This workout was actually a fitness test. I’m doing a 12 week challenge at the moment, which I’ll go into more details on next week post-Bogong, but for now here’s the results (I’ll re-do this again in four weeks or so)
The idea was to see how many reps of each I could do in the allotted 1 minute. I chose to focus on good form and not sacrifice technique for more reps, and I was pretty please with my results:
1 minute of burpees: 15 reps
1 minute of push-ups: 20 reps
1 minute of sit-ups: 22 (this was listed as crunches. I think they’re too subjective, so did sit ups instead)
1 minute of alternate lunges: 32 (I’m not really sure how I’d beat this, I was going at a decent pace. I think I’d be best to add weight and work to match this result)
I’ve lost some motivation recently. Not only with my eating (which didn’t surprise me at all), but also in my training (which did). Losing training motivation snuck up on me and yes, it surprised me a bit, because for the majority of the last 18 months my motivation’s been strong. While I’ve not enjoyed specific exercises, or had down days in the gym, for the most part I’ve wanted to be there and I’ve wanted the results. But over the past couple of months I’ve found myself consistently thinking about skipping-out on PT sessions, and dragging my way through them when they do happen. My PT’s noticed it too. At the start of the year I set a couple of goals for myself- weight loss (not specific), to be able to deadlift my own body weight, and to do a pull-up.
Turns out I’m very motivated by an end-point, but when I set that end-point myself I don’t work so well. This isn’t new to me- I’m constantly dealing with this exact same thing in the workplace when it comes to deadlines- but it’s a new concept for me in the gym. Needless to say, with no ‘other-imposed’ due date on those goals, they weren’t pushing me very hard.
Late last year I completed The Stampede, a 10 km obstacle event. It’s not a race- it’s supposed to be fun, supportive and non-competitive. My partner couldn’t do that event, so we’ve been keeping tabs on the obstacle race calender for a similar event to do together ever since. There’s been plenty happening across the first half of the year, but none of them at a convenient time. Anyway, Spartan Race recently announced their next Melbourne dates and races – on September 12 their running a 7 km, 21 km, and completely insane 42 km. So we signed up for the 7 km.
It’s crazy, but the day after I paid my cash and signed up, my motivation in the gym shot through the roof. Suddenly I had a six month time frame in which to achieve some fresh goals, and my mind was really really happy with that. Spartan seems to have a lot of monkey-bar style challenges (although it’s hard to tell, because they don’t release a map of the course), so my first goal is to improve my grip and upper body strength enough to be able to complete at least one of those obstacles. And if I can do one, hopefully I can do more.
We’ve signed up for the 7 km, because let’s face it, 21 km is just a bit nuts. The furthest I’ve ever run non-stop is about 3.5 km, and I’m definitely not up to running that right now, so my second goal is to get my running back up to a fairly decent standard. I’d like to be able to run 5 km of the 7- which should be doable, seeing as there’ll be obstacles breaking up the running. So it’s back to the Couch to 5km running app for me- and with six months, I know that’s realistic. I think the time-frame is the best bit about all of this. Not only do I have my motivation back, but I also have goals that I can actually achieve in the time frame. Run 5 km, do one monkey bar obstacle, and of course generally kick the rest of the course’s bum.
I know Spartan is a tougher, more competitive course and environment than the very family-friendly Stampede, but I’m really looking forward to giving it a go- and giving my body a go at pushing hard.
Well, the official results are in: since I started the 12 week challenge on 28th June, I’ve lost 6 kg. I’m super happy with that result- I set out to start a journey of weight loss and changing habits, and that’s what I’ve done. I never said it out loud or wrote it down, but it was an assumed for me that I wanted to do this in a healthy, sustainable way. I’ve lost an average of half a kilo a week, and I feel like that’s a healthy rate of weight loss. There were weeks when I lost a lot more than that, and there were a couple of weeks were I definitely didn’t lose 500 g at all. In fact, if you take into account the week I was sick and maintained the weight I was at, and the week that I put on 2 kg, I reckon I’ve done pretty well.
That 2 kg week is a giant bugger, really. Imagine what I might have done without it?! Then again, without that I probably wouldn’t have learned some lessons that I really needed to learn. My ‘2kg week’ as I’ll call it provided me with a huge lesson in triggers. It showed me that unless I’ve really mentally prepared myself, if I got into a situation that holds one of my triggers then I’m likely to fold and eat the food I shouldn’t. It also showed me that one bad week does not a Challenge make. It was 2 kg, it’s taken me nearly a month to shake it again, but it’s not the end of the world. My 2 kg week also reminded me of exactly why I’m choosing not to eat certain foods. It proved to me what happens to my body when I eat processed carbs and sugar, and it was an amazing reminder of how far I’ve come in terms of how I feel, not just how I look or weigh.
So the 12 weeks is over, and it’s my intent to continue on this path. Over the last few weeks I’ve had ‘slips’ with my food- a sneaky few chips here, a piece of cake there. Nothing earth shattering, and nothing of huge impact, but enough to prove what a slippery slope it could be if I don’t stay focused. To keep myself of track I’ve set some new goals- I think timelines and finish lines are what keep me going.
I want to deadlift my own body weight. That means I’ve got to increase my deadlifting weight by about 10 kg, and decrease my body weight by about 7 kg, both of which are perfectly doable. I’ve played with the idea of aiming for doing it before the end of the year- I suspect that mightn’t be entirely achievable, but maybe I’ll be close
The Stampede. I’ve signed up to do the 10km Stampede in Melbourne on the 29th of November, and you’ll notice that that’s my new countdown on the side bar of my blog. I want to have a go at all obstacles, and I do not want to reflect on that event thinking that I didn’t give it my all. You can walk around any obstacle you want at Stampede- I don’t want to do that.
Eureka Climb. I only heard about this event today- it’s like a fun run, but instead of running for a distance you run/walk up the entire Eureka Tower. All 88 floors. I reckon I could do that- but the catch is, it’s in 3 and a half weeks time on the 16th of November. Can I train hard enough to do that? I think I could get some decent stair climbs in at work on my lunch breaks- my building is 16 stories tall, so building up to doing that building 5.5 times would be the goal. I won’t register yet, but I’ll start training and see how it goes.
Meanwhile, 12 months ago there’s no way I would have even considered tackling the Eureka Climb, let along The Stampede. That’s pretty exciting progress, I reckon!!
Well, my 12 weeks challenge is officially over, as of today. I’ll be weighing myself tonight to find out how I’ve done, although I suspect my final number may not reflect the true amount of change that’s taken place. I know I’ve lost more fat than the scales will indicate, because I know I’ve gained a whole heap of muscle and strength over the past few weeks. Despite that, I think my total weightloss for the 12 weeks will be somewhere around the 6 kg mark which I’m really happy with. I had great weeks and I had weeks where I didn’t do so well, but overall I feel like I’ve lost weight at a safe and sustainable pace, in a safe and sustainable way.
My real challenge now is keeping focused when it comes to eating. I’ve been slipping a bit recently, and letting any old excuse do. That can’t keep happening- I know I’ve changed some habits, but I’ve got some more to go, and I don’t want to let the hard work be undone. This is permanent.
I’ll update with the final numbers in a couple of days but in the mean time I’m about to remove the Challenge countdown and put up a new one, counting down the days until The Stampede. I’m 6 weeks out, and I’ve signed up to do the 10km event (eep!!). I think the thing I need to work on the most right now is my running (blegh), but 6 weeks is enough time to get that up a bit. I’ve found the Stampede’s recommended pre-training, so I’ll start doing that once a week when I can. There’s a few things I’ll need to alter in there, but I always knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it all. The great thing is that I feel like I have that capability and know-how (and confidence!) to alter a training program myself now, so I can get out there and just do it.
The last fortnight has been busy for me. Super busy. I’ve been away from home a lot, and I haven’t had a lot of time to prepare meals. In fact, for a few days there everything I ate was completely out of my control.
For the most part I’ve been really good- what could have easily turned into an excuse to eat McDonalds every night for dinner for a fortnight instead became a love-fest for apples, carrots and capsicums. In the last two weeks I’ve consumed a minimum of 14 apples, 7 raw carrots and 7 raw capsicums- and that’s just been the contents of my dinner. My protein intake’s been a little bit low as a result, but overall I’m much happier for having eaten huge amounts of raw veggies than I would have been if I’d eaten maccas.
For the first half of last week I was on a campsite. Like, the kind you go on for school camp. The site I was at does pretty good food by campsite standards, it’s not entirely gross, but unfortunately it didn’t fit in very well with my current diet at all. I’ve been going to this place for years, but I’d never quite realised just how many wheat-based carbs they pump into their visitors. Cereal and toast for breakfast, sandwiches and wraps for lunch, pasta and pizza for dinner, and scones, cakes and biscuits for morning tea and supper. On top of that I was incredibly tired and gave out to some nasty old snacking habits.
I just hadn’t had time to mentally prepare myself for my time away, so I hadn’t psyched myself up to pass on the morning teas and suppers, or to say no to the copious amounts of lollies and chips that were being passed around. I did fine at breakfast, eating fruit and coffee instead of the wheat-based carbs, but by morning tea I was on the bandwagon and eating the sweet stuff. Lunchtimes were fine- I passed on the rolls and wraps and chose to have the salad and proteins by themselves, but that’s as good as I got. Lolly snakes were my major downfall, as was a late afternoon box of TeeVee Snacks chocolate biscuits.
Couple all of that eating with a grand total of zero exercise, and by the end of day three I’d put on a whopping two kilograms. Wow. Not only was I heavier, but I was feeling revolting. For the first time I truly understood the meaning of the word ‘bloated’- my tummy felt bloated, as did my arms, legs, face, feet….. I just felt really blown out. Without going into too much detail my bowel was seriously confused, and I was letting off some pretty foul smells. For the first time I realised just what a huge impact my dietary change is having on my body.
Upon returning home on Wednesday I was immediately back into my preferred eating habits- lots of fruit and veg, enough protein, minimal carbs, and no wheat. Within half a day I was feeling better. Despite being tired I hit the gym three days in a row, and by Saturday morning (just 48 hours after I’d weighed in at 2 kg heavier) I’d dropped 1.25kg again.
What a freaky lesson in, well, everything. The importance of listening to my body, the importance of exercise, and the impact that refined carbs and refined sugar has on my body. I’m back on track again, and with only 2 weeks until the conclusion of The Challenge I’m hoping to be very close to having lost 8 kg by the time it’s over.
P.S- a few blogs ago I wrote that I was aiming to deadlift 60 kg soon. On Saturday I managed to do just that- and do a set of 10!! Pretty stoked, and looking forward to smashing some more PBs in that area 🙂
There’s a distinct possibility that I wrote this post on Friday and forgot to hit publish. Oops.
I’m 6 kg down. Booyah!! That means I lost 450 grams between Monday night and Thursday night- and I’m really really happy with that. If I can keep that up, I’m going to keep kicking goals in a major way! I think the major factor this week has been an extra high-intensity workout on top of what I normally do. Sure, I ate an icecream sandwich on Tuesday night, but besides that my eating’s been great. Add onto that an extra workout and it seems my body is very very happy.
It really confirms what I’ve known all along, but haven’t been actioning- that changing my diet is a huge contributor to weightloss IF (and only if) I do the right exercise along side it. Every time I add an extra day of exercise my weight drops at a greater rate, so the lesson here is that I really need to keep that up. These new exercise sessions with colleagues at work are going to make it a lot more simple to get my extra high-intensity workout in each week- I don’t go as hard as I might with my PT, but by the same token I also work a lot harder than if I go to the gym by myself.
So, 6 kg down, and another 7 kg (ish) to go 🙂
In other news, today I registered for The Stampede, which is an obstacle course/mud run similar to Tough Mudder. I’m registered for the 10 km event, which is a bit scary- I can’t even run an entire 5 km fun run, after all!! But I’m assured by those who have done it before that you don’t run for long patches at all, and you then spend time standing around waiting to have your turn on the challenges/obstacles. Besides which, it’s the obstacles I’m doing it for, not the running! Being able to do those obstacles (or most of them, at least) is really going to be a measure of how far I’ve come since I started with my PT, especially in terms of my dodgy shoulders.
It’s also proof of how far I’ve come mentally in the last 12 months or so. I’ve gone from having very little confidence in my body (for good reason!) to feeling capable and ready to give stuff a shot. I also know where and when to push myself, and how far is too far when it comes to preventing injury in my shoulders.
Today marks Day 3 of Week 8 of the Challenge. Week 8- where have those last two months gone?! In some ways it feels like I’ve been doing this forever, and in other ways it feels like it’s been a very very short time.
As of Monday (two days ago) I have lost 5.5 kg since the challenge started, which I’m pretty chuffed about!! I do look back and realise that I’d lost four of those kilos in the first four weeks, but then again, I did get sick in there which really threw me off. I’ve had a last 7 days in terms of weigh loss and exercise- my food’s been a little bit out, with some fish and chips and cake making its way in, but exercise seems to have well and truly made up for that.
Over the weekend I did a 16km walk- not the longest I’ve ever done, but certainly getting up there. I was hurting by about the 7 km mark, and it definitely got worse as the k’s went on, but my recovery was a lot better than I’d anticipated. Sunday I was stiff but not ridiculously sore, and by Monday I was fine. I’d worried that the sore muscles would carry over for longer and I’d be left with a sub-par performance during PT sessions later in the week, but it just didn’t happen.
Today I joined a fitness group at work for the first time. I’ve been hearing about it and receiving the calendar invites for a while, but I just hadn’t got around to going. It’s free and run by a colleague who figures that if she’s going to be working out in her lunch time she may as well be running a bit of a group session for her co-workers. I was definitely apprehensive about it heading in- exercising in front of people I know is always a stress point for me, as is putting myself into new situations where I will need to push myself physically without really knowing what I’ll have to do and if I’ll be up for it.
I was up for it. We did running warm-ups, and I was fine (albeit my usual slow plodding self). We did pyramids, doing one burpie then running, then two burpires then running etc, and I was fine. We did the same with push-ups and, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was doing correct pushups, all the way to the ground, and I didn’t feel like the weakest person in the group (I was on knees, but that’s ok. I know I’m working up to full ones, and they’ll come soon). We did a range of body-weight exercises tabata-style, doing 45 second exercises then breaking for 15 seconds. I could do all of the exercises, I knew how to modify them so I could do them safely for my shoulders, and I didn’t slack off and stop before the end of the reps.
I have come a loooooooong way in the last 12 months with my fitness. That I could do today’s class and feel good (maybe even great?) about it is proof of that. Now that I’m eating right and putting in the extra hours exercising each week, I’m starting to see results in my body rather than just feel them. While I still feel that I’m not losing much weight off my hips, I know my arms are slimming and so is my face. I can see that . And I do that know despite not being able to see it on my hips it is slowly happening, because my clothes are fitting better.
In today’s workout my colleague talked about setting fitness goals. I have a couple. I’m a little hesitant to put timelines on them, but I have a rough idea in my head. Here’s the three that are currently at the top of my mind:
I’ve lost 5.5kg. I want to lose 7 (ish) more to hit the weight that my PT and I discussed as being a good healthy weight for me
I want to do full push-ups with legs completely extended (no knees)
I want to dead-lift 60 kg (currently sitting somewhere around 45 I think?)
Some time, about 12 months ago, I bought a new skirt. I bought it to wear to work- it’s a pencil skirt, which is a miracle in itself- my body doesn’t tend to lend itself to the pencil skirt design. They never (ever!) fit. But this one did, and I bought it. I wore it a bit at first, but I found that it tended to ride up a fair bit when I walked, so I started to not wear it as much. Slowing down on the wears inevitably meant that I forgot it existed, until one day a few months ago when I came across it in my wardrobe and put it on.
But what was this? The zip was hard to do up. The front of the skirt was tight across my stomach and hips, and the lining was a bit too snug for my liking. it was harder to walk in, and it kind of felt like I was wearing spanx. As much as I hated to admit it, this was just another sign of the weight I’d been gaining.
Consequentially the skirt was relegated to the ’emergencies only’ section of my wardrobe- the place from where clothes only emerge if I’ve forgotten to do laundry for a few too many days. Tuesday was one of those days. My washing basket was overflowing, and I’d worn everything else in my wardrobe that was work-appropriate already. It was time to pull out the skirt. But low and behold, when I put the skirt on, it actually fitted. In fact, it’s a bit loose at the hips. It still rides up when I walk, but I’ve accepted that as just part of the damn thing’s design.
Having the skirt fit is a small victory. It means I’m back(ish) to the size(ish) I was about a year ago (yay), but the reality is that I was not happy at that size. I was heavier than I should have been, carrying excess weight (fatty weight), and I was unfit. Since then I’ve worked hard to built strength, and that’s built muscle, and that’s why I say I’m back to the size I was a year ago, not the weight. Regardless though, I’m still too big and I’m still too heavy. I’m still carrying fat in dangerous places, and I’m still trying to break some bad habits… but I do fit into that skirt again!
I had a conversation today with my dad. While we were chatting the topic rolled around to diet and exercise, as it so often does. I’ve definitely inherited (learned?) some of his habits and attitudes when it comes to eating and exercise, both good and bad, so it’s very easy to relate to the stories he tells me and to talk to him about the challenges I face.
Today we were talking about celebrating the small wins. We talked about changing tastebuds- he told me he had a lunchtime win the other day, bypassing fast food for a bowl of homemade soup, and I told him about my win at work today.
I didn’t think it was worth blogging about, but talking to him reminded me that that’s exactly why I set this blog up- to celebrate the small wins, as well as talking through the tough bits.
Today I was at a work function with a fully catered morning tea featuring delicious looking sandwiches, amazing smelling pies and sausage rolls and pies, and an assortment of sweet stuff. Normally it would be the pies that would get me, followed by the sweet stuff (I have serious FOMO when it comes to food- gotta get to the sweet stuff before it runs out!) closely followed by the sandwiches.
Today I had a coffee, then after half an hour of smelling the food (it was lunchtime!) I had one small quarter sandwich because I was starving.
Yes, I had a small sandwich made of wheat bread when I’m trying to avoid it, but I also chose (chose!) not to eat any of the pies or sweet stuff- and I didn’t got back for another sandwich either. I let that one sandwich that I ate ‘go down’, realised that it was enough to get me through to my pre-prepared lunch waiting at my desk, and left it at that.
So, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Nearly two weeks, in fact! There’s a pretty simple reason: I’ve been sick. Blegh. At first I thought it was hay fever, then I thought it was a bad cold, then I suspected it was a migraine… I finally settled on the realisation that I simply had the flu.
Keeping up with the challenge while I’ve been sick has been hard, although not as hard as I might have suspected. After my first day off work I let myself get a little bit to sorry for myself and ended up eating fish and chips for dinner. But funnily enough, sitting on the floor surrounded by greasy paper and cold chips, I didn’t feel better after eating them. Nor did I feel really satisfied after eating something I wasn’t supposed to. So while I’d allowed myself a cheat meal, and I was not feeling (and continue not to not feel) guilty about eating it, it was all a bit of an anticlimactic cheat meal consumption.
I had another moment when I went to my parent’s house for dinner later in the week. Mum had made me chicken soup (she’d even made her own chicken bone broth to use as a stock base!), and it was delicious. But (there’s always a but!) she’d also made a batch of macaroni cheese for a visiting cousin. Mum’s macaroni cheese was my absolute favourite meal when I was growing up. It’s the dish I’d request on my birthday, paired with a chocolate pudding for dessert. In fact, I still love mum’s macaroni cheese, although opportunities to eat it are rarer and rarer these days. So despite having sworn myself off wheat, gluten and cheese for the duration of the challenge, I did eat a small bowl of the magic stuff. It was gooooood.
So I ate fish and chips, I ate macaroni cheese, and I had no regrets. What I couldn’t control though, was when my body would be up to getting back to the gym. All in all I had to take 6 days away from exercise, which bugged me no-end, but I really didn’t want to push my body before it was ready to get back to it. Even once I did get back and have a session with my PT, it was still a struggle. I reckon I was probably operating on about 60%.
So the result of the week of the flu was a disappointing weight gain. I knew I wasn’t going to lose weight, but I figured that because my eating was still pretty much in check I’d perhaps just hover at the same figure I was at the week before. Not so. When I jumped on the scales yesterday, they revealed that I’ve put on nearly half a kilo. I think the most disappointing this about that is the realisation that no matter how healthily I eat, I’m going to have to exercise consistently for the rest of my life to avoid weight gain. The other realisation is that no matter how small, any cheat or treat is going to have an impact. There’s no hiding from it.
Don’t get me wrong- I knew these things already. But at this point my head is saying “I don’t ever want to eat most of that stuff again- it’s just really bad for my body” but my heart is saying “eat the cupcake. eat the cheese. eat the pasta”. This is definitely a case of listening to my head over my heart, but it’s another reminder that I’m only at the start of week 6 of this challenge, and really it’s not just six weeks into a challenge but six weeks into a changed lifestyle. I’m breaking habits and I’ I’m starting new ones, and as painful as some of these realisations are, there’s really no turning back from this point.