Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Can You Dig It?

My original plan with this personal challenge was simply to "get into shape". I was originally thinking of exercise plans and such, which were originally derailed by a sore elbow and knee. Well, circumstances beyond my control have gone a long way to helping me reach that goal.

About 6-7 weeks ago, our septic system's drainfield failed. This led to several weeks of frantic digging every night after work as I installed a partial new one by hand. I had to dig up the the old pipe, widen the trench until it was 2" wide and more than 6" deeper than the original, and then add gravel and new pipe before back filling. The first couple of weeks, I was just trying to expose the old pipe in an attempt to find the ends, so that I could clean them out. When I found our drainfield is actually on the neighbor's property and in the middle of an orchard (the roots were a major part of the problem), I decided to install a new one on our property.

Between the digging and moving, loading, and dumping the rock, I managed to get into a lot better shape. I definitely added muscle to my back, shoulders and legs. I did lose a little fat but not much as I didn't want to deal with being tired from a calorie deficit. I needed the strength to keep up with the project and get it done in a decent amount of time. Besides adding muscle, I also added a lot more endurance. Some of the problems I had before, like the shortness of breath and the sore knee, are gone, but my elbow is still really bothering me.

I consider this my "bulking phase". However, now that the project is done (for now - I'll be adding some branches later, when the sand isn't so dry), I need to reduce my intake. I can also afford to have a small caloric deficit. I am still trying to train to do the 5K fun run with J, so I don't want to go too low. I would like to drop a few pounds before the run to make it easier.

Since my metabolism is ramped up now due to the amount of physical work I have been doing and the amount I have been eating, I feel it is a good time to do a quicker fat loss diet. I am going to base it Lyle McDonald's's "Guide to Flexible Dieting".

The place I failed before on it was not getting enough protein and not following Lyle's recommendation on exercise (you need to do some but not too much or you can run into problems).

So, I am starting today (May 27) at 201.8 pounds. My protein target is 155 grams a day. Calories will fall where they may, especially since I am easing into it (not going quite as low fat as recommended). I plan on going until June 27th, when we leave to go to K's folks for a week.

I will probably eat at or near maintenance for the rest of the summer after that, since we will be doing more bike riding and hiking. Depending on where I am at that point, I may go back to this again in the fall, leading up to the holidays.

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