Category Archives: Challenge

One Little Word, Again!

It’s a new year and that means I need a new word. Last year I chose “Revivify” as my watchword.

to restore to life; give new life to; revive; reanimate. This rut I’m in needs to be filled in and a new path taken.

I didn’t have a huge overhaul this past year, but I do believe I lived up to my word. I’ve done several races in the past couple of years, but I was getting bored with it and about ready to stop all together when a friend suggested we try an obstacle race. This is wayyyy outside of my comfort zone, so I said yes! What better way to get out of my rut than to try new things to challenge myself!

In fact, I did several races that were a little different for me. First was the 5K Foam Fest, then the Color Me Rad 5K, and last I signed up for a Zombie run (that’s actually this June). Unfortunately, exercise was about the only thing in my life that I changed. I started doing my own weight workouts and I joined a running group. I completed the Muddy Trails 5K even though I said I wasn’t going to do it again. Then, I completed two new races: Run Thru the Woods 5 Miler at Thanksgiving and the Texas 1/2 Marathon on New Year’s Day! I was going to do the 10 for Texas with Mike, but it was right after my throat surgery and I had to give my admission to someone else.

On the health front, I joined MyFitnessPal and met some wonderful people. One of which was the impetus for me trying the different races than I was used to! Hi Amy! I also joined Move More, Eat Well and learned a bit about health and digital scrapbooking. Again, I met some lovely people in this group!

I do feel that I’ve grown spiritually in the past year as well. I’m also more open to trying new things/adventures than I would have been any other time! This year I did my best to try and view things from other people’s perspectives and give back where I could.

All in all, 2012 was a pretty good year (despite having lost two beloved uncles and a scare with my Grandma). Now, however, I’m back to needing a word for 2013 and I’m having a hard time figuring out what it should be. I have some big changes coming up this year that could throw me off my game. With that in mind, I believe I want 2013 to be my year of balance. 2010 was my year of “Transformation“, 2011 I was “Shine“ing, and in 2012 I wanted revivification. See a pattern here?!

I need to balance being healthy with enjoying life. It’s not all or nothing. If I eat poorly at one meal, one day, one week, or even one month I’m not going to give up but I’m going to slowly steer this ship back in the right direction and keep on chugging on. Time at work needs to be balanced more fully with quality time with Mike and my family. Yes, “Balance” will do nicely!

Stack of Stones

Whole30 Day 2…I’m in a mood today. Just…bleh…blah…bleah. I’m only on day two and I want to quit. I don’t want to quit because I’m craving chocolate (which I am!) but because I don’t like feeling this way and I don’t like that I can’t seem to get my calories right. I was low yesterday and will be low again tonight. Eventually, I should be able to figure it out but good grief…this is kickin’ my butt. I have a run tonight but I’m not anticipating it going very well for me. I’ll keep my fingers crossed! I decided to start tracking my meals here. I may not do every day but a weekly update. We’ll see. It’ll be something worth looking back at when I figure out what foods agree and don’t agree with me!

Day 1, November 19, 2012
Breakfast: Banana, Almond Butter, 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
Snacks: Grapefruit and Cashews
Lunch: Turkey Harvest Salad from Panera, no dressing or cheese
Dinner: Chicken Noodle-ss Soup
Exercise: None…too tired.
The soup was better than I thought it was going to be. I expected it to be a bit bland, but the Dijon mustard helped spice it up a bit! My first day went pretty well. I wasn’t really wanting sugar, so that’s a good thing! Since I didn’t properly fuel my body, my workout didn’t happen today. That’s ok, I’m running on Thursday (my normal day off) so it should all work out.

Day 2, November 20th, 2012
Breakfast: Banana, Almond Butter, 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
Snacks: Grapefruit, Cashews, Larabar
Lunch: Chicken Noodle-ss Soup (not as good the second day)
Dinner: Grilled Chicken with Cilantro
Exercise: 3 Mile run along the Waterway
I woke up in a sour mood. Even was able to sleep in some. Mike keeps asking me what’s wrong, but I can’t tell him what it is because I just don’t know. The Whole30 people say this will happen but I didn’t expect it like this. I went for a 2 mile walk at lunch hoping to boost my serotonin levels and hopefully perk up some. It was a nice walk but didn’t really help! My run went really well. I was able to run faster than I have in a while but I think that’s just because I kept trying to keep up with my running group. I normally run by myself so I don’t have that extra push. Again, calories were too low…really need to figure this out. I don’t want to eat less than my BMR for too long. I’ve worked too hard to boost my metabolism as is.

So…How was Stage 1?

I know what you’re all wanting to know. “Am I a She-Hulk yet?” Not, quite but I sure feel like a beast!!

Let’s see how my stats are from 6 weeks ago to yesterday’s final workout:

  Start End
Back Squat 45 125
Deadlift 95 160
Push Up 45% Reg
Seated Row 45 110
Step Up 55 85
Shoulder Press 15 27.5
Wide Grip Pull Down 40 105
Lunge 15 27.5

While I’m happy with my leg moves, I’m not that thrilled with the press! I mean, come on…27.5lbs? When I was doing CrossFit my 1 time max rep for strict press with a barbell was 80lbs. So, while I find the dumbbell harder I still thought I’d be able to get up to 35 or 40lbs. That’s alright though, I’ll keep pushing through. It’s shocking how out of proportion my upper body strength is to my lower body!

I have missed heavy lifting. I enjoyed CrossFit at the gym until things just built up to a breaking point. Doing CrossFit at the park was fun, but we could never do more weight than we could put in a sandbag and Neal moved on to bigger and better opportunities.

Honestly, I was a bit afraid to see how much muscle strength I had lost in the last few months. Thankfully, I feel like I’ve caught back up pretty quickly to what I think I could do before. My 1 rep max for back squats is 175lbs, so 125lbs at 3×8 is pretty cool!

In order to be able to workout at home, I had to start getting up at 3:45 with my husband. I always thought he was crazy for getting up that early, but if I didn’t want to die of heat stroke sacrifices had to be made. It’s a good thing there’s a bit of a walk to get to the garage, otherwise I think I would have been half asleep at the beginning of my workouts which could have led to disaster!

My weak areas are obviously the press, but also the step ups. I used the barbell for the step ups, but my balance wasn’t the best. It looks like I’ll continue to do those through Stage 2, so I’ll work on getting better with those. There has definitely been improvement, but there’s plenty of room for more!

My back squats and deadlifts were outstanding! I always felt strong on those moves. My grip tends to give out before my strength does so I’ll have to work on getting a stronger grip too (hello farmer’s carry). A couple of the moves that shocked me were the wide grip lat pull downs and seated row. I was able to do a lot more weight than I thought. Grrrr!

There is no doubt in my mind that my core is stronger. I am able to do the prone jackknife without the ball rolling around everywhere (I do mean everywhere!) and I’m able to do regular push ups from the ground, even if they’re not pretty just yet!

Ok, ok, on to the measurements. These aren’t exact, since I didn’t take the measurements on day 1, but it’s close enough (maybe 3 or 4 days off). There are no huge changes but I feel like my body composition has changed.

  Start End
Arms (left) 13.5″ 13.5″
Chest 39.5″ 40″
Waist 37.5″ 37″
Hips 43.25″ 43.25″
Thighs (left) 26″ 25.75″
Calves (left) 17.5″ 17.5″

I also didn’t take before photos. I know…silly me. However, here is the Stage 1 After and Stage 2 Before. I’m not happy with these photos. In my head I’ve become a World Class Fitness Competitor and these pictures do not support that ideal. But, I had a good “woe is me” moment last night and am choosing to ignore the physical evidence and still see myself as a goddess!

Then, for comparison, here’s a shot of me from May (left) and July (right).

New Rules of Lifting Recap

I just finished the first quarter of my New Rules of Lifting for Women program. One of the first things I’m noticing is my grip is wanting to give out before my legs do on the deadlifts. That means, I’ll need to work on getting my grip back into shape as well!

Do I like it? Yes, I really do. I’m still in a bit of a CrossFit mentality where I push through the reps as quickly as possible. I should probably slow down a bit and move a little slower. I think I’ve finally figured out what weight I need for most of the exercises to be difficult but not unreasonable.

Will you continue it? Absolutely! I will go through the entire Stage 1 (16 workouts) and then determine at that point whether I want to go on to Stage 2 or return to CrossFit.

What are you numbers as of today? Why…kind of you to ask!

  Start Today
Back Squat 45 75
Deadlift 95 115
Push Up 45% 45%
Seated Row 45 70
Step Up 55 65
Shoulder Press 15 17.5
Wide Grip Pull Down 40 70
Lunge 15 17.5

What areas do you feel least confident about? Easily the Dumbbell Shoulder Press and Push Ups. I’m so used to doing the Presses as Push Presses where you use your legs to get the weight up that I’m finding even 17.5# weights tough to complete the last set. Plus, the bar is much easier than dumbbells! With the dumbbells you find out very fast which side is your weaker and how strong (or weak) your stabilizing muscles are. For Push Ups, I always did them from my knees. Since they don’t want you to do that in NROLFW, I’m having to do 45% push ups for now. I can do a few regular push ups, but not quite at 15 yet. I will try that the next workout and see how it goes. Also, the Prone Jackknife. I can’t balance my legs on the Swiss all to be able to do them! So, I’ve been doing reverse curls instead.

What areas do you feel most confident about? Definitely the Deadlift, Squats, and Seated Row. I have plenty of leg muscle! I’m pleased with my Seated Row performance so far as well. I’ll definitely be going up in weight on Wednesday.

I’m glad I’m changing things up some, but I’ve been having difficulties figuring out how to eat! My calories have been averaging about 1550 or less and that’s no good if I’m trying to build muscle. While I have body fat for the muscles to pull energy from, I don’t want to constantly under feed my muscles either! So, right now I’ve upped my level to 1700. I fully expect to see a gain on the scale come Thursday, but it should work its way back down, if I’m doing it correctly.