Week Four: Time for a New Tack
Adding yoga to the mix might help keep me feeling loose and flexible.
After three weeks of running and exercising, something is amiss in my program: I've gained weight when the objective is to lose it.
Maybe it's time for a change up.
Don't worry, I'm not going backwards and giving up all I've learned and accomplished—I may not have lost weight, but I feel great and probably look healthier (Cue Billy Crystal's Fernando: "It's better to look good than to feel good, darling.").
And on the bright side, I haven't added any more pounds.
So, I ran (including some short sprints on the high school track), I returned for a workout at Fresh Start Exercise, I incorporated kettlebell exercises and the Turkish Get-up I learned at Art of Strength (I picked up a light weight kettlebell to work with until I'm ready for the big leagues), and more from my visits.
And I took a yoga class.
Like many men, yoga seemed a bit too inactive to be of much use to me, and the beginner's class I joined at Onyx Mind Body was not paced in a way that would be particularly helpful for losing weight.
But that's not to say it's not particularly helpful for my health—and as I found out, even a beginner's class can leave me gasping and sweating at times.
Don't believe me? Try it! Under Pamela Nixon's guidance, I discovered how to do a real Warrior pose, which gives your legs a pretty good workout.
Besides, it feels cool to say "Warrior pose."
We also did the "Downward Dog" pose, an inverted V pose stretching all kinds of limbs, and an exercise using a strap to support one leg while pulling it higher or twisting to the side.
The trick here is to keep your shoulder blades flat, which really pulls at the lower back and hips and feels really good.
But it also reveals how much more limber one side may than the other—in my case, my leg side was much less flexible.
"There's always a side that's more limber than the other," Nixon said. She added one of the real benefits of yoga is that it does exercise and loosen both sides of the body, which can help prevent injuries, strains and other problems when our bodies start to compensate for that stiffness.
She suggested a more beneficial class for losing weight might be one of the center's Vinyasa yoga classes, which involves more move quickly and hold poses longer.
Holding some of the poses "longer" would have definitely been difficult, straining as I was at times.
Since I've been doing so much exercising lately, I thought the yoga would be a great change-up for my creaky knees and tured back. And it was, I felt much more limber and relaxed after.
The other thing I've noted is that all of the exercises I've done seem to affect me the most in two areas—the lower abdomen and the inside of my legs.
The trainers have told me those areas are crucial to maintaining the body's strength over time; they're the core muscles.
And somehow running isn't as helpful to strengthening those muscles as one might think.
Last week, it was suggested that perhaps I've have more success losing weight if I changed my diet...OK, so it turns exercise alone won't do the job.
I swear I've cut back on food, too, but there are a few things more I'm doing, which will be the focus of next week's column (want to give it a chance to work).
Before then, I have to make it through the weekend with two office parties...I promise to be accurrate in reporting my transgressions.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|This week||Last week|
|Time running||88 plus 220 yard windsprints four times||115|
|Other exercise||1 hour workout, 1 hour yoga, and 20 minutes home exercise||1 hour workout|
|Snacking||Minimal, with about 20 chocolate-covered almonds and one sleeve of saltine crackers as my only slips.||Very low|
Next week: I'm puling all the stops, with a focus on what's going into my body and my head. I've consulted Life Coach Carla Hugo and Fountain of Vitality Health Food Store owner Farooq Chaudary, and I'll report on their suggestions.