Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weights and Measures

About a month ago I started weight lifting with a personal trainer. Turns out that my quadriceps are very weak and my hamstrings are very strong resulting in a weird muscle imbalance. It wouldn't surprise me if this is a big part of my knee cap problem (I have to tape my knees before skating to keep the caps tracking in the right place). Everything else seems fairly well matched. Since I am no longer 20 something I have divided the lifting work out between two days. I do the lower body and torso on Monday so that I have two days to recover before I skate and then I do the upper body and torso on Thursday in between skating days. When I was younger the regimen of lifting every other day to tax every muscle group with one day in between to recover worked wonders. When I went back to weight lifting prior to the car accidents I was in my early to mid forties and I had to have at least two days in between preferably three to recover or my muscles would just get weaker and weaker. I have never seen this discussed in any weight lifting literature. Apparently my muscles take much longer to recover now that I am older. According to weight lifting lore I shouldn't be gaining much muscle mass only lifting what equates to one day a week. However, I am finding that I am steadily increasing my weights each week. I am decidedly stronger than when I started out a month ago and even my heart is beating slower (I wear a heart monitor for giggles) and my cardio workout has to be harder for me to get the same level of workout. So much for what is written in stone. Listen to my body. This is working.

An added benefit that I wasn't expecting was weight loss. I am quite chubby. Always have been. Probably always will be. I never was a dieter and instead try to eat well balanced organic whole foods in smallish portions. I find I feel better if I break my meals up into small snacks instead of sitting down and sating myself into a stupor. I try to eat at least two fruits and three or more vegetables a day. Since I have a wheat allergy the normal junk foods are pretty much off the table (pun intended). Yet I remain chubby. My husband was musing on this the other day. Wondering why I weigh so much when I eat so well. He was giggling when he asked if I consumed boxes of donuts at work when he wasn't looking (the answer is no since I would be horribly ill). It is just the weird metabolism that God gave me and I am stuck with. What I had forgotten is how well my body responds to weight lifting. The other night when we were walking around a mall killing time while waiting for a table at a restaurant, my underwear started working its way down. Thankfully I was wearing pants so it didn't have far to go before getting stuck. Then it struck me that I was hitching my pants up constantly as well. I had lost weight!! Since I generally don't go near scales as a rule I had no idea what the weight lifting was doing. Plus muscle weighs more than fat so even if my scale weight has gone up I might have lost fat since I know for a fact my muscles are getting bigger. The next day I had the joy of going pant shopping and got to pick up both trousers and underwear in the next size down. Monday when I got to the gym I stepped on the scale and saw a weight I hadn't seen since prior to the car accidents. I must have dropped at least four pounds and probably more since starting the new regimen. How exciting! For me regular exercise just doesn't cut it for weight loss. When I started skating I dropped ten pounds and then got stuck. I always lose a few pounds at skate camp but I am on the ice three hours a day which I can't possibly do while holding down a full time job. Weight lifting is the only thing that does the trick for me. It changes my metabolism and burns more calories even when I am sitting around. Now I am skinnier and my sit spins are getting pretty good as well.

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