Monthly Archives: November 2008

Still Here

I know I’ve been quiet this past week (as opposed to quiet for the months before).  Truthfully, I’ve been quiet in mind, so it’s spread to my life.  I started a new medication (an SNRI) and it might be part of brain adjusting itself.

I’ve been quiet everywhere, sitting and observing life closely.  Noticing the patterns and details for the first time in a long time.  At the gym, I’m equally drawn to working hard – seeing how much I can push, how long I can go – and resting, observing those around me: their work plans, their form, their moves.

I’ve even stopped listening to my music while I work.  With activity all around me, I’m wrapped in silence.

I do have things I want to share with you: why I think traditional barbell squats may be the answer for me; why I’m returning to being a flexitarian; a week long test of hydrating with coconut water instead of plain water; maybe a video on plank variations.

It’s coming as soon as I tire of the quiet…

To let you know:  I am working out every other day.  Usually my standard 20-30 minutes of cardio followed by an hour or so of full-body weight training.  Last week I added back some sessions with trainer Adam.  I realized I haven’t been working hard enough, which might explain the slight weight gain, or at least the failure to burn these last few pounds of fat.

He puts me through my paces and makes sure that at the end of our hour I’m begging for it all to end.  Then he gives me a hug and tells me to go stretch for at least 10 minutes before I shower. Y’all got to love someone that will work you hard, then hug your sweaty stinking self as a reward!

Last workout, I did about 60 pushups spaced throughout the workout: “we’ll do lunges then drop and give me 10 push ups; we’ll do triceps then drop and give me 10 pushups; we’ll do…” you get the picture.  When I got tired, I was allowed to change to knee-down pushups – I’m surprised how much easier these are!  Still, by the end of the workout I was kneeling on the floor praying for it to end.

Remarkably, with all that work I was not sore afterward.

Talking Myself Into Losing Again.

This week I had ‘THAT TALK” with myself.  The talk I’ve known was coming; the talk I’ve been fighting against all year.

You see, back in January when I hit my “target weight” I had worked long and hard to get there.  I had reached a point where the very words “weight loss” or “body fat composition” would make me stick my fingers in my ears, singing a loud and lusty “La-La-La-La!”

I had had it.

I would not journal another day.  I would not count calories.  I would not watch food or exercise intensity.  I was just going to continue as I had been and relax for a while.  BUT…

When i had the pinch tests done by faithful old trainer, Guido, they still showed a 30% body fat.  One time slipped down to 28%, but it didn’t stay there.  So I knew that although I’d reach a goal, I had not yet reached my final goal.  Which was to be at a healthy body composition for my age.  No matter what the weight was. Something more like 25%.

Still for most of this year I maintained my weight.  Up or down a pound, it would average at that goal number.  However, over the last few months I’ve been hurt or sore or busy or distracted and not working like I used to.  Several pounds showed up and did not recede.

My clothes still fit me the same, but I see that middle getting thicker. I never buy clothes to fit over my middle, so clothes fitting isn’t a good guide.  I have to take action now to nip this in the bud.

So I had the talk with myself.

Deb, I said, you worked hard and felt proud and knew that more work was coming.  It’s been almost a year.  I’ve been patient with your child-ish pouts at any hint that you had to consider changing something up.  But it’s time to put on your big-girl panties and get to work.

It won’t be so hard this time.  Last time you lost 40#.. and burned more fat than that.  This is just a tune-up.  Just a few weeks of eating more mindfully, of working more carefully.  This is just getting back to what you did so well just a year ago.

I’m doing it. Slowly.

I journalled food (I HATE that), and found that I eating the same calories that I burn on days when I work out lightly. (so what does this mean about the days I don’t work out?  Yeah.) This is part of the “information gathering” stage.  What am I doing now so I can know what to adjust.

I looked at my workouts for the past few weeks.  I worked almost as hard at weight training, but the cardio has slipped a bit.  And the total trips to the gym or hours spent moving has declined.  Another point in the info gathering stage.

Next step is to make a plan. Set a reasonable goal.  Give myself a great reward to work toward.  When that’s in place I get down to the work.  Sunday will not only be the beginning of another week; it’s the beginning of a new stage of work.

Stretching and Squats

Does anybody else find lower body training really boring?  Is it just me?  Doing squats, lunges and leg presses, although necessary, always bore me.  I try to find ways to make these less boring; usually trying to move away from machines to something “free-er”.

Last week, I asked Adam to show me how to do a “real” squat working in the squat box.  At the time, he set forth a week plan before we worked out: doing a hard lower body workout, resting, doing a light full-body workout, resting.  Stretching in the morning before we work out.

THIS is one thing I really appreciate about Adam.  I give him a request or a goal, and he takes in the whole action to make it possible.  The workouts to prepare for something, the rest time to heal.

I have tight calves and hamstrings, so often when I do squats or leg presses I do not use my glutes enough.  The pressure/weight is transferred up to my lower back, straining the muscles and giving me pain. ANOTHER reason why I don’t like the lower body stuff!  Pain is teh pits!

Adam made sure I concentrate my form NOT on getting as low as I can, but on keeping my core strong on concentric move and only lower to the point where I begin to bend forward.  During the negative move, pressing down from the glutes through my heels. As I get stronger and “stretchier”, I can work on getting lower.

I enjoyed doing squats this way better than the squat machine or the squat sled.  I felt more in control of my position with the weight which means I’m more likely to do these.  Yay for me!

Afterward, we were talking in his office.

“Adam, I’ve had trainers tell me: you owe  me 10 minutes of cardio or finish up this strength training (when we’ve run out of time).  You often tell me how to plan my workouts for a whole week.

“I have NEVER had a trainer tell me: Go stretch before you shower.  If trainers do not emphasize the importance of stretching, why will your clients?”

He looked at me for a second, thinking.

“Ok, I’m doing it now!  Go stretch for at least 10 minutes!”

And I did!

The Bear Chasing Me…

Two or three times a week I do interval training for my cardio. It’s killer good for me: gets me nice and sweaty (which was always sign of success when I worked with Guido) and acts like a turbo-boost for my mood. Go in grumpy, unfocused and anxious; come out all sunshine and light.

Since I’m all for changing up routines in the gym, at the moment my interval training consists of 2 minutes of walking at 3.5 MPH interspersed with 1 minute of running (well for me running) at 6 MPH. All done at an incline of about 6%. To make it easy for me, any minute divisible by 3 is a running minute. No big math involved. Just notice 3, 6, 9, 12, 15.

Stated clearly: I walk for 2.55 minutes then hit the speed button to bump it up to around 6.0. Somewhere in the middle of that bump I go from walking to running. I have a mental picture that I use to inspire me (hence the title of this post): A Bear Is Chasing Me. If I run for one minute I can escape him. When I’m talking to friends while doing this, I will even say to them: If you excuse me for a minute, a bear is about to chase me. Then I speed my treadmill and my butt up.

Honestly, when that last interval is approaching, I’m never sure that I can do it.  I push through the minute, counting down the last 15 seconds outloud, wishing they would just go faster so I could slow down.

In reality that bear IS behind me and I’m actively doing what I can to escape her. She might take the mental form of a big black furry animal, but she’s really other things: she’s heart disease, she’s alzheimers, she’s all the physical and mental impairments that come with aging.

In my family, you die from heart disease or alzheimers. Except for a couple great uncles who died in motocycle accidents in the ’40s, this is our genetic imperative. No cancer, no diabetes. Heart disease except for the couple women with alzheimers. Research at the moment seems to indicate that these diseases are related: there is inflammation; your body decides whether this inflammation attacks your blood vessels or your brain. Fortunately, this means the efforts to slow one will work on them both.

So I run the bear that is not a bear.

What do you run from or run towards?

Is It As Simple As Smiling?

From my father, I’ve inherited a slightly “jowly” appearance. You know that bit of a sag at the edges of the lips and a slight downward droop along the jaw just outside the chin. When I was heavier, it was much more prominant, but still shows up much of the time.

About a week or so ago, though, I spent a week or so singing to myself. I love to sing.. and when I was in a choir class last year, the director mentioned that I’m a “smiler” when I sing. Yes, I smile, but I think it’s a bit more. I smile not just with cheek muscles, but also with the muscles that run on and just underneath the jawline.

The muscles in that jowly sag.

That week that I was singing I noticed that the jowliness seemed to less, then disappear. When I stopped stopped my merry melodies, the sag slowly returned. Yes, it was the singing that made those muscles tighten and my face “lift”.

But could an anti-aging appearance be as simple as smiling?

Let’s ALL give a try…

Goals: week of 11/09/08

Monday I’m working with a friend, setting up a conference down in the south bay. Normally, I’d be staying for the unconference, but I’ve got to be home taking care of the dogs. Workout early Sunday before I start get to work on this gig.

Workouts: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday. Emphasis on stability and balance.

Journal My Food: 3 days only. Tuesday-Thursday. Just to give me a snap shot of what I’ve eating on a regular basis. I’m guessing my carbs and fat may be a bit high.

Face Time: After leaving MV Monday, I have no firm plans for face-time. Need to fix this.

Study: Crank through at least one more chapter and review everything I’ve “learned’ so far.

Creativity: Sew, paint, embroider. DO something fiber-based 3-4 times in the week.

Writing: Blog 4 times at both blogs. Research links for at least 2 Blogher posts to be held for future use.

Friday I see a physician to figure out some med issues. I’m hoping the end result of this consultation will be a more alert me with my ability to concentrate and remember again. I look back on my writing from just a few months ago, and wonder: where did she go?

Goals for the Week

It’s always easier for me to state my goals out loud and then check back to see if I’ve accomplished what I wanted.  Writing things down is the secret for me.

That said, here’s what I want/need to work on this week:

1. Sunday: balance/stability workout.  steady-rate cardio.

Monday: strength workout and hiit cardio.

Wednesday: workout with Adam.  He’s getting me comfortable with the bit robo-cable machine.  Stability and core work. hiit cardio.

Friday: Strength workout and steady rate cardio.  (Checking on end energy level after same workout with different cardios.)

2.  Face time with real-life people 3-4 times this week.  (so far meeting friends Monday evening, Tuesday lunch and Thursday lunch.  Now can I plan something for Saturday or Sunday?)

3. Study.  I’m working through NASM’s preliminary course before their Personal Training class.  This will be a great way to determine if I have what it takes to study and learn the stuff I’d need to know.  But I need to be disciplined about actually showing up and doing the work.  Seven hours this week.

4. Clean and organize my studio so I’m comfortable working in it.  Continue with current project and plan out next steps.  Ten hours or more there this week.

5. Be kind to myself.  Have you read Stephanie’s post on Self-Sabotage? Really spoke to me, and I need to pay attention to this:

So I said, “I can promise for now that I aspire to live my life that way. I want to be my best supporter not punisher. When the negativity and self sabatoging starts, I will now be conscious and ask myself, would I say or do any of these things to other people? It only makes sense that I would do for myself what I would do for others because I deserve as much kindness, patience, and compassion as I give to them.”

What are your plans for the week?