Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mostly Good and a Little Not Good

A quick update before our weekend activities get underway. So the good first, right? My legs aren't sore (mostly)! I was worried working my quads so hard would have me in agony on Friday or today but not so. The little bit of not good is that I do have some pain - but not what I was expecting. My gracilis is sore. In simpler terms, my inner thigh hurts, mostly on my left leg. I looked up a muscle chart and the arrow pointing to the area that hurts is gracilis, though it could easily be my adductor muscles. But the more important point is that other than this my legs are fine! I am limping because of the inner leg pain but I'm going to take some tylenol and I bet that will be enough to fix it.

The other good is that I had a loss this week! I am down .4 pounds to 193.8 pounds. I really liked seeing that 3 on the scale. Moving in the right direction! I was talking to my friend Stacy and she reminded me that my heart, lungs, etc are getting stronger too and to keep that in mind. It's true, my heart rate is already trending lower than when I started. Even when I'm really pushing myself on the bike I generally don't go into the 160's. I love my heart rate monitor.

So I have something a little different on the exercise agenda this weekend. A new place called The Dailey Method is opening up in our town and they are doing free classes to draw folks in. I'm really curious about it, I like the natural movement aspect. I'm taking one class today and one tomorrow. I hope my leg pain doesn't stop me from being able to enjoy the class. If I like it maybe I'll buy a pack of classes to mix things up when needed. That's if I have the money, we are tight these days and money for extra fitness stuff isn't really on the agenda. Between buying a house and Miguel being out of work for a few months, well, we're still recovering. Maybe for a Christmas present? Anyway, I'll definitely write all about my experience.

We have a lot more going on besides that. Today we're headed out to the family picnic put on by my mother's club. This event is fun! And Marek is old enough this year to appreciate it more I think. They have a bouncy house and entertainers for the kids, face painting, slushies, etc, etc. Miguel is taking his final RDA exam today so it should be interesting managing both kids on my own. Thank goodness for my mommy friends that will be there. Tonight my mom is coming over to spend the night for double-time with the kids and on Sunday morning we're all headed to the pool for the pufferfish swim lessons. We took our first lesson last Sunday. We're VERY lucky that both kids LOVE water.

Miguel just called, he thinks his test went well! Let's hope he passed!! Ok, I'm off to get ready for the picnic. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

You Are Strong

I started off the day having a phone session with my virtual coach. This was the orientation session where she told me our phone calls would be 30 minutes, I'd be given 12 sessions (more if needed) and we'd set goals at the end of each call. She had me set a goal at the end of this one. I said I'd do something active every day. We were done after 20 minutes. I don't know, I'm hoping this gets a little more specific so I can get more use out of it.

Today was my training session with real-life trainer Ian. I got to the gym early so I could get my cardio done before we started. I rode the bike for 25 minutes and tried level 4. Level 4 is where it's at! It was a challenge but I was ready for it. Six weeks ago I couldn't even attempt level 4 so I'd say that's pretty good progress!

The session with Ian went well. We re-vamped two out of my three workout routines in the hour allotted. We ran out of time mostly because he kept making me exercise! What kind of trainer does that?! And I think he's all about the pain. I told him I just did legs yesterday and rode the bike for 25 minutes before I met him so go easy on the legs. Ha! At one point I was pretty sure my quads were going to burst into flames.

So here's a quick run-down of the new and improved legs/shoulders and back/bicep workouts:
Legs and Shoulders
Reverse (hack?) squat - this thing felt like some sort of Russian torture device. Little did I know this was just the beginning of my leg torture.

Leg extensions - it's been a while since I've done these. His special bit of pain is to hold the position for 8 seconds on the last rep of the last set. I literally had to cover my face in agony.

Butt blaster - this machine wins the prize for best name, easily. I tend to favor exercises that feel at least somewhat natural. This is about as unnatural as it gets. We'll see if I keep them on the agenda. The other thing is this is done one leg at a time and, therefore, is time consuming. I'm not a fan of time consuming so I've got my eye on the butt blaster for the chopping block.

As far as shoulders I'm keeping my front and lateral raises the same.

Back and Biceps
Rows and Bicep Curls - I'm now doing this "compound" thing where I do bent over rows immediately followed by bicep curls. I like that because it seems faster.

Lat pulldown - no changes there.

Single arm cable curls - Basically a bicep curl but with a cable. Again, I don't like the one arm at a time thing because it wastes too much time. I might have to convert this into a bar so I'm doing both arms at once. Unless I'm missing something I don't see how this would be any different.

To wrap up he showed me a new ab thing. Scissor kicks followed by leg raises.
Oh, and cable twists to work the obliques.

Seriously, I am worried about my ability to walk tomorrow. I feel ok right now but you know how it is. Oh, the other interesting thing is he broke down my reps into, I think he said splits. So I increase the reps and decrease the weight with every set.

"You are strong." That's what Ian said while I was doing biceps curls. I couldn't help but laugh. Ian asked why I was laughing. I thought for a second and said that when someone tells you something that is so categorically against your self image - well, all I could do was laugh. It reminded me of when Jean, the swim teacher, told me I had an athletic frame. I just went back and read that post and it made me teary. Some things just stick with you and I am going to try and make the "you are strong" stick. I am strong. I am STRONG.

If you are tired of hearing me try and convince myself that I'm strong, or able, or remotely fit, remember this - I spent the better part of 30 years fat, and more important than the external fat, I was fat on the inside, in my head. The fat on the outside might go away but getting that fat girl out of my head is going to take a little more work. Especially because of this new baby fat. Ok, I'm going to end this blog before I get all emotional and start crying. Miguel will walk in and ask why I'm crying and I'll feel silly trying to explain myself ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Me Time

I was planning to exercise yesterday only because I thought I had a training session scheduled. Turns out that's tomorrow (Thursday). Because of my back I decided it was probably a good idea to take the day off. But my back tends to hurt more in the morning and as the day goes on it gets better so by evening I was wanting to go. Miguel agreed to put the kids to bed so I could go before they closed.

It was a bike day so I rode the bike, random, level 3. The random route was too easy though so I upped the resistance 4-5 times through the ride to make it more challenging. Maybe it's time to move up to level 4. After the bike I did strength training - legs and shoulders - with core work mixed in. And after that I did 5 minutes on the stair climber. I always close with a little stretching. I felt so good I planned to get up the next day (today) and go the gym at 5:30am (because that's the only time it would work).

Ha! My alarm went off at 5:12 this morning and I didn't even think about getting up. Thank goodness Miguel got off work earlier than usual so I could go tonight before an evening commitment. I did c25k Week 4, Day 2. I know I say this a lot but I wasn't sure I could do it. I had to push myself, do some self chanting (I. can. do. it. I. will. do. it. - to the rhythm of my steps), but I did it. Whew! It's still hard to believe this will one day be "easy". Today was back and biceps. I skipped the back extensions but did the lat pulldown and seated row. Then core work, and 5 minutes on the stair climber - Bam! - 501 calories and I was outta there feeling good!

So I remember before I had kids I used to see references to using the gym as me time. I think it was always listed as a benefit of going to the gym and meant to motivate people. I never really understood it and it didn't motivate me. Now I know why I didn't get it. I didn't need "me" time back then. It was all me time. Now, very little of my time is me time, and I totally get it. I feel like getting that time for myself, where I can let my thoughts freely roam around in my head - without being interrupted by the phone ringing or a screaming, "mommmmmmmmy, where are youuuuuu?" while I'm trying to pee - well, it's an aspect of exercise I'm coming to really appreciate. And let me tell you, it recharges my mommy battery big time.

Shifting gears - I've gotten a handful of compliments over the past few weeks. People telling me that I'm looking better, that they can tell I've lost weight. You know what? You want the real truth? I don't believe them. Isn't that awful? My immediate gut reaction is that they are only saying that to be nice and encourage me. Ha! I know in my rational brain that most people aren't going to spontaneously lie to me but, well, I'm a compliment rejector.

Nice person: "You look good, I can really see a difference."
Me: "Well, I've only lost 5 pounds, not even that really, more like 4.8"

Sometimes I have the good sense to thank them and to force myself to take in the compliment but mostly I dismiss it. Why do we do that? I remember reading in some psych article that our brains are wired to remember the negative. Positive things are not a threat to us, negative things are. So it's WAY more important to remember that bitter, poisonous fruit than it was the sweet, nourishing one. Could it be related to that? Could it be confidence? I know it's not the old self esteem. Thank goodness at 40 years old I finally have self esteem. I know - it's what I said above, it's that I don't believe it. I don't believe I look good. I don't believe I look better than I did 2 months ago (well, on some days I do). Hmmm...the head part of this always interests me.

I will close by saying this to anyone that has complimented me over the past 8 weeks...THANK YOU. Really, thank you. Even though I may try to deflect it I think it gets in there, seeps into my brain and helps me. Thank you for noticing, thank you for caring.

Monday, August 1, 2011

That was hard...but not impossible.

I got to the gym yesterday (Sunday) and started off with c25k Week 4, Day 1. Whew! It was hard. Here's the lowdown:

warmup walk
3 minute jog
90 second walk
5 minute jog
2.5 minute walk
3 minute jog
90 second walk
5 minute jog
cool-down walk

I had to take my headphones off during the runs so I could hear myself breathe. I do best when I take one breath for every two steps, so in four steps I've breathed in and out. The rhythm of the breathing really helps me to maintain. When I have the headphones on I can't hear myself and it's hard to regulate my breathing. I felt a little silly taking them off and on but I got through it! During the final run (5 minutes) I took a read of how I was feeling and my legs felt heavy but didn't hurt. The hardest part at that point was feeling like I didn't have the cardio endurance. I tried to remember if Week 3 was this hard to start - I don't think it was. But the good thing is, I did it. And hopefully I can keep doing it for a couple of weeks or more until I am ready to move on.

After c25k I did chest and triceps with core work mixed in. I wrapped it up with 5 minutes on the stair climber. That stair climber is a perverted sort of fun but I like it. And it was on the easier side today so maybe I'm getting better?

I got home and for some reason started thinking about the body parts I strength train together. Currently I do Chest with Triceps, Back with Biceps, and Legs and Shoulders. I do core work every session and have been going 6 days a week so I cycle through each routine twice. I was reading and essentially found a few schools of thought.

1. Work muscles together that are the primary and secondary muscle, i.e. when you are working your chest as primary your triceps come in as secondary.

2. Work muscles that are entirely isolated. The theory here is that if you work chest and triceps together, and do chest first, your triceps don't get a full workout because they are already partially fatigued by helping out the chest lifting. Makes sense I guess.

3. I didn't read much about this but I found some who separated their workout based on pushing vs. pulling. Some days they did pushing exercises, others they did pulling.

It was all interesting, and while I'm not sure any of it even applies to me (I suspect I'm not "lifting" in the manner to which these nuances apply) I kind of like the reasoning in #2. The other thing is all these routines had rest days and I don't really do those for the most part.

I have a real-life training session scheduled for tomorrow so I'm going to ask Ken what he thinks. I say real-life because I have a new resource - a virtual coach! My work has a wellness program and I signed up for some coaching. Her name is Noelle and we are figuring out a time to talk. I can ask her about the strength training too. And rest days. And about my back. I suppose since she's a real person it's also real-life, just not in person. Anyway, I'm glad to have someone to talk with about this stuff and get more support.

So I broke down my current routine into a new one with this all-primary idea and this is what it would look like:

DB Chest Press
DB Flys
Inverted push-ups on Smith Machine
Bicep on bosu

Triceps on bosu
Back extensions (currently on hold)
Lateral pulldown
Seated row

Shoulder raise front on bosu
Shoulder raise side on bosu
*Dumbbell shrugs (this would be a new thing, I don’t currently work my traps – but I like saying “traps”)

Lunges (one set)
Calf raise
*I don’t currently work my core separately on a specific day, I include them at every workout.

Blah, blah, blah. Back to reality. I took a day off from the gym today. Mostly it was because my back was complaining. Darned back. I realized that the only day I took off from the gym last week was Sunday, when I went swimming. I suppose I was due for a break. Well, another Monday in the bag. Here's to a great week ahead!

p.s. I had a burger and onion rings for lunch today.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

On The Upswing!

My back is still touchy but my attitude is solid! I am feeling confident that I will continue toward my goal of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

Weigh-in Friday went well. On my old scale I was 194. But I'm switching over to the Tanita scale that includes body fat and on that one I was 194.2 with 42% body fat. So I went with that and am feeling good about a loss. I am feeling good about all of it.

A quick exercise update:

Thursday: Gym - 25 minutes Level 3 upright bike, chest and triceps, core
Friday: Gym - c25k Week 3/Day 6, legs and shoulders, core, 5 minutes on stair climber
Saturday: Gym - 25 minutes Level 3 upright bike, back and biceps, core, 5 minutes stair climber

Ooh-rah! The other day I had a quick chat with the trainer about my back and he said to cut out the back extensions and continue to hold off on the plank until my back stops hurting altogether. It's hard for me to do "some of" my workout, that old black and white thinking, but I don't want to turn a temporary situation into a chronic one so I'm trying to be smart about this.

As far as c25k goes, I'm not convinced I'm ready for Week 4. The 3 minute runs are still quite a challenge for me, not sure I'm ready for 5 minute runs. I'm going to give Week 4 a try and if it's too much I'll repeat Week 3. I don't mind repeating it as many times as I need to in order to make progress.

As far as events go, I skipped the SF Marathon 5k because of my back. I am now eying two sprint tris:

Tri, Girl, Tri at Lake Berryessa, October 1, 2011

Things I like: Girls! October = lower likelihood of rain

Things I don't like: Hills! Lake Berryessa can be hot. October = less time to train.

The Marin Triathlon at China Camp, November 5, 2011

Things I like: Super local so the family might be able to come see me finish. I can do practice runs. Family might be able to come see me finish. One month later = more time to train.

Things I don't like: November might mean rain. Swim is in the bay = wet suit (ugh, a new thing to rent/buy and learn how to use).

I'm super excited that the Marin Triathlon added a sprint. This is the same event I relayed when preggo with Marek (except that was the Olympic distance). We'll see how I feel in a month or so and re-assess.

Yesterday we went to the zoo. Marek is getting to the age where he actually wants to look at the animals. We got there early enough that the animals were still out and about. He got to see a lot of animals, it was fun. The Oakland Zoo is sort of hilly, felt like I got a bit of a workout just walking around. I'll post a few pics, even some of me with the kids! (despite the cringe when I see how big I am)