Recently I have been intrigued by exercise early in the morning before most Tokyoites are out and about. I was getting too caught up in being too busy with work and realized that although our mission at LFBX Gym is to help people achieve the highest level of mindset, health, fitness, and lifestyle that they desire, I was not keeping my fitness on point. So I thought of ways to remedy this.
The Second Step – The Walk
I found that walking with my wife, for about 20-30 minutes was a perfect approach. Here’s why:
When I walk with my honey it is at a pace that we are able to hold a normal conversation. We talk about life and there is no computer screen, cell phone, book, food or whatever in front of us. Just the road, sidewalk, a few people and cars here and there. It’s a great way to communicate. It’s also a great opportunity to hold hands.
It gets us out in the morning sun or rain communing with as much nature as possible, which has been proven to set our daily circadian rhythm for deeper sleep in the evenings. See this short article, by Dr. Chatterjee 4 Simple Tips to Help You Sleep for a few tips on better sleep.
It’s a perfect time to get some solid exercise on an empty stomach, in a fasted state. For more on the benefit of fasted exercise, see Micheal Matthew’s post.
Walking is an exercise that is kind to the joints, gives excellent cardio benefits and is just so easy.
The Third Step – Making it a Daily Habit
We found this to be a very enjoyable habit that brings energy to the rest of the day. Some people view exercise as something that requires time that they feel they need to spend on other things; however, I see intelligent exercise, such as walking, as an investment that pays dividends by increasing focus, decreasing emotional and mental stress and adding a sense of accomplishment that you are taking your health into your own hands.
The Fourth Step – Tracking Your Progress For Fun
The recent trend in health is Health Tracking. I can see how it can get out of hand, as I generally err on the side of minimalism, but I do find it fun to quantify my efforts and gamify fitness a bit. Here’s a previous post on my 4 Unique Ways to Track Health. If you have an iPhone, and you want to track your steps, you can use a simple app called Health. You can see the specifics of how to track your steps in Tip 6 in the Health link above. I have found that when I walk at a solid pace, I get approximately 1,000 steps per 10 minutes, so in order to walk 10,000 steps, it would take about 100 minutes (an hour and 40 minutes) for me to log in that many steps per day. I’m sure that I could ‘step it up’ a bit, to make it an even 90 minutes. There are days that I do this but I definitely don’t make it a “must-do” every day. This could easily be done with a 3 x 30-minute walk approach throughout the day: 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes before or after dinner.
The Fifth Step – Start with 10 Minutes Out and 10 Minutes Back
My suggestion to my clients who don’t deliberately practice walking each morning, is to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual, have water, tea or coffee without any calories in it, set their timer on their phone for 10 minutes and walk in one direction. When the timer goes off, they come back home and they are done. I suggest that they listen to a favorite Audible book, podcast or songs that make them feel good. If they want to be more natural, of course, they can just walk and enjoy the sounds of nature and the world around them. Mantras are also good during walking as the walking sets up a very nice rhythm through tempo and the sounds of footsteps. These mantras don’t need to be esoteric or based on spiritualism or religion, they can be as simple and fun as “I love to exercise.” Or “I am magnificent.” Being creative with these is a lot of fun in itself.
Walking to Shinjuku from Sugamo
The Last Step – Enjoy Ramblin’!
If you are looking to feel better, sleep deeper and just know, intuitively, that moving a bit more is healthy, please implement walking into your day. 10,000 steps is a very nice goal, and I believe that even 20-30 minutes first thing in the morning will make a beneficial and noticeable difference in your life once it becomes a habit.
With modern technology comes multitudes of new ways to make life more enjoyable. I am grateful for my ability to purchase and use what is being offered these days to improve my family’s QOL.
I like to give things a go and see how they either serve or distract from my life. The things that serve the highest good are keepers. The things that distract are given away or deleted.
Fitness Tracking Technology – Runkeeper
Recently, I realize that I have been getting too attached to apps and devices that may be superfluous. I have apps, such as Runkeeper to track fitness in terms of kilometers covered on runs, which show me my pace per kilometer, the exact route I covered, the elevation of my run and the number of calories I burned.
Nutrition Tracking Technology – Chronometer
I have apps, such as Chronometer that track nutrition by plugging in what I eat, so that I know if my macronutrients also know as “macros”(protein, carbs, and fats) are in line with my goals and to know of any nutrient deficiencies that I may need to fulfill. I was doing this specifically during a strict Keto Diet where I needed to keep my daily carbs below 50 grams.
Health Tracking Technology – Apple Watch
In addition to my iPhone, I have a beautiful Apple Watch that was given to me as a gift, that also tracks when I sit too long and reminds me to stand up.
It tracks my resting heart rate and lets me know when I should breathe.
It gamifies my life so that I am more fit by setting exercise goals, standing goals and movement goals each day. It’s a neat way to remind me of healthy habits that I may be missing along the way each day and to see, at the end of the day what I actually achieved.
Heart Rate Tracking Technology – Polar
I have a Polar FT7 Heart Rate monitor device that tracks my heart rate to make sure I am exactly in fat-burning mode or fitness-mode and also shows how many calories I burned. I use it when I go for a run and when I do my weekly sprint. It’s a nice tool that I use to make sure I don’t run too hard on my runs and for trying to push my heart to 100% max effort when I do my weekly sprints.
Apple Watch Vs. Polar for Tracking Heart Rate While Running & Sprinting
The Apple Watch is great, but the Polar with the chest strap is more accurate and quick, so I always use this when running and sprinting. If you want to measure your heart rate more accurately while training aggressively, I highly recommend a chest-strap device. If you just want to track walking and lighter exercise, the apple watch or other watch-type devices are more convenient and fun to use.
The Frequency that I Use These Devices
I use Runkeeper only once in a while now, as I have replaced running with more strength-based training.
Presently I am using Chronometer every day. I only eat twice a day, so I don’t spend too much time on it and mainly I use it as a guide for me not to overeat, as that has been my MO my entire life. It allows me to see the general calories I eat each day and how that affects my waistline. I also like getting clear on how much I might need in a day to get a certain micronutrient fulfilled. A good example of this would be to see how much potassium is in 400g of 75% lean ground beef, because when I think of potassium, I think of bananas, kiwis or avocados, not meat. It educates me this way. I enjoy looking at different foods that supply amazing amounts of nutrition. For example, I didn’t realize that 322g of Chicken livers delivered more vitamin C than two medium lemons. Things like this make me smile.
I use my Apple Watch a couple of times a week as a watch because it looks cool and it’s fun to see what I am doing in regard to movement because half of my day is working with clients and half of my day is working at my desk. Since it’s always attached to me, it is more accurate at tracking these small things than my iPhone, as I usually keep my iPhone off my body:-)
As I mentioned above, I use my Polar heart rate monitor for running and occasionally when I do my weekly Deadlifts, or Strength Endurance Training (67-71% of max) where the rest is short, as a tool to look at how my body is recovering after each round.
I have to wonder if that blinking light in the center of Ultraman’s chest was his heart rate monitor, letting him know, “Your Set is Over, Bro! Head Home to Recover!”
We get a very quick and accurate heart-rate reading. This allows me to get his max heart rate immediately at the end of each set.
Since this type of very intense training isn’t based on a set rest time, as in 90 seconds of rest between sets, but rather based on his heart rate returning to 60% of his max heart rate, (i.e. 125 beats per minute), it is vital to know this data immediately, so we can start the next set.
I highly recommend this type of training for my clients and people who have been training consistently for at least 3-months. The goal is to use all of the muscles of the body and increase the heart-rate between 85-95% of your max heart-rate. It’s hard!
Luxury at It’s Best
We are living in very cush times here in the first world. I think about all of the nifty gadgets that I have that make my life fun and that I can use to quantify my health, fitness, and nutrition. I appreciate all of these things. They help educate me so that I can help others. On the flip side, I know the addictive side of myself that wants to quantify too much. That part that gets distracted in the details of quantifying too much needs to chill a bit, so I can keep my learning, growth and development fun.
Thank you for reading. Share or comment if you feel it!
If you are serious about losing fat, here are two ways of tracking fat-loss that you can help increase your awareness of what you eat and how it affects your body fat.
Tracking Fat-Loss Weapon One – The Scale
The first way is done every morning and it takes 2 minutes to accomplish.
Here are the steps:
Every morning, first thing before drinking any liquid or eating any food, go to the toilet and relieve yourself (pee and/or poop).
Then measure your weight on a reliable scale. I do this nude so I don’t have to think about the weight of my clothes. If you do it in clothes, make sure that it’s always the same thing – i.e. only underwear. Here is my recommendation for a scale if you don’t have one already.
Record your morning weight daily in a log that you can access daily – either with pen or paper, on your pc in a word or excel document, or with an app.
Notice trends in your weight gain and weight loss and make adjustments accordingly. i.e. if you gained weight, think about what might have caused it. Vice versa, if you lost weight, think of what you did to create that.
By tracking your body weight daily, you will develop a higher awareness of what works and doesn’t work for you in terms of fat loss.
How I Have Used This System for Tacking Fat-Loss for a Physique Contest
I’ll share some personal examples of how I used this simple tracking system and the results of them.
The first one was a prep for a physique contest called Best Body Japan. I was working with an online diet coach at the time in prep for this contest, so we used an excel document as communication of my fat loss. Here it is:
You can see that I went from 81.9kg on April 13th to 78.6kg on May 18th, so within 5 weeks, I was able to lose approximately 3.3kg of fat.Of course, I was training and my diet was ultra-strict, counting all macronutrients (Protein, carbs, fat) each day. I referred to this style of dieting here in my blog about “24-hour Fasting for Fat Loss” and only recommend it if you are entering a physique contest or have a photoshoot where you need to be extremely lean and muscular.
How I Have Used This System in Hopes of Healing My Body
The second one was more recent when I did a 90-day raw food diet to see if I could heal a kidney issue. Short term, I believe that a fruit-only diet or a raw food only diet can be beneficial. My wife, Hitomi, thrives on about 60-70% raw fruit every day. I don’t:-) You can see how fast fat loss can happen on an all-raw diet in the timeline below. This was in 2019 the first number, 4/11 is April 11th, the second row is my weight and the third row are comments on my experience each day.
You can see that I went from 77.6kg on April 11th to 71.4kg on May 7th, which is a drop in body weight of 6.2kg in less than 4 weeks.I dropped down to my lowest body weight of 65.5kg by the 87th day of this diet.
Fat-Loss without Muscle-Loss
Different from the macro-focused diet I did for the physique contest, there was both significant muscle and fat loss on the raw-food diet, so that is something you need to be aware of with an all raw food diet, as protein gets ultra-low. I’ll dig deeper into the intricacies of these two types of diets in a future blog, as they are deep subjects on their own. For now, here are photos of the results of each diet in terms of fat-loss and muscle loss.
I believe from these photos, you can see how important protein is in terms of maintaining muscle (lean body mass) while losing body fat. In the photo on the left, I was 77kg (169lbs) at about 8% body fat, so my lean body mass was about 71.8kg (158 lbs). In the photo on the right, I was 67kg (147lbs) at about 8% body fat, so my lean body mass was about 61.6kg (136lbs). That’s about 10kg (22lbs) of muscle difference! YIKES!
Tracking Fat-Loss Weapon 2 – The Tape Measure
Some of my clients who are seriously focused on fat-loss report their weight measurements to me once per week using the system above. This gives honest feedback to keep them on track with their goals. One thing that I like to do in addition to this is to take a waist measurement once a week. Why do I like to do that? Especially when I have new clients that are strength training with me, I know that they are going to increase their lean body mass (basically your body weight minus body fat). In other words, they are going to gain muscle, so if they don’t lose significant body fat in proportion to the muscle they gain, with just the scale reading, it may look like they haven’t lost any fat at all. Before and after photos help resolve this, as they can SEE their results. Their undeniable strength gains in the gym also support the fact that they are gaining strength, which means they are gaining muscle (lean body mass). As additional tracking support, I like to use a simple measuring tape, something as inexpensive and simple as this one, to measure my client’s waist.
How to Measure the Waist When Tracking for Fat-Loss
I have found that for about every 1cm (0.4 inches) lost on the waist, there is a fat-loss of about 1kg (2.2lbs). We all have different places that fat likes to stay on the body, but I have found that the waist is a great indicator of actual fat-loss.
To keep it simple, measure across your belly button in a straight line as in the image below and log your results in the same place as you log your daily weight measurements.
As you can see, a simple 2 minutes of your morning, every day, can make a significant difference in your body composition. Of course, you have to make adjustments with your eating and exercise to reach your goal, but this will definitely help if you stay true to it.
If you feel that this could help others, please share it. And comments are always welcome.