Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sauced and Swoll

To further my heretofore narrowly manifested data accumulation penchant, I did the unthinkable, most likely totally useless, and even more likely hardcore douchey. That's right, I started tracking and quantifying my workouts. It was mostly an attempt to shame me into working out more thereby contributing to my record setting hockey season, but it was also largely a way to spend more time looking at and writing things in my JRT calendar. Amusing but not joking. In any case, the process wasn't all that quantitative. I essentially made one of four basic notations to correspond to a workout: an up arrow (meaning I lifted upper body, usually combined with some cardiovascular work, usually either short distance running or interval training bike work), a down arrow (meaning lower body lifting combined with the same CV caveats), a BS (meaning Bluestreak, which is a brutally difficult but awesome hockey-specific workout involving the dreaded skating treadmill), or an H (meaning that I played hockey). Sometimes I'd also threw on an R (meaning I just ran) or an S (which means I did my pseudo-ashtanga stretches usually with some core work thrown in). This all sounds more intense than it really was; those who know me will take comfort in knowing that I half-assed my way through most of all this. Except for the Bluestreak sessions, those are usually insane.

About halfway into the year, I started actually trying to quantify the level of intensity of each workout, assigning a value of anywhere from .5 top 1.25 with a lifting session usually getting a 1.0, a BS session getting a 1.25, and H getting a .75 or 1.0 depending on how much and how hard I played and if I did a stretching/core session before or after. Yawn yawn, and to anyone who's still reading at this point: marry me. To make things more interesting and/or depressing (depending on if you're a future AA counselor or a current parent), I started counting my alcoholic drinks sometime towards the end of June. Pretty simple, each drink counted as, wait for it, one drink. Whereas I used to pour myself whiskey at home without regard to volume, I tried to pour myself glasses that corresponded to one "drink," and I did my best to count 'em all up (though after around 10 in a night it could get a bit hazy). Here are the results in graph form:

(Click to enlarge)

The results are fairly straightforward. The inverse relationship between my alcohol intake and exercise output seems pretty clear and strong, which is in no way surprising. I averaged around four and a quarter "workouts" per week, which is actually not all that disappointing. 30 drinks a week, however, is a bit of a horrifying embarrassment. In my defense, there were a disproportionate number of big one-time only drinking events this past year that probably unfairly pushed that average a bit on the high side, e.g. the bachelor party, wedding, honeymoon, and that winter solstice eclipse thing that just happened. My goal for next year is to cut down to 21 drinks per week, a 30% reduction, which is certainly significant, but one that I am going to go ahead and publicly commit to making. I'd also like to get up to around 4.75 workouts per week as well. Don't worry ye faithful few, you won't have to wait a whole year in suspense, I'll give you guys a mid-year update on all of this sometime after June. Spoiler alert: I am already perhaps irrevocably off pace on both counts just two and a half weeks in. Damn you, cold and miserable winter.


Kid Nix said...

haha, thats awesome man. i need to start doing this with my workouts. simple enough, sans the graphing portion. i dont know how to use no dang computer or its programs. thats a good amount of working out per week though my good man. lots of drinks too dude. i think im on the 5-10 drinks a week. 3 days a week working out and playing ball. yes, keep us posted! other than your drinking and workout days is there a goal youre trying to reach? i.e.-certain body fat percentage, gain or lose weight, increase strength, hypertrophy...holla at the adolescent.

imbroglioh said...

you know, when i started working out somewhat regularly (which was about 2 and half years ago now), the only real goal was to get in better shape so as to get better at hockey (i've often said that scoring a goal is the greatest physical/spiritual sensation i've ever experienced). then, at some point, while the hockey aspect was still important, it became more about self-improvement and body modification, and yes with even a li'l vanity thrown in. now, i'd say the goals are to increase strength to give me the confidence and ability to throw down on the street if it comes to that and look swoll. i'd like to gain about 8 pounds of muscle and get my mile time under 6 min.

jeffrey said...

21 drinks a week is a pretty solid goal. I try to keep it to 50 right now, so I need to cut it down. A few months ago I had to to 1-5 drinks a week, did crossfit endurance, and playing hockey of course. My distance running was far superior than it was in my younger years, before smoking, and binge drinking, so I was happy. Since December I have been on a huge decline. I drink too much, smoke too much, and workout less. Kills my hockey game, but I can still get the garbage in front of the net and put a couple away a game. Next week I am going back to the non drinking, paleolithic, crossfit lifestyle....Cheers to good health, and better beer.

imbroglioh said...

you know, i've been thinking i need to change up my whole workout program because i think ive basically plateaued and im kinda bored after doing the same basic workouts for a while now. looking for a new program to get into. crossfit is one option. ive also been thinking of p90x. i any thoughts?

Sandip said...

I got some snow you can shovel. Real good for your lower back, which i would imagine is very important for hockey. And how often do you work out your lower back? Exactly.