9/25/07 Log

I overslept this morning so I opted to just do my cardio workout–15 minute run and 25 minute incline walk (10 minutes more than planned). It was much easier running indoors than outdoors. I will get legs done tonight. If the gym is too full, I have enough equipment at home to get a decent lower body session done if I sub BB squat variations using my Powerblocks and BB adapter for the usual leg presses and extensions in my routine.

Two more weeks of late nights at work to go and four more until my 2-miler!

I debloated by 3 lbs since yesterday morning, too, which is always a nice feeling. I will take actual measurements and pics tomorrow when the last of the bloat should be gone.

Oh, and in case anyone is interested, I have written the first two parts of my Fitness on a Budget article series:

* Part 1: The Poor Man’s (or Woman’s) Precision Nutrition Plan
* Part 2: DIY, Nearly Free, No Gym Required Workout Plans

Once I have completed the Mega Challenge on Dec. 31, I am thinking about organizing a 12-week, New Year’s Fit and Frugal challenge/experiment with my blog readers who want to get fit without spending more than $25/week on food and exercise using only the programs and nutrition guidance in the FoaB article series. I figure that if everyone participating puts the difference between their current weekly food spending (including dining out) and what they would spend on healthy (but inexpensive!) foods into a new ING Direct savings account for the full 12 weeks, almost everybody would have at least $120 saved by the end of March to buy themselves a reward. More on this soon!

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WORKOUTS
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– 15 minute run (5.5-7.0 mph)
– 25 minute incline walk (5% incline, 3.5 mph)
– 10 minute jog/walk during lunch
– Lower body workout (planned for tonight)

Fitness on a Budget Part 2: DIY, Nearly Free, No Gym Required Workout Plans

Now that we have the tools to develop our own healthy nutrition plan based on Berardi’s Precision Nutrition principles for free, let’s see about constructing some effective fitness plans for fat loss or general improvement in functional fitness that require minimal or no equipment at all and use only freely, LEGALLY available web resources.

Minimum Requirements:

  • A clean bill of health from your primary care physician: Though I doubt that most of you will bother with this, I have to observe the formalities and say that you really, really shouldn’t start a new exercise regimen without being checked out first, especially if you have been sedentary for more than a month or two or have a medical condition that may affect your ability to perform strenuous exercise safely. Proceed at your own risk!
  • Good workout shoes: I am assuming that you already own a pair of decent running or crosstraining shoes that fit properly and aren’t completely flat from 5 years of daily wear. If you do not own such shoes, check the clearance area of websites like Footlocker.com for older models and sign up for their sales notifications so you will know when a 30% off coupon is available. For women, don’t forget to check the Men’s clearance; many men’s shoes are left over in small sizes (6-7.5) that would fit an average female foot just fine (7.5-9).
  • Chin Up / Pull Up Bar (Optional): Prices range from $12 for a basic model to around $60 for one with multiple grips. If you have a playground nearby with bars, you can save yourself some money by doing your workouts in the park instead.
  • Resistance Tubing with Handles (Optional): Prices are usually between $9-$15. This is a good alternative for those of you who aren’t quite able to perform bodyweight chin ups yet.

The (Free!) Programs:

Building Your Plan:

Because preserving lean muscle mass is critical to long-term success with fat loss–the more lean mass you have, the more calories you burn just sitting on your butt all day, and the more food you can get away with eating without getting fluffy again–the Turbulence Training Bodyweight Workout (TTBW) is mandatory in all of the plans.

Sorry ladies, this means you, too. Bodyweight exercises won’t bulk you up into She-Hulks, I swear. You will get leaner, firmer, and stronger without getting huge using this manual, and honestly, isn’t it sort of embarrassing to NOT be able to do real push-ups with just your own bodyweight? Physical weakness is neither attractive nor useful.

And for the guys–if you’ve been out of shape for a while, you will see some muscle gains using the TTBW plan, but they will be more in line with a lean mountain climber or volleyball player build vs. the bulky look of a bodybuilder.

As a side note, any of the plans below can also be adapted for maintenance by adjusting your nutrition so your intake is no longer at a caloric deficit.

So let’s take come up with a few training options using just the free resources above:

Absolute Beginner’s Fat Loss Program: You’ve never worked out regularly or have been out of the workout groove for more than 6 months, and your primary goals are fat loss and improving your fitness

  • Monday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Tuesday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Thursday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Saturday: TT Intervals (Beginner level) – walk / jog* (20 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* Walking / Jogging can be substituted with swimming, bicycling, rollerblading or elliptical machine if you have the equipment for these activities at your disposal.

Beginners Who Want To Prepare for a 5k Race: You are a Beginner as defined above, but you would like to combine your fat loss workouts with a training plan for a 5k race

  • Monday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes) *
  • Tuesday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Thursday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Beginner level) – bodyweight workout only; no intervals (30 minutes)
  • Saturday: Couch to 5k training (20-30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* If you are feeling pretty hardcore after the first week and want to boost your fat loss, you can add the TT intervals (20 minutes) to the end of your Monday, Wednesday, and Friday TTBW workouts.

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss Without Running: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty. (If the beginner workouts are still challenging for you–e.g. you cannot complete all reps or intervals–you might want to do another 4 week block at the Beginner level.) You want to perform intervals without running or extra equipment.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
    1. Squat Thrusts (30 sec)
    2. Jumping Jacks (30 sec)
    3. Mountain Climbers (30 sec)
    4. Jump Squats (20 sec)
    5. REST (60 sec)
  • Tuesday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Thursday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Saturday: Optional general exercise* (30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

* Take a walk, do some yoga, garden, swim, bike, do a few rounds of bodyweight circuits again, or pop in a workout DVD–the goal is to do something active that you enjoy.

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss With 5k Training: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty. (If the beginner workouts are still challenging for you–e.g. you cannot complete all reps or intervals–you might want to do another 4 week block at the Beginner level.) You would like to mix bodyweight interval circuits with a 5k training plan.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Tuesday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Thursday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate/Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. )
  • Saturday: Couch to 5k training (30 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

Intermediate/Advanced Fat Loss With Extra Cardio: You have been working out regularly for a while or have completed the Beginner level workouts without too much difficulty, but you feel that additional cardio might be needed to get rid of those last 5 lbs of fat. You would like to mix bodyweight interval circuits with a 5k training plan.

  • Monday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Tuesday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Wednesday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Thursday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Friday: TTBW (Intermediate or Advanced level) (30 minutes) + Bodyweight interval circuit (Do however many rounds of this as recommended for your TT intervals. ) or your choice of running / bike / swimming / etc. intervals
  • Saturday: Cardio Coach V.6 workout (run / bike / elliptical / etc.) (45-60 min)
  • Sunday: Rest

Fitness on a Budget Series:

Further Reading
Need more variety? Mix things up by swapping out the TTBW workouts and the Couch to 5k training plan with some of the options below!

20% off Diet & Exercise Assistant 7.0

Keyoe’s very good food and exercise logging software, Diet and Exercise Assistant (currently version 7.0) is on sale for 20% off at Palmgear.com for a limited time using coupon code: FALLSALE

Palmgear carries the Palm OS version ($24.95), a Windows PC version ($14.95), and a combo pack of both ($34.95). If you like the functionality of web-based tracking sites like Fitday but prefer to have a standalone application on your own computer, give the Windows version a try. It doesn’t have as many features as the more costly DietPower or FitDay PC programs, but you can still set weight loss goals, log meals and exercise, add your own custom food items, log body measurements, make daily notes, and view a variety of graphs to help you check your progress and compliance to your meal plans.

I’ve been using the Palm and Windows programs for almost 4 years now, and while I wish that the exercise database could be edited, I have nothing else to complain about. Nothing keeps you honest like DEA’s daily log page which tells you exactly how many calories you are allowed to eat based on your BMR and workout activities for the day.

9/24/07 Log

I got in my back/abs/elliptical workout this morning at the gym, raising my weights again in most exercises. My body fat readings were 20.0% (down from 22% at the beginning of the challenge) on the Omron handheld body fat analyzer and 26.6% (down from 28.4%) on the Tanita body fat scale, and I am once again using the smallest belt loop on my favorite belt. Caliper skinfolds, circumference measurements, and body fat calculations have probably gone down as well, but I didn’t have time to do those this morning. Food is on track through meal 2 so far, and I have only 8 more cups of water to go to hit my one gallon goal today.

DH had to make up a missed Legs/Back P90X session this morning, but he got it done. He starts recovery week this week which is mostly yoga, core, and cardio. He still hasn’t done the Ab Ripper X workout, LOL.

I am going to try to bike to the gym each morning starting instead of driving the 1.75 miles through mostly residential streets. I’ll check out DH’s mountain bike (formerly mine, but the frame was always a bit too large for my stumpy legs) tonight and see if the seat height is low enough for me to use it. I considered running to the gym, but it’s still way too hot, and I think my lifting workouts would suffer since running outdoors for even 15-20 minutes wipes me out. Maybe in the winter…

Tip: DH and I have begun to track our workouts on the kitchen fridge with printed calendars that show our planned workouts for each week. Every time we complete a workout, we put a foil sticker star on the appropriate calendar block. It’s a nice way to visually reinforce our commitments to our exercise programs and get in a bit of friendly competition. It’s also the easiest way for me to keep up with my 100% exercise attendance goal for this challenge. I use a print out of my Google Calendar training schedule for this. You could also combine this with the Precision Nutrition-style 90% compliance grid for food if you are going that route, too.

Korean Barbecue Burgers

I just tried this recipe from the August 2007 issue of Cooking Light and cannot begin to describe how yummy it turned out. If you do a bit of Asian cooking regularly, you probably already have most of the necessary ingredients on hand, too, which is another bonus. Highly recommended for those of you who, like me, love their Asian eats as well as that guiltiest of fast food pleasures, the classic burger.

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KOREAN BARBECUE BURGERS

Korean BBQ Burger

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
Cooking spray
6 (1 1/2-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns, split
6 red leaf lettuce leaves
6 tablespoons thinly sliced radishes

Preparation

Prepare grill.

Combine first 8 ingredients. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.

Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer registers 160°. Remove from grill; let patties stand 5 minutes.

Place buns, cut sides down, on grill rack; grill 1 minute or until toasted. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each serving with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tablespoon radishes, and top half of bun.

Yield

6 servings (serving size: 1 burger)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 343(38% from fat); FAT 14.4g (sat 4.7g,mono 5.7g,poly 2.3g); PROTEIN 26.7g; CHOLESTEROL 72mg; CALCIUM 72mg; SODIUM 534mg; FIBER 3.7g; IRON 3.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27.4g

Bruce Weinstein , Cooking Light, AUGUST 2007

9/21/07 Log

I had to get to work a little earlier than usual this morning, so I opted to postpone my 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer until Saturday. My chest and arms workout was fabulous, however. My arms still feel jittery two hours later.

I mixed up some Korean BBQ burger mush for Chris to grill up into edible patties for tonight’s bring-your-own-dinner Chinese Brush Painting date night at the city Art House. The recipe was from Cooking Light. If they are decent I’ll post the recipe tomorrow in the Booty Kickers’ recipes forum.

Weight is slightly up today to 142.6, but body fat is down almost 1% since Sunday according to both the Tanita scale and the Omron. I have less tummy poof now, too, and my deltoids are coming back into view. I’m pretty happy with my current plan and progress overall. I would like to see 140.0 by this Monday’s weigh-in, so I’ll be watching my portions carefully this weekend and ensuring that I keep up with my water intake.

I have about 4 more weeks before the 2-miler, and I am determined to run it at under 137 pounds. From personal experience, I know it is unlikely that I’ll be able to beat my old Army best time if I’m much over that weight. Speed is definitely inversely related to body weight for me when it comes to running.

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WORKOUT
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– Chest/Arms (50 min)
– Walk (15 min)

How to build an effective training program for a female

…the first thing you have to understand is that there are only a few things you can do to change the way you look. The word “tone” does not exist. It is not a reality and there is no definition for it. You can only make a muscle bigger or make it smaller. The same can be said for fat cells; you can make them bigger or you can make them smaller. That’s it. You can’t shape or elongate or tone a muscle or anything like that. So basically what every female should be aiming to do is build muscle and lose fat. While the phrase “build muscle” scares some females, it shouldn’t.

The above was from a great article Jason Ferruggia recently posted on effective training programs for females.

Here’s my favorite quote from it:

Females should not be afraid of getting stronger or increasing their training poundages. I never understood why more females didn’t have the desire to get stronger. What could be a better feeling than looking sexy and feminine yet being incredibly strong?

Check out the full article for some no-BS tips and principles to take to heart when planning your own program or one for a female friend, significant other, or relative.