A line in the sand

14 Jan

I’ve spent the last 2 years getting fit, however what does this actually mean?

  • I’ve been able to climb mountains, do intensive pilates classes, walk miles, get up to 10k on the bike sessions, and importantly get myself discharged months earlier than expected after my knee surgery.
  • I feel great and I’m told look great.
  • My weight is stable and has been so for over a year.

However there is science behind being fit and in the spirit of sharing it with you and also pushing myself on my next challenge, I met with a new personal trainer today with the objective of taking numerous measurements and indicators so there is a true line in the sand at this stage to be able to judge my performance and achievements against over the next few months.

I was talking to a friend about this and I realised I was actually scared about what the results might show, would they say I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was, that my body fat was still dangerous, after all true BMI figures say I should lose another couple of stone (not going there by the way?).

So there was a degree of nervousness when I arrived at the gym this morning.  However it was incredibly interesting and reassuring.

Firstly there is a lot of science, out came the special scales which measured everything from weight, body fat, muscle, bone mass, visceral fat (the fat around your body organs – very important, if you have high levels of fat around your liver and heart, you’re in trouble), metabolic rate and lots of other vital stuff.  It calculates everything based on your age and height.  And repeat after me your weight is not important, it’s the other data that matters!

Next out come the calipers, now these are for testing your skinfolds.  This method involves using a skinfold caliper to pinch predetermined sites on the body. The tongs pinch the skin, pulling the fat away from the muscles and bones. A gauge on the calipers measures the thickness of that pinch.  We took measurements from my tummy, back/shoulder, hip, upper arm, lower arm, thigh, calf, cheek and neck.

What this tells us apart from the amount of fat (subcutaneous adipose tissue) under the skin,  is an awful lot, different measurements can tell a lot about how your body reacts to certain things, I learnt that I don’t deal well with wheat, hence my struggle with bread so I am right to control this. So this helps in determining the food plan going forwards.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, when performed by a trained, skilled tester, skinfold measurements of body fat are up to 98% accurate. For this reason, it’s important to find a qualified expert if you have a skinfold measurement done. The accuracy of these tests may also depend upon the type of calipers being used and a person’s level of hydration at the time of the test.

Finally we got the tape measure out and measured everything!

Once we’d got all the data it was time to analyse it, what is showed was that my body fat figure although at the top end of ‘normal’ was far from bad and if I was to just stay at the level I am now I would be perfectly healthy – that felt very good!

My bone mass and visceral fat levels were ok too, and there is nothing else that is screaming major problem which is a relief and also makes me very proud, I shudder when I think what those figures may have been 2 and a half years ago.

The discussion then moved to my new objectives – what I now want to do is decrease my body fat and increase my muscle and bone mass. This will result in further changing my body shape and toning, doing it will also increase my fitness levels and hopefully there will be even more exciting things I can do – as well as get into those smaller skinnier jeans!

Importantly this is all achievable and I’m aiming to make a significant amount of progress by the end of April.   When I say achievable, yes for someone of my age, with my weight history and having only done serious exercise for 2 years – so if I can and you’re younger and fitter than I was then you can too!  You just need to believe it.

Now for something a little controversal – I have lost and kept off the weight not following a diet approach and this is what I advocate for you however I am about to make some major changes to what I eat.  In order to take my journey to the next level it’s a necessary step.

I don’t though expect you to do it unless you’re at a similar stage and it may look a bit scary, I am intrigued to see what happens next though by following it, I am though keeping sustainability at the forefront of the plan and ensuring that it doesn’t become too rigid and has the degree of flexibility so it works with my life.   It all makes total sense though.

So I have a line in the sand, I have food advice (check out the 2012 page for more on this tomorrow) and on Monday I meet Paul again in the gym to put together the very targeted exercise plan that will run alongside. I’ve signed Paul up for a few more sessions to monitor my progress and ensure the exercise programme is right as we move forwards.  I’m excited about the future and I still can’t quite believe that I’m at this point.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

For you, don’t give up, sometimes progress might seem slow but if you’re determined then you will see results.  Changing can be scary but with the right support it can be done.  Let me know how you do, your experiences might just help someone else too.

Come and join me on Twitter @trudykelly or on Facebook.


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