Beginning a Long Road


Welcome to my blog. I created this site to catalog my efforts to increase my fitness and improve my overall health.

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A little bit about me: I’m a 25 year old graduate of Penn State living in Philadelphia. I work in consulting and help clients in the heathcare industry. Ironically enough, I have not focused on my own habits and health really since sophomore year in Happy Valley.  This blog, and the activity I will document are part of an effort to radically change my own fitness.

I decided, through my firm, to sign up for the Broad Street Run. By doing so, and agreeing to raise $500 towards the charity, Back on My Feet, I have confirmed an entry into this year’s race on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

Please visit my donation page to learn more about Back on My Feet: http://www.active.com/donate/PhillyBSR14/robcnagel

Now, as anyone will admit, the idea of training for anything, specifically a 10-mile run, is not the easiest thing to implement and continue. It is even more difficult when you have not been accustomed to such consistent activity and healthy habits. So, I took some time to determine what would help support this effort. I came up with the following plan, which I began and have continued daily since January 15, 2014:

1. Wear a Fitness Tracker
basisb1I researched extensively the market of popular watches that monitor fitness levels, and I determined that the Basis B1 Carbon Steel Edition best fit my needs. Its combination of heart rate monitoring, passive activity identification (it knows instinctively when I fall asleep, run, walk, or bike), sleep analysis, hard data, and habit-forming goals really appeals to me. I need to know my Basal Metabolic Rate (how much energy I use just existing) and the caloric expenditure of any exercise, but I do not want the hassle of remembering to tell my watch when I plan to sleep or wake up (invariably, if I had the Fitbit, the process of setting the watch to track my sleep every night would result in wide-eyed restlessness). I also love biking, so a strict pedometer-only device would hamstring my most common activity in the warmer months.

2. Use a Calorie Journal
I downloaded MyFitnessPal, and I have found it pretty comprehensive in food selection and its calorie breakdown charts. I am disappointed that it does not integrate with the Basis B1 watch, but that is really my only complaint.

3. Build Healthy Habits
As an extension of my Basis B1, I am doing my best to ingrain habits such as consistent times for going to sleep and rising, taking a certain number of steps each day and achieving a consistent, yet reasonable caloric deficit daily.

4. Capture and Predict Data in a Comprehensive Manner
I have, as one of my colleagues recently said, “done the consultant thing to do” and created a workbook in which I log my daily caloric intake and expenditure, and from which various trends are derived based upon the average progress I have achieved to date. For example, inclusive of yesterday’s results, I am projected to have lost thirty five pounds since January 15, by the day of the Broad Street Run.

5. Improve the Composition of My Meals
Similar to achieving healthier activity-based habits, I am changing the composition of the calories I eat, as I have made a priority the combination of lean meats, healthy pre-made dinners (e.g., Lean Cuisine), and a consistent stock of bananas, apples, and granola bars.

I will use this blog to post updates regarding my own progress as well as some of the data / metrics that the Basis B1 provides. It is pretty cool to see the breakdown of patterns, heart rate trends and sleep analytics.

Thanks for reading!

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