Workout 13/04/2016 – a poorly recorded arm day

Today was a bit of a fail in terms of recording what I did. I was doing (some) unfamiliar exercises, and some that I just plain struggle with with my dodgy shoulders. I was also having a ‘blurry eyes’ morning without my glasses, so I couldn’t even see which weight I was using in the first place!!! Anyway, it was a good workout – the battleropes really challenged me, and I felt them in my lower back. Which probably means they were good for me ūüėõ

3 sets?:

  • 10 x pull-ups on pull-up machine (unsure of the weight)
  • 12 x ‘face pull’ (on a cable machine with a split rope handle at a high point, pulling down towards face. What’s that called?! Weight unknown) (I just googled it!! It’s called a face pull!!!!)
  • 10 x upright rows on cable machine (15 kg maybe?)

10 sets:

  • 20 seconds of battleropes, 40 seconds break

AMRAP:

  • Overhead tricep¬†extensions on second lowest weight (got to 17 reps)
  • Straight into overhead tricep extensions on lowest weight (got to 12 reps)
Advertisements

Eating like and Adult

Recently J and I have been considering and discussing each of our respective gym, food and body goals. He wants to bulk up, and I want to slim down. By which I mean he wants to gain muscle, and I want to lose fat. While both of us are reasonably (reeeeasonably) happy with our exercise regimes, we both know our food needs to change in order to see the results we want. The question is- can we eat the same things, and still achieve our (very different) goals? We’re going to give it a shot.

We’ve got a window of opportunity coming up which provides us with a neat two months to makes some changes. It’s not a deadline, nor will life particularly change in any other way during this time- it’s just an opportunity to measure some time in ways other than setting deadlines. So yesterday J suggested we use this time to really bunker down and commit to some new habits. The question was, is there a set of new habits we can both commit to, that will help us achieve our respective goals?

I’ve played with the idea of Paleo for a while. Pete Evans’ The Paleo Way certainly seems appealing, with its many positive Facebook testimonials and its daily meal planners and recipes. But J isn’t sold on paleo as a way to bulk, and I’m not sold on the idea of ridding my life of dairy. I’ve also played with the idea of Cyndi O’Meara’s Hunter Gatherer Elimination Protocol. I like the idea of elimination foods then slowly reintroducing them to see how my body feels when I consume them. But even Cyndi admits that this protocol is, at its heart, a paleo diet. Then there’s Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar. I’m coming around to this one, although I haven’t read terribly much about it yet. But I do think there’s elements in there I could adopt. Then of course there’s Low Carb High Fat, which is the lifestyle of choice for some in my household at the moment. I could write a lot about LCHF, but I’m not going to. It will turn into a rant, and I’ll start arguing for and against it at the same time.

I’ve written before about how I’m confused about what I should or shouldn’t be eating, and which diet is best, so when J suggested we start down this path I was worried that I was heading towards another slippery slide of confusion. Then he suggested that we eat like adults. We. Eat. Like. Adults. At first I thought this wouldn’t work for me. It’s too broad, there’s no parametres, and I can talk myself out of/around it too easily. Who knows- maybe I will. But I’m going to attempt a list of what eating like an adult means to¬†me, and once I’ve got that then J and I can figure out what it means for¬†us. For this to work we both need to be doing similar stuff. Really similar stuff. Preparing two different types of meals won’t work, and handing him a big plate of processed carbs while I suck up the green veg won’t work either. My Eat Like An Adult list will come later (maybe later today). This will be interesting.

Finding motivation: counting down to Spartan

Spartan-Race-Spartan-Logo2

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.

Getting my body and my bank balance into shape [raw Thai salad with ginger lime chicken]

thai salad 1

Raw Thai salad with ginger lime chicken

 

Happy New Year!!

I just had a sudden thought. I know I want to be better at blogging, I know I gain satisfaction from writing it, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs. So this year I will commit to writing at least one blog post a week. I just had a little panic when I decided I wanted to do this and realised it’s the 7th of January, but I guess that counts as being in the first week of the year. Having said that, I’m going to go by calendar weeks (Sunday – Saturday) so I guess I’m behind… whatever. We’ll all deal with it, I’m sure!!!

Well, the holiday season has come and the holiday season has gone. Yesterday was my birthday, which I tend to count as the official end of my annual food and drink overload, which means it’s time to start the discipline again. The wine and cheese has been wonderful, but it’s time to return to reality. Over the season I’ve gained some weight, which is unsurprising, but really the collateral damage is a lot less than it could¬† have been. I’m up about 1.5 kg, which puts me 7.5 kg (ish) above my goal weight. Blegh. But it’s ok- that goal weight is not exactly a “I must hit this weight!!!” goal- realistically I want to get about 5 kg off in the next few months to feel healthy again. I definitely don’t feel healthy right now. I feel a bit bloated, my clothes are tighter, and I don’t feel as strong as I did. thai salad 2My energy is down, but I know that’s all food related. I actually stayed relatively active across the break, doing plenty of hiking and getting lots of km under my feet, but it’s just not the same as doing the hard weights-based workouts.

I’ve also found that over the holidays my bank account’s got a bit unhealthy too- which is also not surprising. But when I think about it, there’s several things I can do that will improve both my own body’s health, and my bank account’s health at the same time. At the moment it’s not so much a “I could do this” as a I must do this”. So here’s what I’m going to be doing:

  • Cut back from 3 PT sessions a week to 2
    Having said that, I will not do this if it is going to compromise the exercise I do each week. Part of this action is learning how to self-direct and self-motivate in the gym, particularly on the weights floor. I still want to be doing weights 3 times a week at the gym and doing a bodyweight/cardio workout twice a week at work as an absolute minimum.
  • Cook/prepare more food
    I was getting really good at this for a while last year. It was saving me money, and it was helping me eat the kind of food I wanted in my body. But life got busy, and it all slipped, and next thing I knew I was spending upwards of $22 just on breakfast and lunch, and eating out way more than was reasonable for dinner. So that’s going to stop. I’m going to pre-prepare breakfasts and lunches again, and think ahead for dinners. If I don’t have the time to cook, I’ll make sure I’ve got food in the freezer.
    I’ve never done week-ahead meal planning before- I tend to be an on-the-day buyer and cook, but I can see how much that will help save money and food wastage.

On Monday night I cooked my first proper dinner for a long time. When I say ‘proper’, I mean a meal that I though about ahead of time, looked up a recipe for and didn’t just slap together. I think there’s a big difference between cooking to eat and cooking to nourish (both body and soul). I really enjoy cooking when I have the time and space to do it, and that’s what I mean by cooking to nourish. It’s cooking with some love in it (nawww, that’s a bit corny!!).

Anyway, I made the most incredible Thai salad/raw pad Thai that I found over at elsaswholesomelife. I’ve included some photos of my version here, but seriously go check out hers- they are much much prettier! Thanks Ellie for this great dish- I’ve just finished eating it for lunch, and I’ll be making some more tonight. This stuff is addictive.

Raw Thai salad with ginger chicken

For the raw thai salad check out the original recipeРI pretty much followed it to a T, although I used rapadura sugar instead of coconut sugar, and omitted the edamame beans in favour of ginger lime chicken.

Ginger Lime Chicken

  • 400g chicken
  • 1 heaped tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 heaped tsp crushed ginger
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and stir, then allow to marinate for as long as you can (half an hour minimum). Place chicken on a lined baking tray and discard marinade. Bake for 20-25 mins at 180 degrees.

Leftovers for lunch! Yum!

Leftovers for lunch! Yum!

A slightly delayed update

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 ūüôā

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.

The flu, cheat meals and realisations

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.

Measuring Success

Text: it takes four weeks for you to see your body changing. It takes 8 weeks for friends and family, and it takes 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Keep going.So, I’m more than half way through week four of the challenge. The image I’ve posted is one that’s been floating around Pinterest and Facebook for years, and I’m not entirely sure of how true it is, but it’s something that’s stuck with me. Given that four weeks is nearly up, I’ve started to reflect on my own change. Is it really there? Am I imagining it? What changes am I actually noticing?

Over the past week I’ve started to consider how I’m actually measuring success in relation to this challenge. At the start of the challenge I weighed myself and had a (very confronting!) photo taken of me, but I didn’t take my measurements. Perhaps I should have, because I suspect that’s where I’m going to see the biggest change given that I’m continuing to build muscle. This morning J took a second photo of me- a ‘week 4 progress shot’ (it was required of me by the Challenge organisers). I don’t think a random person would see the differences between the two photos, but I did.

So, having had the photo taken and done a bit of self reflection, here’s how I know I’m succeeding at the four-week mark:

  • I have lost approximately 4 kg
  • My jeans are feeling looser
  • I have gone down three belt notches at my waist
  • My friends commented on how tiny (ha!) my waist is getting over the weekend
  • I can no longer feel the¬†skin/fat folds on my back rubbing against other skin- the folds are shrinking
  • The bulge on my hips is no longer an easy handful- it’s shrunk
  • Looking at the photo, while my shape hasn’t changed much at all my skin’ s looking different. A little less ‘flubby’ on my stomach and legs perhaps?

And of course this challenge is not all about losing weight for me- it’s about changing habits too. I’ve been successful in that so far- but I’m definitely still in the stage where I have to work hard to continue the behaviours I want to set as new habits, and I still have to fight hard against the old habits. Here’s some recent successes I’ve had in terms of all of that:

  • I¬†haven’t had¬†refined sugar since I started. The closest I’ve had has been honey and fruit
  • I’ve had practically no wheat. There’s been a couple of bowls of minestrone that’s had a spoonful of pasta in it, but that’s it. Wheat’s gone (for now at least)
  • I’ve maintained a healthy relationship with starchy vegetables- if someone else has cooked me something with potato/sweet potato etc I’ve not felt bad about eating it, but at the same time I’ve not actively cooked it for myself
  • I didn’t eat any cheese in a social situation¬†filled with cheese (cheese, of course, being my favourite food. It’s not gone forever- just for now)
  • Having said that- I’ve also maintained a healthy relationship with cheese. If a salad comes with some fetta or goats cheese, well heck, I’d better eat it!!
  • I’ve turned down delicious looking cakes and slices at an afternoon tea- because I knew they weren’t good for me, and I was still full from lunch!
  • I’ve made the right choice when it comes to quick lunch on-the-go. Where I would have had McDonalds in the past, in the last week I’ve had two in-car lunches consisting of cut up fruit, veg, a little bit of cheese and one occasion a bag of shredded chicken from the local deli

So, I’ve got a long way to go. there’s 8 weeks left in the challenge, and it doesn’t stop once I get to that point. The real goal here continues to be the squashing of some bad habits and the introduction of some new habits, and I think that it’s going to take some work once I finish this challenge to maintain them. But that’s a hurdle for another day- for now I continue to focus on exercising at least four times a week, and as much as possible eating food made from fresh meat, veg and fruit. Baby steps.

Today I am struggling

Today is hard. It’s got nothing to do with food or exercise- although I suppose it has everything to do with food and exercise, really. I’m feeling incredibly down today. Not emotional, not moody, not flat- I’m feeling low. I thought I’d already written about the moods and emotions I’ve been experiencing over the past two weeks, but I just found the draft of that post in the trash¬†folder so I guess I never got around to finishing or publishing it. Emotionally the last two weeks have been a journey, but I think today’s the hardest.

As my body’s gotten used to reduced sugar, refined carbs, dairy and fats I’ve gone on a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions and moods. I’ve been short tempered, and I’ve been a bitch to those who are¬†supporting and helping me, but for the most part I’ve been aware of it and remotely in control of it. I’ve felt up and down depending on the day, how much exercise I’ve had and what I’ve eaten- and depending on how I felt about all of that. too.

Yesterday afternoon I got angry about something (too angry by reasonable normal standards, but fairly in line with ‘Challenge’ me) and it put me in a bit of a ‘light fog’. That’s how I’ll describe it- a light fog that made me feel down a bit. The fog stayed with me until I’d nearly finished cooking dinner, at nearly 9 pm. Thank goodness for cooking- it lulled me out of the fog. It’s such a meditative process for me, when there’s no time constraints and no-one around to disturb me. It’s just me and the veggies and the chopping board. A bit like writing, actually.

This morning I woke up and, as my day started, the fog started to roll in again. I know why, but the reason doesn’t matter. I’ve sat at my desk not really achieving anything, flicking between screens trying to find something that inspires me to do something. Anything. Work stuff, non-work stuff- none of it’s worked. I went for a walk at lunch time, and far from my usual power-walk through the city, my feet dragged. Everything felt heavy. My usual fix for a crap day is food of some kind- normally unhealthy food, too. Today I can’t turn to a hot chocolate or a piece of cake- not that those things ever particularly help anyway. And not that I normally feel this down, either.

This afternoon I’ve put my headphones on and I’m blasting some Mumford and Sons. It’s helping to block out the world, and it’s making it all a bit more bearable. The fog’s lifting a bit.

It’s really hard to tell what’s a chemical response in my body right now and what’s a genuine reaction or feeling. I suspect that most of it is genuine¬†emotion that’s being amplified by changes in my body. But then the little voice in my head says “is your body really changing? Are the chemical reactions real? Probably not… it’s just a great excuse….”

And so the battle in my head goes on.

Time to step up the exercise

day 21

day 21

Well, weekend #2 is down and I’m officially heading into week three- I’m up to day 15!! Time’s kind of flown and it makes me worried that I’m not trying hard enough, not pushing myself hard enough. My food’s been pretty great- the only thing I wasn’t completely happy with over the weekend was dinner last night- Indian takeaway. Having said that, I didn’t have any rice or bread- curries only- which means I was consuming veg and meat (all good) and a bit too much oil (not so good). As far as ‘bad’ meals go, that’s not too bad. Especially when the rest of my weekend was very good- I even said no to garlic bread on Saturday night. Garlic bread!!!! I was so so so tempted to just have on small piece with my pea and ham soup, but J was great and kind of talked me through it. His support has been so awesome over the past two weeks, I wouldn’t have got this far without it.

On Thursday night my trainer weighed me, and told me I’d lost 800 grams since Monday night. What!? 800 grams in three days?! That was pretty exciting. I’ll weigh in again tonight, so it will be interesting to see where I’m at post-weekend. I’m feeling a bit frumpy, and I’m a bit worried that nothing will have fallen off over the last couple of days (then again, I was feeling this exact same way last Monday and ended up having lost 500 g across the weekend).

So why am I feeling like this? The answer = exercise. I normally have a PT session on Friday night, but last week he couldn’t make it. He left me with exercises to do, but life got in the way and I didn’t make it to the gym (I would have had to cancel my session with him even if he’d been around). That meant I’d done three days of training in the week so far, my old benchmark, so I definitely needed to do some moving and shaking over the weekend to make sure my days were up from 3 to 4 or 5. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. It’s not like I sat on my bum for two days- I was busy the entire time, doing ‘weekendy’ stuff. Visiting a market, spending time with the family, all those kinds of things.

But three workouts in a week is not enough any more. One of the habits I want to kill is thinking that three in a week is enough, and one of the habits I want to kickstart is getting at least four workouts happening per week. For the duration of the challenge, it should really be a minimum of five.

I’ve been reading the forum on the Challenge website. Some people have shed more than 7 kg in the last two weeks. That seems pretty dramatic weight loss in a quick time to me, and I’m wondering whether some of them are becoming truly active for the first time at the same time as changing their diet, which is leading to such dramatic weigh loss? For my own part, last time I weighed in I’d lost upwards of 2.5 kg in less than the two weeks, and I was stoked. I guess I’m just at the point where I actually know I’m capable of more than that, and if the scales don’t show me what I want to see this afternoon then I’ll be really disappointed in myself. Honestly, whatever they show I’ll be disappointed in myself- because I know I could have done more to get a better result.

But I didn’t, and the lesson is learned. I’m heading into week 3, and it’s time to stop making excuses. Food’s doing really well- time for the exercise to match it.

Two small days of achieving big

Good morning!

Before I head into a couple of big meetings for the day, I want to share with you two small days of big achievements. It’s Wednesday today- three days since the challenge started- and for the first time in my life I can say that for two days straight I have eaten exactly what I intended to eat. No cheating, no blow-out snacking, nothing ‘bad’, just healthy food.

I have met the challenge for two days. 82 left to go.

I also started my new gym habit last night, with a self-guided gym workout (no PT involved). It was cardio night so I did some time on a bike, then spent the rest on the rowing machine. Probably not as long a workout as it could have been, but I had to get home in time to make it to the fruit and veg shop before it closed. That’s compromise for you. I’m going to take a rest day today- it is not my intention to rest on Wednesdays, but if i’m adding two cardio workouts to my week that weren’t there before (on top of the pre-existing 3 days of weights training), then I need to work into it. I really don’t want to burn out on week one.

For that reason I’m also going to allow myself a piece of raw vegan cheesecake tonight. Not that there’s anything bad in it- some fruit and nuts really! The worst is some coconut oil and a little bit of golden syrup, but per slice it’s really not bad. If it tastes any good I’ll share the recipe here soon.

So that’s it- I have achieved big in the last two days, by my standards, and I’m proud of myself. Oh, and I’ve lost some weight! (a little bit. Not much, not enough to share numbers, but still- I’m moving in the negative direction)

It feels unnecessary sharing this on here, but then, that’s why I started this blog- to share my difficulties and to celebrate my successes.