Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Healthy Living" - Personal Introduction

Disclaimer: This is a pretty boring post. I think it's important from the standpoint of fully introducing the concept, so I wrote it, but it's mostly about my health history. The next one will be much more interesting, I promise.

I think the next logical post after describing what I'm trying to do with this "Healthy Living" series should be about my "health" past and present - where I am today. I'll follow that up with a post about the core tenants I'm going to try to adhere to in designing the lifestyle changes and finish introducing the concept with the first pass at a specific plan of guidelines I'll be following.

So, most of you know me, but I'm a 6 foot Indian kid, usually weighing slightly less than 165 lbs. As a rule, Indian men tend to store body fat in the waist, build smaller but denser muscles, and generally be of slighter build. I certainly conform to this body type. I tried to maintain a heavier weight during high school (for football purposes) and hovered in the 180-190 lb. area, but even then I didn't gain much actual size (another characteristic of my body type).

Since then, I've realized 165 lbs. or slightly below is a good equilibrium weight for me - it tends to stay in that region almost irrespective of my health habits (which can vary a fair amount but not drastically so). I think that it means it's a good weight for me. Has anyone else found they have a natural "equilibrium weight" by the way?

That all may sound a bit off topic, but I think it's important to note that body types vary widely, and it's something one should keep in mind when designing a workout plan. Looking at my family and maybe Indian people in general, we tend to have skinny joints, which can often mean knee and hip problems down the road. That means I probably want to do things that limit strain on my joints - keeping my weight down and avoiding high impact exercises, for example. (That's far from a scientific analysis and I have no idea if Indian people as a whole are more likely to have joint problems. I'm mostly writing from personal experience - please disagree if you so desire.)

Speaking of which, I should probably describe my past/present habits. I have weekly goals of hitting the gym 5 times a week, which I do probably 85-90% of the time. Workouts usually consist of one pure cardio (20-30 minute run), then 3-4 days of short cardio (5-10 minutes to get the heart pumping) and lifting (major muscle groups being legs, back/biceps, chest/triceps, and shoulders - sometimes I'll combine legs and shoulders), and then maybe a day of yoga (which I'm not very good about fitting in).

Past that, my second goal is meditating 5 times a week for 30 minutes, which I actually get to 65-80% of the time. Right now, the meditation is all of the zazen variety (good explanation here), but I'd like to branch out and this will probably be another thing I change going forward.

Finally, my eating habits are good, but not great. I haven't done a very good job documenting them, but I'll try to summarize as accurately as possible. I'm really good about breakfast - eggs, toast, fruit, maybe some cereal. Past that, I do some cooking, though not often beyond the pasta and friend rice realm. That said, I do a pretty good job getting fruits and veggies, but not a very good one by any means. I stick to whole wheat bread and brown rice almost exclusively and haven't had fast food for ages. I try to go vegetarian every other day - it doesn't always work out that way, but I'm pretty happy with my meat intake. That said, I eat out probably 3-5 times per week, at least 1 (and sometimes 2) of which are Dominos. It's not good for you by any means, but $6 for what amounts to 2 meals (medium two topping pizza) is hard to pass up on a start up budget. For what it's worth, I typically tell them to go light on the cheese. :)

Anyway, I think that's about everything. Stay tuned.


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