Back from vacation and ready to work hard!! A new challenge starts today!

Monday, August 06, 2012

I will post all the fun details regarding our vacation in the next blog but first I wanted to discuss the upcoming challenge which starts tomorrow. We are currently going through almost 3,000 photos from over 10 locations. This includes our stay along the French coast before the cruise, all of the countries from the cruise itself, then our post cruise stay throughout Provence. There are so many photos to go through, it will take some time, but are a few memories of our trip. We have the most amazing time together. More photos to come soon....

Here we are in Italy, visiting the island of Capri. We hired a boat to take us around the island and it ended up being a highlight of the cruise, it was such a beautiful island. I cannot wait to return someday.

Together in Corsica on the first day of our cruise.

This was taken in Cassis, France while on a boat tour of the lovely limestone cliffs around the area. We loved the little town, one of our favorites along the French coast.

Along the coast of France. The beach was beautiful but cold!

On our balcony doing pushups with a little extra weight added on! She loves to climb on top of me while I do my push ups....I love it!

Heading out to dinner one night of the cruise.

Now onto the challenge before us!!

We are excited about this next challenge as my husband and I both reached a new level of fitness during the last challenge and it continues to bring us closer together the more we train together and both strive for new goals. I love training together, he really inspires me. My husbands main goal in addition to his ST program is his cycling. His goal for this month is to complete 250 miles which includes a few rides during the week to and from work along with his longer rides on the weekends. He will also be adding in more hill training so that he can meet his goal for this year which is completing a very long climb we recently found near by. It is a very aggressive goal for him and I am excited to do all I can to help him reach it. What a day that will be!!

This challenge will start Monday and go throughout the month of August. We have each set personal goals and as always I will post my daily results on the blog along with my Spark and FB page. This month for me involves striving for a gain in my overall strength. I am focusing on pull ups, pushups and to increase my bicep curls.

Here are the details regarding the new challenge. It is simple, straight forward and I look forward waking up each morning ready to reach these goals!!

August 6th - August 31st Goals....

1. Strength training - Bicep curls.

Complete 3 sets of 12 reps for my alternating bicep curls WITH good form using 30 lb Db's. As of now I can do one set of 10 or 12, then a second set of 8 or so but the third set I burn out and I start to sway back and my form is totally off. I want to work hard to really get in each rep in fully and strong. For me, at this time, the 30 lb Db's give me a great challenge.

2. Pull ups.

Complete 5 consecutive unassisted pull ups by the end of the challenge. Currently I can do 1 to 2 pull ups from a hanging start but I cannot do any more without assistance. For me the hardest part is getting going from the start without using momentum. This is a HUGE challenge for me. To help me increase my pull ups I will be focusing on various back exercises including assisted pull ups, TRX exercises and bent over rows. It is my goal to complete 200 assisted (and some unassisted) pull ups during the course of the challenge. That 50 reps per week.

3. Push ups.

Have you ever seen a challenge of mine that did not contain a push up goal? I LOVE them! Here is the problem. The standard military pushup that was once so very hard for me has become something I thrive on doing and therefore I have developed a great deal of muscular endurance and I can do quite a few. This is a good thing but it is not moving me forward with my fitness goals. So for this month I still have a goal to do 2,000 reps for the month BUT they will not include a standard military push up. Instead I will be focusing on variations that are more of a challenge for me. They are as follows......

500 reps of each type for the month -
Spiderman Push ups - Alternating knees to elbows
Solider Plank - One arm and one leg raised after each rep
Bosu Ball Close grip
Diamond push ups

4. Running.

I am currently in the middle of my marathon training and while everything was going well prior to the cruise, I did get a bit off track while I was gone. I got in several runs and a few fantastic HIIT sessions on the treadmill but my long runs where non existent. So I have to get back on track. Most of you know my history with running. I love it more than anything but my right knee has been giving me trouble for years. I am taking the advice of my PT and doctors and I am going to take it SLOW and train smart to hopefully help me finish strong and not injured. My goal for this next race is to finish before the cut off.....I am dead serious and to finish without injuring my knee further so that I can continue to race and do what I love. My training is a run/walk program and I will be aiming for a 13 mm during my long runs and a 12 mm marathon pace. As I said, it will be a slow race but the goal is not time but completing my first marathon after having to bow out of several races due to injury. The race is October 29th, in Dublin and I am truly excited BUT I need to really and truly train properly and not pull a typical "Jen training method" where I go out and run fast because I feel motivated. I MUST stick to the paces set for me and the mileage planned for me. If I want to run for a lifetime, this is what I must do.

5. Nutrition - Bye bye oats, breads and the things I love.

For this challenge we are saying goodbye to oats and breads....basically we are going Gluten free. We will still eat quinoa, brown rice, wild rice and GF rice cakes but the rest will be removed for now. I am also focusing on my macros this month. I am aiming for a higher protein, low carb percentage but the main focus is on increasing my healthy fats through eating more nuts, avocados a fuel source. I am currently reading a few books on athletic nutrition and I am learning a great deal.

It is also a goal of mine to continue my water consumption each day....about 4 to 5 liters along with my VM green and earth powders.

You may have noticed that for this month I do not have one single goal dealing with weight loss, inches loss, BF% etc. This month is about improving strength and reaching new goals. I am happy where I am right now and feel blessed to have reached the weight loss goals I have so far. It is now time to move on and focus on new things!

I am ready. I can do this.
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