In Which the Pirate Introduces Operation: Badass.
When I came home from February’s vacation, I decided it was time to start a new exercise program. Friends were uploading pictures of our trip and what I saw of myself didn’t make me very happy. Winter coats may hide a multitude of sins but I knew what was under that parka, and I didn’t like it.
So I started thinking: I needed to come up with a way of making exercise into a fun project instead of a sweaty chore. I needed definable goals, for starters. I needed a reason past a simple “get in shape” to keep myself interested in working out day after day.
And thus, Operation: Badass was brought into being. I’m not just “trying to get in shape” – I’ve been in training to become badass for almost two months already! What are my goals? I do have a weight and bodyfat percentage in mind, but more significantly I’m aiming for accomplishments:
- Sign up for a 5K and cross the finish line in under half an hour.
- Ride the W&OD Trail from one end to the other and back again, almost 90 miles. (This is a much longer-term goal; I don’t even have a road bike yet!)
- A shorter-term bike goal is to ride the ~13 miles up to Route 50 and back, on the mountain bike. That route has some wacky hills.
- Twenty pushups in a row!
- Chop firewood without hurting myself. I live in a log house on top of a mountain; this is a skill I really ought to have, and I’m not yet strong enough to swing the maul more than a couple of times.
- Not be the first one to have to stop, out of breath, asking other people to slow down and wait for me.
- Build up enough cardiovascular strength and endurance to not need Singulair anymore, which will save me $30 a month.
- Just basically be able to do what needs to be done without killing myself!
At first glance, this may seem to be a picture of the cats, sacked out at the foot of the bed. But if you look into the background, you’ll see a Concept2 rowing machine – a significant part of Operation: Badass. At this point I’m going more for cardio and fat-burning than for muscle-building, so I have the resistance set pretty low – 2/10 – and I row steadily for at least twenty minutes, twice a week. If it gets to be too easy, I’ll raise it to Level 3, which approximates the resistance of calm water.
I try to get outside exercise as often as the weather will allow. I’m not yet Badass enough to work out in the rain! I have mapped out an eight mile bike route on the hills at the base of the mountain, and a four mile walking route – I’m working on building up strength in my legs before I begin the Couch to 5K program. Last year I went into it too fast, hurt my ankles, and wound up in physiotherapy instead of at the race’s starting line, so this year I’m starting more slowly and gradually – if you can call a four mile hill walk in an hour “slow”. I also have a core strength routine that I learned when I was in physio for the first time. I alternate all of these things and aim to work out four or five days a week – although I stretch daily (at least, I try to).
Of course, the old saying holds true: “You get fit in the gym, but you lose weight in the kitchen.” Exercise isn’t enough! I’ve been tracking what I eat on SparkPeople and counting calories, fat, protein and carbs. Since we can’t get food delivered up to the house, Pirate-Husband and I cook most of our meals at home. We already eat quite well, but now we’re making a conscious effort to cut back a little on some of the less healthy dishes and to add in more vegetables and other good stuff. It’s not too difficult to make healthy, low-fat foods that also taste good!
After seven weeks of Operation: Badass, I have to say that I’m feeling great. I haven’t lost much weight but I’ve certainly gained quite a bit of muscle. My clothing fits better (actually, some of my jeans are too loose now), I’m sleeping more soundly, and I have more energy. Why didn’t I start this project sooner?
Le gasp! Another Concept 2 rower! I haven’t rowed on mine in a while because it still lives at my parents’ house (no room in the new house just yet), but I still adore it and wish I could use it more!
Good for you! A couple of years ago (and a few pounds put back on) the husband and I used this book http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Smash-Diet-Last-Youll/dp/0312363133/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302645494&sr=1-1 to lose 20 lbs for me and 35 for him. I found the diet which is really a life style change easy to follow. Sadly we have slid back into our old ways. Maybe I’ll dig it out again and get back to it.
Hey! god for you. Sounds like you are doing everything right. Making changes in all areas is what gets the most benefits. Keep up the good work.