Is there a “too much”?

I’m singing that song again this morning… HIIT is kick my butt… HIIT is kick my butt…

Regular HIIT instructor is out still, so we had a replacement (different replacement from last week). He kind of dialed it in– he wasn’t going along with us like the other instructors did– but that didn’t mean his routine was any easier. 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest, for 25 minutes. I also learned today that I am not capable of doing burpees on the floor (half burpees in this case). I just don’t have enough room with my little T.rex arms– the hop forward is like 2 inches. I finally said "f it" and grabbed a step so I had room. (No props today…)

I don’t know if I’m wiped out because it was hard or if I really haven’t recovered properly. I wrote about yesterday’s run already, and when I got home I hopped in the pool and swam laps for half an hour (which was glorious). I guess I’m still learning how much exercise I can cram in without feeling like crap. Swimming is nice and low-impact, but maybe doing a moderately strenuous full-body workout and following it up with HIIT just 12 hours later is too much. Maybe. I mean, I did it and I’m not keeled over. It probably wasn’t my best effort, but I hung in there. But is it a good idea? I don’t know.

(tw: food and calorie talk ahead) As an experiment, the last couple months I’ve been tracking my food using one of those intolerable apps– not restricting, just keeping track in an attempt to eat a little more deliberately and make some more functional food choices. (I know, I know; it’s only made me a little crazy so far. I don’t track on weekends either; we tend to eat out or have special meals that someone else is cooking so I’m not even going there.) In the interest of tracking energy balance too (first law of thermodynamics eh) I’ve also been logging exercise. (My running app helpfully sticks a number on each workout. Nike should know about this stuff, right?) I have no conclusions to report out on, other than the fact that I’ve been excited to learn that my daily hemp protein smoothie gets me 80% of my iron RDA for the day (a big deal for me, since I bleed a ton every month so anemia is always a worry).

My gym puts up little fitness facts posters every month and this month’s is on the tremendously exciting subject of calories. Apparently cycling, swimming and jumping rope (?) burn the most calories per hour. (Of course, the cycling numbers are like Tour de France, not leisurely pedaling a stationary bike while watching ESPN. And if I can jump rope for a minute straight without tripping I’m happy.) Over the course of my tracking I’ve become convinced that it’s all lies. I would love to be recruited for one of those experiments where they stick me in a closed system, a room with a zillion sensors, for a week, and I eat weighed food and exercise and they measure my energy expenditure. For science, I would like to do this. Just to see.

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4 Responses to Is there a “too much”?

  1. Gingerzingi says:

    I would like to be in that room too. I imagine Firestarter-type scenes. CICO can kiss my fat ass.

    The thing about calories used through exercise – there are a couple things I realized. One, those estimates are, as you point out, for Tour de France effort. Like, you’ll see that you can burn 7,000,000 calories/hour cross country skiing. Cross country skiing is HARD and no one does it for 60 minutes except Olympic-level people. Normal humans ski for 5-10 minutes, rest, ski for 5-10 minutes, rest, etc. An hour’s worth of skiing is really only 20 minutes of actual movement :-)

    The other thing I was saddened to realize is that many exercises don’t burn much more than one’s sitting-around level of expenditure. It sounds great to read that walking will burn 200 calories an hour, until you realize that watching television burns 170. (not real numbers, but that’s the gist).

    That’s when I throw in the towel and say f*** it. It is what it is. Forget the stupid numbers. That’s not why I’m doing this; I get all the benefits of exercise no matter what arbitrary measurements are applied to them.

    But still, I’d like to be in that room…

    • G says:

      Sadly I don’t know the reference from Firestarter you’re referring to! I feel like it would be a valuable metaphor to have at my disposal though, could you explain? :)

      You also reminded me about how much I miss XC skiing… my skis are tucked away somewhere in my parents basement (and rated for teenage me that was a bit lighter, so I suppose if I ever find myself in a situation where I can ski regularly I should just get new ones. Won’t be while I’m living here though!)

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