Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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.

15 Comments:

At 15 April 2008 at 23:08, Blogger laurie said...

20 percent would not be healthy. and i hate those BMI charts because they seem absolutely unreasonable.

i will warn you not to get too obsessed with numbers.

are you fit, and strong, and do you have good wind? these are the things that matter. numbers are just numbers.

 
At 15 April 2008 at 23:11, Blogger Babaloo said...

Oh wow, I feel your pain. My body fat is definitely higher than yours, you can count on that. And, adding to my shame, my brother is coming for a visit soon. I know for a fact that his last body fat count was around 15%. He runs marathons, he is seriously fit. He eats like a horse. And there is NO fat on his body. I have no idea where he gets this from. I must've inherited all the bad genes. And the lazy gene. Because I don't even have half of your ambition. But you're right, we're not getting any younger (we're the same age, you and me) and it's getting tougher to shift the pounds or the fat or whatever you measure.

I don't do sports like you, so I don't need to make sure I reach certain goals. Which I'm thankful for because I don't want to go back to places I've been before, I'd be easily obsessed with my weight and shape again (been there, done that, got the T-Shirt). I'm at a point now where I'm maybe not always happy with my body but I can live with it because it's mine and the only one I've got.

Sorry for rambling on, good topic this. Am looking forward to reading all the other comments.

 
At 15 April 2008 at 23:14, Blogger Babaloo said...

And while I was still typing, Laurie got in there before me. I'm with her on this, it's just numbers. But then, you are committed to the sport...

Regarding the movie and the soundtrack, did you see the musical meme I nicked from Lane for my last Musical Monday post? Would be fun to see what your soundtrack is.

 
At 15 April 2008 at 23:18, Blogger Kaycie said...

No one is getting near me with calipers to measure my body fat!

 
At 16 April 2008 at 00:42, Blogger laurie said...

if you do decide you really need to lose weight, may i recommend weight watchers online? i'm currently doing this. i've lost about 8 pounds in about six weeks. it's not that hard, because i don't have to go to any stupid meetings, i don't have to weigh myself in front of scrawny strangers, and the computer does all the calculations for me.

works pretty well, at least for me, because i'm borderline compulsive. i think you are, too, so it would probably work for you.

 
At 16 April 2008 at 02:35, OpenID redwinegums said...

I'd like to know the numbers personally but as Laurie says don't worry about it too much. Like in a match, fitness is important but someone can run for you all day without adding more isn't all that good to a team

 
At 16 April 2008 at 02:36, Blogger Sandy said...

My work is starting a weight loss thing. No fitness involved, just greed and pride. 20 dollar buy in and whoever loses the greatest percentage of their weight gets all the cash.

I am so tempted.

 
At 16 April 2008 at 04:39, Blogger ped crossing said...

At least you are up and moving, I can't seem to find the time to do any exercise.

Keep us posted.

 
At 17 April 2008 at 00:05, Blogger Mr. Teacher said...

I want a montage too!

 
At 17 April 2008 at 13:59, Anonymous Notebooks said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 17 April 2008 at 20:15, Blogger -Ann said...

Laurie - You'd be surprised by how low you can go on body fat percentage and still be healthy. BMI can be a bunch of bollix, since it's all based on height and weight. Since muscle is heavier than fat, it's possible to have an unhealthy BMI with a low body fat percentage.

Eating healthy isn't my problem - I haven't lifted weights for three years. I don't need Weight Watchers, I need Muscle Minders. :) (And no, I'm not fit or strong - this is what I need to work on and the test made me face this.)

Babaloo - It's not like I'll get kicked off the team or anything. It was just a sort of wakeup call. I know I've been lazy with the weights.

I'm thinking about doing that soundtrack meme. I need to figure out how to separate my music from Peter's, though.

Kaycie - wise woman. We did have the choice of opting out, but I had to know.

RWG - I've only been playing football for 2 months, so I'm not much good at it. The least I can do for my team is get fit.

Sandy - That sounds like good motivation alright.

PC - I will indeed.

Mr. T. - Life would be so much better if it came with a montage feature.

Spammer....no spamming.

 
At 17 April 2008 at 21:53, Anonymous Harlequin said...

My body fat is probably like a million percent. I have more fat than body. Which sucketh. I used to be curvy, then I got plump and now I'm just plain fat. And since there's no way I'm depriving myself of lovely food items, the only solution is to start exercising. Sigh. But you look great to me and surely if you do all that running, you must be in some kind of shape? Otherwise that's just unfair!!

Your montage thing reminded me of the following from Buffy (she's talking about studying hard in college):

Buffy: I thought it was gonna be like in the movies -- you know, inspirational music, a montage: me sharpening my pencil, me reading, writing, falling asleep on a big pile of books with my glasses all crooked, 'cause in my montage, I have glasses. But real life is slow, and it's starting to hurt my occipital lobe.
Willow: Aw, poor Buffy's brain.

:-D

 
At 17 April 2008 at 23:17, Blogger Col said...

You do know that those caliper measurements are notoriously inaccurate, right? The only true way to measure your body fat percentage is to get weighed on one of those water thingies that they use in a pool.

Nevertheless, I recommend The Firm videos for toning up-- and yoga.

As for those speed/agility drills-- you can get faster, but I swear that the agility part is genetic. You get what you're born with, I think!

 
At 20 April 2008 at 01:56, Blogger Career Guy said...

Forget the body fat numbers--just flash your SAT's--that'll fix 'em.

 
At 21 April 2008 at 08:38, Blogger -Ann said...

Harlequinn - I am in some sort of shape, my cardiovascular health is good, my blood pressure and resting heart rate are both quite low, so exercise does have its rewards. I'm just not Intermediate Ladies Football fit. :) (Take heart, once upon a time, I weighed nearly 14 stone - cleaning up my diet and exercising did the trick, even though it took a few years.)

Col- What the exercise lady said was that they've got a margin of error of 4%. But I know that not lifting weights regularly the last 3 years is the issue - I've got serious bat wings, like 20 mm worth. I'll look into those yoga videos.

Dad - Yep, I'm sure that'll work.

 

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