Category: Exercise

My Assessment Results: In case you missed the last post (or forgot!) I’ll remind you of how my body composition and fitness assessments turned out.

Resting pulse Elevated
Resting BP Elevated
Weight + 7 lbs from my normal
Body Mass Index Normal
Waist-to-hip Ratio Low risk
Body fat % Average
Cardiovascular fitness Fair
Muscular endurance (push-up) Very Good
Muscular endurance (curl-up) Excellent
Flexibility Good

My body composition overall is pretty good, with the exception that I happen to be up 7 lbs from what is normal for me, and I happen to know that it is not muscle gain.

My muscular endurance and flexibility have hung in there pretty well, but my cardiovascular system is asking for help!

My elevated resting heart rate and blood pressure are showing that my body is having to work harder to move blood throughout my body by beating faster and generating more pressure than it should have to. Definitely an area I want to improve!

 



 

My Story: I’m suffering from desk job-itis!! I have worked at a desk job for the last 2 1/2 years and it has definitely taken its toll! For most of the last 2 years I have made it a point to go for a 30-minute walk at lunch at least 3-4 days per week, but it clearly wasn’t cutting it for keeping my cardio up to snuff. I’ve tossed in yoga and weight lifting along the way, which makes sense in my results, as my muscular endurance and flexibility are still okay.

The last 2 months or so have been particularly bad for my inactivity, because I was still working full-time at my clinic and spending out-of-work hours preparing to open my practice. I made the choice to temporarily prioritize that over my fitness and now that I’m no longer working full-time I’m ready to turn that around.

 



IMG_1127

My other concerns: As part of my desk job-itis, I have developed some postural issues from muscle imbalances. It’s hard to “stand naturally” when posing for a picture of your posture but I tried here.

See how my neck and shoulders tend to roll forward a lot, rounding my upper back? My chest muscles are tight and my upper back muscles are weak from all of my hunching over a computer screen (and phone and books).

The other notable issue with my posture is that, because of the weaknesses in my back, I tend to let my lower back arch forward. The midline of my hips should be further back, nearer to my spine so that my spine is a bit more neutral to protect my back.

On top of this, my hip flexors (the muscles in the front of my hips) are tight from all my sitting and lack of moving, so they are causing my pelvis to tip forward and down. They need some stretching.

These are all things I would like to make goals to address!

 



 

My end game: I often ask clients to describe their “end game” – what are you going for? Describe what life looks like when you’ve met all your health goals. How do you feel? What do you do?

For me, I want to be strong and healthy. Strong enough to push and pull my own body weight and then some. Strong enough to surprise other people, but mostly surprise myself. Capable to protect myself. I want to be healthy in that my lifestyle supports my body in what it needs to function well – nutrition, sleep, movement, and flexibility. I want to be healthy to do my part to prevent risk factors or chronic conditions. I want to be healthy enough to “go out and do.” By that, I mean that no matter what opportunity I’m given, I’m able to take advantage of it and am not held back because of my lack of health, lack of strength, or lack of endurance.

 



 

My Goals

Using the information above, I have created the following goals:

  1. Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight
  2. Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges
  3. Increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”
  4. Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles.

In part 2, I’ll show you how I turn these long-term goals into a plan!

 



 

 

Exercise Goal Setting

Alright, folks…a couple of days ago I ran my husband and myself through my Body Composition and Fitness Assessments to help us create our wellness goals for the new year. We have both put on a few over the Christmas season between less exercise (me) and more treats (him). We both are ready to see where we’re at, get on a plan, and meet some goals! The assessments we did include:

Body Composition

  • Body mass index
  • Bioelectrical impedance analysis for body fat/lean mass
  • Skinfold caliper assessment of body fat (for comparison)
  • Waist & hip circumference
  • Upper arm & forearm circumference
  • Thigh & calf circumference
  • Waist-to-hip ratio

Fitness Assessment

  • Cardiovascular fitness assessment (submaximal step test for estimated VO2max)
  • Muscle endurance assessment (push-ups and curl-ups)
  • Flexibility assessment (sit-and-reach box)

 



 

With his permission, I’m posting the assessments of our results here. We each completed everything, with the exception of the skinfold calipers. I can’t complete that assessment on myself, so I left those out of my assessment. For Charlie’s, I averaged his BIA and his skinfold caliper results. I also included measurements of resting vital signs like pulse and blood pressure. Since he is a firefighter, he was able to take my vital signs. Here’s how we each made out compared to recommendations:

 

Becki

Charlie

Resting pulse Elevated Normal
Resting BP Elevated Normal
Weight +7 lbs from my usual +15 lbs from his usual
Body Mass Index Normal Overweight (note here: husband lifts weights, so his muscle mass drives this number up, but he does also like Christmas cookies…a lot)
Waist-to-hip Ratio Low risk Low risk
Body fat % Average Poor
Cardiovascular fitness Fair Excellent
Muscular endurance (push-up) Very Good Good
Muscular endurance (curl-up) Excellent Excellent
Flexibility Good Good

Check back to see how we take these results and turn them into goals, then turn those goals into a plan!

 



Exercise

dsc_1572Since my new practice, i’mPowered Nutrition & Fitness, is offering a $20 discount on my Goal-Getter package to help you meet your New Year’s goals, my next project is going to be something a little different. Both my husband and I are going to show you what the Goal-Getter package is all about by laying out our own nutrition and fitness goals and documenting our journeys to goal-get them! Alright, alright…enough punning.

Husband and I will start off with the body composition and fitness assessments to test where we are at now, then use those results to create goals. Based on those goals and our individual personalities/lifestyles, I’ll make a nutrition and training plan — i’mPowered-style — and we’ll follow it. You’ll get to watch the journey!

Stay tuned for the results of our “before” assessments!

 



Diets Exercise Goal Setting

Many recommendations have come out in recent years discussing the benefits of avoiding long periods of sitting. For those of us who work at a desk, that can be tough! While working, it can be difficult to 1) remember to get up, 2) realize how much time has passed since you got up, or 3) get up at all, depending on what your job is!

To help with this conundrum – I tracked down two apps designed to promote movement while I was on my carb counting stent (people with diabetes are recommended to get up and move for 3 minutes out of every 30!). Check out my assessment of these apps:


Move – Daily Activity to Stay Healthy
(free from the Apple app store)

This one allows you to customize the frequency with which you want to be reminded to exercise, as well as the time frame in which you want reminders (like 8 am to 5 pm, for example). The app sends you an encouraging and/or Jillian Michaels-like reminder (“Don’t you dare think about skipping this one!” or “Come on, no excuses!”) to get up and move on the schedule you set. The app contains a list of exercise suggestions that you can tailor to your preferences. If you choose to do the exercise it suggests, you click a button that says “I did it!” and it will tack it onto an ongoing list of the exercises you have completed that day, complete with estimated calories burned. If you don’t want reminders on certain days, you can skip them for a day.

  • Pros: Easy to use, customizable exercises/schedule, exercise suggestions, accumulating list of exercises throughout the day is motivating.
  • Cons: Reminders could be a little less cheesy/condescending, several of the exercises would not be discreet in certain office settings (think jumping jacks and side-lying leg lifts – they have an “Office” exercise pack you can purchase that is supposed to remedy this).

Overall: I enjoyed this app – I liked that it gave suggestions for exercises because, even as an exercise physiologist, I do better with direction. Particularly when I’m in the middle of the work day – I don’t have to come up with exercises on my own!

Stand Up! The Work Break Timer (free from the Apple app store)

This app also allows you to customize it with a daily schedule and frequency of reminders. You can skip days as needed. On schedule, the app pops up a reminder that states, “Time to stand up. We want you to live longer!” If you go to the app at that time, you can select between options to skip that particular reminder or to acknowledge that you got up, which the app will track.

  • Pros: Easy to use, customizable schedule, tracks the number of times  and when you get up throughout the day.
  • Cons: Reminder is the same every time, no exercise suggestions.

Overall: It worked. I enjoyed the other app more, but they both will get the job done!

Exercise Wellness Tips

diabetes workout

Hey everyone! The American Diabetes Association just released new recommendations for physical activity for managing blood sugar and I figured I’d share them since I’m carb counting at the moment!

In addition to getting 30 minutes of activity most days of the week, they also recommend spending 3 minutes doing gentle movement for every 30 minutes you spend sitting. This helps send sugar from the blood into the cell and also improves circulation, which can be poor in people with diabetes.

Not sitting too long is a fantastic idea, but for me the biggest challenge is remembering to do it! I have heard about some apps that are designed to help you get up and move more often, so I think I’ll give those a shot this week to try it out. I’ll be testing out Move – Daily Activity to Stay Healthy that gives you specific little activities to do at regular intervals, and Stand Up! The Work Break Timer, which lets you select time intervals anywhere between 5 minutes and 2 hours while at work to remind you to get up and move.

Update: You can find my reviews of these two apps here.

Carb Counting Exercise