Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Consistency is key and it is, unfortunately, not something I've been doing well. Now before there is a collective gasp, allow me to explain. I have been consistent with exercise the past week and a half. And I've been consistently making better choices when it comes to food (for lunch yesterdays I had chicken and quinoa). The part about consistency I'm struggling with is keeping up with my documentation. I guess I should be scheduling times to blog just like I schedule times to eat and times to exercise, but it's difficult when my day is so busy.

I'll take this as an opportunity to attempt to develop an actual blogging schedule and stick with it, but no promises. I can only handle so much change at once, and right now scheduling time to pre-prepare meals for the week has taken up a lot of time. Plus, the new season of Teen Wolf has started. So lets begin with a recap of the weekend and how I have succeeded.

Wednesday morning had the potential to be awful. I woke up and I was tired and I decided to go back to sleep instead of going to the gym. Eyes closed, covers up, and internal monologue begins: What are you doing? You're really going to go back to bed after you've decided to insist on going to the gym 5 days a week? What's wrong with you? This is what's going to happen. You're going to open your eyes, roll out of bed, wine for exactly three seconds, and then you're going to the gym. And it worked. I went to the gym (a little late) but I got in another day on Couch to 5K. And I felt better for it.

Thursday's personal training was successful, too. I went into it determined to enjoy myself. I refused to stall or wine and just agree to do whatever Justin told me to do. And he had me do the exact same thing we did on Tuesday. The circuit was easier this time around, though I think it was more because of my attitude than anything. After the circuit, I learned a new exercise called the inchworm. Starting in a plank position, you walk your feet up as far as you can with your hands on the ground, then you walk your hands out into a plank position, again. I went from one spot to another with push ups in between for a total of four times. It gets really tiring, though. And I think Justin has figured out a way to stop me from resting when I don't need it. He is very aware that I hate burpees and so he told me that on my last inchworm and subsequent push ups, that if I put my knees down more than once, I would have to do burpees. You'd be amazed by what you can do when the consequences of failure are what your nightmares are made of.

Friday, I convinced Fit Andrew and Lisa to join me at Zumba. I had a good time by myself the other week, but I want to enjoy the experience with friends and they are lucky enough to have been chosen. Plus Shaina is teaching which is always a good time. We get there to discover that it is, in fact, not Shaina teaching. A sub is covering, but Lisa and I think she's pretty awesome. Andrew, on the other hand, sulks and complains that he doesn't feel comfortable until about halfway through when he finally decides to enjoy himself.

Saturday, I wake up early and go to spin at 7:30 with Best Friend Rachel. It's nice to have someone so suffer with during spin. After spin, I head to CX Worx. Rachel has a wedding to get to, so she doesn't stay. But CX Worx coupled with spin and how sore my shoulders are from that stupid inchworm means I spend the rest of the day feeling exhausted, which isn't ideal when you work a double.

Now, I've learned something significant that I feel the need to share. I've found that it's my attitude to certain situations that really shapes my experience. I can whine and complain about how much I hate exercise and my experience has shown me that I'll leave that workout in a bad mood. Look at Andrew: he felt uncomfortable in Zumba. but as soon as he decided to have fun, he had fun. So I'll spend the coming week choosing to enjoy things that I may not be enjoying, and we'll see what happens. Maybe everything will not seem so miserable. I'm hopeful. I'm also going to post more pictures.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I hate exercising. There, I said it. I love the feeling afterwards, but I would be willing to do almost anything else to achieve the same results, if I could. Unless it involved snakes. No snakes. I head to the gym early after a brief visit with my wonderful sister and absolutely adorable nephew. Upon arriving, I unload my crap in the locker room, change in to my workout wear, and hop on the first treadmill I can find that is positioned in such a way that I can't see myself. And then I do my half hour of cardio.

I may have mentioned it before (it's almost scary how easy it is to forget what things I have written about), but I'm using an app called 'Couch to 5K' and it is supposed to give me sample workouts that will eventually lead up to me being able to run a 5K. This very much surpasses my goal of being able to run a mile without stopping and it keeps track of when I should be walking and when I should be running which makes it really easy. Truth be told, I enjoy the running part minus the being out of breath and getting sweaty, and when I'm rocking out to the new Selena Gomez, it's easy to ignore those things that I dislike.

After my half hour workout (a total of 2.2 miles and a mile in just over thirteen minutes) Justin takes me to the gym, where we're going to do some circuit-type training. I have to do thirty seconds of high knees, ten seconds of some weird crunch position rotation things, ten seconds of single leg crunches on both legs, and ten squats with thirty seconds of rest between the end of the squats and starting the circuit again. This is when I know I hate exercise.

All exercise makes me do is realize my limitations. I can't run this long or far, I can't move this fast, I can't lift this much, I'm not strong enough to do this or that. Exercise can ruin your self esteem. For me it's like I'm constantly being told (by non-actual voices) that I can't do something. I know not a single person who would enjoy that. Instead of the much healthier 'look at all that I can do' way of looking at it, I can't ignore my inabilities. And it's hard to keep pushing myself with that knowledge.

I don't hide my displeasure from Justin, who does his best to be encouraging by telling me I did a really good job at the end. I'm willing to admit that I did a good job because I finished, but if you put me in a line up with a random selection of other gym goers, I'd be at the bottom. Plus it didn't feel great. Feeling tired and hot and out of breath sucks.

Next I have to do squats and presses with a kettle bell. Have I mentioned I hate exercise? And then, I have to do bicep curls and oblique twists. Keep in mind, this is only a half hour session that we're squeezing this all in. But a half hour walk/jog combined with a half hour training session means an hour total of exercise. That's more than nothing and that's good.

Just so all of you readers know, I never feel good immediately after exercising. In fact, I often feel awful. Depending on how hard I've worked I can sometimes feel nauseated and dizzy. The more time that passes, the better I feel. If anyone else is starting to exercise, I guess I just don't want you to get discouraged because you don't instantly feel great. And it is difficult to remain positive when you can't necessarily see the change. At least that's how I feel. But back I'll go for another day. At 6:00am. Because I work tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Oh how quickly motivation dies. I really was super excited about this whole contract thing and then my stupid laziness trumped everything. Exactly what I said shouldn't happen. I did not go to the gym on Saturday  morning. Or Sunday. Or Monday. I didn't even exercise at all. Why? I have no real grasp on the answer to that question. I just didn't. I didn't feel ill. I wasn't depressed about anything. I didn't have something better to do. I just didn't exercise. I slept in on Saturday morning and spent the evening hanging out with friends. On Sunday I slept in and then spent the evening folding laundry and watching The Real World. And I worked both days.

This seems to be a recurring issue. My follow through, or lack thereof. I was even feeling really good because measurements happened on Thursday and I've lost a total of 40 lbs. But that joy is not as wonderful as it could be because I allowed myself to not care. And that is awful. Sure I can declare my intentions but when it comes to actually sticking with this thirty day challenge, I'm like a gun filled with blanks: all talk and no walk.

I'm awful, boo hoo, I think we all get the point. I do have to share my victory, however. Despite ignoring the articles in my own constitution about exercise, I crazy adhered to the ones about food. And it was incredibly challenging. I worked at Target on both Saturday and Sunday and Monday and each time was incredibly tempted to get pizza and breadsticks. Did the carbs win? No. I won. Instead I had salads and bananas and yogurt and a peach and an apple. And did I drink any soda? No sirs and madams. I drank nothing but water. 

Ultimately, I'll call the weekend a victory, albeit a small one. Despite my failure in one area, I continued to succeed in another. My failure, which was large, didn't lead me to decide the whole weekend was a wash. I absolutely need to do better in the future, but or now, I'll skip beating myself up and look at what I can continue to do in the coming days.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the contract that I will be adhering to for the next thirty days. Feel free to take on the same or similar challenge (in fact, tell me about it if you do, because that could be fun) but I expect all of you to support me through this endeavor. If you are around me and see me making a bad decision, yell at me. I will not be upset. Thanks.

My intent is to be more deliberate about exercise and to really make use of the next thirty days. Complaining about not doing as well as I would like (plus the extra push from Justin) has made me decide to actually change my plan going forward. We'll call this a jumping off point, not the only way I will live for the rest of my life.

The purpose of including a "to the best of my ability" is not to give myself an out. It's to make legitimate space for a legitimate distraction, i.e. a family member dying. It's for things that are out of my control, not for things like laziness.

Personal Contract

For the next thirty days (ending July 6, 2013) I commit to uphold the rules outlined below to the best of my ability:

I.                    Food
a.       No food shall be consumed between the hours of 8:00pm and 7:00am. Meals shall be eaten during regular meal hours.
b.      Two snacks are permissible during the day, in between meals (one in the morning, one in the afternoon).
c.       The only acceptable place to consume meals is at a table. Food may not be consumed at a desk, on a couch, or in a bed.
d.      A maximum of one meal per week may be consumed at a restaurant.
e.      Food choices will be at least remotely healthy and unprocessed, and no more than one bread item may be consumed, including any sort of bun or roll in any given meal, including at restaurants.
f.        The only snacks that may be consumed are those which have been grown and occur naturally in nature.
g.       The only beverages that may be consumed are water and milk. Soda, coffee, and alcohol are not to be consumed.
II.                  Exercise
a.       Exercise is to occur seven days a week with at least a half hour of exercise performed each day.
b.      Of the pre-established seven days of exercise, a minimum of five days must occur at the gym and should factor in two scheduled personal training sessions and three classes.
c.       Exercise outside of the gym can include walks, tennis, beach volleyball, bike rides, swimming, rowing, gymnastics, etc.
d.      Work must not interfere with the gym. If work is scheduled during the evening, the gym must happen in the morning.

e.      If watching television, exercise must be performed during commercial breaks.

Friday, June 7, 2013


I've decided to get a semi-headstart on this whole 'challenge' thing because I'm an impulsive person and don't really excel when it comes to patience. So all day I plan on going to Zumba and then CX Worx. Two classes in a row. I've done it before (though not literally back to back. I've usually had about a half hour of down time) so I'm not too worried. Here's the problem, though. I'm a social person and I enjoy being with people I know, especially when I have to sit through something that I expect to be even remotely miserable. Every single person I texted (a grand total of two) had already gone to the gym or were going to be busy.

This is where I start to lose steam. I can have a plan, but if the people I assume will be participating aren't available, I lose all motivation. Unless I say it outloud, for some reason. If I make my plans known to anyone verbally (like Fit Andrew, for example) it makes me feel an obligation to follow through. After my declaration of intent, I grab my gym bag and hustle out the door because I am very close to being late. So close, in fact, that I am late by about a minute and a half. But I spoke my plan into existence and I can't turn back now. Into the room I go and fall into a place in the back.

I have not been to Zumba in a very long time. Shaina stopped teaching on Monday nights and I have been busy with Target (an excuse that will no longer fly). It is painfully obvious that I am out of practice. I'm typically really good when it comes to dancing and that's not just me bragging. Ask anyone. My natural talent has apparently abandoned me because I find it incredibly difficult to keep up. Most of the songs are brand new to me, so I don't even have the luxury of slowly remembering. By halfway through the class, I am sporting quite the wreath of sweat from all of this physical activity. Is anyone else sweating? No.

I'll attribute my sweat to actually trying. If you aren't sweating during Zumba, you're not doing it right. It's quick movements and fancy footwork that should bring a little bit of perspiration. Unless you are dehydrated. The second half of the class is really where I start to lose it and I spend a good amount of time simply laughing at my feeble attempts to follow along. Thankfully those around me are not taken out by my flailing arms, or I would feel absolutely awful. As we're doing the final stretch song, I briefly entertain the idea of leaving before CX Worx starts, because I am beat. But Justin is teaching and for some reason I feel the need to let presence be a big 'ha, I'm starting early' after he told me not to make a decision until Thursday.

Was it a good idea? For sure, because it's exercise. Did this really end up being a big 'stick it' to Justin? No. Because it was difficult and I was probably very obvious in my struggling. Especially coming right off of Zumba. It's strength training instead of cardio, but every leg exercise kills. Squats are my worst enemy and forget stepping on that friggin' tube thingy. And while on the subject of the tube, there needs to be a tube for tall people. At 6'4", I put significantly more tension on that thing by holding the handles at my chest. It's far more difficult for me than these 5'6" women who are making me look incredibly weak. Not that it bothers me at all.

At the end of my workout I feel like I accomplished a lot. Two classes in a row and lots of sweat. Sweat makes me feel accomplished. Any good feelings quickly vanish when I look at my phone and see that I have a text saying I was supposed to be working at Target. Thankfully I still have time to change and speed to work and only be two hours late. Only. Ha.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Considering I didn't make it to the gym over the weekend and neglected to do the same on Monday night (though I did do some exercise at home, including a 1.75 mile walk) I really feel the need to make up for lost work out time. Plus it's been a million and a half years since I swam (that's not even a slight exaggeration) and with all the hot weather lately, I've had a hankering to get in the pool. Side note: what the heck kind of word is 'hankering'?

I head over about forty five minutes before my scheduled training session, knowing that time will be sucked up by changing into and out of my swimsuit and what not. Apparently there's a water aerobics class that is about to start because there are old people as far as the eye can see. That and the number of available lanes have been cut down to three and I have to wait because all three are filled. I don't know if I left enough time in my schedule to wait for a lane to become available. It's made even worse by the face that one of the lanes is taken up by a man who has no business swimming because he is awful at it.

So I sit and I sulk. I've become very good at sulking, lately. I like to think it makes me look intimidating and I will maybe scare someone out of one of the lanes if I look angry enough. The problem is I can never maintain my sulkiness because a wonderful pleasant woman (after making three laps in the pool) asks if I'm waiting for a lane. I am, I reply, my scowl instantly morphing into a giant smile. She offers me her lane because all she has left to do is stretch on the stairs in the pool and her lane melds with the stairs. Thank you so much! That's so kind of you.Truthfully, I am a giant softy at heart. There's no way I can actually continue to be mean.

I should probably even take back that nasty thing I said about the gentleman who can't swim, because I didn't exactly look like an expert my first time back in the pool in several months. Eventually I find my rhythm and can at least survive. I even lap the other two that are in the pool, making me feel like an exceptionally good swimmer.

Let me tell you why swimming is annoying and why I have so much respect for swimmers. Swimming is, near as I can tell, the only form of exercise where you are actively holding your breath while you are exerting energy. In all of my now vast experience with exercise, breathing is a huge part of it. There is a rhythm to breathing in swimming, but it's not as simple as breath in during eccentric movements and exhale during concentric movements (yes, I had to look that up, so what?). 

After the pool, I head to the cardio room to do my session and wait for Justin to retrieve me. We do more bench presses, and step ups (a first for my sessions) and I have to do all my hovering from the floor. During the rotation, I find myself getting into an argument with Justin about him being kind of sneaky. It all starts because he has swapped our Tuesday time to 7:00 instead of 6:30. Not a big deal, but I made an offhand comment about it and he got a little defensive. Then, when I'm doing the bench pressing he is several numbers ahead of me in reps. I only counted seven and he thinks I'm on eight. That, to me, sounds like a ploy to make me think I'm doing better than I actually am. Is this a thing? Do trainer's do this? Does he also pretend I've been planking for a minute when it's only been thirty seconds and that's why I have such a hard time planking for a full minute when I'm at home?! It's a conspiracy, similar to what happens whenever I take art classes. I always think I'm doing an amazing job when I'm in the art room, but if I take it home, it's like my talent was not aware that it was supposed to come with me.

Somehow, after our debate about this issue and me insisting that I get a full half hour I end up on Justin's "Drop-kick list" which actually exists. Go ahead and try to lift me up and drop kick me. I would be quite impressed. We end with curl presses and side hovers (which are more awful than regular hovers) and Justin challenging me to give him one full month where I go to the gym five days a week between sessions and classes. He seems to think it will be my best month ever. We'll see how that actually turns out. By the way, Thursday is a measurement day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


For some unknown reason, I have committed to attend a 5:45am workout class taught by Taylor. The class in question? Body Pump. During this class, you apparently do as much as 800 reps during a single hour-long class. And that's what I have foolishly decided to try at 5:45 in the morning. Apparently I felt like I needed to be punished for some unknown mistake that I made during the preceding week.

I did have to clear my decision with Justin the night before, as I would have training that night, as well. I didn't know if I was even going to be allowed to do such a thing. But he said that was fine and so here I am, at 5:30 in the morning, on my way to the gym, wondering aloud, 'What on earth is wrong with me?' I don't come up with an answer before I walk in to the studio, which is insanely crowded.

Thank goodness Taylor is here for my first time at Body Pump. I have no idea what I need or what weights to use, but thankfully she grabs it all and puts the weights on and tells me to have fun. Fun. Yeah, right. The hour long workout is full of bicep curls, dead lifts, overhead presses, tricep dips, push ups, and crunches. And it hurts. The push ups and the tricep dips are the most difficult for me. By the end of the workout, however, I do actually think I enjoyed myself. At least enough to go back and try it again.

I have to say, I feel pretty good for the rest of the day. Just the right amount of sore to make me feel like I really did something that is effective. It carries me all the way through to my personal training session with Justin. And then talk about feeling fit. I do more push ups, jumping jacks, squats, crunches, planking, and kettle bell swings. Though it takes me a little bit of practice to actually be able to do the kettle bell swings correctly. I have this awful tendency to use my lower back instead of my butt.

I've complained about it before and I'll complain about it again. Our bodies should naturally do things that right way. I shouldn't be able to lift with my back instead of my legs. I should naturally do kettle bell swings using my butt! My core should naturally automatically be engaged! These are now the things that I must make my habits.

Also, I gave Joe the opportunity to redeem himself for the watery smoothie he made me on Tuesday. Success. It was the perfect consistency. So great job, Joe! And check out the Photo Progress section of the blog. You should be just as pleased as I am with what you find.