A friend of mine and I have been doing a "daily chicken challenge" (daily check-in), in an effort to keep ourselves on track with losing an inch or two here or there. We are both dancers and we both are highly motivated to look decent in relatively skimpy costumes. Hence, the chicken.
This has been great, because even though Mr. P is a fitness professional, he is not a great fitness partner for me. A great DANCE partner, yes. Fitness partner, not so much.
My job involves sitting at a desk; his involves driving from client to client all day long and, with each client, doing specific and more or less draining physical work. Mr. P is not the trainer who stands in a corner and watches someone do a circuit. So, long story short, at the end of the day he's done. He'll practice a dance routine, but that's it.
Whereas I, after 8 hours in a desk chair, have a pretty high energy level in the evening as long as I eat at the correct intervals.
So I've had to come up with ways to increase my activity level without impinging on our time together, on our time to practice, or on the time I need to do the various household and personal projects that await me on a daily basis.
I've found that I can fit quite a bit into my office day - doing incline push-ups, for example, off the counter in the break room while my oatmeal is in the microwave. I've increased from a set of ten to three sets of ten.
I did accomplish my goal for the first six-week challenge, but I will need to adapt some of the practices I've established in order to accomplish my next six-week goal. One thing I've learned is that trying to stick to a 20- or 30-minute daily walk is not going to fly.
Why? Walking is the easiest thing in the world!
Well ... that's kind of the problem. My fitness level is already such that a 20- to 30-minute walk doesn't burn enough calories to be worth the time. In terms of burning calories (which is necessary to lose body fat, which is part of what I'm doing), I am much better off doing 10 to 15 minutes with my weights and calisthenics.
A short walk like that - an urban walk, on level surfaces - also doesn't increase my fitness level. My body is really efficient at walking. A walk is not a challenge. If taking a turn around the block got my heart rate up then it would be worth doing. I'm better off doing a 10 minute vinyasa.
And on top of that - and this is not trivial, actually - the places I have to walk are just not very appealing. My views are sidewalk, roadway, and cars.
Another adjustment I need to make concerns food. I've been much better about dinners (and wine) over the past six weeks, but my office lunches have been, let's say, not the high-nutrient and lower-calorie options I'm going to need to get used to. This makes me sad. (Or, frankly, annoyed.) Because it means I'm going to have to start packing a lunch a few days a week, and that means more time in the kitchen and less time doing other things.
The difficulty with lifestyle changes - and the reason so few people are able to maintain them - is that it's forever. I can't live on yogurt and bananas for six weeks, get where I want to be, then go back to pizza and beer. Because the day I go back to pizza and beer (this is a metaphor by the way) I am on my way downhill again in terms of fitness, and uphill in terms of measurements.
So the next six-week challenge will have to include a series of experiments to determine the best nutrition balance that I can achieve with the least amount of work. Since I'm going to be stuck with it as my baseline, it has to be at least as satisfying, and EASY, as the food from the lunch counters downstairs.