With any progression, be it a career path, an education course, an overseas adventure or - as in my case - a health and fitness journey, I think it is important to take snapshots now and then of where you are on that path.
Visual, written or just self-reflective, to see what you have achieved, where you currently are and how far you have to go (though the last one is fluid, I believe there should never be a finish line, only an ever-changing set of goals).
Based on this I feel like it's time to take note of where I'm at, physically, mentally and holistically... some of this is numerical, while some is unquantifiable yet equally as important. We are not defined by numbers, though they can be a useful tool in tracking progress...
So here's a summary of me and my life, at the moment.
I currently weigh around 71kg. A while ago this would have bothered me, but a few weeks ago Jo and I went to MeasureUp in the city to get a DEXA scan.
A DEXA scan uses radiation (lower levels than what we're exposed to walking around every day - so no risk there) to analyse your body's composition - bone density, lean muscle mass and fat percentage. It is a tool that helps you set healthier goals than just looking at a number on a scale, which is purely a sum of these factors.
I've included a picture of my scan (looks a bit funny 'cause I'm lying down any everything gets squished) to show how it works... So cool to see where all the fat/muscle sits - something that will be completely different for everyone.
So of my 71kg, nearly 56kg is lean mass. That means muscle (and organs). Pretty cool... as it makes my previous 'low weight' goals seem a bit superficial - I would just be losing strength and muscle mass if I were to lose too much.
There's only about 13kg of fat in my body (thanks bum and thighs), putting me at 18% body fat and within the "athlete" range. Honestly I was pretty surprised with this result, I know I work out a lot and eat well, but this was a really nice surprise.
As a comparison, the standard healthy range for women is 20-25kg of fat, very healthy is 15-20kg and professional athletes 10-15kg. The recommended body fat percentage is 21-33% for women. Lean muscle should be 35-40kg depending on height... strong is the new skinny ;)
**Source, MeasureUP, Gallagher et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol.72, Sept. 2000**
So numerically I'm at a pretty good point, but I've got some pretty high goals set for myself...
I'm coming into my 'peak' years and want to see how far I can push myself, to be the absolute best (and let's be honest, hottest) version of myself. My current goal is to get to 14-15% body fat, which sits in the middle of the "fitness model" range. Something attainable and not at the unhealthy levels required for some competition etc.
I plan to get another DEXA in about 4 months - enough time to put in some serious work and hopefully see a some good changes (muscle up/fat down).
My DEXA also told me my resting metabolic rate - RMR - (how many calories I'd burn if I didn't move all day), this is worked out on the bodies composition (muscle requires more energy to maintain - a great reason to build muscle as it'll burn calories just by being there!).
My RMR is 1778 calories/day. To maintain my current composition I'd need to be eating around 2200 calories/day. I
As my goal is to maintain muscle and cut fat, the calories stay low (17-1800) but I have very high protein goals (150g per day). The rest is split between fats and carbs - all as natural and unprocessed as possible.
The only supplements I take are pure whey protein isolate (from Bare Blends - very clean and natural), magnesium for muscle recovery and occasionally a green
My training is predominantly resistance training, with hypertrophy - muscle retention/development, and toning - shredding ;), being the goals. I train with my PT Ross once a week, he helps so much with form and technique, as well as pushing me right to my limits. He also wrote the rest of my program that I do for the rest of the week. This makes it really easy to stay motivated and to know what I need to achieve each day.
I do two upper body days, two lower body and one full body circuit day. I try and add some cardio (ew) on to the end of each of these sessions, either a half hour on a cardio machine or walking/running outside, or a 15 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) session. The cardio is mostly there to burn the extra calories...the resistance is the important part.
The sixth day is mostly mobility work - stretching and mobilising my muscles to help with recovery and performance - and some core work. I try and do some foam rolling and mobility every day as I find I get very locked up and sore if I don't.
I like to do yoga when I can, it helps me so much mentally and forces me to relax and stop for an hour!
So that's the numbers stuff, pretty useful yeah?
THE CHALLENGES/OTHER NEWS
A few quick life things... my bestie Ella is back from adventuring in America for a few months, so stoked to have her back! I've just registered for my 14th season of soccer, can't wait for the new season as I'm feeling much more in shape than previous years. Can't wait to see the team again!
My Fitbit got drowned in the shower (oops) and I had severe withdrawal so got the new Charge 2. I looovee it!
I'm struggling to stay still... I think it's the extra training, but it definitely helps with my goal of watching less TV - I can barely sit through one episode of anything anymore!
While I'm feeling pretty fantastic with my training, there are some things I'm struggling with at the moment...
I injured my back about six months ago on a trampoline (yes it was doing something stupid), and while the injury has gone the muscles around the site are super locked up and can be quite painful. I've been seeing my amazing chiro Andrew Callister (look him up if you need one!!!) every couple of weeks and seen some great results. But I've found out that I've been standing wrong my whole life... Too straight apparently (just trying to do what mum said!)... so need to constantly focus on engaging my core and creating a currently absent curve in my spine. This also affects the way I have to lift at the gym. Fun. Necessary.
I work a lot. I have trouble slowing down.
Balancing work and training, social life and other commitments has been tough but is definitely improving - there's benefits to working in management and being able to control your own hours ;) I love my work/training community, I really feel a part of something positive when I'm there.
I'm at a good point now, but (drumroll please).... I've just enrolled to do my Personal Training course at AIPT, studying predominantly online. This is something I'm so excited about, I'm a bit of a sponge for health/fitness knowledge at the moment and I can't wait to learn even more, and to be able to share this knowledge with more people!
Paying for this has left me rather poor, so budgeting finances is a new challenge I'm working on
I also go back to uni in a couple of weeks, and am in the middle of planning my 21st, coordinating a split family and supporting my beautiful mum and sister as they make a big transition.
Sleep is something I'm definitely not getting enough of, feeling quite drained and in need of naps...
So a lot on my plate that I need to prioritise and balance, but I'm sure I'm up for the challenge.
Passion and determination are definitely on my side with everything that's going on... so let's see where this takes me!