Friday, November 18, 2011

*Not* Too Busy to Exercise

Phew!  I've been busy, busy, busy.  I feel like I'm running from one thing to the next.  The last time I posted was Sunday and it's already Friday.  This kids, husband, household, work, gym thing is not for the weak of spirit.  Thank goodness for a daily dose of relaxation with Marek.  I read books with him almost every night and then sit with him for a bit discussing the day and singing songs.

Anyway, the good thing is that despite the activity level around here I still managed to get my 5 days of exercise.  Here's a quick run-down since Sunday...

Tuesday, gym - 25 min upright bike, legs/shoulders/core, 3 min stair stepper, stretching, 58 min/453 calories
Wed, 5:30am boot camp (I have to note the time, right?), walk/jog there/back, 85 min/659 calories
Thur, gym - 32 min treadmill run, chest/triceps/core, 2 min stair stepper, stretching, 58 min/519 calories
Friday, gym - 25 min upright bike, back/biceps/core, 2 min stair stepper, stretching, 57 min/430 calories

I had to do 4 days in a row, something I usually try to avoid, because of my schedule this week. No other way around it.  I hope I don't pay with a lot of soreness in the coming days.  Back when, I noticed that my body got stiff and sore when I did four days in a row.  Hopefully I can handle it now.  And it won't be the norm, I'm still shooting for no more than 3 days in a row.

So I recently noticed that I burn more calories on days that I run.  I think it's probably because the bike involves sitting on your rump and there's just no way to burn as many calories sitting down.  I started writing down how many minutes I'm exercising too (inc stretch time) just out of curiosity.
The week ahead is going to be crazy.  Tomorrow is my second day off from the gym and I'll start fresh on Sunday.  We are driving to Southern California on Wednesday, returning on Sunday, and I cannot tell you how much I do NOT want to drive 8+ hours with very active toddlers.  But I want to see my grandfather and go to my cousin's baby shower so we'll be hitting the road.  We checked out flying but, given the Thanksgiving holiday, prices were ca-razy!  Drive we must.  Thank goodness for Miguel - the idea of him being there makes it feel doable.

I'm going to use this blog post to figure out my workout plan...

Sun - gym
Mon - gym
Tue - gym
Wed - day off (driving day)
Thur - possible Turkey Trot or run on my own for 32 minutes
Fri or Sat - gym (last time I was in Southern California I paid a day pass fee at a local gym)

We drive home Sunday which means I won't hit the gym that day but that's the first day of the following week so I have 6 more days to get things done.

We have a lot of things on the calendar in the weeks after Thanksgiving.  I'm shooting to not add anything additional.  And I might need to take a day off somewhere in there just to catch my breath.  Good thing I exercise. I believe I'd be a nut case right about now if it weren't for the stress management and increased energy I get from that.  But it's not an endless amount of energy so I'm off to bed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Party Pushups

Wow, I haven't blogged since Tuesday.  In my defense it's been a busy week.  I had the rest of the week off and the kids kept me busy!  But that didn't stop me from getting to the gym five times this week.

On Tuesday I did 25 minutes on the bike followed by chest and triceps.  I've really been working on my pushups. Three weeks ago I lowered the smith machine bar again, working toward doing "real" pushups.  When I first lowered it I couldn't do three sets of 8 reps.  The most I could do was 5 reps.  So I did three sets of 5 reps and then later, after doing the rest of my workout, I came back and did three sets of 3 reps.  The next time I did three sets of 6, came back and did three sets of 2.  Next time was three sets of 7, came back and did three sets of 1.  Finally last Tuesday I was able to do three sets of 8.  The human body is amazing!  More on pushups in a bit.

So on Wednesday I planned to get up for 5:30am bootcamp.  But a work event the night before kept me out late and I just couldn't drag my butt out of bed.  Good thing I haven't signed up yet or I would have been mad about the lost $.  Fortunately my mom was able to come over and watch the kids during their nap so I could still get my exercise done.  I had a nice run outdoors and officially completed c25k with my final Week 9 run!! I did back/biceps and core work.  I have decided to add two minutes to my run every two weeks.  Maybe when I get up to 40, 45 minutes I'll take another look at things.  I really don't have the time to be running much longer than that unless I start getting up in the morning to run before work and then do strength training later in the day.  I'm motivated but I don't know if I'm that motivated.  In any case it's going to take me three months to build up to 45 minutes so I have time to figure that out. 

Thursday was a day off and Friday was another bike session with legs/shoulders and core work.  Saturday was my 5th gym day.  We spent the day at the zoo with the kids so I got to the gym around 5:30pm.  It was chilly and getting dark out so I decided to do a treadmill run.  I increased my time by two minutes so it was a 32 minute intervals run.  I have been doing the last 30 seconds at 6mph just for fun and to let my body experience running faster.  This time I decided to start at the 31 minute mark with a plan to run at 6mph for 30 seconds and then go back to 5mph for the last 30 seconds.  But instead I just kept running at 6mph.  It felt weird, and good. I mean, it was ridiculously hard and I couldn't have done much more than a minute but the feeling of my legs flying under me was strange and exciting.  It's like they were part of a machine and I was just along for the ride.  I couldn't imagine running that fast all the time.

So Ian, the trainer I've met with a couple times, was working that night and I decided to pick his brain about pushups.  He's the one that pushed me to do more challenging pushups (i.e. dropping the bar again and again).  I asked him to show me how to do a pushup.  That might sound stupid but I wanted to know the "right" way to do them, arm positioning, etc.  He gave me a quick lesson and I learned I was able to do three "real" pushups.  I also learned you don't have to touch your nose to the ground when you do them.  So I came up with a new plan.  For each set of pushups I did three floor ("real") ones followed by five on the smith machine, for a total of 8 reps.  On the third set I could only do 2 floor ones, but I was still able to get up and do 5 on the smith machine bar.  Wow!  I am doing pushups.  That's something I think I never would have thought I could do.  I'll work on adding more as I get stronger.  I would be SO happy to be able to do three sets of 8 pushups.  That would be so cool!  Also, Ian said I had really good form - I'm guessing all those planks are to thank for that.

Speaking of planks, I decided to mix it up and try this new (to me) exercise I saw in Women's Health magazine.  It's not exactly a plank but close enough.  I'm going to do these on chest/triceps days when planks are on the agenda.  I didn't use dumbbells - instead I used Harbinger pushup bars, which were WAY more stable than I'm guessing dumbbells are, not to mention less heavy.  These are VERY challenging for me, I did two sets of 8 and was wobbly as heck but I know it'll get easier.  I'll be doing these maybe once a week, which is a nice change in the routine and might help my pushup endeavor.

Now, on to Saturday night!  We put the kids to bed (and crossed our fingers they'd stay asleep for the sitter) and headed out to a friend's birthday party (Happy 40th Wendy!!). I was having a great time!  I'd had a few drinks (read: I have no idea how many) and was in a very good mood.  People were dancing, myself included, and we were closing the place down.

The party thinned out and we were having fun trying to remember 80's dance moves.  All of a sudden, out of the blue - I was doing pushups!  What?!  Ok, I have no idea what happened in my brain but somehow I think my pushup achievement earlier in the day, coupled with the alcohol and dance cardio, I just felt like doing them.  Lest you think I was doing pushups on a grimy dance floor, the party was at Wendy's house so it's not that bad.  But I have been laughing each time I think about it.  Well, I wasn't exactly laughing when I woke up this morning feeling like a truck ran over my chest.  Who does pushups at a party?  The good thing was Wendy and Victor are both into the fitness stuff so they were cracking up and eventually they made Miguel do some so as not to be shown up by his wife.  Of course he had to do his with a clap in between.  Men! 

I was dragging today, thank goodness I drank A LOT of water before I went to bed because I think that saved me.  That and the Whopper (hold the mayo) that I had for lunch today.  I took the kids to watch the first half of Miguel's soccer game and wondered if I'd be able to go to the gym later on only 6 hours sleep and a mild hangover.  But when Miguel got home I dutifully put on my workout gear and hit the gym.  Thankfully I didn't have to run - I doubt I could have.  I sat my rump on the bike and did my 25 minutes.  I then did back/biceps and core work.  My abs were kind of sore and it seemed like I could feel each ab muscle working, which was cool.  I gave myself a break and skipped the stair climber that I usually wrap up with. 

I came home to Miguel and his soccer buddies hanging out.  It is actually Miguel's birthday today so I picked up a cake and, unfortunately, had two pieces of that before the night was over.  The frustrating thing was that the cake was just ordinary cake and the second piece made me sick to my stomach.  Didn't I just write a post on willpower?!  So food wise - all the alcohol and party food, the whopper and cake today - well, it's not stellar.  But I'm ok with that.  I'm doing what feels comfortable in the food department but pushing myself in the exercise department.  I trust it will all fall into place.

I'd like to close with a zoo picture.  Marek was really into the animals and we got a lot of "Wow"s out of Myra too.  It was a blast!  Here we are eating lunch with the elephants.