – and he stuck to it.  It’s admirable but perhaps a bit too ambitious for me.

I’ve decided instead of a yearly resolution I’m going to have month-long resolutions for each month of 2012.  My first goal for the month of January is not to have fish and chips all month.  That may seem small, but F&Cs are my number one vice.  I’m hoping that by abstaining for a month, I’ll get out of the habit of eating them and ultimately be less tempted.

My tummy is sore from eating too much…  I promise I’ll be good tomorrow 🙂

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