Brokedown palace

It’s been a week of feeling broken down.

Tired, sore, painful, stiff, cold, busted.

I’ve forgotten about the sniffles, and am totally gutted about the sore back.  I returned to the chiro and the lovely young doc dug his thumbs deep into my glutes, my hip flexors, you name it.  The wincing pain mostly stopped after that visit but then everything froze up.  I walked around like I was made of glass, afraid to make any sudden moves.

Doing penance for all those summer months of frivolous hiking, imbibing, etc I’m sad to have wasted all that time not concentrating on my weight loss and overall fitness.  It’s the old story, right? Don’t know what you’ve got until it’s taken away? (HA – this is the part where I get the tough love from Miz J. telling me to BUCK UP and stop feeling sorry for myself and GET ON WITH IT. Thank you, Miz J.)

I swear I will be the workout QUEEN for 90 days solid of fitness and clean eating as soon as my bod is ready to face Tony Horton. I swear.  (Like making promises to God to be good only if…). You’re my witness(es).

On the flip side, I’m excited to get training for more than one reason.  For three reasons, actually.  All will be revealed in time.  It just goes back to having goals, having a WHY.  WHY I/you/any of us want to get in shape and be healthy, happy, awesome.

Oh – AND I’ve started dreaming (literally – like at night, eyes closed and everything) about the Camino de Santiago. Is it time again already?? Hmm….

My newest scheme – P90 (yo Tony!)

Soooo, after an entire summer and first month of fall having LOST NO WEIGHT, I’m onto yet another scheme of awesome.

Backing up a bit… after the 21 Day Fix (which WORKED) I got on board with the newest (at the time) program release from Beachbody, which was PiYo – a combination Pilates/Yoga exercise plan. This program is truly challenging, and it builds strength using your own body weight. You also get more flexible. However, I didn’t follow the PiYo meal plan, and I only half-heartedly attempted to maintain the 21 Day Fix meal plan while doing PiYo. I did do a cleanse – which was really good – but then ate my pounds back on.  It all equals one big bomb.

Blergh.

So – back at it. I’ve got the new Tony Horton program in my hot little paws: P90 = “for everyone.” Super excited about this one, but I totally have that nagging feeling that I won’t stick to the food plan or the workout schedule etc. I got all psyched up for DAY ONE, and then boom! Caught a cold.

Here I am, tip-tap-typing away, snotty as all hell and now with a sore lower back from laying in bed mindlessly watching Netflix with the lap top propped up on my tummy. ALL NOT GOOD.

Fingers crossed that I can de-snot and feel better soon so that I can get started on something new. The year is almost OVER! I need to crack the whip and get into shape here, people.

Seriously.

21 Day Fix review

21 Day Fix is an at-home workout and meal portioning program by trainer (and bikini competitor!) Autumn Calabrese, who promises that you can lose up to 15 lbs in just three weeks, or your money back. (Everyone loves a good money-back guarantee, yes?)

Why I love it
In brief – it taught me proper portion sizes and got me working out daily.

My results
With the 21 Day Fix I lost 5.5 inches and 7.5 lbs in three weeks.

Who will benefit
The 21 Day Fix is a very basic regime of workouts and healthy eating. If you want to…

  • Kick start an epic weight loss journey
  • Get off a weight loss plateau
  • Gain better shape and muscle tone
  • Learn portion control
  • Lose a few pounds and tighten up before a holiday or special event
  • Create healthy habits that will last a lifetime
  • Change up your workout routine with short, 30-minute pops

What’s the scoop?
The Fix comes with a Getting Started guide and a set of seven 30-minute DVD workouts. You receive coloured boxes of varying proportions which all correspond to food categories:

  • Green – veggies
  • Purple – fruit
  • Red – protein
  • Yellow – carbs
  • Blue – healthy fats
  • Orange – seeds, dressings
  • Plus “teaspoons” – oils

Work out your caloric needs through the formula provided in the guide (all based on your current weight), and then you’ll know how many coloured boxes you need per day.  You’re encouraged to drink loads of water, and you can still have your daily dose of caffeine through coffee and tea.  Treats like wine, trail mix, dark chocolate can be worked into the plan, but not in huge quantities.  The guide also provides lists of food for each coloured box, and a few recipes.

You don’t have to eat bulgur and broccoli every day.  I even had a pizza last night using pita bread for the crust, tomato sauce, cheese, ham, peppers and onions…all portioned to fit in the boxes.  You can eat what you want, as long as it fits in those boxes! I was not hungry on this program. If anything, there were days I struggled to eat all that was allocated to me! AND – I was not perfect. There was an incident with a tub of coconut Greek yogurt that shall not be brought up again…

The workout DVDs are only 30 minutes each = no excuses!  The workout schedule assigns specific workouts to each day of the week.

  • Total Body Cardio Fix – cardio conditioning from top to bottom
  • Upper Fix – fab workout for the arms and abs
  • Lower Fix – legs and calves, lunging and stuff
  • Pilates Fix – harder than it sounds, man. Wait until you “mix the bowl.”
  • Cardio Fix – heart rate is on! Work those compound moves.
  • Dirty 30 – a little bit of everything
  • Yoga Fix – wonderful stretching after a hard week

The program has a few bonus materials, such as Autumn’s 30 minute PLYO workout (jumping!) + a 10-minute ab workout, a 3-day fix eating plan for gotta-look-good events (reunion? Photo shoot?), and a Shakeology shaker cup for making shakes.

Pros:

  • I learned to eyeball portion sizes much more accurately.  I know now when I’m going overboard on something. And you get to eat real food: no food in a box, no low-cal diet foods…only real, whole foods = clean eating.
  • The workouts are only 30 minutes, and the sequence day after day works over your whole body for clearly defined results. Each workout has a modifier – if you can’t do the full range, there are alternatives demo’d nicely.
  • Autumn reviews each move before she does it.  There is no quick-change flow from one to another, she ensures that you keep your form so that you max that particular exercise. This means a lot to me – there are gym classes and workout DVDs where I stare at the screen trying to see how they do it, and by the time I figure it out, they move on.
  • This is a long-term weight loss & fitness program! Totally sustainable.

Cons:

  • Stretch times post-workout were not very long; I’d suggest adding your own.
  • You do need to have a yoga mat and a set of light/heavy weights or a resistance band to maximize the workouts. Sold separately! (I suppose this isn’t a HUGE con, but if you went into this budget minded you’d need to splash out a little extra if you didn’t already have these things.)
  • The promise of losing up to 15 lbs is somewhat accurate. If you are going from overweight couch potato to 21 Day Fix, you probably will lose upwards of that amount, no problem. If you’re already fairly fit, you will probably see inches lost, but you won’t have 15 lbs fall off immediately.

Shakeology is a “daily dose of dense nutrition” and is a highly recommended but optional part of the 21 Day Fix. It is a meal replacement shake. Now, it took me three months before I even told anyone I was using this stuff, because in my mind replacing a meal with a supplement was weird.  Well, Shakeo is chock full of superfoods, gives me more energy and kills my cravings.  I love it.  Sometimes I use it for breakfast, other times as a post-workout refresher.  I suggest you use it with the 21 Day Fix (once a day) but that’s completely optional.

Overall, in my challenge group, two of my challengers lost more than 15 lbs each in three weeks. The remaining challengers averaged 2.5 lbs a week.  All great results when the scale heads south!

I love this program enough that I’m doing another round. Like I said, it’s more a lifestyle than a one-off. I would recommend this to everyone, it’s that flexible and sustainable.

Here are my final stats after Round 1 from Day 0 -> Day 21:     

Weight:    207.5 lbs -> 200 lbs
Chest:       41 inches -> 41 inches
R Arm:     13.5 inches -> 13 inches
L. Arm:    13.5 inches -> 13 inches
Waist:       43.5 inches -> 41.5 inches
Hips:         48 inches -> 46.5 inches
R. Thigh:  25 inches -> 24.5 inches
L. Thigh:  25 inches -> 24.5 inches

If you want to pick up the 21 Day Fix, here is the challenge pack link with Shakeology @ $160 USD, and here is the base kit program without Shakeology @ $59.85 USD.  I’ll be here to cheer you on!  Would love to hear your experiences with 21 Day Fix, or field any questions you’ve got – feel free to post below.

Pushing through barriers

Pain of overweightTotally stoked about the Week 5 (do-over) of my couch to half marathon training plan. I made every single training day – woot – and was very careful with my eating/drinking!!

Here are the highlights:

Your mind will quit 100 times before your body ever does.  Feel the pain and do it anyway.

I’ve started paying attention to when I start wanting to throw in the towel when I’m running. Most times, my breathing is okay, my legs are coping, etc. I can still run, but Brain just says, “Hey girl, you’ve already run long enough. You deserve a break.” I’m trying to push past that. It’s hard. But I’m doing it bit by bit.

After you think “Holy shit, I can’t!” Stop and think “Holy shit, I just did.”

This Saturday was my 5 miler on the treadmill.  That is a loooong way for me.  And I did it. There was walking – no doubt! But I finished it in one hour and ten minutes. And then I could go to the hot tub.  That same day, I clocked 31K steps on my FitBit. Yesssssssss.

Fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition.  You can’t outrun your fork.

This week I tried to view food as fuel… tying it in with my training plan, I looked to what my body needed in order to run properly, but without adding in too many empty calories.  Everything I put in my mouth had a purpose, with the exception of two cappuccinos (with sugar!) which were a total treat.

I think I like who I am becoming.

I’m the first to admit that I latch on to something, do it for a while, accomplish a few goals, then move on.  I’d like to think that my “project fitness 2014” is a little more than that.  It’s nice to feel proud of myself, and to be healthier.

Here’s to starting Week 6 of half-marathon training!

Four! Four miles! Bahhahahhahaa.

This week’s half marathon training plan required a four mile easy run. Easy Run. ER.

The jury is still out on what my easy run consists of. None of my running is easy. I never fall into that category unless I’m walking, and then I kinda don’t feel like I’m running.

As you know, I’m on the WEEK 4 do-over in training for THE BIG RUN. Week 4 is supposed to look like this:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: ER 2 miles + ST
Wednesday:  XT 30 min
Thursday: ER 3 miles
Friday:  Rest
Saturday: ER 4 miles
Sunday: W 3 miles

Well. Count ’em. FOUR MILES.  It was the worst four miles of my life.  SO HARD.

I went into it thinking I could just do a slow but steady (aka no walking) four miles.  I guess I thought with all this training I’d be ready.  I was so not ready.

The first two miles I did 10/1, and then I slipped into 4/2 for mile three.  The last mile (the big number four) actually was a little stronger.  But I was cooked. Done like dinner.  Awful awful awful.

When I slow down to try and “easy run” the backs of my legs feel so exhausted. Running a little faster makes my legs feel better but then my heart rate skyrockets. I don’t seem to have much of a middle ground.

So – wrapping up week four, do I promote myself to week five (a modified week five??) or do I go for round three of this set again. Siiiigggghhh.

If you really want something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse.

Don’t think, just do

One of those weeks, just after you pledge yourself to a new fitness goal, and whammo!

Work gets in the way of life. Life gets in the way of plans.

Getting up at 0500 hrs to get to the gym only worked for two of five work days. My brain totally was a pain in the ass. If I allowed myself to THINK in the wee hours of the morning, I could talk myself into the snooze button, or the logic of “Gee, you seem tired. Maybe take a rest day.” {Note to self, there is no thinking permitted for February}  Of course, for each of the three days I missed, I pledged to get there in the evening for a class or spot of time on the treadmill. No go.

Dead of winter, 0500 hrs - do I really want to get out of bed??

Dead of winter, 0500 hrs – do I really want to get out of bed??

Missed supper twice due to staying late at work. Found myself ogling an old Chinese lady on the train who pulled out a Pop Tart from her bag and was nibbling it top down, making the silver wrapping crinkle. I suddenly wanted that refined fake crazy processed food. Mmmmm Pop Tart.

All shocking. Sigh.

But, good things did happen despite missing CRITICAL GYM TIME:

 

  • Internet whining due to lack of foundational garment support has resulted in a set of Champion sports bras materializing in my possession.  Thanks to the generosity of Ms. A. there shall be RUNNING this weekend on the treadmill.
  • Pineapple was the starring ingredient in this week’s smoothie set.  I picked up a ginormous bag of frozen pineapple at Costco and thoroughly enjoy the fresh flavour and the way this fruit thickens up a smoothie. Ingredients: Pineapple, OJ, vanilla almond milk, banana. Optional items: ice, yogurt and/or ginger.  Love the heat of the ginger with the freshness of the pineapple.
  • Got an email from my Spartan/mud run buddy, Ms. N. who wants to look at some spring and summer goals and wowza, we might have a good one.   Stay tuned.

It’s a new MONTH, peeps!   I will do a “last chance workout” at the gym, then weigh myself.  Let’s see if one month of … (well, I wouldn’t say trying hard, because despite my good intentions I certainly slacked right some good) … MODERATE EFFORT has made a difference.

Training for a 5K without running

My February fitness challenge is to run a 5K.

Running, without stopping, and finishing under 40 minutes. My first 5K of the year was the Resolution Run on New Year’s Day and I finished in 43 minutes.  Okay, so maybe upping the time to 40 minutes isn’t much of a challenge… maybe 35 minutes.

Thirty five minutes will be crazy regardless, because this isn’t a straightforward treadmill 5K. This is outdoors, in the winter, in Canada. You know, where -30 C is pretty common. It’s a trail run.  There are hills.  There will be snow.  As well, it is a sort of participatory event… it’s the Dead Cold Run with GoT-esque White Walkers chasing the warm-blooded runners.

Hey – I need motivation to keep moving.  Zombies will do it.

The only catch with my newly inspired goal is the training regime.  The run is 26 days away, on Feb 22.  On Feb 3, my gym membership expires, and because I bought my brother a snazzy birthday present last week, I kinda spent my fun money.  So, between Feb 3 and pay day, which is Feb 10, I need to work out without a gym.

So, I can run from today to Feb 3, right?  Wrong.  My sports bra has become uncomfortably loose, and there is NO WAY I am running on the treadmill without proper support. (If I end up getting out the duct tape, I will be sure to let you know).  So, Feb 10 is the “big day” where I can buy a sports bra, renew my membership and start really running. (Is that enough time?? I have no idea)

P.S. Winter is still here

P.S. Winter is still here

In the mean time, I have to figure out a beneficial training plan.  Training for a 5K run without… running.

Here’s what I’ve got so far while I have the gym membership pre Feb 10: incline treadmill, swimming, tabata, rock bottoms class, zumba.

Here’s what I’ve got for my 7-day stretch of no gym: river valley stairs, medicine ball exercises, squats & sit ups & push ups (oh my!) and any other body weight exercise that will elevate my heart rate.

After that I can launch into some quick fix couch to 5K solution for the remaining 12 days prior to the run…

Easy to sit here and write all this.  Actually have to get to it…and cram it all in.  Here’s to a new goal! Woot!