Couch to couch

Last night I did another day of Couch 2 5k. I had missed a couple days so I was actually hoping that I could do two workouts back to back. That did not work. I was pretty exhausted after the first workout. However, during the first workout the TV on my treadmill was turned to the Disney Channel. I watched the last half hour of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. I’m not joking. Just like a good Disney should, everything ended happily. I was quite surprised to see Piper Perabo and Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie though. Oh well. Anyway, although I didn’t get my “block” workout done, I felt awesome about completing another day of Couch 2 5k. 

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In other news, I’ve started swimming again and it is AWESOME! Pro Club has a Master’s swim team, so I can go to swim practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thursday is stroke day and I haven’t been able to make it to a Thursday practice yet, but someday. I still need to get some practice in for open water swimming; it’s so different from pool swimming!

Sometime soon I’ll be making some fresh pesto since our basil is doing quite well. Some of the stalks have tried to flower, so I need to trim everything back and get new growth.

First 12-mile ride

This past weekend Andrew returned from his most recent trip. We haven’t spent a lot of time together yet because he was pretty exhausted from all of the travel. However, we did spend Sunday morning together. He’s really excited that I signed up for my tri and we went on a bike ride this weekend.

bikeride7-14We did a 12-mile bike ride to make sure I could do one for the tri. We started off very slow because we were on a gravel road. Halfway through we moved onto the road and that felt so much better! I’m not a big fan of riding my road bike on gravel/dirt roads, so I was nervous about it. Our route was enjoyable and I can change so it’s road the whole time. I’ll definitely be doing it again during training. While I usually go about 18-20 miles in spin class, riding outdoors is very different. I’d like to get my time down to 45 minutes for 12 miles. I haven’t ridden outside very much, so I’m not sure if that’s a reasonable

Speaking of training, tomorrow I’m going to go to my first master’s swim team practice in Redmond. I’m pretty excited about that! I haven’t gone to a master’s swim practice since I lived in Colorado. A few weeks ago I was swimming more. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up on some level. I love swimming, but I’m always nervous I’ll be the slowest swimmer and I’ll cause problems for the group.

Overall, I’ve been feeling good about eating and working out. Big yay! Maybe having a race to train for is good for me. We’ll find out!

The Danger Zone

The past few months I’ve been running hot and cold with my healthy living journey. When something external happens that stresses me out, it is the first thing to go. Even though I know it shouldn’t be! So, after a few weeks of whining and being super lazy, I’m back at it. Today I made a to do list with meal planning and working out at the top.  Today I worked out for the first time in a while. I’m back at the beginning of Couch 2 5K. I’ve never been a runner and for the most part I really hate it. However, it’s different cardio from spinning and I have an app on my phone that has all the intervals. I don’t have to think all that much to do it, which is always something I want from going to the gym. As an added bonus, running doesn’t require any extra equipment, even though I go to the gym and run on the treadmill. I also made some notes for what I want to eat this week. There’s some mozzarella in the fridge that needs to be used up, so that’s a recurring theme for my meals.

I’ve worked out and I’ve meal planned (roughly), but what I really want to write about is the Danger Zone. The Danger Zone is days 4-14 of getting back into the swing of things when I really need to stay on top of my work outs and my eating. It really stems from patience and motivation. More specifically, my lack of it! After eating healthily and working for a few days (even just one), I want to be able to see a real difference. You know, a 10-pound difference. I’m just so impatient! I constantly forget that my body needs 1-2 weeks to actually process the good things I’ve done for it. I want the results now!  It makes it extremely hard for me to not give up after a few days citing “no results.” After about two weeks, I can see the results or at least feel them, so I’ve left the Danger Zone.

To try to combat my lack of patience and to try to increase my motivation during the Danger Zone, I think I’m going to create a vision board. Way back when I lived in Colorado, I had a nifty one that I liked. Since then I’ve been collecting pictures that I like, meaning to put them together. I’ve also gotten out a pair of my jeans that I want to fit into again. I’m going to hang them in the bedroom so I see them in the morning.

Any other tips for surviving the Danger Zone?

I <3 Gyros

Friday night Ashley came over for dinner and we had a nice time making gyros with lamb. They came out super delicious. I’m telling you, you can’t go wrong with the gyro recipe from Eat This Not That Supermarket Survival Guide. We also putzed around on our laptops and overall had a nice low key evening. Bonus: I have leftover lamb for more gyros!

Later that night I was waffling over whether to go to a spin class or step class Saturday morning. I knew I wanted to do a strength workout, but I wasn’t sure what kind of cardio I wanted with it. I decided not to set my alarm and see when I woke up. I would figure out cardio later. At 8 am on Saturday, this little bundle of joy woke me up.

Whiskey

“I am not nearly as cute when I’m waking my human up really early”

Both classes started at 9, so I could have made either of them, but I was really slow getting going in the morning. I decided I would do either elliptical or the treadmill at the gym for cardio (I debated running outside, but decided against it). This may not seem like a big decision to some people, but for me this is pretty huge. I don’t like running. I don’t like running outside. I don’t like running inside. I don’t like simulated running that’s better for your joints.

Even so, I did a warm up on the elliptical and I voluntarily did 15 minutes of running/walking on the treadmill. I’m fairly impressed with myself. I’m very excited that I’ve been being active so that I can say “I want to run on the treadmill today” and then go do it. A few months ago, I definitely would have laughed at you if you told me to do that.

Today I also ran some errands (I had some items to return at Nordstrom and Gap) and unpacked some boxes. I finished unpacking three boxes and I’m already starting on my second box of things to give away. Woo hoo! Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get through some more boxes and do some furniture re-arranging. 🙂

Week 3

Monday is my weigh-in day and I didn’t update about that since I was pretty behind on posting anything and I had this nice post written about going out to eat. As you may have gleaned from yesterday’s post, I had a hard week eating-wise and I didn’t work out as much as I wanted to. I tried to plan for that by working out an hour extra on Tuesday and Wednesday since I assumed I wasn’t going to make it to a gym Thursday-Sunday. I was right, going to a gym was not on the agenda.

I did, however, lose 2 lbs. this week! There are two possible reasons for this:

  1. Working out that extra bit really helped and lightly watching what I eat when I go out was really helpful.
  2. I wore a different outfit to weigh-in today. I usually throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and go. Today I didn’t work out in the morning, so I hadn’t really started my day, which means my wardrobe choices become way more relaxed. I grabbed a pair of Lucy pants and a t-shirt. Is it possible I stayed the same weight, but “lost” 2 lbs. because I put on a pair of cotton pants instead of jeans?

I’m afraid the reason is the latter, so I’m going to work hard this week to eat right and get my workouts in to make sure last week wasn’t an outfit fluke. It’s not like it can happen again, unless I weigh-in in my birthday suit! And since I have an intense aversion towards being arrested for indecent exposure, that’s an unlikely scenario.

In other news, I’ve signed up for two running events: the Hot Chocolate 15k and the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. I’ll likely start training for these this week. I’m always looking for work out buddies, so if you’ve signed up and want to go on a light jog (re: slow), let me know!

First Week

Like I said yesterday, this was my first week with Weight Watchers. I woke up this morning, went to a spin class (re: was a sweaty mess), and decided to spend the extra time I had before I had to leave writing out a quick menu plan for the week. Traveling makes it really hard to menu plan and I’m a bit of a type A personality, so I really enjoy writing out a plan that I can follow (but that’s still flexible).

This week I have to manage a meet up tomorrow night where there will likely be pizza and there’s a Bachata Festival starting on Thursday that I’m going to. I’m not sure what the food situation will be like there, but I want to be prepared with great go-to snacks and easy-to-pack lunches just in case. I am hoping that I’ll be able to continue going to spin classes during festival. It can get pretty exhausting, but I’m going to be optimistic.

After doing some quick menu planning, I left to go to my meeting. I love having meetings on Mondays, for work and WW. For work it’s great because it eases me back into working with structure and for WW I start my week motivated and supported. Plus, I know I have a weigh-in right after my weekend, so I generally eat better on the weekend. Because weekends count too! As I was driving, I told myself that I felt really good all week. I ate well, I wasn’t hungry and I went to 5 spin classes! Even if nothing happens on the scale, I’m feeling fantastic and that’s what counts. When I got there, it turns out I lost 4.5 lbs.!! Is that not stupendous?! I know! I’m pretty sure my body was in shock from working out and eating good-for-me food because I know that losing 4 lbs./week is not sustainable (or healthy). Even so, it was great to see my positive week reflected on the scale. So…YAY ME!

Help Wanted!

Sometimes I suck at things I really want to be good at. Let’s look at a recent example: losing weight and getting in shape. Things aren’t going well. You may have already guessed that since I haven’t posted in about 500 years or at least it feels like that long. Fitness & health have, unfortunately, taken a back seat in my life lately. And when I say back seat, I mean I’m actually driving a big yellow school bus and fitness & health are in the back of the bus, like last row. In fact, the emergency exit door is open and there’s fitness & health, hanging off the back of the emergency exit door for dear life as my big yellow school bus goes hurtling down the road at a dangerous speed. Yeah. I think that analogy is appropriate.

But never fear! I have a plan! Well, sort of. I sort of have a plan. This plan involves my favorite ways to solve a problem: hard work and throwing money at it. Let’s go over the easy part: throwing money at it. Gym: joined. Trainer: hired. Cute workout clothes: drowning in them. Obviously that part of my solution is going exactly according to plan. The hard work part of the plan has been particularly elusive in its execution. This involves useful things like scheduling workouts, showing up to workouts, meal planning, eating what I planned, and overall kicking some serious ass. See? That’s hard work!

Our plan to conquer the world

Here’s my big plan:

  1. Think about my perfect schedule. Write it down. Make it happen.
  2. Work out with Benito (my new trainer) twice a week. Make it to the gym two more times. There are group classes available, take full advantage of that!
  3. Write a meal plan with 1600 calories per day. Focus on protein and fiber heavy breakfast and lunch with a veggie heavy dinner and two quality, filling snacks.
  4. Ask for help. (This is a new addition to the plan.)
  5. Frolic and be happy.

The new part is asking for help. This bit is particularly difficult for me; I’m not good at asking for help. Willpower is a muscle and I’m going to need people to keep me accountable, committed and having fun. You know, just little nudges. I’m fully aware that this self-improvement project is still my project and transferring ownership is impossible. Here goes my first attempt to ask for help:

I live in Washington, DC and I’m looking to get in shape and be healthy. Having moved here recently, I don’t know a lot of people here. I’d love to team up with someone to become a team of butt-kicking healthy ninjas. (OK, perhaps not ninjas, my hand-eye coordination leaves much to be desired, but you get the point.) Do you know someone who has a similar goal and is in the DC area? It sure would be fantastic if we could meet and combine forces. Send me an email at donahue.edd@gmail.com!

Whew. OK, that wasn’t so bad. Now to see if anyone responds…

How to Prepare for a Personal Trainer

Personal trainer assessing a client's goals an...

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One thing that works wonders for me is personal training. I understand that it’s not for everyone, but I desperately need the external motivation, both from the trainer and the fact that I’m paying for someone’s time. Since I’m paying for the session, I want to get the most out of every session, including the first one! Having moved several times, I’ve had to find a new trainer more than once. Making the first session as productive as possible always makes me feel good.

Chat with your trainer on the phone when you set up your appointment. See if (s)he has any specific questions for you to answer during the session. Trainers usually have a set of questions they like to ask or that they are required to ask (for trainers associated with larger gyms).

If there isn’t a standard set of questions, volunteer to bring a list with you to the first session. This list should include things like

  • Fitness goals, both long-term and short-term
  • Appearance or weight loss goals
  • Exercises you really enjoy doing, like body weight exercises or interval workouts
  • Exercises you don’t like doing, like crunches or tricep dips
  • Areas you’d like to focus and improve on, like eating better or getting to the gym 3 times a week
  • Any workout quirks you want to share. For example, I swim, so my shoulders are able to take over quite a few exercises that are meant to work my back. I need to concentrate really hard when I’m working my back to ensure that the correct muscles are engaged. Because of my concentration level, it’s really difficult for me to multi-task back exercises (squat/lunge with a row) and usually both exercises suffer.
  • General expectations for the partnership. I told Grady that I’m looking for a positive motivator in the gym and I’ll also need help when I workout and he’s not there so a workout plan would be perfect.

Let your trainer know you’ll bring a list of useful things to your first session and that you expect to spend some time chatting about the list and you want to get in a workout during the session too.

The most important thing is to communicate and be honest! If you set things up for success from the beginning, then good things will happen!

Adventure Across the Street

Today was a really important day.  I worked out today.  This is crazy awesome.  Last Thursday I got a membership to Washington Sports Club and apparently it’s a corporate regional membership which means I can go to any club in the DC area at any time.  Right, happy times.

I had been chatting with a colleague in the mail room and he mentioned that I would be really disappointed with the WSC near the office.  I decided to go over to take a tour of the facilities.  Perhaps I have really low expectations, but the club seemed fine to me.  OK, I guess a few more cardio machines on the first floor would be nice.  The second floor has a group class room, a spin room, and quite a decent free weight/machine area.  The guy giving me the tour said that this wasn’t the nicest club too.  Evidently, the club near my apartment is fabulous.  Win-win for me!

Anyway,today I worked out for the first time in…let’s not get into too many details.  I took the Total Body Condition class.  I envision I’ll be sore tomorrow.  At least I’m doing something!  I totally used to be better at working out.  Seriously.

It’s late and I have big plans to sleep well, so I’m off to bed.

Things I thought of today