Getting Back to Healthy

The beginning of the year always seems to be the time people look for a change. Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves in the previous year. They start off with so much hope and great intentions. But, unfortunately, they don’t tend to stay on the course.

Well, guess what…I’m joining those ranks (the ones looking for a change, not the one straying off course). However, I started my journey at the end of November.

20160105_221050.png

When I finally got a full-time job that allowed me to have a little more cash flow, I knew I immediately needed to get back into the gym. While I haven’t been in a “normal gym” for three years, I knew that I had to make the most of it, until I can afford to join a new CrossFit box. So I joined Anytime Fitness in my hometown. I chose this gym because it was close to my office, and open 24 hours a day. My plan has been to use my lunch break the days I work in the office to workout to get in short cardio sessions (25 minute hill or speed intervals on the treadmill). On days that I work from work from home I hope to hit the gym early in the morning before my husband has to leave for work for some weights.

It’s been so hard to be my normal self. When I lived in Lexington I had the support and community of Man O’War CrossFit. My guys were always looking for me every morning. Even after Baby A&W was born, I still managed to go almost every day. But that’s when she would sleep throughout our WODs, which made it more manageable. Our neighborhood was so perfect for walks of all lengths, and I would walk the dogs everyday after work (whether Baby A&W was in her carrier or stroller).

But now, I don’t have the CrossFit community for support. I don’t have the flexibility of a sleeping baby in her carseat to bring with me. I don’t have sidewalks, street lamps, or multiple routes for walks–country roads aren’t the best to walk on come dusk/dark. And the winter weather isn’t conducive for a baby to be out in the elements for long periods of time.

But I can’t continue with the excuses. I’m at a stage in my health that I never thought I would be at, and it’s frustrating.

So I looked for what I call “Forced Motivation.” Knowing that I’m paying for a gym membership means I need to make the most of it. For Christmas my sister paid for my registration in two half marathons (April 16 and May 7). Knowing that I have two big races. so close together, means that I need to be getting my strength back before adding the mileage.

20160111_112716.png

So, I’ve been hitting the gym more regularly now. I’ve set goals–not only in weight loss but also in ability when it comes to getting back to my old self. I’m already feeling a difference and I look forward to the workouts. There have been some exhausting nights with A&W not sleeping through the night, teething, or just being sick, not to mention that I’ve worked a lot of late nights trying to hit my freelancing deadlines. But those aren’t an excuse.

I’m thankful for Coach Taylor that he continues to post the weekly WODs for MOWCF on their Facebook page. When I’m preparing for my weight lifting days, I check to see what my old CrossFit family did as far as WODs and then try to see if I can do them in some form or fashion at my “boring gym.” Or, I’ll make up my own.

Here are some workouts I’ve done:

WODcollage

I’m also going to get back to blogging more regularly, as I want to use this as an accountability tool again. I’m excited about the two half marathons I’ve got coming up, but also very nervous about training on my own and getting back to being fit.

Your turn: How are you getting back to being fit in 2016?

Advertisements

Ending (Your Gym Membership) is So Hard To Do

Wednesday morning, after a tough double workout of a 4.3 mile run followed by CrossFit, I drove over to my old gym with the intention of canceling my membership. I walked in, started to stand in line and then…I balked.

Was I sure I wanted to cancel my membership? What if things change down the road and I want to start going back? I’ll have to pay a signing fee (again) and probably be charged more monthly than I do now ($24.95 a month, plus bi-yearly fees). What if it’s been decided that I shouldn’t be running and need more cardio (spinning class)? 

All these thoughts just flooded my mind and I turned around and walked back out.

I haven’t been in my old gym for three months, since I started going to Man O’War CrossFit. I’ve been running, walking the dogs, and doing CrossFit, not spending time in the gym like I used to. That’s about $75 down the drain because I haven’t used it. When things are tight financially like they are in our house right now, that’s a lot of money.

My regular gym has let me down in the past--most of the treadmills didn't work this winter during my half marathon training. But there was always spinning as a back up...

My regular gym has let me down in the past–most of the treadmills didn’t work this winter during my half marathon training. But there was always spinning as a back up…

I love my box, and I love spending time outside, but soon the weather will be turning and I’ll need to take my runs indoors again. Sure the cheaper gym ($18 a month) closer to our house has treadmills, but there aren’t classes there, so goodbye spin class. Is it worth it?

I’m traversing into the unknown–it’s been a long time since I didn’t hold a membership to a conventional gym.

What have you done when battling tighter budgets and gym memberships? Should I jump ship, or continue to keep paying for a membership I may or may not be using in the next few months?

A Surprise Workout Partner

If there’s one thing completely different about myself and M, it’s our difference in drive in the gym. I love to work out. It’s hard for me to not go to the gym just about everyday. My husband, on the other hand, would rather not go to the gym. For a while, when we were first dating, he was working out on a regular schedule–he even ran his first 5K with me in 2010. But since then, he’s slacked off.

I know I have a very busy schedule, but I try to make time to workout, whether it’s waking up at 5 am and going for a run before work, or squeezing in a 30 minute HIIT workout between jobs, it’s a priority for me. M has a busy schedule as well. but he doesn’t try to squeeze in the time–it’s not a priority for him.

I have tried everything to encourage him to join me in the gym. I don’t mind working out by myself, but I enjoy working out with a friend. I love working with people, showing them new workouts and helping their form (that’s why I’d love to get my personal training certification). The few times M has joined me at the gym and we’ve traded circuits, I’ve enjoyed really myself. I try to do my best to have the best form and to push myself in front of him (maybe show off a little), but it pushes me a little more.

But lately, he hasn’t been making healthier living a priority in his life, which has been unfortunate and, quite frankly a little heart breaking for me. I’m very concerned about my family’s health (as you could read in one of my posts earlier this year). A couple of years ago M was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, but he knew he could change his fortune with healthier eating and more physical activity. So, he started being better about tracking what he ate and paying better attention to the nutrition value of his food…even working out again. But a busy schedule with work (he was working up to 50-60 hours a week, 6 days a week) got in the way of that healthier lifestyle again.

The negative thing about that is when something comes up, like police department physical tests, if you don’t have a solid base of physical fitness, it’s hard to make up for that when you’re trying to build up. So, you then have to commit yourself to a more intense workout schedule to try to do your best to lose weight and get in better condition in order to meet, or exceed, the minimum requirements.

So Wednesday night, as I was finishing my 5-mile run on the treadmill, I had made the comment to my friend that I wasn’t planning to come to the gym the next morning at 5:30 am because my legs were already tired. She agreed, and we went our separate ways. Then I got a text from M saying: “Tomorrow am we r getting our sweat on at 5 am! … I want to bust my butt and sweat my butt off…” How can you say no to that??

So my alarm went off at 5 this morning, and we ventured out together. I hit the elliptical for a 20 minute warm-up while he started his running training on the treadmill, then we hit the weights for an upper body circuit. Remarkably, I didn’t feel tired–I was pumped. I was working out with my best friend and he was actually enjoying it (at least I think he was, he wasn’t griping, so that has to be a good sign, right?). Before we knew it, it was time to head home so I could take a shower and get ready for my day. Oh yeah, and did I mention he works until midnight right now? So he woke up after a little less than 5 hours of sleep and still worked out with me–I was impressed and proud of him.

I’m hoping this trend continues. I don’t mind reworking my workout schedule if it means we’re both living a physically active, healthy life….together.

Great Gym Expectations

I’m a gym rat. I love being in the gym. I loved it when I was going to the local YMCA, but I just couldn’t afford the membership fees anymore, so I moved to another gym where my husband (then fiancé) is a member. It was hard for me to make the switch, but I have learned to really enjoy this gym. It had it’s low points–equipment breaking down, crappy carpet, etc., and it just felt like it was going downhill.

Then a new company came along and purchased all of the UA gyms in the Lexington area. We were actually excited because we hoped this meant all the problems would be handled and the gym would start to be nicer.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.

When you’re paying membership fees, plus bi-annual fees for better equipment and building maintenance, you expect that the money would be used for improvement. So it’s frustrating to go to the gym in the mornings to run with your two running buddies and out of the row of treadmills, we can’t find three that are together, or even with just one in the middle, that works.

Equally as frustrating is the constant search for the right dumbbells. It seems like there’s always a missing dumbbell or bar, and when I’ve asked the personal trainers if they knew where they are some either didn’t know, or they’d be in the personal training room.

Then there’s the matter of the temperature in the building. I can understand and appreciate the difficulty of heating and cooling a large building such as a full-service gym. But when the dressing rooms are in the 60s, and the general area is in the mid-70s, there’s something wrong. I don’t mind the coolness in the dressing room, but what I do mind is the mid-70s where I’m working out.

When you’re working at a high intensity, your body temperature goes up 20 more degrees. So essentially, if you’re working out at a high intensity like I do, it’s like you’re working out in the mid-90s! By the time I get one mile in on the treadmill, I’m already soaked with sweat. It makes my treadmill runs very uncomfortable.

Eenie-meanie-miney-mo... Which treadmill will work today? It's always a constant frustration when trying to get in a workout at my gym.

Eenie-meanie-miney-mo… Which treadmill will work today? It’s always a constant frustration when trying to get in a workout at my gym.

So what would my perfect gym have?

  • Regularly maintained, updated equipment, and I would ensure that my patrons would be updated regularly on new equipment or when broken equipment will be fixed.
  • Ensure that equipment is replaced on a regular schedule throughout the day, that way patrons will be able to find what they need for an efficient workout.
  • Work with an HVAC professional to figure out how to ensure consistent heating and cooling, and provide adequate air flow (fans on in the studios, ceiling fans throughout the main area). Keep the temperatures around the mid-60s or so.
  • Provide classes in the early morning hours. Some professionals would like to get their spinning in before work instead of after.
  • Bring in fitness professionals for special clinics and/or classes throughout the year to show some new moves or new workouts to inspire patrons.

Those are just a few things I’ve thought about. I’ve been frustrated with my gym a lot lately, but I didn’t want to mention it by name at this moment.

This Week’s Workouts (2/13 – 2/19)

Week 3 of my half marathon training ended on a high note Saturday with my longest run, to date, of 6 miles through the rolling countryside of Central Kentucky. I ended the week feeling stronger in my running, which is great! I felt great after my run and after a little foam rolling and stretching, my hip didn’t hurt and on Sunday I felt almost like I could run some more (but I fought the temptation and actually had a rest day–yes, me!).

Remember that I walk the dogs just about everyday on my lunch hour, plus I try to walk them when I get home from work/gym if the weather is decent, which it has been lately!

So, here were my workouts for the past week:

Monday, Feb. 13: This was an odd treadmill run because I was having a little bit of stomach problems (ugh) and then half-way thru my run the power went out in the gym, so I am not sure exactly how long I ran, so I just pushed for 4.25 miles that I knew for sure I did (in 41 minutes). That evening I walked the dogs 1.46 miles (on top of the .74 mile walk at lunch).

Tuesday, Feb. 14: Performed Work #2 on Jillian Michael’s “Yoga Meltdown” before work, then did 2.3 miles on the elliptical after work to burn off some of the Valentine’s Day chocolate I had consumed during work.

Wednesday, Feb. 15: Four mile run: 5.8, 6.0, 6.2 (2.0), 6.4 (at 2.0) on the treadmill.

Thursday, Feb. 16: Three mile run on the treadmill at 6.2 mph, 1.5 incline, plus a one mile walk at 2.0.

Friday, Feb 17: Did hour-long yoga workout with Bob Harper on his “Yoga for the Warrior” DVD before work. After work, the girls and I walked the loop around the park for their conditioning program.

Saturday, Feb. 18: Ran 6.12 miles in 60 minutes 1 second and felt great–the course was hilly, but not unmanageable. We did walk some, but only for a few feet. Came home to my foam roller for about 10 minutes and a nice long stretch.

Totals for this week:
   Run -20.3 miles
   Walk -11.34 miles

This Week’s Workouts (2/5-2/11)

This week wrapped up Week #2 for my half marathon training, so I started to get more focused on my running than anything else, though I want to get back into doing more weight training again.

Here were my workouts from the past week:

Just a portion of my runs/walks from the week, via RunKeeper

Monday, Feb. 6: A solid 4 miles in 40 minutes on the treadmill in the morning. I then did some weights at the gym after work followed by a 2.1 mile walk with the dogs.

Tuesday, Feb. 7: Yoga morning–performed workout two on the Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown DVD. That’s a bit more intense than Workout One, and I pushed myself to do the harder movements. After work I did an intense weight training circuit for about 30 minutes that left me soaked in sweat and loving it! (I miss those intense workouts–need to get those in more.) Another long walk with the dogs (1.7 mies) after the gym.

Wednesday, Feb. 8: Ran 4 miles on the treadmill again in 39 minutes 30 seconds. I started off running 5.8 mph for the first mile, then 6.0 for the second, 6.2 the third, and 6.4 the fourth. Let me tell you, that fourth mile was rough to keep it going, but it was a great workout.

Thursday, Feb. 9: Ran 3.2 miles on the treadmill for 31 minutes and 50 seconds. Then I walked 1 mile on a 2.5 incline in 14 minutes 47 seconds.

Friday, Feb. 10: Performed Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior workout–more yoga than Jillian’s was, which is a little harder for me. But it was a great workout. The dogs got a 1.36 mile walk when I got home from a stressful day at work.

Saturday, Feb. 11: LONG RUN! The weather was redic–12*, which felt like 2* with the hard wind gusts, so I headed to the gym to run my 5 miles (which ended up being 5.3 miles). Running on the treadmill for five miles isn’t new to me, that’s that farthest I’ve run on the treadmill, I just don’t want it to be something that happens very often. I felt good through the run until towards the end when my right hip started bothering me again. I hope this problem goes away…soon.

Totals: 16.5 miles running, 11.98 miles walking (1 on treadmill, rest with the dogs)

This week starts Week 3, which means I’ll run 6 miles on Saturday, and the weather looks good, so I’m hoping for a fun outdoor run for the farthest I’ve ever run!

Treadmill Musings

Happy weekend everybody!! It’s the first weekend we’ve been home in the past few weeks, and Matt didn’t have to work, so it was really nice to actually get to sleep in until 8 (minus waking up at 4 and 5)! As an added bonus, I was able to talk Matt into going to the gym with me while I completed Week 2 of my half marathon training with my long run–5 miles today.

Of course, after experiencing a rather mild winter so far this year, today we woke up to 15 degrees, a dusting of snow on the ground, and wind gusts of 30 mph. Not the most conducive for someone like me to run–I’m a wuss when it comes to running in the cold. But I figured I’ve run five miles on the treadmill before, so it wouldn’t be too bad. I just hope this is the one and only time I’ll have to do my long run on the treadmill.

My setup for treadmill running: towel, water bottle, TV on, sun shining through the windows. Five miles to go.

I’ve been running on the treadmill for quite a while now, so 30 minutes isn’t too bad, but get past that and you just want the run to be over!

So how do I keep myself motivated to run? Just a few tips that I have used:

  • I run with a towel, not only to wipe the sweat from my face or my legs, but to cover the information screen of the treadmill. Nothing makes time go by slower than when you’re staring at the timer or the mileage. I can’t stand having to watch the clock.
  • Music, music, music. I have to run with music. I know the safety concerns if you run outside with music, so I turn the music down so I can still hear my surroundings (if I’m running on the street I run with only one ear bud in). But on the treadmill, both ear buds are in and the music is cranked up. I have one playlist for running (which I need to add more, newer songs to, I just never get to do it).
  • Visual stimulation. Part of the appeal of running outside is the changing scenery, so you can’t expect to be visually stimulated by staring at a wall. Thankfully I can grab a treadmill that faces the front windows of the gym and a television that can help keep my mind busy. However, I discovered this morning that I need to be careful how I hold my head through the run–holding up my head to watch the television for too long of a period of time causes tightness and muscle spasms between my shoulder blades. Not comfortable. So I have to remember to look straight ahead, or down, and move my head and neck around.
  • Water. I love water. I have to drink it all the time, and running on the treadmill is no different. Granted it can be hard to drink while running, but I’ve somehow figured out a way to take quick swigs every once in a while.
  • Support. I really wanted Matt to go with me to the gym because it made me feel better to know I had someone nearby. I have my two friends that I run with at 5:30 throughout the week, which is nice, and I couldn’t do it all week that early without them. Some times we’re chatty throughout the run, and some times we’re quiet, but at least we’re there together and you know they’ll hold you accountable.

How do you get through long runs on the treadmill?

Workout Buddies

As mentioned in a previous post, I owe my passion for working out to a college friend because of all those hours spent in the weight room of the Curris Center at Murray State University.

My pups--some of the best workout buddies you can have! (Now trying to do yoga with them is a little more difficult.)

I believe everybody should have at least one workout buddy to keep them motivated. I’m lucky to have two friends who will get up at 5 in the morning to run on the treadmill (at least until it’s warmer in the mornings, and then we’ll run outside) for four miles. The past two summers I’ve run in my neighborhood on my own in the morning before work, but I used to stop running once it started to get darker and colder because I didn’t have the motivation to continue. But now I have two people who keep me motivated to push and run at least 4 miles. This is great since my official training regimen for my first half-marathon starts in February. I’m going to need that support and consistency in my runs this winter.

I also count my dogs as workout buddies because they get me out and moving, no matter what. Dogs need walked–they need activity. Everyday I go home for lunch and walk the dogs around the loop in our neighborhood (as long as it’s not raining), which helps me relax from the morning’s work and refreshes my mind and body for the rest of the day in the office. I also try to take them for longer walks through the neighborhood at other times, or we’ll take them hiking. In the summers, we try to walk them at least a mile after dinner to work-off the food (and my constant need to munch) and give them more exercise. And let’s not forget training for agility–that involves short sprints for me. I love having them as my motivators!

And speaking of motivating…I’ve been trying my best to motivate my fiance, Matt, to workout more. I love working with someone and making sure their techniques are correct, and that’s the same with Matt. This week started his journey back into fitness, which saw him do an upper body weight circuit one day and a spinning class the next. It makes me smile to walk into the gym and see him already on the elliptical, and I hope to see him there more often. Not only do I want a smokin’ groom later this year, but I want him to be around for a good long while.

Who’s your workout buddy? Any tips to keep your better half in the gym with you?