Weekly Weigh-In: Sore & Swollen Muscles

weekly weigh in april 25

My new workout routine caused lots of sore muscles all over. Which means up up ever so slightly this week.

Last week I jump started 2 workout routines — running and resistance training. My arms, abs and legs are feeling the burn as they say. Thanks to that soreness (a.k.a. swollen muscles), I’m up a a whopping 6 ounces. My guess is sometime this week that will fall off and I can expect better results next weigh-in day.

Why Resistance Bands & Not Barbells?
Turns out the local rec department I planned to use twice a week for weight lifting got rid of their free weights. Ugh!  Who does that?

Anyway I figured I’d just dig out my resistance bands, load up the Fitness Blender YouTube vids and workout. Turns out my old bands were lacking the resistance I needed. So I gave those to my mom as she wants to start building muscle (yay!) and picked up some new bands.

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up the dream of working with barbells. Turns out my parkour gym offers weight training classes. Once I go through the initial class, I can come in anytime and workout with the free weights. I’m hoping to hit the newbie class this Saturday.

Running Again
I stopped running because I was freaked about what I read regarding cardio exercise and IVF success. But it turns out that’s more related to over exercising. That doesn’t mean I won’t stop once we start treatments. That’s a very real possibility. But for now I want to run.

Rather than trying for a personal best, I’m just doing intervals to help me get back into the swing of things.  Last week I did 1 minute run/2 minute walk for 21 minutes. This week that flips to 2 minute run/1 minute walk for 30 minutes.

While my first run was awesome, the next 2 were more challenging. My legs were so sore from squats, lunges and mountain climbers. My leg workouts are the day before a run so my poor legs never got full rest. If that happens again this week, I may have to rethink the timing of my leg workouts.



Resetting My Goals: Shooting For Optimal Health

new life

Since I’ve lost 140 lbs. and my doctor told me I was healthy, I needed a new health goal to set my sights on in my march to lose another 30 lbs. My upcoming IVF treatments were key in coming up with this new goal. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and mrpuen.

Despite my procrastinating, I came up with my new health goal fairly quickly the other day. I’m totally committed to optimizing my health to improve my chances of a successful IVF treatment and pregnancy.

Seems sensible. Although I’m not sure what “optimal health” really means.

I spent some quality time researching the definition of optimal health. But there really isn’t one. Because we are all so different, the optimal weight, nutrient levels, BMI, muscle mass, athletic performance, etc. isn’t the same for any one person.

Defining Health
I stumbled across an interesting article over at Paleo Leap on defining optimal health. Basically the article confirmed what I thought. You can’t define it. There are so many variables — weight, BMI, muscle mass, athletic performance, sleep, etc.

As a starting point, the article included a working definition of health I liked:

Health is the mental and physical energy, vitality, and resilience to live joyfully in your own body and face the challenges of your life.

Okay…so how does one live like that all the time? Read More

The Will Is Strong But The Body Is Too Damn Tired To Workout

resting your body

I struggled through two curls before admitting defeat and going back to bed. Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

There are days when I really want to workout, but my body just isn’t up for it. I mean I’m motivated. I set my mind to it. I have the urge to workout. But my body refuses.

That’s what happened this weekend.

I went to bed Friday night with every intention of working out early Saturday morning – weight training, yoga and a short walk right after my weigh in. Everything done by 10 a.m. Simple plan, right?

Waking up at 11 a.m. wasn’t part of that plan.

That should have been my first clue how my weekend was going to go.

On the drive to the gym I went over my planned workout in my mind — 10 minute warm up on a cycle, 20 minute leg workout, 20 minute upper body and 5 minute cool down on the treadmill. Then back home for yoga. Easy.

Well, I completely forgot the 2 flights of stairs you need to climb to get to my gym. I climb these everyday. No big deal.

When I hit the 5th step you would have thought I was climbing Everest…without oxygen.  When nearing the summit top of the stairs two thoughts crossed my mind: 1) Just go back home; and 2) I need a Sherpa to carry my little pink gym bag the rest of the way up.

Once I got to the top of the stairs I immediately change my plan. Thinking I’d give my legs a break today, I opt for simple stretching and just an upper body workout.

After catching my breath I muddled my way through my upper body stretching routine. Then I picked up two 15 pound barbells and started my curls. I struggled through two curls before putting the weights down and heading out the door.

Tired and defeated, I went home, put a lamb roast in the crock-pot and took a nap.

I was no better on Sunday. But thanks to all the ice and snow, I didn’t feel as guilty for not getting to the gym.

Listening to your body
My trainer warned me I’d have days like these. Her advice: Listen to my body and don’t force it.

Most of the time when people don’t exercise it’s because they lack motivation. That’s when you need to workout.

But when you’re motivated and your body is fighting you, that’s you need to chill. It’s your body’s way to tell you it needs more time to rest before starting a new workout.

In the last week, I exercised everyday for 3 hours each day. I think the extra cycling classes I slipped in on Friday (yep, I did 2 in one day) pushed me over the edge.

This week I’m still shooting for the 3-hour workout, but I’ll take a rest day in the middle of the week to help my body recover quicker. Oh, and I’m done with back-2-back cycling.

As for the guilt I felt this weekend, my trainer knocked that right out of me. She put me through the wringer this morning with an insane barbell routine.


Spinning Monkey On My Back

spinning class, fitness

Don’t think I’m addicted to cycling? Well I just picked up a pair of cycling shoes. Tomorrow I’m installing the cleats so i can clamp my shoe on the pedal. Oh, the spinning addiction is real!

Well my November Fitness Challenge – 2 spin classes/week – may be over, but I can’t stop spinning! It’s official. I’m addicted to that damn cycling class.

How bad is it? After the first two weeks of my challenge, it was clear those 2 classes per week weren’t enough. To get my fix I’m now doing 4 classes a week.  Heck, I did back-to-back classes Sunday morning.

I leave each class feeling exhausted and amazing.  No other exercise – weight training, yoga, walking/running – makes me feel the way I do after spinning.  There are five things that make spinning awesomely great.

1. I’m In Control
Yes, I follow the instructor. But I’m in complete control when it comes to setting pace or the resistance levels. I’m pushing myself as much as possible, but when fatigue hits (and it does) then I can slow my speed or my tension until I’m able to catch up. Sure I’m in a class, but it’s my own personal workout.

2. I Feel The Difference In My Runs
Since I started cycling, I’ve noticed a difference in my 5k-interval training. I’m a little faster, I’m not as winded after a session, my legs feel stronger and my knees recover much faster.

3. Spinning Kicks Everyone’s A$$
Doesn’t matter if you are overweight or buff, spinning is an equal opportunity destroyer. When I walked into my first spin class, I felt self-conscious. I found a bike in a corner in the back of the room. For some bizarre reason I thought people would watch the fat chick trying to pedal. Ha! When spinning, folks are doing their own thing. You have no idea what resistance levels your classmates are using. Plus everyone gets fatigued and lightens the tension settings…everyone, including the instructors.

4. I Love The Group Environment
Most group exercises I can do without. I find them boring.  I’ve had the complete opposite experience with my spin classes. There’s so much excitement and energy in the class it feeds your workout.

5. Awesome Music
I know nothing about newer music. With few exceptions, if it’s after 1995 I won’t have a clue. Spin class has introduced me to some great new music like…well, I can’t name the artists, but I’ve liked what I’ve heard. Occasionally my ears bleed from the catwallering of a Katy Perry song.  For those, I tune out the “singing” and focus on the beat. My weekend spin classes find me singing along at the top of my lungs to the best classic rock mixes – Zeppelin, Rush, Skynyrd, U2, Motown. Just brilliant.

What’s your workout addiction?

All I Want For Christmas Is…Awesome Fitness Gear

weight loss gift ideas, fitness gear ideas for christmas

What will Santa bring me this year? I just hope it helps me lose weight (Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono and FreeDigitalPhotos.net).

Last night as I watched Chopped, I decided to work on my list for Santa. When I finished, I realized everything on the list focuses on fitness — either to help me workout, eat right or stay motivated. Hopefully I’m not on the naughty list and some of these items will make it down the chimney to me.

10. New Workout Shoes – This is a tough gift since I need to try on any shoes with my Thorlos (padded socks).  Speaking of Thorlos…

9. Socks! Yoga (toe socks, please!) and Running (padded)

8. Fleece Headband – It’s 39 degrees out and snowing…’nuff said.

7. Camcorder – A bit too pricey for this Christmas, but it is my WISH list.  Good for cooking and workout videos.

6. Gymboss Interval Timer – Need something smaller than my phone that is easy to read.

5. Heart Rate Monitor – I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without one.

4. Biker Shorts – I only have one and it has to be washed after each session. I need another to slow wear and tear.

3. Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen – I’m not gluten-free (the hubby might be), but the recipes look yummy!

2. Touch Screen Friendly Gloves – One of my cold weather wish list items that allows me to easily use my iPhone.

1. Cold Weather, Waterproof Jacket

The jacket is top on my list, but also the most difficult, and not because I’ll need to try it on before buying it (sort of ruins Christmas morning). I’ve avoided buying jackets since I’m losing the weight. As the fat keeps coming off, any jacket will only be used for a few months before being replaced next season. But I need something for winter workouts that’s low-cost. This is the toughie.

I’m not expecting to find all 10 items under my Christmas tree, but hopefully this points Santa in the right direction.

What’s on your wish list?

Cycling Challenge Week 4: Big Wheel Keeps On Turning

weight loss cycling, spinning class for beginners

Yes, the class kicked my butt — literally and figuratively!

I don’t know if I was preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, but I went all out during my spinning class today. For my first few classes, I went at my pace as I knew I couldn’t keep up with everyone else. Well today I wanted to do everything the instructor threw at me.

Resistance Is Everything
Cycling is pretty easy to understand. Increase your resistance, the tougher it is to peddle, making you work harder. Easy peasy.

My first week, I bounced between resistance levels 1 and 2 (the lowest). Since then, I’ve increased my resistance each week to challenge myself.

Last week 6 was my top-level of resistance. Today I wanted to really push myself, so I upped my max resistance to 8.  Clearly I didn’t want to just sweat. Nope, I wanted to wring every ounce of water out of my body.

Climbing Hills and Screaming Calves
If there is one thing in my spin class I absolutely hate, it’s the hill climbs. While I love getting my butt off that saddle, this is without a doubt the toughest part of the class for me. My hamstrings and calves scream at me. And sure enough, when I hit the half way point of the climb, I always sit down.

Not today!

I don’t know what happened, but for seven solid minutes, at level 8 resistance, I tackled that blasted hill.  My legs turned to jello while I huffed and puffed.  But I never sat down for a rest. I did each position the instructor called out with a fierce determination.

When it came time to sit back in the saddle I was drenched in sweat, exhausted and wanted to crawl up into a ball…just in time for sprints! Oh joy.

Normally I love sprints, but today it was much harder than usual. I thought I pushed myself too hard on the hill climb. I still hit 90 RPM. It wasn’t until the end of the sprint before I realized I increased my resistance to level 9 instead of dropping down to 6.


I was so excited when the instructor yelled, “Time for cool down!”

At the end of the workout, my bike’s monitor indicated I burned more than 800 calories.

I should be excited, but I just want a nap.

Sluggish Workouts And The Importance Of Tracking

diet and exercise, tracking food

Forgetting to track my food for a few days has screwed up my diet and makes me sleepy!

When you forget to track your food, bad things happen. Like what?  How about sluggish workouts and a complete lack of energy.

That’s how I’ve felt the last couple of days. I think my carb and protein intake are far too low.

During my weight training Wednesday morning, every exercise was difficult. Not too unexpected since my trainer is really pushing me — increasing weights, focusing on upper body, and challenging my endurance.

When I did my 5K training later that afternoon, my legs felt like lead. While I finished the training, it seemed harder than normal. I chalked it up to tired legs after working out with my trainer.

Yesterday during spin class, it’s clear that I’m getting stronger as my resistance level increased over last week’s class. But where I’m usually energized after spin class, today I just wanted to curl up in bed. And when it came time to do yoga last night, I struggled to finish the session.

I just didn’t feel right. Something was up. I’m not coming down with anything. So I’m thinking its diet.

When I went to look at my tracker, I realized the problem immediately.  The last time I tracked was Tuesday dinner.


Since my trainer changed my diet, I’ve tracked religiously. Anytime I felt hungry, I made a note in my FitBook and looked at the tracker to see if I need to make adjustments to my meals.

I’m usually all over my tracker like a monkey on a cupcake!

But the last few days have been hectic. Just lots of errands, projects and breaking up too many pet fights (damn you evil overlord cat!).

How quickly things get out of whack when you don’t track for a couple of days. And scary how easy it is to forget to track.

I tried to remember everything I ate yesterday. It’s harder than you think.  What I pieced together indicates that I missed my morning and afternoon snacks. Not good. Also I ate about 20g of carbs, about 30g shy of what my trainer wants. I worked out for nearly 2 hours and 20g of carbs just doesn’t cut it.

As for protein, I was down 5 ounces.  No wonder I woke up starving this morning. Not eating enough to sustain your body is not how you lose weight.

This morning I’m back on track. I logged my breakfast — Kashi Go Lean, Almond Breeze Unsweetened Milk and one cup of strawberries — the perfect breakfast before this morning’s muscle workout and yoga class.

I prepared my protein shake so it’s ready for me when I get home — I just need to add 1/2 a banana and ice.

I also logged it.

This Lazy Mouse Skips Her Weight Training To Build More Muscle

Lack of sleep and no muscle workout makes me a lazy mouse today!

Lack of sleep and no muscle workout makes me a lazy mouse today!

Thanks to less than 4 hours of sleep, I’m feeling like a lazy mouse today. How lazy? I pushed my morning muscle workout to Saturday.

Turns out it’s a good decision.

The bulk of muscle recovery happens during sleep. That’s when our bodies balance out the hormones and works to rebuild muscles. Lack of sleep just means the workout becomes much harder than needed and you increase the risk of injury.

So perhaps I’m more savvy mouse than lazy mouse…

Nah…I skipped my morning yoga class too.

Fear not. I slipped into my running gear for my next 5K training session, which starts in 15 minutes.

I plan to follow my run with 45 minutes of my Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga DVD.

I guess that makes me industrious mouse after all.

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Kangoo Jumps – OK, I’m Curious

physical exercise, weight loss and kangoo jumps

Kangoo Jumps — Will these make my Christmas list?

I started putting together my list for Santa this weekend when I came across Kangoo Jumps. They look absolutely ridiculous…and amazingly fun.

I’ve read that the shoes reduce the impact on joints by up to 80%. That got my attention.

Apparently Kangoos have been around since the ’90s. I’m not sure how popular they are, but I’m seeing them more on fitness sites. I’ve never heard of them until this weekend.

To me Kangoos look like ski boots with shock absorbers on the bottom. I’m not sure about the comfort level when jogging. Seems like it lacks flexibility that my regular old Nike’s offer.

In the little research I’ve done, running in Kangoo Jumps is like to running on a trampoline. Apparently you burn up to 50% more calories and cardio in regular sneakers. Since you rebound off the ground, you use your core more to stabilize yourself.

I haven’t run across these in the DC area yet, but I’d love to try them out.

Has anyone in the Peanut Gallery tried Kangoo Jumps?


Nov. 9 Weekly Weigh-In: I Lost Nearly 3 Pounds

weekly weigh-in, weight loss, losing weight, weight watchers

I lost 2.8 pounds this week, bringing my total weight loss to just under 84 pounds.

I had a great week and it showed on the scale — I dropped 2.8 pounds!  That puts my total weight loss at 83.6 pounds.

Body Adjusting To New Routine
I don’t think it was the spinning class that caused the big drop. I expected a bigger dip during last week’s weigh-in. But thanks to sore muscles and working out before stepping on the scale, I retained a lot of water.

This week I recovered more quickly from my workouts and didn’t exercise before my Weight Watchers meeting. So I expected, and got, better numbers when I stepped on that scale this morning.

I noticed that my weight loss is more consistent since I started weight training 3 times a week. Prior to working with my trainer, I’d seesaw between losing a few ounces one week and nothing the next.

My body adjusted to my workout and diet. Another awful plateau was around the corner. Thankfully the weight training gave my body the jump-start it needed to let go of the fat.

Reaching My Year-End Goal
I set a 3-month goal of dropping 19.5 pounds by December 31. As of today I’m 5.6 pounds closer. That gives me 7 weeks to reach my goal. It’s a tall order with the holiday’s coming up.  But I’m up for the challenge.