Two gold stars-one for each week. While you might find my calorie counting and routine mapping compulsive, it is important to me because if I don't measure these things two things will happen. Thing 1: Without measuring, I'll not be able to systematically map my progress or monitor feedback; Thing 2: I'll lose focus--and likely not do it at all. Having an outcome (a graph etc) ensures that I complete the process.
In order to measure my physical activity in terms of quality and quantity, I set up an Excel worksheet. Here's WK 1. I exercised for 86 minutes. You can see that I've kept track of my time in each zone. (My hrm does this for me).
Because each zone is different in terms of load, I've adopted Sally Edward's point system. I get one point for each minute in Z1, 2 points for Z2....
Here's WK 2. I exercised for 233 minutes--144 minutes longer than WK1. It was a little lower in WK2 @ 2.31 v 2.39. But I had 5 days of activity.
I'm sure that you must be asking, "Why bother measuring time in zones?" It is an excellent question, and I promised in an earlier post that I would discuss the importance.
Your body burns different types of fuel at different workout levels. The fuel your body burns is the same fuel that you stuff in the gas tank: carbs, fats and protein. Protein is nominal in all zones. Your body is smarter than you are and alot more efficient. Accordingly, it is going to burn the most effective fuel for the exercise load. As you can see from the figure below, as your exercise intensity increases, your body switches to stored glycogen (carbs).
You understand, then, why it is important for athletes who must compete at these high intensity levels must carb load. They have to have as much glycogen in their muscles to fuel their activity (to include replenishing it throughout the activity). When the fuel runs out, you bonk (you get stopped dead in your tracks, maybe pass out from low blood sugar).
It is true that you burn more calories at higher intensities and ultimately a calorie deficit enables you to lose weight. Nevertheless, it is useful to keep in mind that if you are fat and not fit then you cannot exercise at a higher capacity for very long--you risk injury to yourself by overloading your heart and your body's infrastructure.
I have to put myself in this category (though no one would call me fat to look at me). Exercising more moderately will help you build a base from which to condition the body. You will NOT be uncomfortable, and you will be improving your fitness. The key is to exercise for longer periods at these lower intensities more frequently.
As I'm building my base, I want to be in the 2.3-2.5 range for at least the first month--maybe two-- to get in the habit of exercising and to not re-injure my foot. Understand that I'm doing the same types of exercise as I did with a 5 year younger body previously. Accordingly, I'm trying to listen to this older body! So far it is not yelling at me.
I've been surprised by my lack of foot pain. Also, my ankles have not rolled in the past two weeks.
Here's my final chart. I took Macy and Daisey out for a 2.6 mile walk/run. I saw a neighbor on the way. He was diagnosed about 3 years ago with Type 2 diabetes. He took control of his health at the time by losing 60 lbs, stopping smoking and exercising. I asked him about how he was doing. Well....he's not doing so much. We commiserated. I evangelized a bit, and I told him that by managing his diabetes, he would help keep his penis healthy. His ears perked up. He was surprised to learn that diabetes contributes to erectile dysfunction. If you'd like, you can read about it here.
As I was going through my cool-down, I encountered two dogs, Toby and RJ....both are un-neutered males and were intent on sniffing my two girls (who are spayed). This could not happen as a dog fight would ensue. I had a nightmarish vision of leashes tangled around limbs (Daisey already had Macy's tangled around her leg) and then great skin burns and bone snaps from them tightening. When we have these dog threats, both M and D start snapping at each other.
You can see the spike in my heart rate. I was already tired, and I was putting a load on my heart by tugging my two girls and commanding "This way". They dutifully followed with the boys wistfully following behind.