My Journey to Fitness, Month 1
3 months ago today, August 11, 2017, two friends and I had our first workout in order to become fit again.
Five years of zero activity, aside from the occasional walk or hike, led our body compositions to become quite unhealthy. I had only gained 12 (twelve) pounds since my last bout of fitness five years ago, but had gotten to 27.9% body fat, with muscle down to 33.2% (as measured by my Omron scale). (See my articles on How to Measure Your Body Composition, and BMI vs Body Composition)
My Visceral fat was at 11, and my Body Age was at 57, 10 higher than my chronological age. Although my arms and shoulders were skinny, my belly stuck out like I was 8 months pregnant. The picture to the left does not represent well how much my belly stuck out, as I took no pictures for the first month due to embarrassment. This photo is about 6 weeks in, and much reduction of the stomach size.
And yet, none of these things alone motivated me to get back in to shape. Nope, it was my genetic collagen condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility type. It makes my connective tissue too stretchy and too brittle, making me very prone to injury. What's worse, the ligaments are too weak to keep my joints together. (See my article on Exercise and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome - coming soon)
A couple of years ago, a rheumatologist told me that as I age, my ligaments will get worse at holding my joints together, and I would need to improve all of the muscles around my joints so that they can keep my joints together. Earlier this year, my shoulders and elbows started aching more than normal, and nothing was making them better.
I decide that I need to build the muscle mass now, before it's too late, so began working out with my two friends at my house. We converted my living room temporarily, every day, into a gym for the three of us, 6 days a week.
Month 1 Of Becoming Fit
We used some equipment I already had: balance boards, ankle stretchers, resistance bands, free weights, yoga mat, jump rope, and other equipment to ... kind of ... remind our bodies what exercise is.
House vs. Gym
Working out in the house compared to the gym is nice, because you don't have to:
Dress a certain way
Worry about other people judging you while you're working out your way
Spend time waiting for a machine
Feel bad when someone else is waiting for a machine that you are using
Drive to the gym, and then back
Shower in a shared environment or drive home sweaty
Pay for the gym membership
All of the other inconveniences that come along with making the trek to the gym; feel free to suggest more, if you got them!
Luckily, they live about two blocks away from my house, and can walk over in just a few minutes, even carrying yoga mats and water bottles.
Compared to the previous five years, which involved no more exercise than extremely occasional walks or hikes, or throwing darts (how's that for a competitive sport?), this was a lot of extra exercise.
We'd sometimes be sore the next day, but only in a couple of muscles. Improvement was slow to build momentum on, but it had been years since being active, and our bodies were not used to this. I'm glad that it's good we didn't jump in to something too intense right away!
I reduced the amount of liquor and beer I drank, and reduced the amount of times per week that I went out for fast food. This is to say, I still ate a lot of fast food and drank a lot of beer, just less.
I still drank soda with fast food, although I was getting smaller sizes.
Body Composition Changes
Between 8/11/17 and 9/12/17, my stats changed like this:
Weight: 187.6 to 189.4 (up 1.8)
Fat%: 27.9 to 25.3 (down 2.6)
Muscle%: 33.2 to 34.8 (up 1.6)
Body Age: Stays at 57
Visceral Fat: Stays at 11
I'm ecstatic with the Fat% and Muscle% changes, completely indifferent to the weight change, and slightly disappointed in the Body Age and Visceral Fat changes, or lack thereof.
Next Months of Becoming Fit
To see my articles on the next months of my journey to fitness, see: