Thursday, April 12, 2012

You're Not Stupid

Another dusty, overcast day here in Kuwait -- out goes the chance of a swim this morning, yet again! I hope the weather cooperates soon! It seems like the days that I'm too busy to swim are the days that it's sunny outside.

I finished the third round of Stage 6 of NROL4W today. All the exercises were 3 sets of 6, so I told myself to swallow my fear and try and go for a heavier weight. I successfully did the dumbbell two-point row with a 17.5 kg weight (38.5 lbs.). Very happy with that. Plus I managed to push 77 kg ((almost 170 lbs.) for the back extensions! It was a bit tough getting started, but once I was in position, I was good to go.

On days that I've been doing the NROL4W weight lifting program, I've kept my warm-ups to a minimum. Five minutes of dynamic warm-up stretching followed by 1 km on the treadmill. My mission has been to jog that entire 1 km. One km (0.62 miles) doesn't seem like a lot at all, does it? Well, for me, it's the starting point. I want to eventually work up to being an actual runner -- my workout schedule is a bit too hectic at the moment for me to start the C25K program, so for now, I'm just working up to running/jogging the 1 km. I was making some progress with this, but then after my surgery, things kind of came to a halt. Since then, it's been really slow and steady progress. Then of course I injured my leg and all that came to a halt once again ... however, now things are finally picking up. This week was a good week. For the first time in forever I actually jogged at 8 km/hr for 4 minutes straight on Tuesday and today I managed to jog for 5 minutes straight. I would love to be able to complete the 1 km under 8 minutes this month all the while aiming to just jog the entire thing.

I wasn't planning on doing much else this morning since I wanted to come back in the evening for Zumba, and maybe even attempt the whole abs class that I tried on Tuesday (I don't know if I'm brave enough for that!). However, my boxing coach (H) was there this morning and although I hadn't planned on it, he said that the bag was up and ready and calling my name, so I went in for a quick 20-minute boxing session. My upper cuts need major work!

After working out, H and I talked a bit about my routine and he was very positive about all the progress I've made recently ... and then we came to the topic of food. The area I've been struggling with a lot is my protein intake. I'm just not getting enough. He emphasized over and over again - I need to eat protein. It's not just about the protein though, he emphasized that I need to make sure I eat properly all the time.

Marion @ Affection for Fitness recently asked a question about how many meals should be eaten per day. I guess this answer will vary depending on the individual and what kind of exercise they do as well as many other factors.

For me, I try to eat 6 times a day. When I say 6 times a day, I'm not talking big 500 calorie meals a day. No, it's not about entire meals - it's just about providing fuel for my body.

H went on about this for quite a while. He looked at me and said, "The good thing is, you're not stupid." I had to laugh when I heard that.

He gave examples of people who have been coming to the gym for ages, doing lots of cardio, but then eating crap afterwards or not eating anything at all. Surviving on coffee, a few nuts, and a salad is not enough -- he said it amazes him when people complain that they do not have any/enough energy to workout when those people are barely eating anything or trying to find good energy from junk food. It's called junk food for a reason!! Anyway. The bottom line is, it's about eating sensibly ... and as he said, I'm not stupid. I need to make sure I get on top of this nutrition thing in order to really maximize the benefits from all the hard work I'm putting in at the gym.

With the amount I'm working out, he said it was really important that I eat every 3-4 hours and never get to the point where I'm starving. I do try to do this, but I don't always succeed. He also focused on what I was eating for those 6 meals -- this is where I have to be careful. In the rush to make sure I eat something I don't think I always make the right choices. I mean, I never eat a candy bar or fast food, but sometimes I'll have a slice of toast with peanut butter (not a terrible option, but there are better ones) or a protein/energy bar (again, not the worst choice, but definitely not the best either). He told me that since I don't eat chicken/beef/turkey etc. that I should focus on fish. I need to make sure that with each of the 6 meals I get some source of protein.

There are about 130 calories (26 g. of protein) in an average sized grilled piece of white fish.
There are about 160 calories (3 g. of protein) in a Nature Valley granola bar.

After looking at it that way, the healthier choice is obvious.

Today, after my workout I had an omelette. I haven't had eggs in quite a while, and I was really desperate for a good hot meal. With the workout I did, an omelette (with bell peppers and mushrooms -- NO CHEESE) really hit the spot.

I need to spend this weekend coming up with some better food options for me. One of my goals for this summer challenge is to keep better track of my food; I still haven't started that yet. I know overall I'm not eating bad foods -- but now I'm wondering if I'm eating healthy enough.

Evening workout:
Half hour warm-up cardio
Half hour torturous abs class
One hour Zumba

Looking forward to tonight's shrimp stir fry.


  1. I never get the SET meals thing, like you said it is such an individual thing. I eat when I'm hungry, I don't when I'm not.

    1. I do try to stick to a fairly regular meal schedule, but it doesn't always happen. It's all about listening to your body.

  2. It is kind of funny how people expect to be well fed when eating close to nothing or eating crap. :p

    1. I know. I think there's so much about food and nutrition that we already intuitively know but don't always consciously recognize.

  3. Oh, the protein issue. So many people have different opinions about this. I used to eat more lean meat for protein, but stopped doing that, for the most part. My cholesterol went down, accordingly.

    Mostly, now, I eat black beans, kidney beans, and egg whites for protein. I've kept up my strength for weightlifting without much meat involved.

    And most people don't need as much protein as weight lifters suggest. However, as you point out, if a person is eating anything, they need to be eating something healthy.

    I often just have vegetables for a meal. Breakfast today was vegetarian chili. Lunch was acorn squash.

    But since I choose to eat good sized meals, there logically has to be less meals. Like you say, listen to your body.

    :-) Marion

  4. I eat a lot of vegetables too - now I'm just trying to incorporate a bit more protein to replace any unnecessary carbs. All it takes is a bit more planning and prep - hopefully I'll get a handle on it soon :)


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