Reworking the Format – Week 11

Previous Posts:

Check out the Intro post to get an idea of what this blog is about.

Week 10: I take a top level view of my nutrition.

Week 9: I include a little bit of world perspective as a backdrop for what is going on in my life.

Week 8: I focus in on establishing standards for my data for my continued comparisons and improvements.

Perspectives:

Domestic: President Obama names Merrick Garland as his nominee to the Supreme Court. But Senate Republicans refuse to meet with the appeals court judge as he began making rounds on Capitol Hill. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton solidify their leads in the latest round of state presidential primaries. Trump warns Republican party leaders not to try to block his path to the nomination. Bernie Sanders prepares for the long haul despite news that President Obama thinks the Democratic party should soon unite behind a single candidate to replace him. And lawmakers call on Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to resign over the Flint water crisis.

International: North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into the sea, flouting U.N. resolutions. It also sentences an American student to 15 years’ hard labor. Russia says it will continue to provide military and intelligence assistance to the Syrian regime. This follows Russia’s surprise decision to withdraw its military forces from Syria. The European Union works on a plan to send thousands of migrants back to Turkey. Secretary of State Kerry says the militant group ISIS is committing genocide against Christians, Yazidis and shiite Muslims. And Brazil’s government corruption scandal heats up.

Description of the Week:

Mar 11: It was a nice work day broken up by some lunch out and a stroll around the park. Got some dinner at home and relaxed for the rest of the evening with some Netflix, an evening walk, and reading.

Mar 12: Lounged around a bit after waking up. Had breakfast. Went for a hike with the wife and puppy. Ate out for lunch. Ran a few errands and had to stop by work. Ate out for dinner. Read some before bed.

Mar 13: Daylight savings time this weekend, which already means one less hour in the day. But the puppy is also losing teeth so he was up early because of that. Luckily we were able to get him back to sleep for a few more hours. After breakfast we cleaned the basement some and started setting up a little workout area down there. Grab some lunch out and went to the dog park. Had dinner at home. Had to stop by work for a bit. Then an evening walk and reading before bed.

Mar 14: Picked a bad day to wake up early for some car work, but it was time to get the timing belt and water pump replaced. Went to work. Dropped by the house for some lunch and to walk the dog. Picked up my car. Finished up late at work, so we got some dinner out. Got our groceries for the week. Worked out, took our evening walk, and read before bed.

Mar 15: Lounged a bit in the morning before heading to work. Had a meeting a work. Managed to make it to the dog park after work since we have an extra hour of sunlight later in the day now. After dinner, I worked out and helped the wife out with some of her work. We took an evening walk and read before bed.

Mar 16: Had a normal day at work. Got some fish from a great fishmonger for dinner and treated ourselves to some popsicles along the way. Walk the dog for a bit before dinner. Worked up after dinner, took an evening walk, and was up late helping out the wife. Read a bit before bed still.

Mar 17: Walked the dog in the morning since the wife was still recuperating from the late night. Had a normal day at work. Relaxed for the evening with some dinner in, Netflix, an evening walk, and reading.

Heart Rate, Sleep, and Energy Levels:

Week 11 HR_Sleep_Energy

I have reworked this section to focus on overall well-being, which includes my heart rate, sleep, and energy levels. Additionally I am examining what times I go to sleep and wake up to see if large inconsistencies in that result in alterations in my heart rate and energy level.

Book of the Week:

This week I finished The Brain Electric: The Dramatic High-Tech Race to Merge Minds and Machines by Malcolm Gay. It took me a while to get through it, but I do have a few take-aways from it. The first is that tools actually become an augmentation with continued use. One’s neurons actually rewire themselves to consider that tool as basically part of themselves. And the second is that the brain seems to recognize objects by the interactions that the body can have with it and we actually build mindfulness from this with the help of mirror neurons which essentially try to predict what sort of action someone might take.

Always interesting to learn new things about the brain and body in general though it’s hard for me to say exactly what I will do with that information. This book is still a relatively interesting read if you enjoy neuroscience and neuroprostheses.

Workouts and Activity:

Week 11 Workout

Mar 14: Weight lifting; One arm row, Bicep curls, Russian twists; Active for 28:21; Average heart rate of 102; Heart rate range of 78-130

Mar 15: Weight lifting; Barbell squats, Calf raises; Active for 18:14; Average heart rate of 96; Heart rate range of 73-114

Mar 16: Weight lifting; Incline chest press, Triceps extension, Sit-ups; Active for 24:18; Average heart rate of 98; Heart rate range of 71-116

Week 11 Activity

In this section I am grouping my strength workout and step data. I think displaying my strength training in this way will make my changes from week to week more obvious. I am now using Jefit to log both my workout sets and my body composition. I am still continuing to use Google Fit to monitor my heart rate during the workouts.

Body Composition and Measurements:

Week 11 Body Composition

Neck: 14 3/8 inches

Shoulders: 43 3/4 inches 

Bust: 36 5/8 inches 

Chest: 34 3/8 inches 

Waist: 30 3/4 inches

Hips: 36 5/8 inches

Thighs: 21 1/4 inches

Calves: 14 1/2 inches

Upper Arm: 11 3/8 inches 

Forearms: 10 3/8 inches

This week I am also including a neck measurement as it seems to be commonly done though I do not expect to focus on that. I want to comment on two values specifically: bust and chest. They are both significantly down. I believe this is largely due to incorrectly measuring it previously. For it to be consistently measured, I need to be relaxed and not flexing, so I will watch for that more closely moving forward.

Nutrition:

Week 11 Nutrition

In this section I have added in calories burned as measured by my Basis Peak and calculated a calorie deficit for the day.

Analysis:

My resting heart rate for this week is largely unchanged as compared to last week. The only outlier I have is for my evening rest heart rate on the evening of the 14th which I chart as being on the 15th, as that’s when its potential effect sound be, but there’s not much to suggest why that would be the case aside from me working out.

I spent less time in my lower heart rate zones this week, but did have an increase in the time spent in the aerobic area. This does not necessarily seem to be linked, however, to my workout days.

My total sleep is slightly increased from the previous week but I am still under my goal of 8 hours each night.  My average sleep quality is about the same as the previous week and I appear to have less fluctuations. On the 14th, my deep sleep is lower than I would like it, but this is probably due to a combination of less sleep and waking up earlier than usual. This has an effect on my morning energy level, but I seem to improve by the afternoon. Overall my energy level is lower for the week without clear reasons for more days. Except less sleep seems to increase the likelihood of lower energy levels in the morning.

I met my step goals for the week and largely exceeded it. I plan to continue at this level while continuing to work on my strength goals. I also met my number of workouts for the week again and hope to continue that. I either increased weight or repetitions for every exercise this week, so it appears that I am continuing to get stronger though it’s hard to say at what rate.

My weight, fat mass, and lean mass are all down from the previous week. Normally this would be good aside from the lean mass, but ultimately I am trying to gain muscle so this is a trend I would like to reverse.

You can see this reversal in my body measurements as well, where most of my measurements are either slightly decreased or basically the same.

I believe that my nutrition is that biggest player in this regard. Theoretically to gain 0.5 lb/week, I need to consume about 250 calories more than I burn in a day. I was above 0 but below this level and seem to have lost weight rather than gaining it. I plan to make sure that I am getting a sufficient amount of calories each day. My macronutrient composition is largely unchanged from the previous week, but I am not too concerned about that at the moment. My first goal to tackle is my sodium intake. My weekly average is about where I would like it, but I have several individual days where I got over 2300 mg/day which is the maximum recommended amount.

Modifications for Next Week:

My planned modifications for the next week are solely in the area of nutrition. I want to make sure that I am consuming at least an additional 250 calories/day to see if that will be enough to see the gain I want.

My second planned modification is to limit my sodium intake to 2300 mg/day. The easiest way to do this is to not eat out. But since I am not a fan of restricting myself to an extreme level, I won’t eliminate that entirely at this point if I don’t need to. Rather I will just choose lower sodium options which tend to be healthier in general.

Feedback from You:

We’re now almost a quarter of the way into the year. How are your resolutions and goals that you made in January coming along? Reach out and let me know whether good or bad!

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