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My Session with a Personal Trainer

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My gym gives you one free session with a personal trainer with your membership. I have been going for about three years but only just made my appointment for last night. I had wanted to get my body fat percentage tested with calipers so I can make an informed decision about my goal weight. She didn't have calipers, but said I look like I don't need to lose fat, just tone up (trying to flatter me or being truthful, I wish I knew). I feel like I'm somewhat toned already - and considering how often she remarked on how strong my legs were and how I could already handle relatively heavy weights (such as 15 pound dumbbells for chest exercises), I'm not sure why she thinks I need toning more than I need to lose fat. Anyway, she thinks that if I call the Needham Gold's, they might have someone who could do the testing.

So she showed me some moves that I should write in my blog so I can remember them.
1. Lie down on a bench, 15 pounds in each hand, arms out to the sides and bent, palms forward, lift
2. Same thing but lying back at an angle instead of flat.
3. Lighter weight (10???lb), lie flat on a bench, arms out, slightly bent, palms facing up, bring arms together like hugging a tree.
1. Lat pulldowns - I need to have a wider grip than I'm used to.
2. The one where you sit on a bench and pull the cable back, the one I already was doing.
3. Hold a handle attached to a cable that comes up from the floor, standing bent over at an angle to the machine, lift it up with elbow pointing up and back like starting a lawn mower, switch sides.
1. Dumbells, bent then straight up, like I was already doing.
2/3. 5lb weights, stand, alternate lifting forward, then side. Or I could hold them palms down, elbows out to the side, lift under chin.
1. The one I'm used to doing, with the rope handle.
2. With dumbbells, arms up and hands together, keep upper arms straight up, lower hands behind head and back up.
3. ...can't remember!! :( I think it may have involved holding the cable coming up from the floor, (same as in back #3), but going from bent arm back to straight arm back?
Biceps: (she scolded me for usually skipping biceps!)
1. hammer curls (palms facing inward) with dumbbels
2. concentration curls (sit, line up upper arm with thigh, lower and lift
3. Lie back on bench (I think it was at an angle), keep upper arms by body, lower and lift weight with palms up, kind of like a 45 degree angle from body.
1. She strongly recommended walking lunges. Not as hard as I thought they'd be, but I'm still embarrassed about doing them. Recommended holding a bar weight across shoulders.
2. Use the squat machine (the one with a bar that doesn't come off, to the right of the entrance to the back room), put padding on bar so it doesn't hurt neck, do squats with butt sticking out and back straight, once with legs wide, once medium, once together.
3. Two machines that both seemed like leg presses to me but are apparently different...way off to the right in that middle room.
Leg machines - she said to skip quad machines, do hamstring machines (alternating sitting/lying), can alternate the leg press machine that I usually do with the one she showed me, skip the inner thigh machine but the outer thigh machine is ok.
1. "s*** kickers" - hold onto calf machine, squat down, lower and lift calves
2. use the calf machine as intended, or the seated one
3. use the leg press (the one in the middle of that middle room, not the one by the mirror), but with heels off edge to get calves
1. on stability ball, arms crossed on chest, don't need to lift very high
2. lie on ground, hold stability ball between legs, arms in V, lift to touch ball, lower.
3. the move sitting on the edge of a bench I'd been doing, but with a dumbbell between feet.
She said the oblique machine and/or the other move I'd been doing with elbow to opposite knee are both fine for obliques. She also might hold dumbbells in each hand and bend upper body to alternating sides, or do the same thing in the back room with the cables coming up from the floor on either side of you.

Anyway, she suggested that I do 3 sets of 3 exercises for each muscle, doing only a couple muscles per day (and of course never doing the same muscle 2 days in a row), about a half hour per session. I did them all yesterday so none today, but maybe starting tomorrow I could just do cardio + 2 muscles per day, every workout. There are 10 muscles to target if I really want to break it down..
1. Chest
2. Back
3. Shoulders
4. Triceps
5. Biceps
6. Hamstrings
7. Quads
8. Calves
9. Abs
10. Obliques
But I think 9+10 go together, and 6+7 (especially since I can't necessarily remember which exercise is for quads and which is for hamstrings!), and possibly 8 too (and butt!), and then there are 5 upper body which could be broken into chest/back and biceps/triceps and shoulders could go with either one or both. I guess I will just try it out and see what I like and/or mix it up.

Food note - I had another binge on Sunday night, MUCH smaller than last weekend but still lots of food. It seems to be triggered lately by making a crockpot dish and realizing it's not going to all fit so then I start taking a bite or two of the barley or chickpeas or whatever and then I go into the mentality of "I've already eaten something off my plan, so what else can I get my dirty little hands on" and I ate all my dates - again cheating with the dates - I have now bought dates twice and both times gorged on them - they taste like chocolate to me. If I can't handle them responsibly I shouldn't buy them at all! I also kept sneaking tastes of my huge nut mix I was making (Market Basket didn't have the Planters unsalted mixed nuts I usually buy, so instead I bought unsalted peanuts and a bunch of nuts from the baking aisle - walnuts, shelled sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pecans, chopped hazelnuts, and whole almonds and I mixed them up. I call it the Planters mix on my nutrition tracker because it was too difficult to make it a food grouping and determine what decimal portion each serving is, especially since I'd eaten some of it already.)
So pre-binge I was at a very happy almost-record low weight of 135.0 on Sunday. Monday morning, right after the binge on Sunday night (plus no exercise because I didn't have time), I was only up to 137.8 which is proof that the world does not end even after a binge/no exercise combo - the key is just containing the binge into as small a period of time as possible (I even cut it off mentally that night - otherwise would have considered going back for more) and getting right back on track ASAHP (H=humanly). Today, Tuesday, I was back to 136.6. I did about 26 minutes on the treadmills before my session last night and that included 3 minutes of walking warmup plus running not necessarily at personal-record-breaking speeds (and feeling more than usual like I couldn't wait for it to be over - was tired), then the training was about an hour but of course some of that was talking or watching her demonstrate. Then at Jess' I took 1 big bite of his Near East Parmesan cous cous. We both know that even "one bite" of something can set me off on bad habits, but it didn't last night. This morning he commented that it was nice my weight was down even after that bite! Really, I shouldn't be taking bites here and there of things that aren't on my plan, but my reasoning was that I was tired, hungry, and possibly ready to begin maintanence anyway.

Oh one more thing, the trainer said she doesn't count calories but thinks she eats around 1,500-1,800. She is 5'1" or 2" and 125 pounds - very low body fat and big muscles (and big fakies too!!), but she does seem to count "portions..." she said she eats some protein and broccoli every two hours - and "can eat as much as a man" - like a whole chicken. She used to do strength/body shows. She says you can't go by the scale. She also said she has a cheat day once a week. Oh, and I think I probably do more cardio than her, and for her 7 mph is a "sprint." Random ideas tonight!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FBERG1 9/20/2007 10:49AM

    Wow, your sample trainer was very helpful. Very cool!

I've been training my two g/f's for the last couple of weeks and they're seeing results pretty quickly using the method your trainer was discussing. We break the muscle groups into the following (working them in the order listed) and do 2-3 exercises per muscle:
Mon - Back, biceps, belly (the "B" day)
Weds - Chest, shoulders, triceps
Fri - Lower body

This is a great way to do it since most sets work 1 muscle for the primary then a couple others secondarily. For example, your chest#2 exercise works your chest as the primary but also naturally works the shoulders and triceps.

My favorite article for this type of workout is:
It's a good read if you want to learn more. I'm sure you'll recognize a lot of it from what your trainer explained. This article just goes into more detail and breaks it down pretty well.


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PIPSQUEAK4 9/18/2007 9:44PM

    wow, this post is very inspiring to me! I have been dying to take advantage of the free personal training they offer at my gym but have been too chicken. of what, i don't know!

it is DEFINITELY crockpot time! we should start a crockpot recipe thread on Boston Sparkers!

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At My Best

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reflection time... I am currently at my very best (so far!) in terms of my healthy lifestyle! I am thinner*, fitter, and more energetic than ever and I really have my methodology down so it's not a struggle to keep it up. (*I just checked my weight chart. There were precisely 2 days where I weighed less than I do today - 135... Once was in April when I weighed 134, the other time was in May when I weighed 132. I was in starvation mode though. I did NOT feel good or have energy.) My attitude is really good now new habits are just part of my lifestyle, but when I do slip up I just get right back on track. I have realistic long- and short-term goals that I will adjust as I learn new info - such as my ultimate goal weight and how my body fat percentage affects it. I know I look good and I love to show it off. Last night I wore a 5-year-old sparkly halter top that never looked this good on me!!! And at the mall I squeezed into a pair of size 3 Hollister pants, although the 5s fit better. At Express I fit into size 4 pants and size XS tops.
Here are my habits, they're not really new any more, but these are the things I do on a regular basis in order to achieve my health goals (in no particular order):
*I take a few minutes each evening to plan what I'll eat the next day, making sure to meet recommendations for calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients. This process has become much faster and easier over the 8+ months I've been doing it.
*I have a grocery list on the fridge where I jot down things I've run out of or ingredients I need for a healthy recipe. At the grocery store I buy my healthy staples and a variety of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.
*I exercise as close to every day as possible, always pushing harder, including cardio, strength training (never two days in a row), and stretching.
*I weigh myself every morning.
*I drink coffee almost every morning and delay breakfast as late as possible. (Once I start eating it's hard to make myself stop!)
*I drink lots of tea, seltzer, and water, and I chew gum, to fill the void that endless snacking used to take.
*I take lots of pride in my appearance and in the things my body can do now that it couldn't do before, especially running!!!
*I write in my blog and on my spark teams, and/or I read health books/magazines, because I know how very important it is to keep motivation high.
*Now that the school year has begun, I batch-cook 5-10 servings of a healthy recipe (usually in my crockpot) and put in tupperware containers. I also boil a few eggs at a time. This makes daily meal planning SOO quick and easy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JITSUKA 9/19/2007 10:19AM

    I, as well, find gum to be a great void filler. No matter how many different brands I try it seems like Big Red last the longest. I have no clue why! Breakfast is always sketchy for me as well. The last time I remember eating breakfast in the a.m. was about 10 years ago when my grandmother use to cook before I went off to school. Talk about unhealthy! We use to have the grits, sausage, toast, scrambled eggs, ... yum. Back then I would skip lunch, not breakfast. It's amazing how times have changed.

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FBERG1 9/17/2007 9:08PM

    Nice work! I bet your good habits will rub off on your students. I used to date a 4th grade teacher who would allow a different kid each day to lick the lid of his yogurt. They loved it and soon all the kids in his class brought yogurt to school for lunch.


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KCIR1959 9/16/2007 4:31PM

    Good for you, great job!

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So-so Run

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Today on the treadmill I did 5K in 27:48. Me-yesterday would have beat me-today by a minute and 28 seconds! Possible reasons:

*Not enough of a break between runs
*Today I ate right before running
*Not enough water?
*Jess thinks not enough coffee? But I doubt it
*My workout today was several hours earlier than usual...but I still got plenty of sleep last night

I plan on keeping lots of notes about my runs between now and the Big Race. Gotta figure out what works best.

Oh, another possible reason...I attempted 8.0 mph for a little while today. Maybe that wiped me out. Usually I never try anything faster than 7.5. I probably should have tried 7.6. Baby steps have gotten me this far...


I'm Really Doing It! Tufts 10K, October 8, 2007!!!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Just signed up, I am so nervous/excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In other good news, I weigh 135.4 today. Awesome.


Best 5K Time Ever

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On the treadmill tonight I ran 5K in 26:20. Yeah!! That is an average pace of 7.06 mph or 8.49 minutes per mile. That was a personal best.

AND that was after a 15 minute warmup on the stairmaster and about an hour of strength training and then a few minutes of stretching.

I am expecting a truly happy tale from the scale tomorrow morning.

I also have an appointment set up for Monday evening at 7 to meet with a personal trainer at my gym. I'm not interested in a new workout program...but will listen to what she has to say on the matter. The reason I wanted an appointment was because I want my body fat percentage measured with calipers because I've been told by some Sparkers that my scale's body fat measure might be inaccurate. If my body fat percentage ends up already being very low then I will stop trying to lose weight.

When I do go into maintanence I am going to try 1,900 calories per day and a LOT of exercise (60-90 minutes per day, as hard as I can). I am curious to see whether I can maintain with that many calories...and also how I'll feel. I hope I can maintain and that it's enough that I feel like a normal person...not someone who sometimes has to basically skip dinner because she ate her 1,500th calorie at 12:30 p.m. (which is what I did today).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEANTOWNRN 9/15/2007 9:46AM

    Congrats -- that's awesome! While I can't relate to running at such a great pace, I CAN relate to having eaten up all my calories for the day by lunchtime :)

Where do you teach? My husband is a teacher too...

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