Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tears on the Trail

This past week has been absolutely horrible weather here in the volunteer state. Storms and wet conditions have made it impossible to workout outdoors. When I woke this morning and saw the slightest bit of sun, I decided that an outdoor workout was needed and I was going to do it. 

I drove to my favorite place to go walking and hopped out of the car. I set up my app to track my mileage and time and I set my iPod up for the music that I needed. Then off I went. The first little bit of the trail I walked in order to get my legs stretched out and used to movement. I had been two days since I'd been to the gym and I didn't want to hurt my muscles. I got to the section of trail that becomes unpaved and natural, turned on my mantra song of the day and started jogging. 

I learn by studying, researching and watching other people. I've been working on my running form. I have learned not to slouch, to keep my spine straight, my arms relaxed but bent at the elbows and when my feet hit the ground not to hit on my heels but to hit gently on the balls of my feet to prevent hard impact. I have watched other runners doing this and have read plenty of articles that said it's the effective way to start running. My breathing was controlled and I wasn't panting or having difficulty breathing at all. I was sidestepping roots and mud puddles and being light on my feet like a football player in training. 

With all the rain lately the trail was muddy. At first it wasn't a problem but eventually as I got deeper into the wooded area of the trail the mud got too thick and my pants were getting muddy and wet at the ankles. I decided that I would stop running and get past the mud. I glanced down at my phone and checked my running app to see just how far I had gone. I did a double take and started crying. I had ran 1.13 miles in 16.09 minutes! I did a dance of joy and was so excited I had a stupid smile on my face for the next 1/2 mile of my walk. A man jogged past me looking at me funny because I had sweat and tears streaming down my face yet I was smiling like an idiot. It was a moment I'll never forget!

When I joined the gym June 1st and met with my trainer to discuss my workout plan, he asked me to make goals. He told me that "weight loss" cannot be a choice because that will happen with time and the proper workouts. So I thought about it and wrote down what I thought were suitable goals for me at the time. This is what I wrote:

* I would like to tone up all areas of my body and lose inches from them as well.
* I would like to strengthen my back and knees because I am too young for arthritis.
* I would like to eventually not shop in the plus sized section anymore.
* I would like to be able to start jogging.

He then asked me if I was to jog, how far I would like to go. What a small goal for that larger goal would be. I said "a mile, I want to run a mile".  

I DID IT!!! Actually it was over a mile at 1.13, but still. Just over a month into my fitness program I am able to jog a mile! Now don't get me wrong I am by no means a distance runner or a speed runner. My pace is slow and steady because I don't want to hurt myself and I am still building up the stamina and leg strength to support my frame while I run. However I think a mile in just over 16 minutes for a 193 pound woman is excellent. Maybe I'm just experiencing "runner's high" but I can't help but feel completely triumphant about this.

Music plays a huge role in my fitness program. I have to find "mood music" to set my mind into the space it needs to be in order to achieve success. Depending on the day that music can vary from hard rock to pop, Lady Gaga to Korn. Today it was what I have now deemed my mantra song for running. I'm sure you have all seen the original Karate Kid movie. The song that plays when Daniel goes to the tournament is called "You're the Best". I freaking love that song. I walk around singing it all the time. Today that song is what helped me run over a mile and keep me power walking the rest of my workout (thanks to the continuous loop function on my iPod). I was so pumped by the time I got into the car to come home, I honestly felt like nothing was ever gonna keep me down. It may be silly and you can laugh all you want but picturing me dancing around on a trail to this song makes you smile and you can't deny it!

I achieved a goal today and I am ready to tackle the other goals on my list as well. I have lost several inches already and my body is definitely getting tone. That will continue to happen so it's a goal in constant progress. My back and knees are obviously stronger now than they were a month ago or I would not be able to run. They will keep getting stronger as long as I give them what they need to do so, also a goal in constant progress. I still have to shop in the plus sized section for pants, I still have to wear a size 16. The waist is huge on me and I have to wear belts but my thighs are too muscular to fit into a size 14 just yet. I'd hate to buy a pair and end of splitting them because I have "horse legs" LOL! However I can wear large shirts now and I can eventually see myself being able to wear my much loved medium size again on a more regular basis. Once I lose more fat from my middle and my back and my torso continues to lose inches. Everything I listed is within my grasp and that is the most wonderful feeling ever!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Joys of Hormones and Mood Swings...

The past couple of days have been really difficult for me. Excessive moodiness and what seems to be a hormone flux have caused my moods to be totally in the toilet. Despite my crummy demeanor I have made it to the gym both days and pushed myself in order to get my strength training and cardio in. I have even gone walking after my workouts in order to get in more calorie burn and to be in nature which always seems to make me feel better. I swear I had to have been a tree hugging hippie in a past life because when things seems horrible for me, I go walking in the woods and take a few deep breaths and all is right in the world again. Something about the smell of nature and the sounds and sights of being all alone on a trail. I can take my time and notice things around me and actually enjoy being outside. It always helps me to recenter myself and to remember that the choices I've made to be healthy are working and that I'm doing this for me and no one else. 

I am down to 193lbs and holding. I haven't noticed any further weight loss in the past 2-3 days. This is fine, since I'm more than likely building up muscle from my strength training sessions. I'm under 195 which is plenty for me to be happy about right at this moment. Using my Loseit app and calorie counting has become habit for me now. I have noticed that in the past couple of days I have been exercising a ton and eating under a 1000 calories a day. I know that this is not good for long term weight loss, but I just haven't been hungry. Not sure if it's my moods or just that I'm legitimately not hungry so I haven't been eating heavy meals like I usually do. I also haven't been snacking at all. I'm trying to make sure I drink enough without over hydrating (which I did last week and didn't feel very good afterwards). I just need to keep in mind that some of the foods I eat also contain water, I'm not just getting fluids from my sipping cup. Plus I usually drink 1-2 8oz glasses of dark chocolate almond milk a day. This is my go to indulgence since I have chosen not to eat sweets or desserts much these days. 

Today at the gym is the day I hate. My strength training will focus on my biceps and triceps. I understand now why my upper body never had a fair chance in all the years that I was in decent shape. I hate working out those arms! It's painful and awkward for me. However, In order to build the fat burning muscle that I need to continue to lose weight I need to build muscle evenly all over, not just in my legs (which I love to work out). Sigh, so I will continue to do these workouts in order to created a healthier me, but I will probably whine about it at least once (twice on a bad day).

I have updated my music on my iPod and have some rockin tunes to listen to now when I work out, which will help. I'm hoping that this funk I'm in passes soon so I can get back to feeling good about myself and my accomplishments. Maybe it's the recent stormy weather here bringing out my claws, who knows. Chin up and get moving, this weight isn't going to leave on it's own and it's overstayed it's lease option for long enough. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I hate my trainer, sorta...

As I was looking at my paperwork for my strength training, I realized that I only had one exercise to work my biceps and one exercise to work my triceps. I was not happy with having those few options so I decided to take advantage of the free training sessions at my gym and ask my trainer for help.

I should have known what I was asking.

My trainer Jeff is really amazing. He is very knowledgeable and is more than willing to answer my questions without judging me or rolling his eyes at me. He will push me to my very limits because he knows that I am capable of doing what he asks of me, I may not want to, but I'm capable. When I signed up for the class to work my arms I knew that he was going to make me do the hard stuff despite my testimony that my arms were too weak for that much work. He did and now I hate him. (Not really but I'm venting).

I got to the gym an hour before the class, so I decided to use that opportunity to do my cardio so I would have it out of my way. I pushed myself and was a little tired by the time we got around to class time but I knew that I needed to do this for myself so I could add more exercises to my routine and be able to properly work those stubborn arm muscles that refuse to thin down on their own. He showed me some basic things to do to work my biceps, like dumbbell curls (we used 10lb weights). We also did curls with a resistance band that was the strongest resistance they had. (Why does he think I'm superwoman or something?) He also showed me how to use the bands to do behind the head tricep extensions. The tricep workout will blast that stupid waddle that I have under my arms that is no longer welcome here and has been given it's eviction notice. He taught me how to do hammer curls with the dumbbells which will work biceps as well. Then he pulled out the big gun and I just knew I was in trouble....

It's called an EZ bar. Whoever named this thing obviously never actually used it because it is not easy at all. The lightest EZ bar that they make is 20lbs. Jeff demonstrates to me how to do a behind the head tricep extension with the EZ bar and made it look like it weighed nothing. He handed it to me and I gave him that look. The look of, "You've got to be kidding me right?" He just laughed at me and told me that I could do it. We got the bar behind my head, then I had to lift it straight up. Let's just say I'm so glad no one was video taping this because I had to have looked ridiculous. For the first few reps he had to hold my elbows to keep them from turning out when I tried to lift the bar. He then decided it would be a good idea to let go and the bar thumped me on top of my head. (20lbs of weight on your head hurts). I shook it off and he jumped back into spotting me again so I could lift the weight. We worked in increments. We did 15 reps, 10 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps then 2 reps. Afterwards Jeff said I may want to wait until I have a little more tricep strength until I try that one on my own, so I don't bonk myself in the head with the bar again. My elbows cannot support the weight without turning out and all that does is put unnecessary stress on my shoulders instead of working my triceps. I agreed, but put it on my routine list anyway for later use. 

Today my biceps are killing me. It even hurts to lift my purse! They are sore and I can tell that it was because we worked them so much on Thursday that new muscle is forming and they are healing. Luckily I don't have to work them again until my workout on Wednesday, that should give me plenty of time to heal up so I don't injure them. It's so weird that only my biceps are hurting and my triceps are fine. The hardest part of that workout in class was the EZ bar routine for my triceps. I guess fat can't hurt and my triceps are still mostly fat? Don't ask me I just find it odd. 

I didn't make it to the gym today for my 6th day of cardio. I did grocery shopping instead and now am doing laundry. I've still burnt calories today just not near as many as I would have if I went to the gym this morning. I shall return to the gym on Monday and begin a new week of blasting away that stubborn fat that is slowly losing it's battle on my body. I won't be sad to see it go and I'm happy that I will soon have to buy new clothes including bras and underwear. 

"You're the best....around....nothing's gonna ever keep you down...." 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More Pictures

I figure if I'm going to be posting about my progress in fitness, I have to post all the pictures, even those that make me cringe because I'm not quite in the shape I want to be yet, so here goes:

Front view, I'm getting smaller in the upper ab area but my lower abs and hips still need work obviously. It's also not the most flattering of sports bras.

Side view, you can see that abs are starting to form, there is at least an outline of them.

Back view, I still have a little bit of flab on my back, but it's much less than I used to have. I noticed that my rear area looks kinda square. Hmm...not quite sure why, unless it's just the way the muscles are forming. (I don't wanna be like spongebob!!!) =P

I must report that I was able to run 15 minutes on the treadmill today at 4.8mph. When I started running I could only do 5 minutes at a 4.5mph. So I'm getting faster and developing more stamina to run longer. It's a small accomplishment, but I'll take it!

Monday, July 2, 2012


Just a couple of quick pictures from after my workout today. 

Down to 195lbs: 
Starting to get definition, there is a gap between my arms and sides now that I didn't have before. I did notice my hips look really big, but I can guarantee that's all muscle. I always did have legs like a horse. 

Look at my upper arms you can see that my shoulders are starting to get some definition. I still have the "waddle" but it's significantly less than what it used to be. My right arm looks better than my left but that may just be positioning for the photo. 

Here is my "I'm happy with my progress moment" of the day. I wore a tank top to the gym and my pants are fitted and not baggy. I wasn't embarrassed or trying to hide my body at all. It actually felt good to workout in a tank top, my arms felt as if they had a wider range of motion. 

Also I was able to increase the weight for all of my chest, back and tricep strength exercises today. That made me do a little dance of joy in my head. I can easily tell that my upper body is getting stronger and that is always a good thing. Here are the numbers for the weight change I was able to log on my fitness report today, I hope my trainer will be pleased with my progress:

Chest Press: started at 15lbs and was able to move up to 20 pounds today. I still struggle with chest exercises but it's getting better day by day.

Pec Deck Flye Machine: started at 30lbs and was able to move up to 45lbs today. This movement machine still feels really unnatural to me, but I do the best I can.

Pull Down (Back strengthener): started at 50lbs and was able to go up to 60lbs today. 

Seated Row Machine: started at 30lbs and was able to go up to 35lbs today.

Seated Tricep Press Machine: started at 50lbs and was able to go up to 55lbs today.

**I also did 35 minutes of cardio on the arc trainer on interval program #2 and burnt 400 calories and went 1.46 miles. That's the most I've ever burnt on a cardio machine before in 35 minutes.**

I definitely can say that I am please with my day and now it's time to relax for a bit. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

One Month In

Tonight I weighed myself and took measurements to celebrate my first month of going to the gym and being more active. I can't seem to find posts on any of my social media sites about what my previous measurements were, so I don't have a good comparison to make at this point. I am surprised by some of the numbers and bummed at the fact that my hips are still on the big side in my opinion. I definitely have those "birthin hips" that people laugh about when they see a shapely woman. I'm Hungarian and Irish, neither of those nationalities are petite women, so I blame my genetics, lol!

Here are the one month results:

Weight: 195 lbs
Waist: 38 inches
Chest: 36.5 inches
Biceps: 14 inches
Thighs: 26 inches
Calves: 15 inches
Hips: 45.5 inches (WHAT??)

My waist and thighs are by far my winners for the "That's awesome" moment. I used to have a 42 inch waist and my thighs were like 36 inches I think. My chest used to be 40 inches and my hips were 48 inches give or take. When I started my exercise adventure back in December of 2011 I was 215 lbs. Over all I have made progress, maybe not the progress that I imagined but it's only been one month since I got back onto the exercise and healthy eating wagon. 

Tonight I totally blew my calorie intake for the day because we went to Red Robin for dinner so I could get my free "birthday" burger for this month. I couldn't resist. I was hungry and I wanted something more significant than some fish and quinoa. It was tasty, but heavy and my stomach is unsure how to feel about that at this point. I feel over stuffed even though I had my burger in a lettuce wrap. I can't believe I used to eat like that all the time, how could I feel like this for years and never realize that something was wrong? Guilty for having eaten that much at this point is doing me no good, so I will keep in mind that next time I have to make a much healthier choice than a Royal Robin burger.

I have also done some research on becoming a work out runner. I have discovered two things that I didn't know about. First, running 6 days a week for beginners is not a good thing. Your body does not have time between runs to heal the muscle strain that you encounter from the impact of running. So I am going to alter my running program to only 3 days a week. Probably on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I will continue to do my strength training as well and the running will be the cardio part of my program. Also I will eventually have to break down and buy some running shoes. Right now I am using my hiking shoes which are very basic and broken in from having them for a few years now. They are definitely not made for jogging or distance running at all and there is not enough support for my arches which is why my feet ache after any significant time spent running. It will get put on my "things I need to purchase" list and once I get some spare cash, I'll see about getting properly fitted and into a pair that will comfort my feet and if I'm lucky be cute too!

Here are some photos from last year and recent to get a good idea of how much smaller I've become:

This was last summer for a birthday party at the lake. I didn't look very healthy at all. (215lbs)

This is a picture of Dakota and I at the Tunnel Hill Train Museum in May of this year. I look taller =P (197lbs)

This is a picture of me in April of this year getting ready for a job interview. (197lbs)