Saturday, February 12, 2011
I began this fitness streak on Feb 2nd of 2011. Odd is that it began exactly 13 months after joining Sparkpeople. During that thirteen months, I have learned so much about how to eat and live healthily and have had a bit of success in getting more physically active. But, now I want to take my fitness to the next level. I plan to run a 10K this April and some 5K's this year and even a half-marathon on Sept 11th. I would never have believed it possible a year ago, but I have really come to love running. It is my favorite form of exercise. I have learned also, that running is simply not enough. To really be healthy and fir, I need to increase my leg and arm strength and my core especially. I need to learn to appreciate other forms of exercise to cross train properly and to avoid injury.
So, when I faced this long cold Chicago winter and was sidelined from running....and facing a spring coming and how far set back I was getting in training, I knew that I needed to do something to prevent that from ever happening. This goal simply means to much to me.
I juggled some finances and I joined the local fitness facility. It is one of the smartest moves that I have made since joining Spark. I love my workout time everyday, and, since joining, I haven't missed a day, except the first day after joining due to them being closed due to the blizzard-even that day I got in plenty of exercise and cardio (with seven hours of shoveling).
Today, was the first make it or break it day since the streak began, and I am pleased to say....I am still going strong. Everyday till today, I have at least 30 mins and up to 210 minutes of exercise. Today, however, with closing last night and then working today - and having to stay late to cover for the person after me who called in, there was just no time to get to the Vaughn (center) and still be able to have a chance to eat and get the dog's food and everything else. My workout area at the house (in the basement) has long since been taken over, and I almost contemplated taking a "day off"...then I remembered my streak - and I'm just not willing to break it. I might not have gotten in a half hour like I have, but I did get in almost 15 minutes of pushups, crunches, squats, planks and bridge ups. Definitely over the 10 min minimum....and the streak remains alive.
I think more than the physical exercise got in today, the BIGGEST achievement is learning not to expect perfection from myself everyday...just the best that I can give. Just like in learning to eat healthy. Some days will be better than others...longer, stronger, faster, or tougher...and some days it will take a little creativity and kindness to myself just to keep the streak alive or to pick up and start it all over when I fail. But just like in learning to eat healthy, I am learning to apply this to all aspects of healthier living - and hopefully, tomorrow will be one of those better, longer stronger days. But to day is a big WOOHOO none the less!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
So, I've been going to the fitness center religiously for a week now...we had that awful snowstorm right after I joined and they were closed for a couple of days (which was okay since I got PLENTY of exercise shoveling out). I still have to say that it was one of the best investments that I could have made. I don't mind at all (so far) running on the track. It is six times around to the mile, but it is tolerable. Even the treadmills are not too bad, though I'll need more time on them to see if long runs are possible. Today, I will be going in the late evening and will try to do some interval runs to work on my speed and hill strength.
I've done a couple of the classes, still want to try spin, but have done a group strength class, a yoga, a butts and guts and last night did an abs class. I think my back, though not sore, is still weak from all the shoveling...I simply couldn't work my abs like I was able to last summer/fall. Maybe the two months of inactivity had something to do with it too! LOL!!! I've learned my lesson though. I plan to get the at least 6 days a week until the weather breaks and then at lest 3-4 days even in the nicer weather to get i my strength training and cross training. It's just around 2.5 miles or so from the house, so in the nicer weather, it will be a good place to run, then get in my ST and then run back. On my non-run days, I can go for a spin or other crossing training or yoga. At least that's my plan.
Today, is a day off work and with the temps around zero, I only plan on going out later today to get in some miles at the center and pick up milk and yogurt from the store. Still catching up from the lack of internet and going through my closet. Still have too much that although it doesn't really fit anymore, I'm having trouble parting with it. I have to face facts though. When I started this journey, I wore VERY large 10's and they were snug along with mostly 12's and some 14's (you ladies know what I mean). Now, I'm in large 4's, mostly 6's and some 8's. Got to bite the bullet and cull out all the larges etc to make room for clothes that really do fit. Putting a pile together and will let my sisters have first dibs, then try to get a consignment shop to take some and donate the rest.
Still working on adjusting my calories and nutritional intake to compensate for my new fitness routine. With the increase in activity, seems that I am ALWAYS hungry and went over my limits three days of the past week...one day (the brownie sundae day) really bad. I didn't put on any weight though, so now it's just a matter of figuring out where the balancing point is. Also, with the increase amount of time I am putting into fitness, I have to organize my week better to continue to do everything else that is important in life. I'm sure that I will get it all into balance soon. It's just going to take some trial and error to get the new routine down.
Thanks again to all of you, my faithful spark friends, for sticking with me these past months. It would have been so easy to go back to my old habits and then back to where I started, but you all never let me go and for that I thank God and you immensely! KEEP SPARKING!
Sunday, February 06, 2011
One of the benefits about being without my internet service these past weeks and months has been an awakening to how little activity I TRULY get in the winter months. I don't care for the snow and I HATE cold...and to that, the fact that I am always chilled since losing weight, and I knew that something needed to be done! I rearranged and rearranged my budget and was blessed with a small raise (equivalent to about $40-$45 a month...it is going to be tight, but I joined our local fitness center - The Vaughn. I opted out of the Aquatics side, as that is simply out of the budget, but the fitness program I signed up for included use of both indoor tracks...one is six laps to the mile and the other is either eight or ten. I use the six lap track. the is also a large weight area with free weights, machines, mats, treadmills, stair climbers, ellipticals and a couple style of bikes. Each has there own TV/Radio you can plug into and watch or listen to whatever you want with your earphones.
There is also a Cardio Studio, with quieter music (though the other area where there is music it is rather low and just a good mix of getcha goin music) that has more of the cardio machines. The next studio over is for the majority of the group fitness classes. They are 30- 60 minutes in length (mostly) - Abs, step, zumba, kickbox, butts & guts, group strength, sculpting etc etc etc -there are 52 different group fitness classes per week along, plus in the spinning studio, just like what it sounds, all spinning - 17 classes a week, and in the mind/body studio -yoga and pilates of all different types and levels - 32 of those a week.
The is a fitness rehabilitation place on site (ATI) that offers free injury evaluations to all members, so if you overdo, they will check you out for free and let you know if you are safe to continue ... need to step it back ... or need to be seen by a doctor.
In addition, when you sign up there is a free initial evaluation, and a follow up to check your progress....you pay for any evals after that and they run $20 hr. And, of course, there are trainers available for single and multiple packages. I had my initial eval yesterday. It was good/bad, but always good to get an objective look at things.
First, my bath scale that measure body fat is not THAT far off. I checked it in the AM before leaving an it said 25.4% and they tested me at 24.1% I figured my core strength was bad, but actually, my sit up test was to the high end of excellent for my demographic and even pushups which I was disappointed in was on the high side of good and almost excellent. The trainer even remarked on how good my form was. Where I thought I would do the best was in the leg strength, but my leg press test was only the high side of average to good (mind you I took this test with very sore quads from all the squats doing the snow shoveling), and the arm press was nearly poor but ranked fair. Flexibility was excellent, in fact the top end of excellent is >14.2 and I scored a 24. He made me test twice and then went and had another trainer (who does some of the yoga classes) check to make sure that we were doing everything right. Apparently I have an unusual body, as they both said they had never seen anyone score so high. They also do a test of your VO2 Max which I will be going back in on monday to retake. It involves running on a treadmill at 4.5 MPH @ a 5% incline for 5 minutes and then checks heart rates (I'm not sure what all since they couldn't get it to work for me). He said that sometimes they have a problem testing runners because out heart rates don't climb high enough on that low of a speed, so he is checking on an alternate test that they use on athletes, military and law officers. HA! What a hoot!
I hate to think of where I would've been a year ago. I very pleased with the progress I've made, but I have some definite goals to work on. Mondays VO2 test will tell me where I am and where I want to go there. Strength training is another area that I will be concentrating on. Although my body fat percentage is quite good at 24.1%, I would like to shoot for 20-21% keep at least the same and lean mass or increase it by a percent or two...of course that would raise my weight, but I think if I lose 4-5 more pounds over the course of the year, and decrease my body fat, that will increase my lean mass to a level that I would be happy with. I've adjusted my nutritional goals to a 50%carb, 25% protein, 25%fat ratio and have now got some sort of training schedule in place.
A couple of ladies at church today remarked at how fit and how good I am looking and asked about workout together. One is even meeting me in an hour and a half at the fitness center so that we can do a LDS run...only about 3 - 3 1/2 miles as she has never done more than 5K before, but I am trying to be smart about getting back onto the fitness track. I am not a spring chicken, but with the goals and plans that I have for this year, my assessment projects that by fall I could actually reduce my body age (chronologically 50) to a "real age of 42-45 years old. Of course alot depends on the re-evaluation pending my VO2 max test. It is not unrealistic for me to be able to achieve a mid 30 year old range, but I don't think I have the desire or the discipline to do what is required. Cut out caffeine???? HA! I don't think so!
Friday, February 04, 2011
It has been a trying few months. Since late fall, my internet service has gotten progressively slower and s l o w e r and s l o w e r until the past month or so, I could not log on and get anything to download (fully) after 6AM. From 4 to 6 in the AM was the only time that I could get anything to load properly...when I would get home, just to pull up a blog would sometimes take 15-20 minutes. Today, however, after 20+ hours of troubleshooting with the helpless desk at Sprint, I got the official release from my contract and am now diligently catching up - once again. It is SOOO good to be back!
One BIG blessing did arise out of this difficult period. I realized that I needed, yes really needed to ramp up my fitness in order to stay sane, so I juggled the budget and juggled it some more and last week, I joined our local fitness center. I'm so excited!!! Been there a couple of times already. Would have gone more, but they were closed due to the blizzard (and I got in plenty of fitness then anyway). Did a Butts and Guts Cardio class and got a good run in on the 1/6th mile indoor track and tomorrow morning I meet for the first time for orientation with a trainer. Can't wait!!! Still sore from the seven hours of shoveling (3.5 of which were actually at 75-85% of my MHR so I think that qualifies as my cardio for a couple of days.)
Will catch up more later, but it's after ten, and I've got a great streak going on the 7-8 hours sleep a night. Got a feeling I will need it this weekend.
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