Here they are now...

Here they are now...
This picture was taken summer 2009. We'll see if we can make them better

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I look and feel like a drowned rat

Today I tried something different. Technically, I was supposed to try different yesterday, but as we were unsure of the class schedule, we rescheduled for today. And by rescheduled, I mean a Bikram Yoga class.

Part of my training is getting flexible. For someone who used to be able to do the splits and put my head on my knee, not being able to touch my toes is really frustrating. I have no one to blame but myself, I've been lazy.

When I used to live in Boston, yoga was a means to get out of the snow. I had tried "Bikram Yoga," but I think that it was just a term for yoga in a hot room.

This time, I had to spend 90 minutes making my body do things that it wasn't entirely happy with. First of all, I have a really long neck, which tends to get kind of turtle-like. I also have ridiculously tight hamstrings, which throws off my entire alignment.

Despite all that, there were very few poses that I couldn't do, and most of them involved the fact that my chest needed to open up and my legs were tight.

Moral of the story? I'm doing better than I thought I would. Again.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'm not slacking...seriously.

It's hard to believe, but I actually have a life. A semblance of a life, anyway.

Friday morning I did chest (bench and flys). And by morning, I mean I got up at 5:00 a.m. and left my house by 5:30, working out until almost 7. It actually felt pretty good, and I got some cardio in. I try to run when I can, but if for whatever reason I get bored running (which happens often), I'll do another form of cardio such as the elliptical or the upright bike. Friday morning was my last day of doing GVT, which I'm kind of sad about. I'll have to incorporate it again soon.

Saturday, a little bit of the same, except I did biceps and triceps. While I'll never be as huge as my governor, I do okay. I actually was sore after that workout.

Sunday I did shoulders. Again, not much. I really wasn't feeling the workout, so I did what I could. Mostly because I wore the wrong shirt for the gym- hello nipples!

Today was another day. Because I did some running yesterday, I decided to do something different today to get my sweat on, so I did intervals on the Stepmill. If you've never used a Stepmill before, it's pretty good. Decent cardio, and great leg workout (especially if you go every other step).

As far as strength goes, I noticed when I was running on the treadmill last night that I was hunched over a little bit, so I wanted to bring my shoulders back...which means back.

I started with modified Lat Pulldown which I learned in Jillian Michael's book, where I stand between a cable system (like I would if I was doing flys), but instead of using my chest, I pull down underhanded. I incorporated lunges just for kicks. I am reverting back to pyramiding on weights.
12 reps at 25 lbs per stack (50 lbs total)
10 reps at 30 lbs per stack (60 lbs total)
8 reps at 40 lbs per stack (80 lbs total)
6 reps at 45 lbs per stack (90 lbs total)
I could push myself more. I should push myself more. I could probably top out at 100 lbs.

I did some modified rows using the Smith Machine
4 sets at 10 reps, body weight (which I'm not telling you)
This is an exercise which I would really have to push to do 10x10

Even though it's more of a row than a Lat Pulldown, I love this machine for my back. It has a really good range of motion, and you can't really cheat on it (although this one guy does, but he is form is consistently horrible).

1 set at 10 reps, 50 lbs
3 sets at 8 reps, 70 lbs
I could probably add another 10 lbs total

Since I was doing all sorts of weird things, I decided to add some extra work to my last back exercise. It's a modified cable row, with a squat involved. Facing the weight stack, I squat down as the weight is lowered and pull back as I stand up. It's pretty nifty.
4 sets at 10 reps each arm, 20 lbs

I also did some single leg squats on the Freemotion, but had to leave when the sports bra-less wonder was invading my space. Seriously, it was disgusting.
3 sets at 10 reps each leg, 30 lbs.

Not a bad workout (certainly fun), although I did learn that I'm a judgmental bitch at the gym.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just because it's the gym, it doesn't mean spandex is appropriate attire.

Self-doubt is a crazy thing. Yesterday I was feeling that I wans't going to be able to do the half-marathon that I want to, even if it is in June. If I couldn't do 2 miles without getting bored, how was I going to make it 13.1 miles? I was pretty discouraged today, but decided to push through by finding one (or more) running partners.

I posted something on Facebook seeking running peeps, and then a friend of mine also did. I discussed it with her, and we decided to meet and run around Lake Merritt, which is about 3.4 miles. And you know what? I did it, without much effort. Granted, we didn't have a speedy pace and we walked the last half mile or so (not that I needed to, that's just what we did), but I DID IT. I don't know my pace, but the fact that I didn't really have to heavy breathe was worth it. Sure, some might not be impressed, but they can kiss my ass.

Speaking of my ass, I also had a great workout at the gym. The gym is an odd place for a skinny white girl with an Oakland booty, seeing as I can kick most guys' asses there. I lift dumbbells. I have proper form. I do some crazy exercises. I rock out to my music (and still say that Supermassive Black Hole is a great stripper song). Since I didn't run the whole way, I wanted to get a little extra cardio in, so I rode the recumbent bike for 3 miles in 15 minutes.

Tonight was shoulders- gonna get those deltoids to POP.

Overhead Dummbbell Press
10 sets at 10 reps, 10 lbs
Not a bad weight, but I could probably bump it up for 12 to do GVT

Dumbbell Raises
5 sets at 10 reps laterally, 5 lbs
5 sets at 10 reps frontally, 5 lbs

Lunges and Squats
3 sets at 10 reps of lunges, varying weights
6 sets at 10 reps of squats, 10 lbs

The lunges and squats were done on the Max Rack which is my favorite piece of equipment in the entire world. Squats, lunges, bicep curls...the thing could do it all. If I could afford it, I'd put one in my apartment.

But enough about weights- today gave me a reason to give a crap about this training program again. Now if only I could get the weirdos to quit wearing spandex at the gym (it is NOT pretty), then my life would be better. Oh well, a girl can dream.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Falling asleep while running

So my first week of this adventure is coming to a close. I'm wondering if it's worth it, but I'm going to press on.

The first thing I've learned is just how much I hate running. Actually, I like running. I just get so bored doing it. It's not just running, I get bored doing any cardio activity, but with others I can look through fluff magazines and read about celebrities behaving badly.

The second is that I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't meet my goals set for the day (or week). I was planning on doing some stairs yesterday, but it didn't work out. It's not the end of the world, and I think my body appreciated the extra day of rest.

So what did I do today?

In terms of eating, I haven't been that hungry, so I'm not going to bore you with that.

I did manage to have an okay workout today, however. I'm still doing the GVT, which might only last the rest of this week. In terms of running, I am going to have to find something to fight the boredom. The first mile after the warm-up went easy. It seemed like it went by fast. Then I got into the second mile, and while my body was tired, I just couldn't get up the mental motivation to continue. I broke it down with some walking at a fast pace, but was disappointed I didn't get in as long as I wanted to. One thing I've learned is that instead of giving up, I'll just do 10 more minutes on the elliptical. It's better than nothing. I'm considering incorporating spinning to my training to increase my cardiovascular endurance.

On to my favorite part- the weights!

Seated Wide Grip Cable Rows
2 sets at 10 reps, 40 lbs
7 sets at 10 reps, 45 lbs
1 set at 10 reps, 50 lbs

Step ups (Freemotion)
3 sets at 10 reps, 25 lbs

Weight Assisted Pull-ups
2 sets at 10 reps, 110 lbs
3 sets at 10 reps, 120 lbs

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
1 set at 10 reps, 40 lbs
4 sets at 10 reps, 50 lbs

Hack Squat
2 sets at 10 reps, 50 lbs

Why the change in weights and exercises? I still wanted to get in the 10x10, but I wanted to push myself more. Technically tomorrow is a rest day, but I'm going to be resting Wednesday, so I wanted to get some leg exercises in. I'm going to do more tomorrow.

I can do this, even if I am feeling narcoleptic during the run.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

So, I caved

And the "detox" was going so well. I started at 4 p.m. on Sunday night, and made it to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday night. No, I didn't drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream. No, I didn't eat a loaf of bread (which wouldn't be something I'd do anyway). I just had a bad day at work, and was really, really tired of grilled chicken. Trader Joe's has frozen chocolate chip cookie dough that comes in a box of little balls. Not the best thing to eat, but they are so good. Normally, if I start with one, I'll eat at least three. Today I stopped at one. I also decided to reward myself with a different, although still not completely unhealthy, dinner.

Breakfast was the same as yesterday.
I think I overdosed with 5 cups of green tea today.
Morning snack was a cup of red and green grapes.
Lunch was MORE brown rice, butternut squash, and grilled chicken. Also some goat cheese.
Before the gym, I made myself a half of cup of organic (whatever that means) angel hair pasta (no sauce).
After the gym, I treated myself with a breaded chicken patty with mozzarella. You can buy them at Whole Foods. Not the greatest for you, but SO GOOD and so easy to cook. Important when you live by yourself and are too lazy to cook a complete meal.

In terms of a workout, today didn't go as expected. I wanted to add some distance to my run (granted, I haven't gone very far yet), but my calves were JUST NOT COOPERATING. I was worried about cramping, so I decided to quit the run and continue on the elliptical. Normally, I'd just stop cardio altogether since I despise it more than Speidi (I'm not even going to link them, because they don't deserve it), but I knew I had to not give up. Again warmed up with a 0.25 mile walk, but added a 4.0 incline, and finished in 5 minutes. Started the run, did 1 mile in 9:00 minutes.

In terms of weights, today was chest, my weakest and least favorite body part to do. I have a weird shoulder injury, which usually I can work around, but certain bench and fly exercises aggravate it.

Since I've been dropping my weight for the GVT, I was hoping that it wouldn't be a problem. Also didn't do legs today, but I may do some wall sits tomorrow.

Cable flys on the Free Motion machine
10 sets at 10 reps, 20 lbs
this is a good weight, but I could probably do 5 more

Incline Bench Press
10 sets at 10 reps, 45 lbs
This one tired me out. I was pretty tired.

Ab Twists
2 sets at 25 reps, 5 lbs.

All in all, not a bad start to my program. Rest day tomorrow, and then weather permitting, probably going to do stairs on Saturday.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Now I remember my virgin muscle!


so I'm sore. My calf muscles absolutely despise me right now. As in, with a passion. Stretching them is torture. Not only that, my gracilis muscle, which my high school anatomy teacher helped us remember by calling it the virgin muscle, is extremely unhappy. So much for being in shape.

Despite all that, I'm pressing on. Even though the scale says I gained 5 lbs in the past 3 days. I think the scale is drunk.

My diet changed a bit today, but I'm still "detoxing" (although apparently not very well if I gained 5 lbs).

1/3 cup of Irish Oatmeal made with water (added a tsp of vanilla protein powder)
1 cup of coffee with a cup of milk
3 cups of green tea
Spinach salad with chicken, cashews, peanuts, a little bit of goat cheese, apple slices, and raspberry vinaigrette.
Tablespoon of peanut butter
4 eggs scrambled (only 2 yolks) with a little bit of low-fat cheese.
And a lot of water and juice.

Still no drinkie, although Friday I'm going to reward myself with some wine.

After yesterday's rest, and despite the sore muscles, I was interested to see how far I could push my running. Turns out, it wasn't bad. I started out with a 0.25 mile walk in 6 minutes, then I upped it and knocked out 1.85 miles in 17:29. I probably could have gone farther, except I accidentally triggered the emergency stop, and that killed my momentum.

One benefit to my ability to run is my height. I'm 5'8" with a 34" inseam, so basically all legs. I have the ability (when I'm not overly sore) to lengthen my stride and not use as much energy. I'm happy with my run, and I'm glad that White Zombie came up on my iPod right in the middle.

It wouldn't be a workout to me with out some weights, but today I kept it short, because it was an arm day.

Bicep curls with the curl bar
10 sets at 10 reps, 20 lbs
This was too easy, I need to increase it

Cable tricep extensions with the rope attachment
10 sets at 10 reps, 40 lbs
This was also too easy, I need to increase it

Step ups
4 sets at 10 reps, 10 lbs
Two sets up to the front, two sets from the side, 18" platform

What I've learned today, other than a reintroduction to my virgin muscle? That I need to stretch. And probably buy my own scale.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My old life, and my new one

Today is a rest day. It may seem silly to rest after only 2 days, but...a) I'm starting to feel the shin splints coming on, and b) according to my schedule, it's going to work out that way. I'm definitely resting Friday, so I figure the last 2 days on, today off, work out the next two days, off Friday, and push it this weekend. If you think I'm a loser, I don't care.

I wasn't completely lazy today, however. I did do a little bit of home yoga (not going to bore you with the poses, as I can't remember, although some I would not do in mixed company), as well as did a little bit of very light weights to balance my symmetry. I'm right hand dominant, but after my accident and subsequent surgery 6 years ago, my left arm still isn't where I want it to be, so I did some very light bicep curls and tricep extensions on that arm.

I'm still continuing with the detox, however. My diet is exactly the same as yesterday, so I'm not going to repeat it. I have more brown rice than I know what to do with, so I may continue it past 4 p.m. tomorrow until 4 p.m. on Friday. I'm not noticing any results after 2 full days, so we'll see.

I'm not a total novice to training. At one point, I was a personal trainer, working at the YMCA and the Harvard Club of Boston. I also finished a triathlon back in 2004, 2 years after my accident. One of the greatest moments of my life.

So today is a little R&R, letting my body heal. Getting some good sleep, and then I'll be ready to go tomorrow!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Alice in Wine and Cheese Land.

I'm not a woman who denies herself much. If I want a cupcake, I eat it. If I want to take a flying trapeze class, I do it. If I really want a man, I go after him (although that has changed with email and guys not knowing how to spell or use proper grammar).

This has been my first full day of my 3-day detox. While I have modified it to suit my needs, I'm still ravenous. Constantly. All I see are food items staring at me, begging me to eat and drink them. Whole Foods, with all it's delicious wine and cheese, was torture. The pizza place down the street, which I go to only about once a month, kept giving me the salami eye. The worst is the fact that I have cookie dough in my freezer. Not the ice cream, just the cookie dough. These are things that I eat with no problem, because with how much I work out, and the fact that I usually eat relatively healthy (and I do not have the ability to overeat), I have a pretty okay bod. Not as smokin' as I'd like, but not too shabby for an old lady.

In any case, the fact that I'm limiting myself makes those things I can't eat that much more appealing. Despite being constantly beckoned by things I'm not eating for three days, I managed to push through.

In case you were interested, here's what I've eaten today (the order isn't exact):

1/2 cup of Irish Oatmeal made with water
2 cups of coffee with a cup of milk each (switched from 1% to non-fat)
1 Asian Pear
2 cups of green tea
Spinach salad with chicken, pecans, cranberries, a little bit of blue cheese (I know it's a cheat, but it's so good), apple slices, and raspberry vinaigrette.
Handful of grapes
Tablespoon of peanut butter
Brown basmati rice, butternut squash, and chicken (all fit neatly into one bowl)
...and a whole lot of water

In addition to day 1 of detox, it's also day 2 of the half-marathon training program. Even though my knee was bothering me a little, as well as my shins, I decided to push the run a little more. I started off with a 0.25 mile warm-up at 3.7 MPH, but increased my pace to a peak of 7:47 min/mile (that pace for about a half mile) to finish out the 1.5 miles in 15:39. I followed that with a brick by doing 15 minutes on the upright bike for 3.05 miles.

I then headed upstairs, where I did see some of the usual gym suspects, such as the weird gay guy and the really buff chick.

Despite having that fun to watch, I managed to get in this workout:

Overhead Dumbbell Press
5 sets at 10 reps, 5 lbs each hand

Dumbbell Arnold Press
5 sets at 10 reps, 5 lbs each hand

Dumbbell Cheerleaders (which I can't find a picture of)
10 sets at 10 reps, 3 lbs each hand

Dumbbell Squats
5 sets at 10 reps, 5 lbs each hand

Medicine Ball Twist
2 sets at 25 reps, 3 kg medicine ball

What made me more awesome is that I did most of the shoulder and leg exercises on a BOSU, with the round side down. I also fell off of said BOSU once.

What makes it a little less awesome is that I usually lift more weight, but since I increased the sets, I dropped my weight. I'm trying to avoid injury, so I'm just seeing how it feels.

So how do I feel? Pretty darn proud of myself. And hungry.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Running to catch up with the wagon

Since I set out upon this goal...yesterday...I've done quite a bit of research into what needs to be done. And by research, I mean half-heartedly perusing websites on a half-marathon training program before deciding that I will use them as a guide as opposed to an absolute.

The first order of business was to get some new kicks since I couldn't remember the last time I bought new running shoes, which just proves how much I've cared about my running in the past. As I should be in the market for a little menisectomy, I decided that new shoes would be cheaper than knee surgery.

Next was to decide what diet I was going to do first. I looked into the Blood Type Diet (although I'm a little miffed that I will have to buy the whole book even though I only have one blood type), and since I'm not ready to give up bacon (yet, as it calls for the complete relinquishing of delicious salty pork), I decided I'd jump start this whole eating right thing with a modified 3-day detox. As the traditional detox calls for nothing but juice and fruit, and I need my protein, I decided to cut out red meat, cheese, sweets, alcohol (SERIOUSLY), and just stick to chicken, salads, veggies, fruit, and brown rice. My chicken is brining right now, we'll see how adventurous I get with cooking it. I'm not cutting out coffee totally, but definitely going to try to insert more tea into the diet.

Onto the workout. Like I said, I haven't really been a runner before. I ran track in high school, if you call "running track" doing the first and last race of the day and spending the rest of the time flirting with the pole vaulters. I am known to run every now and again, but not consistently. Since it was a beautiful day here, I decided to walk to the gym (not run, because I don't want to get shin splints). The walking distance to the gym is a half-mile. Once there, I hopped on the treadmill and ran for 1 mile at a 10-minute mile pace. I could have probably done more, but I just wanted an idea of where my baseline was. I also weighed myself, and topped out at 136.4 lbs (with workout clothes and shoes on). This isn't a bad weight for me, but there are parts of my body I'm hoping will change.

I can't give up my weight workouts completely, but I am very tired of my traditional 4 exercises per body part, one body part per day. There is no rhyme or reason to my workouts, although I traditionally incorporate pyramiding. Since I'm looking to increase my endurance, I opted to do German Volume Training which is basically 10 sets at 10 reps each. Again, I modified it to fit my needs, doing only two exercises for my back, but mixing up the grips or weight placement. Of course, I kept forgetting which set I was on, which is one of the difficulties of this workout.

Here was my workout:

Lat Pulldowns on the cable machine
Overhand wide grip- 5 sets at 10 reps, 40 lbs
Underhand close grip- 5 sets at 10 reps, 50 lbs

Seated Rows on the Hammer Strength machine
10 sets at 10 reps, 50 lbs (moving the weight from the outside in)

Plie Squats and Deadlifts Supersets
5 sets at 10 reps each, 20 lbs

5 sets at an average of 22 per set (as part of the 200 situps program on the iPhone)

5 sets at 20 reps each.

All and all, not a bad start, although we'll see how I feel tomorrow after my first full day of the detox, which started at 4 p.m.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

When nothing goes right...go left

I've never been into New Year's resolutions. Lose weight? Not really. Drink less? I can try. Quit smoking? That one is easy, since I don't 'smoke. Work out more? That's not really possible- I'm a gym rat.

That being said, as I'm getting older, I've found that my metabolism isn't what it used to be, I feel sluggish more often, my joints are getting creaky, and I want my jeans to fit better. I also know that if I am training for something specific, I eat cleaner and am more consistent with my cardio workouts. As of right now, I am not doing a whole lot of cardio and my eating habits can definitely be improved.

Inspired by my hosts of my recent mini-vacation, I've decided to do a half-marathon in June (perhaps with a couple of 5Ks thrown in beforehand) and also try different "diets" to see which one works best for me. The "blood type diet," "abs diet," and one other TBD diet are on the list, going to be done for a minimum of 60 days each.

In addition, the first order of business is to find my running pace so I have a baseline. I'm also going to do some circumference measurements to see what happens. I really don't care about the scale, but I might jump on it just for kicks. There will also be a modification of my current weight program because frankly I'm really bored with it.

We'll see how it goes...