Measuring Improvements a must

I'm a professional data geek and my day job as a business analyst involves data-crunching and sharing the numbers with  the executioners. I make sure that strategies and business decisions are data-driven and smart. Well, I do the same in my physical health routines.  Whether I'm running or biking, I try to track my speed, distance, elevation, calories burnt, etc.  I use the Motorala Motoactv because of its ability to track speed and distance for both running and biking, its mounting feature (either on my wrist or my bike's handlebar), and its music player. 

It also uploads wirelessly and automatically to my PC when I get home and so that helps me view and analyze my workout data in more details. This type of data analysis helps me make modifications and find areas where I can make improvements. Eating, too,  has an immediate effect on my performance.  And I see why runners and bikers 'carbo-load' before racing events.  This is a tough balance because as a gout-sufferer, I know that drastic changes in my routine can trigger gout attacks so I try not to do anything  drastic and extreme.

And since I'm all about measurements, I'd also like to collect data about what others are experiencing.  There might be some similarities and I'd like to capture those and share them with you. So if you're interested, take this survey- and no, I don't collect personal info.

 

A show stopper-- I've had to cancel trips and meetings and even lost some work days because of unexpected painful gout attacks.  I couldn't quite pinpoint the triggers because the attacks seem to happen randomly and so for a long time, I've spent some time trying to understand the attacks, the frequency, the timing, the season, the occasion, etc.  I don't seem to have any one food trigger because I haven't been able to tie my gout attacks to any particular food. 

But so far, in the last couple of  years, started in 2012, with a reinvigorated active lifestyle and with a stricter and more serious diet regimen, I've been not only pain-free and flare free but feeling like I'm in the best shape of my adult life.  I run faster and longer.  I feel lighter and I have more pep in my step. My numbers (blood pressure, uric acid, blood sugar) have never been this close to normal since my gout diagnosis.  I'm able to enjoy biking and get some really good distance.  I even got addicted to this active and healthy lifestyle because I can feel the results and the rewards of being, so far, flare-free since 2011. 

A show stopper! 

 

The Gout

I had my first gout attack in my mid-20s.  I remember friends, families, and doctors telling me how young I am to have gout. Gout runs in my family and I also grew up in a food culture which is probably very attractive to gout.  I grew up in the Philippines but spent much of my adult life in the US.  The cultural diet I grew up in is known for some of the most flavorful and richest delicacies. I also tend to hold sedentary jobs--sitting in front of the computer for a good portion of the day. I seem to have the lifestyle primed for gout attacks.

Exercise and Diet (a 2-punch combo)

Exercising usually makes me even more hungrier especially after the long runs and long bike rides which probably explains my weight gain even after the implementation of this  exercise routine.  But now with fruits and veggies  the smoothies, I've been able to control how much I eat.  I didn't feel the effects until the days leading up to the fulfillment of my life-long dream of riding the 2012 Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic (a back to back double century, 204 mile bike ride). I trained and I pushed myself.  It's a 204-mile bike ride through some of the nicest Pacific Northwest road scenes and my goal was to simply cross the finish line and then I can cross STP off my bucket list. With survival of the long bike ride in mind, for the first time in the five years I've been road-biking, I trained with all seriousness. I rode the bike almost everyday even through the mid-Atlantic heatwaves. I ran, I did squats, I did sit-ups. I did just about everything I could think of to train the muscles I would need for biking long distance.  But I added something else to the physical training I was doing. I complemented that training regimen with a new and stricter dietary regimen--I started to blender vegetables and fruits.  I knew I needed to lose weight to become lighter on the bike and to increase my stamina.  And as a result of all these efforts, within 2 months, I lost 10lbs-- pounds I've been unsuccessfully able to shed for the last 5 or so years and now I finally have!  And within 4 months, I lowered my cholesterol back to normal after a decade of borderline cholesterol levels. I went from 234 to 182 total cholesterol level in 4 months!  Lowered my blood sugar closer to optimal level--I was once borderline diabetic.  And I've had my best blood pressure levels in years.  So in sum, what worked? Having a fun goal, keeping at it, and measuring the results. And so now, every year, year round, I have a few goals to strive for. May it be a 10K run, or a century bike ride, I'll find that goal to motivate me and make it all fun and worthwhile. 

 
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