Grackle & Sun

Archive for the tag “HIIT”

Office Chair Workouts: Week 8

Something new!  I’ve decided to give the workouts over at Loving Fit a try.  Why?  Because while I think the most important goal for me is to continually do better compared to what I did last week, sometimes the only way to get perspective about one’s gains is to measure them up to a clear standard.  I wanted to get a better idea of my progress by seeing where my fitness levels are using someone else’s ruler—namely a someone who is ridiculously fit.   It’s easy to feel like a hoss in your living room when you’re doing exercises that you know you can do, but it doesn’t mean you are doing all you can do.  This is my step back to take a wider view.

Tatianna at LovingFit.com has a wealth of killer workouts on her site, as well as fantastic guides on how to choose workout schedules.  Her videos clearly explain how to properly do each exercise and how to do variations for beginner and intermediate levels.   I like that she is all about form, all about making sure you’re doing the exercises properly.   One thing that she talks about is the necessity, even with bodyweight exercises, to take a day off between full-body workouts or to break up workouts into upper and lower body splits (even then tossing in a couple days of rest). I’m going to try this approach to see if it helps my workouts.   I also really like that her site is not the boob-bomb that other sites (yeah, I mean you, Bodyrock) I used to use are, and that’s incredibly refreshing.  I just want to see the exercises.  Finally, Tatianna is amazing about responding to questions and comments on her site.  I had a question about her plank variations video, and she answered it within the hour.  Wow.   That she takes the time to acknowledge and help her viewers tells me that she cares about this, and that makes me care about her work, too.   I first heard about Loving Fit on Angry Trainer Fitness, and it was all the comments about how she took the time to answer questions that made me give her site a try.  I’m glad I did.

Because I’m doing a new schedule, I’ll be posting my Office Chair Workouts on Sundays instead of Fridays.  Wish me luck.

Monday: Lower Body Workout

I didn’t have time to do one of her full workouts today, but I did watch a lower body video and incorporate a couple of the exercises from it into my workout.  Immediately, I can say, “Whoa, she is not messing around.”  Time to ramp it up.  I will be better prepared tomorrow.

Tuesday:  Upper Body Workout

Today I did part of the upper body workout entitled Magnetic Sweat from LovingFit.com.  I didn’t feel magnetic, but I did break a sweat.   One thing I like about the way Tatianna films these workouts is that the first half is her going through the exercises at speed, and the second half is her explaining the form for each one and variations that can be done for beginners or intermediate level.  It’s helpful to see what the benchmark on speed/form is for someone who is very, very fit so that I can gauge how I’m doing.  I modified most of her exercises to be somewhere between beginner and intermediate.  It was once again very frustrating to be limited by my shoulder.  I’m really unsure how to make it stronger without jacking it up.  One thing I do know is that the “two way dive bomber” push-ups was some high comedy in my living room this morning.  :/

Wednesday:  Rest Day

One of the cool things that Tatianna does on her website is to show workout schedule variations for different levels—beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  I’m experimenting with following Intermediate Workout Plan 1 for the next several weeks to see if I achieve more gains by A) doing split workouts—upper and lower body, and B) add a rest day in the middle of the week rather than the 5 days straight followed by 2 days off that was recommended by Bodyrock TV.  One thing that I’ve noticed over the last 7 weeks on this schedule is that I had a surprising amount of muscle fatigue, and every single Monday was a bitch to get back into the groove.  We’ll see if this new schedule fixes all that.  I can tell you that after the last two days, I needed this day to recoup.

Thursday:  Lower Body Workout

Today I did the Booty Pop Siren workout at Loving Fit.  These names make me shake my head, but Tatianna is so friendly and so freaking ripped, that it doesn’t matter.  She is helpful and thoughtful and clearly serious about doing this right.  I am in awe of her impeccable form, and it gives me something to work towards.

She recommends that beginners do not do interval training.  I’ve done some in the past and did not like A) worrying about the clock and B) ending on uneven reps.  I like to finish up a side so that it’s all balanced.  So I did not do the intervals on this routine, instead opting to do 3 sets of the recommended reps.  I figured it would work out to about the same anyway.

Also, I only did ONE set of the One Leg Chair Squats instead of the FIVE MINUTES that she did them.  Why?  BECAUSE THEY ARE EVIL!  AND THEY WILL CLAIM YOUR SOUL!  Or at least your quads and glutes and possibly the rest of you if you fall off the freaking chair like I almost did.  So I did one set on each leg very, very carefully and lightly holding on to the doorjamb.  It takes a lot of muscles to do that exercise.  Muscles I apparently don’t own yet.  O.0

And lastly, I did the One Leg Bridges on a medicine ball, because I don’t own a balance ball.  I tried doing them on the couch and a chair, but both were too squishy to do them properly.  It’s really important to remember to drive through the heel on this one.  That’s the key to properly engaging the glutes and the back of the thigh instead of lifting with the quads and back.  Muy importante.  Is the difference between a lame exercise that makes you hate the world and an awesome exercise that makes you dream about the butt you might possibly have one day if you keep doing them.  I finished up the workout with a few different plank variations.

Friday:  Upper Body Workout

Today I did the Trendsetter Workout.  I picked this one, because it was not too push-up heavy, and the 2 exercises that had a push-up could be easily modified.  This workout was surprisingly challenging for balance and coordination.  I had to really concentrate on maintaining proper form and not getting sloppy.  I’ll be adding bear push-ups and walking planks/scissors to my regular rotation.  Had a bit of wrist pain on the walking planks today, though, and that sucked.  WTF wrists?  And, AND I woke up this morning to my glutes telling me exactly what they thought of yesterday’s workout.  I told you those chair squats were evil.

Saturday and Sunday:  Home renovation and lots of walking.  Since I was still sore from these new workouts, the break was welcome.  I’m excited for a new week of workouts with Loving Fit.

Office Chair Workouts: Week 4

Monday:  Grey & Rainy

I just want to crawl back into bed.  It looks cold and rainy, but it’s not.  It’s grey and rainy and easily 80 degrees outside.  :/  Add to this the fact that I stayed up to finish all the laundry that needed to be done for the week, which means I went to bed at 3:30am and got 5 hours of sleep.  BLAH!  And excuses!

I did some sit-ups, I jump roped (jumped rope?) for a minute, held a plank, tried to do ugi jumps and mule kicks—that was funny, and did some kettlebell around the worlds.  Nothing felt right, and everything felt like it was going to hurt me if I tried to do it in my uncoordinated, unmotivated state.  Why, Mondays, WHY?!?!

Tuesday:  Sigh

What’s up with motivation this week?  I don’t know.  But I made myself workout anyway, through all the brain chatter                       this is stupid

Why are you doing this?                                You’re no good at this.                            Just stop.                            It’s pointless to workout

If you keep going, keep pushing through all of these negative thoughts, somewhere around set 4, you break through to the other side—-the side where it becomes clear that these are just machinations of your monkey mind.  It’s like sitting in a theater and viewing an elaborate set on stage.  You watch the performance and think it’s all real.  But if you walk behind the scenes, you see that the sets are all just facades, scaffolding and 2 x 4s holding it all up.   If you picture your negative thoughts that way, you see that if you go behind the scenes, it’s easy to kick it all over.  Then it’s just you on the stage.  What are you going to do with all that space?

All exercises x 10 reps on each side

All x 5 sets

Wednesday:  Challenge Day

Some days are just short on time.  It would be easy to skip a workout entirely, but there’s no reason to.  You can squeeze in a workout 1 minute at a time if you have to.  Sure, it’s not going to be a sweat-inducing cardio extravaganza, but you can definitely pack in some muscle burning goodness if you but try.  Today I set my timer and did 1 minute challenges over the course of an hour while making my son breakfast, doing laundry, and teaching a lesson in language arts (we homeschool).  Here are my scores:

Squats:  25

Inclined push-ups:  23

X-pos:  25 (12 on each side + 1)

Bird dogs:  38 (on each side—I repeated the minute on the other side to balance out)

Plank Up-downs:  10 on each side

Reverse Lunges:  9 on each side

Mt. Climbers:  53 on each side

High Knees:  60 on each side

Plank Jacks:  6  (these really hurt my wrists, and so I called it at 20 seconds)

1/2 Burpee Hold:  25

Thursday:  Max Reps

Mixing it up today.  Wanted to see how many I could do before I had to stop.  This ended up being a much longer workout than I expected.  I surprised myself:  :)

Toe Taps:  74 (37 on each side)

OMGLBIFD:  125!

Unweighted Dead Lift: (left leg)  64

Unweighted Dead Lift:  (right leg) 66

1/2 Burpee Hold:  21

Friday:  Do It Again!

I liked yesterday’s max challenge so much, I decided to do it again today.  Even though it’s just one set, because it’s the max reps that I can do, it ends up easily being just as long a workout (perhaps longer) than I might do otherwise.  And boy, do you feel it the next day!

Sleeper Planks:  37 on each side.  Geez, this is oblique pain city!

Mt. Climbers:  52 on each side

Heismans:  150 on each side

Ugi Jump:  10 on each side.  WHY are these so hard???

X-Pos:  26 on each side.

Office Chair Workouts: Week 2

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but on the top of the blog homepage, if you click Office Chair Workouts, I’ve made a list of all the exercises I do with links to videos of how to do them (made by other people, not me, lolz!)  I find it helps to see an exercise being done rather than just reading a description of it.

Monday:  Recovery Day

Spent the weekend in Chicago and walked a bazillionty miles carrying my moderately ladened messenger bag slung across my shoulders.  Needed this day to rest.  My shoulder is still bruised.  Note to self:  being able to walk a city is amazing and feels great;  Husband’s messenger bag, however, does not feel great.

Tuesday:  Back at it.

Heismans x 16 on each side

Reverse Lunge x 16 on each side

Bicycle x 16 on each side (kind of a joke, but gave me a minute break)

One-leg Hip Raise or Bridge x 16 on each side

OMGLBIFD x 16

Unweighted Dead Lift x 16 on each side

Full set x 3

Jump rope 500 skips

Wednesday:  Sore from Tuesday, geez.

Around the World, 10 lb dumbell x 16 on each side

Windmill, 10 lb dumbell x 16 on each side

OLDL, 10 lb dumbell x 16 on each side

Set x 2

Bird dogs x 32

Tuck out x 32

Plank up down x 32

Plank Jacks (I modified the Burpee Jacks today) x 10

Medicine Ball Slam x 32

Set x 1

Thursday:  Listen to your body

I’m still stupid sore from Tuesday’s apparently killer lower body workout.   It was the reverse lunges.  And the fact that I suck at post-workout stretching.  :/  Dude.  Anyway, I used today to stretch a lot and also to work on my upper body with something that I’m terrible at:  push ups.  I can’t do them.  My shoulder says NO!  And then I face-plant on the floor.   So I modify them and do inclined pushups instead.  Bonus—the guy in this video is wearing a luchador mask, lolz!  You can use windowsills, counters, sturdy tables, couches, chairs, ottomans, even stairs.  You get the idea.  I did pushups all over the house today to get different degrees of inclination.  Pushup challenge today:  55

Friday:  Rockin’ it Old School

Sometimes the oldies are good to revisit in a workout.  Crunches are great, but if you can’t do a sit-up, that means that from a supine position, you literally aren’t strong enough to sit up.  And your standard gym class exercises, like jumping jacks and high knees, get the old ticky ticker pumping.  Today’s workout is timed at 1 minute intervals with a 15 second rest between each exercise.  Total sets x 3.  You can clearly see my strong and weak areas:

Things I learned during this workout:

#1.  I noticed at the end of the second set of jumping jacks that I was slouching.  When you think something is easy, it’s easy to get lazy.  Straightened the spine and tightened the core on the next round, and felt much better about life.

#2.  Sit ups.  To tuck the feet under something or not?  That is the question.  The first round, I did, and I was able to do them with my hands behind my head.  On second and third rounds, I did not tuck my feet, and I had to use my arms as leverage to get offa the floor.  Remember when we were 8 and this was easy?

#3.  High knees = meet your hip flexors.  These are turning out to be a very, very important part of the body.  PS—one rep of high knees means raising both the left and right leg.   So that score is not so bad.

#4.   Legs are heavy!  Leg lifts hurt my lower back, but if I tuck my hands just below my butt to help keep my from sliding up on the floor, it helps.   Leg lifts are really easy to make a lot harder.

#5.  Fuck tuck jumps.  I am a short, curvy half-a-Rican, and apparently there is more gravity around me than around other people.   My plyo-powers allow me to jump, like, a whole 3 inches off the ground.   :/

And there you have it.  Sometimes working out makes you feel all awesome like Superwoman, and sometimes it just makes you cranky.   But if you bully through the awkwardness, sore muscles, lack of coordination, frustration, tiredness, and desire to lay on the couch watching reruns of Magnum PI on Netflix Instant, it gets better.  Just keep moving.  Magnum will still be there later.

Office Chair Workouts: Week 1

I don’t do static stretching warm-ups, I save that for the end of the workout.  Instead, I do about 5-10 minutes of active stretching warm-ups by dancing.  Usually in some horrible, but effective, combination of terpsichorean techniques:  chiefly, merengue, samba, and skanking. They’re the only dances I know.

Monday:  Easing Back Into It.  Riiiight.

In between each exercise, I do 100 jump rope skips!

100 jump rope

Bird dogs x 16 on each side

100 jump rope

Burpee Squats x 16

100 jump rope

X-Pos x 16 on each side

100 jump rope

Squat Jumps x 16

100 jump rope

Shoulder Taps x 16

This full set x 3

Tuesday: Planktastic

100 jump rope

Shoulder Taps x 16

100 jump rope

Toe Taps x 16

100 jump rope

1/2 burpee hold x 16

100 jump rope

Linedance x 16

100 jump rope

Sleeper Planks x 16 (8 on each side)

Full set x 3

Wednesday:  Jesus. 

This workout was a leg killer.

100 jump rope

1/2 burpee hold x 16

100 jump rope

Mule Kicks x 16

100 jump rope

Ugi Jump x 16

100 jump rope

Mountain Climbers x 16 on each side

Full set x 3

Thursday:  I really need to buy a kettlebell  :/


I did these with my dumbbell.  Lame, but I needed some weights today.  But I only have a 10 lb weight, which made this all very silly since I do all of this with 20 or 25 lbs typically.  I’ve never tried more weight because my gyms kettlebells only went up to 25 lbs, lol.  I might secretly be a total hoss and not even know it.  Today, this was just to get the blood flowing and the muscles moving.  Each exercise was done with 12 reps on each side x 2.

Friday:  Quick & Killer

I set the timer for 15 minutes (that’s all the time I had today) with the goal of doing as many sets as I could.  The exercises are paired, meaning that you go right from one to the next.  Yeah.

Mt. Climbers x 10 —-> 1/2 Burpee Hold x 5

Shoulder Taps x 10 —–> Burpee Jacks x 5

Prison Jacks x 10 ——> High Knees x 10

I think I could have gotten one more set in, but my son accidentally locked himself out of the house while taking out the compost, and I forgot to stop the timer when I ran to let him in.  Still, 9 sets wasn’t awful.  :D

Getting Fit in 2495 Words

Goal:  Husband and I have decided to race the MR340 next year.

This is a crazy race:  paddle 340 miles of the Missouri River, from Kansas City to St. Charles, in 88 hours or less.  It’s really hard, and people who are serious about it train really hard.  Everyone else just hopes to finish at all.  Time to start training.  For realz.

The Klepper.

Hurdle #1:  I am the antithesis of athletic.

Hi, my name is dre, and I’m a 38 year old mother of 2.  I homeschool my kids and work nights as a waiter.  I knit, dye yarn, garden, and watch old British tv shows.  When I grow up, I want to be Felicity Kendal in Rosemary & Thyme.  I’ve never done anything like this before.   I have no athletic abilities.  My sports experience includes swim team and volleyball… in middle school.  I did train horses for a long time in high school and college, but that’s really a different animal altogether, what with the horse doing most of the work and all.  Aside from a tiny little bit of fencing I did with Husband in my early twenties, the closest I’ve come to anything remotely athletic was chasing and hoisting toddlers a decade ago.  I am not kinesthetically gifted like my husband is, and my awareness of my body in space is non-existent.  I am frequently clumsy and occasionally asthmatic.  I lack self-discipline.  I get distracted easily (I forgot I was making the kids lunch while typing this paragraph and almost burned the rice).   I have always been fairly strong—growing up on a farm will do that to you, but I’ve never been super fit.   In my thirties I haven’t even approached kinda fit.

Baseball, basketball, football, volleyball… No. Yarn balls? YES!

Hurdle #2:  I’ve had a lot of health issues over the last decade that have taken way too much of my time and energy.

For ages, Husband has been trying to get me to be more physically active.  In his wise way, he knew that it would help me feel better.  See, I’ve not been well for quite a while.  That’s a long ass post for another day, but suffice it to say that when you don’t feel well, exercising is the furthest thing from your mind—even if it’s one of the things that will feel you better.  So much energy went into my illness(es) and into trying to fix me, that I convinced myself I had none to spare for something as seemingly frivolous as working out.  Sometimes I haz a stupid.

Solution #1:   Healing the body, even a little bit, frees up energy for action.

In December, a major piece of the puzzle concerning a longstanding illness fell into place, and by January, I was feeling like a new person.   One day while driving to work, I passed a billboard that advertised a membership to a nearby gym for only $20 a month.  One of those “New Year’s resolution” memberships.   I thought about it that whole night at work, and realized that it was time to start taking care of my body in a new way.

Solution #2:  A body active is a body healthier. 

I signed up.   That was the beginning of a whole new journey for me, a new process to learn.  One that I want to keep track of here.   My first day at the gym was with a complimentary training session with a personal trainer.  I’m going to post the numbers here in all their glory, not only because I’m proud of how well I’m doing, but also because I think it is incredibly important for all of you to understand that if I can change my eating habits, start challenging my body and become more fit, you absolutely can, too.   Here are the numbers from when I started out:

Height:  5’3″     Weight:  165     Shoulders:  45.5″     Chest:  38″     Waist:  33.75″     Hips:  42.75″     Thigh:  20.5″     Arm:  10.5″    BF%:  35.9

Pre-pregnancy, I weighed 120 lbs no matter what I ate.  Post pregnancy averaged around 145 lbs.  This was the highest I’d been since right after I gave birth.  Twelve years ago.  Ouch.

Hurdle #3: Bumpy starts are bumpy.

The trainer showed me how to use all the equipment, namely all the weight machines.  I’ve since learned that this is standard cookie cutter gym protocol, so watch out for it.  It became apparent very quickly that those machines are not designed for short people.   The pivot points are all in the wrong places, and there was no way to adjust the machine enough to correct this issue.  This discrepancy in sizing meant that a stupid amount of torque was placed on joints, and it hurt.  Not in a “feel the burn” kind of way, either.  It was frustrating and discouraging.  I already felt super out of place in the gym.  This wasn’t helping.

Solution #3:  When something doesn’t work, don’t quit— fix it!

So when I met with the trainer for a follow up appointment a couple weeks later, I asked her to show me exercises that did not involve the machines, and this is when she lit up.  Want to know what she showed me?  KETTLEBELLS.  All caps.  Kettlebells rocked my world!  Finally, here was something that I could get into.  Kari Syme at Eclectic Kettlebell has a great post on why you should train with kettlebells.  Kettlebells immediately challenged me—but in a way that I could build up to.  I appreciated the functionality of the exercises, and the fact that it required me to use my whole body, not just isolated muscles.  Kettlebell training makes you stronger for the real world, for daily life.  And I saw my strength, balance, and flexibility grow quickly.

This new-found, first-in-a-lifetime excitement for exercise got me researching more types of functional exercises.  I found a few great sites that have become my go-to sources for all information regarding fitness.  Two of them are  Angry Trainer Fitness and FitStudio.  Alfonso Moretti, the Angry Trainer, tells it like it is.  He is a personal trainer and body builder and has made it his life’s work to know all the ins and outs of nutrition and fitness.  His site is loaded with interesting articles on all kinds of fitness topics, but my favorites are his how-to videos where he teaches proper form on common exercises and his exercise videos where he shows you exercises that will kick your butt and keep you from getting bored.  Srsly.  Find the “10 ways to do burpees” video and the one where he shows you how to do bird dogs.  Bird dogs changed my life.  Six months ago, I would have laughed if somebody said I would be typing that now.   I used FitStudio’s free video glossary of exercises to learn a bunch of new moves to try.  These clips are all about 30 seconds long, and are a great way to cross-reference exercises when you read other websites and have no idea what the trainer is talking about.  Hey, not everybody knows what a rear delt row is.  (raises hand)  

Two other websites that really helped me out were Bodyrock TV and Zuzana Light’s Youtube channel.   Now, a fair warning—both of these are very… boobcentric.  By which I mean, they really use “visuals” (wink, wink) to get people to watch.  It’s pretty off-putting, because on the surface it’s more about T & A than workouts.  However, if you have it in you to look past that, the workouts are good with lots of creative circuit sets.   I no longer have the time or energy to wade through the all that to get to the workouts, so I’ve stopped using both sites.   I think it’s unfortunate.   I learned a lot about bodyweight exercise by watching Lisa Marie on Bodyrock.  She is infectiously cheerful and encouraging—which just doesn’t fit with the rest of the image the website is using which is pretty bow-chicka-wocka-bow, if you know what I mean.  So in the end, I feel like I don’t know what they’re actually trying to be about.  But despite all that,  it was Bodyrock that got me into using bodyweight exercises, and for that I’m thankful.  I just wish I didn’t have to turn it off when the kids come in the room.  :/  Zuzana was the original host (and part-founder) of Bodyrock TV, but has since left to host her own Youtube channel called ZWOW.  She is awesome—friendly, engaging, and encouraging.  And her form kicks ass.  When she started ZWOW, I thought it was going to be something new and different, but it seems that she’s going to keep doing the whole Bodyrock type thing, too.   Whatevs.   You can still learn some fantastic exercises that require very little equipment.  And with both of these you have the advantage of getting new workouts daily for free and being able to pause and rewind them as many times as you need to.  Totally do-able.   The lesson here is to be able to take what you need and walk away from the rest.

So, armed with an arsenal of bodyweight and kettlebell exercises, I started working out 5 days a week.  Because of my schedule, I could only go after work—usually around 11pm.  I also started adding in some HIIT training.  High Intensity Interval Training is a method used typically with running that involves walking or jogging at an easy pace for a specified period of time, and then running balls out for that same period of time, all for maximum total time of 20-30 minutes.  HIIT training helps achieve conditioning much more effectively and in less time than longer, slower paced runs.  I started this method because I heard that it was particularly good at helping to build lung strength.  As an occasional asthmatic (chief triggers are cats and exercise), I really needed help in this department.  So, I started by walking for a minute and then running for a minute, for 20 minutes.  I did this 3 times a week.  Very quickly I was able to increase my speed until I jogged at 4mph and then ran at 7 mph for the intervals.   Dude, this was a major achievement.  Until this point, I was of the steadfast opinion that running is something you do to save your life.  It is not done voluntarily.  HIIT training taught me to love running.  Mostly.  And my lungs loved it, too.  I saw significant improvements in my tolerance and capacity.

Finally, as an experiment I also started monitoring my diet on Fitday, a free dietary system that helps you keep track of caloric and nutritional intake as well as weight goals.  It is highly customizable, and I found it incredibly helpful in educating me about my daily intake values and my portion sizes.  A real eye-opener.  I’m not going to lie, it’s a pain to keep track of every bite you eat—even with a computer program, but I approached it as an experiment.  I really wanted to see if my caloric intake was way off or not.  So I limited my calories to between 1300-1500 calories a day.  I ate foods that would get me to 100% or over of my daily RDA values for vitamins and minerals.  That was the hardest part.  But I really worked at this.

The results?  After 3 months, I was stronger, more flexible, and more comfortable in my body.  I was more knowledgeable about nutrient dense foods and how to eat in appropriate portions.  But after 3 months of working out 5 days a week and eating a restricted caloric intake, I’d only lost 10 pounds.  I was happy for that 10 pounds, but still, it pointed to something in the equation being off.

Not so much a hurdle as a brick wall:   When your body talks, listen or pay the price.

And then I hit a super stressful couple weeks in May.  Isn’t it crazy how a little bit of stress will derail you?  I ate all the wrong things for me:  wheat, dairy, sugar…  These foods have been on my verboten list for years.  It was stupid, and I paid the price.  I got really, really sick.  Like, my body threw in the towel.  So I said, that’s it.  No more playing around with my diet.  It was time to listen to my body.

Solution to brick walls:  Sometimes you’ve got to turn in a whole new direction.

I’ve known for a long time that a number of my health issues either start with or are exacerbated by food intolerances.  I’ve researched and experimented with this for years, with many frustrations and a few successes.  But it’s hard changing your diet, especially when you seem to have a bit of a threshold.  Well, my threshold went down the tube in May.  It was time to take things seriously and to do what my doctor advised several years ago.  So I went Paleo-ish.  I cut out all grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar.  Now I eat lean meats, healthy fats, tons of greens and veg, and a healthy amount of fruit, nuts, and seeds.  And I started feeling better.  I stopped counting calories, which is awesome, because as informative as that was, it was also unpleasant.  It’s not healthy to obsess over every bite you put in your mouth.  Now, I eat like a hoss—as much of these whole foods as it takes to satisfy my hunger.  It’s wonderful.  I feel good.

A little over a month later, in June, I met with the trainer again for a follow up, and here were the results:

Weight:  145 lbs     Shoulders:  41″     Chest:  36″     Waist:  30.5″     Hips:  41″     Arms”  10″     Thigh:  19.5″     BF%:  32

That’s 20 lbs down, and 10 of it after I went Paleo!  And a bunch of inches!

Then, I quit the gym.

Hurdle #4:  Timing.

Turns out that training late at night sucks for me.  It was jacking up my sleep and taking away family time that I wasn’t willing to part with any longer.  It would have been easy to quit at this point.  But I’d developed some self-discipline with all this working out.  Bonus!

Solution #4:  Location, location, location.

I started working out at home.  That’s right, in the comfort of my own living room!  Lol.  But it turns out that when you’re doing functional and bodyweight exercises, you don’t need a lot of room or equipment.  You just need a floor and your body.  That’s it.  No excuses.  I’ll prove it.  Here’s where I work out now:

The living room, aka my home gym. No contract, no membership fees.

All caught up to speed.

My measurements as of this morning:

Weight:  138 lbs     Shoulders:  40″     Chest:  36″     Waist:  30″     Hips:  39.5″     Thigh:  19″     Arms:  Hard to measure by yourself  BF%:  couldn’t measure

I think this is proof that the Paleo helping.  There have been challenges, which I’ll talk about specifically later, but overall I’ve seen major improvements over the last 2.5 months.  I’ll admit, over the last month or so, I slacked off in working out.  Which is to say, I didn’t work out.  This happens.  But I’m back on track, and now that I have the goal of paddling the MR340, I am more dedicated than ever to getting in shape. When the burpee squats are kicking my ass, and I want to quit, I look up and remember what I’m doing this for now:

Motivation.

For most of my life, I’ve been unhappy with my body, unhappy with my level of fitness.  But I always had excuses.  Not enough time, not enough money for a gym, not the right equipment, too stressed out, too fat to work out, exercise is boring… I justified my inactivity any way I could.  The thing is, that the only way to get fit is to do it.  One burpee at a time.  One sit-up at a time.  One jumping jack at a time.  Whatever you can do, DO IT!  That’s how you get in shape.  You start by walking, you end by running.  And your body will thank you with every step, with every heartbeat, with every breath.

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