Am I Getting Stronger? Getting A Handle On My Progress

Dot Workout Log

My new workout log. Time to start tracking my goal of building strength.

While I track what I eat, my exercise tracking is lacking to say the least. It’s a good habit I never tried to reinforce. But without tracking my progress it’s hard to know if I’m actually building strength.

To get stronger I need to constantly challenge myself physically. That means increasing the difficulty of my workouts. But if I can’t remember what or how well I did my last workout, then how do I know I’m doing better? Read More

Want To Change Behavior? Try A 30-Day Challenge

Screenshot 2014-09-02 11.11.07

30-Day Challenges are a great way to create new habits, change how you do things and build confidence. And they are available online for free. Just make sure you pick one that’s realistic.

I love this article from Business Insider on the importance of 30-Day Challenges in changing behavior. I’ve become a big believer in these challenges. I’ve used them to:

  • Drink more water
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Build strength
  • Run a 5k
  • Improve my sleep habits

I always try to pick something that:

  1. Isn’t part of my wheelhouse;
  2. Provides opportunity for self-improvement;
  3. Realistic and measurable.

It’s important to pick a challenge where you not only want to make a change, but decided that you must change. Big difference.

Making a meaningful, lasting change means committing to it. Read More

My March Madness – 3 Healthy Challenges

dot weight lifting

I’m undergoing 3 challenges in March, including strength training.

I hear birds chirping. Our cherry blossoms have a ton of buds ready to bloom. Temperatures topped 60 degrees for 3 days straight. That means March is here and it’s time for a new monthly challenge.

So far this year I’ve only done one challenge – 30-Day No Alcohol Challenge. I did so poorly in January I decided to give it another try in February. Needless to say, February was a bust too.

For March, yes I’m doing the alcohol challenge again, but I’m adding two more challenges, both of which should help me go alcohol free this month (yes, even on St. Patty’s Day). Read More

September Fitness Challenge: Half Marathon Walk

Need to keep my fitbit charged for this month's challenge!

Need to keep my fitbit charged for this month’s challenge!

Due to a lot of travel and general running around this month, I decided on something completely different for my monthly fitness challenge – walking a half marathon.

That’s 13.1 miles baby! I’m using September’s 4+ weeks to extend my bipedal travels.

Given all that’s going on this month, walking was the perfect choice. Walking relaxes me. I simply download some awesome podcasts or a great audio book on my iPhone, strap on my walking shoes and head out. For some reason, when I walk the spoken word, rather than music, keeps me going for hours. Who ends a walk mid-chapter? Read More

Flabby Arms Challenge III: 30 Days & Nights Of Push Ups

If I want to do a Spartan Sprint I need to work on my upper body strength to get through the race's tough obstacles. So I'm starting the 30 Day Push Up Challenge this morning.

If I want to do a Spartan Sprint I need to work on my upper body strength to get through the race’s tough obstacles.

After my trainer killed my arms with 10 pound dumbbells, I decided I needed to put more emphasis on my upper body. So today I started the 30-Day Push Up Challenge. As I want to do a Spartan Sprint by late 2015/early 2016, its time to kick my upper body training up a notch.

How am I suppose to climb ropes, walls and swing on monkey bars (through fire!) without strengthening my arms, shoulders, chest and back?

That’s why I picked push ups as my next challenge. They’re great for your shoulders, arms, chest, abs, back, neck and triceps. It’s a basic exercise that all of us can do since no equipment is needed.

To increase the difficulty of the challenge I’m doing two sets of push ups — one in the morning and another in the evening. Overkill? Maybe, but I’d rather do a second round than sit on my butt.

Muscles push ups work. Image from

Muscles push ups work. Image from

I must say my push up form is bad…really bad.

While I can do 10 unmodified push ups (yay!!!), I’m finding it difficult for my chest to hit the floor. What I’m trying to do is get my elbows to a 90 degree angle (not there yet).

So by the end of the challenge, I looking at doing 80 push ups in near perfect form. Piece of cake!

Celebrate March Madness By Toning Those Flabby Arms

March Madness starts tomorrow for me. My next 30-Day Challenge focuses on those flabby arms of mine. Lots of push ups, mountain climbers and triceps this month.

March Madness starts tomorrow for me. My next 30-Day Challenge focuses on those flabby arms of mine. Lots of push ups, mountain climbers and triceps dips this month.

Yesterday was the last day of my Little Black Dress Challenge. Overall I didn’t do too bad. About 10 days in I gave up on doing the routines twice a day. My abs wouldn’t allow it. I do need more work on mountain climbers and burpees as my form isn’t that great. Nonetheless I love the challenge and may want to do it again, but later in the year.

March Madness: A Call To Arms!
Tomorrow I embark on a new task – building and toning my arms. March 2 begins my 30-Day Arm Challenge. This challenge includes just 3 exercises – triceps dips, push ups and mountain climbers…again! Read More

Join Me In The Little Black Dress Challenge

For February I'm taking on the Little Black Dress Challenge for a full body workout. To kick my butt even more, I'm doing each day's workout twice.

For February I’m taking on the Little Black Dress Challenge for a full body workout. To kick my butt even more, I’m doing each day’s workout twice.

It’s February and that means its time for a new 30-Day Challenge (or 28 days). This month I’m taking on the Little Black Dress Challenge. This particular challenge focuses on upper and lower body as well as the abs. Each day of the challenge brings several different exercises.

I started the challenge yesterday and I have to say it was easy peasy – 30 second plank, 10 push-ups, 10 mountain climbers. Today I’m doing 20 jumping jacks, 10 burpees and 10 high knees. Despite the burpees, today should be easy too. But not to fear, by next week I’m expecting the challenge to start kicking my butt.

Since February is a short month, I decided to do each day’s exercises twice – once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Insane? Possibly. Tough? Absolutely. But after what I feel is a sluggish start with my Spartan Sprint training and my Gold’s Gym Challenge (more on this later), I have a need to kick some my ass.

Are you up for the Little Black Dress Challenge?

Training Time: This Fat Chick’s Road To Tough Mudder

Time to kick my Tough Mudder training into high gear! I'm doing a host of challenges to get myself ready for the world's toughest race.

Time to kick my Tough Mudder training into high gear! I’m doing a host of challenges to get myself ready for the world’s toughest race.

At the top of my Healthy Bucket List sits my desire to run a Tough Mudder. For those of you not familiar with a mudder, it’s a 12+ mile obstacle course (in the mud) designed by former British Special Forces dudes. Around 30% of the folks who try fail to complete it. The more I read about the mudders, the more I realize I need to kick my training into high gear before attempting this puppy. Read More

Try This 30-Day Challenge For Weight Loss

From our pals at Authority Nutrition comes a great new 30-Day Challenge I can’t wait to try!

Nap challengeOK, this is just silly, but it helps drive home the point that catching quality zzz’s is a big part of weight loss. You need a good night’s sleep to reset your hormones. While I attribute my recent 7 pound gain to bad eating, it’s no coincidence that my insomnia kicked in at the same time.

The amount and quality of sleep helps keep your appetite-regulating hormones (Ghrelin and Leptin) in check. Not enough sleep and Ghrelin, which tells you to eat, runs wild in your body.  When I get a full 8 hours a night I don’t eat as much because Leptin (which tells me I’m full) is doing its job and keeping Ghrelin at bay.

This week I’m doing better on the food front, keeping to 20-25g of carbs a day. I’m also getting about 7-8 hours of sleep each night this week too! In fact, I took a 20 minute cat nap this afternoon and feel great. How great? I’m going out for a 2nd run today!

Peddling The Fat Off — My Next Fitness Challenge

weight loss cycling

Headed to my first spin class today. I expect it to kick my butt and turn my legs into jelly.

I’m a little late in picking my next 30-day fitness challenge. I’ve racked my brains trying to pick a good lower body workout. Walking around my gym, I stumbled upon the new challenge – cycling.

For the next month, I’m hitting the road…actually my local spinning class. I plan on attending a 60-minute cycling class twice a week.

Today is my first cycling class.  My goal isn’t to keep up with the class — I won’t. I just want to finish the class, as I’m expecting it to completely kick me in the butt.

Why Cycling?
I have a few reasons:

1. While I’ve lost weight everywhere, my legs are the slowest to give up the fat. I know you can’t target where the fat comes off, but I can give my calf, hamstring and glutes a great workout without a lot of stress on my joints.

2. I needed a new challenge. I love lifting weights, yoga in the mornings and interval training for the 5K, but that can get old. Sometimes you need to add in a new exercise to shake things up.

3. The last time I rode a bike ride around my neighborhood was 30 years ago. That’s too long. In 2010 my husband and I purchased bikes.  I rode it for 2 minutes. I felt unsteady and uncomfortable. I weighed over 300 lbs. and had no confidence in myself. It was easy to think, “I’m too fat to ride a bike.” So into the shed it went.

That bike’s coming out of the shed.  I’m going to relearn how to ride and take my bike for a spin in my neighborhood before year’s end. The spinning class is a way for me to regain my confidence.

Hey, How Come You’re Not Cycling Everyday?
Yes, the 30-day fitness challenge is a daily challenge. Since I’m interval training to run a 5K, I don’t want to tire out my legs. I’m taking the spinning classes on my days off from training. Trust me. Two spinning classes a week is a challenge.

I do plan to ride a real bike before the end of the year. But that is a separate challenge all on its own.

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