Imitation Fitness Blog

Inspired by Unqualified Offerings, I thought I would post about my fitness struggle.

My problems are somewhat different than his. For one thing, weighing 166lbs and being 6ft tall means I don’t need to reduce my weight. My problems come from two sources:

  • A life spent being underweight: I weighed 125lbs until my early 20s. My license still says my weight is 135lbs. Therefore, my body is not equipped to deal with my current weight.
  • My generally sedentary lifestyle as a grad student: I was reasonably fit before coming to grad school even though I was underweight. However, the last few years have been spent sitting in front of the computer all the time and I have gained 40lbs and 4 inches of waist as a result. It’s not that I don’t do any physical activity, but occasional kayaking/canoeing and hiking trips don’t really count.

My target weight is 165-170lbs, so I don’t need to do anything about that. My waist is a bit above 34 inches while I would like it to be in the 33-34 range. What I really want to do is to build some muscle as well as endurance. Since I like to go backpacking, I am more interested in endurance than muscle.

I did start going to the gym a few months ago, but our school gym was closed over the summer for some construction. Now that it’s open again, I am going there to do some running/walking on the treadmill and some weight training. I don’t like to run outside because:

  • I don’t have a car any more, so I can’t go to a park with a track.
  • The concrete is hard on my knees.
  • And most important, the weather in HOTlanta.

Instead of running at a fast speed doing 6-7 minute miles, I do a slow-run/fast-walk combo with a high grade. This is as tough as running faster on a flat surface.

One problem I realized with my diet recently is the amount of calories I get through drinking. I don’t like the taste of water, so I drink mostly Coke and Gatorade. It turns out I was drinking about 600 calories a day. I am open to suggestions for drinks that taste good and are light and have few calories to quench my thirst. Coke obviously is for the caffiene and sugar.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

20 thoughts on “Imitation Fitness Blog”

  1. Ehh, I haven’t gained any weight since starting college, but this newfound addiction to Pringles just might do it. Then again, climbing up and down three flights of steps at the parking garage everyday is all the workout I need (and can handle). I like running though. Just need to get back into the habit.

    As for drinks…Kool-Aid, maybe? (I mostly drink water, so I’m the wrong person to answer this question.) I personally don’t like it, but everyone else and their momma does, so I guess I’m just abnormal. I don’t know how healthy it is though, calorie-wise.

  2. Oooh weight loss stuff. Awesomeness. I cant remember everything (heck, anything really!) I looked up when I went through my “get fit” phase. lol Apparently drinking a huge glass of water half an hr before you eat reduces the amount of food you’ll feel comfortable taking in (in turn, eat less, lose more?)

    🙁 Hah..If u’re really into sodas and whatnot, diets are out there (Thank God) tho they taste horrible (even if Diet Dr Pepper claims to taste exactly like the real Dr Pepper..liars)

    InshaAllah Khair ji 🙂

  3. Try simply diluting the Gatorade; its probably a good idea ANYWAY, but I’ve found that if its 20% water (and 20% less calories) you won’t notice AT ALL; if you can take 50 or 60% water, you’ll have cut the calories in half (and know, you won’t drink twice as much to make up for it).

    As to coke— I don’t know what to say. Again, you might try cutting it with either soda water or with diet coke.

  4. Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. I’ll check Kool-aid when I do groceries next time. But the dilution idea seems good. I’ll try that.

    yasmine: 3 flights of stairs, that’s it? I think I walked a couple of miles daily during my sedentary phase.

    Non, Mademoiselle, I don’t want to lose weight. According to this site, 77% of men my age (32) and height (6ft) weigh more than me. So my weight is fine. Just need to increase my fitness level.

    And diet Coke sucks! I am trying to cut down my regular coke intake to 1-2 cans a day.

  5. I come from a family of pro and amateur body builders so my advice is hit the weights. You’re still youngish, which means as a male, your body is naturally inclined to put on muscle mass if you do the right sort of lifting. By increasing your muscle content you up your body’s running metabolism, which allows you to consume greater calories and store less as fat. It will also give you a natural girdle to hold in that gut.

  6. Diet anything tastes nasty. Even Red Bull is more bearable.

    And you could add lots and lots of walking around campus to the 3 flights of stairs I climb. I think I’m addicted to driving though. I should get out of the car more.

  7. Hi Zack! Weights for sure, like Owl says. You’ll have to make up your own mind on the aerobic component – the idea of “slow run” fills me with horror, largely because my own knees suck. There’s some good evidence at, though, about the benefits of high-intensity interval training for aerobics.

    And by golly, if you prefer fast walking, consider Heavyhands. It really is a great way to involve and train the whole body.


    HH kindly includes me in his Arrival Day blogburst even though the post he links to celebrates Jewish arrival in another country. I’m sorry I could not contribute anything original (maybe next year), but I’ve been busy with moving some…

  9. Owl: I am just starting out on the weight training.

    yasmine: That’s true. Walking on campus can be some exercise as well. I don’t have any classes though, so don’t get to walk too much.

    Jim: I had a knee injury a few years ago (nothing to do with running though) and I don’t want it to recur. I think hard pavement is a bad place to run, but treadmills and somewhat softer but firm ground is good.

    Regarding Heavy hands, I’ll look it up. You should use categories on your blog so that it’s easier to look up your older fitness posts.

    BTW, I think that URL is wrong. Here’s the correct one

    Diana: Thanks for the link. That site looks interesting.

  10. Warning: don’t become a “platehead.” The temptation is enormous.

    However one thing all phitness phreaks have in common is: no sodas, no soft-drinks. Of any kind, except seltzer.

  11. “Regarding Heavy hands, I’ll look it up. You should use categories on your blog so that it’s easier to look up your older fitness posts.”

    Well, everybody’s a critic!

    Do you have Google Toolbar? (Available for IE and Mozilla Firebird.) If so, a site search for the string “Fitness Blog Item” from the UO index page will get you all the fitness posts since I stopped calling them “Diet Blog Posts” or whatever. But I’ll dig up the most pertinent Heavyhands links for you this week regardless.

    Diana: What’s a platehead?

  12. Jim: I have the Google toolbar. Good stuff, especially the popup blocking. But the search results don’t show the items in chronological order.

    Diana: Not much of a chance of me becoming a “platehead”.

  13. BTW, the BMI calculator for women is here. There’s lots of interesting information at that site. For instance, I’m right in the healthy or ideal weight range for my height and age, but 81% of women my height and age are heavier than me.

  14. It seems no matter where I go, there’s Al-Muhajabah.

    If you want to try some diet sodas, I recently discovered diet Dr. Pepper and diet Mt. Dew, which both taste very close to the real thing, unlike the diet colas which taste like liquid polyurethane.

  15. Imitation Fitness Blog II

    Unqualified Offerings was wondering whether I would be posting regular fitness updates. He gets half his wish: I’ll post updates, but irregularly. As I posted in my first fitness post, I am trying to increase endurance and muscle strength but…

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