Friday, January 30, 2009

Should it hurt?

Lately I've been running into something that is rather frustrating for me. It happens during the strength portion of my workouts. When I do sit ups, or push ups, or any lifting, I push myself to finish the reps and I push myself to do 3 sets. By the time I'm done, my muscles burn and I simply can't do any more. I feel good and accomplished and like I've really done a workout.

The problem is that the next day, or even hours later, my muscles have recovered and I feel as if I haven't worked them at all. The soreness that I'm used to that tells me I pushed myself hard enough is no longer there. So I question if I'm working hard enough. I wonder if I'm not doing something right, or if perhaps my body has just become so used to the exercises that they aren't helping anymore.

So tell me, should it hurt?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The culling has begun

It seems a tad early for it, but it was definitely noticeable at the gym yesterday. The rows of empty machines, the half empty spinning class, the fact that I did not have to perform half naked aerobatics to reach my locker. The Resolutioners are leaving.

Now is the time when we start seeing the birth of new *true* fitness fanatics. People that are going beyond the New Years Resolution time period and who will become familiar faces week after week.

I think there should be a sort of celebration at the end of January, when according to Franklin Covey over 35% of us will have broken our brand shiny new resolutions. Anyone left in the running should be rewarded with a party, and cake. Or a fruit and veggie tray for those whose resolutions involve avoiding cake.

In the spirit of helping everyone avoid being one of those 35%, Merry over at Cranky Fitness has put up a Quick Reference Chart to help you decide if you should go to the gym today or not. Since laughter helps with a whole slew of health issues, and because being in a good mood makes you more likely to decide that, yeah, you can handle that spin class, I recommend posting said chart somewhere like the fridge ^_^

I scoured the internets trying to find more useful links on *keeping* resolutions, but unfortunately everything I found related more to *making* resolutions than "after the fact keeping yourself going" tips. Anyone got any good links for me?


Monday, January 26, 2009

I finally managed to get myself to use the eliptical machine at my parents house this weekend. We were up for another visit and the thought of falling further behind in my weight loss got me to suit up. I found it hard, however, to motivate myself to work very hard once I was on the machine. Maybe it was being at my parents house, maybe it was just laziness, but I barely made it through 20 minutes before calling it quits. I made a half hearted attempt at strength training, mostly situps, before realizing I just wasn't into it.

I'm holding on to the idea that it was better than nothing, and getting back to it again this week.

Does anyone else find it hard to motivate themselves to push hard durring a workout on vacation?

Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm not a glutton, so why am I fat?

Something that's been bothering me a lot lately is the perception that if you are not in shape, it must be because you sit around all day stuffing crap into your face. Or at least the perception that you must be at least eating more than you should.

When I keep track of the calories that I eat, without restricting what I eat further than normal, I eat between 1500-1600 calories a day. I work out regularly, although I will admit to a bit of a slump in that this week due to travel plans messing with my program. I avoid fried foods, processed junk food, and Starbucks. The last heavenly cup of Pinkberry I had was the first weekend of the New Year, and I'm not getting another one until spring.

And yet I still fall on the "Overweight" side of the BMI scale.

True, I could be more vigilant in counting calories and watching what I eat. True, I could spend more time in the gym, although a big reason I'm not at the gym more involves the completion of a couple of other projects in other realms of life (most notably teaching myself Flash so I can update my poor, unloved portfolio site, which is in dire need of an update.)

I read the magazines and the websites, and I hear all these platitudes "Just ten minutes a day!" "Just cut down to 1500 calories!" "Just replace one meal with cereal!" I feel that somehow something is wrong. When I was loosing weight steadily, I was eating under 1200 calories a day consistently. I was not only at the gym, but *on* the machines for over an hour, three days a week, with weight training added in I would spend over two hours at the gym, not counting showers.

So what is it? Are Oprah, Self, and FitTV lying to us? Or am I just being whiney and unwilling to do what it takes? Is the answer that I just need to commit myself to molding my life around my fitness routine until I reach my goal? Or am I doomed to maintain indefinitely at a weight I'm not happy with?


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do it for the Kids

Pasta Queen just posted that she has signed up for the Bop to the Top challenge, which is a fundraiser for the Riley Children's Hospital in Indiana.

She made an appeal on her blog for donations, and is even offering the incentive of link love if you donate.

So, Just in case I've got a lurker out there that reads my blog and hasn't seen hers yet, go over there and drop a buck her way. Because no kid should have to be sick, and if they are, they should have the best medical care available to them.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I survived my weekend of snow sports! Saturday I was up on the mountain, learning to snowboard. We decided on snowboarding instead of skiing so we were all in the same beginners boat. Other than a particularly persistent calf cramp and a very cold behind, I had a great time. I had one nasty spill when getting off the lift, but most of the other falls were of the "Ok I'm going to fast I'm going to sit down now" variety. We started with a two hour lesson, which I would recommend for anyone who wants to try snowboarding. It's a lot harder than it looks!

This is me waiting my turn to try going down the bunny slope. You just can't tell how nervous I am.

Proof that I could actually stand up on the snowboard. I did get better at it, I swear!

Me and my S.O. taking a break between runs, and showing just how cool we look in our Snowboarding diggs.

Sunday we did some snow tubing, which, after snowboarding, felt like the laziest "sport" ever. I had fun though, and considering how sore I was from Snowboarding, I don't think I could have handled anything more strenuous.

I am, in fact, still sore, I'm hoping a good run at the gym today will loosen everything back up. I'm also planning on a good soak in the tub tonight, which should ease any lingering pain.

All in all I had a great time, and I'm looking forward to doing it again!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Exercise you can do outside in the cold!

This weekend I'm going skiing for the first time in, oh, 8 or 9 years. All the gear is assembled (minus the skis and boots - we're renting) and I'm starting to get that nervous/excited feeling in my stomach. I may go snowboarding instead. At least then I'll have an excuse for falling my way down the mountain!

In preparation for a day on the slopes I've been doing lunges, squats and plenty of yoga. I'm sure I'll still come home sore and tired, and wishing I had strengthened my legs more.

One thing I'm not looking forward to is the cold, it's supposed to be brutally cold this weekend. Because I've done this before, and have a good idea what to expect, I'm packing to dress in layers. Many many layers. By the time I'm done getting dressed I will look like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. ^_^

Dressing for a day on the slopes for me goes like this: Two pairs of socks, one normal one thick, Leggings, Thermal pants, Jeans (because I'm weird and like to ski in Jeans), Thermal shirt, T shirt, Hoodie, Jacket, Ear warmers (because hats don't do well with my long hair), stretchy gloves, real normal gloves, scarf (or neck warmer). We're bringing those disposable warming packets to stick in our pockets too.

Yet, I still know I'm going to freeze on the ski lift...

What outdoor activities do you do to get some exercise?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Progress again, Finally!

I'm halfway through the second week since starting the new workout schedule. My calves have been complaining lately after a run, so today I switched it up and did a H.I.I.T. session on the elliptical machine. Man, I forgot how hardcore H.I.I.T. sessions are. I've been contemplating ways to vary my workouts, since as much as I love it, running all the time isn't the best idea. There's a (non-contact) boxing class on Mondays in the morning that I'm thinking about joining, and I think I need to try to get to at least one yoga class a week.

It's been encouraging lately to finally start seeing some concrete results from all this hard work. My weight is back under 150 lbs. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it coming off this week, and end the month under 145.

I'm still having trouble getting myself out of bed in the morning to go work out. I end up having a mental argument with myself for 20 minutes or so before I annoy myself into getting out of bed.

Any pointers on motivating myself in the A.M.?


Monday, January 12, 2009

Creating Priorities

The majority of my new years resolutions are still in place. I've managed to stick to the work out schedule for a week now, I'm chugging water like it's going to vanish on me, and fruits and veggies have started to become a bigger part of my diet. It's an awesome feeling knowing I've managed to hang in this long, especially with the incredible amount of distractions I've got going on right now.

One of the things I'm learning to do is to prioritize my activities. For instance, it is more important that I get on the treadmill and run every day than it is for me to do some Wii Fit Yoga. I'm still finding it a tad stressful to find time for everything I've vowed to do every day, however, and I'm starting to think a little organization might be in order.

How do you prioritize your goals?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Small Goals Keep You Motivated

Sure it's great to set a large, ultimate goal, like say Loosing 50 lbs or Fitting into a size 8. But goals like that take time, a lot of time actually. Setting smaller, intermediary goals can help keep you on track, and stave off the "I'm not getting there fast enough" frustration.

One of my goals for this year is to be able to do 10 full pull-ups, with good form. Never mind the fact that I can barely do one, with bad form and a hop to start! I realize I'm not going to see 10 pull-ups for a while, most likely months, so I've broken the goal down a bit. First goal? Be able to do three sets of 8 reps on the Gravitron (I still think that sounds like some futuristic weapon), with the weight stack set to 90. I'm not sure exactly how that translates, except that it makes it much easier. (I'm guessing it's taking 90 lbs of my weight away.) One week into this craziness and I'm almost to goal one! I was able to do *almost* three sets! I did two sets of 8 reps, and one set of 5, all with good form, before my arms gave out. Go me!

I'm taking an unplanned rest day today because of some over scheduling on my part, but I'll be back to it tomorrow. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze in some Wii Fit today...

How do you break up your goals to make them manageable?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Weight vs. Body Fat percentage

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Mostly because I'm again hitting that point where, while my body fat percentage is going down, my weight is going up. I realize that the weight will eventually drop again, and that the weight gain is muscle mass, and is therefore a good thing. It is still frustrating, however, to see the numbers on the scale doing exactly the opposite of what you want them to do.

One very annoying aspect of this phenomenon is that the most widely used system of determining your level of general fitness uses your weight and height to do it's calculations. Body Fat percentage is a much better factor to determining fitness, yet, because it's not as easy to measure as weight, most people resort to using your BMI.

It's very frustrating for someone working very hard, seeing strength improvements and endurance improvements, to be told they are "worse off" than a week ago.

Ahh well. Until the weight loss catches up to the muscle gain, I suppose I'll just have to deal with my shiny new Wii Fit trying to console me about my weight gain by telling me "It will take some time for the results to show from your hard work!"

Do you track your Weight or your Body Fat Percentage?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's rainy and gloomy outside, but the gym is empty?

Have all the new years resolutioners given up already?

I had to drag myself out of bed this morning, I'm finding this routine a lot more tiring than I thought. Now mind you the health routine bit is only part of it, I've actually rather packed my days with stuff to do lately. But, I did manage to get myself out of bed, telling myself I'd be damned if I gave up midway through the first week of this, and trying in vain to convince myself that "it'll get easier once my body gets used to the schedule."

The weird part was that once I got there, slogging through the rain and ickyness outside, I expected the gym to be packed, like it had been on Monday and Tuesday. But no, there they were sitting waiting in silence for me, rows of empty machines. A few people jogged away on the treadmills, but they had that comfortable look of regular gym goers. The locker room was silent as well. I felt like I should celebrate, and yet, like maybe I was just missing something. Was there some insanely popular class going on right now? Was some incredibly hot single trainer guy offering a free group lesson? Nope, the Spin class was about as full as usual (a few empty bikes), and while the Boot Camp class looked a little more filled out than usual, there was still room in there for the angry looking trainer to stalk around between people yelling stuff.

So I don't know, maybe the weather had the opposite effect it usually does and kept people home? (Usually around here when it gets icky out people come to the Gym instead of running outside, so the place gets crowded fast.)

Yesterday I did hit the gym in the evening, and unlike today had to face what Tokaiangel referred to as the January Gym-Goers, they actually had trainers going around gently reminding people of the 30 minute time limit on Cardio machines. Me and the S.O. have resigned ourselves to the fact that while we might be going to the gym to exercise together, we will not be able to find side by side treadmills until at least February. I would also like to note how lucky I am to have such a kind and generous S.O., who not only let me take the first available treadmill (resigning himself to standing around waiting for someone else to finish), but who also was kind enough to help me with the Gravitron, standing down by the weight stack and helping me find the appropriate counter weight, and also providing moral support through my pitiful single set of eight pull-ups, even though he himself can manage 12 full pull-ups even after doing a bunch of bicep curls. (My man he is buffness, yes he is ^_^)

I seem to have picked up a slight seasonal cold, so I'm upping my water intake further, chugging the stuff like it's liquid gold. It does seem to help my throat a lot.

Anyone got any good home remedy type tips for lessening the effects of a "slightly annoying yet not totally knock you" out type cold?


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Keeping up my new years resolutions, so far so good

Today was day two of the new years resolution plan. Yesterday I managed to get a Wii Fit session in in the afternoon after going to the gym in the morning.

Today the Wii Fit started me off this morning, and I'm heading to the gym later this afternoon. I have my trusty Sigg next to me, with it's second filling of water. I have had only one cup of coffee today, and I've been pretty good about keeping my food choices relatively healthy, with one mocha had yesterday while out for my drawing group.

I managed to do a pull up yesterday (getting my chin over the bar) but I confess I wasn't starting from a dead hang, I hopped my way up a bit. Today I'm going to use the assisted pull up machine at the gym to work on them some more.

It's hard right now not to keep checking for progress. I know, intellectually that it's going to take some time before I can see the results of the changes in my fitness plan, but emotionally it's frustrating not to see numbers pealing off the scale like magic.

How do you keep from getting frustrated by a lack of results?

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Years Resolutions, tips and strategies

I'm not big on the new years resolutions. I make them, and remake them every couple of weeks after the new year. I've decided, since today was my first official day of my brand new fitness schedule (which is one of my resolutions), that today would be a good day to (finally) make a resolutions post.

Before I get to the "all about me" section of the post, A few places to find more helpful information about new years resolutions, and keeping them.

First, over at Cranky Fitness they have an actually informative new years post, unlike mine, so jump over there and check it out.

Fit Sugar has a list of 6 Products to Help You Get Fit This Year, and Cool Running has the Couch to 5k Plan for those of us who have running more in our list of resolutions.

Another good resolution themed post is over at Back in Skinny Jeans.

And over at Half Of Me Pasta Queen is showing off her video blogging skills for the new year.

Ok, now that I feel that this post had an actual purpose, on to the part about me ^_^
The weight gain from the holidays wasn't as bad as I feared, I'm only up to around 152.5, so I should be able to get myself back under 150 by the end of January. Especially with my new years resolutions firmly in place.

My New Years Resolutions (fitness and health wise at least):
- Stick to a workout schedule as follows: M-W-F Gym in the morning, Wii Fit in the afternoon, T-TH-Sa: Wii Fit in the morning, Gym in the afternoon.
-Drink More Water. At least one full Sigg (yay! I have a Sigg!) each day.
-Do more Yoga (see resolution one - Wii Fit Yoga, or Take yoga class at gym)
-Drink Less Caffeine. (this ones not going so hot so far)
-Eat more fruits and Veggies, and less prepackaged junk (actually going well so far)
-Do 10 Pull-ups with Good Form by the end of the year (Right now I can do...3/4 of one)
-Run a 10 minute mile (Right now I run between a 12 and 14 minute mile depending on how I'm feeling)

I'm sure I'll think of more as the year goes on, I'm prone to making resolutions often (birthdays, start of spring, beginning of a new week, you know...often) but these are the ones I want to stick with this year. The workout schedule may have to change when I get a job, but until then its written in STONE I tell you! ^_^

What resolutions are you posting up on your wall this year?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Starting the New Year (finally)

I finally got my self back into things after the holidays this weekend. Friday was my first day back at the gym in over a week. I also started using my brand new Wii Fit on Friday. I'm going to reserve full judgment on the effectiveness of the Wii Fit until I've been doing it for a couple weeks, but I do have a few first impressions.

It was amusing to see the digital representation of my weight translated to on my avatar, although I'm hoping to slim her out soon. There seems to be a disconnect between the difficulty of the aerobics exercises and the difficulty of the strength and yoga sections. It is possible to get your heart rate up doing the aerobic exercises, but you *really* have to work at it. I managed to break a sweat doing the hula hooping, but only because I was going for the household record and determined to break 300 spins on each side ^_^ There is also a neat feature where you can input "fitness points" for exercises you do away from the Wii Fit. And you get a nice chart of your progress. So far I'm a fan of the Strength and Yoga (which seem to be relatively challenging) but I'll stick to the gym for my cardio!

What fitness related gifts have you received, or bought yourself, lately?


Tracking Transformation: Where I stand now