This is what's working for me!!

Good evening all, I've been a member on here for a while but this is my first post.

Like many of you, I am not a stranger to fitness struggles. From having been super-fit at one time, I let myself get really complacent, and then I wasn't super-fit. I wasn't even fit. If I'm brutally honest I was the stereotyped middle aged, overweight, balding Brummie; but without the gopping Brummie accent or comb over. A little while ago, whilst struggling to climb the stairs and breathe simultaneously, I made the decision (again) to sort myself out. Below, I'll detail what has worked for me in a relatively short period of time. If this serves to help just a single person, I'll be pretty happy.

But first, some facts...

I have a job where I'm supposed to be fit. I'm no spring chicken anymore, but that is most definitely not an excuse. I have a job where I'm sat at a desk for around 8hours a day - this is not what I signed up for, but its where I'm at. C'est la vie.

My weight when I started this was 16st (or 224lbs, 99.5kg).
I am a 40 something male.
My target weight is 14st (196lbs, 87.1kg)
I love bread based products, ice cream and wine.
Lockdown had shut all the gyms (they're still closed).
I owned a pair of trainers, and several pairs of running shorts.
Importantly, I also owned a Garmin running watch and a Garmin HRM.

6 weeks completed, I now weigh 14st 9lbs (205lbs, 91.1kg)
I'm still a 40 something male, I still like bread, ice cream and wine.

What I did...

The first thing I did was drastically reduce my carb intake, particularly bread. I wouldn't avoid totally but I wouldn't be smashing pizzas into my face like someone was going to snatch it off me. I was also avoiding un-necessary treats, most biscuits were out (but not all). Sweet treats were for dessert only - this was invariably ice cream with Nutella mixed in; childish, I know. But try it, you won't be disappointed. (unless you're allergic to nuts, then highly not recommended!!). And I cut down on the wine, instead of a bottle each night Friday and Saturday, I limited to a couple of regular glasses on a Friday and treated myself to a bottle on the Saturday. I did sometimes sneak a couple of extra glasses in on the other days, but not regularly.

Exercise:
Putting all that together, I was going to start running. After all it is free, leaving more money each month for wine.

The Garmin is pretty good at estimating heart rate training zones, it costs enough so I let it do its thing. When running I had to be very disciplined, any injury would have been a show stopper. I worked out when I could fit a regular run in - sadly this turned out to be 0600 (6:00am).

Weeks 1 & 2: I started by running 4miles, 3x a week for 2 weeks keeping my heart rate no higher than Zone 4. The pace wasn't bad, but equally not great. The important thing was I kept a note of it only, the measure of the run was the heart rate, not the pace. If you are wondering, it started out as 9min 40secs a mile.

Weeks 3 & 4: I increased the distance of the runs to 5 miles and added another run into the mix, so that was 4 runs. This time, the 4th run wouldn't be over Zone 3 and also shorter than the other 3 (4miles). I did this for another 2 weeks. I noted my pace was increasing and the weight was dropping off - all good news.

Weeks 5 & 6: I again increased the distance of 3 of my regular runs - I was now up to 6 miles. Again, keeping the heart rate in Zone 4. The 4th run remained the same as previously. Everything still working as I hoped, weight was dropping and pace was increasing.

Week 7: This is where I am now, I will keep my 3 regular runs as is, and also the 4th shorter slower run. I will add a 5th shorter and slower run (keeping to 4 miles and Zone 3).

If you're interested, my VO2 max has risen from an initial value of 43 at the start to 52 today, and my pace has increased to 7min 45secs a mile for the regular runs.

Diet:
With regards to diet, a typical day (not a Saturday) consists of the following:

Breakfast: 1 slice of toast with peanut butter, a cup of black coffee
Mid-morning snack: Cup of tea with a single chocolate biscuit
Lunch: 3 rashers of bacon, covered with Chilli jam, spinach and 2 poached eggs on top. Or, bacon, brie and cranberry wrap.
Mid-afternoon snack: Cup of tea with a single chocolate biscuit
Evening meal: Roast meat with root vegetables (not white potato) or stir fry with noodles
Dessert: 2-3 scoops of vanilla ice cream with 0.5tb spoon Nutella mixed in
Keeping hydrated is absolutely vital, in between this I'm drinking a fair amount of water. And also a fair few cups of tea, all without sugar I will add.

Saturdays are treat / cheat days, I'm really not arsed what I eat and drink, as long as I get the runs in beforehand to have earned it.

That's it, all fairly simple and easy to maintain. And also, importantly, working for me. Feel free to rip this off and make it your own.

Please also feel free to comment on what's working for you, I'd be very interested to read people's personal success stories - call it a bit of good news during all this COVID crackersness.

Replies

  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    edited June 2020
    Great job! I've been increasing my running in the past few months as well, but have had some issues with heel and shin pain. I can't seem to get beyond 20 miles/week, and increasing pace is getting more difficult with the warmer weather. It's also been difficult to run two days in a row without increasing pain. I have done some longs runs of 8-10 miles once per week, and my other runs are 4-6 miles. I'm still stuck around 9:30 pace, with shorter runs possibly a little faster. I had been super motivated to sign up for some races before quarantine hit, and they all got canceled. I did a virtual run, and might do another one soon, since actual races might still be a ways off.

    I'm hoping to get out earlier in the day to beat the heat, and work up to 25 miles/week. I might try adding a mile to all of my runs like you did, but I tend to try to keep to the 10% rule.

    BTW, I'm a 40-something female, 144 lbs currently, which is about 8 lbs heavier than before quarantine. I'm now on a mission to lose those lbs and more! It definitely helps with running!

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    ETA: What do you use to measure heart rate?
  • KayakerJoe
    KayakerJoe Posts: 80 Member
    You should measure Saturday too. I didn’t at first and was pretty much undoing all my hard work.

    I track Saturdays to ensure when I’m cutting, I’m still hitting my calorie goal on an average over a week. That really helped me.

    I replaced Icecream with Fage (the only real Greek yoghurt!) zero fat Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit compote (from Waitrose)
  • alhiggins002
    alhiggins002 Posts: 2 Member
    Great job! I've been increasing my running in the past few months as well, but have had some issues with heel and shin pain. I can't seem to get beyond 20 miles/week, and increasing pace is getting more difficult with the warmer weather. It's also been difficult to run two days in a row without increasing pain. I have done some longs runs of 8-10 miles once per week, and my other runs are 4-6 miles. I'm still stuck around 9:30 pace, with shorter runs possibly a little faster. I had been super motivated to sign up for some races before quarantine hit, and they all got canceled. I did a virtual run, and might do another one soon, since actual races might still be a ways off.

    I'm hoping to get out earlier in the day to beat the heat, and work up to 25 miles/week. I might try adding a mile to all of my runs like you did, but I tend to try to keep to the 10% rule.

    BTW, I'm a 40-something female, 144 lbs currently, which is about 8 lbs heavier than before quarantine. I'm now on a mission to lose those lbs and more! It definitely helps with running!

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    ETA: What do you use to measure heart rate?

    Thank you very much, possibly a little late but I'm using a Garmin Fenix 5 and Garmin HRM Run to measure my heart rate. I really couldn't recommend them enough - both are awesome products.