Sunday, August 7, 2011


The body's metabolic high-jinks continued this morning as I weighed in at 218.9 this morning. That's after weighing in at 223 yesterday morning. As You know I weighed in at 220.348 on the Bod Pod scale this past Friday.

That's stock market-level volatility.

My body is going through mad mood swings, metabolically speaking. I can feel it, too. I went to the gym early in the evening yesterday, and was on the olympic rowing machine through all Marshall Faulk's (very long) acceptance speech at the Hall of Fame yesterday ; ). When I got home, I was so damn tired I hit the sack in less than one hour. As I woke this morning, I could feel every muscle in my torso. It feels as if every muscle has thickened and grown, and yet my weight is down. Go figure...

Of course, this is as it should be. I rowed for 22 total minutes, @level 10, for 4,500 yards and 268 kcal. I went fast and hard, averaging 49 strokes per minute. I went so hard I actually had to take a break in the middle. The whole time, Marshall was on the HDTV talking... And Chris Hanburger said they were given 6 to 8 minutes each... Jeeze...

Of course, I chide Marshall for the long speech, but you know I loved seeing him go in. Watching the acceptance speech inspired me to row a hell of a lot harder than normal. What would Marshall do? Congrats! I will blog about this soon!

Every instinct in my gut tells me that I am going through a key transition point these days. I am breaking through my latest metabolic floor. For those unfamiliar with set-point theory, I will give you the 101.

The human body contains a program for everything it should do. This program code is called DNA. You DNA codes a few things in a hard and fast way. It codes everything else in a more flexible and adaptable way, to flex and change conforming with environmental conditions.

You metabolism is a bit flexible, and so to is your body fat percentage. Just because it is flexible doesn't necessarily mean that it is easy to flex. Each body has preferred set-points for calorie burn, muscle levels, body fat percentage, activity level, etc. You can reprogram your set point, up to a point, but it is very, very, very difficult. The system will try to snap back to it's genetic preferences. Your genes will fight you as you go against them.

Contained in that tiny passage is every philosophical justification you will ever need for something as drastic as roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery. In order to defeat genetic programming, surgeons make drastic alterations in the metabolic pipeline. These are permanent alterations your body can do nothing about. Genetic set-points are forced to flex in conformance with a new physical and metabolic reality.

Your arrival at a new, lower, set point is just about guaranteed. 98% of all people who have this surgery hit their target weights. I did that already. For those 98% who hit their targets, 85% of the excess weight is still gone 15 years later.

Just because it's guaranteed, doesn't mean it is easy. I can testify that there have been several points in this process where my body has fought the hell out of me. This past week has presented the toughest battle thus far. My genes seem to be drawing a line in the sand saying "This far and no farther! NOT ONE MORE INCH!" Now, those genes are destined to lose. They can't win, but they don't know that. They are planning to make their last stand... and they are planning to win.

For all I know, I may have already broken on through to the other side of this metabolic barrier. This morning's crazy swing downward may be the beginning of a new and steady free-fall that takes me all the way down to 200 pounds. Let's hope so.

As sure as I am sitting here, I know that something big is going on. I can feel it. My muscularity is increasing. My fat is decreasing. My ability to exercise is increasing at an amazing rate. I will give you one example.

These past two days, I have completed 30 minutes, using the interval pattern, at level 15 on the LifeFitness Club Series Cross Trainer. Yesterday, I burned 504 kcal, moving 3.04 miles in the process. For reference, a woman may burn as much as 400 kcal in 60 minutes of Aerobic Dancercise. We're talking 252% of that intensity level. The cross trainer is one of the most intense exercises you can do, and until very recently, I couldn't do it at all. The pain in my knees was just too great. Now I have no pain at all.