Monday, May 14, 2012
More and more as I struggle to adapt my 2-job lifestyle to this way of living (note the order there), I'm faced with difficult challenges when it comes to getting to the gym. Now I love my lifting programs and am currently trying to use them to really boost my lean muscle mass so I can get rid of all this extra fat I'm carrying around, so, yes, that requires me to keep some commitment to my gym. But whereas I used to spend 4-6 days a week in the hot, sweaty, smelly place (that I love!), now I find myself struggling to go more than twice.
And that's okay.
Twice a week is all I really need if I lift right and make it count each time I there. If I spend every second I'm there putting on my sexy face (see previous blog) and showing myself what's really possible when it comes to lifting.
Sure, three days a week would be most ideal to keep this going, but I can get away with two and make it work.
MAKE. IT. WORK.
Look, no lifestyle change is going to work for you if it doesn't work WITH you...with your schedule, your wants and needs and desires and dreams and goals. It has to fit into the priorities you've set for yourself. If you're training for a marathon, that might mean hours spent pounding the pavement or circling a track or hitting the trails. But if you're just trying to stay fit and active and healthy...well, don't limit yourself!
Exercise can literally be done ANYWHERE. I started exercising from my recliner using a rehab type pedal machine that I spent 40 bucks on through Amazon. The most I could do was 15 minutes, but I tried to do that as many days as I could. At that time, watching television and relaxing after a hard day was important to me...and that fit into both my abilities and my lifestyle.
And as my lifestyle has changed, so has my fitness routine.
I swim in the summer because I just wanted to be at the lake as much as possible.
I rowed when swimming got boring, and hiked whenever I didn't want to get wet.
I took long walks with my camera because I wanted to be lost in the world, lost in my own eye, and document what surrounded me.
I've hit the gym when I felt I needed to be there 6 days a week to prove my devotion.
I've taken boxing classes in the basement of a gym full of guys doing MMA moves upstairs.
I ran when I felt the need to fly and logged my minutes and miles on the hilly roads around my house, and at the track of the nearby high school.
Whatever kept me going.
In 2004, I didn't want to be seen outside.
I had no gym membership, nor money to add one to my arsenal, nor desire to even try and be seen there.
So I kicked it in my living room while the kids napped, rocking out to Tae Bo routines and Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds series.
When I needed serenity, peace and meditation - I did yoga.
When I needed to feel bouncy and jumpy and carefree - I Zumbaed.
As much as I've heard "I don't have time to exercise" or "I should join/go to the gym" in the past few weeks, I'm saddened that there are people in this world that don't understand that the opportunity for exercise and fitness goes wherever you go - day in and day out. Every. Single. Day.
Your body is all you need.
Well, that and the courage to try.
I've seen so many body-weight based exercise programs that I almost feel like a book should be collected - one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, but you choose your workout according to your likes, dislikes, lifestyle, etc.
How about this one for the Harry Potter fans:
Even if Harry Potter isn't your bag (and why the hell not, I ask you?!!?! ;) ), there are plenty of these types of exercise games you can come up with on your own.
Game of Thrones - 10 pushups anytime someone takes a drink of wine, or asks for it, or throws it
Sex and the City - 15 burpees each time Charlotte wanting a baby is mentioned, or each time Samantha has sex
Get creative. Have fun with it. The only limits are the ones you place on yourself.
Fifteen minute break at work? Wall sit...see how long you can hold it.
Waiting in line at the store? Ab contractions - no one can see!
Stand on your tiptoes while brushing your hair in the morning.
Mow the lawn without the bag so you can rake up the debris later.
For crying out loud - GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS/DOGS/SIGNIFICANT OTHER!
It doesn't have to be epic every single time, I promise. (Though, I do fully believe that you should try to be epic at least 3 times a week. See the sexy face blog. ;) I'm not trying to send mixed messages, I just want to make sure that even on your rest days you realize you can remain active...and when you can't get to the gym, you still have options.)
Stop making excuses.
In this day and age you don't even need to leave the house to make it work, so commenting that you don't have time to get to the gym...well, that's a mindless excuse now isn't it?! What are you really saying about yourself? That you aren't worth the 20 minutes of sexy face it takes to make some positive changes in your body and your life? I don't believe it.
Last week I did 3 workouts in the gym - 2 on the same night. The rest of the time I spent doing bodyweight exercises, running around with the kids, challenging them and fighting for the prize money sitting on the kitchen counter (me and each of my 2 boys put $2 in a jar on the counter...the person who does the most pushups, crunches, burpees, mountain climbers, planks, etc. this month wins the dough...and I've got my eye on a new nail polish color or some blush...). Even when resting at home, I tried to get up every once in a while and do something active -- even if it was just 15 minutes of non-stop cleaning so as to keep my body moving. On Saturday I made up a circuit of burpees and pushups and crunches and turned on my HRM and told myself I couldn't stop until I'd been at it for at least 20 minutes. On breaks at work I pulled some yoga moves to stretch my body and keep the circulation flowing. When I wasn't working, working out, cleaning or doing laundry, I was cooking some healthy meals for the week, enlisting the help of my two boys when possible - it meant I had leftovers to pack this morning and I won't be scrambling to find some healthy choice in the drive-thrus that surround me here at work. Each time I completed a task, I smiled at myself and thanked myself for doing yet one more thing to ensure I stay active and healthy even as my life is ripped into chaotic shreds. I spoke positively to myself and let myself know how much it meant that I was using my time wisely since I have so little of it anymore. Even THAT was something to help me along the way - keeping my motivation flowing through positive thinking.
Look, it's as simple as this...
Make time for yourself...not excuses.
No gym membership ever made a person fit...it was what they did there (or outside of there) that mattered.
Need more workout ideas? Try searching Pinterest or Google for "at home workouts" and just see what you come up with. Or try fitness and welness and healthy living magazines like Women's Health and Shape and Fitness. Most of them are online now so you don't even need a subscription or to run to the drug store for a copy to get some ideas for moves you can take with you wherever you go! Some of them even allow you to like them on Facebook and update with posts that continue to encourage you throughout each month and remind you of the goals you had when you turned the calendar and saw that big 1 staring you down. Get out there and make it happen!!
Friday, May 11, 2012
So it's no secret that I've parted ways/broken up with my scale. He hasn't shown me any love in months and, well, sometimes it's best to let someone (*thing*) go if he isn't providing what you need and is only causing pain and toxicity and stress in your life. In addition, I've had a falling out with cardio exercises. This was mostly unwillingly thrust upon me by my injuries, but I'm starting to see the value in letting my mind settle on new ways of thinking about the fitness game.
Notice I no longer think of this as a weight loss journey.
I no longer think of it as a diet game.
It's about getting healthy, losing unwanted body fat which only hinders my organs from running smoothly, and about getting into a sexy pair of jeans that aren't the darkest color I can find on the planet once this belly melts away into oblivion.
So I've been hitting the gym hard. Lifting weights. HEAVY weights.
I started with Jamie Eason's LiveFit program...but only made it to week 6 when I got a second job and could no longer find the time to be in the gym lifting for an hour and a half 6 times a week. (Sorry, JE! I still love you, girl!)
When I needed more bang for my buck, I readjusted my plan and have begun the Stronglift 5x5 program 2 times a week. Now, I know it's supposed to be done 3 times a week, but I only usually have 4 days in the city (where my gym is located) and you aren't supposed to do it 2 days in a row...so we're down to 2 days a week.
The other days, when I can't get to the gym, I do my own set of bodyweight exercises - usually in a circuit I've devised on my own which gets my HR pumping and provides the proper challenge my body needs. The circuit is 25 minutes long, and I try to do it at least once or twice in a row at least once or twice a week.
Some days I can't muster that much time and energy, and I simply pump out some crunches or planks or something while the TV is on commercial in what little downtime I have from working 2 jobs and taking care of my family of 4.
We do what we gotta do.
In addition, I've been reading New Rules of Lifting for Women on my iPhone during downtimes at work, which keeps my motivation going and has already taught me a few things and reinforced my ideas about ST/cardio/fat loss/clean eating, etc.
Through all of this, I think I've become a bit of a lifting snob.
I had hoped it wouldn't happen to me. I like to think that most people, if they're trying, are making a better effort than if they weren't at the gym and were plopped in front of the TV with a bag of crisps. (Look, I got all British on you guys for a second! ;) ) But when I walk by a skinny, pretty little thing, who could probably use some lifting to make her strong and totally fit in that tiny body of hers, and I notice that she's pumping through hip abductor workouts on the gym machine at break-neck speed and not even really paying attention to it and is smiling the whole time....well, I get sad. What a waste of time! If you spend an hour in the gym smiling and laughing and never once break an ugly face...you probably should've just stayed home. You aren't doing it right.
Here's my new motto:
Ugly face is the new sexy face.
This is the face that says, "I'm pushing myself to my limit."
This is the face that means your breathing heavy, the sweat is pouring, your skin is flushed, your HR is raised, you're challenging your muscles to respond and they're reaching the point of breaking.
This is the face of someone that isn't wasting an hour in the gym doing little to nothing, but looking great doing it.
Honestly, I'd much rather see this hot sweaty mess, hear the grunting, and look at the ugly-sexy face any day of the week.
Because this face makes great things happen.
You don't get this:
without a little sexy face now and again.
I don't care if you're doing cardio, or lifting heavy barbells, or sitting on a gym machine or whatever. You better pull this face at some point, or else what IS the point?
On the treadmill? Knock out a sprint right smack dab in the middle.
Feel yourself fly.
Feel your muscles react.
Hear your breathing get shallow and raw for a minute.
Hear the voices in your head say you can't...and then show them that you can.
Even if it's only for 5 seconds. Just try it.
I bet you pulled the sexy face, didn't you?
And your muscles will thank you later.
Because now they know they have more power than they thought they did.
Squatting a barbell? Find your max. Do a drop set. Mix it up a bit. Try something new. Challenge yourself to lift more. Pull at least one ugly faced rep...otherwise, you'll never know what you're capable of.
If you don't look like this after a workout...
...you probably aren't doing it right.
Now go put on your new sexy face!
Thursday, May 10, 2012
*jumps up on soapbox*
*grips mic tightly and pulls it close*
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this moment to announce something to you all. I have decided, in my personal opinion, I think it's important...that we stop using the words "weight loss" and start using the words "fat loss". All the things the world told you about the scale being able to judge your ability, fitness level and, most of all, how "fat" you are has turned out to be untrue. It's time we stood up against the lies and deceit they've been feeding to us all these years -- along with other falsehoods like "you are what you eat" which led us to believe that "fat will make you fat" -- and started redefining words that actually mean something to us.
Stop living in a world that feeds you a constant flow of images of anorexic models and tells you that they are skinny and fit and you should aspire to be like them! Stop allowing the one number below your feet to define who you are and what you are capable of! Research! Do your homework! Realize that BMI charts don't mean anything and the scale, which BMI charts use to calculate both how "fat" we are and how soon we're going to die or contract deadly diseases, measures only how much we weigh, not how fat we are.
Would you consider 4 time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler fat? BMI charts and scales do! They clock him in at 310 pounds in the off-season -- which is morbidly obese according to those BMI charts we've been taught to idolize. Mr. Olympia is NOT fat...and he's just one example of the many people - fit and athletic people - who prove by simply existing in this world that scales and BMI charts mean very little.
Rage against a system that has been fooling you for years, and start redefining your journey. Not as a journey of "weight loss" but one of "fat loss"! One in which you build lean muscle and banish unwanted and unhealthy fat from your body. From here on out, let us be lead by more important numbers - numbers that CAN define how FAT we are and what problems we might face if we are too fat. Let's focus on BODY FAT PERCENTAGE because it's the only thing that can really tell us how much fat we need to lose to make our bodies into the fit, healthy machines they are capable of being!
Say it with me -- FAT loss, not WEIGHT loss!"
*starts a chant with the crowd*
*is carried off on the shoulders of the crowd...or by Jay Cutler...cuz he could lift me no problem*
I ended up at the gym last night. I took my time getting there, but I figured it couldn't hurt to go ahead and get my stronglift routine in - I knew I could tell the Cute California Trainer Boy, aka Tanner, what I had already worked and he would ensure I didn't overwork those areas and do any damage to my body. So I did my Stronglifts -- squatting, I am quite proud to say, 140 pounds now! -- and then met with Tanner to start a group of isolation workouts for my biceps, shoulders, back, legs, and abs (OMG! I forgot to tell y'all that I impressed my kids day before yesterday with a 2 minute plank and then did 150 crunches...so when Tanner started picking on my abs I kept smiling but said through my gritted teeth, "My abs HATE you right now!"). It was a good workout...about an hour and a half's worth of slow moving heavy lifting and OMG I'm totally going to feel it later, no doubt! *lol*
After we worked out, Tanner I walked back up to the front where he had one of the female trainers weigh me and measure me. (She only accounts for having lost 1 inch...which just means she's not measuring me right...) And then, the only thing I really cared about, we did my body fat measurements. Now I know the way they do it is faulty and has a margin of error (I think as high as 4%!), but it's all I've got and we consistently measure with it every month, so even if it's off, it's probably off about the same amount each month (I hope!). I was shooting for losing an entire % point of body fat this past month, but I only got 1/2 that...which means I need to amp up the workouts (which I've been doing with my "Iso" Bodyweight ST challenge AND the Stronglift 5x5). Next month, I WANT my 1%...
Okay, secret time...I don't want just 1% next month. In my dream of dreams, I'd like to lose 2% because that will put me under 45% and make me very, very happy...
In the past two months I've only lost around 2 pounds according to their scales...and the inches barely budge each month either. (We only measure my waist, so...) BUT I've lost 1% of body fat which, I'm learning, to me is more important than anything the scale can tell me. It means I'm getting leaner. I'm building lean muscle and losing pesky body fat. And the more muscle I gain, the better I get at this lifting thing, the more fat I should burn. (I like to say, "Lean muscle eats ugly fat like you for breakfast! ...and lunch and dinner too!")
So, to me, going from 307 to 305 on their scale means nothing.
Going from 47.3% (or thereabouts...it might be .2 or .4) to 46.3% body fat is what matters!
And next month I'd LOVE to lose 1.4% of my body fat so I can be under 45%.
When I started this FAT LOSS JOURNEY, more than HALF of my body was fat. I think I was at or above 60% body fat when I started. And now I'm more LEAN and essential organs and water and bone than I am fat! That makes me proud!
The goal since day one has been to get down to 30% body fat. And that means I've got to lose another 16.3%! But that's down from 30% or more that I needed to lose when I started! I'm almost halfway to my goal...and I have the tools and knowledge now to burn that fat even faster.
So, that's the goal. 1.4% of body fat gone by mid-June. Right now I'm just going to keep using the methods I have been using and just amp them up a bit more. That means:
* Eating clean more often.
* Drinking all the water I need.
* Taking my supplements, and maybe upping them a bit now that my weights are going up.
* Keep heavy lifting 2-3 times a week.
* Do whatever else I can do to make sure I'm building muscle as often as possible.
* Making sure I eat every 3 hours or so.
* And resting when needed to let my muscles repair and rebuild stronger.
* Eating ENOUGH calories to keep building muscle. (More research needs done but everything is telling me I should eat anywhere from 2200-3000 calories...which seems really high, but if it means building lean muscle and banishing body fat, I'm all in.)
Any tips, advice or plans you want to share - bring 'em on!! I've got a REAL goal...one that is measureable and means something. I don't give two shiz about the scale this month...I'm living only for the number that MATTERS!
Let's GOOOOO fat loss journey!!
BTW - Made a killer Stuffed Pepper Soup last night and then forgot my lunch serving of it at home today. *bangs head on desk* *insert sad face* I'll figure something out. Might need a trip to the market...
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Thanks to my girl LIMELIGHTSHINES for sharing this. No words are necessary...just watch and gain some much needed perspective about limitations.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
I've been struggling with the idea of this second job for...well, since I started. On the one hand, the extra money will be great in getting my family back where it needs to be. Hubs is in between paycheck periods from the old job and new, and I knew that this would help us from falling too far behind. That being said, there's a lot of resentment building up inside of me, and I hate that about myself. Hubs is onto a good thing here...I have to keep reminding myself of that...and this is only temporary.
Only...I'm not so good at "only temporary" because I hate letting people down. I hate knowing that good people are trying to train me on things (and, boy, have I been trained!) because they're counting on me to be the help they need right now. I know my assets. I learn fast and I'm always ready and willing to take on any extra responsiblity if it means helping out the team. Of course, this is a major cause for making me lose my dang mind every now and again, so I'm stuck between trying to settle within myself what I need and trying to help other people with their lives. Sometimes I'm just a little TOO compassionate for my own good.
I have 45 days of this probationary period. Either me or my employers can decide within that time that it's just not working out and just up and leave. But I'm not good at quitting...even when I'm failing (like I have been at losing weight), I can't accept failure or defeat. I can't fathom the thought that I "CAN'T" do something because I hate that word and all it means. So as much as I want to quit, I can't bring myself to do it without giving it the old college try.
That being said, I'm exhausted, and everything else seems to be slipping. Try as I might to keep the fire going to lose weight and exercise...it's been really hard fighting the need for sleep and rest. Standing for 5-8 hours a day wears my body out so much that by the time I get home I can't fathom the thought of putting it through any more challenges. I thought my body would be better suited to this job after all the training I've given it...but I don't know how people stand still for 5 hours straight without wanting to pull out their hair. And when I try to keep busy...well, certain people at this job want to give me rules about what I'm not supposed to be doing. "You can't bag for me." "You have to stand there." Blargity-blargh, dude. If I can bag for you and still pay attention to the other things that need my attention, then what are you b!tching about? God forbid someone do MORE than what's expected of them, right? You all might have a friggin' heart attack and die or something because someone did more than was required even though they were only getting minimum wage. (Sorry, I just don't work this way. I like to stay busy. An hour spent watching a clock as I do the least amount required is just wasted time to me.)
And the troubles that the standing still is causing are numerous.
My foot hurts from the PF even though I try to stretch it out all the time.
My ankle has started to hurt so much I'm thinking I might need to wrap it for work. It feels like it's going to snap any minute!
My neck area is suffering...a lot. That darn calcified ligament is not doing me any favors and I can feel it pinching my nerves now and again.
My lower back hurts like an SOB...and I know I need another appointment with the chiropractor...I just can't figure out when I can make that happen since I'm working every day.
I know my hips are majorly "off" again (actually, it's my pelvis, but it causes problems everywhere else).
My knees hurt.
And, the most surprising two - my right shoulder has been hurting a lot (I guess from pulling groceries across the scanner over and over again all day) and the finger pads on my left hand are starting to blister and crack (I have no reasoning for this....no friggin' clue...though it may be caused by the soap in the bathrooms as Hubs' hands were eaten up by the that soap when he started there and we were starting to worry he has psoriasis or something).
All I keep thinking is how this job has stripped me of all my confidence and made me feel like the uncapable fat girl once again. I can walk 10 miles but I can't stand still for an hour without wanting to rip out my own insides in order to redirect the pain or make it stop.
All that being said...there have been slight improvements.
Yesterday I worked 5 hours at the store. (Training in yet another area.)
On my 15 minute break, I made myself a protein shake with 2 scoops of powder and a bunch of water.
After work, I grabbed some ham, roasted chicken breast and cheese from the deli and, instead of stopping by one of the 10 food places around me to get food, I went home and made a sandwich instead.
(Bad: I made 2 sandwiches. However, I hadn't eaten since about 8:30am that morning and had only had the shake to keep me going. It should have been enough...but it wasn't.)
For dinner, my oldest whipped up some tacos with ground turkey breast and I made "refried beans" by just blending up some black beans in the food processor.
(Bad: I ate a little too much, but I tried to keep myself in check as much as possible.)
However, I didn't log. Finding time to log has been a major PITA...even though I know I'm not going to get ANYWHERE if I don't do it. I have to log. I can trick myself into thinking I did great and then have a day where I've eaten 3k calories because I didn't remember that I had that cookie or an extra serving of cereal or something.
I feel like I'm starting all over again, so I guess that's what I'll have to do.
I can't be a calorie nazi right now, I just have to know what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong so I can make changes later to adjust.
I also was inspired by my 10-year-old yesterday and the two of us did some ST moves while watching Glee and New Girl last night.
25 modified pushups
150 crunches (well, I've passed that goal for May already!)
It wasn't a lot...but it was better than the nothing I felt like doing. And I would have done more burpees if it weren't for the fact that they hurt my @ss right now. I somehow pulled my gluteal muscles while stretching the other day. Maybe all this standing is giving me a tight tushy or something. *shrug*
The only downside is...I have no desire to go to the gym tonight.
I want to cancel my supervised workout and go home and clean like a madwoman and cook the soup I've been trying to find time to make for the past 5 days. There are too many things on my to-do list and not nearly enough hours in the day.
Plus, I get off work at 4:30pm, which means I COULD be home before 6...but I couldn't get my trainer before 6pm...which means if I do choose to workout tonight, I'll be staying at the gym from 4:45pm until probably 7pm...and I do NOT want to do that. At all.
I might cancel.
Just reschedule it for next week and go burn some calories doing what I really NEED to do.
But I don't want to skip another day of Stronglifts...because I skipped Monday when I pulled my butt. (yes, I know this sounds funny, but it's totally true!)
Hate making them.
I feel like I'm going to let myself down no matter what I do.
And how the hell am I going to feel after working out for 2 hours...because that's what I'll do if I stick around. I can't just "relax" for an hour while I wait for my appointment. I don't work that way. So if I go tonight, I'll do my Stronglift set and THEN do another 45 minutes with the trainer. And how the hell am I going to walk after doing all that?! *sigh*
I guess we'll see...
...I need a nap...
...and a stiff drink...
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