Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 1: Day 1 and Day 2

Day 1:
Let's just say....that day one could have been better...and leave it at that, lol.

Day 2:
I ate all of my meals on time and hit the gym after work.  My weights were down and I only lasted about 15 minutes on the elliptical, but I feel good that I did go, and I did accomplish something.

Onward....and upward!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let's try this again....

I'm Back!!!

So I'm going to be doing a 12 week long challenge.

Last time, I believe I had done 4 weeks of full workout schedules and clean eating straight with some really awesome results.

In some ways, I'm starting over.  But not completely.  I know what my workouts will look like and what food I need to eat and when.

My goal in doing this 12 week challenge is to dedicate the time to get into a very consistent schedule as well as get far enough into the schedule that I am lifting 4-6 reps per set, instead of 8-12 like I will be doing in the 1st 4 weeks.  This will cut my workout time down to about 45 minutes, hopefully.

So I will be doing the following:

Monday:  Upper Body A + 30 minute Cardio session
Tuesday:  Lower Body A + 30 minute Cardio session
Wednesday:  30 minute Cardio session
Thursday:  Upper Body B + 30 minute Cardio session
Friday:  Lower Body B + 30 minute Cardio session

For 12 weeks.


Another change:  I will not be weighing myself.  This is more about consistency than weight right now.  I'm looking forward to the changes that I can observe, and that others may be able to see....but the scale will not tell me the whole picture so....I'm keeping it out of the picture for these 12 weeks.  I don't even know what my starting weight is, though I can guess.

So wish me luck!  I also plan to blog as many nights of the week as I can, just to keep my motivation up.  I won't post them all to Facebook so...come check them out when you can!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Noticing Changes: 6 months later

I started to reminisce...and what I saw kind of shocked me.  I hadn't stopped to really take inventory of how I've changed.

These pictures reflect a body that is changing and it honestly isn't reflected on the scale all that much.  I've lost about 18 pounds, but the fat loss and muscle gain have helped to start reshape my body.

I've never taken a side picture before....but I like the changes that I can see.  Smaller upper arms with more muscle, less in the stomach area....nice :-)

 On the left, is a picture from August 3, 2013, 6 months ago.  On the right, a picture from yesterday, February 6, 2014.  I hadn't stopped to compare.  But now....now I can see the difference.  One the left, the shirt is tight everywhere and my arms actually cover the rest of my stomach along the sides.  On the right, I pulled the shirt around the back to show that there is less mass in my stomach area, you can see plenty of space between my stomach and my arm now...and my posture is better.

Again, on the left, from August 2013.  6 months later, you can see more definition in my face and cheeks.

The top picture is from December.  The lower one is from February 5th, 2014.  Again, I can see space between my stomach and arm, thinner and more muscled arm, and better posture.

The left is from late July 2013, and the right is from February 6th, 2014.  Oh no she didn't do skinny jeans!  Oh yes she did :-) 

Take stock, my friends.  Note the changes and use them to motivate yourself to continue your journey.  I know that my confidence is growing all the time, and people are noticing.  It feels really good :-)

Monday, January 27, 2014

What's the Plan, Stan?

So what exactly is my plan?

This picture is a good start: 
This works well for my plan since I work out right after work.  If you work out in the morning, I'm assuming following the pre-workout and post-workout food no matter the time of day would work.

The better resource is 

This long article outlines how working out for woman isn't really that much different than men.  We aren't going to bulk up because women do not have the level of testosterone that men do.  

The food section lists a 40% carbohydrate, 40% protein, and 20% fat recommendation.  It's more than the numbers, though.  What are the right carbs to eat and when?  The same goes for the other categories.

Another great site for motivation and guidance is http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bbinfo.php?page=FemaleTransformation

This site lists real people and the progress they were able to make.  Yes, some are nearly models to begin with who were looking to get into competition physique, but there are plenty that worked on losing large amounts of weight and fat.  No matter your weight loss goal, remembering that the real goal is changing your physical shape, developing muscle that will in turn help you to burn fat in the long-term, is far more important.  
Eating right is great...but not enough.  Running is good...but not enough, at least not when you're first starting.  Lifting weights but still eating burgers and other fatty foods is not enough.  You have to eat the right foods at 3 hour intervals, lift weights to fail (lifting heavy enough that your muscles literally fail trying to do the last rep ) 4 times per week, and do cardio fitness 4-5 times per week.

Here is my weight lifting schedule: (I also do 30 minutes of cardio each day that I lift plus one day of just cardio)

Weeks 1-4
During weeks 1-4, you will be lifting in the 8-12 rep range. What this means is that you want to complete at least 8 reps but no more than 12 reps for each set. If you cannot complete 8 reps, then the weight is too heavy and you should decrease the load. If you can complete more than 12 reps, then the weight is too light and you should increase the load.
Weeks 5-8
During weeks 5-8, you will be lifting in the 6-8 rep range. What this means is that you want to complete at least 6 reps but no more than 8 reps for each set. If you cannot complete 6 reps, then the weight is too heavy and you should decrease the load. If you can complete more than 8 reps, then the weight is too light and you should increase the load.

Weeks 9-12

During weeks 9-12, you will be lifting in the 4-6 rep range. What this means is that you want to complete at least 4 reps but no more than 6 reps for each set. If you cannot complete 4 reps, then the weight is too heavy and you should decrease the load. If you can complete more than 6 reps, then the weight is too light and you should increase the load.
This phase of the 12-week program is going to be very challenging and produce accelerated results.

There is so much to share and as I type this, I am preaching to myself.  Staying on track with my diet and exercise has been difficult, but I have seen some results and am looking forward to seeing more.  There will come a point where I am eating right and exercising consistently enough that my body will turn into a Ferrari and I will be using food as fuel for the workouts I complete.  I will be able to drop 3, 4, 5, pounds per week and develop lean muscle that will carry me into higher weight loads and better cardio sessions.

I can't wait :-)

Here's a fun simulator that you can use as a motivating tool to see what you may look like as you progress on your weight loss journey.

Good luck and God Bless!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How is Success Measured?

The truth about success?

In fitness and health...It's relative.  

What I consider a success...you may not.

What I've been learning lately is to CREATE a success.  This is especially true when I fail.

For example: If I mess up and have a Mountain Dew, I think, "Man.  I used to have 3 cans of Mountain Dew in an hour!  Now I'm down to one can every once in a great while!  That's amazing."

And then...I keep on going and get back on track with my delicious water ;-)  That is still a success for me.

Rules about success:

1.  Never compare yourself to others.  I know that my brother can run a faster mile than me.  TONS of people can run a faster mile than me.  But...when I started a few months ago, it took me 21 minutes to walk/jog a mile.  A few days ago I did it in 15:30.  That's a HUGE success to me, considering the last time I "ran" was for presidential testing during gym class when I was 10.  

2.  Find success.  What about your situation is a success?  Take the time to realize what you are doing differently since you've started working out and eating right.  I realized a couple days ago that I had convinced myself TO workout, instead of talking myself out of it.  It was a crazy conversation: 
"I don't want to workout"
"Yeah but if I don't do it today I'll have to do it tomorrow"
"Yeah but that's no big deal"
"But if I do it tomorrow, I miss my day off and then I have to workout two days in a row"
"Ok.  Maybe I'll do weightlifting today, but do cardio tomorrow"
"But if I do that...then I won't have my day off"
"Ok.  I'll do the whole workout, be focused, do well, and get my day off tomorrow"

Tada! :-)

3.  Get out of your comfort zone.  When you are out of your usual "happy place," you give yourself more chances to have success because nearly everything will be new and exciting: a chance for success in new ways...ways you've never let yourself be successful before.  I never thought I'd run.  But now I know that I can and I am excited every time I take off even another second of my run time.  I'd never experience that thrill if I stayed on my couch.

4.  Small changes done consistently will yield results.  Make a couple of choices you are able to commit to 100%.  "I am going to workout 3 days per week."  Not a huge time commitment, but you get your feet wet with starting to workout.  If you do that consistently, you will feel the results and feel better knowing that you are committed to your plan.  "I am going to eat right."  Once you find your place with your nutrition, commit to following your meal plan 100%.  Those 2 things alone will change your life and your outlook.

Find your success and your passion and you will stay committed to your plan.  Be positive and always learn from the past, enjoy the present, and hope for the future.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Be Honest About Everything

I have learned something: I lie to myself....a lot.  What's worse...I make stuff up to make myself feel better.  It never works.  I end up feeling bad about the thing I did wrong...and then more guilty because I lied about it.  It's not real.  Why bother lying?

When it comes to fitness and being healthy, and everything else really, I know that I have to get a major dose of self-intimacy.  Saying "Yeah, I ate that cookie" is not the end of the world.  Is it?  My logical mind tells me no, it's not a big deal.  Just make a plan to get back on track.  But the guilt makes me want to hide that mistake and pretend I'm GREAT! I am learning quickly that I have a perfectionist attitude: if I can't do it perfectly, I may as well not do it.  That's messed up.  If I say "Well...I only have time for a 30 minute workout instead of the hour that I had planned...so I can't do it" I lose out on the opportunity to complete what I could have in that time.  Instead, I ended up accomplishing nothing.  
Failure is a part of the process...that's hard to say.  But I know it's true.  I am working on taking away the emotional part of eating, and use food as fuel for my body to recover from workouts and rebuild muscle that I've exhausted.  I have to trade the really good tasting, fatty, salty foods for the decent tasting food that helps me to gain muscle, lose weight, and feel good.  I will be honest about my success and failures.  I am certainly my own worst critic...I need to work on forgiving myself and moving on.  I only have one present existence...one chance at NOW.  I will make the best of it.  I encourage you to do the same.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why being red in the face...is good for your mental and emotional health

Most people would assume that I'm talking about anger when discussing having a red face.  But this picture should say it all.  This is after a good run that was exhausting.  When I first started working out in June 2013, that was the first benefit I noticed to working out...I was calmer.  Who can stress when they're that tired??  Lol.  

I'm sure we all know that a lot of research has been done on the correlation between exercise and mental and emotional health, but this article indicates that many doctors and psychologists do not include exercise as part of their treatment planning.  As a future counselor, I am now learning how exercising 3-6 times per week can help aid in depression management, good sleep habits, emotional stability, and release from anxiety.  It is it's own high.  A mood-altering endorphin rush that leaves you relaxed the rest of the day.  Seriously...if you start, you will want more.  

For me, it's about stability in everything.  I don't like crying one day, and being ecstatic the next.  As my life continues to even out, my choice to focus on working out has been a good one.  Challenging...but good.  I trust God to give me the inner strength that I need to pursue this goal as well as others that I am working on now and in the future.  No matter your reasons for working out and working on living a more healthy lifestyle, kudos.  I challenge everyone who reads this to think about their emotional and mental stability and consider stepping on a treadmill to get your heart racing and your mind relaxed.  God bless.