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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Soreness confusion.

On Wednesday I did a total of 8 sets (of 8-10) pull-ups, using both the assist machine and a spotter.  On Thursday...I was feeling it.  My arms and lats were so, so sore.  Yesterday the soreness was a bit better, but by the time I finished my upper body workout, my arms and shoulders were toast.

Oddly enough, where I'm not sore?  My glutes and hamstrings!  After many days of being sore in my upper legs, it has felt weird to not be sore there.  On Thursday I did my second weekly leg workout, and also added in the ab exercises I couldn't do on Tuesday when the gym was closed.  After doing that, I went to Muscle Fusion X where we did lots of squats, lunges and dead lifts - and I even used a bit more weight - and I'm still not that sore in my legs.

Yesterday I did my chest/shoulder/triceps workout followed by a spin class.  I felt complete fatigue after class, all of my body was wiped out.  I slept like a baby last night.

This morning I actually feel pretty good, though still a little sore and stiff in my arms and shoulders.  I have decided to go to the gym today instead of hitting the road for a long run, for several reasons.  First of all, the roads are in terrible condition, with ice and snow, and the temperatures are pretty dang cold.  Maybe if I had the extra motivation of being committed to running with a running buddy, I could force myself to deal with the wintry conditions and just suck it up, but my usual long run friend can't run with me today, so that extra motivation isn't there.

Instead I plan to do my ab workout first when I get to the gym, then I will go to a 9am spinning class and maybe follow that up with a short run on a treadmill.  I don't feel I have much time to waste.  This is the end of week 6 on my new training/body transformation plan and next week sometime Misty will be assessing my body fat and measurements again.  At this point I am about half way through the routine, because at 12 weeks Misty will re-evaluate my progress and create a new training schedule for me to use for the next 12 weeks after that.

I'm thinking I might wait to post progress pictures until I've hit the 12 week mark.  I think it will be more dramatic then.  I can already see some serious change in my body, and I think you will all be amazed and the changes you see when I do post some pictures.  It feels pretty darn good to have muscles. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Christmas workout and the day after...

Yesterday was a simple and mostly uneventful day.  The kids were up at 7:30 and ready to open presents.  Chris was able to take a short break from working, just long enough to come home and watch them.  That took about 30 or 40 minutes, and the rest of the day they spent trying out all of their new things.  Chris went back to work, and I put a turkey in the oven then got busy on a workout.

Tuesday is my shoulders/abs day and also an interval run.  I used resistance bands and my 5 pound hand weights to do most of my shoulder exercises.  It's not quite the same as being at the gym and using the equipment and the heavier weights, but I was able to make do.  For abs I used my stability ball and did crunches, planks, pikes and then also did a few floor exercises, like reverse crunches with leg lifts/extensions.

Once I finished with weights, I moved on to the treadmill.  I did about 4 miles in around 45 minutes, alternating 1 minute sprints with slower jogging and walking.  And that's it, my Christmas day workout - unless you include all of the Just Dance 4 I played with my kids the rest of the day. :)

Today I made my way back to the gym.  I have to say that after consistently going to the gym 6 days a week for the past 6 weeks, I didn't like not being able to go yesterday and I'm going to be facing a similar situation next week when the gym is closed on New Year's Day.  Blah.  Anyway, after a brief running warm up on a treadmill, I went to the weight room and got started on today's workout - back and biceps.  I began by doing pull-ups, for which I had to use the assist machine because I didn't have anyone to spot me.  Bummer. After doing my 4 super-sets (8 different exercises paired up into sets of two), I moved on to do my cardio for the day.  Much like last week, I opted to use a stair machine.  While I was on there, one of my (other) favorite instructors at the gym, Brandi, came and got on a machine next to me.  After an hour on the stair stepper, I was finished with my workout while Brandi was headed back down to the weight room to do her strength training.  As it had come up in our conversation that I had to use the assist machine to do my pull-ups because there wasn't anyone available to spot me, she offered to help me do some "bonus" sets of (real) pull-ups.  So before going home, I went back in the weight room with Brandi and did 3 sets of 8-10 regular pull-ups, using her as my "assist" this time.  As hard as those are, I love doing them because every week I can feel my improvement.  I'm really hoping that it's not too much longer before I can at least do 1 completely on my own.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Keeping busy on Christmas eve...

I remember the days when our kids were younger and Christmas eve seemed like the longest day of the year - for them and for us!  This year, the day flew by.

We woke up to lots of new snow on the ground, so while Chris and the kids went outside to shovel and bring in wood for the wood stove, I picked up the house and got ready to go to the gym.  Once we were at the gym, I did my leg workout, which included barbell lunges (40 pounds), leg extensions (40 pounds), calf raises on the Smith machine (90 pounds), bench lunges (10 pound dumb bells) and a few extra (8 total with 140 pounds) sets on the leg press machine and 4 (extra) sets of dead lifts.  By the time I was ready to head into spin class, my legs were shaking.  Of course, spin class was awesome - the usual sweat-fest.  I still love that class so much.

Once we were finished at the gym, we headed home where I had just enough time to shower before we took all the kids and headed back into town.  Chris took the two older boys to see the new 'Hobbit' movie, since they both just read the book.  While they were at the movies, I took the two younger kids and spent some time at the mall.  I thought it might be busy, being Christmas Eve and all, but it wasn't too bad.  We were able to pass the time walking around and enjoying being together, just the three of us.  On our way home, we stopped and picked up some pizzas for the kids, then came home to finish our evening's activities. While the kids (and Chris) ate pizza, I fixed myself some mashed sweet potatoes with turkey "muffins" and it tasted really good.  I found the recipe for the turkey muffins (here on bodybuilding.com).  I made up a batch earlier this week and have used them as a go-to quick meal several times.

After dinner, I helped our six year old make some cookies for Santa.  While I tried to make them somewhat healthy by substituting half of the butter with pumpkin puree and using home-ground whole wheat flour, they were still pretty decadent and I indulged in 3 small cookies.  I haven't had regular sugar in so long that they didn't settle well in my stomach, but they sure tasted good. :)

And not that I'm biased or anything, but I'm pretty sure I have the cutest little boy in the world.  He tells me he loves me about a hundred times a day and I never get tired of hearing it.  He was so excited to make the cookies and leave a note for Santa; I'm so glad his older siblings have been able to keep him "believing" - it makes Christmas a little more special.
By about 9:30 pm, all of the kids were asleep and Chris and I were able to set the scene for the morning.  Now Chris is also asleep, since he unfortunately has to work tomorrow.  And there you have it, just like that another day has flown by.  Tomorrow the gym is closed (of course), but that doesn't mean I'm taking a holiday from my workouts.  Once all of the presents have been opened, I figure I'll have ample time to fit in a workout while the kids play with their new treasures.  I have a shoulder and abs workout on the schedule, plus an interval run, which I will do on my treadmill.  I may have to be a little creative with my strength training exercises.  I talked with Misty at the gym today and she suggested I use my resistance bands to do my shoulders, since I don't have a variety of weights to use at home.  We'll see how it goes...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

This is a process.

Time to catch up on the past few days.  On Thursday I did another killer leg workout, followed by Muscle Fusion X.  My legs are not letting me forget them.  Even today, three days later, I am acutely aware of each and every muscle in my butt and hamstring area with each and every move I make...and actually even when I'm not moving.

Yesterday I didn't have to go to cub scout meetings in the morning, so I was able to go to the gym early enough to do my weights (chest/shoulders/triceps) before going to spin.  I even got to go with Chris, so he helped me with some of my sets, like bench press.  I went up on my weight amounts on most of my exercises, too.  It's all very exciting.  :)

Today when I woke up, I did my ab workout before going out for a run.  I knew it would be pretty cold out there, and there was still some snow on the ground but the roads were clear.  The first half of my run went along pretty well, though I just went at a comfortable pace because of the aching in my legs.  On the second half of the run, I faced a headwind that ripped through my layers of clothes like icicles.  It was not that fun, but I just tried to focus on enjoying the fact that at least I was outside running.  I ended up doing a 9.5 mile loop and I was ready to be done.  This afternoon we took the kids to the gym to swim and I just sat in the hot tub for about 40 minutes.  It felt pretty good, but my legs are still achy right now.  Good thing tomorrow is a rest day.

As I reflect over the last 5 weeks and think about the fact that I have 100% stuck with my schedule, working out an average of 2 or more hours a day, 6 days a week, doing exactly what my trainer Misty has taught me to do, I am very pleased with how things have been going.  While it's been a hard and painful journey so far, I am more motivated than ever to continue with this higher volume of strength training using weights.  I have honestly come to love spending time in the weight room, equal to my  love of spending time doing cardio activities.  I also love the changes I am seeing in my body so far.

I also have to acknowledge that my clean diet has likely contributed to the changes I'm already noticing. I have been following a clean-eating lifestyle for over 5 months now, but have been especially strict for the past 5 weeks since I first started working with a trainer and doing heavier lifting.  While I still have moments every once in a while when I feel a little frustrated that I'm not already stronger, fitter, leaner, for the most part, I have been focusing very hard on keeping the perspective that this is a process.  A process that will elicit change over a period of time.  I remember a few weeks ago I mentioned to Misty that I had taken "before" photos on the day that I started training with her and that I was excited to take "after" photos at 8-10 weeks into my new training plan.  She commented that it would be more appropriate to call them "progress" pictures because there never really is an "after", just continual changes - progress.  That makes sense to me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Going down, down, down...

When it comes to fitness, it's all about the numbers, don't you agree?  Most of the time, we are looking for numbers to go down: on a scale, body fat percentage, race times, running pace, injuries, setbacks, hours until our next workout...

Today I had my body fat assessed by Misty - 2 weeks since the last measurement and 4 weeks since starting my new training program.  I am happy to report that things are still moving in the right direction.  I was down another 1%.  I started out at 25.5 % a month ago and today I measured 22.4% body fat.  That's great.  I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel more motivated than ever.

Since I am 37, I guess according to this chart, that puts me in the "Slim (Health)" category. :)

Yesterday I had another great day of training.  We went to the gym late in the morning and after a brief warm up, I spent a little over an hour doing my weights: shoulders and abs.  After that I did my interval run on treadmill, similar to the last few weeks.  I ran a total of 4.02 miles in 42 minutes, alternating sprints of up to 7.5 mph with "easier" pace of 5.7 - 6.0 mph and a walking cool down.

Today, after I finished my body assessment with Misty, I got busy with (what has become) one of my favorite workouts of the week: back and biceps.  I started out with pull-ups, and with my husband's help, I was able to do 4 sets of 10.  Pull-ups are killers.  They're a whole-body workout, if you ask me.

When I finished with my strength training, I went upstairs to do some cardio.  I spent 40 minutes on a stair machine, followed by 20 minutes (2 miles) on a treadmill.  I was so tired by the time we got home from the gym that I took a short nap before the kids came home from school.  I never nap, but I felt like I needed it today.  Now I'm feeling wide awake at 11:30 pm - not ideal, especially since I have a leg workout and Muscle Fusion X tomorrow.  I'd better try to get some sleep!

Monday, December 17, 2012


I just read an article on BodyBuilding.com that discussed the fact that legs are often erroneously overlooked by people trying to build or change their physique through weight training.  I have to admit, I used to be one of those people.  I always figured I did enough "work" on my legs with all the running and spinning I was doing and there wouldn't be much benefit to doing additional strength training, when I could spend my time focusing on my upper body in the weight room.  Sadly, when I began my new training schedule with Misty teaching me, I realized I couldn't have been more wrong, at least if I ever wanted to reach any of the goals I was setting for myself.  Not only did it become clear how much upper body strength I lacked, I also realized I had a great imbalance of strength in my legs.  My quads were pretty strong, but my hamstrings and glutes, not so much.  Even my calves needed work.  I was a little surprised when I first got a look at the schedule Misty had developed for me and saw that I had two leg workout days a week.

Now here I am starting my 5th week of training on this schedule and I have to say that I am a total "leg convert"!  It makes complete sense, really.  The muscles in the legs are the biggest muscles in our bodies.  Strengthening and toning them will turn a body into a calorie burning machine, not to mention the strength, stability and agility that comes with having strong legs.  And the soreness that I have been experiencing week in and week out in my legs (particularly my glutes) is a testament to me that I am definitely changing my body.

Today I did my usual Monday leg workout: leg press, hamstring curls, barbell lunges, leg extensions, calf raises and bench lunges.  I increased my weight amounts on my leg press (I'm up to 130, which isn't a ton, but an improvement) and also added weight on my barbel lunges (up to 40 pounds).  After weights, my husband and I went to our usual Monday spin class.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

12.5 miles, YakTrax, and a special offer from Suddora.com!

Much like last week's long run, Mother Nature decided today would be a good day for a run in the snow.  My friend, Lisa met me at my house around 7:30 am and as we got ready to head out onto the snow and ice covered roads, we decided to put YakTrax on our shoes.  Good thing we did, too.  The roads were a slippery mess and a little scary.  Right from the start of our run, my hamstrings and glutes were feeling tight and sore.  I'm guessing it was due to my leg workout and MFX on Thursday - still not healed from all the squatting, lunging and jumping.  I was really glad I had Lisa to keep me motivated for this run because it was not easy.  Running on the snow probably didn't help with my leg pain much, but we pushed through and made it 12.5 miles.

Last week I was contacted by the nice folks at www.Suddora.com/, a sporting goods website.  They gave me the opportunity to try out one of the sports headbands they sell on their site.  I wore the Halo II Pullover sweat blocking headband on my run today.  It's made of the patented Dryline Fabric and has a Sweat Block Seal which channels sweat back and away from the eyes and face.


It worked perfectly.  It stayed in place and soaked up every drop of sweat before it dripped down my forehead.  I am definitely going to give this one a try in a spin class - I can't wait to see if it can hold up to that sweat-fest! :)

They are also generously offering you all - my loyal readers - a discount when you make a purchase on their site.  Just go check out www.Suddora.com/ - use the coupon code RedHeadRunner and receive a 10% discount on http://www.suddora.com/head-sweatbands sweatbands, bracelets, athletic accessories and more!  Awesome, right?!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Legs, MFX and salmon for dinner.

Yesterday was a typical Thursday - a killer leg workout for over an hour followed by Muscle Fusion X.  It was great to see Misty in prime form as she taught the class and made us squat and squat-jump the crap out of our legs!  That class is so awesome and great for improving so many things, athletically speaking: agility, speed, endurance, mental toughness.  After class I overheard my husband tell Misty, "It never gets any easier, does it?"  And of course she said, "It's not supposed to!"

Today I will be heading to the gym for a spin class, after I finish with cub scout stuff this morning.  After I spin, I will do my strength training for the day, which includes chest, shoulders and triceps.  I don't really like having to do my weights after a hard cardio session, but that's the way it has to be on Fridays I guess.

Last night I made salmon, potatoes (sweet and white) and broccoli for dinner.  It was so pretty, I took a quick picture of it before putting it in the oven:

I just used a little olive oil, sea salt and cayenne pepper on everything, then put it in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes.  (If you like your potatoes and veggies more well-done and crisp, put them in first for an additional 10-15 minutes, then add the salmon to the tray and cook for another 10-15 minutes.)

I baked both kinds of potatoes because my husband eats the white ones, while I eat sweet potatoes.  Don't get me wrong, I love all kinds of potatoes, but the sweet potatoes are higher in vitamins and minerals and are a great source of carbs.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Workouts and a holiday party.

The last couple of days have gone by so fast.  On Tuesday I had a great workout, including about an hour and 20 minutes of strength training, focusing on shoulders and core.  Then I did an interval run, which took me about 50 minutes.  My interval (speed training) run is every Tuesday, and it's a tough one because I do leg work on Mondays and I'm always sore and tired in my legs by the time I need to do my run.

Yesterday was my day for working back and biceps.  This has become one of my favorite workouts.  It's very challenging, but each week I can feel improvement.  I did my four sets (of 10) pull-ups using the standard pull-up bar with a wide gripe at the beginning of my workout, with a little help from my spotter Chris.  I use my feet to dig into him a little to help pull myself up.  One of these days I'll be able to do one on my own!  At the end of my workout, I went back to pull-ups, this time using the assist machine, just to get a little more practice.  I did another set of 10, using my own body weight as a help.  After I finished with all of that, I did my cardio.  I chose to do 30 minutes on a stair machine.

Last night we also had Chris' work Christmas party.  It was great.  It was a nice dinner at a theater with a show (Miracle on 34th Street) afterwards.  I didn't have much trouble keeping the indulgences to a minimum.  They served salad, prime rib, baked potato and carrots with a pumpkin spice roll for dessert.  I ate my salad - minus the croutons and most of the dressing, split my piece of prime rib with someone else, ate all of my carrots but didn't touch the potato, and took one little bite of the dessert - just to see if I was missing anything (I wasn't).  In fact, I felt so good about how well I did, that when we left the party, we extended our date night just a bit and made a stop for Fro-Yo where I had a cup of sugar-free raspberry and chocolate with a bit of nuts.

Today Chris and I will be heading to the gym together to do another leg workout followed by Muscle Fusion X class.  If we have any energy left, we might try and get a little more Christmas shopping done.  I can't believe it's the middle of December already!

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Monday and the start of week #4...

...of my body transformation through strength training.  It turns out that a little rest can go a long way.  Yesterday was my rest day and I really needed it.  I was starting to feel run down, but as I got going on my  workout at the gym this morning, I felt more like my normal self.

After a brief running warm-up on a treadmill, I did my usual Monday leg routine: leg press, hamstring curls, barbell reverse lunges, leg extensions, standing calf raises and bench lunges with hand weights.  When I finished with all of my sets, I also threw in 4 sets of 10 dead lifts, just for good measure.  I'm still not too sure my form is that great when I do dead lifts, but I'm working on it using just the bar without weight.  At the end of my leg routine, while my legs certainly felt fatigued, I realized that I didn't have much trouble getting up to 10-12 reps on each exercise.  I think that means that next week it will be time for me to increase my weights.  (Either that, or I'm doing it wrong.) ;)

After I finished with weights, I had just enough time to eat some almonds and raisins while waiting for spinning class to begin.  As if spinning isn't hard enough, it's a little harder after a tough leg workout, but I guess that's why Misty has me doing weights first, cardio second.  When you lift, your body uses up glycogen as energy, so any cardio exercise you do after that point burns fat.

And speaking of nuts...I have been doing really well, 'keeping it tight' with regards to my fuel intake.  In fact, I would venture to say that in the 3 weeks since my first session with Misty, I have been about 95% (or higher) clean with my diet.  I've been staying focused on making everything I put in my mouth count for something, even my clean "treats" like my homemade protein bars and balls.  The awesome thing is, I haven't felt deprived at all.  My cravings for some of my (old) favorites have been replaced with cravings for the healthy stuff.  This week I will be going with my husband to his work Christmas party where there will be some food indulgences and I am looking at it as a test.  I know that it would be okay for me to have those little splurges every once in a while - even Misty told me to make allowances for myself - but I'm so happy with how it feels to finally be in control of my diet.  I don't want to mess with that.  How do you all make "allowances" for yourselves?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Product Review: Hoo-rag bandana on a snowy 10 miler!

Recently the good folks over at Hoo-rag.com sent me one of their fitness bandanas to try out:

Today was the first opportunity I had to wear it on a run.  This bandana is a tubular shaped piece of polyester microfiber made to be worn in a variety of ways and for different functions.  You can wear it as a traditional head band, around the neck as a gaiter, over the head as a balaclava, or even turn it into a beanie. I wore mine like this:

When I got outside and realized how cold and windy it was, I came back in and grabbed my knit winter hat to put over the top.  The Hoo-rag worked perfectly to provide a sweat-wicking barrier between my head and my knit hat, and I loved that I could pull it down around my neck, ears and forehead.  The material is very soft and stretchy, but holds perfectly without slipping.  I think it would also be great for wearing under a ski or bike helmet or for hiking.  I think I'll try it out next at a spin class. :)  If you're looking for a great sport head band, give these Hoo-rags a try - they're awesome!

Now THIS is a December run in Idaho! :)

My run was also awesome, in a wintry, snowy, blustery sort of way. :)  It's been a while since I've had to brave the elements like that.  By the end of my run, the snow was starting to get packed on the road and it was pretty slippery.  Now we're headed to the gym with the kids to go swimming and use the hot tub, although I'll be spending a little time in the weight room first, doing my Saturday ab exercises.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Strength training and protein - perfect match.

Yesterday I had such a good workout that I was too tired last night to blog about it. :)  I spent an hour in the weight room doing another leg workout (2nd for the week), followed by about 15 minutes of core work.  Then I went to Muscle Fusion X where I just about died.  The great thing about interval workouts though, is that as tough as they are while doing them, within a few minutes of finishing I feel recovered.  That's not to say I don't feel fatigued, 'cause I definitely do.  But thanks to my many long, slow miles of running, my heart can recover quickly.

This morning I wasn't able to get to the gym until about 11:30 because I had cub scout meetings.  When I got there, I had just enough time to do 4 sets of bench press before going to spin class.  After spinning, I moved my sweat-soaked body back into the weight room where I did the rest of my workout for today: chest/shoulders/triceps.  Thankfully, Misty was doing some work in the weight room after spinning also, so she helped me with some of my sets.

The other day I came across a recipe for (clean) protein bars from fitness model Jamie Eason.  You can find the original recipe here, but here's my (very slightly altered) version:

Pumpkin Protein Bars
2 cups oat flour 
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 TBS ground flax
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp clove
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup natural sweetener (I used sucanat, but you could use honey)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
4 egg whites
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine dry ingredients first in large mixing bowl, then add wet ingredients and incorporate just until mixed. Spread into a 9 X 13 baking dish (coated with cooking spray).  Sprinkle nuts on top. Bake at 350 for 28 - 30 minutes.  These are SO good and very moist.  I also made some substituting zucchini for the pumpkin and they were delicious, too.  Cut evenly into squares; wrap and refrigerate extras for later!  Each square is only a little over 100 calories and offers 5 grams of protein, which isn't too shabby.  I eat them 2 at a time for my smaller meals because they're a perfect mix of carbs and protein.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pull-ups...oh, my.

So my Wednesday (back/bicep) workout starts out with pull-ups - bam.  After just the first set, I'm already feeling a shakiness and fatigue passing over my body.  It takes all of my mental and physical strength to do those suckers!  And I'm not even pulling up all of my body weight without using my legs a little.  Today I was lucky enough to have Chris spot me, so I used his big, brawny body to push against with my legs - just a little, really. ;)  I honestly am trying to get better at these so I try really hard to focus on using the proper muscles. I did 4 sets of 10 pull-ups, with sets of rope bicep curls in between.  I also did: isolateral rows, decline bicep curls, close grip pull-downs, barbell bicep curls, standing cable push downs, and low back extensions.

After finishing with weights, I did a little cardio.  I'm "allowed" to do a short run on this day, but today I opted for 30 minutes on the stair machine instead.  Then Chris and I decided to sit in the hot tub for a bit before heading back home.  Tonight I am feeling so, so tired.  My body aches. All. Over.  I'm glad that I'm obviously getting great workouts, but I'm kind of hoping that as my body gets more used to this new schedule, I won't continue to have this complete body fatigue that lasts all day.

Quick check-in.

Yesterday I got to go to the gym with my husband.  My strength training workout included doing shoulders and abs and I was able to most of the exercises on my own.  Since Chris was there, he helped me with my weighted planks (putting the 25 lb. weight on my back), and Misty was also there doing her own workout and she gave me a little help with my dumbbell reverse flys, because apparently my form on those still needs some work.
Dumbbell Reverse Fly

It took me about an hour to finish with weights, then I headed up to a treadmill to do my interval run.  Frankly, my run didn't go quite as well as I would have hoped.  My legs were still feeling super sore from Monday's leg workout, and my body was feeling completely drained from doing weights.  I walked/jogged for about 15 minutes to warm up, then started in with some sprints.  I took the pace up to a sprint (7.5 mph, not as fast as last week) and held it there for 1 minute, then slowed to my comfortable pace (6 mph) and stayed there for 2 minutes, then slowed to a fast walk (3.7 mph) for 2 minutes, then sprinted again and repeat, until I had gone about 4.2 miles in just under 45 minutes.  By the time I finished with that, I felt wiped out.

This morning I have to do biceps and back - oh, yeah, I get to give pull-ups yet another try!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Realm of possibility.

I feel like today was the official start of my "get lean/gain muscle" journey.  I got to work in the weight room all on my own, doing my first leg workout of the week.  I'm pretty sure I can call it a success.  I didn't even have to look at my cheat-sheet; I remembered all of the exercises I was supposed to do, how many sets/reps to do and how much weight to use.  It took me about an hour to do them all and when I finished my legs were shaky and weak - yes, success.

After strength training, I had a little time to rest my legs before taking a spin class.  Spinning was great today, too.  I was feeling sapped of energy and the whole time I kept reminding myself that since I had lifted before class, I was burning mostly fat the whole time.  That's always good, right?

I think I'll sleep well tonight.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Body fat, abs, stair-stepper and 9.2 miles.

What a great day!  It rained all night and I was afraid I might be looking for a cardio replacement to my long run this morning.  By the time I was on my way to the gym at 7:45 am to meet with Misty, the clouds were dispersing and it seemed the sun might even come out.

I got to the gym and the first thing on the agenda was for Misty to do another body assessment on me to compare with my numbers from 2 weeks ago.  And the exciting news....while my weight was exactly the same, my waist measurement was down 1/2 an inch and the best thing was that my body fat percentage was down by 3%.  I went from 25.5% two weeks ago to 22.5% this morning.  That's actually really good and means that I'm losing fat and gaining muscle.  Even Misty was surprised by that much change and had actually warned me that my numbers might initially go up before starting to go down, so I am pretty happy.  It's very motivating to have evidence that what I'm doing is working.

After we finished all of that fun stuff, we headed down to the weight room where Misty showed me a few sets of ab exercises: leg drops to reverse crunch, scissors, knees to chest and side to side rotations using a medicine ball - all done while "balanced" on a weight bench.  She also showed me a few alternatives to use other times during the week, using an exercise ball and the incline bench.  Today's realization (because I have them every day, anymore):  I could do 100 regular sit-ups or crunches just lying on the floor, and I can even easily hold a plank for a couple of minutes, but trying to do ab exercises while also balancing on a bench or a stability ball??  Nah.  I have very little stabilizing muscle strength.  I was wobbling all over the place.  I definitely need to work on that.

After we finished core work, we got on a couple of stair-stepper machines and did about 40-45 minutes of cardio on there before I came home, swapped my sweat-soaked tank top for a dry one, then headed outside for a run.  I did a 9.2 mile loop and I just took it easy and enjoyed myself.  Saturday is the one day I'm "allowed" to basically do as much cardio as I want, and typically it will be a day reserved for my longest runs.  I figured that between the 45 minutes I spent on the StairMaster and the hour and 40 minutes I spent running, I got in a great workout.