Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fitness trends

Am I the only one around here who loses track of the fitness trends? I'm pretty sure I've tried most of them, and I definitely have my favorites. Like I mentioned in my last post, I still have an undying love for kickboxing (hello, 2001).  Some of the newer trends I've tried over the last couple years have included HIIT (high intensity interval training)- although I was never part of the Crossfit camp, I've done T25 and some of Jillan Michaels' videos that use HIIT concepts. I really enjoy the short bursts of intense work! And of course, you've heard about my (awkward) Zumba attempts...

In my circuit training class, the instructor often incorporates bodyweight training. These are great exercises to have in your roster for when you are unable to go to the gym (like when you're traveling or in jail) and still want to fit a good workout in.

it's a thing

I recently came across this article by Bankers Healthcare Group (they're a provider of financing for healthcare professionals) regarding the top fitness trends to watch in 2015. I was shocked to realize that I am, for once in my life, on trend! Apparently, 2015 will be the year of getting "back-to-basics" when it comes to fitness, with old-school bodyweight moves as a highlight. Love it!

not this old-school

With so many die-hard Crossfitters out there, I doubt it will disappear completely... but according to physical therapists, working through the pain (as certain HIIT programs endorse) can lead to injury.

What's awesome about bodyweight fitness is that you don't need equipment or a gym membership.
Some of the bodyweight exercises I've done in my circuit training class are push-ups, tricep dips (you can use a chair or bench), lunges, bridges, and squats. Actually, we've done everything in this adorable infographic:

I really don't care what kind of workouts people do, be it Crossfit, bodyweight fitness, aqua Zumba, step aerobics.... as long it makes you sweat and feel badass, do it! But don't get hurt...

P.S. My favorite part of that article? Adult. Jungle. Gyms. How much fun would that be?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Workout plans

I swear I haven't neglected you guys on purpose. I've been super busy with real estate stuff. Not actual selling yet (unfortunately) but training and business planning and fun stuff like that.

But I have NOT been neglecting my workout efforts!

I stuck to my regular gym schedule last week, aside from Friday which I spent in a zombie state after staying up most of Thursday night taking care of a sick kiddo. The only thing I had energy for that day was binge watching Million Dollar Listing New York.

It was the last week of my circuit training class (it's a 6 week cycle), and I'm leaning towards re-signing for the next session. HOWEVER, that may change because the instructor has agreed to meet with me and help me conquer my biggest gym fear: weights. I'm totally comfortable with the weight machines but the free weights are very intimidating. That being said, it's something I really want to overcome because I know that lifting can transform your body and help with plateaus.

I've decided to start with Stronglifts 5x5. I like the simplicity of the program:

My instructor is also going to check my form so I can avoid getting into bad habits from the start. I haven't decided yet if both the circuit training class and Stronglifts would be too much weight training... if anyone has any insights, comment and let me know!

While I still miss running and plan to get back to it once I drop 10 or 15 lbs, having workout goals and plan really helps keep me motivated!

I've been staying away from the rest of the group classes (even though I do love Zumba) because I love my quiet time on the machines. I watch old episodes of 48 hours on Youtube or listen to podcasts (currently really into Snap Judgment and old episodes of This American Life). That being said, my Y is adding a group fight class (kickboxing with other martial arts elements) and I am really excited for it! I loved kickboxing when it was a big workout trend 15 years ago. In fact, I even did a speech on it in college because I am that cool.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Workout Log

I had to deviate from my regular workout schedule this week because I felt really crummy on Wednesday and Thursday. I felt really run down, like I was getting a cold but thought that whatever respiratory issues usually come with a cold were masked by the multiple allergy meds I took (allergy season is in full bloom in Arizona right now). Ultimately, I don't think it was a cold because I felt fine on Friday.

Monday I did around 40 minutes on the elliptical and took a 30 minute walk. Tuesday I was running late, so I didn't get a chance to warm up on the elliptical before my circuit training class, but all our squats and lunges really kicked my ass and I was sore for the rest of the week!! I took a 30 minute walk that day too.

On Wednesday I woke up feeling like crap, but, convinced that a little fresh air would perk me up, I ended up taking a few walks (around an hour total). It didn't help. Probably made me feel worse, in fact.

Thursday I decided to officially take a rest day, so I didn't go to my circuit training class. Friday I was desperately missing the endorphins and got my butt to the gym for 40 minutes on the elliptical, and around 20 minutes on the weight machines (also took a 30 minute walk later). I did the one legged leg presses and lifts that I used to do in physical therapy. I've been neglecting my ankle exercises, so I'm really trying to work that back into my workouts. Although my calf is finally the same size as my left leg again, I can definitely tell my right side is weaker when I do balance exercises.

The scale has been inching down at an extremely slow rate, but at least it's going in the right direction! Proof that the scale is not always the best way to gage your progress? The fact that I've dropped two pant sizes in the last month!

It was surprising, to say the least!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Night Owl to Early Bird Update

Way back in January, I pledged to go to bed early and get up early. I'm happy to report that it has gotten progressively easier to get up when that alarm goes off! I'm asleep by 10:30 most nights (give or take), and my alarm goes off at 6:45. It is really nice to have more time during the day to accomplish all that I need to. I do usually stay up a little later on weekends, but I've found that it's a lot harder for me to sleep in late... I'm up around 8 am most weekends.

All in all, I'd say this experiment has been a success- I may never be a morning person naturally, but at least I've made it easier for myself!

On a related note, we got this sticker out of the vending machine at the grocery store, and I had to laugh because it's so me (at least before coffee):

Sunday, April 12, 2015

What defines us

The other day I was thinking about the things that define us. Many of these things we choose, like clothes we wear, our hairstyles, our hobbies.

 Then there are things that define us without even having to be declared. Being overweight, for example. Unfortunately, someone's excess weight often defines them to others, whether it's with disgust, pity, or disdain. I consistently get treated better than I ever did at my highest weight.

My weight loss (and for those who've known me for a long time, my weight gain) is a huge defining factor for me. Probably bigger than I'd like it to be. I'm so entrenched in it right now that it comes up constantly in conversations. Part of it is that I'm still self-conscious of the weight I need to lose, and I like to make it clear that I'm still working hard. And there's also the fact that it's a huge (cheese alert) journey that I'm on, and if I lose touch with that and let it fade to the background, I'll never reach my destination.

On a related note, my veganism is also a large part of who I am, as it heavily affects my day to day life. I find myself often putting these two facts I'm qualifying being an overweight vegan with the fact that I've lost 80 lbs already (side note for anyone interested: Colleen Patrick Goudreau talked about this in a podcast a while ago).

I'm looking forward to that point in time where I find myself content with where I'm at weight-wise (whatever that number may be)...maybe then I can let the things that truly matter define me: my family, compassion, kindness, success, the things that make me unique.

If I let myself reach contentedness at this point in my weight loss, does that mean I give up?

Can you be happy with who you are while simultaneously working on improving yourself?

Here's a final deep thought for you to mull over...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Workout Log + Fitbit love

So the reason I haven't posted any workout updates is because it's been pretty much the same every week. I've been doing really well sticking to my workout schedule- I've been doing a minimum of 60 minutes, 5-6 days a week.

Mondays are elliptical and Stairmaster, and usually a walk around the neighborhood.
Tuesdays are 20 minutes of elliptical and the circuit training class. Sometimes I fit in a walk also.
Wednesday I've been staying home from the Y and getting my 60 minutes of exercise in at home, usually in the form of a walk or bike ride.
Thursdays are like Tuesdays.
Fridays are either a Zumba class or like Mondays.

Having the Fitbit to track my progress has been awesome, to say the least. I only ever wore my Body Bugg to workout because it was way too ugly and bulky to wear all the time. The Fitbit is great because it's sleek, neutral, and doubles as a watch (apparently I can even get caller ID on it but have yet to get that going, because, let's face it, I always have my phone with me).

I very much respond to positive reinforcement and because of that pesky quality, I was super motivated to get my 10,000 steps a day this week! I achieved that goal every day but Thursday (although, at 9,280 steps, I came pretty close and had over an hour of exercise).

Friday was my best day by far!

As much as I love my circuit training class, I haven't decided if I'm going to sign up for the next 6 week block. I'm considering switching my strength training focus to using the weight machines (circuit training uses resistance machines) and barbells. My favorite exercises in class are the ones where we use the ViPR and do squats, deadlifts, lunges or the clean and jerk. Those are classic weight lifting moves so that tells me it's time to overcome my fear of the barbells and that area of the gym.

Are you intimidated by the weight equipment at the gym? Do you do strength training and if so, what do you do?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Sorry about the radio silence over here. There has actually been a lot going on!

Over the last few weeks I have:

Purchased a Fitbit Charge HR to replace my bulky old Body Bugg (more to come on my Fitbit love later)

Gotten my realtor headshot taken so I can finally start actively marketing myself (instead of accosting random strangers at Walmart that make the mistake of mentioning their rental search. In their private conversations. True story. But she did contact me, so I must not be too creepy.)

Finally had my tattoo worked on and made totally awesome

And, best of all, I broke my 10 month long plateau!!!!

I think a combination of two things led to me finally registering a loss: mixing up my exercise routine and eating more.
Yes, that's right, I've been eating more and I think it's helped me lose weight. For months, various people (most of whom I feel are pretty knowledgeable on nutrition) have been telling me that I'm not eating enough. And as much as I know about TDEE and BMR and blah blah blah, I just couldn't get past the less is more diet mindset. But I was pretty desperate to break this plateau and decided to increase my calorie intake to 1600 a day vs the 1200-1400 I was consuming before. The NEXT WEEK I was down 4 lbs. I've been making sure that those extra calories are quality calories, and I've been eating more protein.
Of course, changing up my workout routine and adding strength training in last month had a hand in it, I'm sure. It was pretty freaking awesome to update my weight loss tracker (an epic spreadsheet that I've been tracking my stats in for the last 2 years) for the first time since June.