Exercise, Resumed

2015 was a great exercise year for me. Through a combination of running, walking, the occasional game of disc golf, and coaching baseball for a bunch of 8 and 9 year old boys, I lost 15 pounds and hit my summer goal of 210 pounds.

I had a great routine — get up in the morning, go for a run with the dog, then go to work. Get in another walk or a brief run in the evening, then go out on Saturday or Sunday mornings with the guys for some disc golf. According to my Apple Watch’s exercise app, I was regularly hitting my 1,200 active calorie movement goal.

I kept up the routine into the fall, but then it got cold … and I let the cold get to me. By November and December I was still getting in some minimal exercise walking to work, but hitting 700 active calories became a struggle. Unsurprisingly, my weight crept back into the 216-18 lbs. range.

So … a new routine. In January I resumed exercising every day, starting with a morning walk — usually a very cold and dark walk — with my dog Indiana. We typically go for a 1.6 mile loop that includes a long gradual hill on the back half. It’s not the 3-mile jog/walk loop (with switchbacks!) that I do in the warmer weather, but we’re moving.

I started jogging at the college’s indoor track, and then decided to make things a bit more formal by starting the Zombies, Run 5K training program. It’s a couch-to-5K sort of app that provides you with a a variety of jogging, sprinting, and walking drills … while being chased by zombies. I don’t know if I’ll actually run a 5K at some point, but having a program has been a helpful motivator. When not running, I’m hitting the elliptical and stationary bike at the gym. I’m not doing any weight-training — I probably should, but I want resume my old routine before trying to start up a new one.

Exercising during the summer and fall made getting back into my routine this winter a lot easier … once I got past the mental barrier of “it’s cold”. I quickly got back to where I was in terms of running endurance (which, admittedly, wasn’t all that great — I’ve yet to run a full mile, but I’m working on that) and I’m a far cry from that wheezy guy who couldn’t run three blocks back in Spring 2015.

The challenge — and this is always the challenge during the school year — is fitting in exercise. In addition to my morning walks I’ve been aggressively defending time in my calendar — be it lunch or after work — to fit in a proper work out. That getting more difficult as multiple projects’ deadlines converge, but I figure I can always work late if I need to … I can’t always exercise late. To help me defend my time, I’ve taken to prepping my week — in addition to defending project time at work via scheduled appointments in my calendar, I’ve started doing the same for my exercise time. This has helped tremendously because as I look at my day I can easily remember “hey, you need to go running over lunch”.

The resumed routine (augmented by zombies) is working. I’m back down to 212 lbs., and according to my Health app, I took almost as many footsteps in January 2016 as I did in July 2016. My Apple Watch’s active calorie goal — which hit a peak of 1200 over the summer — is currently at 840. I think that’s pretty good for the winter months; anything more than that is difficult to achieve on a daily basis.

So I’ve got the data and I’ve got the plan. What’s the goal? My immediate goal is to get my weight back down to 210 lbs. before the end of March. That seems doable if I keep up this routine, and should set me up nicely for the start of my kids’ baseball and softball seasons. Longer term I’d like to setup a more robust exercise program, and get my weight down to around 200 lbs., but that’s a post for another day.