Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012: Q1: By the numbers

     Truth is...I like statistics and working with numbers. I probably should have been an accountant or something, but I'm ok where I'm at career wise. One area of my life I can always look to to satisfy my numerical insanity is in the area of fitness. I did 2 By The Numbers posts back in December, vitals and mileage,  and I had thought to make it an annual post. As time has passed though I can definitely see a relevance for a combined quarterly By The Numbers post. Dailymile, where I log my activities, has weekly charts that become inaccessible after a time and I'm going to want to review them when I create future training plans, so a quarterly post will help with that. Also, I believe throwing all this out there in my blog might benefit some people who want to lead healthier lives. My specific numbers probably won't help anyone, but seeing how much attention I give to monitoring such things and what I use to monitor my stats could conceivably be a source of inspiration.

     Here we go...Weight...Looks like I've gained about 2 lbs on average from a year ago. I had gained about 5 lbs from my summer low, but when my routine shifted in February from focusing on strength training to focusing on half marathon training, I started losing a little bit gradually over time. I know I eat a wide variety of foods (like all omnivores should), but I may have been excessive with the ice cream during this period. I also know that I have maintained most of my peak lifting stats, but my bench press has suffered a slight drop in performance. The big question is...Has my weight fluctuation been fat loss/gain or muscle loss/gain?
Body Fat %

     Going by my Body Fat Percentage chart, it looks safe to say that since my weight lifting stats have maintained at peak or near peak levels and my body fat percentage has dropped steady since marathon training started, then my big whuppin 2 lb of weight gain must be raw muscle! Yay! Go me!
Blood Pressure
      Being at an acceptable level of strength is great, but my primary motivation is just to maintain a good general level of health. Blood Pressure stats look ok. No meds by the way. I just eat the USDA recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise.
     BMI chart is essentially useless to me since it doesn't differentiate muscle from fat. If a person is non athletic or doesn't hardly ever lift weights, then BMI may be more pertinent.
      As for activity, my run mileage is progressing nicely, but I may be over due for a recovery week. It will have to wait till after the Blue Ridge Half Marathon though. In the mean time I simulate recovery weeks by cycling less and running trails as needed.
     As this cycling chart shows, my cycling has decreased by about 40% as my running has doubled over the course of my half marathon training. Weeks 10 and 13 reflect sharp cycling decreases as a method for keeping my legs fresh for the trail races I do as warm up events heading into the half marathon.
     I had no intention of keeping up with last years 2 mile per week swimming average. Most of those 2's are rounded up 1.6's. Still, over just the last 3 weeks my swim mileage has dropped to a steady 1 mile per week reflecting the amount of time I've dedicated to my increased running mileage.
     Add it all together and add in any fitness related walking, hiking and elliptical miles and this combined chart is what you get.

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