Tag Archives: working out

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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Finding time for fitness

Today is a big day. It’s not my first day back at work – that was Tuesday. But it IS the first day that I’m able to hit the gym since I gave birth! I can’t believe it has been 12 weeks (almost 13) since I’ve set foot in a gym. But then I think about all the other things I’ve been doing these past few months and I realize it’s not all that unbelievable that I haven’t had time to go to a gym, especially since my gym is located where I work!

Anyway, today is the day. We have two weeks of summer schedule left so I’m taking advantage of my little one already being settled into daycare for the day and I’m going to go to the gym. I keep trying to think of how I’m going to fit gym time back into my life on a regular basis and I still am coming up short on ideas. I understand now why so many parents give up on their fitness goals – it’s REALLY difficult to find time to do it all. My biggest obstacle at this point is finding a window of time where I can go to the gym. Daycare is only for so many hours a day and with travel time – we are right on the cusp of having him there too long (and having to pay more). So that knocks out gym time  before or after work. My other thought is lunch time – but since I’m still breastfeeding, I have a pretty rigorous pumping schedule to fit in during my work day and lunch time is one of them. So by the time I pump – I don’t have much time left in my lunch hour…plus I have to actually eat during lunch as well. I just can’t fit it all in. Since my gym is where I work – and work is NOT close to my home, it presents a problem because coming BACK to work/gym isn’t an option in the evening.

So I may be looking at transitioning to home workouts only, or finding a gym closer to my house so that I could potentially hit the gym after Daxton is in bed for the night. Once I am done with breastfeeding, I’ll be able to re-evaluate my schedule and make the commitment to lunch time work outs although those are limiting since sweating hardcore means you have to shower and get ready all over again.

I thought I was busy before in my life, but now that I have a child and am working full time – it’s unbelievable how every block of my day is already accounted for – how does that happen?!

I’d love to hear how other folks have fit working out into a busy schedule. I’ll put it out there that I am in bed at 10 so that I can pump (asleep by 11 hopefully), up again at 2:30am to pump and then up for the day by 6am. So I’d prefer NOT to get suggestions on waking up earlier to work out because at best I’m getting 3 hours of “uninterrupted” sleep at a time each night. I just don’t think I could exist on any less sleep right now.

I am proud to say that making better choices this month has been helping. I am now only 7 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, so that is moving in the right direction!

Wish me luck at the gym today and I hope I get some interesting advice for fitting in my workouts from some of you fitness folks!

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When Nothing Else Works…

This whole being pregnant thing is a major cramp on my fitness parade. I’ve been trying hard to find ways to work out that still are fun and exciting – and of course, effective. But the word “effective” has lost it’s luster to me lately. What am I really doing, anyway? I think I’ve lived in a world where if I wasn’t dripping sweat at the end of the workout – I hadn’t really worked out. And I’m just not in a place at 31 weeks pregnant where I can push myself to that point, anymore. So I’m definitely stuck in a rut where I just am not inspired to work out because it doesn’t feel like it’s DOING anything.

I will say that my lifestyle is still pretty go-go-go. I’m not going home and immediately going to bed or sitting on the couch. On the weekends, we are still working on house projects, running errands, etc. I haven’t given up on life as I knew it – it’s just evolved to doing what I can right now. It’s weird.

Yesterday, I decided to try the yoga thing again. If you have read my blog along the way, or you know me at all (even though it’s been awhile since i’ve blogged here, I KNOW!) – you probably know that Yoga is not my thing. But I thought – I’m pregnant, stretching is good – I should give it a go. My chiropractor let me borrow a video that she had used during her pregnancy. I kept putting off doing it because it just didn’t sound exciting. But last night I finally hit play. During the intro part where the instructor comes on the video to tell you about herself, I kept repeating to myself: “Have  an open mind. Have an open mind.” I may have been making judgements about how the yoga was going to be just based on how this lady came across in the video. But I did it anyway – and I completed it.

But I didn’t really enjoy it. It wasn’t that everything was super easy and i wasn’t challenged. Having 25 extra pounds situated like a bowling ball between your lungs and pelvis is challenging even when I’m not trying to do a downward dog. But I kept getting distracted by how enormous my feet and ankles looks while I was in downward dog pose. And I thought – man, this is only going to get worse – I need more socks. More tall socks for sure. 🙂

But the video was a bit too “new age” for me. She kept saying things like “keep you heart soft!” and “breathe into the bottom of your belly – surround your child with air!” and I was like how the heck do I do that? I mean, a breathe is a breathe and lately – getting a deep one is a major win since my lungs feel like tiny little balloons right now. My favorite instruction from the yoga lady was “illuminate every cell of your body!” I literally had to just stop what I was doing and stare at the TV. What the heck is this lady on? If i knew how to illuminate every cell of my body, I probably wouldn’t need to be doing yoga. Or working – I’d be like a superstar or something. Or at least a circus performer.

I was irritated at myself by the end of the video. I wanted to have my mind changed, I wanted to find something that made me feel happy after the work out. But it’s just not yoga. Or maybe it’s just not THAT yoga video (I get that instructors make all the difference).

A lot of people have asked me what I miss most since I’ve been pregnant. Do I miss having a glass of wine with friends – for sure. Do I miss the luxury of a quick deli sandwich – yup. But I guess I’m realizing right now that the thing I miss most is just having a “go-to” work out that makes me forget about everything else. Right now – every work out feels “lame” to me – and I either try to turn up the intensity and realize that I can’t do that anymore – or I just feel like I’m not really using my time wisely.

I find myself thinking about what my work out challenge will be once baby is here. How will I challenge myself to get back into pre-baby shape? I’ll definitely have the motivation of extra pounds that need to be lost. But what about right now? I need something exciting, but healthy for me and baby. It just seems like right now I have a lot of questions but no answers.

I am crazy happy about being pregnant and can’t wait to meet this little guy. But I didn’t realize what I was missing until just lately – and I guess I have a limited amount of time to find something that is exciting before my requirements change all over again.

 

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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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Water Wings & Things

I have no idea why I decided that reconnecting with my inner swimmer was a good idea as we start moving into the winter months. There is nothing more fun than being freezing cold BEFORE you jump into slightly chilly water and then being even more cold as you desperately grab your towel and gear to get back to the locker room to shower and dry completely off before you head outside into the windy night.

Great idea, Dre!

But, I have to be realistic with myself that “going for a walk” every day is just not going to cut it. First off, I only ACTUALLY go for a walk maybe 2-3 times a week even though my goal is every day. So that isn’t a great success rate. It’s not that a walk is difficult, it just seems boring to me after years of high intensity cardio kickboxing or classes set to fun music blasting over the speakers. I need something that challenges my coordination and my mind in addition to just being a good workout.

On the other hand, I realize that working out while pregnant is a different story than just working out in general. I have more things to consider, and like it or not, it’s harder to catch my breath now that things are starting to happen inside me. Walking up stairs winds me more than usual and doing something as simple as vacuuming couch cushions got me out of breathe. It’s super annoying. And then I remind myself that there is a greater purpose  behind all of it and it’s not a forever thing. That helps. A little.

Exploring a New Workout

I’m sure my aerobics class will be pulling moves like this in no time.

So, yesterday I checked out a water aerobics class offered at my gym. Other than it being sort of freezing, I thought it was a good class. Definitely more low key, low intensity than I’m used to – but that IS sort of the point, I guess. And she did have us do some drills where I got to push myself a little harder and I liked those. We worked a lot on resistance stuff – so I felt like that was something I don’t do often enough. We used water weights and did some shoulder work, triceps, biceps – it was good stuff. Everyone was super friendly, and I definitely think I’ll go back.

It’s sort of interesting being back in the “searching for what works for me” stage of exercise. I feel like I went through this process several years ago and discovered I really liked TurboKick and group exercise. So in going back to my roots, I’m remembering that I’m way more likely to keep up with work outs if I’m part of a class/group program. So the water aerobics fits the bill for that. It’s definitely a class you can chat during which is different for me – but I liked it.

On Wednesdays, our gym offers another class called Water Running. The same instructor leads it and she said it’s more cardio focused – so I’m curious to give it a go. Of course, I’ll update you on my thoughts. I’ve never considered a water running class before – so I’m not even sure what to expect! But the part I hate about running the most is the pain in my joints and injuries – so running in the water might be an awesome solution.

Hey – maybe I’ll even find a 5k water running competition. It’s always fun to train for something!

So – in going back to this place in my life where I’m trying to find what works for me again – it’s reminded me of a few key decisions you have to make if you want to try and lead a healthier life. Funny enough, deciding to be healthy is only one piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle. You have to do a little soul searching, too.

1) What are your priorities? Write them down & rank them.
2) Does your schedule reflect those priorities? (As in: If your #1 priority is your health….are you making time to prepare healthy meals and work out? If not…this is a red flag!)
3) Think of a time in your life when you were successful at something – what were the key factors? How can you replicate this in your current situation? (Example: I’m always more successful when I’m part of a group who are trying to accomplish similar things – so I know for me, finding a workout I can do with a group of people will help me stay on track vs. just trying to do something on my own 100% of the time).

Once you have these three items checked off – you can move to the next step which is actually making changes to your schedule and exploring options that are a match for your preferences. Of course, we’ll talk more about those next time!

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View from the Middle of the Week

The days have been flying by it seems – so much to do at work, trying to keep up with email, projects – events. It feels like a whirlwind sometimes. My 11am appointment canceled, so I thought I’d take a quick moment to post here. I know I’ve become slack on posting regularly – but once the hectic schedule starts feeling normal again, I’ll find time. Just a little adjustment period!

They always have a mind of their own.

So I’m happy to report that I went for my walk on Monday as scheduled – even got the hubby to go with me despite him not feeling very well. I felt a little guilty because we just went and didn’t take the dogs – but sometimes they make going for a walk so very complicated and it becomes this huge production of barking, jumping, clawing and tripping over leases. Sometimes I just want to go for my walk. I know that probably sounds selfish – but if walking is going to be my “work out” a few times a week, then I have to have the perspective of – “Would I bring Yoshi & Peach to turbokick with me?” Nope. Okay, I’m feeling better already.

Yesterday, I taught TurobKick – and my leg actually felt better this time around! I broke it down into sections and did some individual exercises outside of the cardio – so doing some shoulder work, standing abs, squat series. I think that helped me not burn out my leg in the first 30 minutes. I’ll take it!

Today I brought my work out clothes and I’ve decided I have a date with The Ellen Degeneres Show on the treadmill at 5pm. Okay it will be more like 5:15 because I have to walk to the gym and change, etc. But I feel like I don’t really watch any “real tv” anymore since we cut our cable, so it’s a bit of a treat to watch the talk show and I find the commercials aren’t annoying because I haven’t seen them a million times already. Funny how that works. I am growing tired of seeing the same political ads and food ads on my Hulu account though. Apparently my dog Peach has started to enjoy TV. It all started with the Pedigree commercials that run on Hulu about “being a dog family.” For some reason, anytime this commercial comes on, she rouses herself from slumber to sit up and watch the TV. So now we’ve taken to telling her her favorite commercial is on and we get a kick out of watching her watch the screen with what LOOKS like rapt attention. I guess we’ll never know. 🙂 But since I’m tired of the actual commercials – watching her is more fun anyway.

I’m hoping the weather will hold out for me to ride with the road bike crew on Saturday morning, and the hubby and I are contemplating a hike on Sunday. He has Monday off for Labor Day – my place of employment takes the holiday literally (meaning I have to labor on Labor Day). But apparently my husband plans on being super productive with his day off so that we can enjoy a hike or something non-chore related on Sunday. So sweet, right? I’ll never complain about not having to do chores. I remember in college I would literally climb into bed with all my text books and note books and binders still on the bed. I just didn’t want to clean it up. I didn’t want to make my bed, or put away my clothes. It was pretty terrible. I’m a slightly less messy version of my college self now (almost a decade later) – but I owe that to the “Fear of things being eaten by dogs” motto I’ve adopted over the last 3 years.  Sometimes I seriously wish I had a magic wand to just clean things up. Mop the floors, vacuum the rugs, sweep the floors. Scrub the toilet. Ugh. I hate chores!

Lastly, it’s my other niece’s birthday this weekend, and she is having her party at the gymnastic place. I’m sort of hoping I can jump into the foam pit or try my hand at the bars and balance beams. I never did gymnastics as a child (I was way too chubby), and even though I’m still kinda chubby, I like to think I’m now “athletic” instead. Plus, I have perfected my cartwheel in my adult years somehow (thank you Capoeria training – check out the cool video if you’ve never heard of it  before!) and I’m pretty sure someone will be impressed if I get a little floor time. Seriously though, I was so not anywhere NEAR these guys in the video – but some of the people I practiced with were amazing and I did some pretty cool stuff while training.

Alright, hope everyone is having a good week so far! 2 more Days of Work – we got this!

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The “because I haven’t posted in awhile” random update

Okay, so it’s been a few minutes days since my last post – my apologies. Life has been a little overwhelming over the last few weeks. As in, I’m a professional slacker by nature and all of a sudden everything I had put off doing all summer was due! On the other hand, it’s amazing how much I can accomplish in so little time. A little proud of that fact, not going to lie.

So today is first day of classes, and tomorrow is the big event/party I am in charge of for our office and I’m praying every since hour that it doesn’t rain since it’s an outdoor event. A tiny bit stressed about it since we’ve had SO MUCH RAIN that I’m seriously pouring water out of our deck plants every other day. How can we have so much rain here when the Midwest is in a seriously scary drought? Life just isn’t fair.

Chillin on the fire truck!

Our neighborhood had our first block party this weekend and it was a major success! Some of my neighbors were on the committee who planned it and we were all a bit nervous that it would be the usual crew who showed up and that would make for the most expensive hang out ever. But luckily, LOTS of people came out and we had a chance to meet other folks who live in the ‘hood and we realized that there are like 600000000 children in our neighborhood. Note to self: more kid’s activities for next year, right? We had a DJ and the fire truck even came out and the kids (and I) loved it (<— obviously).

But it was a long, hot day – and I’ll admit that I cheated a bit and had a cupcake and pizza. No worries – I learned my lesson because it made me super sick. As much as fresh pizza is yummy going down, it’s just not worth how it makes me feel later on. This week – I’m back to my Primal eating ways and it’s definitely not so bad.

On this week’s menu:

Hot Italian Sausage Meatballs with a squash/onion medley
Shrimp Fra Diavolo – sans pasta of course.
A fresh grilled chicken salad with tons of veggies!
Pulled pork with okra (no bun)

So really, I can’t complain as the food we’ve been eating has been super yummy. It’s weird not counting calories – if I’m feeling like I need more control, checking in on my carb intake has been a better option for me. But the longer we do this, the more natural it seems. That feels like progress.

I’ve really been digging on full fat plain Greek yogurt with a splash of local honey to sweeten it. It’s so rich and creamy, you don’t need much of it to get your fix. It’s a great way to sneak in some extra protein, healthy fats and at least the sugar is coming from a natural place.

Some of my biggest struggles are getting used to regular sugar in my coffee vs. something like Splenda or Equal. I realize now just how EXTRA sweet those artificial sweeteners are and how my taste buds have  been robbed of their natural senses over the year. I long for the day that a tsp of regular sugar is enough for me. In the same vein of thought – I DO recognize how sweet some foods are now. Like when I cheated on Saturday and had a cupcake – I literally felt like sugar was coursing through my veins. While it was tasty, I didn’t love that  feeling.

This is basically what I go through every time I try a pull up.

Last week, I pulled/strained something in my left leg during my TurboKick class. 😦 I’ve been stretching, trying to walk it out and avoid high impact sorts of stuff, but man – it still hurts. Not like just walking from my building to another building, but on my longer walks it starts hurting about 5 minutes in. *sigh* Tonight is my first TurboKick class of our new semester, so I really wanted to be high energy and amazing – so I’m hoping my leg holds out for ONCE a week high impact exercises. I’m considering bartering with the exercise gods because I don’t want any newcomers to think my class is lame! My goal is to walk 45 minutes 5 days a week, do turbo 1-2 times per week (my class and I’m hoping to be able to go to my friends’ class as well because it’s nice to go to Turbo and not teach it sometimes!), and of course, I’m still doing my LHT (lift heavy things) work out 2x a week. But that really takes about 20 minutes of my day – so it’s not terrible.

What IS terrible is my attempt at doing a pull up. I even bought some big resistance bands to help me out and I’m still unable to even do 1 assisted pull ups with the band. Why are they so hard!!! I guess I just have to keep trying and maybe one day (like after I die and go to Heaven and all things are possible) I’ll be able to do one. Insert my annoyed face…HERE!

Okay – this is such a random and rambling post today – which is basically how I’m feeling lately, so maybe it’s not so terrible. I promise to be better with my updates soon and have some HELPFUL content rather than just updating you on my rather boring life!

 

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