By the Numbers


Active Member
What better starting number than the first day of the first month?

As a 62 year old , 5'11" and 247 lbs (180 cm and 112 Kg) male, it seems like a good time to assert a modicum on control to get down to 95 Kg by my 63rd birthday just before July. I've always tended to stocky and found myself at 273 lbs (124 Kg) a couple years back. I've got a very recent clean medical bill of health and have often had physically demanding jobs until a more sedentary stint in management and IT over the past 20 years. My wife tends to over indulge me and that is one place some I need to exert some restraint. I grew up in a household where clearing your plate was expected and it seems I still need to finish growing up.

The numbers game involves resting heart rate, blood pressure, heart rate recovery, HRV (heart rate variability), scales and planned cardio with a heart rate monitor as well as some calisthenics and weights. The starting plan is 10 sit-ups, 5 push-ups, 30 minutes of cardio broken into 10 minutes of rowing, stationary bike and elliptical followed by another set of sit-ups and push-ups and then 5 dumbbell curl to press up with each arm. I'm using a Garmin Vivoactive with heart rate monitor strap and have completed two days. The muscles of my belly are sore from the few sit-ups and push-ups of the first two days.

I plan on 6 days/week with a gradual escalation. If my HRV reading goes below 4 (of 10), I'll take that as my day off and I will reduce intensity on any other days in that week should that reading be below 4.

It's been -30 C for a spell and outdoor activity has been curtailed. My spouse recently slipped on ice on a nearby walk so planned skating hasn't happened. We finished the last of the eggnog and cheesecake today so that has taken care of itself.

Basic numbers (monthly): Chest 48.5", Waist 45", Hips 47", Biceps 15.5", Calves 17.5", Thighs 25"

Jan 1: I slept poorly New Year's eve so my BP was a bit higher: 127/88 HR 62, 112 Kg. HRV was 8 so good to go.

Rower: 2385 metres in 10 minutes, 2:06 500 metre rate.
Stationary bike: 10 minutes 3 degree incline, middle front chain ring to 6th of 10 gears rear cog. Metronome set to 77 revolutions per minute. The bike reports 300 watts - 195 calories and 2.6 Km distance. It exaggerates calories and watts.
Elliptical: 10 minutes resistance 5 of 10, minimal incline (the adjustment motor is broken), metronome set to 65. It reports 214 calories and 660 metres distance.
Push-ups and sit-ups as planned and the dumbbells weighed 35 lbs each

The 30 minute heart rate graph shows the bike to be the least and the elliptical the most demanding. Average heart rate was 149 with a peak of 173. Two minute heart rate recovery was 59. All the exercise is steady state. Sprints won't be happening for a while. The Garmin app reports a total of 391 calories consumed by the cardio.

Jan 2: Better sleep and BP 116/78 HR 64, 112.5 Kg, HRV 6, which isn't optimal but good to go.

Same workout exactly except I managed 2482 meters on the rower at a rate of 2:01 per 500 metres resulted in a maximum heart rate of 162 with a 143 average over the 30 minutes. The app reported a total of 368 calories with a heart rate recovery of 57.

For those who might think the heart rates are high for cardio, I hit 183 last summer biking some hills and have been told that's not of concern.


Well-Known Member
I get in the 180's regularly for cardio - I've even been at 190. Looks like you know where you want to go. Wishing you success!


Never gives up
Hi, Hale & welcome to the forum :)
It sounds like you have a good plan. Your exercise will surely boost your metabolism. What is your regular diet like?
Good for you taking control of your health & well done on the good report from the doc.


Active Member
Thanks Jenniquest and Cate.

In regard to heart rate, many consider 220 minus age as 100% rate which means a max of 158 for me and my average rate is usually above the typically quoted percentage of that often defined as an aerobic range. I go by how I feel. On the bike and elliptical at a set resistance and cadence, I just pick something doable. The rower resistance is a direct consequence of the effort put in. I'm keeping rower time down to toughen my hands gradually so as not to get blisters that would otherwise force me to rely more on the other machines.

I know it is not possible to out exercise bad eating habits. I find that it is just easier to maintain better self control when I'm working a plan. I'll add a bit of detail in due course as I'd like to limit verbiage due to time and post length exigencies.

I typically have a breakfast consisting of 1/3 cup plain quick oats in 2/3 cups of water. I completely cover my 5" bowl with 1 1/2 layers of frozen blueberries, add a 100 ml cup of flavoured yogurt, two heaping tablespoons of All-Bran, a middling tablespoon of ground flax seed, 10 almonds, 2 walnut halves, two pecan halves and 2 brazil nuts. I have it with 2 cups of coffee whitened with 2% milk. I take B100, B12, D, D + K, C vitamins and a good sized Omega oils supplement after eating. One brazil nut gives you nearly 100% of your RDA of selenium. I have a quart of water with some apple cider vinegar and a drop of iodine as a post workout drink. My metabolism runs just a bit slow though with thyroid levels within but to one side of the 'normal' range hence the iodine. The K and selenium support testosterone and the D is because the sun is below the horizon between 8 and 4 at this latitude and time of year.

I like a hearty breakfast and my philosophy is that it's better to provide your body with a broad spectrum of adequate nutrients and ramp up activity to make up for any slight excess.

I did today's workout before heading out to my 'job'. I'm currently underemployed.

I managed a good 8 hour sleep. HRV was 8 and BP a more typical 107/75 with 62 pulse rate with weight still at 112.5 Kg. The weather suits some outdoor activity but today's schedule is inconvenient.

I somehow blew out in saving the heart rate graphs from my Garmin fitness watch today.

Aerobic numbers today: 10 minutes rower at a 2:00/500 metre rate for a total of 2508 metres.

10 minutes stationary bike and elliptical each at the same rates and resistance levels as the first two days.

Although I didn't get a pulse graph or calorie number from the Garmin, I did get a heart rate recovery of 61 to 110 from 171 bpm over two minutes. I didn't do the 2nd set of a mere 10 sit-ups until a half hour after the workout to calm the sore lower abdominals and my pecs are unduly sore this afternoon from the really low number of push-ups. I'm stubborn and motivated enough to keep these numbers as long as the HRV number doesn't warn me to back off.

I'm in a waiting room and plan to have a peek at some other diaries now.


Active Member
Day 4 was a bit over 7 hours sleep which is a bit light for me. It turns out my Bluetooth headphones dumped the Garmin connection and it was a pain to reconnect but yesterday's data from the watch synched and it's all there.

HRV was a 6 with BP 107/75 62. Scale read 110.8 Kg. The scale is really consistent as I can get off and on several times and every time I try it gives consistent numbers. It also calculates hydration, fat, muscle, bone and a calorie requirements for maintenance. I think those additional numbers are ok for trend analysis but the technology lacks calibration capability. I record the numbers for now.

Rower: 10 min, 2514 metres, 1:59/500 metres.

Stationary bike and elliptical, 10 minutes each at same cadence and resistance as the previous three efforts.

Average and max heart rates were 151 and 173 with a recovery of 55 and the graph yeilds 399 calories. It felt a bit harder today and today's HRV of 6 supposedly means you shouldn't hit a workout at full intensity. The HRV app I use said today: "Your Parasympathetic activity appears to be abnormally elevated. This often means your body is actively recovering or possibly beginning to over reach. Lighter activity is recommended."

Damn the torpedoes. Sit-ups, push-ups and dumbbells as before. I deferred the 2nd set of calisthenics for 30 minutes due to lower abdominal aches. I should probably back off on those for a couple days, but I won't yet.

I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal etc and find myself putting in time at a desk much of the day. Yesterday's lunch was an orange I took as back up in case a planned lunch meeting fell through. It did. Dinner was a large sausage with a side of sauerkraut and some diced fresh fruit: cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple and honeydew melon. I had a good sized heaped tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter a bit later as a quasi dessert. Despite my claim to numbers, I don't try to count calories.

Wife packed me a lunch with two leftover croissants she bought for eggs benedict for New Years Day breakfast with company. Some margarine, salami and cheese added to make them into sandwiches followed by an orange and a cup of coffee. Today's lunch is a little richer than usual. I do know inadequate nutrition, quantity and quality, won't improve my HRV or capacity to work out and although the calories might be a bit higher than usual, and that processed meat isn't the best food, it is variety and it may well fill in some gap that rigid adherence to a narrow diet could leave. Ramping up activity allows me to consume a bit more quantity and variety which ensures that my brain chemistry and hormonal glands etc get the broad spectrum of minerals and micronutrients restricted by a narrow diet. In my experience, and I've done this before, I feel, sleep and look better and have a better attitude and the weight just takes care of itself.


Never gives up
I love the sound of your breakfast. One of the women at golf takes something similar in a mason jar & I think I'll make one up for tomorrow's breakfast. I'll use almond milk instead of adding the nuts I think, although the crunch would be good. What an excellent breakfast & one easily prepared the night before. I must buy some more brazil nuts. I love them.
You sound like you have this under control Hale & have done your research.


Active Member
Thanks for the supportive comment Cate.

I make mine on the spot with the microwave. 1:40 Oats, 1:40 oats and frozen blueberries, 0:25 for the the oats, blueberries and yogurt. It's a probiotic yogurt and I don't want to destroy the cultures with excess microwaving. From the time I start preparing until I'm eating is near enough five minutes which gives me time to put on the coffee and get the vitamins from their bottles to chase the meal. I've used mixed berries and have substituted yogurt for a quality vanilla protein mix in keeping with the variety concept. In addition to the crunch of the nuts is that of the All-Bran buds. I stir them in last.

Breakfast was partly the inspiration for my moniker here: ____ and Hearty which is all one could ask for. A moniker mantra.


Well-Known Member
I have the scale that tracks body fat, muscle, bone density, water, etc and I agree it's not very accurate but the extra numbers are kinda fun!

Good job on your exercises. I like push ups but my left shoulder hates them. Maybe someday ...


Active Member
Jenni: I've seen that you put in significant resistance work in the gym.

7.5 hrs sleep, 111.5 Kg today with HRV of 3. BP 119/79 63. HRV 3 means: "Your Parasympathetic activity is abnormally high. Your body is likely in deep recovery mode and possibly overtraining. Good recovery activities include walking and very light exercize."

My plan calls for a no workout day the first day in any week my HRV scores below 4. As this is day 5 of a planned weekly cycle, any further score below 4 in the next 2 days will be workouts at diminished intensity and there is no other day off.

It was my expectation that the quantity and intensity of aerobic workload would be easy enough on my body that my HRV score would signal escalation of aerobic effort rather than to cut back but I'd rather not hurt myself or make myself ill. I felt up for a workout this morning but I'll try instead to tune into the body signals that warn against pushing through.

My dinner plate was a bit overloaded by my spouse but for some reason beyond sense it all went into my belly. She does most meal prep as she's not working, in the sense of out of the home, but I must start selecting the quantities going on the plate.

I had bought dessert in anticipation of having a friend over for dinner Friday and declined to partake. It's never a problem to decline food that won't go to waste. Dessert could keep in the freezer. It only forces itself down my throat when I see it will wind up thrown out. Then it goes to waist.

Possible solutions in order of difficulty:
1. Load my own plate
2. Address the quantity of food prepared
3. Learn to deal with the learned guilt associated with tossing food.

Only the last will address the situation in broader eating situations. Having done this for over 60 years, it has become normal to feed beyond satiation. Having ignored or suppressed the signs of being full for so long, they seem quite remote and foreign.
Hi Hale and welcome to the forum!

Nice to see another Western Canadian here. I am in Alberta. Nice weather we have been having lately-haha. I am also in IT. I am a little younger than you - I am 56 but we are the same height. I started at 320 pounds and am now about 175 pounds. Sounds like you are on the right path for weight loss. Moderation is the key.

I am a runner- not always, just when I turned 50 and find that to be a good for the waistline and for the stress level. It is a little challenging in our climate here but I still run all Winter long. I also go to Bootcamp as resistance exercise is good for people our age as we lose muscle as we age.

Sounds like you have the right mindset and attitude. I will check in as time goes by, to see how you are doing.


Active Member
Howdy Cowboy. I'm in Edmonton guess you're a bit west though your name implies south. My IT job evaporated when the employer folded under nasty circumstances. It took a year to extract a healthy but unsatisfying severance from the parent company. There remain some outstanding matters to resolve for which I plan to get assistance from the securities commission. I've allowed myself to be in a negative cash flow position for some time and will need to make some changes in the coming months.

I've run in the past but don't much enjoy the activity and when it comes to working out, I'm a bit introverted and wouldn't gravitate to boot camp which strikes me as social-competitive. Maybe it's just too embarrasing struggling with 5 push-ups.

Thanks for the welcome and good luck with your endeavours.

Day 6: 111.5 Kg, BP 110/76 at 62 Bpm says the blood pressue monitor. My trainer, Harvey (HRV) gave me a 7: "Great job! Compared to your recent baseline you should be able to train harder and handle more stress today."

I've got the blood pressure monitor a few years back and found it quite consistent with most pharmacy and grocery store units as well as the numbers I get from medical professionals using a pressure cuff and stethoscope. The monitor is set to take 3 consecutive readings separated by one minute and it stores the last 100 averages.

As we had company for dinner, it was a late night. Lots of soda water and coffee post dinner led to a less than optimum quality and quantity of sleep with a couple rest room wakes.

Yesterday lunch was a real medley of fresh blueberries, diced melons, pineapples, grapes, mini carrots, green snap peas in their edible pods and a good taste of some bizarrely named, but forgotten, neighbor gifted Ukranian rasin loaf that tasted of almond.

Dinner was asparagus, golden beets, mashed potatoes with a bit of gravy and a reasonable amount of quality pork back ribs followed by a small drumstick style ice cream cone. No booze and no snacking.

Off to hit my aerobic machines to be followed by my oatmeal concoction.


Active Member
Thanks LaMa. I guess some people are fortunate to have the nature and nurture such that alcohol does nor deleteriously impact their lives. The last time I was even remotely inebriated was over 30 years ago. I enjoy a liqueur in coffee, a seasonal rum egg nog, what Canadians call a ceasar with vodka, a glass of red wine with or after dinner or even a beer on occasion but those occasions are typically at least a few weeks apart with a seasonal 'spirit' bump near Xmas. Thankfully alcohol doesn't control me so I don't need to devote any effort to control it. It's a bit like Newton's laws and the rower, no matter how hard and fast I pull, it just goes on quietly matching my effort with identical resistance. Screenshot_2018-01-06-10-10-57.png
The heart rate graph from this morning for the 10 minute each rower-stationary bike-elliptical combo (paused while I move between machines) shows that when I'm ready to bump things up, there is a greater margin for the bike and that increasing duration for the latter two activities is doable without increasing level of effort as heart rate has plateaued at the levels I've set so far. The rower numbers are 2550 metres for a 1:57/500 rate. Heart rate recovery was 59 and my abs had recovered a bit with yesterday's day off so I'm on plan.



Well-Known Member
Cool graph. Looks like you're getting the most bang for your buck with the elliptical .... I think I would enjoy a rowing machine. I like doing cable rows as a back exercise. I imagine it's similar. I don't care much for running, either, although I used to love to do uphill sprints. Just a short burst of about 20-30 seconds each. But distance running? Nah.


Active Member
Jenni: The graph is cool but I would prefer that the time scale were linear. The first dot at 1:43 is half way to 5:17. The efforts are in 3 equal 10 minute segments and the heart rate ramps up faster than indicated by the chart. The elliptical is about 15 years old so you're right about the the bang in more than one way.

The rower is great and works more muscles than the other machines. I've worked out on two high end models. Most of the gyms and clubs and city facilities here seem to use the Concept2. The Waterrower, one word, is also brilliant. If you don't like being challenged by super men on stair mills, you can compete on the world wide stage using the Concept2. My spouse really wanted the Waterrower so that's what we have. Each has advantages but there is a larger community of Concept2 users and it gives accurate numbers and more metrics using dependable self calibrating and highly accurate ergometer readings. The Waterrower is prettier, quieter, is generally less obtrusive and has a smaller footprint. Bottom line, they both work, or rather, they work you if you let them.
I enjoy rowing but stationary rowers usually have handles that make it hard to keep my wrists in position. Visited an old lady last week who´s been rowing for well over 70 years how and a friend of hers had just brought her some info on a new grip he was developing which got me more excited than it probably should have :D


Active Member
Hey LaMa: I find my handles, the rower, not the other ones, could be a bit wider. My little fingers of each hand tend to sit beyond the ends. It's not a problem unless strain resulting from the less than optimum distribution of force causes blistering. I've used gloves, but with 10 minute sessions, there is as yet no need and my hands will toughen up gradually provided I don't over do it too soon.

Day 7, one week done and dusted.
Harvey said to get to it (HRV: 8), the scale said I'm far from target at 109.9 Kg and the BP monitor gave me a 109/75 - 61 BPM. I slept in for about a total of 9 hours so felt rested but vaguely unmotivated.

This is where a plan kicks in. Harvey said to get going so I did my triple machine cardio routine for the 3 10 minute segments with the bike and elliptical exactly as before and oddly enough, exactly the same number on the rower as the day before, with 2550 Metres at a 1:57 500 metre rate.
The graph reported a 150 average pulse rate peaking at 170. Heart rate recovery was 60.

I'm not sure of the specifics, but the bike and elliptical report what I know to be more work/calories done than the Heart rate app, with the two reporting more than my Garmin app reports. One would expect that the heart rate app would be subject to poor estimation capability because as fitness improves, the required pulse to support a level of exertion usually declines but I quite certain that I'm not pushing 300 watts through the bike. I'm not going to spend a thousand dollars on a power meter to validate that. If I had a Concept2, I could somewhat calibrate my heart rate to work/calories but concessions were made to the spouse's taste in choosing that rower. There is some way to estimate calories from the Waterrower so I could do something to more accurately adjust or calibrate the results from the other two machines by switching the order in the workout and analysis of the results over a period of time. In any event, the app reported 386 calories of cardio today and about that for the last 6 days on which Harvey told me I should work out. My lower abdominals are complaining much less now but my form really sucks at the alternating arm curl to press dumbbells I'm doing.

Lunch yesterday was a MacIntosh apple and a small orange with dinner being pork ribs, mashed potatos and asparagus left overs with followed with a small ice cream drumstick cone as desert. My wife had asked me to bring home some Cheetos (some kind of crisps) and didn't partake when she tried the "Lady and the Tramp" noodle scene on me. Having slept in, I worked out a bit later and had a brunch (photo) when my brother came by. The spread was a cup of tomato bisque soup, cheese grill on 60% whole wheat bread with dill pickles and a carrot cake muffin. I ate the cheese grill bits that would have been dumped, pooh. I had a nice glass of cranberry juice on ice after a bit of coffee. I know there will be pizza tonight at an In-law's in lieu the more usual Sunday cake and coffee at my folks followed by some other dinner at home. I had bought 2 bananas and frozen raspberries that I was expecting to use in substitution of something in my oatmeal concoction but I'll get to that after tormorrow's workout.

The first week went well starting at 112.3 Kg (I somehow incorrectly posted 112.0 on the first day). I had planned to take a day off if my HRV score directed me to do so, which it did. Since the plan is one day off every week, that meant today, Sunday was a work out day rather than a rest day.
I was planning to adjust resistance, tempo, and resistance weekly but the results, particularly the DOMS in pectorals and lower abdominals, suggest I tread lightly and I may have started just a hair too intense. Especially since there is a bit of room for improvement in push-up and the compound curl/press form. Given the graph, my next week plan will be to bump the stationary cyle cadence by 1 rpm and leave the rest, including the machine order, exactly as it is, except that I am going to add one set of 5 dumbbell curl to press up at 35 lbs before the aerobic machines.



Active Member
Cate: My typical 'concoction' starts with a 1/3 cup measuring spoon of unflavoured quick oats, 2 of those cups of water and microwave for 1:40. Mt 5" round bowl is covered with 1 1/2 layers of large frozen blueberries, stirred and microwaved for 1:40. I add 100 ml container of some flavoured probiotic yogurt (wife's choice, I'd use a slightly smaller amount of vanilla 3.5% fat Greek yogurt but I don't need both in the fridge), and microwave for another 20 - 25 seconds. The quick oats are done by this point. If I use steel cut oats, it takes a little longer and I may pre-cook them.

After that I add in a middly heaping tablespoon of ground flax seed, 2 walnut halves, 2 pecan halves, 10 almonds and 2 brazil nuts. There has a partial crop failure of the brazil nut crop recently and I did without those for about 3 months until about a month ago. I top it all off with 2 heaping tablespoons of all bran bran buds. There is rarely a day that goes by where all that fibre doesn't get the job done.

I substitute other frozen or fresh fruit for the blueberries on occasion and I'll make room for a half banana in the bowl with some frequency.

I'm rarely hungry by lunch time so there just isn't any temptation to snack.