Why do I go to the gym? Why do I run on the countryside? Why do I lust after an expensive fitness bicycle, which I could use to travel to and from work, when a perfectly fine buss line connects my home and office perfectly well?
I haven’t ever been a professional athlete nor a really seriously into any specific sport – and my habits of going on and off in terms of physical exercise has meant that in time, I have gained some what excessive energy stored in different forms around my figure. That is the more polite way of saying that there is some fat to be trimmed away.
As a person fond of all things good it is sometimes hard for me to constrain my apetite for good things. Even though I’ve been running long runs – my sixpack hasn’t popped out in my abdominal area, as at the same time I’ve been good friends with Ben & Jerry icecreams and good sparkling wines. Hence if I want to achieve any goals besides just feeling good, I do need to manage multiple aspects of my life towards the same goal: being fit and also looking fit.
Doing things without any proper tools is always hard, and personally I do know how hard it is to estimate anything without trained senses. For me it is next to impossible estimate what is the proper amount of exercise and food in each day – or whether my diet is constructed properly to align my nutritional needs towards the goal. I didn’t decide to go on any specific diet, but rather make things more visible and measurable by applying scientific thinking and engineering mindset. I started to write down all the eatings into kalorilaskuri.fi – webservice – which is essentially an online nutrition diary – already preloaded with nutritional values of numerous different groceries and foods sold in Finland. Similarly I started to put more effort into tracking my exercises – and put more focus on making those two meet.
For tracking exercises I use my trusted old Suunto T6 heartrate monitor and excellent Firstbeat Athlete-program from Firstbeat technologies. Though I do get basic information for free from Suunto’s Movescount-webservice, Firstbeat Athlete gives incredible amounts of more information and also includes simple training coach algorithm, which suggests proper level and length for your next training sessions to maximize your training. For social impact I use heiaheia.com which is a great community tool to publish your training and a way to cheer your friends for better performance. It helps me to keep focused, when I see my friends doing longer runs, spending more time training and trying different kinds of sports.
As I have now tracked both my calories intake as well as consumption, the big thing I have had to recognize has been that there is no way of being able to run and spend time at the gym to counter bad eating habits and large amounts of non healthy foods or treats. I had been sabotaging my own goals by being too soft and slack in terms of my own diet. Small daily treats quickly became excessive amounts of energy, which my sporting habits did not consume off. Therefore we’ve been now trying to make our diet a little bit lighter and I’ve also put more focus into constraining my bad eating habits – as well as random visits to McDonald’s – if I forgot to eat properly during the day.
All this is not rocket science – and Satu has been telling me year after year that I should put more focus into my eating – but not until I actually started to follow up on my eating habits and used ingredients, started I truly see and understand the difference even small changes could make.
As I have never been obese, truly fat or had any dislike towards physical exercise, all this comes quite easily now – as it is just about making small adjustments and getting a proper feedback loops in place to learn about my actions and their effect in systematic way. I could have done it earlier and without any online / hitech tools, but it is much more fun and much easier this way.