achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Tag: crunches

The health report – June

Yes, I finally got around to weighing and measuring myself! So here is the overview table.

Date:weightneckchestbellyarm
24-10-2017114 kg43 cm124 cm124 cm39 cm
15-5-2018104 kg42 cm115 cm114,5 cm38 cm
17-6-2018104 kg42 cm118 cm115 cm38 cm
15-7-2018101 kg41 cm118 cm115 cm38 cm
15-8-201899 kg41 cm118 cm113 cm38 cm
15-9-2018101 kg41 cm118 cm114 cm38 cm
15-10-201898 kg41 cm118 cm113 cm38 cm
02-02-2020115 kg43 cm124 cm 126 cm40 cm
16-06-2021117 kg45 cm126 cm125 cm41,5 cm

I am still keeping my focus on a slow and steady progress in my exercises but it is time I start to look at my weight again. Rowing with this much extra weight is starting to become more difficult. But I’ll go into that in the rowing segment.

There are a few interesting things to note in this overview.

First is off course that my weight is bad. 117 kg is the heaviest ever in this overview.

But I have been exercises for the last year and that 117 kg isn’t the same kg as the 115 kg I was in February 2020 (last decent weighing I did before starting to exercise).

How can I tell? Well, both neck and chest are now a full two cm wider (and my arm 1,5 cm) and believe me, that is not where the fat is on my body.

Actually, my chest is now 1 cm more than my belly. Back in 2017 both were the same size (124cm) and I weighed 114 kg then too. If you actually compare the 114 kg of 2017 with the 115 kg of February 2020 You will notice my neck and chest measure the same. That 1 kg of fat can be found in the 2 cm of difference of the belly!

Conclusion: the 117 kg now contains more muscle. Something you would expect after one full year of exercising. Those muscles explain why the chest and arm measurements went up and I now have the belly width of my 114 kg weighing self. I roughly added 3 kg of muscles over the last year!

Honestely, I am pretty motivated now to lose 3 kg so I can compare one on one with the 114 kg back in 2017! I am not going to make it a hard goal (because I don’t do those anymore) but I am going to focus a bit more on what I eat and see where it takes me.

Let’s dive into the exercises

Fitness

Again, I did not miss any fitness days and continued to add something (either a little bit off weight or some extra reps) to an exercise each and every week.

The result is a slow and steady progress. At the writing of my last post I had lifted 15 504 kg in one week. Now I am at 17 530 kg or 2 000 kg’s more!

Since I am doing low intensity but lots of reps I was wondering if I was actually building strength. Turns out I am! With friends visiting for a BBQ I finally could test how much my maximum bench press weight is now (somebody has to lift it if I can’t because no safeguard on my in house set-up). Pretty happy to report my max is now 70 kg!!

So yes, this low intensity, lots of reps approach does build up strength. Also, I do not think I will ever again weigh less than 95 kg but if I am at 70 kg bench pressing now, 95 kg should be reachable with this approach! I just have to keep the slow and steady approach! I’ll check my max bench press again sometime next summer.

Greasing the groove

I missed one day of greasing the groove. A wednesday where we went to visit Bruges. No American and Asian (because pandemic) tourists means us Belgians have this beautiful city once more all to ourselfs! For some strange reason Bruges does not have dedicated ‘do your sit-ups here’ spots all over the historic centre so no greasing the groove that day. I did go to the office twice in the last month and yes I did do my exercies there. Strang looks from the few co-workers present? You betcha! Me not giving a crap? You betcha!

I also stayed at 25 reps of sit ups for the entire month as I was building up my kettle bell swings. I am glad to report I reached 25 reps there too! So that was 25 reps, 8 times a day for six days for the kettle bell swings and also for the sit ups.

The kettle bell weight is only 4 kgs because that was what I had laying around. I have ordered a 10 kg weigth and I am waitting on it’s delivery. When that one arrives I will drop my reps to 10 reps to compensate for the heavier weight and then start to build those up again. In the mean time I will increase my sit-up reps because I am adding something, somewhere each and every week …

Cardio

Didn’t miss any rowing last month! Woohoo!

So yes, that does mean rowing for 18 minutes when we got back from our day visiting Bruges. It also meant rowing for 20 minutes in our current 31 degrees celius heat wave (I was a puddle of sweat on the floor afterwards). I did both and I am pretty proud of it!

I also reached 20 minuts of rowing this week because I continued to add one minute every week. I am going to stay at this level for the next month. I have a few reasons for this:

  • I think I build up to 20 min a bit quick. Once at 15 minutes I feel like I should have added 1 min only every two weeks
  • 20 minutes of rowing in a heatwave is crazy. Luckily next week promises lower temperatures but I can use a less intense week or two. Also thinking about buying a mobile airco unit …
  • I weigh 117 fucking kgs! And I am rowing for 20 minutes at a pretty decent tempo. Somewhere around the 15 min mark my body is really not liking it anymore. I can’t really blame it. A person of my weight should not be doing this! Especially not in a heatwave … The reality is I need to get rid of some fat if I want to continue to add time to my rowing.

So rough goals for the next month are:

  • adding a bit to my fitness (I am ok there, not really having pushed myself too hard over the last month).
  • adding some sit up reps to the greasing the groove routine (I am actually eager to add some here since I didn’t do it for a month!)
  • staying at 20 mins of rowing
  • a bit more focus on food and see where I am weight wise at the next post

The health report – May

No overview table yet. I still haven’t gotten around to take the measurements. I keep my focus on my exercises and adding something to them every week. As explained last month, slow and steady progress is the name of the game.

So how did I do on the this front?

Let us see for the 3 catgories of exercises I do now.

Fitness

Once more I didn’t miss a single fitness day and continue to add some weight and some exercise repetitions. Even with this slow and steady approach the gains are significant over a one month period!

At the time of my last health report I lifted 14 375 kg. And in the week of 16/05 I lifted 15 504 kg! That is an extra 1 130 kg added! Remember, I started out around 5 000 kg.

I repeat once more that progress in weight lifted will be slower going forward as I am going to stick to my ‘adding a little bit every week approach’. I also have added kettlebell swings to my greasing the groove routine. This is an extra weight exercise but I am not tracking it in the fitness app so it doesn’t show up in the above overview.

Greasing the groove

This keeps being the part of my regime I enjoy the most. Believe me, I find it crazy too that I like this so much! But it seems to be working very well for me.

I have reached my interim goal of 25 reps so for the last two weeks I did 8 times x 25 reps x 6 days a week = 1 200 + the 50 sit ups I do on Sunday which brings me to 1 250 crunches in a week. As you can see having vague goals and not worrying when you reach them eventually does lead to some impressive results!

Honestely, I do not even care when I will reach my final goal of 50 reps. The goal is to keep doing this every day, every week and every month and eventually I will reach that goal.

Actually, progress on the crunches will also be slower since I now have added the kettlebell swing exercise to my routine as off this week. I did 8 reps x 6 days with a 4 kg weight. The 4 kg weight is definitely to low for me but it is what I have for the moment. I will first build these reps up to 25 also and once I reach that I will double the weight, drop the number of reps and then slowly build up the nr of reps once more.

And yes, I did do my sit ups at the office the one day I went. I just popped into an empty meeting room and got crunching. Add the kettlebell swings and I am going to be getting some strange looks once the working from home restrictions are lifted!

Cardio

A bit of some good and bad news on the cardio front.

On het bad front: I missed 1 rowing session! And I missed it on the one day I went to work at the office!! This has gotten me a bit worried that since I build up this exercise routine while working from home I will not be able to stick to it once I go back to the office. Our new work agreement does allow us to work from home 3 days a week. But I hope to be able to push this to 4 days (the days I do my fitness). I then just have to make sure I do my rowing on the day I do have to go to the office.

The good new is I did keep adding 1 minute to my rowing time every week. This week I reached 16 minutes. It is starting to get tough to keep it up. So I’ll probably hit a plateau in the coming month, but that is fine. 16 minutes of rowing is already pretty good. Every minute I can add to it is a win!

The health report – April

I am going to try to do these health reports on a monthly basis again. The old overview table will come back and will be updated again.

But I haven’t gotten around to retake the measurments so this will be for next month. I try to be less focussed on my weight and measurements and just add something extra to an exercise each week. This makes for slow progress but it should be a steady progress. In the past I had these very strict goals to achieve X by date Y. Which resulted in me either getting demotivated because I did not achieve the goal and stopping altogether. Or me getting injured, needing to rest for a couple of weeks, and that rest usually ended in me quitting completely…

Slow and steay progress is the name of the game now and every progress I now consider a WIN. It’s a lot more motivating than my old approach and for now it seems to keep me continuing.

Fitness

I didn’t miss a single fitness day since my last health report. And I have added a bit of weight to several exercises. The weight lifted chart tracks this increasy nicely.

I have no explication for the exceptionally high bars now and then. Best guess is that it are tracking anormalities, even though I try to log the exercises as correctely as possible.

This graph does show the benefits of the slow and steady approach. Where in the week of 16/08/2020 I only lifted a total of 5 436 kg. At the time of my previous update, the week of 28/03/2021 I had lifted 13 176 kg. And this week saw me lifting a total of 14 375 kg! It is already a certainty that by July 2021 I will have more than trippled the lifted weight (5000 kg I started with). Slow and steady progress over a longer period leads to impressive gains. Progress in weight lifted will be slower going forward as I am going to keep my approach of only adding 1 kg to an exercise every week. And adding 1 kg when you are pushing 10 kg is a 10% increase where adding 1 kg when you are pushing 20 kg is only a 5% increase. But the approach is working and it should keep me injury free while I continu pumping iron.

Greasing the groove

This might be the part of my regime I enjoy the most. It is only 1 minute of exercise 8 times a day but it does lead to impressive numbers.

At the end of March My regime was 8 times x 16 reps x 6 days a week = 768 crunches and with the Sunday included actualy 800 crunches that week.

Even after plateau-ing at 20 reps for 2 weeks I reached 21 reps this week. So that was 8 times x 21 reps x 6 days a week = 1 008 + the 44 I did on Sunday brings me to a total 1 052 crunches this week

Ultimate end goal remains 50 reps every hour but interim goal is 25 reps. When I reach this goal I will add kettlebell swings to my greasing the groove regime. Once those kettlebell swings are added I will alternate by adding sit-ups reps one week and kettlebell reps another week. Again, slow and steady progress and no time limit on when those goals need to be reached. Actually, I do not even NEED to reach those goals. As long as I add something every week I am doing good!

Cardio

Cardio is what should help me loose weight. Last month I explained why I choose rowing as my main cardio exercise.

I started at only 5 minuts of rowing my first week. But slow and steady also wins the race when it comes to rowing. Back in March I was already rowing 3 x 8 minutes a week and this week I reached 12 minutes! At the moment I am adding 1 minute to my rowing every week and I am sticking to it for the time being.

The health report – March

The last health report I did was from October 2018. 2018 people!!

As is usual with these things, when the reports stop it usually means it didn’t go well.

My weight continues to be something I struggle with. I eat when I am stressed and work was plain and simple exhausting me. And the end of the day I was just mentally beat. So I started eating more. This remained reasonable as long as I kept swimming. But having the mental energy to go swimming was also running out …

I just didn’t have the willpower to swim for 2 km on end. In a last ditch effort I started to reduce how much I swam in the -futile -hopes of keeping the habit of going 3 times a week. I wanted to keep the habit in the hopes that the mental dip would be temporary and after a month or two I could bounce right back to the full 2km.

Well that didn’t help. Swimming dropped to zero. The weight kept stacking up and with the heigher weight the push ups became harder so those stopped as well.

Exercise was down to zero and I was eating all the time.

How bad did it get? 120 kg bad.

Somewhere around the end of 2019 I did restart swimming. Knowing I am going to do exercises usually helps to eat less as well (because swimming when you are all bloated isn’t very fun). It was slow going but I enjoyed it again and slowly training my way back to the full 2 km. Then the lockdown due to Covid happened. The week they closed everything was THE week I was going to do my first 2 km again.

Being pissed off was an understatement! By the time the swimming pool re-opened (under very ridiculuse Covid measure as well) I knew I would have to restart all over again. And I just couldn’t. Especially with all the uncertainty of a possible new closing.

I wanted something I had 100% full control over. Because if I was dependant on our government making smart decisions I could wait a long time.

Luckily I already had moved my exercise bench from my parents home to my home before the lockdown. And the plan had always been to start fitness once my swimming was a strong habit again. So I just decided to flipped the sequence and start with the fitness.

Over 30 years old this fitness bench still works lke a charm!

Fitness

I started with the fitness on 21st June of 2020. To keep me honest and being able to track my progress I decided to pay for an anual subscription fot the Jefit App.

I started low (because it had been a long time since I did this) and didn’t progress a whole lot until september. Did had two reasons, I had to get into the habit of regular exercise. Being 120 kg does not help with this. 120 kg is already a lot of weight to get moving .. I also lacked some weights to start adding in a gradual way. And since the start of this pandemic exercise equipment is hard to get because everybody started exercising from home. As a little side note, i would not invest in any stock from gym compagnies. With people having all the equipment they need at home I can see their membership numbers not really rebounding after Covid.

The gap in the picture below is our 10 day holiday in Portugal. And you do see chart starting to go up after that holiday because I finally received my weights ordered back in August.

I did make a stupid mistake between June and September: in the abscence of the necessary weights I could have increased my repetitions! It was only when I started modifying the weight in the app that I actually realised I could also modify the reps! STUPID (afbeelding).

So as of October I started adding something (either a bit of weight or some extra reps) to 1 or 2 exercises.

It might not be all that much fitness I do, but I do I have now been doing it consistently since the 21st June, which brings me to 9 months at the moment!

Add it all up and total numbers start to be impressive:

Could I have pushed myself more in the fitness department? Probably. But I like my current approach and seem to be able to keep doing it. And that in itself is a big win for me.

The only thing I didn’t like with my exercise regime was that I didn’t make a lot of progress with my sit-ups. The orignal plan only had once a week 3 x 8 crunches. This was a bit low to make any decent progress. So I added crunches to another day as well. This helped but progress was still low. I used to do A LOT OF crunches when I was young and miss those days. Enter greasing the groove.

Greasing the groove

A co-worker mentioned greasing the groove as a way to make some serious progress in a specific exercise. It basically comes down to doing a lot of reps but spread out over the day and only at around 50% of your maximum. I like this approach, I have never been fan of the ‘No pain, no gain’ school of fitness. In general I like to avoid pain (self inflicted or not) as much as possible in my life.

Since I had slowly worked my way up to 3 x 20 reps of crunches twice a week I decided to start with 10 crunches 8 times a day, for 6 days a week. Sunday is rest day, except for a one time crunch session to determine my new max.

So I went from 3 times x 20 reps x 2 days a week = 120 crunches per week.

To 8 times x 10 reps x 6 days a week = 480 crunches per week.

Add in the Sunday where I determine my maximum reps I can do I did 500 sit ups in my first week of greasing the groove.

This week my regime is 8 times x 16 reps x 6 days a week = 768 crunches, add in the Sunday and I have reached 800 crunches this week.

My current work environment with the exercise mat next to the desk so I can do my 16 runches every hour

My goal here? Well, remember how I used to do A LOT OF crunches when I was17 years old? A lot was 300 sit-ups, 5 days a week. I want to reach that goal once more! Actually, way back I did 3 x 100 crunches. I want to at least get back to 50 reps each and every hour. That would bring me to 2 400 crunches per week. This seems like a crazy amount of crunches but this is only trippling my current level and it would mean 2 minutes of exercise every hour. I can do 2 mins of exercise per hour!

Once I reach 1 500 crunches per week I will add a kettlebell exercise to my greasing the groove regime. And once my weight is back below 100 kg also push ups. Speaking of weight loss, enter cardio.

Cardio

Ok, so I have been doing fitness 4 times a week for the last 9 months.

The last three weeks I have started doing a lot of crunches.

How is my weight doing you might ask.

Holding steady at 120 kg …

So I went from a fat, out of shape sloth to a fat, kind of in shape sloth. But still fat. You know when I did lose some Kg’s? The 10 day holdiay in Protugal where we either biked or walked some distance every day (the girlfriend has this annoying habit of finding all these cool things to see on our holiday which usually involve walking). So yes, if I want to have any hope of actualy loosing weight I need to add in a cardio exercise.

I do not like walking (go ahead, ask me how much I enjoy our holidays …).

I do not like biking.

I do like swimming but Covid + our stupid politicians kinda sucked all the fun out of that one.

I also wanted something I could do in my house since our politicians seem to enjoy locking us up on random occasions.

Enter rowing! I remember liking it when I went to a gym back in my student years.

SO I bought a rowing machine. Financials details here.

Welcome to the modern age where people pay good money to torture themselfs!

It is slow going because cardio has been a while (March of 2020 actually) and rowing seems to use some muscles I haven’t used in a looong time. Next week will be my third week of rowing. I am at only 8 minutes for the moment. But the goal is to build this up to my level of swimming. 2 km of swimming took me about one hour. So I have a long way to go here.

Interim goal is reaching 15 minutes.

With so many things out off our control at the moment I do find it very soothing to know that all of this is in my complete control. All I need to do is go to our utility room and start exercising. Bad weather or a worldwide pandemic … nothing can interfere with me doing my exercises! Adding a rep, some weight, some extra crunches or extra time to my rowing, it can not be stopped!