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A Tour of My Home Gym

Welcome to my home gym.  I created this room when my son moved out. The room is the color he left behind. The carpet was cleaned with my Bissell machine, so I put no money into fixing this room up. As you will soon see, I didn’t spend much money on its furnishings either.

The first thing that greets you is the chin up bar:

 

This was donated by my youngest son. It was a Christmas present a couple of years ago. It used to adorn his doorway, but he loves it in the new location as he doesn’t have to take it down any time he wants to close his door. It’s handy to have it here and all my boys are good for getting in a few chin ups as they pass by in the hall. I’m working on joining them; getting there slowly but surely.

This is the extent of my machines:

Not the latest, greatest or fanciest for sure. The weight bench was donated by my son when he moved out (no room in his new digs, and he workouts at the real gym anyway). The treadmill I’ve had for years and use it when the weather is crummy or I just need to get in a short 10-20 minutes of cardio.

I have an assortment of different weights:

Some of these weights were donated by my sons, others were garage sale finds picked up for some loose change; hence, the mishmash collection.  Despite their “disuniformity”, they get the job done.

And of course I have to have my laptop to track my exercise in MFP!

My laptop sits before the open floor space where I do my yoga. I use youtube videos which I can view for free instead of paying money for DVDs. 

One thing I hope to add some day is 1 or 2 large mirrors. I keep checking Craig’s List for someone near me doing a bathroom remodel so I can get a mirror for the price of taking it off the wall and hauling it away.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour of my gym and are motivated to carve out some space for a gym in your home.

 

Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss

Five weeks ago, I bumped up my daily calorie goal from 1200 to 1400. I did this so that my daily calories were enough to cover my BMR – my basal metabolic rate. These are the calories I need to keep my lungs breathing, my heart pumping, my brain thinking, my nervous system responding, you get the idea – the calories needed for basic life support. At the bump up, MFP told me I would lose .6 pounds per week. Indeed, every night I closed my diary, it projected a 3 pound loss in 5 weeks.

 

Let me tell you why I bumped up my calories. I did this was because I read that if you don’t consume enough calories to cover basic life support, your body will not burn fat for energy in the wake of a calorie shortage. It costs too much energy, energy it needs to keep basic life support operational. Instead, it will turn to the protein in your muscles which is much more efficient to burn than fat. The result: a loss of lean body mass.

At that point I did some research around the web and found a site that seemed pretty accurate and easy to use, that will calculate body fat percentage. Here is the website:

http://www.bmi-calculator.net/body-fat-calculator/

I check my progress weekly using this site. It’s important to use a single source for your calculations so that you are always comparing apples to apples. While calculations will vary from site to site, and can actually be dramatically different, the important thing is to track progress with a consistent measure, so I chose a site and stuck with it.

On March 19, 2012 my stats looked like this:

Weight:                161

Body Fat:             27.85%  ==>  44.83 pounds of fat

Lean Body Mass: 116

 

I’ve been eating clean, doing cardio 6-7 days a week and lifting 3 days a week.  I keep my sodium under 1500mg daily and eat in the neighborhood of 1600-1700 calories daily which includes eating most, if not all, my exercise calories back. About midway thru the 5 weeks, I upped my protein – a lot. I now strive to get 30% of my calories from protein.

So where has this gotten me after 5 weeks?

Weight:                154.8

Body Fat:             26.98%  ==> 41.77 pounds of fat

Lean Body Mass: 113.0

Five weeks of progress amounts to a difference of 6.2 pounds, half of which was actual fat loss. The rest came from my lean body mass.  Did I lose muscle? I hope not. I upped my protein to prevent it.  I try to keep in mind that lean body mass is more than muscle, it’s also body water, bones, organs, the structural and functional elements of cells, the contents of my stomach, and the contents that…um…er…well…used to be in my stomach. In essence, everything in my body that is not fat.

 

I’m happy with the way my body is shaping up and so, I’ve upped my net calories from 1400 to 1450. I’ve decided to start acclimating my body towards maintenance calories, so from this point on, when I lose at least a pound, I’m going to add 10 calories to my daily net cals.  When I stop losing weight, I’ll be at goal and maintenance.  I expect that will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pounds from now. We’ll see how it goes.

Reflections on The First 5 Weeks

Today, I’m 9.6 pounds lighter than I was 5 weeks ago.  Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Almost right at that coveted 2 pounds per week, but did I actually lose 2 pounds a week? No, not even once.

 

In fact, I had a one week where I literally lost just a couple ounces and another where I actually gained 4 ounces.  Did I screw up those weeks and sabotage my weight loss? No, actually those were weeks when I made adjustments.

I started out on the same 1200 calories a day most people start on. I ate those 1200 calories and only those 1200 calories.  I found though, that it was really tough to keep up hard core cardio on only 1200 calories a day and decided to eat back at least half my exercise calories.

Another adjustment I made was to reduce my sodium goal to 1500. The tools at MFP led me on a quest to find appropriate goals for calories, calcium and sodium. I learned that all notable authorities on health agree that people 50 years and older should limit their sodium to 1500 mg (some even recommend this for those 40 and over). For two weeks after I made this change, I had huge a weight loss register on the scale as I dropped a lot of water weight.

The important lessons I’ve learned these past 5 weeks is not to fret over the small losses or even gains and not get overly excited about large drops. Keep an eye on the overall trend. What I’m looking for is a gentle downward slope that will ultimately arrive at my goal.  

Large weight losses, while exciting, are like falling off a cliff. Looks great, may even feel great for a short time, but there is an impending disaster on impact with the ground. I’d much rather slide in safely on that gentle slope.

 

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