I Need a Montage
In addition to mangling my finger on Saturday, I was also confronted with a horrible truth that I'd been avoiding for the last three years or so. I've gotten fat and out-of-shape. Before you flood my comments and email box with kind compliments and the contact information for shrinks who deal with eating disorders, let me show you the numbers.
We did a body fat analysis test in which measurements were taken with calipers. The measurements came from four locations: biceps, triceps, scapula, and stomach. The only bright spot for me was that my two biggest problem areas (ass and thighs) apparently do not factor into the calculations. That was quite a relief as I had horrible images of the tester putting down the calipers and intoning gravely "I think we need a bigger boat."
So, based on my measurements, I am at a whopping 29.47% body fat. We were told that a normal healthy percentage would be around 25% and that an athlete would be less than that, as low as 15%. Our coach would like us to strive to be around 20%.
But wait, there's more bad news. The 150m SAQ (Speed, Agility, Quickness) test confirmed that I am slow and unfit. The test is six minutes of abject torture. You have cones set up at 5 meter intervals (5m, 10m, 15m, 20m, and 25m). You have to do shuttle runs, in which you run up to the 5m, back to the start, up to the 10m, back to the start, etc. You have 30 seconds to cover as much ground as you can. Then 30 seconds of rest. Sounds easy, right? The first time, it is. It's the next five times that near about kill you.
A 'good' score on the 150m SAQ would be in the neighbourhood of 740. I think our fastest girl was around 650. I racked up an embarrassing 535. Our coach wants us to shoot for 700 at a minimum.
It's good to have the numbers in black and white because it's too easy for me to rest on the laurels of my endurance running and camogie. The truth is that my sort of endurance running doesn't require anything but a surfeit of stubbornness to ensure that I keep putting one foot in front of the other. It's all about carrying on and less about the quality of the performance. Camogie is great fun, but the ball does most of the work. (If my camogie team ever starts up again this year, I'll be well-ready for it. It'll seem like a breeze after football training.)
I was at the height of my fitness level back in 2004, when I was getting ready for our wedding. Part of me wishes I had body fat composition numbers from then, but most of me is relieved because the comparison would make me cry. And it's no use crying over spilt full-fat milk, might as well take the information and make the best of it.
If my life was a movie, this is where we'd have the montage. Many weeks of hard work would be compressed into a few minutes of images with a catchy pop tune playing as the soundtrack. I already use the Von Bondies' "C'mon, C'mon" for my sprint workouts, so that might make for good montage music.
In the beginning of the montage, you'd see scenes of me getting up early to lift weights alone, doing sprints in the backyard, running with Toby up the steep hill near our house (he'd be doing most of the work, dragging my sorry ass), coming in last in all the sprints at football training.
In the middle of the montage, you'd start to see a bit of improvement in the images. I'm lifting heavier weights. I'm doing core training exercises without falling over. I'm matching Toby stride for stride on the big hill.
Then, in the triumphant end scenes of the montage, I'd be noticeably more svelte and quick. I'd be dragging Toby up the hill. I'd be in with the pack during the sprint drills at training. Who knows, in the big final shot, I might even win a sprint.
Sadly, life isn't a movie. There's no way to condense all of the hard work I have ahead of me. I'm not sure I'll make 20% body fat and 700 on the SAQ test. But I want to make the most of this opportunity to get fit. I'm not getting any younger and losing weight is only going to get harder in the future. I like the focus on fitnes, the emphasos on body fat percentage instead of numbers on a scale.
The challenge in the next six weeks is to work on my fitness every day, for at least an hour. When the caliper-wielding fitness assessor returns, I probably won't be down to 20%, but I do aim to be vastly improved.