Tag Archives: athlete

Fighting My Way Back to You

Over the weekend, I made a decision. Screw waiting to “feel better” – I’m just going to go for it. I keep waiting for my knees to not hurt, to feel like they used to…but what if that NEVER happens? What if I always have knee pain from now on? Does that give me a good enough excuse to just not work out? Absolutely not.

I have always struggled with some different forms of pain during my working out years – foot pain, knee pain (of a different sort), back/neck pain…I’ve been through a lot of different scenarios – but I never let it stop me from working out. I realize this weekend that I may never be the same person I was pre-pregnancy again – my body will forever be different because having a child changes you. And instead of mourning that loss of who I was before, I have to start getting to know this new person. The new Dre. And if that means starting at square one again and building my way back toward regular exercise, then so be it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks.

And despite having some new types of pain and limitations – I can still work out. It just may look and feel different than it did before. I think a big part of this process was just not wanting to accept that I needed to start over, and what that would feel like. Being totally out of shape was something I could fortunately say I hadn’t experienced in awhile. Despite still having weight to lose before I got pregnant, I still considered myself to be more on the in shape side of things. I had great endurance and strength and I felt like my energy level was in a good place. When I got blood work done and my metabolism tested – everything pointed in a good direction.

But after almost a year of just being out of synch with that part of myself, it just felt like a long journey to start again. And I think that first step was the hardest one for me to take. But I decided to just jump back in and see how things went. So last night, I re-entered our make shift work out room, dug out one of my turbo instructor dvds and pressed play. I determined I would do 30 minutes of turbo and just modify it to avoid the jumping/high impact stuff as I knew my knees wouldn’t like that.

My joints screamed a little as I did my double bob and jab knees. My hamstrings screeched a little during those front and back push kicks. My shoulders and arms complained about the 4 crosses and triples to the left. But, man – my heart sang. It felt good to lose myself a little bit – or maybe it felt good to FIND my old self again. To put back on her shoes, to listen to her music – I found myself signaling the imaginary participants behind me to punch right. I found myself smiling as my heart rate climbed, and even though I couldn’t jump, I could still reach high and practice good form. It felt good, even if I felt different.

My workout was bittersweet. I was pleased with myself in just following through, and being able to do 30 minutes without stopping. But it was hard because I know that the old me would have had a lot more pep in her step and would have been able to do more. I know I’m on the way back to that part of myself, and I realize that it’s not going to look or feel the same for me in a lot of ways. But not trying isn’t an option. That is not a good enough excuse.

Becoming a parent involves a lot of sacrifices, but it also means that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of someone else. And I won’t let myself forget that.

I’m setting small goals for myself – 30 minutes of cardio 3x a week. I plan to do it after Daxton goes to bed around 8. I can carve out 30 minutes of my day three times a week. And maybe 30 minutes a week will turn into more, or maybe 3x a week will turn into everyday. Who knows, I just know that life is going to go on whether I participate or not, so it’s time to take matters into my own hands and try to figure out who this new version of me will be.

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Life Lemons & Making Lemonade

 

It’s been 9 weeks since I had major surgery. I’m feeling a lot better in terms of the incision healing. My swelling is gone, and if you were to see me out and about – you probably wouldn’t guess that I just had a baby you would probably just think I needed to lose some weight.

Over the last 5-6 years, even though I’ve always been technically overweight, I still was muscular and athletic. I was strong and always felt like I was “working on it.” I felt capable of trying new workouts, even if I wasn’t always the best in the class. I had more energy, my metabolism was off the charts.

I miss that person desperately. It feels like I’ve lost my dearest friend and I look at myself in the mirror and I’m not sure I really recognize this person I’ve become. I know that I birthed a child and that no one expects me to just snap back immediately to that person I was a year ago. But for me, it’s tough. I got the green light to work out moderately again at my postpartum check up around week 6. I was so excited to try and start incorporating some exercise again. And it was like the evil villain heard the news and decided to snatch my joy. I woke up  soon after with incredible pain in my knees. It hurt to walk, it hurt to move my knee joint, it hurt to go up/down stairs, it hurt to try and kneel or squat (try giving your baby a bath without kneeling/squatting!). Everything hurt. I thought it would pass – it was just some crazy after effect of the relaxin hormone/chemical (not sure what it is exactly) in my body passing through. *sigh*

But here we are, starting on week 10 and I’m still in a lot of pain. I’ve tried massage and chiropractor, I’ve tried ignoring it, I’ve tried walking more, walking less. I’ve tried stretching, heating pad, icing it – elevating my legs, I’ve tried monster size ibuprofen. I have an appointment with an acupuncturist scheduled. I’m out of ideas. I’ve heard from some others in the same boat as me, but it seems like no one has any cures other than just time. And I guess I’m impatient, I feel like knee pain impacts everything else. You sort of need your knees to do almost anything active..particularly when I’m taking care of my baby all day long in a house with 2 sets of stairs.

So I complain about this only to tell you that if I can’t really exercise right now, I can’t use that as an excuse to spiral out of control. I have to control the things I CAN control and wait for my body to fully recover from pregnancy and surgery, even if it is taking way longer than I imagined to just be able to walk without pain.

July Detox!

So my hubby and I are doing a bit of a detox this month. I’m not going on a diet – don’t worry – I know that is unsafe while breastfeeding. But I can do something about what I’m putting in my body. We are cutting out all fast food and working toward no processed foods. I think these are hard to avoid 100% of the time, but we are going to try to be at 90% unprocessed this month. If i buy something that is in a package – I can at least pick items that are as natural as possible. I can totally do that!

We are going to reduce our eat out meals – 1 lunch/1 dinner out during the week and I know we will have to work hard to get our weekend eating out adventures under control, but we can do it. When I do eat out, I can make better choices.

And at the end of this month – I know I will feel better because I’ll be DOING something about my health instead of just waiting to feel better to get started.

Life isn’t always how you plan it, and having a baby has big a big lesson in “control” and how much I don’t have control over a lot of things in my life like my schedule! But that doesn’t mean I should throw away everything I’ve worked for over the years – I just need to find comfort in the things I can control and rock it.

I’m not putting a weight loss goal on this monthly detox – because I’ve lost about 35 pounds already and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to lose the last 10 until I stop breastfeeding. But if I do – then great! But my goals are to feel better, and to feel like I’m doing SOMETHING about my health since I can’t exercise like I want to yet.

I’m feeling very “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” right now. So I’m just going to go with it and see what happens!

 

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Water Running: Great Change Up to your Current Routine!

I finally got to try out a Water Running class this week. It wasn’t the normal instructor – so I’m curious to see how the next class will differ. Either way – I sort of went into the class wondering what we would be doing for an hour and if it would be a decent workout or not. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of movements we did and how fast my heart was beating! For those of you with access to a pool but perhaps no access to a class version of water running, I thought I’d give you a run down (no pun intended) of things you can do in the water to get a good workout aside from simply swimming laps (which is no small feat on it’s own if you’ve tried it in your adult life).

You can start in the shallow end to get warmed up. Our pool has an open area and then about 4 lanes blocked off for swimming lanes. So we used the width of the pool in the shallow end from wall to first swim lane to do some shorter laps if that makes sense. We did the following:

Jog in the water (just like you would jog on land) forward to swim lane, return jogging backward. Keep your fingers uncupped so that you aren’t propelling yourself forward with your arms.
Move toward swim lane with alternating high knees, come back to wall doing butt kicks – focus on speed.
Move toward swim lane using a “skip” style – focusing on jumping out of the water and forward. So not focused on speed, but on height of your jump. Make sure you are switching which leg you are leading/jumping with. Return to wall in same style

Of course – you can repeat all these several times for a nice warm up.

The instructor also used Tabata style format to get our cardio workout in. If you aren’t familiar with Tabata – it forces you to work at high intensity for a short period of time and then rest and repeat. You can pick the times and how many times you repeat. For our class – we did different versions of Tabata. For example:

Shallow End Tabata (move so you are shoulder deep)
20 seconds: Sprint in place (focus on moving as fast as possible with hand/arm movement in water)
Rest 10 Seconds
20 Seconds: High Knees in place (focus on crunching and make sure you have your arms going)
Rest 10 seconds
20 Seconds: Butt Kicks (in place, quickly)
Rest 10 seconds

And then we would change it to 30 seconds with 10 second rest, etc. You could pick a variety of movements to suit your own needs and amount of time you have to spend for each section.

You will definitely feel all of these exercises in your hamstrings!

To really get into water running you have to incorporate the deep end – because jogging in the shallow end is super easy when you compare it to trying to propel yourself forward when you can’t touch the bottom. A few things on form when water running:

Don’t cup your hands – you want the forward motion to be coming from the leg movement. Pretend like you are doing a leg extension in the weight room – move your right leg to a 90 degree angle in front of you and pull back, repeat on other side – this is the motion you are doing to water run in the deep end. Your hands are moving, but fingers are straight, not cupped. Work to keep your body straight – not leaning forward or backward. You will feel like you are barely moving – but your heart rate will tell you otherwise!

When we got to the deep end wall, we did short kicks while holding onto the wall and  long scissor kicks (using Tabata style again). We also put our backs against the wall and arms on either side to support us as we lifted our legs straight up (back flat against the wall) and pushed them back down into the water. This was extremely difficult!

If you are comfortable in the deep end, you can move away from the wall and do another set of workouts such as the following:

30 seconds: Tread Water using hands and legs
30 seconds: Tread water using hands/arms only – keep legs straight (if this is too difficult, bend your legs some and that will help)
30 seconds: Treat water using legs only – put your arms out of the water to make sure you aren’t cheating!

You can repeat that several times and change up how long you are doing each thing until your hearts content!

Obviously once you are done with that you have to water run back to the shallow end!

A lot of the articles I looked at about water running show people running with floatation belts on. In our class, we didn’t utilize these, but I could see how you could probably work on speed more if you had a belt on to help you stay afloat. I’ll have to try that out one time to see what different it makes. Without the belt, I think it would be difficult to keep doing laps without stopping because it does require so much effort to stay afloat on your own and move forward!

This would be a great alternative to just swimming laps if you are bored with that routine. It’s also great if you are injured or pregnant and can’t do high impact stuff anymore! As always, check with your doctor before taking on any new exercise program as I am not a doctor and can only tell you my opinion of the workout!

 

 

 

 

 

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Lift Heavy Things: Progress Report

I did my Fitness Assessment on Monday (for the Primal Blueprint Fitness program I’m doing) and so today was my first actual circuit workout utilizing my assessment as a starting place. Check out yesterday’s post if you have no clue what i’m talking about.

Here are my results:

Knee Pushups: Goal is 30

Circuit 1: 22
Circuit 2: 15

Assisted Pullups: Goal is 20 (i am using the assisted pull up machine at my gym…still figuring out what weight to set it out to replicate a double leg assisted style as outlined in the primal guide)

Circuit 1: 20
Circuit 2: 20 (i made it harder because the first set was too easy – just not enough resistance) Obviously I am still figuring this out!

Squats: Goal is 50
Circuit 1: 50
Circuit 2: 50
I didn’t find these EXTREMELY challenging – but I think I will do one more week of these before I move to the next level up.

Forearm/Knee Plank: Goal is 90 seconds
Circuit 1: 90 seconds
Circuit 2: 90 seconds
I’ll admit – this was harder than i expected it to be. I’m not positive my form was perfect the whole time during either circuit. Going to keep working on this one for another week before I move up to next level.

Forearm/Knee Side Plank Left Side: Goal is 45 seconds
Circuit 1: 40 seconds
Circuit 2: 30 seconds

Forearm/Knee Side Plank Right Side: Goal is 45 seconds
Circuit 1: 30 seconds
Circuit 2: 40 seconds

The side planks are also harder than i expected. For some reason I feel like I’d be better at it if I were using my whole arm instead of being on my forearm, but maybe that’s crazy. Still have some work to do on the side plank series.

So I still need to do my sprint workout this week (thinking about doing that tomorrow) and then I want to try and get a walk and an easy  bike ride in this weekend as well to count as my “move slowly/rest/play” days.

Tomorrow is weigh in day! It’s week 3 of my wheat free/paleo/primal inspired food challenge. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

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Primal Fitness: Are you Ready?

Source: tribesports.com

Alright, so today has been super busy so I’m going to update as quick as my little fingers will type so that you all can be up to speed on my next challenge.

Of course, I’m currently doing my 30 Day Food Challenge (Paleo/Primal Inspired) and if you’ve been paying attention you know that 80% of your health and fitness goals are obtained through what you EAT! So it’s super important.

But we can’t forget about that other 20%: Exercise!

So I am REALLY changing it up. By really, I mean that it’s going to be flat out weird for me to do this fitness challenge because it’s so different than anything I have ever tried before. Are you ready for this radical idea?

I am going to work out less.

What?! That’s right folks. The word is less is more. Less does not refer to less efficient though – and that’s the key to my next challenge. I am going to be traveling back through time to connect with my primal ancestors. That’s right – I’m following the Primal Blueprint Fitness plan. It’s written by Mark Sisson (yes, I mentioned him last time because i’m reading his book The Primal Blueprint) and it’s all about getting fit through some core movements and targeted activities. If you want to check out the fitness plan for yourself – you can get it for free by going to his site here.

You have to subscribe to his newsletter to get the passwords to download his ebooks – but the newsletter is full of great information if you are considering dabbling or learning about Primal/Paleo lifestyle. Think protein, healthy fats and carbs from good places (like fruits and veggies vs grains) and that’s the premise of the lifestyle.

The idea is that our modern day methods of working out are actually not always that great for us. We suffer from what Mark calls “chronic cardio” – where we exert ourselves at too high a level for too long a period of time – and it actually has negative consequences like burnout, fatigue, and as I’ve experienced: injuries.

Source: marksdailyapple.com

So the primal fitness plan focuses on strength training (he calls it “Lift Heavy Things”) 1-3 times per week (using your own body weight) through 4 essential movements: Plank, Squats, Push Up, Pull Up. He also suggests a one short but intense Sprint workout a week. The other days he calls “Move Slowly for a Long Time” days and this should be something active like a walk, hike, cycling (think about 55-75% of max heart rate) for 2-5 hours per week.

He also encourages you to return to your childhood – and play more! So whether that’s frisbee, playing tag with yours kids, playing on a friendly softball team or the YMCA kickball team – just doing something that is active but doesn’t have you thinking “oh gosh, I gotta work out now.” He also encourages you to listen to your body and rest. Get a good nights sleep everynight – and of course, try and stick to your Primal eating plan at least 80% of the time for max benefits.

So I’m trying it out. The first step was to do a self assessment so I know where I need to start with my Lift Heavy Things workout. Your goal is to be able to progress to the Essential Movement – but you might not start there. For instance, one of the moves is a pull up. I literally laughed out loud at my feeble attempt to even lift THIS heavy thing off the ground at the gym yesterday. So I’ll be starting with assisted leg lifts fo ‘sho.

The self assessment can be found in the fitness ebook (when you download it – type in page 50 and the next 2-3 pages are about it).

Here are my results and where I’ll be starting:

Pushup: I could only do 6 big girl pushups (on hands and feet) – so I’ll be starting on level 2 with Knee Pushups.

Pull Ups: As mentioned above, I couldn’t even pretend I did one. So i’m starting at level 1 with Chair Assisted Push Ups (2 legs).

Squats: I rocked the squats. The level 4 was for people who could do 61+ so I just stopped at 65 because it wasn’t like anyone was around for me to impress. So I’ll be doing Level 4 – Full Squats.

Plank: I held the plank on forearms and feet for 50 seconds. This has me starting on Level 2: Forearm/Knee Plank + Side Knee.

If you are wondering what any of this means, he has videos linked in the fitness guide so you can see how to do the exercises!

So 2x a week I’ll do the Strength Circuit – which means I’ll do a series of pull ups, push ups, squats and planks and then repeat. Each move has different levels – so once you can get through both sets of your circuit and hit the right “number” you can level up to a more difficult version of the move.

I am planning on using my TurboFIRE HIIT workouts to do my Sprint workout – this will be good because it’s about 10-15 minutes of intense cardio that pushes me with built in 1 minute recoveries. I may also try to do some stairs/treadmill sprints since it’s only 10-15 minutes. I can handle that once a week (I think).

And then the other days I’m going to do crazy things like, go for a walk. Hike on the weekend. Ride my bike around the neighborhood or town with my bike friends. I’m still going to be doing my turbo workout because I teach the class and don’t want to stop doing that. I will count it as my “play” – since it’s definitely more than 55-75% of my maximum heart rate!

I’m excited because this will give me a TON of flexibility to try out new workouts or revisit old ones (like going to the Trampoline Airobics class). Maybe I’ll even brave the rock climbing wall this year. EEK.

Of course I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. I’m nervous about the idea of doing so much less in terms of intensity – but maybe it’s what my body needs. Maybe I don’t have to kill myself to have the body I want….maybe I just need to trust that my kick A ancestors were on to something.

After all, they would have lived a lot longer if there weren’t wild animals attacking them or if they had some modern medicine to cure things like infection. In fact, based on the research done on their remains – it’s predicted that if accidental death or infections, etc. didn’t occur our paleolithic ancestors would have a max life span of about 94 years. And yes, that is actually LONGER than what’s predicted for our current human population based on how things are going in the human evolution right now. Pretty crazy, huh?

Who wants to go primal with me? I’m excited about getting my hunting and gathering on.

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The Final Results (Summer Challenge)

So glad I finally stopped dreaming about it – and just started working on it instead.

It’s time to reveal my final results for my TurboFire program. I started it 3 months ago – and the time has flown by. Technically, I still have one more workout to do – and it’s a 40 minute long stretch, so I’m guessing that one more workout isn’t going to dramatically change my results. Rest assured, I will do the last workout though!

More than ever – this summer challenge has reminded me that I am capable of completing what I started. I wouldn’t say that a few years ago – but perhaps a person can truly change, after all.

This week I’m down 1.8 pounds from my weigh in on Thursdays (since I weighed in a day early due to my traveling last week). I’d like to share that I had an “emergency” weight number previously (before I gained 15 pounds) and that was always my number that made an alarm go off in my head even when nothing else would. It was a number that would typically stop me cold in my tracks and help me get my head in gear. The last time I saw it and just kept  gaining weight, I felt helpless in the struggle to stop gaining weight. I felt like I was doing everything right – and yet, the pounds kept coming on despite my workouts and calorie counting.

Today, I got to see my emergency number again – but this time, I’m going the RIGHT way…back down below it. That is an an amazing feeling!

Totals for Program:

Chest: down 2 inches

Hips: down 2.5 inches

Thigh: down 1 inch

Waist: Down 1.5 inches

Arm: Down .5 inches

And as for my weight: Down 8.8 pounds!

Not too shabby, right? Especially since I really don’t feel like I was really committed to trying to eat better during the first half of the program. I mean – I was still trying to do well (eating most of my lunches and dinners at home), but I had what seems like 50000 events where I let myself cheat for whatever reason.

I’ll be taking my “after” pictures this weekend. So I’m curious to see how my body shape might have changed. I’m assuming I’ll be a little less pudgy as I do feel like I’ve put on more muscle! The other day when I was doing my workout – there is this one section where you have to put your hand on your thigh as you touch down and I was like “whoa!” because my leg felt rock solid when flexed. I’ve always been muscular – but this is a new level.

This is also the completion of week 2 for my Food Challenge, so I’m excited to see what changes continue to happen for me over the next few weeks. I am, of course, already researching my next physical challenge and I hope to be ready to share that with you on Monday! We’ll just say I’m feeling very primal about it!

 

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Summer Challenge: Lessons Learned Part I

I have four more workouts on my plate before I can officially claim completion of my Summer Push Challenge. My goal was to do the 90 day program (TurboFire) which required workouts 6 days a week.

It was a major change from what I was doing before which almost never included an intense workout on the weekends. Now that I only have 4 more workouts to complete – I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned during this experience and what I’ll take with me into my next challenge, whatever that may be.

I hear a lot of people say that pushing yourself is more mental than physical. I often think we don’t give our bodies enough credit -we are built to last. We are built to run, jump, swim, lift heavy things. Yet, we don’t do a lot of these things on a regular basis – so our bodies aren’t conditioned for their true nature. So getting BACK to my bodies original purpose has been a major fight for me over the last few years. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

We battle with making better food choices, trying to push our bodies to endure long workouts, build muscle, lose fat. Do more. Do more. Do more. It’s pretty exhausting.

Lesson #1: Decreased Recovery Time Continue reading

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