Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes...

Worry not! This isn't a Broadway themed post. You may enter with no fear of ear drum damage from a miked Merman, or eye strain from a technicolor Taymor production. What it is about is that I'm a numbers guy. I like numbers. I always have. After all, I was originally going to be a mathematics major at GW before life decided otherwise. One of my favorite moments while there was the day in Elementary Number Theory where we spent the entire class proving why 2 ≠ 1. My job now consists of, in essence, pushing pixels around a screen and nothing frustrates me more than when 10 pixels are not 10 pixels (thank you, Internet Explorer 6 :-P). So where am I going with this you may ask as you look at your screen with the look of bewilderment that Dorothy and Blanche always shared during one of Rose's St. Olaf stories. Suffice it to say, I like numbers.

Numbers motivate me. This has been something that I've had a hard time getting across to my personal trainer. He likes for me to just focus on the doing, but it is infinitely easier for me to do 15 reps of something if I know it's just 15 reps that I'm doing. I will always be counting in my head. I'll always be watching the time on the treadmill or elliptical. Counting strokes on the rowing machine, etc.

With one's body comes a whole raft of numbers: height, weight, waist size, endowment, shoe size, etc. Unfortunately, many of these numbers are either wildly innacurate or highly variable. 20 pounds of fat and 20 pounds of muscle mean different things. An Old Navy 36" waist is different than an H&M 36" waist is different than a Gap 36" waist. And we always know that a man's 8 inches is often closer to 6 ;-)

Yesterday, I decided to bite the bullet and go over to GWU to their Body Composition Lab and get a DEXA Body Composition Scan. The problem is that the only data point I had to compare it to were the caliper and impedence measurements done in July. The latter is wildly inaccurate and subject to fluctuations in body moisture and salinity. The former has always been problematic for me because a thigh measurement always skews the results since it is taken on the front of the thigh where I have a LOT of muscle, and not on the back where I carry a bunch of fat. I was hardly expecting a reading that was near my shoe size, but I wasn't expecting it to be just a tad higher than my age. Needless to say, I was somewhat disheartened. I know my body has changed for the better, I was just hoping for a bit more scientific validation of that. After all, I'm a numbers guy.

Thankfully, prior to this test I'd made some changes in diet and had further modifications to behavior planned (since implemented), and I now have the baseline for an accurate, repeatably testable method for defining progress. I'm no longer disheartened, I'm now armed with my friends-- numbers (including the imaginary ones ;-) -- and I'm recharged and recommitted. If you need me, you can find me at Vida. And, fair warning, if you tempt me with a carb on any day but a Sunday, and I'll cut you, bitch :-P