Thursday, 12 June 2014

Middle Age Spread

Middle age has been an odd place to arrive at, i kind of feel the boat had arrived in harbour aged 40 only i refused to get off until forced.

Greying, balding.....hard to boot up the OS in the mornings etc etc.

Fat. A little middle age spread, which I can "carry" but not really in fact without looking like a man who should and could easily do something about it. For me it is disproportionate, making my chest and shoulders look weak with the sagging sack i have round my front and the extra padding at the back and sides. Not just a bit chubby, but fat.

However this year i have been able to do those two to three hour sessions which empty out the glycogen and get you burning fat. The weight has crept off a little, only 8 to 10 llbs after doing 5~7 hours actual training a week plus other family activity.

I am beaten by my appetite partly, but more so by simply being careless with arithmetic and not knowing the goal posts or the length of the pitch.

In essence a kilo of fat contains 7000 kilo calories. That means to loose a kilo by dieting alone you have to miss the equivalent of two days calories for a man at least in a week. Hence i guess the visible effects of the 5-2 diet.

I carry about an extra 20 or so kilograms of fat on me, and have not gone below 108 kilos in the last nine years, nor over 122 kilos. My move up from about 84kg, a lythe cyclist to ninety five crept up and was mostly muscle from weight training but with some cunning beer repositries around the front and kidneys. 13 - 15 stone in three years then. Negligble weekly weight gain and not much fat.

Then in 1998-99 i shot up from 15 to 18 stone, 118 kg appx. That was then 20kg in a year of Guinness and courting a lass from the emerald isle was the cause of that. But even that was then less than half a kilo a week of the black stuff, countered with the david lloyd centre and a weekend or two with four or five hours cycling per month. So it was only a slight imbalance in calorific intake and output that laid it all on.

Calculating that against the 7000 kcal per kilo body fat then you see that each week for 50 weeks of that crazy Irish girl, I consumed about 3500 calories too much, and that is about fifteen guinnesses, more like eight maybe on a big weekend once a month so clearly all the other eating sessions, midweek beers ,snacks and so on did it too me really and not Dublin's finest produce per se.

So eight guinesses, 1680 Kcal, a month, plus other beers that makes it probably upto a magical kilo a month in beer alone, a year and that much bigger yes! Plus crisps outside meal times that would have to be two a week, 1200 kcal per month, plus chocolate plus wee cakes per month and you are at 10000 kcal per month surplus stuff, and bingo! We are at 1.5 kg per month which is around 20kg.

Now what you can call negative draw on fat is that time when i trained but did not train much more than an hour, which at a burn of 450-650 aerobic . I need to train over the hour to get effect of burning, even ten minutes, and then I probably get an hour of free burning fat at an average of 350 kcal if i do not take sugars. So ideally 2.5 hours training followed by slow release carbo, or an hour and ten minutes training followed by strict low carbo. Then i burn off about 350 for the short and 700-1000 for the long depending on intensity

But wait up here, this would mean on average, five two hour sessions per week, plus four or five hour ten minute sessions  or 20 hours average intensity a week to burn off a kilo a week. Jesus, no wonder my five to eight hours exercise a week at an average of 550 per hour is not making a big impact ,perhaps taking four kilos or ten pounds off in five months. Then i put back most those during sick weeks etc. Appetite again!

Training is great and in fact all forms of aerobic exercise will help the body burn fat as long as you are holding your eating habits stable. In modern life, training is all extra calorie burn. If like me your appetite just increases and you snack to refuel between exercise and meals then exercise can be counter productive.

However here is a new way of looking at this balance. My current exercise regime, 5-8 hours per week plus small walks will give me a net minus calorie spend over sedentary life of 3500 kcal / week or half a kilo. So I also need to go down 3500kcal /week to loose the whole kilo ,which I am clearly not doing.

The new way of looking at it for me then is that like many middle aged blokes ,we top out at a weight where our appetite is a little on the heavy side but we train at the gymn, or on the carbon fibre bike we afforded oss-selvs, or towards the 10k we will do in 45 mins eventually. We feel we should be loosing weight but we are not loosing appetite and we are only burning enough calories to put a lid on weight gain while the spread lies there under a loose t shirt. We should make a target to do longer training sessions, plan these around meals n.ot snacks, and tackle our appetite.

Given we can do two time a braice of hour sessions a week and a one hour session, AND we try to walk more and do that faster, then we can loose half a net kilo per week.

That is too slow and a bad week with a big calorie overload of office parties or holiday will knock us down again.

So the trick is to knock off the extra net positive  calories from extras you can find in your weekly diet, and cut down by at last half all your luxury high calorie treats.

Hidden net calorie bombs for me are:
Extra orange juices in the mornings
Extra squash drink with dinner
The odd extra fruit juice in the day
The odd sugary pop drink
(last but NOT least:
Extra portions of dinner

Funnily enough the number of these each is four I am quite certain, and all of these have to be cut out. The hidden calories in those drinks need to go, the appetite for extra portions needs to go.

These extra drinks amount to a thousand calories a week ,or seven weeks into abstinence from EXTRAS ie not the glass I take at breakkie and the one with dinner, then i loose a kilo. A very mild level of conscious control and in a year i could loose then 7 kg and therefore almost half my goal.

Take those four extra dinner portions, that is bound to be 1400 calories per week. Cut down to two when i have trained and keep them on the healthy side and the same effect, 7kg in a year and now two thirds of my way.

Here now are my luxuries of a week
6 low alco lagers
300g chocolate
400g crisps
100g nuts
Two cakes
Four biscuits
Five Beers

That is a whacking sum as follows ( 600+1200+800+200+300+400+800) =
4500kcal per week.
Given even seven hours exercise a week @ 500kcal/hr you can see that I am only breaking even on luxuries alone! It is a wonder i am not tjipping the scales at

So there we have it, in a nutshell why I am a fit podger: luxuries and avoidable extras.

Let us then take out the avoidable drinks, per month and that is four thousand less a month. 4000. Then the extra dinner portions could be halved, allowing myself that only twice a week, calc month= 2100 kcal net loss. Then the big luxury cut, but not completely otherwise life is just dull and i will rebound out of the regime: that is though a whacking 9000 calories per month net loss on halving my luxuries. Given i then do 3500 kcal or 5-7 hours training a week then that is a net loss of a big old 14,000 kcal pefr month

Calc: 4000+2100+9000+14000= 29,000 kcal per month which is just over a kilo per week, which means taking 20 weeks to hit my goal of 95kg.

What this then tells me to do:

Do three two hour sessions a week and a one hour.

Take just one glass juice or sqaush at those meal times, and cut out at lunch. Take only low cal fizzy drinks.

Allow myself only two evenings when i double portion dinner after harder training and only when it is healthy. Serve dinner on a plate in kitchen and take to dining table, not a pot ijn the middle.

Cut all my luxuries in half:
lettøl, 3 per week
Chocolate 150g per week
Crisps 200g per week
Nuts 50g per week
One cake per week
Two biscuits per week
Three beers per week

Wine is two to three glasses as a freebie. Fruit is a free at three pieces per day. Yoghurtz are a free three times a week. Ice cream and one ice lolly is a free once a week each

Now on weeks i am ill or injured i then cut out most luxuries and the double dinner portions.

Holidays and party weekends are the challenge.  But then as long as i keep most of the principles of drinks and double portions, crisps chocolate and so on, and do our usual of missing lunch bar two bit fruit then all i then do is up my 20 week goal to 26 weeks in the next coincidentally year half to xmas.

Longer exercise gets harder from october onwards with dark nights. So then i have to look at healthier eating and no double portions and less luxuries to balance the books.

So the plan is actually the ten weeks of the summer given two holiday weeks. Ten kilos is my goal for that. 104 kilos target weight, about sixteen stone by late september.

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