Monday, December 31, 2012

Hey, Hey, Success!

Dragged my butt to the gym today before noon because I have been feeling motivated to go.  I was not very motivated this morning though when I was all cozy in my covers on the couch, but I went anyway.  I told Chris I would go in the morning and be home to make lunch as he only had to work a half day.  I left it right to the wire to leave.

I strategically chose my treadmill.  I almost took the one between two fast and fit runners, but decided their fast pace would distract me from keeping a steady one.  Plus it felt a little intimidating.  I relocated to a treadmill between two walking young girls.  I was ready to feel like a champ by kicking up the speed between them.

I set my treadmill to a modest 4.5mph and proceeded to do my 3km (1.86 mile) trial run.  I ran a full 7 minutes before I had to take a walking break, but then I was able to do roughly 2 minute sets of walking then running.  I even set the treadmill on an incline!

Bad News: I'm still getting a stitch in my right side when I run.  It is mild enough that I can ignore it for the most part.  Today I got huge cramps in my calves though at the 1 mile mark.  I had to really slow it down to keep from feeling like my muscles were going to burst out the back of my legs.  I discovered keeping the steady run pace was better than walking it out though.  Any suggestions for muscle cramping while running?  I did not stretch before as my trainer advised me not too, but I did stretch after.

Good news: My ego took a boost because the girls on either side of me kept looking over at me and upping their pace for short bursts.  And, when they left a fit young guy ran at breakneck speeds next to me for short bursts and then watched me run on his rest times.  I just watched Ellen Degenerous' stand up "Here and Now" with the odd glance around the room.  TV makes running go so much faster. 

Better News: I hoped to complete my 3km in under 30 minutes to feel like I was even close to being competative for the try-a-tri with some training.  I managed to do it in 29 minutes!  So, if I shave 1 minutes off my time every month I will be able to achieve a competative time for the run portion in August (I'm aiming for middle of the pack). - Sad realization...that means I need to run the entire 3km at 6mph without walking breaks :( but it's possible.

Wednesday is cycle day.  10km on the bike.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I Hate New Years' Resolutions

I literally dropped off from the blogging world without explanation, but I'm back!  I intended to make it back sooner, but to be honest I haven't done anything related to my blog intentions "learning to love the gym" as I have not been at the gym since my last post (ages ago). 

I have however, continued to talk about fitness motivation with my husband.  The result - I don't have it and he has lots and I want it to rub off.  I am still searching for that thing that will motivate me to keep going to the gym when the gym gets hard, or I get tired or sick, or work pops up and life takes over.  I want to want to be the person who loves going to the gym, but I'm just not there yet.

Therefore, I continue to renew my fitness goals and make plans in my head and on paper and eventually I will actually start to physically implement them.  That brings me to the New Year and the resolutions that come with it.  I've never been good at setting or keeping them when I do voice some sort of goal for the year.  I've also recently read that diets and fitness goals tend to start on Mondays with the start of a new week.  Coincidentally, I am going against what I hate and re-renewing my fitness journey on a Monday just in time for the New Year.  I have 9 hours tomorrow in which to get my butt to the gym and time myself for a 3km run to jump start my try-a-tri training.  Here's to my new energy as I go forward!

PS I've also recommitted to eating healthier bento box style lunches and I genuinely enjoy them and they work well with my crazy work schedules.  Part of this inspiration comes from a slew of documentaries I've watched lately thanks to Netflix Canada.  Here's a pic of today's menu:

oven roasted chicken lunchmeat, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber dill yogurt dressing, grapes, Babybel cheese

pistachios for a snack

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What's New and Exciting?

I've been away from my blog because I am frustrated with my lack of weight loss progress and felt like it was pointless to blog about it.  But, then I realized even though I'm not losing weight I am making fitness more a part of my lifestyle.  I've been trying and accomplishing so many things these past two weeks that have me excited about and attending my work outs.

I have been wanting to take some yoga classes again for awhile now, but they never work with my ever-changing teaching schedule.  I kind of fell into this Relax and Rejuvenate class as it was before some gym meetings I had scheduled.  It is definitely more relaxing than a workout, but it is strengthening my core and improving my flexibility without requiring much exertion and therefore I have kept going and then tack on a workout afterwards.

Member Connect
The YMCA offers a free member connect program where a trainer shows you around the gym and gives you ideas for workouts.  I met with Heather and now feel like I've been oriented to my new gym and have a few ideas for interval training and strength training to try out.

Belly Dance
This is an awesome class!  Learning to belly dance was on my bucket list.  There are only a few of us in the class so we get to learn a lot at our own pace.  I go home every week with a new routine, some sore muscles, and a happy face.  I'm going to miss this class in December when my schedule changes.

Treadmill Running
Yes, running!  At a slow pace, but a steady pace.  I'm lengthening my running intervals and shortening my walking ones.  A pair of too loose yoga pants was the only thing that kept me from extending my current 5 minute interval time.  I did make it 1.5 miles instead of 1 mile this time though.

I returned from swimming one day to tell Chris that I completed my 20 laps for the day.  He asked "Why only 20?  Aren't you doing 40 laps (1km)?"  Yeah, thanks Chris for boosting my self-esteem.  My response was I'm doing 20, but sometimes I go ahead and do more.  He didn't understand if I can do more why wouldn't I?  So now I do 40 laps in the pool every time and I've extended the number of laps I do each swim style for before switching.  I'm also spying on the swim to fit classes and stroke improvement classes to get ideas.

It is quickly becoming winter here in Canada (I saw snow a few days ago) so I am no longer cycling outside.  I will be starting indoor cycling this week though to keep up my progress.

I figured with all the swimming, running, and cycling I am doing I might as well put it together to do a triathlon.  Last year I signed up for a charity race that I did not do because I was not able to run well enough.  Chris wants me to do The Warrior Dash, but I think it's a lot out of my league.  So a local try-a-tri scheduled for August next year is my goal.  It's a 300m swim, 10km bike, and 3km run.  It currently takes me about 12 minutes for the swim, 35 minutes for the bike ride, and I'm guessing 30 minutes for the run for a total time of 1 hour 17 minutes.  Last year in my age and gender category the fastest time was 45 minutes, the slowest 1 hour 13 minutes, with the average time being 58 minutes.  I think it's totally a reasonable goal to set for myself for next year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Renewing My Fitness Commitment

I feel like I've fallen off the grid for awhile.  I've been struggling with my motivation to workout as I see the numbers increase on the scale.  I'm finally back on track though with the scale, my eating habits, and my fitness routine.  It's like I never left it - but now it's better!

I've been swimming lots.  Several times a week for at least 20 minutes and sometimes 40 minutes straight.  I've got a good routine down now for my laps and I've started focusing on improving my strokes and increasing my propulsion with leg drills so I can swim more laps in less time.  I checked out the stroke improvement class today (or rather spyed on) to see if it was dumbed down enough for my level.  They used snorkles so I have something new to try next time I'm in the pool and I'm not intimidated to join this class when the opportunity arises.  I also have plans to spy on the adult learn to swim class and the swim to fit class Saturday morning this week.  PS I even swam last Saturday morning before work because Chris made a deal with me that he would clean the whole house if I went swimming.  My husband is awesome!

Today I went to the gym to try bellydance for the first time.  It was so much fun!  We did an upper body workout only by learning shoulder isolations.  The 45 minute class flew by and I made a new gym friend.  I'm meeting her for yoga tomorrow before my member connect session to learn the Y's gym equipment.  I'm definitely going to attend this class until my work schedule changes at the end of November.

After bellydance I felt like I needed to burn more calories or at least feel like I had worked out by leaving dripping with sweat.  I got on the treadmill and started running with my normal routine.  I was getting winded fairly quickly so I took my trainer's advice from a year ago and my husband's constant advice and actually dropped my speed.  I haven't wanted to do that because I already run slow and felt like dropping my pace would be awkward - that inbetween walking fast and jogging pace that seems so disjointed.  But, I dropped my speed a bit and got into the rhythm to keep a steady pace that had me jogging.  I went for a whole 5 minutes before returning to a walk!!!  That's 3 minutes longer than I've done before!!!  It actually felt like I was running...kind of.  Plus it was rewarding to be in a jogging gait on the treadmill while the skinny blond girl next to me was walking fast while holding onto the treadmill.  I felt like I was showing her up.  All in all I walked 45 seconds, jogged 5 minutes, walked 1 minute, jogged 2 minutes, walked 1 minute, jogged 1 minute, walked 1 minute, jogged 2 minutes, walked 1 minute 15 seconds for a total of 15 minutes bang on to go 1 mile.  Longer than my usual time, but so much more rewarding.  I then walked for a few minutes until my heart rate dropped back down instead of my usual jump right off the treadmill, down some water, and drive home routine.

Can't wait for tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Flipped the Switch

A friend of mine has grabbed hold of the reigns for her own fitness journey and has enrolled in bootcamp.  I did a few classes of fitness bootcamp and I remember how hard it was and how sore I was for days afterwards.  Good for her for going for it though.  I hope she can keep up the intensity for the whole month because it certainly was not the right fitness match for me at this point.  I was never bored and I learned a lot of cool new exercises, but I did not feel like I was successful at it so I dropped out quickly.

This brought on a conversation with my husband where we talked about fitness mindset.  He has always had a competitive nature so when he sets out to do something he intends to win, to do better than last time, or to one up the guy next to him.  My mindset has always been that I hope I survive it, just finish it, or try most of the activity.  We are in two different worlds in terms of fitness and Chris has been patiently waiting for me to cross over to his side of things.

The more we talked about it the more I realized that I have in fact flipped the switch and started on a new fitness journey.  I am no longer in the mindset of my friend (if I'm tired and sore I'll go and just give it 80% - which is still totally awesome because it is better than nothing and we all have those days), but am instead inching my way towards Chris' mindset.  When I swim now I try and do better.  I no longer go to just put in my 20 minutes of time.  I try to swim more laps or faster laps or run farther for longer.  I am not just going through the motions like before when I increased my ability because my fitness sheet indicated it was time to do so.  I increase my ability because I desire to increase it and my body feels the need to go above and beyond.

I still have those moments of relapse though.  For example, yesterday Chris came home for lunch and we talked about my fitness plan for the day.  he planned to run after work so I decided to run at the same time instead of going all the way into town to swim.  By the time he got home I had forgotten completely about this plan.  However, when he asked if I was going to be ready to run in a few minutes I didn't try and come up with an excuse not to go I just got up, got ready, and left to run.  Even the cold weather and my missing running jacket did not disrupt my plan to run.  I simply went with the idea that if I ran lots I wouldn't be cold. I ran one full minute before I had to stop cold in my tracks because my foot was so sore (plantar fasciitis) that I had to limp back towards home.  I felt defeated because I wanted to run.  I was confused because I ran/walked in sprints on the treadmill for 15 minutes a few days before no problem.  I decided that it must be my expensive running shoes that are the problem so I laced up my cheap Walmart sneakers and hit the road running.  It was much better.  I did my full mile at my usual pace and worked up quite a sweat.  If this had happened a few weeks ago I would have either a) not gone out on the run and made an excuse or b) returned from my 1 minute run and then used my foot as an excuse to not continue and take a few days off.  The flip has been switched!

Monday, October 8, 2012

FMM: Around Your House

 Visit All the Weigh to post the link to your response and be sure to swing by my husband's blog Wisdom, Courage, Power to check out how our answers about our house differ (and they do differ).

Inside Your Home

1. Do you live in an apartment/condo, townhouse or house?
I live in a house.  We bought Chris' grandma's bungalow and we rent out our basement to a male nursing student who is the best tennant ever!  So I guess technically I live in half a house.  But it is the first house that I signed my name to a mortgage for so that makes it mine...all mine...and my husband's.  :)

2. What is your home’s coolest feature?
The nook under the basement stairs has been turned into a fully lined cedar closet which is pretty neat.  We also have a fire place complete with chimney attached to the back of our house to cook with or enjoy on the back patio - I haven't seen that before.  It certainly is not the orange shag carpet in the guest/music room nor is it the blue sink, tub, and tile in the main bathroom.

3. Do you enjoy DIY projects?
I love DIY projects.  Chris may not know that about me as I don't have the time to dedicate to them very often.  But, at some point I would love to have a woodshop in the garage and a sewing machine in my guest room.  His dad keeps bringing us tools and has no idea that I can't wait to get my hands on them.  For now, I settle for my current knitting project.  The only thing I don't like about DIY projects is they often cost as much or more than buying the item outright.

4. When using the dishwasher do you use powder detergent or liquid?
We use liquid because Chris likes it and he does the dishes more than me.  I grew up using powder, but don't think I have a preference.

5. Do you have a TV in your bedroom?
I can't stand having a tv in the bedroom.  I was brought up by two parents who thought that tvs were not for the bedroom and it has rubbed off on me (even though as a child I used to strain to see the living room tv all the way down the hall from my bed late at night to watch my parent's shows).  It was quite the debate when Chris and I got married, but ultimately a tv made its way into the bedroom because that was better for the tv than storing it in a basement crawlspace.  It was seldom turned on though (exception: illness or boys hockey night in the living room) because I didn't want a marriage where the tv became the focus before lights out.  We have lived in our new house for over 2 months.  The tv was placed in our bedroom again, but it has yet to be plugged in.  Late night chats in bed are awesome when you're not super sleepy.

6. Is your range gas or electric?
Our range is called a stove or an oven.  It is electric with a flat top.  I'm getting used to it because I've always had the coil burners.  I would never want a gas one.

7. How often do you sweep/mop/vacuum?
When I spill something.  Chris tends to be be the sweep/mop/vacuum -er of the house.

8. What is your favorite place to shop for home furniture and accents?
Furniture - The Brick usually
Accents - street vendors and shops where we travel

9. Do you decorate for holidays?
Only for Christmas.  Chris had one tiny box when I moved in that was just bigger than the spice wheel it held.  I came with two rubbermaid bins, a long bin, and a few small boxes of globes.  I now have way more than that.  Chris thinks it is ridiculous how much I have.  We have a bigger home now so I think I need more.  I love Christmas decorations and have been given one every year on Christmas Eve from my parents so I have 29 uniquely selected ornaments or decorative items just from that.  Plus, I'm a teacher so students give me lots too.  Decorations don't go up until after my birthday on December 12th though and stay up longer into January.

10. If you could have HGTV come in and redo one room in your home which room would you choose?
The kitchen.  I worked on the kitchen in our old house all summer and then we sold it.  I would love to rip out the cupboards, fix the ceiling, upgrade the appliances, and revamp the layout if I could have an unlimited budget.  The floors look nice though because Chris and my friend's husband put new flooring in overtop of the old 70s laminate tiles.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Cardio is Improving

The last couple of times I've been swimming I've found that I keep a steady breathing pace and heartbeat.  It requires effort, but I'm not gasping for breath which is nice.  When leaving the gym I've even felt the urge to run to my car or do a lap around the block (I haven't yet, but think that I might build in the treadmill after my swims).

I went on the treadmill at my new gym for the first time and ran 1 mile to time myself on the new equipment.  I increased my incline and I ran 1.5 minute intervals with a 1.5 minute walk instead of 1 minute run and 2 minute walk.  It was definitely easier to do as most times I was close to the 1.5 minute mark before my lungs gave out, whereas previously I was counting down the seconds when I was only 30 seconds in.  I plan to keep this up and see if I can reach my 1 mile run without walking goal before I hit my cruise vacation.  That way I can run around the ship in the morning instead of walk the track.  It will get me done my workout faster and leave more time for exploring and less time sweating.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Another 1000 Metres

Tonight I swam another 1000 metres.  Then I tread water for 5 minutes because my tutoring client (who was a lifeguard) told me it is good exercise.  I am tired.  My arms are very sore.  And tomorrow I'm sure my legs will be killing me.  But I swam another 1 km tonight.  That is all.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

1000 Metres of Motivation

The other day I was reading Holly's blog I Dream of Skinny and found that her post was quite fitting for my thoughts and mindset lately.  Plus this particular post had me laughing as I thought of her and her fiance jumping up and down repeatedly to get their engagement shot.  Holly asked "How do you hold onto your motivation?"

I think motivation is the number 1 reason why I have not succeeded in past attempts at fitness.  I thought I had motivation, and I'm sure I did for short periods of time, but I never held onto my motivation long enough to make fitness a habit.  Chris often tells me that once I get over that infamous hump it won't be a matter of "Oh, I need to go to the gym today", but more a statement of "I go to the gym today because that is what I do.  I'm a gym goer."

For the past week I have been lacking motivation.  I don't know what had me fall off the fitness bandwagon, but I think it had to do with a change of work schedule and a hatred of having to shower multiple times a day, everyday.  I started getting re-motivated when Chris and I went out cycling together and it actually felt like we were biking together.  I even planned and went on an 18km bike ride out to Lakefield so I met one of my goals for next summer before this year even ended.  That was pretty motivating.

Then I took almost a week off the gym.  I was gaining weight at my weigh-ins and that was not helping me be motivated because I had done the work and it wasn't showing on the scale.  So, to get re-motivated I booked an assessment at the gym.  I have found this extremely helpful.  When the numbers on the scale stop moving, but I'm still putting in the work I need to assess my progress differently.  Although I did not drop more in weight since my last assessment I found that I did lose inches.  It seems my body has shifted.  All that swimming has tightened up my back and my hips, but I've put on a little around the waist.  Now I know what I need to work on so I can create a plan - new motivation!

When my motivation is lacking I also find a change in program helps.  I love swimming so I will continue to swim.  Swimming is becoming easy so I need to make it a challenge without making it too hard to prevent me from going.  Hence today I upped my swim from 20 to 30 minutes doing a full 10 laps of legs only without stopping.  After that I figured it wasn't too bad and the pool experience was nice today so I did 10 more laps.  That's a grand total of 1000 metres or 1km!  I didn't think that was going to be possible so soon.  I'm also going to add in two gym days a week - one for arms and one for legs with some cardio on the bike.  This will help me build muscle to burn fat faster and help me tighten everything up.

What else keeps me motivated?  My husband's encouragement, my friends' interest in my fitness journey, new food recipes, my love of chocolate (ie I need to burn 300 calories to eat a chocolate bar), new fitness activities, my desire to blog about my experiences, seeing my weight go down or the inches come off, new wardrobes, and feeling better.  I also get motivated from negatives like getting sweaty after teaching a dance class at school makes me want to get in better shape.

How do you get out of a funk when your motivation drops off?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Post

Chris and I went for an enjoyable bike ride the other day to the end of the road and back.  I went at full gear and he rode beside me at a decent pace so it actually felt like we were cycling together for enjoyment.  On this bike ride Chris mentioned how great it would be next summer to cycle together out to Lakefield and back for ice cream like he does on the weekend.

The next day was so nice on my drive home that I thought why not bike to Lakefield and back today?  but first drive my bike to the start of the trail at Trent University.  This way I would double my current cycling distance from 9km to just over 18km, but I would get to ride on a fairly flat pathway and get ice cream at the halfway point.  Chris came along with me and hooked up our brand new bike rack which was awesome.

The ride out was pretty easy peasy.  I went at a good pace and made it in 32 minutes roughly.  We cycled side by side most of the way and had a great chat.  Chris didn't know my whole intent on doing this bike ride was not just to say I did it and meet one of my goals, but to experience going to Hamlin's on a bicycle.  He insisted we share an ice cream cup because it was before dinner.

The ride back was not so nice.  It was supposed to be easier because we were following the river downstream, but we fought the wind the whole way back.  I was already tired and everything below my waist was numb and sore.  I felt like I was moving backwards I went so slow at times.  Chris tried to encourage me by telling me to keep pedaling and to see if I could beat my time on the way back.  This is where we ran into issues and had to have a little biking chat about our fitness mindsets.  This is how it went from my perspective.

Chris' mindset while cycling (how I view it): Amber, you should be like "I just biked 9km in 32 minutes.  That's awesome!  That's faster and farther than I've ever gone".  Look at me...I'm going to go another 9km with you.  I bet I can beat my time because I'm so good at cycling and all things sporty now that I lost weight and gained muscle.  I wonder if I will come across a road cyclist and then I can race him and be all proud that I beat them even though they didn't know we were racing.  I'm so pumped.  I'm pedaling fast.  I'm flying off the potholes and driveway bumps.  This is so great.  Yeah I beat my time!  I'm so amazing!  I bet I could do it even faster next time. Amber, that is what you should be thinking.

Amber's mindset while cycling (as I explained to Chris): Oh my God I'm tired.  I'm so tired.  Everything hurts.  Why did I decide to go all the way to Lakefield and back this year?  I should have waited until next year.  Now Chris is going to tell me that next year I need to set a bigger goal because I already finished this one.  That sucks.  Oh, my butt is numb.  I still have at least 30 more minutes to go.  Why am I going so slow?  I hate riding into the wind.  Oooh, yuk.  There are bugs flying into my face like crazy!  (Chris' response - that's why I wore sunglasses *smirk*).  There is no way I'm going to beat my time.  Chris, I'm not thinking about beating my time.  I'm just thinking about finishing at this point.  I'm trying so hard to keep pedaling and not think about how much I want to stop and have you ride ahead and come back with the car.  (Chris says "You can do it.  C'mon and keep pedaling")  I think I've become Dori in Finding Nemo and start saying a mantra to myself.  Chris asks me why I'm not trying to go faster.  I reply in exasperation "I'm not thinking about going faster.  I'm literally thinking pedal, pedal, pedal, just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling, oh a post up ahead - you can get there, pedal, pedal, pedal, post  Ooh ya I rock!  I made it to the post.  Pedal, pedal, pedal, there's some trees - that will stop the wind. etc."  I don't think Chris knew what to do with me at that point.

Suffice it to say.  We made it back and I cycled the whole way.  We didn't beat our time on the return, but still made good time.  It was quite enjoyable.  I'm still sore.  But, I can't wait to do it again next year.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"I Didn't Sign Up For This": My First Reaction to Chris' Lifestyle Change

When Chris first came home and told me that he was going to join the gym and get in shape so he could get his black belt I thought it was great.  I thought he would feel better and be able to do more and be excited about his new journey.  This was true.

What I didn't expect was that I wouldn't like his new passion as much as he did.  I wasn't ready to join him on his journey because I was in school full-time and working full-time and often fell asleep on the couch before dinner and stayed asleep until morning.  It was a miserable time.

As Chris became more excited about fitness and increasing his ability I became more frustrated with Chris.  He tracked every calorie and planned every meal and that took time.  Not to mention he didn't appreciate that I was eating whatever I wanted in front of him (ie. bringing home cinnamon buns) and I don't blame him. But, I didn't sign up for this weight loss goal - he did.  I did enjoy our healthy dinner challenges like our 1 week dinner salad challenge where we ate only salad for dinner and took turns making new ones (tuna and pine nuts on endive scoops, Waldorf salad, Greek salad, caramelized pear and toasted walnut salad, etc.)

Then I began to hate Chris' time away to do fitness.  I was exhausted from work and school and Chris was exhausted from work and school, but he was able to go to the gym everyday, hockey several times a week, and karate several times a week.  I, however, felt like I had no time and that things around the house were not getting done.  I felt like I was carrying the household (this was not true - just seemed that way because I was jealous Chris had free time to do his fitness and sport stuff and I did not have time for me).  I wanted Chris home and although I thought it was great he was so committed to his goal I did not care.  Deep down I wanted him to quit.  I didn't sign up for a relationship where my husband was at the gym for several hours a day.  That was not the kind of person I wanted to spend my day with (or not spend my day with since he was at the gym).

Then Chris finally met his weight goal (or surpassed I should say).  He was so low in weight that he looked sickly - literally.  You should look at our wedding photo and the before and after photos below to see the difference.
Chris back when I met him.  All cute and cuddly. 225lbs

Chris at our wedding. 155lbs

Chris looking super sexy now. 165lbs

This was a super hard time because Chris didn't think he was too thin.  He wasn't eating enough and he was working out a lot.  I didn't know what to do with myself.  Now I was married to this thin man who looked nothing like the man I fell in love with and I was still my overweight self.  I felt like we were an odd couple pairing as we no longer matched in looks and lifestyle.  So I started my weight-loss journey (half-heartedly) and thought to myself and expressed to Chris that "I didn't sign up for this".  I wanted my movie-watching, couch sitting, restaurant eating partner back.  I had to start changing my mindset.

But then things settled down and Chris was home more and I was home more and fitness became part of his life, but not the center of his life.  He was able to go to the gym for less time once he reached his goal and eat a lot more - this also took effort on his part and a lot of convincing on mine.  Things were much better.

Now, I'm actually committed to my own fitness journey.  I'm seeing the results and I'm doing more.  I never wanted to be a fitnessy-type person.  I don't want to be better at sports-type things.  I just want to feel better.  Things are getting easier and I'm having to do more to get that feeling of accomplishment and that feeling of working out hard.  I never thought I would be setting fitness challenges for myself.  I never thought my body would tell me it has to do something active because it misses it.  And, now I think to myself "I didn't sign up for this, but thank God I did".

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I'm Changing and So Is My Blog

Yesterday I set a goal of doing 50 crunches every hour during my 12 hour work shift.  This in itself was bizarre because it is not something I would normally do - challenge myself, especially at work.  I managed to complete the task and through that process learned something new.  I am more like my husband than I realized and I may have more of a desire to be fit than I thought.

You see, I set my goal as 50 crunches an hour because I thought this would be impossibly hard after the first two sets.  I honestly did not think I would complete the challenge, but wanted to set my sights high.  Surprising fact: it was super easy!  I finished each set quickly and thought "wow that wasn't hard at all".  I used to be sweaty and gasping for breath after doing something like that.  Then the challenge got easier throughout the day.  Mind-boggling!

By the end of the night I was thinking "if I'm going to do this tomorrow (yes, I know, I thought about doing it again the next day -another first) I'm going to have to increase it to 100 crunches an hour so I can feel the burn".  That didn't sit well with my brain though.  I was actually contemplating increasing my physical exercise because I wanted to feel like I had put in hard work.  That is so not me.  Or was not me in the past I guess.  I had to chat that out with Chris because it surprised me so much to say "450 crunches in one day is not enough for me anymore".  I never thought those words would come from my mouth.  I think Chris was pleased to see me sway to his side of the mental fitness journey.  I, however, was a bit disturbed by it.

That leads me to the new direction of my blog posts.  A friend has been in stitches hearing about my recants of Chris' and my fitness talks.  She thinks it is hilarious to hear my descriptions and expressions we have for each other when we just don't get each others' thinking.  So, Chris and I are trying to work out the kinks and then we will begin posting our "fitness talks" on our blogs.  You can read our conversations from both our perspectives.  Maybe that will help others who have asked understand how we support each other and learn from each other when it comes to being healthier and more active.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Every Hour Ab Challenge

Chris recently took up a touchdown push-up challenge where he completed 1000 push-ups in one day.  I felt I needed a bit of this inspiration, but push-ups are too hard (especially on the concrete floor at work) so he he suggested I pick something else to do once an hour to get me out of my office chair.  I said I'd think about it, but what I really thought was "Yeah right, there is no way I'm doing anything every hour I'm at work.  I need to be able to answer the phone lines and dispatch".

But, here I am at work for 12 hours, reading about Chris' Run For Your Life Zombie run and feeling like I need to do something as I missed the gym yesterday and won't go again until Monday.  So hour number one ends and I climb down onto the floor and bang out 50 crunches (10 each of upper, left side, right side, lower, and back extension).  That wasn't too hard and it didn't take much longer than an online tv commercial break.  So I create a tracking sheet and think maybe I can do this every hour...maybe.  That would be 550 abs by the end of my shift.  A little daunting, but do-able.

I've now completed 4 hourly sets of abs.  I've discovered that an hour is not a long time when you are working and trying to do something on the hour.  It's making my shift go by quickly and my back is hurting less as I go along.  Somehow the ab crunches are becoming easier rather than harder as the day progresses.  That just boggles my mind.

Update: I managed to do my 50 crunches every hour at work for the most part.  It got super busy at one point which threw off my times so I got 9 sets complete instead of 11.  Still decent though.  And, in the process I learned something the next post to find out what.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blogging Inspiration from Chris

Chris is doing a blog post a day for this month over at his blog Wisdom, Courage, Power that you should check out.  I don't think I could keep up to a post a day so I'm condensing his ideas into one post a week.

What are your 5 favourite veggies?                   Least favourite?
1) carrots                                                               1) broccoli
2) corn                                                                   2) cauliflower
3) squash                                                               3) brussel sprouts
4) green/yellow beans                                             4) roast or boiled potatoes
5) peas                                                                   5) cooked spinach (although raw spinach is yummy)
Runner up: parsnips, yams                                      Runner up: asparagus

My Fitness Bucket List
1) Run 5km without walking
2) Go on a canoe trip
3) Touch my toes without bending my knees
4) Cycle 50km in one day
5) Swim 10 laps without stopping in proper form

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cycling Like I've Never Cycled Before...Literally

When I was a kid I loved to ride my bike.  My first bike was a red tricycle with a white seat and it was awesome.  Then I had a pink bike with a basket and streamers and clickers on the spokes.  I thought I was pretty cool.  That was the end of me owning my own bikes though.

After that all my bikes were inherited from adult family members.  I started my no training wheel adventures on a banana seat bicycle my mom passed onto me from her childhood days.  We even added pegs on the back wheels so we could ride two in the seat, one on the wheels, and when adventurous another one on the handlebars.

In grade school I rode an old brown bike with orange handle bars that I got from behind my grandmother's shed.  It was the ugliest thing ever and the only thing that made it worse was the neon yellow helmet I had to wear to make me "highly visible" after my mom helped out at the scene of an accident where a young boy on a bike was hit by a car at the end of my cul de sac.  That bike had three gears and was a little clunky, but it still got me home on school lunch breaks to swim in hot weather before I had to boot it back to class while eating on the go.

My next bike was a shared bike between me and my mom.  It was her teenage years bike.  White with ram horn style handlebars.  It had lots of gears and I remember feeling proud of myself for mastering her bike because I could not touch the ground when I rode it since it was set for her height and not mine.

Eventually my dad decided that he could part with his bike because he had not taken it out of the garage in many years and giving it to me would mean my mom, brother, and I could all ride together.  It was the first bike since my pink one with streamers that I truly liked because it was royal blue and had 18 speeds.  The only problem was it was a boy's bike which didn't matter to me, but my friends thought it was strange.  I rode this bike right through university.

The first bike I bought was when I met Chris.  He convinced me to get a mountain bike because that is what he loves riding and we were going to ride together.  I had only owned road bikes before that, but I went along with his suggestion.  I like my bike, but I'm not convinced that mountain bikes are for me.  I have a really hard time adjusting to the fact that I have to lean down onto my handlebars rather than ride sitting upright because my other bikes all had raised handlebars.

That was a much lengthier recap about my cycling ownership history than I thought it would be.  The whole point was to get to this part which is cycling like I've never cycled before...literally.  Chris rode my bike a few times while his bike was in the shop.  He was surprised to see how low my seat was.  I have been riding it so I can touch the ground flat foot on both sides.  Apparently this is incorrect cycling positioning.  He raised my seat and I teetered on my tip toes, especially on our sloped driveway, and then he sent me out cycling.!  It was sooooo much easier to peddle.  I actually topped out on my gear speeds at one point (a first!) and I made it up all the hills on my bike rides two days in a row!!!  That folks means I met one of my goals highlighted on the right-hand side of my blog.  Yeah me!  And, thanks to Chris.

Monday, September 10, 2012

FMM: Have You Ever?

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Have You Ever?

1. Jumped out of an airplane?  No, but I might someday.
2. Lived alone?  Best time of my life - first housesitting for my grandparents for 3 months then having my own apartment.
3. Met a celebrity? No, unless you count before she got famous.
4. Said something to someone that you immediately regret saying? Of course, but thankfully not very often.
5. Had a manicure/pedicure? I used to all the time.  I even had acrylic nails for a long time.  I don't know about you, but I can't even remember the last time my toes didn't have nail polish on them - it's to the point where my toes look naked to me when I take the polish off to repaint them.
6.  Gotten a hickey?  I remember my first (Josh) and my last (Chris - recently too lol)
7. Owned a pet that was not a dog or a cat?  Hamsters and fish.
8. Been outside of your home country?  Of course.  A few places in the USA and many in the Caribbean.
9. Kissed your best friend? Not my best friend.  But in high school I kissed and dated several of my friends.
10. Eaten food that fell on the floor?  Always.
11. Met someone online? Many times.
12. Been on TV? When I was in grade 7 I was on a local trivia gameshow for schools.  We won!
13. Had braces?  Yes, by choice when I was younger.  I was unable to wear a retainer after though as I am one of the few people who spit retainers (or sometimes chuck them across the room) in her sleep.  And, during the day I attended 3 French classes and 1 English so I couldn't speak properly with it in.
14. Gone skinny dipping?  Many times - I was going to say sadly none with my husband because he hates the lake, but then I remembered the time we owned a pool ;).
15. Been to the opera? No.  I would love to go at least once to check it out.  I go to a lot of theatre productions though.
16. Been caught making out by a policeman?  No.
17. Sung in public? It's part of my job as a teacher.  I do it on an almost daily basis.
18. Handed out candy on Halloween? Last year was the first year I was able to do this.
19. Been snowed in? No.  I used to love snow days from school though - now I have to report to school as a teacher so no more snow days for me.
20. Fallen in front of other people? Of course.  Especially when on ice.
21. Cheated on a test? I've glanced at a few questions here and there to job my memory.
22. Regretted saying “I love you” to someone? Never.  I fall in love quickly as I see the good in most people.  I'm never afraid to have my heart broken.
23. Finished a meal in a restaurant and realized that you didn’t have your wallet? Totally.  Thankfully Chris had his.
24. Shot a gun? Definitely.  My dad was a C.O. with army and then air cadets.  We shot air rifles in the backyard a few times and I went to the range to shoot some handguns. 
25. Heard a song that was written for (or about) you? Not a song.  But a poem.  And once someone made me a mixed tape that had them acting as radio dj between songs.

List your 5 favourite healthy living / fitness blogs

I read my husband's blog a lot and he has recently taken up a new challenge from Fitness Cheerleader where you post to your blog everyday for the month of September.  His topic for today had me thinking about which blogs I visit the most to get my much needed dose of positive encouragement or need for relatability.  Here are 5 of my latest blog check-ins:

Wisdom Courage Power is my husband's blog.  Like he said, he would not get offended wither if I didn't post his, but I genuinely find him hilarious and I read his blog the most.

All the Weigh is Kenlie's blog and I participate in many of her FMM challenges and am always amazed by her ability to speak up for others even when it puts her into an uncomfortable position.  If she lived near me I would totally try to make friends with her.

Never Seconds is about the coolest blog I've read recently.  VEG is a young girl who began posting pictures and nutritional information about her school lunches (seriously go back to the start of her blog and begin reading there).  It's so cool to see what she, and then others around the world, have for their school lunch program.  She took a stand with the help of her dad about making her school lunches more healthy.  But, then she didn't stop there.  No...she decided to start raising money for Mary's Meals to provide food to children and next thing you know she raised £113,912.06 and is building an entire kitchen with the funds.  How awesome is that!

Affection for Fitness is Marion's blog and it is one of the first blogs that really got me into reading about health, fitness and exercise.  She's one smart cookie so her blogs always get me thinking.

Amazing in Motion is Aimee's blog.  She always leaves me comments for motivation and sends me tips for training.  Her journey through running has been amazing to follow.  Plus she seems likes a pretty awesome mom when I read about her adventures with her son.

Honourable mentions: I Dream of Skinny , Back to MILF Status , and The Fat Girl's Guide to Life (which is a blog that is no longer posted to, but was really awesome when Mandy kept it up).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saggy Underpants

Chris and I went shopping and errand running the other day.  It was quite the adventure and I apparently did not dress properly for the day.  An overflowing laundry basket had me grabbing a pair of booty short underwear in the morning instead of my usual pick and it was a bad decision through and through.

I spent countless trips to and from the car with my underwear creeping up my behind or twisted around as I slid into the car.  I don't think I've ever picked out so many wedgies.  I was very tempted to go commando by the time I announced to Chris that I thought my butt was too small because my underwear didn't fit anymore.  He laughed and told me that was an unusual complaint - having a butt that was too small.  Seems the 5lbs I'm down came directly from my butt cheeks.

I think I've also gained some muscle and lost more fat.  Maybe it's in my head, but when I look in the mirror parts of me are looking a little more defined and I'm seeing more curves along my mid-section.  Everything seems to be a little more stream-lined.  Whether it's in my head or not it's pretty awesome and encouraging.

On another note I think I've converted Chris into a swimmer.  He splashes a lot, but he enjoys going more now that he has a purpose and a goal.  He squirms like a little girl complete with a pout on his face though if you stick him in the lake - our one and only Ontario beach day together lasted all of 10 minutes.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nageons, Nageons dans la Grande Piscine

Song Translation "Swimming, Swimming in the Swimming Pool"

Since scoring my free pass to the YMCA I have gone swimming a few times in the 25 meter pool.  The other day I swam in the lane next to a girl I know from Chris' karate classes.  She is known as "Mad Maddi" because she is highly dedicated to everything she does and she does it all to an extreme level of perfection.  

Chris had been talking to her about his swimming adventures (as he stated he "swims like a cat") and she told him she is 1 second off from Olympic qualifying times.  Well how could I pass up a challenge like that when I could compare my speed to an actual swimmer?  I timed myself consistently at 40 seconds per length of the pool.  She set off with two other swimmers in her lane and they each completed their warm-up lengths in 20 seconds.  That is 20 seconds regardless of the stroke they were using - even legs only using a flutter board.  Heck she could glide 1/3 of the pool underwater just from her push-off.

Needless-to-say I tried to keep up and failed miserably (unless I secretly celebrated a win if I beat them to one end of the pool before they could lap back to their starting point).  I did, however, get a really good workout trying to swim faster for a long period of time.  The hot tub after was heaven though for my aching muscles.  I still have a cramp in my buttocks though.  On the upside all this swimming and cycling has taken a half inch off my calf and a half inch off my hips.  Go me!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Well Wonders Never Cease

"Well wonders never cease" was an expression my grandmother often used and it seems fitting for my life this week.

  • I worked out almost every day this past week including several late night workouts in order to get them in (because I actually wanted to) and that has left me a little tired today.
  • I lost almost 5lbs this week alone.
  • I've eaten fairly healthy all week, with a Dairy Queen blizzard dinner exception, but I lost the weight by morning.
  • I researched active things for Chris and I to take up together.
  • I scored a free one week pass to the YMCA finally and swam laps in their pool.  I can do a 25 metre lap in 40 seconds currently.  I also increased my number of laps.
  • I applied for and was offered an interview for a full-time teaching job for...wait for it...phys. ed. teacher for kindergarten to grade 3!  I couldn't believe it either.  I almost did not apply as I lacked the confidence (not looking like a typical gym teacher), but I thought why not - it's my focus right now in my own life so I can be a role model.  I brought my enthusiasm and a few new ideas to the table today at my interview and will wait until Monday to hear back.  The thought of teaching 25 gym periods (250 minutes a day for 5 days a week) has me tired, but pumped at the same time.
So wonders never cease.  I may get that Biggest Loser fitness camp experience I've always wanted by partnering my career with my own needs.  Maybe I'll learn to love the school gym instead of the fitness gym I set out to at the start of my blogging journey and inspire a group of 300 students along the way.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My New Mantra: Think Healthy

Today I woke up and did my usual Saturday morning routine of sleeping in, weighing in, lounging around, getting ready for work, and getting together 3 meals and snacks from home and the grocery store to take to work for my 12 hour shift. 

These 12 hour dispatch shifts in an office by myself are brutal for my calorie intake as I get bored and want to snack so I often bring a lot of junk food.  Today I am making a change (again) with my weekend diet so I repeated to myself while I searched through the fridge and cupboards my new mantra: "think healthy, think healthy, think healthy".  I grabbed a bottle of water, some bagels and cream cheese, and one can of Coke instead of two (my one must have that I'm not willing to give up).

I went to the grocery store and said to myself again "think healthy, think healthy..." as I passed the displays of school snacks and chocolate bars.  I grabbed a chicken garden vegetable salad and low calorie dressing, a yogurt and fruit and granola cup, and a package of watermelon.  I was doing great. I thought there was no way I was going to make it through my first work day without some sort of treat so I scanned the aisles for a treat from Weight Watchers.  I passed all the tarts, and pies, and donuts and thought "not healthy, not healthy, not healthy" and kept on going.  I bought some milk to make tea and some Smart Food white cheddar popcorn.  I then avoided the chocolate bars at the cash and dashed out with my purchases before I could be tempted anymore.

That's when I pulled onto the road and proceeded to follow this vehicle for the next 15 minutes to my work...

                          "Think healthy, think healthy, think healthy".

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back on Track = Back to Results and a New App

This week I recommitted to fitness with a lot of encouragement from Chris.  I have put fitness as a priority in my day by cycling or swimming for at least 20 minutes.  As a result I have lost 1.5 lbs already this week and am on track to lose 2 lbs a week through healthy diet and exercise.  It's no surprise that putting in the effort has given me results.

Other exciting news!  My brother introduced me to an app for my phone called My Fitness Pal.  I have never enjoyed tracking calories because it is too much of a pain to look everything up online only to find that what I ate is not there exactly or that I need to tally each ingredient separately.  Then this app was born.  I can scan the bar code of any packaged food I eat to get the exact calories and nutritional information per proper serving size.  The searchable database also is member generated and includes complete homemade meals tallied up, favourite dine-out meals/treats, and saves my common foods and common meals for easy access.  It is beyond easy to use.  It also tells you your recommended calorie intake per day based on your stats and goals and fluctuates that amount as you track your calories burned through fitness.  I can also view my friends food and exercise diaries.  It is available for phone or computer and did I mention it is FREE!

I have also made a decision about the gym and will be getting a membership for the YMCA.  It is a better fit for my fitness interests and goals as I can swim any time and like the equipment room.  They even offer adult swim classes to improve your stroke technique and a swim to fit class to learn how to burn the most calories in the pool.  I may even join the pick up underwater hockey team.  Yes, we Canadians play hockey on every playing surface possible (even if it includes mask, snorkel, flippers, a mini stick, and a weighted puck).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Great Gym Membership Debate

I'm on a roll.  I did a workout for the second day in a row!  I went to the gym and swam 25 laps in 25 minutes and then tread water doing scissor kicks and jumping jacks in the deep-end for another 15 minutes.  Upon leaving I asked when my membership is due to expire.  Looks like Chris and I need new memberships starting Sept. 6th.

Now the debate...I don't know where I will be teaching yet this fall so I don't know where I should get my membership.  I was debating not getting one as I am mostly exercising from home, but come winter I will need an indoor location anyway.  There are three "good" gyms in our area.

The Wellness Centre where we currently attend is most likely going to be on my way home from work and is located in the city where I will often spend a few nights a week working, going to darts, or hanging with friends.  It will cost us over $924 for the year ($77 month) for a couple's membership or $531 for just Chris ($44 month) because he really likes it.  It has a great workout space, a swimming pool (limited swim times), therapy pool, waterslide, great classes free to members, and an awesome trainer named Jodi V.

The YMCA is in the city, but will be out of my way by a few minutes.  It also has a pool, but has lane swimming available at all times, a hot tub, squash courts if I become so inclined, and better workout machines (namely because they have individual tvs on them that you can plug headphones into directly.  It also offers classes, but I'm not familiar with them or the weight area.  Membership is more at $83 per couple or $48 single per month.

Goodlife Fitness is 7km from my house and I would have to pass it on my way home regardless of which school I teach at (with a few exceptions).  It does not have a pool and I still need to tour the workout space to see what is available.  It also offers classes, but I'm not sure if they are free.  I used to belong to the women's only gym downtown which I really liked, but it costs more per month to have the option to go to both gyms.   The gym is also open 24 hours a day during the week and open 7-6 on weekends.  It costs $30 per person per month for a membership.

Time for some decision making.  I wish gyms weren't so expensive.  What do memberships in your area cost?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When Did I Forget How To Jump?

Yesterday I decided to whack some weeds in my new yard while Chris cut the grass.  I had to go onto the raised portion of our yard (a section behind a 2 foot retaining wall).  When I went to get back down it was too awkward and far to step down easily so I planned to jump down.  "Planned" being the key word because when I went to do it my mind and arms said jump and my feet and body said no.  Literally said no by weighting itself into the ground.  I thought that was weird so I went to jump again and ended up tripping closer to the edge but not jumping.  My body was telling me it wasn't meant for jumping.

I had to stop and have a little think to myself about when was the last time I jumped.  I thought back to my childhood days when I loved jumping double dutch and thought I must have jumped since then.  I thought to karate a few years ago when I met Chris and had to jump and kick and warm-up.  I thought to my Bachelor of Education when I had to do jumping jacks.  And, I thought about jumping over the half ball at the gym.  I told my body I was capable of jumping and this was ridiculous to be stopping me from doing so and I jumped down.  It was a little rough but I made it upright.  I had to do this two more times during my time outside working and each time I had to convince myself that I was going to jump because I could do it.  I realized this was an issue.

I've always thought my health was important, but I've never been really concerned about it because I always thought as long as I can do the things I want to do why worry about it or make a change.  Now I can't do things that I should be able to do without my body resisting it.  I have to make a change.

But herein lies the problem.  See Chris' blog post about knowing and doing because I know what I need to do, but I'm not doing it.  Chris had this massive realization that got him geared up to make a change.  I've had lots of little ones and my brain has said it is time to make the change on one level, but not in others.

This brought up an amazing conversation with Chris who has been beyond supportive and encouraging and enthusiastic and now has approached me with concern.  Through his comments I have discovered that there are two other barriers to my fitness health that I have not worked on.

Firstly, that it has not become enough of a routine for me to even register in my thoughts of what to do each day.  I told him that on my drive home from work I thought "yeah, I'm going to be home early so this would be the perfect time to go for a bike ride and get fitness in for the day".  By the time I got home I had completely forgotten about the bike ride and instead made myself some supper.  I had the intent, but not enough desire to actually remember to do it.  I need to make fitness more consistent in the day so I remember it because it is not something I look forward to so much that I will remember it among other distractions.

Secondly, I am not willing to put myself first even when others are willing to allow me to be first.  I have a hard time saying no to other commitments and figure I can fit my fitness in later, but the reality is that I don't fit it into my schedule.  I need to realize that my husband will be just as happy (if not happier) if I ask him to do the dishes so I can go ride my bike as if I had done the dishes myself.  I'm working on this.

That brings me to this morning when I recommitted to my fitness.  I still can't run with my injured foot so I rode my bike.  I planned to ride for 10 minutes out and however long back rather than aim for a distance.  It took me just under 11 minutes to reach a turning point I could recognize on a map to chart later and a total bike time of 23 minutes 45 seconds.  Chris has suggested I bike at a lower gear and peddle faster until my leg muscles develop that way I get my cardio going instead of tiring my muscles.  It seemed to work well, but it was painfully slow on some sections of my ride no matter how fast I turned the peddles.  It ended up being about 5.2km.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Running Injured

Last week I ran the miserable mile and as a result re-activated an old injury (plantar fasciitis - aka huge pain in the arch and heel of my foot causing me to limp for the past week).  I hated it because I felt like I could not workout after feeling so gung-ho.  With encouragement from my hubby I still got out there and went cycling as it was manageable with the foot pain.

Then came today.  I was super busy and did not get to the gym to swim as planned to avoid being off my feet.  I decided to try running as I was only limping slightly, but I went out thinking I wouldn't make it the full mile.

Surprise, surprise, my running form is poor and therefore running flat foot (or pounding hard into the pavement) did not hurt my foot.  I ran and walked.  I got embarrassed running in front of houses with people watching from their porches, especially if I was on a walking section gasping for air.  It was particularly motivating to run past their houses instead of walk or push that extra distance.

As a result I went from a one mile run of 14 minutes 14 seconds to a one mile run of 13 minutes 37 seconds (with an injury no less).  A whole 37 seconds faster!  It was awesome!  And, I only got a stitch in my side at the halfway mark instead of sooner than that.  Any suggestions for side stitches would be welcomed if you have prevention or alleviating tips.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Goal Update

I was right back in January suspecting that I would forget all about my fitness goals for the year.  Reading many new blogs today I have been reminded of them so I will review them and then revamp them to make them more manageable.

My list:
1) re-learn how to swim laps properly in the pool, swim laps for 30 continuous minutes 25 times.
2) lose 25+ lbs
3) lose 5%+ body fat
4) run the 5km Warrior Dash or Mudnewton (watched it and considered partaking)
5) learn a dance routine
6) go to the gym at least twice a week for one whole month
7) go to the gym at least three times a week for one whole month
8) do not allow more than one week to go by without a workout
9) lose 1+ dress size
10) blog weekly (close, but not quite)
11) weigh-in weekly
(close, but not quite)
12) meet with Jodi (my trainer) once a month
13) workout with Chris once a month
14) go for a walk once a week
15) cook 12 new recipes
(some, but not all)
16) drink 5 or less cans of pop a week
17) track my calorie intake for 3 consecutive days on 4 separate occasions
18) try something new and sporty
19) walk 10km with a friend
20) do 50 girl pushups without stopping
(tried, but not there yet)
21) post Yoga pictures
22) improve flexibility, definitely to be able to touch toes, but aim to do the splits
23) lose 5 inches off my waist
24) bike to Lakefield and back

25) wall sit for 2 minutes (tried, but not there yet)
26) hold a plank for 2 minutes (tried, but not there yet)
27) meet and make friends with one new person from the gym
28) go canoeing and don't fall out of the canoe

Revamped goals
1) Lose 25lbs
2) Exercise 3 times a week regularly
3) Reduce pop intake
4) Reduce calorie intake
5) post Yoga photos
6) run 1 mile without walking
7) bike to the end of the trail near my house and back without walking up hills

FMM: A Little More Personal

I haven't done one of these in awhile so I thought I would today with it being a holiday.  It's always interesting to read new blogs. Visit to see the links to everyone's posts.

 A Little More Personal

1. Are you a morning person?  I am a mid-morning and evening person.  I do not like waking up to an alarm clock, I will fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon if given the chance, and get tired after 10pm.  I can go with the flow though after years working shiftwork (imagine working 11pm-7am and then going to university for classes from 9am-2pm before going to bed).

2. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  I’m an introvert, but I fake it until I make it as an extrovert when necessary (like when I’m teaching).

3. Are you addicted to anything? If so, what?  I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to anything, but I would miss chocolate and coca-cola if I couldn’t have it.

4. How many times have you been in love?  I fall in love with everybody – I just see the good in everyone.  Maybe it is the fact that I work with young children who are constantly telling me “I love you Mrs. Barnes” that has me telling others I love them too.  But for the sake of answering the question I will answer 2 times to cover the two people I loved so much I thought I would marry them (one of them being Mr. Barnes).

5. What is your position on politics?  They are boring.  I vote with my heart and my head – so far that has been NDP.

6. Are you religious?  I believe in God.  I went to church every week as a child and young teen so I have a strong Anglican background.  As I grew up I became more spiritual and less about following the full beliefs of any one church.  I guess now I pick and choose the parts I like and those parts always come back to accepting others, treating everyone kindly, and a belief that we have a purpose on earth and a place in a Heaven.  When I have children I will likely return to church though to provide my children with the same beliefs and background.

7. Would you prefer backpacking or a luxury hotel?  Hands down luxury hotel.  I like to go do stuff, but I like to be comfortable.  Sometimes I splurge on the luxury hotel, but usually I find something mid-range as I would rather spend my money on experiences than a place to sleep.

8. Do you have/want pets?  I have one cat and will likely get another.  We will never own a dog.

9. Are you a sports fan?  No.  I don’t like to watch them or play them, but I do partake in both on occasion.  I was so happy when my husband’s hockey team did poorly last year because it meant he was not in front of the tv three nights a week watching the game for hours.

10. How often do you brush your teeth?  Usually once.  Sometimes more, sometimes less (if I’m rushed and forget)

11. Do you have tattoos and/or piercings?  I have one hole in each earlobe that I occasionally wear dangly earrings in (I used to have a collection of hundreds).  I used to have two holes in each earlobe, but I let them close.  I have one tattoo above my right ankle of a unicorn in black ink.  I would get another tattoo, but I haven’t found anything I can live with the rest of my life or a spot I would like it on.  I may eventually get something on my wrist.  

12. What’s your favorite clothing brand?  I don’t have one.  I usually wear stuff from the MXM collection, but I have a policy that every time I buy clothes I try on at least one thing that is out of character for me to wear.  Sometimes I end up buying it because it surprises me how good it looks.

13. Should a man open doors for a woman? I don’t think a man SHOULD open doors for a woman the way I think that a man SHOULD put the toilet seat down (speaking to you Chris).  But it makes me happy when a man does open a door for me.  Ie. this morning I was leaving a store and a man held the door open to let me out before he came in – instant smile on my face and a “thank you” for him.  It makes me feel girly and it makes me think that you are a kind gentleman – why wouldn’t you want to open a door for a lady if you can when you get that kind of response?

14. Which season is your favorite?  Fall is my favourite because I love the warm breezes and colourful leaves.  Spring is second only because it rains more.  I hate the heat and the cold and the temperature I hate the most depends on which season we are currently in.

15. Would you rather eat less or workout more?  Why do I have to pick one?  I really don’t like either.

16. What’s your idea of romance?  Apparently I need to express this out loud more because my husband’s response was “whatever my wife thinks it is” which would explain why I don’t think he is romantic very often.  Romance is showing me that you love me and why.  Romance is opening doors, surprising me with flowers/love notes/gifts just because, telling me you love me, giving me hugs and kisses, planning a date where I don’t have to make any decisions, cuddling with me, giving me a massage, or doing anything that would make you feel good and loved if I were to do it to/for you.

17. How often do you do things that are outside of your comfort zone?  All the time.  I am a teacher.  Doing things outside of my comfort zone is a part of my daily job – singing songs in front of people, dressing up, playing pretend, speaking to large groups of people, holding creepy crawly things and acting excited about it, and more.

18. Christmas or Halloween?  Christmas all the way.  I have boxes and boxes of decorations.  I love the music.  I love visiting family.  I love buying, wrapping, and opening presents.  I love baking.  I love turkey dinners.  I do not like having a birthday so close to Christmas though and I do not like that I have worked Christmas and its surrounding holiday days for the last seven years.

19. Would you rather live in the country or the city?  Country all the way.  I like the small town feel of knowing your neighbours, playing safely on the street, running through each other’s yards because there are no fences, the trees, the stars, the smell of fields, the sight and sound of animals, the bodies of water, and the short walk into a small downtown of unique shops.

20. Share your life philosophy.  With effort on my part if it is meant to be it will happen and if it is not meant to be it won’t, but that’s because something better will replace it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Miserable Mile (a fairytale)

Once upon a time there was a girl who desperately wanted to fall in love with the gym.  At times it seemed a hopeless cause and at other times it was fantastic.  However, in her mind there were always more important things to do like work and school and housekeeping.  And, there were certainly more interesting and less tiring things to do like watch television, read a book, take a nap, or go out with her friends.

Then one day she decided that maybe she should stop trying to love the gym and start trying to love gym-like things so she started walking, running, cycling, dancing, and swimming.  This was a much better fit for the girl's interests, but still she struggled to fit them into her busy life.

This was very confusing for the girl's husband because she was not the type of girl to put things off that were important to her and she always took on more challenges and tasks than necessary.  He felt if she really wanted to enjoy physical activities she would make it a priority so he supported her by declaring an entire summer to be devoted to her desire to exercise.  It wasn't that simple though because it was very hard for the girl to focus on only herself so she thought and thought about exercising, but she did very little about it.

Then the girl got a new job where she looked after twin girls in the morning to help their father get them ready for daycare.  You see, the man had Diabetes and ulcers and he had a very hard time moving around especially to chase after two young princesses.  The girl was surprised to find that it was not so easy to get two little ones ready in the morning now that she no longer had her 16-year old body and stamina.  She saw a glimpse into the future of her trying to get her own children ready for school and herself ready for work and she did not like how it felt.  So she thought about her summer goals and her future and what she could do about it.

Then she watched a documentary about super morbidly obese children (children who are 150lbs or more overweight).  She became inspired by their transformations at a weight loss camp and jealous of their results.  She saw their happiness and she wanted it for herself.  So she looked at one of the ways they measured their success at the camp - a timed mile long run.  This seemed the perfect fit for the girl's non-gym going days and past goal of running a 2km race.

She was shocked to learn the run times of the children in the documentary.  Most ran or walked it in 25 to 30 minutes, but the one child that reminded her of the man with twin daughters walked her mile in 1 hour and 22 minutes.  The girl could not imagine reaching the point where physically she would be unable to complete a one mile walk in a reasonable amount of time.  She thought about her previous run times and decided she needed to run a long, tiring, painful mile herself.  She fully expected it to be a miserable experience.

The idea of running a mile seemed daunting.  So much so that the girl drove the course first to truly get an idea of how long a mile would be because in her mind it was going to be a never-ending road.  She was surprised to find out how quickly the turning point came up.  This was do-able.

The girl laced her fancy new sneakers, plugged in her ipod (Ain't No Other Man, Be Somebody, Black Horse and a Cherry Tree, Dirty, Disturbia, and Mr. Brightside), set her stopwatch and set off running, or rather jogging, but she did it with enthusiasm.  She jogged, she walked, she jogged, she walked, and she waved at passing cars.  She jogged, she walked, she huffed and puffed, she walked some more, she jogged, she gasped, she walked, she got a stitch in her side, and she walked some more.  She continued this way for the entire mile.  Mostly walking with short bursts of jogging, a pain in her side, and a cramp in her feet.  This was definitely a miserable mile.  But she was happy.  She was out there and she was doing it better than she thought she would.

The girl arrived home, sweat dripping in her eyes, tunes blasting in her ears, breathing deeper and fuller, a little sore, but so content.  She looked down at her watch 14 minutes 14 seconds.  A long way off from a 5 minute mile, but nowhere near the documentary times.  Not bad for a first timed trial she thought, not bad at all.

The End

Saturday, July 21, 2012


So much for the summer of me.  After one really good week of working out 5 days a week I had two weeks where I did almost nothing outside of packing and unpacking boxes, working, and visiting my grandma in the hospital.  Even when I had time to go workout I was exhausted and lacked the motivation because I wasn't able to keep the routine.  Starting Monday for the most part I am working only one hour a day and have to drive into town where the gym is in order to do this (we are moving 15 minutes north) so I should be able to get my routine back.

It is no surprise that for the last two weeks when I haven't worked out I have almost regained the weight I lost in the first week, although I am surprised I've still maintained some weight loss.  That brings me to swimming.  I had a good chunk of time off on a day when Chris was home sick.  I packed and visited people and Chris urged me to go to the gym because it would make me feel better.  I kept putting it off and told him I would go swimming later.  When swimming time came I didn't want to go.  He bugged me until I went anyway telling me I would like it once I got there and in the pool.  I didn't believe him I was so tired.

I hopped in the pool and did 30 minutes of laps.  I felt good after the first one and was happy I went.  I felt sore after the second one - I forgot how many muscles you use when swimming different strokes.  I did front crawls, front breaststrokes, back strokes, just legs, just arms (that was hard) and I was happy with my progress.  About 20 laps and 5 minutes of treading water.  Next time I need to remember my goggles so I can swim faster.  I'm looking forward to swimming again this summer after our move on Wednesday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

When Life Gets in the Way

I was doing awesome my first week of commitment to me and the gym.  I got my workout in everyday.  Then this week came and I hit a new low by not being the committed person I usually am.  I got back into the routine last night though with a late night dance workout alongside my ever supportive hubby and hit the dance floor again today after an extremely exhausting and unplanned day.

Working half days has not stopped my life from getting in the way of having "me time" and I am willingly letting it do so at the cost of my health.  But, the new change is that I'm grumbling about it afterwards.  So as annoying as my husband can seem when he asks me about my day at the gym (especially when I haven't gone) and when he encourages me to drag my butt of the couch and do the workout I had planned I certainly appreciate it - that is on the inside because on the outside I've been expressing a much bitchier and defensive attitude about it.

I've found it hard to receive his questions and comments and words of encouragement as support (which it truly is) and instead have felt like I'm reporting to someone, getting questioned and judged, and am being checked in on.  I don't know what the answer is to how I feel other than to continue going and as I become more proud and excited about what I'm doing the more I will enjoy sharing it on a daily basis.  We'll see what the future brings.

With tomorrow being another busy day I hope to do a gym day as I miss the treadmill (yes, miss it) and am excited to run again.  Having missed two gym days this week I also plan to go to the gym Saturday.  Next week my goal is to finally get out swimming so I'll see if that works out.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is It Possible?

After one week on my new plan I have been reminded what I love and what I hate about starting up a fitness  and nutrition routine.  Some things have even surprised me to the point I am asking myself is it even possible?

Things I Love

  • losing weight
  • more energy
  • feeling better
  • doing more
  • trying new foods/eating more of the foods I already love
  • beating my goals

Things I Hate

  • higher metabolism means more trips to the washroom
  • feeling hungry (only because I'm burning more, not because I'm eating less)
  • not sleeping as well 
  • multiple showers in a day
  • getting sweaty
  • more laundry
  • not meeting my goals

Things That Surprised Me

  • feeling full sooner when eating
  • craving healthy foods
  • I threw out a chocolate bar and a donought because they tasted "too sweet"
  • I drank Coke Zero and liked it

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And the Results Are In...

After four days of workouts (2 at the gym and 2 at home), a healthier, but not skimpy mealplan change, and a lot of willpower the results of my hard work are in...

Drumroll please (rat-a-tat-tat)

I am down 4.2 lbs!

The details of my week are below if you care to see how I made this possible.

Meal Plan
breakfast: bowl of Special K with skim milk in it, banana, water to drink
snack: 100 calories (fruit or granola bar or cookies) water to drink
lunch: 6 inch turkey sub and white milk / 2 leftover taco wraps and water and ice cream with corn syrup / cheese omelet with two pieces toast and Coke / half can tomato soup made with skim milk and two pieces bread and Coke
snack (sometimes): piece of homemade pineapple carrot loaf / white cheddar popcorn / watermelon
dinner: 2 tacos and Coke / cod and green beans and a few spoonfuls of rice (not a rice fan) and water / steak kabobs with lots of roasting veggies and pineapple and water / dinner out: calamari and lighter portion of roast beef and mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding and gravy and roasted fresh veggies and Coke and apple crisp with ice cream (I went up in weight as a result of this dinner out)
Note to self: Not as successful as I intended with reducing the amount of Coke I drink.  Have now finished all Coke in house and will not be purchasing it with groceries this week.

Workout Plan
Gym Day: 26 minutes cardio - 11 minute treadmill (1 minute at 3mph, 1 minute at 5mph, 1% incline), 10 minute elliptical (level 10, 100 RPM), 5 minute recumbant cycle (3 minutes at level 10, 2 minutes at level 8, 70 RPM)
Dance Day: 18-20 minutes cardio - Just Dance 3 Sweat it Out Challenge plus more (6 songs)
Dance Day: 25-30 minutes cardio - Just Dance 3 Sweat it Out Challenge plus more (9 songs) - finished the whole week`s cardio dance challenge in 2 days!!!
Gym Day: 37 minutes cardio and stretch out - 15 minute treadmill (1 minute at 3mph, 1 minute at 5mph, 1% incline), 12 minute elliptical (level 10, 100 RPM), 10 minute recumbant cycle (5 minutes at level 10, 5 minutes at level 8, 70 RPM), stretch out on the stretching station

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Virtual Model

Update Day One: Day one of the gym I managed to complete 30 minutes of my 1 hour cardio workout.  I did everything at the same level I left off at months ago, but had to stop because it was one of those days when your body fights you the whole way.  Ever had one of those days where you constantly feel like you have to pee, but your body disagrees with you (likely some dehydration)?  That's what I had the whole time I was running, cycling, and on the elliptical.  Total uncomfortableness, but I was happy to stick it out for half the time.  I lost 2lbs overnight as a result of the workout and sticking to my nutrition plan.  I even resisted the urge to go to DQ, but it was hard.

Update Day Two: I chose to try out my Just Dance 3 Wii game.  It turns out is has a fitness tracker on it so I took up the challenge and completed 30 minutes of sweaty, but super fun dancing.  Again stuck to my nutrition plan.  Passed up DQ, but had some popcorn as a healthier substitute for my snack craving.

Chris and I had quite the informative discussion today.  I need to think about it some more and the I will post about it as we discussed goal setting, meeting our expectations, why we make the choices we do, how we view ourselves, and where we are at in our fitness mindset.  It's a lot to digest.  One piece that came from it was a recommendation to try out a virtual model to see the difference between where I am now and where I want to be.  I did this years ago for the purpose of clothes shopping so I thought it would be cool to try. Here are my pics.

Current Representation

Achievable Goal Weight