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Week 5

This week was the beginning of my new workout for the next month.  As you’ll see, I thought I might be taking it too easy at first.  But after each day I experienced a decent amount of soreness so I know I’m on the right path and I’m challenging myself sufficiently.

MONDAY:  When I sat down last night and determined what my new workout would be for the next 4 weeks I thought I may have been too easy on myself.  I thought I’d whip right through it and have plenty of time at the end for 15 minutes of cardio.  Looking at it on paper it just didn’t seem like that much.  Then I went to the gym this morning and did my first day of upper body (1 of 2 days in my new routine).  I added weight to my shoulder butterflies, power clean and tricep kick-backs.  I no longer think I’m being too easy on myself!  The workout was still approx. 40 to 45 minutes long and not only did I not have time for cardio, the muscles in my arms were quivering when I left the gym.  If soreness follows tomorrow, I know I’m on the right path.

TUESDAY:  This morning I did my first 45 minutes of cardio and I did it on the elliptical machine again.  I didn’t go at the fast pace of 6.4 at all during this workout.  The fastest I went was in the low to mid 5’s.  I did this on purpose because I was adding an extra 15 minutes and I wanted to be able to finish the workout.  I finished and went a total of 3.25 miles so I was still at or under the 15 minute mile pace for all 3 miles.  I also burned 376 calories according to the display on the machine.  It was hard going for that long.  I’m glad it was hard because if it was easy I wouldn’t be challenging myself.

It was also hard to recover from.  It’s been 3 hours since I finished and even with coffee, I’m feeling more fatigued than normal.  It could be because that lovely female gift is going to arrive again this week.  More likely it’s the additional cardio.  I also noticed in the middle of my workout my heart rate dropped to 125 and stayed there for a couple minutes before it suddenly popped back up to 172.  Not sure what that was all about.  I hope it was a glitch in the machine and not in my heart!  I have had issues with my heart rate spiking before.  I’ll have to keep an eye on that.  I am also sore from yesterday’s workout which is a good sign regarding the difficulty level.

WEDNESDAY:  Happy Independence Day!  It might be a national holiday but I was still in the gym this morning to do my lower body workout.  I did sleep in for an hour though so that was nice. 🙂  I have to admit, I’m not really “feeling it” today.  I think I might be fighting another cold bug (gggrrrr!).  For now I plan to ignore it and go on as usual.  I pushed through and got it all done without slacking.  I reintroduced myself to pop squats today.  My trainer showed these to me a few months ago as part of a cardio workout.  They are pretty fun and they really work the thigh muscles.

I plan to spend the rest of the day having some fun in the sun with friends and church family.  I will probably indulge in a few treats, too, but I’m not going to worry about it.  Life isn’t much fun if we deprive ourselves of treats…especially on holidays.  If you’ve worked hard and “earned” the treats, there’s no reason to feel guilty about eating some.

THURSDAY:  Today is a cardio day.  I started off on the elliptical machine but about 25 minutes into my workout I started getting a twinge in my lower left back in the area known as the sacrum.

Last summer I injured my sacrum by running on uneven pavement.  The result was a shooting pain down my left leg that was so intense, I initially thought I had pulled a hamstring muscle.  I spent about $130 over the course of a month at the chiropractor fixing the problem and then had to nurse my leg for another month or so afterward.  A friend of mine who is a physical therapist showed me an awesome stretch that completed the healing process of my injury.  You stand in front of a chair and place your foot in the seat of the chair with your toes toward the back of the chair.  Then you turn the foot that is on the floor so your toes point to the side.  In this position your feet look like they are making the letter “L.”  Then you turn your body in the direction the foot on the floor is pointing and “hang” by bending at the waist and letting your arms dangle.  This action stretches the sacrum.  It is awesome!  I am so grateful to her for showing me this stretch.  It made all the difference in the world to my recovery.

When I felt that familiar twinge yesterday, I finished up the minute I was on and then switched to the treadmill for the last 20 minutes of my workout.  I’m glad I did because the twinge subsided.  It is important to listen when your body speaks so you can avoid injury and a long set-back from reaching your fitness goals.

Over all my workout was pretty good.  I haven’t run intervals for a while so it was nice to do something different for cardio.  I will likely run intervals again next week on Tuesday and Thursday and give the elliptical a rest for a bit.

FRIDAY:  Aahhhh…..Friday!  Today I did the second day of my new upper body workout.  It went well.  I didn’t push too hard doing the barbell curls today.  I am doing 2 more biceps exercises than I was doing last month and I didn’t want to push it where weight was concerned.  I’ll see how the next week goes and increase it if I don’t seem to be challenged.

I’m not looking forward to my weigh in on Sunday.  I indulged on the 4th and that lovely monthly female thing is going to make an appearance this weekend.  Along with it will come extra water retention.  I think I’ll be riding my 5 lb float in the upward direction this time.  We’ll see what Sunday brings.

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My Workout Sched 2.0

This week I will change up my routine and focus more on muscle groups.  I will still do 3 days of weights and 2 days of cardio.  On Mondays I will do chest, tris and shoulders.  On Wednesdays I will do all lower body but I will add some more exercises.  On Fridays I will do back, biceps and abs.  I am still doing 3 sets of 12 reps for each exercise but I will also be adding weight.  For cardio, I will still use the elliptical and treadmill, however, I will bump it up to 45 minutes of cardio instead of 30 and still do this on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Hang on to your hats, folks….this is going to be challenging!  But…that’s what this journey is all about.  When it starts to get easy, it’s time to add more weight and switch things up.  My new workout routine is below:

Upper Body – Day 1

CHEST – push-ups, pulley flies and one of the following:  pec-dec, incline dumbbell presses or flat dumbbell presses

SHOULDERS – butterfly, power clean and one of the following:  shoulder press, forward raises or lateral raises

TRICEPS – pull down extension, kick-backs and one of the following: skull-crushers, dips or overhead raises)

Upper Body – Day 2

BACK – seated rows, lat pulls and one of the following:  dumbbell rows or bent-over barbell rows

BICEPS – dumbbell curls and one of the following:  seated or standing barbell curls

ABS – revers sit-ups w/weighted ball, leg raises and extension

Lower Body

Dead Lifts and one of the following:  squats w/dumbbells, squats on bosu ball or pop squts

All 4 leg machines

CALVES – standing and seated calf raises

Low Back extension

Stats Update 1.0

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I must admit, I was pretty apprehensive about doing this today. After having the “getting skinny” feeling and then seeing my weight swing up 3 lbs I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I am happy to say I’m relieved and excited about my measurements. In fact, I had to go back and double-check a couple of them. I re-measured my knees because there was an increase in my left knee and my lower waist because the reduction was so big.

Taking into consideration that it’s hard to measure the exact same spot every time, I think I did pretty well. I measure my upper waist in the middle of where the curve starts and my lower waist just above my bellybutton. For knees, I measured the fat above my knee. For calves, I measured the top part to include a pocket of fat I have just below my knee. For my thighs, I measured the top part that has the most fat (that area that always seems to touch). For my chest, I measured the upper part just under my armpits because there is an area of fat there that I want to get rid of. For everything else, I measured the largest area.

Sunday, June 3, 2012                                   Sunday, July 1, 2012 (4 wks)

BMI: 27.1                                                           BMI: 26.8

Weight: 168 lbs                                                Weight: 166 lbs

Upper Arms: R: 12 1/4” L: 12 1/4”         Upper Arms: R: 11 5/8″ L: 11 6/8″

Fore Arms: R: 9 5/8” L: 9 7/8”                Fore Arms: R: 9 5/8″ L: 9 7/8″

Chest: 35 6/8”                                                 Chest: 35.5

Waist: 31 6/8” (upper) 36” (lower)        Waist: 31.5″ (upper) 33 6/8″ (lower)

Hips: 43 7/8”                                                   Hips: 43″

Thighs: R: 24 6/8” L: 24 6/8”                   Thighs: R: 24″ L: 24.25

Knees: R: 16 1/2” L: 16”                              Knees: R: 16.5″ L: 16.25″

Calves: R: 15 1/2” L: 15 1/2”                    Calves: R: 15″ L: 15.25″

As you can see, I went down or stayed the same in every area except my left knee. For some inexplicable reason, I went up 1/4 inch there.

I hope the next 8 weeks go as well or better than the first 4 have.  The pictures below don’t show that much of a physical difference (except the current one is blurry and I smiled at the advice of my sister…haha!) but by measurement, there is a difference.

Me on June 3, 2012

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Week 4

Wow!  So hard to believe I’m already at the 4th week of my new workout schedule.  Time is flying by!  I’m learning new things and enjoying my journey.  A thought that continues to be reinforced is about comparison and how it will surely steal your joy if you entertain those thoughts.  You should never compare yourself to others but instead try to be the best YOU that you can be.  If you must compare then compare yourself to yourself.  Are you improving, growing, changing, advancing?  Are you picking yourself up when you fall down?  Are you breaking through the obstacles?  Are you striving to reach your goal?  If you’re doing these things then you are succeeding! 

If you are my age you shouldn’t look across the gym at that twenty-something hard-body with no kids and a revving metabolism and feel bad about yourself because you’re forty-something with 2 kids, have a ton of stretch marks and saggy spots to show for it and a metabolism that isn’t what it used to be.  What joy is there in that?  NONE!  I’m never going to be that young hard-body.  But I can look back through pictures and see how far I’ve come in 2 years.  I know how much better I feel.  I’m extatic about that!  Stop being concerned about how far you have to go and start finding the joy there is to be had in the process.  You just might be the roll model that someone else is looking for.

Ladies, don’t be afraid to use the weight side of the gym.  I think so many women really want to use the weights but either don’t have the first clue what to do (like me) or they are so intimidated by the men they are too afraid to try (also like me).  When I first joined a gym last summer, I told the owner I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and he got me started in circuit training using the machines.  That was great for about the first 6 weeks or so but then my body got used to the routine and stopped responding.  I became frustrated to the point of nearly quitting completely after about 3 months of machine workouts.  That’s when I enlisted the help of a personal trainer who also happens to be my nephew.  The first thing he did was take me over to the weights side of the gym and get me using the barbells and dumbbells.  It was the best thing he could have done and he worked with me until I was confident in the new exercises and could do them on my own.  Almost every gym has trainers available to you.  It is well worth it to purchase a few sessions to get going and then purchase a few more later when you need to change things up.  Free weights are your FRIENDS, people!  Use them!

What I discovered working with my nephew is there’s no reason to be intimidated.  Are there creepers in the gym who watch me workout?  I’ve encountered one in the last year and that was just this past week.  The vast majority of the men in the gym are so involved in what they are doing that they pay no attention to me at all.  There are also some who are willing to help if you ask a question.  I think most of them respect women who use the weights and don’t just relegate themselves day after day to the treadmill or the elliptical machine.

I also think some women are afraid to get “bulky.”  Let me just say this.  I haven’t felt as feminine as I do right now in years….maybe ever.  I’d a lot rather have some lean muscle tone on my arms and legs than go back to what I used to have.  I’ve been lifting weights for a year and I am by no means bulky.  Muscles are feminine, ladies.  You won’t look like Lou Ferrigno.  You don’t have the body type or the hormones for that.

OK…on to this week’s workout.

MONDAY:  After a long weekend of fun and friends, it was hard getting up to go to the gym this morning.  I did my lower body workout and switched out the deadlifts for squats using a bosu ball.  It’s really hard to stand up on the round side of the ball (this is a half-ball with a flat side and a round side) and do squats.  It takes a lot of balance but it really works my thigh muscles.  The first time I did this after my nephew showed me how, I couldn’t walk right for about 3 days!  I’m getting more used to it now.  The rest of my workout was pretty routine.

I got what I call a “fair weather” sinus headache later in the day on Monday.  I get them on bright, sunny, cloudless days.  It must be related to the high pressure on those days or something.  They tend to last for 3 days when I get them.  Bring on the Advil Cold and Sinus!

TUESDAY:  I was in bed by 9 PM Monday night and slept pretty well but still had trouble getting going Tuesday morning.  I tried to be excited about the elliptical machine but I just didn’t have it today.  My sinus headache is still there just under the surface but certainly not horrible.  I still managed to do my 2  miles in under a 15 minute pace each but it was a lot harder today than last week.  Maybe it’s the junk I ate over the weekend….?  Interesting how some days can be so much better than others.

WEDNESDAY:  Ugh!  I think I must be dehydrated.  Getting enough water is one of my biggest challenges.  I’ve had that sinus headache for 2 days now and had to take sinus meds to take the edge off on Monday and Tuesday.  That tends to dry things out quite a bit.  The reason I think I’m dehydrated is because EVERYTHING was hard in the gym this morning….even my 5 minute warm-up on the treadmill.  Each exercise hurt  right from the first repetition.  My muscles felt very fatigued and weak.  It can’t be because I’m not getting enough rest or calories.  I was in bed by 8:45 PM last night and I slept pretty well, too.  It’s got to be fluids.

THURSDAY:  Back on the elliptical today.  It was a little better than Tuesday but not as exhilarating as last week by any means.  I tried to drink more water yesterday and I think it helped.  My sinus headache wasn’t as bad either so I didn’t have to take any meds on Wednesday.  My muscles didn’t burn or ache today like they did on Wednesday either.  Still got the 15 minute mile pace on the first mile and under 14 minutes on the second one.  Mr. Blue Sky gets me going up to about 6.4 for 3 minutes or so. 🙂  The rest of the music my son loaded on my ipod  keeps me in the mid to upper 4 range.  So pace-wise I did pretty well but energy-wise I felt lacking.

FRIDAY:  Today’s workout was pretty good.  I have noticed when I bent down to do the deadlifts that my knees were pointing inward.  I wasn’t sure what the problem was so today I tried changing my grip on the barbell.  At my gym, we have pre-weighted barbells that are bent.  I don’t particularly care for the bent ones, however, they are supposed to be better for you.  They are bent in 4 places and I put my hands on the bends that are closer to the center when I do bicep curls with the barbell.  I was doing the same thing for deadlifts.  When I moved my hands to the bent spots that are closer to the weights at the ends, it changed how my knees bent, too.  I’m guessing it has to do with the over all distribution of the weight.  It was much smoother doing it this way.

That completes Week 4.  I can hardly believe that much time has passed already.  I feel a pretty awesome sense of accomplishment.  I will measure again this weekend and post an update of my stats.  I sure hope I’m moving in the right direction even if the scale doesn’t show it.

Weight Update 3.0

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weight:  170 lbs

Yup…you read that right.  I GAINED 3 lbs last week.  This is my struggle.  I gain and lose the same 5 lbs over and over again.  I have done this since my weight settled around 165 lbs back in February or March of 2011.  I would not be at all surprised to see it come right back off again this week.  I guess I’ll find that out when I get to next Sunday.

I don’t think the “getting skinny” feeling I was experiencing last week was a mirage either.  There are definitely some changes happening and I’m getting stronger.  There is no question about that.

I didn’t spend any time over the last 3 days obsessing over my diet and making sure I get everything entered into my diary on MyFitnessPal every day either.  I went “off the grid” and spent the weekend doing something much more important and fulfilling than that.

My family spent the weekend with another family that we have grown to love more and more every time we are with them.  God brought 2 of our children together as friends when they met in college a couple of years ago but only recently began to knit the hearts of the adults together.  We only met these folks 6 months ago but it feels like we have known them for a lifetime.  Have you ever met someone like that?

During this weekend we had the privilege of playing an active roll while God was blessing this family.  The interesting thing in being involved in something like that is God also finds ways to bless us when we are helping Him to bless others.  The gift doesn’t return void.  The blessing for us was in the giving.

Fitness is an important goal and it is good to treat our bodies well and to get into shape so we can be strong and healthy.  But it is also important to take time out to nurture relationships and be willing to move when God says He has something He wants us to do.  I couldn’t have spent my time any better than how I spent it this weekend.

Week 3

MONDAY:  Much as I wanted to just stay in bed this  morning, I dragged myself out and got to the gym to do my upper body workout.  It went pretty well, all things considered.  I didn’t push to add more weight but rather maintained what I added last week.  I can definitely tell my body is still fighting off this bug because my muscles don’t feel as sure as they did on Thursday and Friday last week.  I am trying very hard not to be deterred.  I don’t feel any worse this morning so I’m taking that as a good sign.  No sign of infection either so I hope this is just a virus that is going to have to run its course.  I also think this is something different/additional to what I started off with nearly 2 weeks ago because the symptoms are slightly different.

Let this be a lesson in making sure you clean the equipment when you are done with it at the gym and even BEFORE you use it.  I’m not saying that I caught this in the gym although it is possible.  I got exposed to enough illness outside the gym this past month to know it likely came from somewhere else.  However, I am in the gym using the equipment with this illness.  I’m not sick enough to stay home.  No fever, no chills or muscle aches, no chest congestion, no abdominal symptoms.  I DO try and make sure I clean the equipment when I’m done for the sake of others who will use it after me.  I need to remember to also clean it before I even start.  Unfortunately, not everyone in the gym cares enough to clean up when they’re through, sick or not.  There are all kinds of germs lurking in the gym.  Just be careful for yourself and courteous to others by remembering to clean the equipment.

TUESDAY:  Back on the elliptical machine today.  This time I did the “manual” program so I could see how many calories I burned.  I think it said 250 when I was done.  That’s better than what I get on the treadmill…another reason to love the elliptical machine.  I kept the 15 min. mile pace on the second half so that was good.  I need to get the 15 min. mile in the first half, too, though.  Something to shoot for. 🙂

I really have to take the time to put music on my ipod for my cardio workouts.  I’ve had it with the gym music from Pandora.  I thought you were supposed to get variety with that program?  I just keep hearing the same 4 songs when I’m in there.  I know, I know…I’ll get sick of my ipod, too, but at least it will be music I like.

WEDNESDAY:  It was really hard to get out of bed this morning.  After waking to take my thyroid meds, I ended up back in a deep sleep cycle and couldn’t shake the fog when my alarm went off.  I got out the door late and that set me behind at the gym.  I did my lower body workout and added weight to the hip abductor and adductor.  I couldn’t do all 3 sets with the additional weight but I did the first 2.  I also added 10 lbs of weight to my dead lifts and 5 lbs of weight to my low back extensions.  I didn’t have time to get both of my abs exercises in so I added 8 reps to each set and on the 2nd and 3rd set I added a 4 lb medicine ball.  I think I will continue to use the ball because the reverse sit-ups are no longer a challenge just using the weight of my legs.  I have nerve damage in my neck from my thyroid surgery so I shouldn’t do a normal sit up.  It requires too much muscle strain in the front of my neck and it causes tightness and restriction.  I’ve been seeing a massage therapist to help alleviate that and he recommended the reverse sit ups to work my abs.

THURSDAY:  I thought I might have over done it yesterday by adding weight to my dead lifts AND the low back extension because a knot developed in my lower left back during the day on Wednesday.  I’m happy to report there is no sign of it today. 🙂

Oh what a difference having your own music to listen to makes in the gym!!  Now I completely understand why 90% of the people in there have ear buds stuffed into their ears.  My son was kind enough to load some music on my ipod for me earlier this week and this morning was my first time using it in gym.  It was nothing short of AMAZING!!  Not only was I able to go on the elliptical at better than a 15 min. mile pace for both miles (just over 13 mins or so ea.) but I had about the best workout ever.  I felt fantastic when I was done!  It was so nice not to have to find a rhythm on that machine while listening to some schmuck drone on about how he’d like to cheat on his current girlfriend with his ex who has lips like an angel.  Give me a break!  I was motivated today by Five for Fighting, Adelle, ELO, The Monkeys, Journey….stuff an old lady like me can relate to!  Haha!  Who knew I could get going so fast on the elliptical to Mr. Blue Sky?  It was exhilarating!

I can also tell my body is starting to respond to the changes these last 2 1/2 weeks.  I’m starting to get that “skinny feeling.”  You may know what I mean.  It’s this sensation I get when my body is starting to shed weight.  It’s hard to describe.  A friend told me yesterday they knew what I meant and that I wasn’t crazy…it’s a real feeling.  Glad to know I’m not crazy in my head.  But after this morning’s workout….crazy in my attitude can sometimes be a good thing.

FRIDAY:  Went a little later to the gym this morning.  I took the day off from work because friends are coming in for the weekend.  I had a lot to do today but I didn’t let that deter me from making sure I got to the gym.  My workout was good.  I’m mostly just looking forward to spending time with our friends.  I hope you have a good weekend, too.  I’ll update my weight again on Sunday.  Oh!  That nasty cold is gone, now, too.  😉

A Look at What I Eat

For those of you who may be interested, here is a report from MyFitnessPal that shows everything I ate last week.  It is the first full week of keeping a food diary since I started this on June 4th.

Every day I set my alarm to take my thyroid meds so there is a full hour between my meds and breakfast.  I eat breakfast before I head to the gym.  I drink my protein shake as soon as I get home.  I eat a morning snack around 9:30 AM or so.  Lunch is usually around noon.  I eat another snack in the afternoon around 3 PM.  I try to eat my dinner before 7 PM.  I don’t eat anything after dinner.

I am usually ready to eat by the time snacks and meals roll around.  When I go to bed I am slightly hungry.  It is best to go to bed that way with no carbs in your system to allow your body to burn fat for energy while you sleep.  It also helps your hormones to stay at optimal levels for good sleep which allows your body to repair and build muscle.

I am by no means perfect when it comes to this eating schedule but I try to stick as close to it as possible.  If anything, I have trouble on weekends when my schedule isn’t as regimented as it is during the week.  Typically, I don’t eat ENOUGH on weekends.  June 16th is not a typical Saturday for me.  I usually don’t cook a meal and eat it for lunch.  But I was particularly hungry that day so I ate.  Sometimes you just have to do that.

Click the link below that says “Diet.”  Feel free to comment.  I would appreciate your feedback.

Diet

Weight Update 2.0

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weight:  167 lbs

I’m down 1 lb this week.  Not too bad.  I’ll gladly take whatever weight loss that comes.

At the advice of my friend, Jill, I tweaked my diet profile on MyFitnessPal to a lower weight loss goal of .5 lbs per week.  It gave me a larger calorie baseline of 1540 per day but I was still over on Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat last week.  The margins are much less though so I’ll take it.  Again, weight loss is not my goal here but that is what the calorie limit is based on with this app so I have to play the calorie game.

To quote one of my favorite movies, the improvements in my health I felt on Thursday and Friday “up and vanished like a fart in the wind” on Saturday.  I’m back to feeling crappy with coughing now.  Everything is still “from the neck up.”  The coughing isn’t in my chest (yet) but rather my throat.  If this stuff isn’t gone by Wednesday, I think I’m going to take a trip to the doctor and get some antibiotics.  I have a big weekend coming up and I cannot afford to be sick.  Not to mention the set-backs in the gym if this persists.  It’s going on 2 weeks…enough is enough already!

Happy Father’s Day to all you awesome dads out there.  Father’s Day is a little bitter-sweet around here.  I lost my step-father to a stroke at the age of 53 in September 2005, my dad to colon cancer at the age of 61 in March 2010 and my father-in-law to an aortic aneurysm at the age of 80 in December 2010.  Celebrate your dad(s) while you have him/them.  As my father-in-law used to say, “when they’re gone, they’re gone for a long, long time.”

Hug the ones you love.  Tell them that you love them.  Don’t wait for tomorrow or a better opportunity than right now.

Week 2

Like the first week, this week had it’s own set of challenges.  My summer cold hasn’t quite departed but is getting better so that was good.  The week began with some lovely female issues (that we won’t get into here but I’m sure you get the idea) and that added some additional physical challenges early in the week.  Most alarming, however, is the revelation that I am consuming WAY more calories than I initially thought I was.  I have gone over in my 1290/day allotment according to MyFitnessPal every day this week except Thursday.  I am trying to take this with a grain of salt because this app is by no means perfect.  For one thing, I am using a database that can be added to by users of the app (much like Wikipedia) so I have to take into account that some of the info may be bogus.  Also, the app gives me absolutely NO calorie burn credit whatsoever for all the strength training I do.  They explain it on their website by saying there are too many variables that go into strength training which makes it hard to be accurate in the amount of calories burned (ie, number of reps, amount of weight used, the speed with which each exercise is performed, etc.) so their answer is to not count it at all.  So I’m trying not to freak out too much about the whole caloric intake bit.

Here’s how the week went:

MONDAY:  Nothing like starting this week out with a bang!  I’m still feeling a little “off” from the illness that developed last week but I think it’s on it’s way out now.  Once again, Sunday night was not a good night for sleeping.  I think I overstimulated my brain with my new fitness app and the schedule app on my ipod because I couldn’t stop the thought train from running full speed ahead all night long.

I got up and into the gym on time and jumped right into my upper body workout after 5 minutes of warm up time on the treadmill.  I had completed 2 back and 2 chest exercises and used up 30 minutes of my time before I realized that today I’m supposed to be doing my LOWER BODY workout.  Really!?!?!?  So after a few moments of indecision, I made up my mind to do as much of the lower body stuff as I could.  I did dead lifts, leg presses, hip abductor and adductor, leg curls and abs.  I had to skip the leg extensions, low back extension and both calf exercises.  To say I was mad for my lack of attention was an understatement.  However, after a shower and some time to think I decided I would just do the ones I missed on Tuesday in addition to my cardio workout.  Problem solved!

TUESDAY:  Woke to a thunderstorm on Tuesday morning.  I love thunderstorms 🙂  Got to the gym on time and made up for Monday’s mishap by doing the low back extension, leg extension, calf exercises and a 5 minute warm up on the treadmill.  I wimped out on the cardio though.  I just didn’t have it in me to do a whole 30 minutes so I only did 15.   Cardio is usually my favorite part of working out but not today.  I felt weak and light-headed (thanks to the “issue” I mentioned at the top).  I left and determined to do better on Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  Another night of lousy sleep…what is up with that?  I was tired before dinner around 6 PM on Tuesday night and then at 9:30 PM when I should be off to bed I got this burst of energy and cleaned my kitchen for 30 minutes.  At 11:30 PM I was STILL wide awake….mind racing.  My workout went pretty well, however.  I got going on the CORRECT one this time so that was an improvement 🙂  I also pushed and did heavier weight on my bicep curls (15 lbs instead of 12) for half of my sets.  I had to drop back to 12’s for the second half but that’s ok.  It is progress!  I also added a little more weight on the last set of my tricep extensions (30 lbs instead of 25).  Baby steps but I’ll take them.

Unfortunately, my diet took a nosedive at dinner time.  I came home to make another great recipe from The Skinny Rules only to find that my salmon hadn’t defrosted enough so I succumbed to being over tired and too hungry and did the easiest thing which was take-out.  I blew 500 calories on a Slim Jim from Big Boy.  No fries.  I think the lesson here is the importance of preparation.

THURSDAY:  ELLIPTICAL!  I’m in a budding romance with the elliptical machine.  I find it more challenging than the treadmill but I also find I can do more on it which is strange to me.  I can’t go for long periods of time at a fast pace on the treadmill.  I get winded too easily.  But on the elliptical, I can go at a 15-minute mile pace and keep my heart rate elevated in the high 160’s to mid 170’s for extended periods of time.  I went for 30 minutes this morning, which was my intention, but I’ve never done it that long before.  I always wimp out at 15 minutes and head over to the treadmill to finish the last 15.  Again…progress!  Today was one of those days when I felt really strong in the gym.  I hope to see more days like this one.

I had trouble again Thursday evening diet-wise, unfortunately.  I didn’t pack an afternoon snack.  I resorted to unsalted dry-roasted peanuts about mid-afternoon.  That wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t enough either.  I had to run errands on the way home and ended up stuck in this ridiculous traffic jam.  The result was a 2 hour commute home.  To say I was famished by the time I arrived at 7:30 PM was an understatement.  I ditched my plans to have a healthy Skinny Rules salmon dinner and instead ordered tacos, refried beans and rice from a local Mexican family restaurant.  I split it with my daughter though so I didn’t go completely off my rocker.  Then I made the salmon for Friday’s lunch.

FRIDAY:  Aaaahhh…..Friday!  My lower body workout went well this morning.  No problems or complaints.  Got in and out on time and felt pretty good afterward.  That’s 2 weeks down.  Only 10 more to go.  Looking forward to my weigh-in on Sunday!

Weight Update

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weight:  168 lbs

Weight-wise, nothing changed for me this past week.  I battled an illness that came on 3 days into my new workout schedule and decided to continue on with getting into the gym every day but not to push myself too hard.  I’m not disappointed with my weight remaining the same.  Gaining would have been a bummer.

The first day of this challenge was my birthday.  I have been saving to buy myself an ipod Touch so I ordered it on that day.  It arrived on Thursday.  I’ve spent the weekend (the down time I earned being in the gym all week) to explore it and add a few apps.  I found one last night called MyFitnessPal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/).  It is awesome!  One of the best features is the food diary.  I have been reading and hearing in multiple places that I should write down everything I eat every day.  It helps to see where I’m wasting calories and where I’m lacking in nutrients like fiber and protein.  It is a little cumbersome at first setting up all those foods but in the weeks ahead it will be a breeze because everything I eat will already be in my database.  The coolest feature of the diary is a bar code scanner.  I scanned my Greek yogurt, multi-grain tortillas and cheese packages today and voila! they were added to my diary.

Another cool feature is the calorie countdown.  When I registered it asked for things like my starting weight and goal weight, whether I am male or female, etc. and used that data to compute the number of calories I will need to eat to reach my goal.  As I mentioned previously, the goal for me is not the number that’s on the scale at the end of my 12 weeks.  It’s about reduction of my BMI, measurements and increased muscle mass.  However, I couldn’t get set up without choosing a goal weight so I chose one that would have me losing weight at a healthy rate of 1 lb per week.

As a way of helping me to stay on track for my caloric intake each day, the calorie counter works backward to tell me how many calories I have left to consume in my daily allotment.  Already this is proving to be a great tool and it was a free app.  The only drawback I’ve found is the set daily allotments for protein and fiber are too low so it appears that I am eating too much in those categories when in reality I’m not.

I also finished reading The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper.  At this point in time, I don’t plan to implement his monthly meal plan like I did when I read Master Your Metabolism.  I already know how to eat healthy.  The purpose of reading this book was to get some new recipes and to pull me out of the boredom I was creating by eating the same things all the time.  I also wanted see what else he had to offer in the way of nutrition advice.  What I’ve found most refreshing about Bob’s book is the simplicity of his recipes.  Last night I made his recipe for Seared Pork with Lemon-Thyme Sauce.  It was very simple to make (7 ingredients), was done in less than 20 minutes and it was delicious.  The serving had 235 calories, 33.7 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs and 9.5 grams of fat.  Tonight I am going to try Parmesan-Crusted Chicken.  Even simpler, it has only 4 ingredients with a serving containing 157 calories, 29 grams of protein, 0.2 carbs and 3 grams of fat!  Sorry though…no recipe sharing here.  If you want to try it for yourself, you’ll have to buy the book!

I’m excited to see where this week will lead me, challenges and all.

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