The Beginning Of My Jump Rope Fitness Journey
22 Jun 2020
I am so unbelievably happy and relieved, to have finally found a fitness lifestyle that I know is going to work for me, free of fad diets, no more undereating, and no more having to drag myself out of the bed each morning to flail at a gym.
I came across The Jump Rope Dudes on YouTube a couple weeks ago, as a recommended video (thank you YouTube Algorithm!).
The first thing that struck me was the simplicity of the approach. Eat enough whole foods (80% of the time) for your body with a slight calory deficit (if you want to lose weight), and jump rope with moderate to medium high intensity for 30 minutes each day, interspersed with a few bodyweight exercises. As well as getting good sleep and drinking plenty of water.
This all seems so obvious, and yet it is only obvious because all of the complexity has been chiseled away.
Personal Nightmare Fitness Experience
It doesn't help that there is so much terrible fitness advice out there, even from people who seem to know what they're doing. It's especially dangerous when that advice then leads to hard-working, committed people damaging their bodies and ending up feeling like they are the ones who fucked up, who don't have enough willpower or grit.
I spent five months of this year going to F45 in Mascot, Sydney (each franchise in individually owned so the following is not reflective of them all). The instructors told me that if I didn't work out to muscle soreness every single time, then I wasn't doing it right. So as soon as my muscles became accustomed to all the different exercises, I felt terrible for not pushing myself to the point of soreness. This meant that working out became something I felt ashamed of afterwards.
One instructor also told me I needed to be in a steep calory deficit of about 1200 calories a day, maybe up to 1400 because of my height. The result of that advice ended up with me throwing up at one class, being too exhausted to lift weights and too dizzy to do cardio. I felt humiliated being in a group setting where I couldn't keep up. I got so depressed with low-self esteem and hormone swings that I ended up going to hostpital.
There are a couple of factors here that made this situation so dangerous:
- I was paying $69 each week for a club who markets themselves as being leading industry experts. The investment and authority status heightened my trust.
- The instructors all looked incredibly fit, and so it's hard to imagine them giving advice that would not produce those same results.
- The group environment meant that it was easy to compare yourself to the people around you and assume your shortcomings are your own, not realising that the drop-out rate meant that most of the people were new every time.
So when the Jump Rope Dudes talked about keeping things simple, working out so you can focus on living, making sure you eat and making sure you feel good, it felt too good and too simple to be true.
Goals and Priorities
My weight loss goal is 60 lbs, but it's not something I'm rushing to acheive. My priorities are:
- Staying consistent: Work out for 30mins a day (or until I need a shower), six times a week. I chose to only have one day off a week, because I rely on fitness endorphins for repairing my mental health.
- Eat Right (80% of the time): Using the MyMacros+ app for accountability
- Getting better, stronger, fitter: Improve my reps/sets for bodyweight exercises, improve my running pace, learn yoga routines etc.
My weightloss goal and priorities can all be tracked numerically. I have a Bullet Journal where I record what I'm doing each day in the areas that matter to me right now (programming, fitness, russian). I only track my weight, body measurements and use progress photos once a month, to keep my focus on the priorities.
Learning the Ropes
Before jumping in and committing to the jump-rope/bodyweight fitness journey, I took my time sorting out my nutrition and learning how to use the jump rope properly. I wanted to make sure I felt good in myself with this approach before committing this time around.
I used the Jump Rope Guys Fitness Calculator to work out my calory and macros intake.
I actually set my weight in the calculator to my target weight of 58kgs, and chose the "maintainence" option. I did this because I don't want to have to adjust my calories/macros as I lose weight. I compared the macros to what they would be for my current weight (86kg) in a slight deficit, and there wasn't much of a difference (2102 vs 2136). This way, I'm both eating in a slight deficit, and not eating in a deficit at the same time.
I then plugged my Macros into the MyMacros+ app as a daily target goal. (Carbs: 46% at 245g, Protein: 24% at 128g and Fat: 30% at 71g).
Then, I plugged in food that I wanted to eat the next day (whole foods like unprocessed meat, veggies, grains etc). I started by plugging in my protein sources as that is the most important macro for losing fat whilst keeping muscle. The fat macro usually filled up a fair bit after doing this too. Then I'd focus on the carbs and then the fats. Towards the end, I adjusted the amounts to bring the macros closer to the target. I usually don't get them exact, but close enough that the target bar for all three macros is green for the day.
The great thing about the macro app, is that you can plan for junk food without feeling bad about it.
It took me 13 days to get used to doing this, whilst at the same time using the Beginner Jump Rope video playlist by The Jump Rope Dudes to learn how to skip rope (Straight body, jump low to the ground, arms slightly-bent next to your hips, your wrists do the work).
Now, I feel ready to start this journey properly. I'm really excited. I'm going to document my process, and once I have lost enough weight to be in a healthy weight range (according to BMI), I'll share the key learnings and improvement metrics.