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I skipped working out this morning because I got up too late. Had a late night last night and didn’t sleep very well (see my notes about my food intake last night). I do have my Thai yoga class tonight, but when I get home afterwards, I will do the jump rope workout. The schedule calls for sprinting, but you’re not going to see me running on icy and snowy, puddly roads and sidewalks. Just not that gung-ho on running, I guess. I think jump roping is a good alternative for when the weather forces you to say inside. Maybe that’s a cop-out. Maybe it’s weak. But that’s the way I work. Ha.

This gave me inspiration to keep trying:

You are more than that.
More than your problems. Your mistakes.
Your failures. Less-than-stellar performances.
You are LIMITLESS potential. Goodness. Inspiration.
You are capability. Unbridled magic.
~
Every day, you get to choose. And create.
Every day, choose YOU.
Every day, create your own destiny.

~ From Your Life Your Way

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Day 1 of week 6

This morning I thought about the importance of stretching before working out, especially if you are going to be doing a workout that puts stress on your hips and lower back. Almost all of the leg exercises in the “Impossible Abs” workout affect your hips: lunges and squats, for example. Running and jump roping will also do this. So it’s very important for those areas to be flexible and loose before working them.

I have found yoga to be a great stretching mechanism. I do yoga in a class once a week, but now that I’m doing Impossible Abs, I do yoga for about 10-15 minutes every morning to stretch out before working out.

By chance, I found out that Reebok offers short videos on yoga for stretching and I was surprised to find that the instructor does almost all of the same poses that I had already incorporated into my morning stretching routine. So here are three videos from that source to give an idea of the types of yoga poses (stretches, really) I have been doing and find very beneficial. I sincerely believe it is what has prevented my back from completely tightening up. I already have a weakness in that area of my body, so skipping stretches is not even an option for me, or I would be in pain all day.

Yoga for Crossfit
Yoga for Runners
Yoga for total flexibility

Day 7 of week 4

I really can’t believe it has been 4 weeks and I’m half-way through! I’m so proud of myself, for losing those 4.5 lbs and also for the nutrition and exercising that I’ve been maintaining throughout this entire time. I’m just as enthusiastic about it now as I was in the beginning. In fact, I feel even better about it, because I’ve come this far and because I’m starting to see such great results, and I feel so great too. I like the way clothes are fitting better, I like that less is jiggling around. I just overall feel so much better and it’s also been a good thing for me emotionally.

I saw this video on the woman who did the Julia Childs cooking blog, Julie Powell (the movie “Julie and Julia” is based partly on her blog). When asked why she wanted to do it, she said it was “to do something everyday that was something specifically for me.” It was her way of getting out of her rut, to feel creative, to see if she could do it (a challenge), and to feel good about herself.

That is exactly why I wanted to do this Impossible Abs program. It was to get me out of my rut and to feel I can handle a challenge and succeed. You have to start somewhere, right? I knew I needed to get into better shape, I knew I wasn’t happy about the way my body was getting flabby and fat and I just needed to get going on something to fix it. So I did.

I am so glad I did, and even if I don’t make it to my end goals of lbs and inches off, I will be happy anyway, because I can continue on and keep going and find other ways to help me reach my goals.

One thing I did notice when I went walking yesterday is that my back is still in rough shape. I have always had a weak back, a back that will easy feel sore when I walk or stand for long periods of time. Also especially if I haven’t stretched in a while and then try to do something strenuous. I don’t know what I can do to minimize my back pain. I do the yoga and that helps. Now that I’m doing stretches every morning, I thought I’d feel much better, but in the end, I still am stiff because I sit all day long at work. And my bed is not the best bed either, it’s rather stiff and doesn’t allow my joints to relax, my shoulders and hips are always sore when I wake up. But stretching is the one thing that does help, even if it is mimimally.

If I need to take it easy walking, running, perhaps even biking, I had better find a way to strengthen my back. I was doing the yogalates which is strengthening (Pilates) along with stretching (yoga) for several years up until last December. I just do yoga now and maybe that is my problem. However, now I’m doing the workouts in the IA (Impossible Abs) program. IA does for me what Pilates was doing. It makes me stronger. And I think in the end I will be stronger than I was before. I’m certainly not going to give up until I can do a set of real pull-ups without the pauses or feet touching the ground. It may be worth it for me to go to a gym and to tell them about my back and perhaps there are exercises they can recommend.

All I know is that after Saturday’s walk (and also having lifted some heavy things earlier that morning when I picked up some things from Paul’s old apartment) my back, legs and hips were killing me. I don’t want my back to limit me in being physical, so I have to find a good way to work with this.

Day 6 of week 4

Today I skipped my regular workout that was scheduled for today and instead went for a brisk one-hour walk around Fresh Pond. I arranged to go with Kelley, my neighbor, to a Meetup event at the Whole Foods near the Fresh Pond Reservoir. It’s with a walking group that primarily walks the Boston parks and I thought, why the hell not, it will get me outside, doing exercise and give me a chance to meet new people.

I liked it. I spent most of my time walking together with a guy named Larry, who lives in Nashua. The walk was good, though, even though it was cold. The sun was out which helped. I believe the walk is about 2.5 miles, give or take a few yards. But it was perfect for the type of weather and for the amount of time I wanted to spend in the company of strangers.

After the walk we were invited to have lunch, but neither Kelley or I wanted to hang out with them after the walk, Kelley, because she didn’t have money to spend on lunch, and me, because I just wanted to get back home as I had a whole list of things to get done today.

I am now sitting down to my lunch (1:45 pm, finally! I haven’t eaten all day, unless you count a handful of nuts), and am just figuring out my next steps today.

I don’t want to make it a habit to skip my regular workouts, but I do think it helps to keep the program interesting if you swap out the regular workouts for something completely different that is just as intensive physically. I also really wanted to do something physical outside, rather than in my apartment, as that can get old pretty fast too. I’m glad I went. I managed to make it to a late lunch by having a handful of nuts to tide me over. I had a cup of tea before leaving the house, too.

Day 6 of week 3

Today I did try to do my sprints outside but I could only stand it for 6 minutes. It was very cold, there was still a dusting of snow on the ground and therefore slippery and it was later in the day, so I couldn’t run on the street where there was less snow because of the cars. I also need to buy myself some gear for running in the cold. For example gloves, and a better jacket. I will look online.

Instead of finishing the sprints today, I will do 8 minutes of jump roping and I will also finish up the rest of the exercises that I didn’t get to yesterday. Tomorrow I will rest. I do think it’s important to have that rest day.

I have been feeling stronger and more flexible. I try to stretch every day and get some yoga moves in, it just makes me feel good and I do it to avoid hurting myself during the workouts. Strange thing is, after I do my stretches in the morning, the spasm in my right buttock feels even worse than before the stretching. I’m not sure what that means. Portia, my yoga instructor, has been helping me with my upper back, shoulders and neck, but I feel just as stiff there not soon after. I don’t know if it’s the way I carry myself or how I sit, but I’m beginning to try to be more conscious of it so that I don’t tense up that area. I’m sure that must be it. I’ve always done it and its tough to prevent it from happening.

When I stretch in the evenings, I am much more flexible. I try to do stretches when I’m at my desk at work too. But sometimes I can sit at my desk at home for hours and forget to get up and stretch. I would love to be much more flexible than I am, also because it would help me with yoga moves.

This week I slacked a bit on getting up and exercising right away, so next week I want to get back on target and exercise early so that I can get the entire workouts in. I also want to stop cheating, because twice this week I ate things I shouldn’t have: a piece of pizza and a chocolate chip cookie.

I have read two books on the Paleo diet. The first one: “The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet” by Robb Wolf. I have another book on the Paleo diet and it had much stricter rules about what to eat: “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain.  On the don’t eat list were things like peanuts (which apparently is a legume, not a nut) and therefore peanut butter is also out. Also on that list are sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. Joel’s list says sweet potatoes are ok and potatoes are ok in moderation. I think I will stick with Joel’s interpretation, as these are still natural, non-processed foods. I also watched a video of a guy following the diet and he does consume milk, but only raw milk. So I’m going to try that too as soon as the 8 weeks are done. I’d love to make my own yogurt from raw milk. This week I stayed away from dairy altogether.

Day 4 of week 3

Today I really did have to skip the running (sprints) portion of the workout because it was just too cold out (4 degrees fahrenheit). So today (day 18), I did the rest of day 17’s workout (I had only done one round, so today I did the other two rounds) and when I got home I finished day 16’s workout, which was the knees to elbows exercise. Rather than doing them from the pull-up bar, I do them on the floor and don’t let my legs touch the floor or my lower back lift up off the floor, this way I’m using my ab muscles the whole time.

I shuffled the workouts around so I could get the sprints in on this coming Saturday (day 20) and I moved day 20’s workout to day 21, which is the resting day, normally. I will likely be sore after working myself so much this weekend, but it’s the only way I figure I can still get all the workouts in.

I also don’t mind if I run out of time in the morning and need to finish the workout I started later in the day. That’s what I did today, sort of. This morning I did the two rounds that I had missed on day 17 and this afternoon I did day 16’s second half. Some days in the mornings I just don’t have enough time to do the full 30 minutes. I’d rather do that than leave the entire workout for the evening, because when I get home I am usually less in the mood to workout, what with needing to get some other things done and often needing to cook as well.

Day 3 of week 3

This morning I woke up without the alarm at probably 6 or 6:30 but I was being lazy and didn’t get out of bed until 7. So I didn’t have time to do my entire workout. I did one round and then decided to do the rest after I get home tonight.

I’m glad I can wake up without the alarm. Now I just need to force myself out of bed as soon as I wake up. Otherwise the whole purpose is kind of moot.

The workout today was the strengthening workouts, all indoors, which I was glad about as today it is freezing here in Boston. If I had had to do sprints today, I likely would’ve skipped them, as I would’ve frozen my ass off. I don’t have the right kind of running gear (clothing) to run outside in freezing cold weather. I may have to address this if it remains being as chilly as it was today.

I feel stronger. I am able to do go higher when doing the pull-ups on the bar and I can do more reps of the body-row exercise and even the squats and lunges. I am therefore building muscle. So I do wonder if my lack of losing “pounds” has more to do with that I’m losing fat but at the same time am gaining muscle so the difference in weight isn’t going to be as noticeable. The more noticeable items are going to be the measurements.

I did the waist/hip ratio measurement that Robb Wolf’s book says to do and I came out at a .74. He says women over .8 need to be concerned with their health.

I had Thai yoga last night and although that’s not a strengthening form of yoga (all the exercises are for lying down), it is a flexibility-assisting form of yoga and in addition there is Thai massage involved and Portia, the instructor, has been helping me with my shoulders and neck. That is where I tighten up. I know it’s because I sit at a computer all day and that I have bad posture when sitting. I try to improve on it, but it’s not always easy when you sit for that long. I do take stretch breaks every 30 minutes or so, but not all the time.

Day 2 of week 3

I did 20 minutes of jump-rope this morning. Instead of timing my jumps, I just jumped until I was tired, rested until I caught my breath and then continued again. So I have no idea how long my jumping sessions were, but all in all, I think I’m getting better. My breaks seem to be a bit shorter.

I skipped the knees to elbows portion because I ran out of time, but I’ll get those done later today. I also have my Thai yoga class after work.

Yesterday I made soup, a curry chicken soup with a bit of potato in it and coconut milk, chicken stock and cilantro. I added both Thai curry paste and regular powdered curry (see the recipe in a later post). It came out really good. There’s nothing like a soup in the winter time.

I am surprised that after two weeks I’m only down 3 pounds, but I also wonder if perhaps I’ve gained some muscle, which wouldn’t be surprising with the added exercise I’m doing. However, I don’t think I’ve done that much strengthening, because the first week I didn’t have the pull-up bar. However, I am still going to cut certain foods out even more to see if there’s a big difference in my weight loss this week. I will cut back on the nuts and the fruits and cut dairy out completely and then see where things stand.

Although I am determined to stick to the plan for the 8 weeks, I am not convinced that I need to be this strict with the diet after the 8 weeks are up. I am thinking of reintroducing some wheat-based and dairy-based foods back into my diet, but in severe moderation. Perhaps only consuming those once a week. Perhaps designate a dairy/wheat day once a week or once every two weeks. Then see if I notice any fluctuation in my weight or how I feel.

I have to say, even though the scale isn’t saying I lost much weight, I feel stronger in my core from the exercises. I do quite a bit of stretching and yoga before doing the workouts and I think that is also helping me, not only to be more flexible but also to prevent myself from getting hurt during the workouts. I do notice an increase in flexibility and also a strengthening in my arms, as I can now pull up higher on the bar and my reps are increasing during my workouts. It’s slow, but definitely progress.

Being in the third week feels great! I am just as determined as ever and I’m still not missing those other foods, nor am I doing any cheating outside the 8 hour window. I’m really trying to be good for these 2 months so that the results will really stand out and I have something to show for those who will follow my blog. I don’t want to let them down nor do I want to let me down.

Day 6 of week 2

This morning I did my 20 minute sprints, although it’s hard to know if I really did 20 minutes as I was interrupted by a neighbor (Gary) who was walking his dog. So maybe I did about 5 minutes less. But it went well. For some reason, I wasn’t able to sprint two laps like I did last time, but only was able to sprint one. It hadn’t felt like I’d pushed myself last time but this time it felt like I had to push myself to make it. Not sure what that’s about. But maybe I was more tired than I thought.

I did go to bed around 10:30 but couldn’t fall asleep. I am taking advice from the Paleo diet book I’m reading and tried to get 9 hours of sleep, and even kept the kitten out of the room, but I only slept to about 6:00 am, so likely only got maybe 7 and a half hours of sleep. I’ll keep trying though. The book says that sleep is very important to our overall health and if you don’t sleep enough you may not lose weight as quickly. So I want to definitely try this, as the kitten was waking me up a lot and way too early. I couldn’t jump right out of bed at 6 am each day like I would want to, but often would lie there resting for another 30 minutes or sometimes would even try to go back to sleep for another 45 minutes or so.

Day 4 of week 2

This morning:

My workout this morning was jump ropes. That always wears me out. I did the full 20 minutes, but could only do bursts of 25 seconds each with a minute and a half breaks in-between. I guess that’s a bit better than the 15-20 minute bursts I did last time. I do find it challenging to do such a strenuous exercise in the morning and then have to wait until 11:00 or 12:00 to eat.

I get very hungry in the mornings and this morning was as well. So I snack on small things. Like this morning I had a few mixed nuts and will also snack on some raw carrots. Hopefully this will help me through the morning, along with the coffee. But I have to say I’m feeling quite drained.

Tonight I don’t get home until 7:30. I’m hoping that I won’t be too starving and can then eat a light dinner afterwards, which does expand the 8 hour window, but I won’t have eaten very much. We shall see how it goes. It’s all a learning curve, how much to eat and how frequently. I try to just eat when I get hunger pangs and especially eat most my food around noon. My dinners are usually not very large, but maybe they should be larger so that I can get through the night and morning more easily. It’s the mornings that are the hardest, I find. By the time I’m at work at 9:00 am, I haven’t eaten for 14 hours.

Later that day:

I gotta say, I was really looking forward to that pie today at lunch time (we had 2 birthdays to celebrate on our team) but as soon as I ate it, I felt a heaviness in my belly like a brick was sitting there. Almost instantly! Quite incredible. It tasted good, yeah, but I did not feel better for having eaten it. I little taste would’ve been enough, not a whole piece. I’ll know better next time. I can stop eating when I know I won’t be feeling good afterwards.

I would like to find out why dairy is not recommended. Since I do love cheese and not having cheese or any dairy does reduce to quite a degree what you can eat, I want to become better informed about the affects of eating dairy. I would love to not have to eliminate it from my diet for the sake of staying lean and healthy.

By the way, later today I am still feeling the affects of the pie on my system. I am now gassy, which I haven’t been since I began this 8 week program. I am sure the gas comes from the pie, as it’s the first time I’ve had anything made from wheat since I began doing this 11 days ago. This is a clear indication of how carbohydrates have an affect on a person’s body.

Countdown

Completion of 8-Week Impossible Abs programMarch 4th, 2013
8 weeks completed!

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