Sunday, September 18, 2011
Today, we had an excellent family day. We went to a local hiking spot and spent the afternoon hiking around the woods. It was gorgeous. The leaves are starting to change. The weather is sunny but cool. It smells like autumn. My favorite season.
We had a lot of fun. It makes me so happy to see the kids enjoying being active. There were times when we all started running for no reason except that it's fun. It was the greatest. We've become this happy, active family, and I love it.
I love hiking. It's a great workout with the added benefit of being in the woods. My favorite place. As we've gotten fitter, my husband and I have done more hiking. We're fortunate to live in Vermont where there is an abundance of great hiking trails. We've done several challenging hikes, and one in particular is our test of how far we've come.
There's a mountain near our house called Jay Peak that we have hiked four times. It's part of the Long Trail, a hiking trail that runs the length of the state and has some of the most beautiful hikes in our state. This part of the trail climbs over 2 miles to the summit of the mountain. At the top a large, flat rock makes a perfect place for a picnic with a view of the entire surrounding area.
The first time we hiked it, we were in bad shape. It was before our wedding. We were both overweight and smokers. The hike took forever. I hated it. I felt awful the whole way and had to stop every few minutes to rest. People passed us on the trail, and I was embarrassed at our unbelievably slow pace.
It took all day. The trip down was even worse. My knees felt like they were going to burst from the force of going downhill. I was unable to walk the rest of the day, and my knees ached for days after.
The second time we went was a few years later. We had quit smoking, but were just barely starting our journey to health. It went better. We had to stop a lot less, and we got to the top a lot faster. The trip down was still pretty painful, but I was able to walk after.
The third time was a couple years ago. The kids were young, and my parents offered to watch the kids so we could go out. We were serious about exercise and healthier eating by then, and it was even easier than the last time. We zipped up the mountain with little trouble. The way down was better, and my knees only ached for a day or so after.
Our last trip was this summer. The kids were old enough to go with us, and it was another excellent family day. My five year old daughter did the whole hike, and my husband and I took turns carrying our son on our shoulders. My husband and I are a lot fitter now. We barely felt the climb up, and the trip down wasn't bad, either. We felt fine after the hike, and there was no lingering pain.
I love that hike. It's been a great measure of my changing body and life. It makes me think about how much it is worth it.
One other hike has been a defining milestone for me. Last year, when I was really starting to get healthy and fit, we hiked up another nearby mountain Smugglers Notch. It's a tough hike. We went at a pretty fast pace on the way up. When we got near the summit, there were large areas of rock that you had to climb, and some drop offs right next to the path.
I am terrified of heights.
There was one spot that I had to step to climb one of these massive rocks, and you had to place your foot right next to a huge drop off. I had a panic attack for 10 minutes, while other bikers passed me. I had flash backs to my first hike, but there was nothing I could do. I was frozen with fear.
It took a long time, but I eventually did it. We climbed to the summit, and I sat laughing and shaking as we looked out over the rolling hills. I've never been that proud of myself. We missed a trail on the way down and added a ton of miles to our trip. We hiked 10 miles that day, but I still felt pretty good the next day. It felt like a major achievement.
With autumn coming, we've got at least one awesome hike planned. I am so excited. Hiking has become one of our favorite pastimes, and it makes us an even closer, healthier family.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
I just finished Phase 1 of the JE LiveFit Challenge, and I am feeling optimistic. I really enjoy strength training, so it's been pretty fun to mix up my workout routine for the last few weeks. I feel a lot stronger, and I am seeing some nice definition.
This last week has been challenging. As far as the clean eating portion of the challenge - I've had a lot of challenges. Our stove stopped working for a week and a half, leaving me with a microave and a toaster as my cooking options. We also had no money for groceries and were running low on everything.
It was hard to eat clean. I didn't do very well most of this week, and I felt the difference. Low energy. Grumpy. Unmotivated. I'm so glad that my job started back up this week, and I will finally start seeing a paycheck again!
As far as the exercise part of this challenge, I have been loving it. I've had to modify a few things because I am doing the challenge at home, and I definitely need in invest in some heavier hand weights. Still, I've felt every workout, and I know I am making progress. I skipped the second leg workout these last couple weeks because it always fell on the day that I lift with my trainer. I figured it was a good substitution. She does a full body workout with me, but we focus on the legs for the first half hour.
I'm seeing the changes in my body. This week, my biceps are more defined, and I even noticed new tightness in my waist.
I did my measurements today. My weight hasn't changed much this week. I'm down 0.1 - not much. My bust stayed the same, but I lost an inch on my chest, 1.5 inches on my waist, and 1 inch off my hips! Yay!
This week, I enter Phase 2, and I am looking forward to it. I'm going to focus more on my eating now that my fridge is stocked with lots of yummy, healthy foods.
Hopefully, the scale will move, but even if it doesn't, I know my body is changing. I feel great!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
It may sound crazy, but I love pushups.
A year ago, I couldn't do one. I refused to get up off my knees and try a real one. But, my trainer changed all that. She told me I had to try one. She told me I could do it.
And, you know what? She was right.
I tried one, and another, and another. Now, we do all kinds of pushups. My favorites are declines against the fence or a wall. They are incredibly hard!
I love the way pushups make me feel. A well-executed pushup makes me feel strong and powerful.
When my trainer and I do weight training together, she throws in this great exercise. We use a weight rack and do pushups to failure on each level, moving the bar up and down the rack. It is incredible. It burns. It makes my arms tremble when I'm done.
I absolutely love it.
My trainer doesn't want me to count the pushups when we do this exercise. It's about going to failure or almost failure on each level. There is no set number. It was pretty freeing at first, but I'm a numbers girl. I like to know how many I'm doing and try to push just a bit further. So, yesterday, I decided to keep track. I knew the first level would be a lot higher than the last, and I wasn't going to worry about how many I did per level. I just wanted the overall number.
My total yesterday? 64.
Can I just say
I tried so hard for that last one. I wanted 65, but my arms refused to go any further. Still, I'll take 64. That's an incredible increase from a year ago.
I love the burn when I'm done, and I love the tightness in my chest the next morning. I feel like a bad a** when I'm done.
So, go on, try a pushup today. You'll be surprised at what you can do.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I've written a new blog over at ifimnotfatwhatami.blogspot.com/
It's about setting a healthy example for your children and how everyone benefits. Check it out!
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