Mad, Beautiful Ideas
Fitness Update

With my recent vacation, I missed a full three weeks at the Gym, the third of those weeks lacking the excuse of being halfway across the country. Regarding body shape, I know that I put on some additional girth, as one would generally expect during vacation, and I assume that I must have lost a bit of muscle as well, since my weight didn't seem to have changed much since I'd left. Where I really noticed the problem was how badly my endurance crashed while I was out of town. On Wednesday of last week, I swam laps for twenty minutes, and as I exited the pool, I got a pretty nasty head rush. I knew my heart had been beating harder than had been normal for the workout I'd done, but it still surprised me how hard it hit me.

Knowing that I needed to take things easier, to rebuild my stamina, I've adjusted my workouts accordingly. I hope to be back up to a reasonable level within a month, but we'll see.

In addition, this week was the first opportunity I'd had to take advantage of the free body composition testing that the Student Rec Center periodically offers. As I said, this was my first opportunity, so I was establishing my baseline for their particular test a lot later than I really wanted to. However, at least I have a baseline figure.

Now, the test as administered by the UREC Personal Training Staff is a trivially simple one. It was a skinfold test, but one that only required measurements from 3 locations. The Chest (pectoral region, near the shoulder), Abdominal (about belly button height, on about the same line as the chest), and thigh. Each measurement was taken twice, and then summed together and a chart was consulted.

As I said, this isn't exactly an accurate test. According to the chart, I have about 30.2% body fat, which, according to a 2002 reference, is about 8% more body fat than is appropriate for a man my age. Now, I kind of doubt some of this test, since based on the surgery footage of a great uncle (who's body shape I share) getting heart surgery, my barrel shape may not be indicative of large amounts of fat. But as long as the test is administered similarly in the future, it still serves as a metric that can be tracked.

I will however, grant that this test is a hell of a lot more interesting than the Body Mass Index (BMI), which considers me morbidly obese. Thing is, with my body type, even if I were to get down to 8% body fat (the lowest 'healthy' body fat, per the chart I have), my BMI would still put me in the at least Obese Class I, but probably Class II. And yet people try to use that bullshit test as a measurement of health.

I would be interested in having a Bioelectrical Impedance test, since that at least sounds like a more scientific test. But, at this time, I think I've still made quite a bit of progress, I know that I'm generally happy with the results. Now, I really ought to finish my data import analysis of the Star Trac data that I can get out of the cardio machines at the gym, so that I can more easily track progress (I don't like the website I have available to me).