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08:34 am: Physical fitness

Woke up crusty this morning. I’ve had what we used to describe as the “creeping crud” for about a week now. Started out as a runny nose, then moved to an itchy throat, and now it’s become a nice productive cough. All of these have been relatively mild – but it’s annoying as hell. In addition, we’re now at a point where I fear H1N1 (hamthrax) when I stub my toe … so there’s that.

Really looking forward to the judo tournament tomorrow. I’m hoping that the crustiness doesn’t affect the competition. If I feel contagious, I’ll pull myself out of the tournament. Infecting a bunch of international athletes just feels rude.

I went ahead and did the experiment of going into full “training” mode like a real athlete … and it’s been instructive.

First off: I think that athletes work really hard. My “full on training” mode consisted of:

* Exercising at least a little bit every single day, and working out seriously at least every other day
* No alcohol whatsoever
* Getting to bed by 11

I already eat pretty healthy, but I made an effort to avoid the mid-afternoon ice cream sundae.

The result was startling. I was already feeling fit and healthy, walking around at between 173 and 176 pounds (I fluctuate by three pounds – even weighing myself at the same time under the same conditions every day). This morning I weighed myself at 167. That’s at least four pounds of flab that just melted away under fairly mild training conditions. I can’t imagine what would happen if I took these changes to heart.

There are two reasons this might matter:

* For my general health, I don’t think it matters at all. By any measure (BMI, activity level, …) I was already in awesome shape. I’m moving around within a band of “healthy weight for me.” Also, to reassure people who might jump me for caring about BMI – I’m the body type for which they created BMI. When I weigh 172, I’m able to participate in the activities that I want to do – I don’t get tired easily, and I’m happy with how I look. Let’s be clear: I don’t give a damn about *your* BMI – but I’m happy with mine.

* The other reason it might matter is that judo tournaments are broken up into weight classes. If I pass certain thresholds, I have to fight either much smaller or much larger guys. Those boundaries are 162lbs and 178lbs. So I’m in no danger whatsoever of breaking either of those limits. I bet that if I was willing to really work at it, I could get down to 162 – but there’s no point. I would rather feel strong where I am. I’m also going to weigh in with my pants on. I may not even put down my gym bag.

I don’t feel particularly better. I find that I wake up easier – having gone to bed earlier. I find that my endurance at the gym is quite good – but I’ve always been able to keep up, mostly. I hate dedicated cardio workouts with a passion – so I have very little data on whether this has affected endurance at all. My body may recover from little bruises and sprains more rapidly if I don’t pour beer on it … but I don’t have the data to tell. The small-annoying-injury rate has increased in line with the frequency of workouts … so it’s hard to tell whether I’m healing faster or not.

Originally published at chris.dwan.org. You can comment here or there.

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