Monday, January 1, 2024

Training Day 1

A slow and steady start to my training for two races this year!

Happy New Year - Day 1 training

Check back often as I explore fitness and lifestyle topics along my journey!

For my first day of training, I set up two FREE apps to help track my progress.

The first free app is MyFitnessPal, where I can track my food diary, exercise and weight progress:

I use the phone app as well as the online version (anyone can use one or the other, or both like I do).

I needed to first determine my calorie goals to enter this information into the tracker. In order to do that, I calculated my Basal Metabolic Rate (based on weight, height, and age), with an additional input for my daily activity or exercise. This is known as the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (or TDEE), which is a more helpful tool than the BMR alone:

Generally, weight loss requires a calorie deficit (whether from eating less or exercising more, or both), and ~20% deficit from the TDEE is optimal for weight loss. Reducing your calories by more than 20% may lead to muscle loss. Healthy weight loss is ~1-2 lbs / wk, and it's common to have regression or plateaus once in a while. That will be the topic of another blog post in the near future!

As for the macronutrient (fat, protein, carb) targets, MyFitnessPal has default settings, but users can customize the % for each macro depending on whichever diet they are following (e.g., a Mediterranean diet has different fat, protein and carb ratios than, say, a keto diet). Remember that the best diet is the one you'll stick to!

As an example, the Mediterranean diet is typically 50% complex carbohydrates including grains and non-starchy veggies, about 15-20% protein, and 30-35% fat. This is what I set mine up with since veggies count as complex carbs, keeping in mind that much of these carbs are not digestible! However, this is very different than eating refined, simple or "bad" carbs like flour tortillas, white rice, sweets, pasta, chips, white bread and many breakfast cereals. Bad carbs should be avoided!

The second free app is MapMyFitness by Under Armour (BTW, there is no difference between MapMyRun, MapMyRide, MapMyWalk and MapMyFitness): I like to log my workouts using one of the MapMy apps since it has more options to track routes, share my progress, and engage with the fitness community. It seamlessly syncs with MyFitnessPal, and there are other devices that readily connect to this app, such as Garmin and heart rate monitors.

If using an additional app to track exercise is too overwhelming, a simple option is to use the smart phone's included step tracker to estimate daily steps. I shoot for 5,000-6,000 steps at first, and work towards 10,000+ steps daily. If at the end of the day, I still need to meet my daily step goals, then I just walk around my house until I hit my target!

As an aside, I don't have any affiliation or financial benefit by mentioning these apps or calculators. There are many different ones out there, and everyone has their own preference based on convenience, functionality, and cost. I'm merely describing what I'm doing to share my experience if it can help someone else. And always consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning any exercise program. Of course, if you're my patient reading this blog post, then reach out to me to customize your fitness goals!

"The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in our power."


DISCLAIMER: This general information is for educational purposes and not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.