Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

New Activities. I like to try new things. I’m always up to test something new out. Recently, one of my old coworkers and friends, Erin joined the federal employee gym. This made me happy because before that I was kind of “eh” about going to a gym class… but it’s nice having someone to go with. In the past week, I’ve attended two gym classes. We also try to run two days a week… I couple that with my outside running and what not and I’m pretty happy with the exercise I’m getting. When we move to Del Ray, Andrew and I are going to check out some local gyms; one of which is LA Fitness. I don’t care too much for big gyms and crowds, but I do like the fact that LA Fitness is less than a mile away from the apartment and has a pool. I really want to start swimming again and train towards a spring triathlon for next year. I know, two gyms!?! That’s crazy and expensive! Well, really the LA Fitness gym is the expensive one. I consider the federal employee gym to be part of work benefits. The dues are automatically sucked from my account before I even see my money. On top of that, I only pay $12 a month. So, you figure, two group classes a week for $12, pretty good deal! I also plan on going to do my own weight training once I get a handle on moving and the new job. I love it- I feel so good after working out!

Strength-n-Motion. This strength training class challenges all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts, and curls. This class is also known as weight training set to music. What this really means: You perform said squats, lifts, curls, and lunges with a barbell that has at least 20lbs on it. You work nonstop and when your arms hurt like never before, you put the barbell down and proceed to do push ups. Then you go back to barbell exercises and then back to push ups. Oh and you inter-mix some wall sits with that as well as crunches…and finally, crunches while you hold a barbell over your head. ouch. soreness will ensue. You will sweat a lot. But you will feel fantastic!

Power Sculpt. Sculpt your whole body using light weights, barbells, balls and bands, to work all the major muscles through resistance training. What this really means: We used about 3 different size dumb bells of light weights (1lb, 2lb, 3lb). You basically switch in and out depending on how much you can handle. This was a sort of yoga-pilates-resistance training work out. There were times when you could feel yourself working muscles you didn’t even know existed, there were times when you just wanted to stop and there were times when you felt like oh I can do this, it’s just stretching. Any way you look at it, it was a good workout and definitely of good use for toning.

So, those are my details on the two new classes. Tomorrow we’re on for a run in the morning before work, although I really want to go to this Zumba class that is offered at 12:30. I just added it to my calendar– not sure if I’ll feel up to doing a run and the class, but I’d really like to try it out. It’s all the rage, you know!

I finally caved and signed up for the Race for the Cure 5K on June 4th… that’s the Saturday after we get back from California. I figured, by signing up and paying the registration fee ($45?!?!), it would help motivate me to get up early in Groveland and run in the mornings! I also found an 8K on Father’s Day that I may sign up for (only $20)… amazing how much of my money goes to running… if I run the 8K, then I Just need to find a 10K, 15K, and half marathon to complete this year and I’ll have hit my goals for this year. I’d like to get up to the half marathon comfortably and stick around that length of race… if I could keep doing some long runs of 8-10 miles once I complete the half as my norm, that’d be fantastic. I could amp up the biking and swimming and the triathlon would be attainable in no time! Easier to think about then implement, but we’ll see how it goes!

  There it is! The first 5K Since December of 2010… and the 2nd race post-ankle surgery. Words cannot begin to explain how amazing it feels to FINALLY feel great running again. My ankle has been a little swollen here and there but other than that no problems with my left foot. On the other hand, there have been several evenings where I’ve slept with 4 or 5 ice packs to try to relax my knees, my tail bone, and my back. But regardless of the pills and the pain, I DON’T CARE! To be in a race and be able to run hills for 3.1 miles at an 11:20/min pace is indescribable. I forgot (albeit, momentarily) how great it feels to run.

Andrew so graciously got up early on Sunday (after being up early on Saturday too!) and drove me to the race location (in DC). He brought along Franklin and they weren’t allowed in the cemetery but he got up early and drove me there anyway! I checked in and hung around with the boys until it drew close to start time. We parted ways and I thought, ugh, how am I going to do this. I walked through the gates and into a mess of people- none of whom I knew. I started thinking why am I doing this? Maybe this isn’t for me anymore… maybe I need to find something else, some other line of fitness. That’s when it happened. The man on the speaker started talking about the history of the cemetery and the race. I stretched and looked up at the absolutely gorgeous weather (sunny and 60s). I looked around and heard people laughing and smiling and stretching and I felt the bodies press up against me as everyone crowded the start line. Right there. That instant. Knowing that about 1,000 people had traveled by foot, bike, car, and metro to a cemetery in Southeast DC at 8:00AM on a Sunday morning… JUST TO RUN a 3.1 mile route with a bunch of complete strangers. That right there is why I run. That is why I have struggled through ankle surgery and weight gain and now trying to make it through weight loss. Because of the feeling I get surrounded by countless people I’ve never met and may never see again… just to go for a run. We are a special breed, we runners. We’d put up with anything- sleet, rain, snow (I’ve been there), sun, clouds, crowds, over-flowing portapotties, rotten bananas, cold pretzels, water, gatorade, gels…not to mention aches, pains, sprains, fractures, sweat, tears, and screams just for the thrill of crossing a finish line.

One of the greatest things about running is that even though there is competition going on, everyone’s on the same team. After you cross the finish line, you shake hands, give hugs, talk about what you did differently that cut a second or two off your time… and the greatest part? After the race, the people who were faster than you, they stick around, they walk down the path you’re still struggling to make your way up and they cheer for you. They clap, the yell, they motivate– even if they beat your pace by 6 minutes/mile, they are your equal. They get it and they get that you get it. And for the amount of time it takes to complete the race, everything in the world is right. There is nothing that could bring you down. Not one thing.

And that my friends, is the runner’s high.

Well, needless to say, I’ve been slacking at blogging lately. My last post was what? 2 weeks ago? About a raw diet that I never actually tried? I went to the store and bought the ingredients (veggies, fruits, etc) and then after talking with Andrew, decided it wasn’t the best time to try a new thing… especially when things are going so well and there’s just so much else going on…

So, where are we two weeks later? Well, I’m down about 9lbs. since joining myfitnessplan.com. I love it. I love just looking at portions and calories and having a nice big salad for lunch so that I can “indulge” on dinner… I know, I know. I’m not supposed to be saving all of my calories for dinner, but as long as I switch it up, it’s ok right? And as long as it’s working? I’ve been eating a homemade salad every day that I’m at work for lunch— I was using romaine because I like the crunch and the way it cuts up (dumb I know), but I recently switched back to Spinach- better flavor and better nutrients. My salads consist of some mix of: spinach, celery, carrots, cucumbers, tomato, mushrooms, leeks, scallions, pepper, etc. This week I bought a bag of radishes— I never used to be a big fan, but WOW, how much my opinion of them has changed! Phenomenal little buggers that pack a punch!

Anyway, we also found some ranch dressing made with yogurt that has about half the calories of regular ranch but tastes just as good…that combined with some low fat garlic croutons and I’m set for life. I love it. I never thought I’d look forward to my salad every day, but I do!

So this past week I stayed the same weight- didn’t gain any, didn’t lose any and I’ll take it.. .even though I was frustrated about it. I did splurge a lot over my birthday weekend- we went to an Italian Restaurant on Friday, then on Saturday we were at my parents for GINORMOUS burgers and roasted potatoes… and of course, chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.  Sunday we were on the road again after eating Easter Dinner and then snacking on I don’t even remember- probably Chicken Nuggets because we were too tired to cook. Anyway, despite splurging, I worked out a lot (at least I thought I did), but I guess not enough to balance out!

So, I’m back on it this week even though I have splurged a couple times. Despite the splurging, I got up to 3.1 miles on Sunday! We walk about 4 miles on Saturday too- so the weekend was balanced with decent mileage. I also walked about 2.5 miles on Monday while at work (took a break with a coworker to enjoy the weather) and then today, I ran about 2.5 and walked about 2.5… I forgot socks, so running was vicious.

I even signed up for a 5K on Sunday!!! I’m not going for any time, I just want to complete it and feel confident about running again- I’m definitely getting there, I just need to cross train and make sure that I’m not pushing it too far too fast.

Well, I will blog again soon but it’s 9:30 and I haven’t eaten dinner yet… more soon, I promise!

A little over two days to go until the federal government will shutdown. Technically, because the house passed a 72-hour rule any budget that was to be voted on should have been presented by midnight last night (Tuesday). As of now, we, meaning the fed employees, haven’t heard that much from our higher ups about what’s going on. As we continue to pour through news articles, blogs, and posts, we have received one email from the Administrator today followed by a request from our immediate supervisors for our at home non work contact information. Even if there is a government shutdown, we’ll still have to come in Monday morning to get the official paperwork. So we’re basically waiting it out to see what happens.

In other news we finally finished level 1 of the 30 day shred… definitely can tell a difference since we started it, but now we’ll have to go from ground zero all over again because of moving to level 2. We were supposed to start this morning but we slept in- just feel really worn down today for some reason. I think we may just take today off from exercising- bad I know, especially because it appears to be sunny out, but sometimes you just need a break. We can start back into it tomorrow. I’d really like to continue with the working out in the morning (doing shred) and then going for a run in the evening– I have yet to be that awake/with it to do both of those things, but I would like to! Perhaps tomorrow I can try it out.

Tonight we’re doing burgers and roasted wedges- we had plain whole wheat pasta with artichokes and spicy tomato-basil sauce last night. Because I may be furloughed and we’re not sure for how long, we’ve planned out a budget in the event that I am not working for two weeks. I highly doubt we’ll go that long (fingers crossed) but we are prepared anyway. Setting up the budget together has been the best idea we’ve had so far– we have a joint emergency fund that makes me at least feel a lot  more comfortable about things. In addition, I have a separate savings account just to pay off my loan in June- I’ve been putting money into it (including my tax returns and what not). I should be ok paying it off– it’s $3500… eeks! But once it’s gone, I will have less than $3000 in student loans left. AWESOME! Of course if I go back to school I’ll probably need a loan- I wish I wouldn’t, but probably will. blah- loans are overrated! I’m hoping that I can get my work to pay for a class or two in the upcoming year but we’ll have to see how it goes.

Ok, short post today :0)  I’ll catch you later!

So I’ve been following myfitnesspal for a couple days and I will dedicate an entire post to reviewing it but in short, I’m really enjoying it. I will continue tracking with it for another week or so before ending my ww subscription- just to be sure the calorie intake and exercise burn and what not seems on target. I think the extra working out this past week helped out a lot- I was down 1.5lbs! That brings total since about mid-feb. to 8.9lbs. Not as much as I had planned but it is a good loss and I’ll take it and go with it.

Friday was a very productive day- it was my compressed day so I had the whole day off! I’ve been really itching to go for a bike ride lately and I knew Franklin wouldn’t just let me leave him at home, so I took him for a walk- just a 1.3 mile loop near the apartment, but I think it was enough to get him sleepy again (he’s always slightly sleepy anyway). I got back and made my go-to breakfast of a 1 egg, 1 egg white, a 1/2 cup of spinach and about 1/8 cup of broccoli. This time, I threw in some onion and mushroom too. I scrambled it up, sprinkled some Chalula on top and walah. Deliciousness. That and some green tea and I was ready to go. I left Franklin to sleeping in his usual recliner and headed out. It was a pretty nice day– not too hot, not too cold. I was hoping to ride the Mount Vernon bike path to Mt. Vernon (about 9 miles or so from our apartment), however when I got down the path a ways I noticed that it was completely blocked off because of construction! What’s more, about 1/4 mile out I realized that my tires needed air pretty barely… but I kept going anyway, I ended up biking a total of about 5 miles- nothing too crazy, but it was a lot of hills so still not a terrible work out. I got back to the apartment and Franklin was sitting there wagging his “tail” (I say “tail” because it’s more of a nubbin).

I spent the remainder of the day cleaning the apartment- moving things out of the rooms, vacuuming, swiffering, wiping down, organizing, washing, cleaning, making beds, and trying to contain Franklin’s toys and bones… he is a spoiled dog! The place looks really good – ready for the walk-throughs that the apartment will undoubtedly do over the next few weeks as they prepare to find new tenants. I took a break to heat up some stir fry that I made the night before for lunch.. I ended up basically working out all day between the walk, the bike ride, and cleaning. Not a bad way to spend your day off- active and accomplishing things! I even had time to prep some things for dinner: homemade roasted red peppers, poached chicken, and rosemary garlic potatoes. All were delicious and I’ll probably post the recipes this weekend. We ended up making red pepper, chicken, and mozzarella grilled paninis and rosemary garlic potatoes for dinner. Awesome.

Today we got up fairly early and did Level 1, Day 7 of JM’s Shred. Still intense and painful and I still am terrible at push-ups and find myself doing the altered versions of them, but overall I feel like I am improving on all of the exercises– and my stamina seems to be improving immensely. 3 more days of Level 1 and then it’s on to Level 2! After working out, we made breakfast (1 egg + veggies and chalula with a fruit smoothie for me and 3 eggs + veggies, sausage, and a fruit smoothie for Andrew). We headed out to Calvert Cliffs around 11AM— it’s state park in Maryland on the bay where you can hunt for fossils and shark teeth. I have been twice before during college and was excited to go back— my how much it has changed. The beach is so much shorter and skinnier, half the cliffs are right up to the ocean— where there used to be wide beach front. We did however, find some shark teeth, some skate teeth, some cool shells, and a some cool fossils. Unfortunately, our exploration of the beach was cut short due to a huge thunderstorm with lightening and thunder. The hike was about 4 miles roundtrip- not too bad for a Saturday. The trail actually runs right along a wetland area and there are a lot of wooden bridges, birds, beavers, etc. We’ll have to visit again!!

So here we are- finally clean, dry, warm, and relaxing on the couch. Grilled cheese and soup for dinner just hit the spot! Tomorrow we’re heading to our new apartment to check some measurements and do some planning– and of course, we’ll head to the grocery store for the week’s supplies. Fantastic Weekend!

 

Andrew and I have been discussing what to do in the event that the Federal Government shuts down next Friday and I am temporarily out of a job. We’ve been discussing making payments for rent in May (we’ll have two rents due during the latter two weeks of the month due to moving), my Verna Butterer Loan being due in June ($3500 eeks), and a everyday expenses. As we’ve been discussing these things, I’ve also been thinking about my lifestyle… my exercising (sometimes lack there of) and my eating/cooking habits. I seem to do really well on the weeks- I enjoy cooking and eating fresh ingredients and have no problem with these things… until the weekend when we/I lose all control. We seem to eat meals out (well take out really) and just completely crash. This needs to change…and we know it and we talk about it, but we have yet to follow up on it. We’re hoping that getting out more to hike and kayak and explore will cut down on this unnecessary spending and eating.

Along with that, I’ve been thinking about food; my struggles with staying “on point” with Weight Watchers, my ability and happiness in starving myself so that I can go out and get a donut… it has finally hit me that this is dumb. I’m not sure why it took so long for me to reach this conclusion, but it did and I accept that. I think instead, the focus should be placed on eating fresher, healthier, (and more sustainable) ingredients and foods. Food as it was intended to be… will I splurge now and then on other types of junk? Probably, that’s part of life… at least my life :0). I am excited for our farm share to begin in May— fresh veggies every weekend and hopefully we’ll get back into canning and preserving!

Anyway, all of these things bring me to thinking that perhaps WW is not a necessary part of weight loss. There are plenty of programs and free tools out there that can do the same thing as WW- what it comes down to is me following a diet plan that will work for me and that I can be successful in following. That being said, I was reading some blogs yesterday and came across “life’s little epiphanies.” It’s a blog by a fellow ww-er who tested tracking on WW for a week along with tracking on MyFitnessPal.com. I was intrigued but didn’t think much of it since there are 100s of “tracking” websites out there. Well, I took a look around and it seemed pretty interesting and cool. The most appealing part of the site is that the database contains a lot of great foods- not just some foods, not just a pinch here and a pinch there— but a TON. Plus, users can vote on whether they think the nutritional info is accurate! So I created a profile and am going to try to follow it to see how it goes. I think this will be a good way at not getting hung up on “points” but rather what’s actually going into my body (fat, calories, protein, and carbs). I do wish it also calculated fiber, but I can do that on my own.

I’ll be sure to include a synopsis of how it’s going and what I’m seeing— just wanted to share.