Six weeks ago, I went on Lent Fitness Challenge. The challenge was to remove junk food and sweets off my diet, temporarily. Well, I made it!, though without struggle. And the results? Not as I expected. #ExpectationVsReality. Haha. Although, I have seen progress, I would have wanted to achieve what I have set up to do at the initial stage of this Lent Challenge, which was turn more of my fat into muscle. I read that it takes at least 4 weeks to start seeing muscle change. Well, that’s slower than this Virtuoso would like but hey, I can be patient when I’m really interested in something. Plus, I’m learning more about my body and fitness. So, that is still a good take away. Here’s what happened:
New York happened!
On my final week leading to Easter Sunday, Spring break happened. We took a mini vacation to New York: spent 3 nights and 4 days around the area of NY and NJ and enjoyed our time there. On Day 41, I had my first processed sweets at Snow Day and had a vegan-friendly Coconut shaved ice. “When in Rome”, as the saying goes. I just believe vacations should also allow for happy treats! When will I be in NY again?! Yes, I’m trying it.
And while our hotel had free breakfast, mostly for non-vegans, my choices were toast and jam or oatmeal. I chose oatmeal, sweetened with brown sugar; and paired it with coffee with sugar, no creamer. You can see more of our mini trip on my Insta feed.
Aside from food, I also let up on my exercise routine. Although our hotel had a gym and pool, I also trekked a total of 20 miles in NY in 2 consecutive days and that left me too exhausted for anything else but 7-minute arm exercises by Blogilates I mentioned on my Day 20 post. As a matter of fact, it took 2 days after the trip for my shins to recovered from that overabundance of walk exercise. Still, I did go to NY to sightsee and that is exactly what we did. No complaints.
The Lent Challenge in Summary
- Although I am at a healthy BMI, I registered at nearly 40% fat percentage on my digital scale in the beginning of the challenge. My goal was to decrease it to 24% and increase my muscle percentage which was at 33%. Here’s my first post.
- I also wanted to temporarily give up processed sweets because who wouldn’t benefit from that?! I eat way too much sweets. See my Insta feed. haha
- I wanted to go through the challenge with the budget in mind, opting for free unsponsored exercise app and/or YouTube videos.
What I learned from this Challenge
- BMI was not sufficient measurement of how healthy I am because based on the BMI index, I’m healthy. However, I still have the layer of fat around my mid section, which I have read is the worst kind of fat to have.
- The Body Analysis weighing scale measures my fat on my lower extremity only and thus is not a good indication of how healthy I am either, because, again, my fat accumulates on my mid section and arms.
- Drinking lemon slice-infused water, hot or cold, all day left me dehydrated. My throat always felt dry. So I restricted it to mornings to replace my coffee morning habit.
- Because muscle tend to weigh heavier than fat and occupies less space in the body, I have decided that how my clothes fit is a better judgement of how healthy my body is. My clothes does fit better. It’s certainly a confidence booster.
- Working out 6 of the 7 days of the week was too much for me. It’s wise to add at least 2 strategic breaks during the week to allow the body to recuperate.
- Cycling is a lot harder than I thought but it actually helped improved my runs. So I switch between the two during my weekly workouts.
- Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen my body.
- I can easily fit an exercise or two while watching Netflix. haha The least, a stretching session after a good workout.
- Planning a weekly workout routine and having it posted on the fridge or phone helped me stay on track, as opposed to winging it based on how I feel.
- Free videos and free apps can help lose weight. Don’t think you have to break your bank or go to the gym to start your fitness journey. Results are proportional to efforts, ofcourse. I can’t achieve the results I want unless I’m constantly learning and improving my form of attack.
Moving Forward, Future Goals
- I plan to continue exercising 5 of the 7 days of the week, 3 of which is either running or cycling.
- I want to start using weights to build muscle. Although I don’t want to bulk up, just tone up.
- I want to try a fitness trainer at the gym to get the right exercise(s) to finally achieve losing my belly fat and arm fat in the least amount of time. I have read that fitness trainers are free at the military base gym. What’s stopping me, really???
Results vary with these bioelectrical impedance weighing scale because they are still on the market, which means there is a demand for it and it’s working for others. For me, however, it was unsuccessful in convincing me it’s worth the purchase, again. Maybe I got a dud or I’m just plain not doing enough to lose the fat. There’s a whole lot of room for operator error.
I am “in it to win it” in this fitness journey. While it took me nearly 40 years to finally take action to improve my health, it’s never too late start. I come from a family that doesn’t put a priority on health & fitness and I grew up that way too. Very grateful for my fast metabolism that I’ve done pretty well with staying slender. But slender does not necessarily mean fit. I have plenty to learn and my goal is just to be better than I was yesterday. I fall off the wagon, get too tired to exercise, eat more than I ought, I don’t let that discourage me and just move on and continue to choose progress. J
Healthy living is a life habit I plan to keep working on. I’ll find the balance between my big appetite and fitness, eventually.
Until next time.