Monday, December 14, 2009

10 months later...

As you can see, I'm not the most consistent blogger. Or at anything, really. It's been pointed out to me numerous times this year that I start something and I'm 100% into it, and then I drop it just as fast as I started it. It's true. It's like a shortened all-or-nothing cycle.

I last posted with some New Year's resolutions. Let's see how I did. As of this morning I weigh exactly 170.0 lbs, and that is after climbing all the way up to 180 lbs earlier this year. That looks like I lost 3 of the 20 lbs I was going for from the start of the year, even though it was more than that if you count the lbs I lost multiple times ;) I don't go to the gym all that often, I even didn't go for months at a time this year. I cant' remember the whole year, there were times when I was very consistent in going.

So all in all, I would consider my fitness goals for this year a failure. But I did keep trying, and I am ending the year lower than I started it. I'm getting married in just over 6 months so it would be great to be even lower by then, but I'm (mostly) ok with it if I just stay where I'm at now.

This is kind of a down post. I didn't intend for that, it's just how it turned out. Really I think I'm ok. My clothes are loose on me. I know I'm stronger even if I can't see the muscle. I feel better about my fitness levels now than I have in the past. I just don't feel swimsuit-ready and I would really like to for once.

Hopefully I'll post more than 2 times in 2010!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Back in 2009!

So I just reread my last post to see how long ago it was and also what I had said in it. Wow - December 1st?! I had no idea it had been that long.

Anyhow, I have a few new year's resolutions, as it were. I've been trying to tell myself that these are not resolutions, just goals for the year. But then, that's what a resolution is now, isn't it? So here they are:
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Go to the gym 150 times (about 3x per week)
Now if I can't accomplish #2, I'll have no one to blame but me. My hope is that in doing #2, #1 will just take care of itself! I have lost 20 lbs in a single summer before out of diligence (and that diligence was attained out of boredom - you know it's bad when you're so bored all the time with so few friends that your only solution is to go work out!) so I think an entire year should be possible.

I decided to make it a # of days to go in the entire year rather than stating it as 3x per week, cuz I know there will be some weeks I just can't make it - too busy, injured, too lazy, on vacation, etc. If I hold myself to 3x per week then if I screw up just 1 week, I'll be really down on myself. This way I can catch up and stuff. I figure as long as I'm averaging 3x per week, that's good!

So I weighed in on 1/2/09 and came out with 173.0 and 33% body fat, so I am calling that my starting weight for the year 2009. Well, kind of. I say kind of because my scale totally sucks. Like really, totally. Today I went to weigh in and it literally told me 6 different weights. And outrageously different body fat %s. I kid you not, it told me as high as 33% body fat, and as low as 21%. Really??? Stupid thing. Not to worry, I have ordered a replacement scale. It should be here Thursday. But I have long suspected that my current scale is too generous, and reads 5-7 lbs lighter than reality. At least that is what has happened when compared to the Wii Fit scale, my doctor's scale, and the gym's scale (which, by the way, all say the same thing). So 173.0 will probably turn out to be 178.0, but I can't confirm that because....

I have lost 2.2 lbs already! So at next Sunday's weigh in I'll take a reading from each scale and try to determine the ratio of difference. And then the old scale is going in the trash. Really. Just horrible. My summer of fitness, there was a digital medical-grade scale in the locker room of the gym, and that was the only scale I went by. My gym now only has the slide-the-bar kind of scale, and it's over by the water fountain and stuff. I don't want to be obsessively jumping on that the way I did on the old locker room one :)

So how have I been doing on my goals? Well as mentioned above, I am 11% towards the goal of losing 20 lbs, which is great. In January I went for my first workout of the year....and strained my calf. Somehow. Using the power of magic. I've never had a calf strain of any kind before, and I don't think I did anything to strain it, but all the same there it was. It was so bad that I was limping just walking around for several days. To play it safe, and because that killed my motivation, I didn't visit the gym again until almost the last week of January. I'm proud to say that I finished January with 7 gym visits, more than halfway towards the goal of 12.5 times per month (which is needed to stay on track towards the 150 visits in the year).

I also purchased a shiny new heart rate monitor (Miz? Your post on HRMs actually sealed the deal for me, after reading lots of people comment that their HRM was like a personal trainer and kept them honest!). I considered this purchase last October, but my work reimburses up to $400/yr on health and fitness purchases, and I had already used all of mine last year. I'm not entirely sure it will count, but I fit it into my monthly budget too and decided I wanted it even if I was footing the bill. I purchased the Polar FT60, which as it turns out was part of the new fall line in 2008, so I'm glad I waited!

I just completed my first week of HRM training. On this particular model, it can set up training programs for you. You can tell it you want to improve your fitness, or lose weight, or another one, and it will create a week-by-week program to help you achieve this goal. For my first week it had me complete the following goals:
  1. Work out for 4:45 (4 hours 45 mins)
  2. Spend 2:15 in HR zone 1, and 2:30 in zone 2, where zone 1 = 60-70% max, and zone 2 = 70-80% max
  3. Burn 2650 calories
That is alot of hours. Almost 5 hours. In a week. A single week. I'm lucky if I can do maybe 2:15 of cardio in a week (I decided to make it all cardio since there is alot of standing around with weights, and also cuz I'm prone to injury with weights, and for what I'm about to say too). I decided upon my first trip to the gym that I would do it in 4 1:15 sessions so that I wouldn't have to get there 5+ days in the week, which is a huge stretch for Ms. AnyExcuseToSkipTheGym.

Here's the great part. The really great part. Ready for it? It is literally impossible to complete all 3 of those goals without doing additional work. After the first session I was about 100 cals behind what I needed to burn for that session to complete the week successfully. Why is that? Why, because I can only train in zones 1 and 2! No zone 3 for me (80-90% max), which apparently is what I usually do when I go to the gym. I just completed that week today, and I did 1:15 the first 2 sessions, 1:18 the 3rd, and 1:35 today, the 4th. I miscalculated the # of cals needed per session and ended up 70 cals over the target! Oops. So I completed the overall time, the time per zone, and thanks to even more time, the cals burned. I feel really proud of that.

After the first workout, I thought the HRM was crazy. As in, this workout was way WAAAAY too easy, I'm wasting my time. A whole lot of it, too. After the 2nd I thought it was just ok. After the 3rd, I was sore all over. And now, after the 4th, I think this HRM knows something that I don't know. Something to do with more time put in, and less effort. Which kind of directly conflicts with the whole HIIT theory. But I've tried HIIT. Guess what? It earned me nothing. I sweat, I felt like I did a good job, but no soreness after. And no weight lost. So maybe there's something to this slow and low thing. I figured I'd give the HRM at least a month to prove its point to me. And hey, I lost 1 lb of my 2.2 lbs of the year in this last week. So...HRM, you win! At midnight it will tell me this week's program. I only hope it doesn't increase the amount of time needed...

My legs seriously hurt. Calves are not strained feeling, but very, very stiff. Whole leg hurts. Youch. With soreness, though, not pain pain. About 15 mins into my zone 1 workout I was feeling the burn. Felt it even more after about 25 mins into zone 2. Hard stuff! Hard stuff parading around as cake.

So, I'm 4 visits for February. Total: 11/150 for 2009. And if the HRM keeps training me, I'm gonna hit that 150 goal in no time. Heck, I'll probably even hit that 20 lb goal no problem. So far that HRM was worth the $200.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Here I sit, injured for the 2nd time in...3 weeks I believe. The first time, I tried to lift my 235 lb boyfriend using a squat - I succeeded in lifting him. Unfortunately my form suffered and I strained my back. My back which already has a herniated disk. I was out of commission that whole week. Then yesterday, that same part of my back flared up again for no apparent reason. Only on the right side. Very odd.

So, haven't posted in awhile. Since I last posted, I have:
  • Gotten a Wii Fit
  • Thrown out the scale until the end of December
  • Become more diligent in the practicing of the 5x5 routine
  • Hurt my back twice
  • Performed my 5x5 workouts at home with my kettlebell when I was too lazy to go the gym (when my back wasn't in too bad of shape), rather than forego the workout altogether
  • Attempted some burpees - for fear of smashing my head in on the coffee table (limited workout space), I have given up on those and switched to jumping jacks to get my "indoor cardio"
Overall I'm feeling pretty good about myself. I really got into Wii Fit at first, it helped me make exercise a part of my day more often. It even encouraged me to go to the real gym. I haven't used it much lately but I plan on including it more.

It feels good to stick to my exercise schedule. And it feels even better after I do the workout. If only I could remember this, and have it be a strong enough influence, before the workout so that I would be more encouraged to do it.

I also think I'm working out my arms/upper body far too much in comparison with legs. The 5x5 workout actually makes a big deal out of including leg work, claiming that guys usually only want to do upper body workouts and they're missing out. But...all it really has is the squat for lower body. And the deadlift, which I've been too scared to try and have only done straight-legged deadlifts so far. And I'm not sure if it's lack of flexibility or injured back or what, but the lowest part of my back always pulls juuust a bit on those, in an uncomfortable way. Even though I also feel it in my legs. Also I feel like that is more of a stretch than a real...exercise, I guess. I've been adding in pliƩ squats and lunges when I remember to up the amount of leg workouts I do.

I have to say, I really feel like I'm not working my hamstrings and glutes sufficiently. I've been reading Starting Strength the last couple days, the first chapter on squats, and it indicates to me that if I go deep enough on my squats, only then will the hamstrings and glutes engage. And I have to say, after seeing myself and having others watch me do squats, I'm going low. I literally don't think it's possible for me to go lower. So I guess maybe I should make sure my back angle is steep enough, as the book also said that the hamstrings really need that pull where they connect at your lower back. I just really want to find a free weights way of working them out. When I did leg presses and...leg curls, I want to say, they felt like they were worked more. But I really want to stay off machines.

Also, as listed in my bullet points, I threw out the scale until the end of the month. I did this about 2 weeks ago. My problem is, I may feel like I've been making a good effort at both the quality and quantity of food I eat, I may have the best workout ever, I may even feel/see my clothes fitting more loosely - but if I get on that scale and there is no decrease (or worse, an increase, as there frequently is if one is weighing themselves everytime they step foot in the bathroom, as I do), it's all over. I feel like a loser. I feel sorry for myself. I decide who cares if I skip my workout or eat 2 helpings of food, clearly my efforts are for naught. And that's not really helpful, especially when I'm lifting such heavy weights. Stronglifts even says you can expect to gain a good deal of weight your first month. Hence throwing out the scale for a month. I may leave it out for even longer if I'm not really feeling like I'll have made enough progress to see a number on the scale that I enjoy. I was hoping to really hit my workouts harder during this scale-free time, but with the 2nd back injury on the way, that hasn't been going so well. Squatting with a 20 lb kettlebell at home is not the same as squatting 80 lbs at the gym and increasing that every time, nor does it allow me to work on my barbell squat form.

As some of you may know, oh loyal 3 readers of mine, I have been doing push ups now since it has been added to the 5x5 program. Let me tell you, I was pissed when this was added. I've never been able to do a full push up. I couldn't hardly even do a girl push up. I've been working on them diligently though, girl-style, and can now do about 20 before I max out on my first set. Not bad for not being able to do any a month ago! I still can't do a single real push up, though. I hope to be doing real ones by....let's say February. That gives me some time. I've also noticed a large increase in my core strength, most attributable to starting reverse crunches and planks (also due to 5x5, *shakes fist*). I used to shake like a dying car engine on planks, but now the shaking doesn't occur for the first 10-15 secs of each 30 sec hold.

And that, dear readers, has been what my fitness has been like the last couple of weeks. Today is supposed to be a gym day for weight training. But I can hardly get out of my chair right now, so guess I'll be scrapping that one. I hope to have some good news soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lie lie lie

Ok what song is this title referencing?

So I think the scale is lying to me. Alot. In a mean way! Actually, in a double mean way! It tells me 175.4 lbs. If you're keeping track, last week it told me 171.8 lbs and I was well on my way to the 160's during the month of October. Today it also tells me 23% body fat. Last week it tells me 28% body fat. There's no way I lost that much body fat in a week. If you calculate it out, and I have, this means that even though I put on 3.6 lbs, I took off 7.8 lbs of fat. All of this might be great if it hadn't happened over the course of only 1 week. And so, I believe my scale is lying to me. And really all I see is the part where I gained 3.6 lbs. Yeah yeah, building muscle, blah blah. But come on, there's no way I'm putting on that much muscle nor that fast.

Anyhow. Motivation is low. Haven't been to the gym this week yet (but for good reason - concert out of town, 4 yr anniversary - on separate nights). The plan is to go tonight and also Saturday. Le sigh!