Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 2014 Recap

My official weigh-out for my November challenge is tomorrow morning. It is also the official weigh-in of my December challenge. Same great ladies. They are doing such a great job holding me accountable and getting me to eat better and try workouts I never would have done. I never would have known about Simply Shredded if someone in that challenge hadn't appointed me in the right direction. I probably would have just said screw it for Thanksgiving (number one, two and three) but I didn't. Some of them agreed to not count, but I made a pledge to stick to my numbers and I did it. More on that later...

November was my most successful month since July.
Starting Weight: 20 pounds
Ending Weight 16.6 pounds
Total Loss: 3.4 pounds

I didn't lose the five pounds I wanted to lose. I didn't see the 14 pound mark. But I did see the scale move, and that is the most it has moved (in the right direction) in a few months. I only lost 1.2 pounds in October, so I more than doubled that. Overall, since I started counting Macros, I have lost 10 pounds. But I started at the beginning of July. It doesn't seem that long ago, but five months, 10 pounds, is really slow weight loss. But it's still ten pounds!

I met my goal of moving 75 miles in November. I didn't do it all with walking and running. I had to do about 38 miles on the spin bike. I did the other 37 with the original plan. It just got too cold here too early, and for three weeks in November, I could hardly go outside. I didn't want to hate the treadmill anymore than I already did. So I am happy with those numbers. The December challenge is requiring 37.2 miles - all walked/run. So I am glad I saved some of my treadmill hours.


I also met my goal of counting macros and doing the four weeks of Simply Shredded. And like I have mentioned, I love that program and plan to keep it up for the 12 weeks. Then I might make my own similar plan, but there are some things that I never want to do again (the cable bicep curl hurts my wrists!)

Here my my really vague goals for December:
1) Lose three pounds over the holidays. That puts me at 13 pounds just in time for the new year.
2) Survive the holidays. Mentally.
3) Keep tracking, even those holiday goodies.
4) Stick to the 4x/Week lifting plan.
5) Run (or walk) 12 5ks of Christmas - that is the 37.2 goal of the December Challenge. I would like to do them at 5ks, not individual miles. Obviously I won't be doing any outside. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Simply Shredded Week 5

Week five already! Here's where we enter part II of the 12 week program. In phase II you are supposed to lower your reps to the 6-8 range rather than the 8-12 we've been doing. This is the real lifting heavy phase. Everything up to this point has been perfecting form, learning how to use the machines, and making sure you got in a pattern. 

It was difficult to know how much to increase. It's not like 10 pounds on the squat bar is even close to 10 pounds on the tricep bar. On the other hand, we really wanted to push ourselves.

On top of all of this, it's Thanksgiving week. While this is great for me: I only work Monday-Wednesday and have a four day weekend, Erin has to work the weekend and will be out of town Thursday for the Holiday. Plus the gym has reduced hours. This means that for the first time ever, we had to double up one day. 


Day 1 (Sunday): Lower Body A. Late Sunday evening, after Thanksgiving #2, I met Erin at the gym to get week 5 off to a great start. I think it's hard to gauge how much you should increase. Knowing you only have to do six reps seems much less daunting, but if you get down into a squat position and can't get up, then what? It's easier with the machines, because if it's too heavy, it just won't move for you. I would say we pushed ourselves and my legs were shaky when I left. I would also say that I wan't impossibly sore the next day, so I will probably try to increase a few things.

Squats - 95 pounds (*add another 10)
Deadlifts - 80 pounds 
Leg Extension Machine - 115 pounds (*try 120 which was impossible this week)
Leg Curl Machine - 125 pounds (*add 5-10)
Calf Raise Machine - 135 pounds
Abs: Leg Raises - non-weighted
Abs: Crunches - non-weighted

Day 2 (Tuesday): Upper Body A. Because of the holiday, we had to do our first combination day. We started Tuesday evening with arms, like normal, but we added legs on at the end. Boy were we dead by the end of that. I'm not sure if that impacted our results, but it's worth noting. I made the biggest improvement on the Shoulder press this week. We had been doing 30 pounds and really wanted to move up the assisted machine, but you have to be able to do the 45 pound bar. So we did.

Bench Press - 55 pounds
Bent Row - 50 pounds
Seated Shoulder Press - 45 pounds
Tricep Skull Crushers - 12 pound DB (so 24 total)
Curl - 17.5 pound DB (so 35 total)

Day 3 (Tuesday): Lower Body B. Like I said, we were really warn out by the time we were half way done with this workout. We had already been at the gym for 40 minutes by the time we started this one. We ended up cutting out the abs this week. I meant to do them at home, but never did. I felt extremely dead when I was done with this, like unable to climb my stairs when I got home. But I wasn't as sore the next day as I thought I would be.

Deadlift - 80 pounds
Leg Press - 210 pounds
Lunges - 95 (bar + 50)
Calf Press - 210
DB Shrugs
Abs: Weighted Oblique Twists - n/a
Abs: Back Extension - n/a

Day 4 (Friday): Upper Body B. We moved our usual Saturday arm workout to Friday, because we both had it off from work, whereas Erin had to work the weekend. These must be the tiniest little muscles because I just don't seem to improve on them at all. But I still have 7 weeks. And I am expecting the gains to become exponential

Assisted Dips - 110 pounds 
Assisted Pull-Ups - 100 pounds
DB Side Lateral - 12 pounds
Tricep Cable Pull-downs - 37.5 pounds
Bicep Cable Curl - 27.5 pounds

Monday, November 24, 2014

November Challenge Week 3

Current Weight: 16.6 pounds
Weekly Loss: .4 pounds
November Loss: 3.4 pounds

The weight loss has definitely slowed down. Less than a pound last week, less than half a pound this week. But it is still moving in the right direction. And 3.4 pounds for the month is still a fine number.

I know that this week things could be bad. We had our second of three Thanksgiving dinners on Sunday (at Dan's mom's house). I think I made really good choices. I realized before I went that my main problem is eating things out of politeness. Especially at my in-laws house, but lots of places really. I don't like pie. I NEVER need to agree to eat pie. It's socially awkward to turn down dessert. And some people think it's rude. But recently I have really made sacrifices and I am not willing to throw those all away on pie, just to be polite. Same story with stuffing. Janet always has stuffing, potatoes and a rice pilaf dish. I only had mashed potatoes and gravy, because I LOVE that, and I passed on the rest. I loaded up on Turkey, which I don't really care for either, but I needed the protein. I split a roll with Dan, didn't use butter and I left there feeling like I ate less than normal lunches!

I did not drink enough water this weekend. And my scale was up a pound today. That is one of the hardest things for me on the weekend. I am not just sitting around my full water bottle all day, like I am at work. My goal for today is to drink 15 cups to really flush my system out.

My other goals for this week:
1) Make it through Thanksgiving number 3 without going over my macros. It's harder at my house because we spend longer there, the kitchen is always open and my mom has yummier things (like cookies and brownies) for dessert.
2) Drink lots of water all week.
3) Make sure to get my Simply Shredded workouts in, even though our schedules are all messed up (plus Erin is going to be out of town and at work most of the long weekend, but yet she wants to do them with me). Also find a balance of cardio workouts. Remember: you can't cardio-away extra calories!
4) End this challenge with a five on the scale!!! Maybe!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Simply Shredded Week 4

Week four. I can't believe I made it here so fast. I promised to try this program for four weeks, but I am definitely loving it. I want to see what weeks 5-8 are like. We're a little lost as far as what we should be doing next week. We're supposed to lower our reps therefore raising our weights for everything. So I didn't make any notes for changes. I guess the idea is, if I am already doing eight reps I will need to increase, which is everything.

Day 1 (Sunday): Lower Body A. Erin and I met in the middle of a snowy Sunday afternoon to get this workout done. I kind of wonder if time of day will make a difference on these things. I mean, after working a full day on my feet, will working legs be easier or harder than laying around all day watching football? I had also had a coffee drink about an hour before I headed out. I am sure the caffeine would impact me in some way, but I didn't notice it. I think we really pushed ourselves here though. I increased a lot of things and feel like I was doing everything to fatigue. The only thing I could do 12x3 of was deadlilfts. I think my legs/butt could do more weight, but my arms can't really hold more than this. Perhaps I should see if there is a machine I could switch to. 

Squats - 75 pounds
Deadlifts - 60 pounds
Leg Extension Machine - 105 pounds
Leg Curl Machine - 110 pounds
Calf Raise Machine - 75 pounds
Abs: Leg Raises - non-weighted
Abs: Crunches - non-weighted

Day 2 (Tuesday): Upper Body A. I was really looking forward to this session. Mostly because we had decided we were going to use the "big bar" (the 45-pounder that you add weight to) to do our bench presses. It was tough, but I am glad I pushed myself. It was just refreshing to think that I "got" to go to the gym and try things out, instead of seeing it as a chore. And it's amazing how much more comfortable we are in the weight room. I know I could do it alone. And I have! Again, there are certain things in which I am not sure how to increase. I can do 8 reps of that bicep number. But the dumbbells go from 15 to 20, and I don't think I am ready for that. Even if I only do six. I suppose I should try and see.

Bench Press - 45 pounds
Bent Row - 40 pounds
Seated Shoulder Press - 30 pounds
Tricep Skull Crushers - 10 pound DB (so 20 total)
Curl - 15 pound DB (so 30 total)

Day 3 (Thursday): Lower Body B. I'd been having a twinge in my back/neck area for the last two days and I realized when I got to the gym that might make it difficult to do a few of these moves. Putting that heavy bar on my shoulders for lunges was really hard on my neck but I suffered through. I only did eight reps on each leg and was definitely risking form by the end. I also tried to increase my deadlift weight by changing my grip on the bar. It worked okay, but I will probably stick with that weight next week too. The leg and calf press machine I cannot seem to fatigue on. I added 40 pounds this week and was still able to 12 of each. I suppose I will add even more next week, but am I missing something?

Deadlift - 70 pounds
Leg Press - 180 pounds
Lunges - 85 (bar + 40)
Calf Press - 180
DB Shrugs
Abs: Weighted Oblique Twists - 15 pounds
Abs: Back Extension - 15 pounds

Day 4 (Saturday): Upper Body B. Saturdays tend to be the fastest yet most difficult day. I also burn the most calories. This seems odd because you can't be working as hard when you're doing upper body work. The most weight we are even lifting is 35 pounds. On leg day I am pressing 180 pounds. That's a human! But here are the things that make it most difficult: I am never sitting down. My heart-rate plummets the minute I sit down and especially when I lay down. Also, I am lifting entire self, even if I do have help. Also, Saturdays are always in the morning which is when I tend to burn more calories. Still, I am not even close to what I was burning in BodyPump and it's kind of disheartening. Good thing I am not eating back my calories or worrying about my net calories anymore. I also don't make a lot of improvements on Saturdays. 

Assisted Dips - 120 pounds 
Assisted Pull-Ups - 110-120 pounds
DB Side Lateral - 12 pounds
Tricep Cable Pull-downs - 35 pounds
Bicep Cable Curl - 22.5 pounds

As I have mentioned, I have loved these last four weeks but actually look forward to what is coming next. I think we'll really be able to push ourselves when we only have to do 6 reps. And I have read that you see the most improvements in the next four weeks. Sometimes I question if I am ready to move on to part II because I have spent so much time figuring things out. But I am! Maybe the whole 12 weeks will be figuring things out!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Those Naughty Nachos

First, I hate the word Naughty. It seems like it should be used in a sexual context and then it is in a lot of children's picture books. And I have to read it. Aloud. To children. And I just feel wrong doing it. There, I thought I'd get that out of the way.

Second, I love nachos. Like madly in love with them. They are probably my favorite food. Paired with a great Margarita and I am in heaven. But nachos rarely fit my macros. Even though they claim this is flexible dieting and anything can fit. The nachos I love at Qdoba are 1200 calories, that's like 3/4 my daily limit. What else would I eat the rest of the day? The nachos I love at Fuzzy Taco are 1800 calories and almost 20% more fat than I get to eat in a day. The other places I love nachos (Dino's, Oso Burrito, etc) don't even have calorie counts for their nachos, and I can't even begin to guesstimate.  Sure, I could just eat half of them, but I have no will-power. And nachos do not warm up the next day.

Once in a while, I will convince Dan to order nachos just so I can have a taste and move on. It is glorious. But my meal usually pales in comparison to his delicious plate of cheesy goodness. And that just depresses me more. For the most part, I just refrain from ever thinking about nachos. If that is possible.

But the other day I decided to make my own. At home. I knew they wouldn't be as good as restaurant nachos. But I wanted to see if they could satisfy my craving. First, I made a big batch of Taco Chicken in the crockpot: dump one entire 2.5 pound bag of chicken breasts (frozen is fine) in the crockpot with one entire jar (any size) of salsa. I cook it on high for one-two hours and then turn to low for a couple more. I am sure you could do any combination of this. Basically: cook chicken. Then I shred it, put it back in the crockpot to simmer for another hour or so, then drain off the juices/salsa and store shredded chicken for all the great things you'll be eating that week!

In my first attempt, I was trying to eat low-carb, so I made my own chips using low-carb, high protein tortillas. I cut them in chip shape pieces, misted with olive oil, sprinkled ranch seasoning over them and cooked for about 5-8 minutes per side, until they were perfectly crispy. I may have over-cooked them a little bit. I used two tortillas for my plate of nachos.



I warmed up 5 oz. of precooked chicken. Tossed it on top. Add a serving of cheese and tossed it back in the hot oven for a few minutes until the cheese was melty. Then I topped with sour cream and salsa, cause that's actually my second (next to the chips) favorite part of the nachos. I wished I had thought to buy some lettuce, because I really like lettuce on my nachos. They were good. I felt like I got a LOT. I mean compared to the few bites I usually get to have, I just kept eating and eating.



The chips weren't perfect though. And as I compared it to some Tostitos Scoops we had in our cupboard, I realized that the macros weren't that much better. So the next night I made the same meal, but used regular chips.



This is how my nutrients compared:
Protein: 57 to 50 (lower with chips, but I could make up for that with more chicken)
Carbs: 36 to 39 (that is hardly a difference and to get to have real chips!)
Fat: 23 to 24 (that isn't a difference either!)

Real chips win!

Monday, November 17, 2014

November Challenge Week 2

Current Weight: 17 pounds
Weekly Loss: 0.8 pounds
November Loss: 3 pounds

Side note: how come when you type 3 pounds you use the plural of pounds, when you type 1 pound you use the singular, because it's only one, but when you lose .8, which isn't even quite one, you still put pounds, plural? Random eh?

Well I am definitely happy with this trend. I am hitting my numbers perfectly and the scale is finally rewarding me. A little consistency sure goes a long way.

Even more exciting; last week I had to start using a tighter hole on my belt. And even my jeans feel a little baggy... though nothing hot water won't fix fast. I had to do mid-month measurements for the challenge and I was pretty certain I wouldn't see much change. My waist isn't where my belt goes and is already pretty small. But it was down an inch as were my hips!

Finally.

I would like to say I have been eating in more. And I have been doing a little cooking which helps a bit. But we still eat out several times a week, plus a couple lunches for me. And even if we eat at home, often it is at someone else's house. I will never have a week where I cook and measure all of my food. But that's okay. That's what makes it real life.

I am still loving the Simply Shredded program. I love that it gets me there four times a week and then I only have to add one cardio day. Generally that cardio day will be Mondays. I hate to ever skip a Monday workout, it just starts the week off on the right foot. Plus, Dan works Monday nights, so I would just waste time sitting around the house anyway. My weeks look like this for the foreseeable future:

Monday - Cardio
Tuesday - Arms and Sprints
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Legs
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Arms and Sprints
Sunday - Legs

I have been doing three miles with my sprints and one-two miles for warm ups/cool down on leg day. That gets me about eight-ten miles per week. If I want to get my 75 miles all in on the treadmill I need to be doing another 9 on my cardio or "rest" days. That doesn't really seem possible. So I am going to hit the Spin bike tonight to make up some of those miles. I think I can get 10 easily and might go for more like an hour and try to get 15. That will get me caught up on my miles... I am currently eight behind right now, and not being a runner, I can't just go out there and get those taken care of, even if it was above 15 degrees.

I know that it is lofty to think I could lose another three pounds in the final two weeks of this month. But I feel like it just might be possible. I would love to go into December already seeing 14 on the scale. It might be the motivation I need to not inhale all the Christmas goodness. But if three is my total loss for November I am still happy. Seeing as I haven't lost more than two since July, I'll take any little bit I can!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Simply Shredded Week 3

I can't believe that I am done with three weeks of this plan already. Honestly, I feel like I am still trying to get everything figured out. I am trying to push myself enough to be dead at the end, without killing myself in the process. It's tough. And it's hard to keep everything straight. I have to write it down every time I go. I have to write down what weight I did last time and what weight I want to do. And sometimes I get mixed up and when I get home I realized I went to light. And sometimes what I have written down is way too hard.

Day 1 (Sunday): Lower Body A. I met Erin late on a Sunday evening. I don't like waiting around all day to get my workout in. But I guess I like having someone to meet. It definitely gets me there. No getting out of it. We had Thanksgiving dinner at my Grandma's retirement home before hand, it definitely kept me from eating too much. So maybe that is a good thing! I increased my Leg curls this week. I found the little five pound add-on weight. This was great, because I wasn't ready to go up a whole 15, which is what the machine offers. Next time I might try to find the 10 pound add-on. I also used the 5 pounder on the Calf Raises. I could probably hike that up to 70, which is actually on the machine next time. My calves are strong! I used this week to perfect my squat form again. It is hard to use that large of a bar, but I think I have pretty good form, and it wasn't that tough. I need to increase next week, I am just not sure if I should go a whole 20 pounds (10 on each side) up.

Squats - 65 pounds (*add 10-20)
Deadlifts - 60 pounds
Leg Extension Machine - 75 pounds
Leg Curl Machine - 95 pounds (*could add 5)
Calf Raise Machine - 60 pounds (*add 10)
Abs: Leg Raises - non-weighted
Abs: Crunches - non-weighted

Day 2 (Tuesday): Upper Body A. This fell on Veteran's day. I had the whole day off. I was waiting to hit the gym with Erin at 8pm and then she cancelled on me at 7. I was frustrated. For several reasons. One being that it was frigid outside, we'd had our first ice storm, and I just wanted to hang out in my PJs and not leave the house. But I did it anyway. I accidentally wrote down the wrong number for Bench press, and I thought it was easy, but I remember thinking there was no way I could go up 10 more pounds. I was able to increase my tricep weight, but completely fatigued my bicep muscles and had to take a mini-break to finish the last set. Strange how sometimes things are easier than others.

Bench Press - 30 pounds (return to 40)
Bent Row - 40 pounds
Seated Shoulder Press - 30 pounds
Tricep Skull Crushers - 10 pound DB (so 20 total)
Curl - 15 pound DB (so 30 total)

Day 3 (Thursday): Lower Body B. Erin made sure to meet me for this one. And we made sure to work hard. I am still figuring out how much I can lift on the leg press machine and every week I seem to increase 20 pounds. It's hard, but I don't think I have gotten to fatigue yet. That worries me, because I feel like by week three I should be doing what I need to be doing. On week five we change up the workout and lower the reps, thus raising the weight. If I haven't had a couple weeks of maximized muscle use, I am not sure how I will do that. We also took out Dumbbell Shrugs this week. They aren't a leg exercise, and I don't understand why they are in there and optional.

Deadlift - 60 pounds
Leg Press - 140 pounds (*add 20)
Lunges - 65 (bar + 20) (*and 20)
Calf Press - 140 (*add 20)
DB Shrugs
Abs: Weighted Oblique Twists - 15 pounds
Abs: Back Extension - 15 pounds

Day 4 (Saturday): Upper Body B.  I really like Saturday's arm workout. We only use two different machines, so we can workout right next to each other and switch. It goes by really fast. And using the pull-up machine makes me dream of the great muscles I am going to have. I did go down (get stronger) in the pull up category, but I could only do five, so I went back to what I was doing. Maybe next week I will be able to do all 8. Other than that, I raised my weight on the cable machine, but that was near impossible. I have definitely found my maxes for Saturday, maybe that is why I love it so much.

Assisted Dips - 120 pounds 
Assisted Pull-Ups - 120 pounds
DB Side Lateral - 10 pounds
Tricep Cable Pull-downs - 32.5 pounds
Bicep Cable Curl - 22.5 pounds

Friday, November 14, 2014

That 75 Mile Goal

The November challenge is half over. Although I started really strong on my miles, this second week I have really fallen behind. The fact that it was about 12 degrees has absolutely everything to do with it. I cannot get a few extra miles done on my lunch break. As it is, I am using the treadmill between 1-3 miles every time I am at the gym. I cannot make myself stay on it longer than that. And I am starting to get burned out on it. I see absolutely not end to this cold weather in sight. In fact, snow is on the way for this weekend.

I made this perfect chart, because everyone knows I love a good chart. This shows me where I am and where I need to be.



As you can see, I am 5.25 miles behind where I need to be.

I am thinking of changing my goal to 50 miles. I can easily do the other 25 with a couple days on the spin bike. I still get to my 75 miles for the challenge. I just don't have to do it all on the treadmill. Right now, the idea of 3.5 miles a day (what I would need to do to get all 75 done by walking/running) makes me want to cry.

I already hate the treadmill. No need to drive myself to complete rejection of it.

I will give a good push this weekend and see what Monday compels me to do. But I think that bike is calling my name!



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Five Day Weekend Photo Dump

I had to return to work today after a wonderful five day vacation. I did not get as much done around my house as I had hoped, but I did have a lot of quality time with my friend Samantha, my husband and my grandma. We also did plenty of relaxing, healthy eating. And the best news of all: I am the same weight this morning as I was last Thursday before it all started. To be fair, my weight was lower over the weekend, but to end where I started, is a successful vacation! Only three days to work this week and I get another break! For now, here's a photo dump of my vacation, in which the theme seems to be: The Seasons are a Changin'



I started the long weekend exploring a new trail pretty close to my house. It actually leads to the zoo and the great area around that. It was so beautiful. Part of me wished that I was a runner so I could learn to run on this trail. Instead I just walked three miles. Always gotta be working on those miles.


Dan joined me.


I discovered this delicious combination. A little like pumpkin pie in a bowl. Not the same consistency, but still the same flavor. I added a 1/2 of a serving of pudding mix along with some vanilla protein powder to boost the macros.


We did some "babysitting" on Friday night. It was Jennifer and Ryan's anniversary and they wanted to go to dinner without a Toddler. We were happy to take her. She helped us do some yard work and played in the leaves with Dan for hours. 


Honestly, I am not sure who has more fun, her or Dan! 


We don't mind going to dinner with a toddler, so we took her along to my Grandma's 92nd birthday celebration. It was a small family gathering and she was the life of the party. 


Saturday I made some free-range beef chili. It was healthy and warm and the left overs were even better. 


I also got some things done around the house. I have hated those 80's, peach door handles in my guest bathroom for the last 2 years. I finally replaced them. I actually replaced the perfectly good, but not my favorite handles from our bathroom and used those in the guest room. It's such a little change but makes me so happy every time I see them. And since I dry my hair in the guest bathroom almost every morning, I see them quite often! Now if I could just learn to replace the 80's faucets!


Sunday we babysat again. Samantha's parents were trying to get some yard work done before the cold front moved in. I had things to get done around the yard too, but I just can't pass up a chance to hang out with this one. We made the healthiest cupcakes I have ever had! 


We played Leaf Monster in the remaining leaves. 


And enjoyed the beautiful weather. One last time.


Eventually, we had to take her to her Grandma's house. We had a family obligation at my Grandma's Retirement home. Thanksgiving dinner. I planned to eat a bunch of turkey and indulge on mash potatoes. But when I got there, the pot-luck style buffet, was lacking a good mashed potato and the turkey looked a little too pre-formed for me. So I went with the Ham and Green Bean Casserole, alone with a wonderful dinner roll. I enjoyed two bites of different dessert and left plenty satisfied. I also had to go to the gym that evening. 


By Monday evening, the McGhee's invited us out for a slumber party. We went to dinner and had a chocolate tasting. I managed to fit this and a glass of wine into my Macros for the day. I'm becoming an expert. But if you want to have 25 carbs of wine, and 46 carbs of chocolate, you better fill your eating the rest of the day with protein (steak, turkey lunch meat, salad) and fat (ranch).


Then the cold front came. It was snowing when we went to sleep on Monday night. Everyone had Tuesday off. Yay for Government Employees. And veterans! We let Samantha's parents sleep in and we got up, ate donuts and went outside to see the snow. I don't know if she remembers snow from being two. She obviously know everything about it from the movie Frozen. But she was absolutely amazed that it had snowed EVERYWHERE. We ice skated on the drive way. 


And slid down the snow slide. And went exploring. And wore our pajamas outside. And then came back in for an egg, spam and biscuit breakfast. 


And then it was cold. And I wanted to stay inside all day and not leave until I had to go to work again. But I had to get to the gym. Such dedication!




Monday, November 10, 2014

November Challenge Week 1

Current Weight: 17.8 pounds
Weekly Loss: 1.2 pounds
November Loss: 2.2 pounds

I was very delighted to see that number on the scale for Saturday morning's weigh in. I feel like things are finally starting to work again, and after being stuck for over two months, I am very proud of myself for not giving up. At least I maintained that weight for two months. And now I can work on losing another five. Then I might be stuck for a couple months, but I always have hope that it will start moving again.

I have been hitting my numbers perfectly. That helps. Sometimes I use up all my carbs and sometimes I don't. But I have them there if I need them. I always eat enough protein and fat and that seems to keep my body healthy and my metabolism revved.

Sunday morning, I was down a little more weight. But by Monday morning I was back up to the 17.8 mark. I am plenty happy with that. That's the lowest weigh-in I have been at since April! Well, since March's 14.4 pound weigh in, when I apparently stopped caring for a bit. Look what can happen if you give up for even a second. Random five pound gains that take five months to recover from.

Must remain diligent!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Simply Shredded Week 2

This was definitely the week where I hit my stride. I was sore pretty much the entire week. Almost to a point where I couldn't believe it was time to work those muscles again. Did they even get a break? But it was good to know I was pushing myself too. I was feeling more comfortable on the machines and really started thinking this only working each body part two days a week thing might actually pay off. Because of the soreness, I was not looking forward to getting to the gym though on most occasions. Which was a disappointing change from the first week.

Day 1 (Sunday): Lower Body A. I made some great improvements this week. I managed to use the squat rack all by myself. I didn't increase any weight, because I had read that the Smith Machine does a lot of the balancing for you, thus making it easier. It was definitely harder having to do all of the work. I also realized I had confused the Leg Extension and the Leg Curl Machines because there was no way I could do what I had written down. Other than that, I just worked on good form. My legs were dead by the end of this session. I had warmed up with a mile walk and could not imagine doing any more walking when I was done. Even driving home was near impossible.

Squats - 65 pounds (bar +20)
Deadlifts - 60 pounds
Leg Extension Machine - 75 pounds
Leg Curl Machine - 90 pounds (*could add 10)
Calf Raise Machine - 55 pounds (*add 10)
Abs: Leg Raises - non-weighted
Abs: Crunches - non-weighted (*add a weight?)

Day 2 (Tuesday): Upper Body A. Suddenly Erin wanted to start meeting me at the gym again. I needed to be done almost earlier than she could start, so I did my cardio first. Twenty-five minutes of treadmill sprints and cooling down. Luckily, Tuesday seems to be the easiest day. This works out well for me, because it is usually the hardest day at work and knowing I have an easyish day to look forward to at the gym, is probably a smart idea. We did manage to use the buff-man room even though it was full of people. And I felt pretty comfortable. We did realize that the bar we were using last week, was actually less weight than we thought. I have since updated last week's blog just for accuracy. I can definitely say my arms were tired when I was done, and there were times I think I actually went to fatigue. Often, Erin could lift more than me. But she has a lot stronger upper body and carries that baby around. The worst news is I forgot to wear my heartrate monitor. So I don't have the workout officially logged. My legs hurt so bad from the last leg day, that I only did 2.5 miles of walking, though my original plan was to do sprints on arm day.

Bench Press - 40 pounds
Bent Row - 40 pounds
Seated Shoulder Press - 30 pounds
Tricep Skull Crushers - 8-10 pound DB (so 16 total)
Curl - 15 pound DB (so 30 total)

Day 3 (Thursday): Lower Body B. I met Erin again late in the day again for what is probably my favorite workout of the week. Knowing what I was doing made this week fly by. I just love that leg press machine. It's the first time I have done a leg workout that doesn't involve any work from my back or abs. It is just all leg muscles, all the time. We did the same weight for Squats and Calves but think we could add weight for calves, and it surprises us because who would think your calves could be that strong. Also, still confused about Shrugs. I am thinking of eliminating them. They are awkward. And don't even work my legs. 

Deadlift - 60 pounds
Leg Press - 120 pounds
Lunges - 65 (bar + 20)
Calf Press - 120 (*add 20)
DB Shrugs - 20
Abs: Weighted Oblique Twists - 15 pounds
Abs: Back Extension - 10 pounds

Day 4 (Saturday): Upper Body B. This seems to be the hardest day of the week, or I am the weakest in these areas. It does go fast though. It does excite me to know that maybe. someday. in the not to distant future. a year from now. I might be able to do a pull-up. In real life. Right now, I just need to lose 120 pounds and then I would have no problem! Also, something is off with me and the cable machine. Erin had no problem doing 30 pounds on biceps (like we did with dumbbells) so we think it's something to do with my wrist strength in getting the cable machine pulled up. I guess that would be good to work too.

Assisted Dips - 120 pounds 
Assisted Pull-Ups - 120 pounds
DB Side Lateral - 10 pounds
Tricep Cable Pull-downs - 30 pounds
Bicep Cable Curl - 20 pounds

I can't believe that week three starts tomorrow. I am still figuring out all the moves and I am half-way done with the first round. It's an interesting program in that you only do each move once a week. So when all is said and done, I will only have used the squat bar 12 times. I hope to really perfect my form and understanding in the next two weeks, so that when week 5 comes, and it's time to increase everything, I will be ready. 

I wonder if my muscles are growing...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

You Take the Good You Take the Bad


  • The Good: I saw a brand new low number on the scale this morning 18.4. A number I haven't seen since April. I was 18.8 in August but I feel like a 17 might just be around the corner.
  • The Bad: The weekend is coming. And though everybody loves the weekend, they are harder to lose weight during than the rest of the week. In fact, I would guess most people gain weight during the weekend.
  • The Good: I have a five day weekend. Friday through next Tuesday. I haven't had five days off since August when we went on vacation and road-tripped over 1100 miles.
  • The Bad: that was the last time I saw an 18 on the scale. 
  • The Good: this time I am not five hundred miles from home and trapped in a car. I have my gym and healthy meals in my kitchen.
  • The Bad: But I also have a birthday party for Grandma, a Thanksgiving celebration at Grandma's retirement home, and I promised my Best Buddy that I would spend the night this weekend, which probably means some kind of celebration. We like to pretend it's my birthday!
  • The Good: I mean, what's better than that?
  • The Bad: I feel like Winter is on it's way.
  • The Good: I walked 1.25 miles on my lunch break. Trying to salvage every last drop of fall, and get my mileage in all at the same time.
  • The Bad: I thought that it was supposed to get cold tomorrow.
  • The Good: I was wrong. It won't get cold until Tuesday. In fact, tomorrow is going to be 66 degrees.
  • The Bad: On Tuesday the high is only going to be 37 degrees.
  • The Good: Maybe I can stay in and do crafts or paint my office. I have a whole list of home projects I have been waiting to get done once the winter comes.
  • The Bad: I probably won't. I will probably have to rest up from all my vacationing.
  • The Good: I'm going to use these free days to get a lot of miles in for my November challenge and to try out some of the workouts we have to attempt. 
  • The Bad: I will probably be sore from the leg workout we've got scheduled for this evening.
  • The Good: But I get to use that leg press machine again!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday

Current Weight: 19.0 pounds
Weekly Loss: 1.0 pound

I'll take it. I am not sure where to put my weekly weigh-in right now. Our official weigh in for the November Challenge is on Saturdays. I was a little higher than this. 19.6 or 19.8. But I rarely write on Saturdays, and the few days I had between weigh-ins didn't seem like enough. So maybe I will move it back to Mondays, and just use Saturday's weight. It's not like it matters in the big scheme of things. It's just good to have a general record of where I am going.

And right now, I am headed down! One pound is a great week! And it included Halloween. I am really proud of myself right now. And I can tell I am putting in a lot of work. I feel like I am making hard decisions left and right. I turn down Halloween candy every single second. I go out to eat and get cottage cheese instead of delicious fries. I have made 10 Oreo Balls from Samantha's birthday part last over a month. But right now, I can see a pay off.

Here were my numbers for the week:
I hit both my Protein and my Fat requirements, which are the two most important. I didn't hit my carbs which is surprising. I would say that I should try to increase those, but right now, I am not feeling dissatisfied and I don't feel like I am lacking energy. But if I start dragging then I need to make sure I am hitting that number as well. I also had some good workouts. I burned slightly more than I have been each week, and my muscles have been sore since Saturday! I would say that I had a perfect week and it paid off. Now I only need about 20 more of them. I managed through Halloween. Just two or four more holidays to make it through.

This has been a rough busy week at work, but I only have two more days to get through and then I have a five day weekend. I am looking forward to getting so much stuff done around my house and having some good family and friend time as well. And I hope that come next Saturday for my next weigh-in, I am another pound down.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Simply Shredded Week 1

Rather than write about each of my weight lifting sessions every time they happen (and bore us all to death) I am going to try to a weekly recap of how the week went. I need a place to include all my weights and to see if anything is improving. Remember this blog is just my diary of sorts, so this information is just for me to look back on one day and hopefully think "man I used to be weak" as I gaze at my super buff arms in a mirror!

I was really pumped for this week. I don't know if it was working out with Erin again, or just the fun of a new routine. I have always loved weight lifting. BodyPump has been a constant thing in my life for many years. I have been known to shed tears over the class getting cut and to drive 30 minutes across town to attend a class. But I have been ready for a change too. Each session this week I was looking forward to it all day.

Day 1 (Sunday): Lower Body A. This was our scariest day. I warmed up with a five minute walk. Then we used about three machines I had never used in my life and a stranger came up and showed me I was doing something wrong (I didn't have part of the leg curl machine tight against my thighs.) It was very trial and error and I left knowing I could increase my weights on several things. I have also since learned that we used the wrong machine for squats and I need to learn to use a different one next week. But I was sore. Everywhere. My hamstrings were tight. My quads were a bit sore. And my calves were very sore. Even my arms were sore, which was strange because they only things we used our arms for was deadlifts. Nothing like when I miss a week of BodyPump though. So I know I need to increase my weights. The goal is to do 8-12 reps and most things I did just 8-10 for at least the first two sets because I was worried about tiring. I now know that won't be a problem and that I need to push for 12. I was there about 70 minutes and burned only 315 calories. I know that this will be different once I am used to the routine.

Squats - Smith machine plus 20 pounds (*increase 20 pounds and use barbell)
Deadlifts - 50 pounds (*increase 10 pounds)
Leg Extension Machine - 90 pounds
Leg Curl Machine - 60 pounds (*try adding weight here)
Calf Raise Machine - 35 pounds (add 10-15 here)
Abs: Leg Raises - non-weighted
Abs: Crunches - non-weighted (*add a weight?)


Day 2 (Tuesday): Upper Body A. All day long I was looking forward to working my arms. I feel like this would be where I would notice the most change in the shortest amount of time. I also feel like I have pretty strong legs, but would really like to get a stronger upper body. Erin wasn't going to be able to meet me until 8 o'clock at night. I got there early enough to do some cardio on the treadmill: 20 minutes of steep hills.  Then I tried to make myself go as heavy as possibly on all the upperbody moves. There were only five moves to do, all of which we were familiar with from BodyPump. I wanted to use the weighted barbells but they were all in the buff-man room, and Erin wanted to try it upstairs with the pre-weighted bars. I did find a bar we could add weight to upstairs, but there was only one, and we weren't using the same weight. The downstairs room was so busy. But I'm gonna have to man up and learn how to use it myself. Some things I really did feel like I couldn't do much more (rows and shoulder presses) but I did 12 reps on everything and wasn't sore at all the next day. Time to increase.

Bench Press - 28 pounds (*add at least 10)
Bent Row - 50 pounds
Seated Shoulder Press - 28 (*go up)
Tricep Skull Crushers - 18 pounds (*add 5)
Curl - 28 pounds (*add 5)

Day 3 (Thursday/Friday): Lower Body B. On Monday, Dan sprung on me a random dinner we had to attend. I made arrangements for Erin and I to meet after dinner and knew that would keep me from eating too much at dinner. But 9 o'clock seemed so late to be doing a workout. Then Erin texted to cancel on me. By the time I got to the gym, on my own, it was already 9:30. And I wasn't feeling great. I decided to go home, go to bed early and head to the gym in the morning. And I did it! After sleeping eight-plus hours, I got up early and made it there by 7am. The gym is great at 7am. Even though I needed to use the buff-man room, it was only me and one other guy, who was using the arm machines. I did ten minutes on the treadmill, thinking I would jog that whole time, but didn't. I actually adapted a few of today's exercises. I prefer to use a bar for lunges, rather than dumbbells. There was no seated-calf-raise machine, so I used the leg-press machine. And decline crunches bothered my back, so I did oblique crunches instead. Also, I don't understand why shrugs are included in the leg day workout. I did them, but I think I might be adding them on an arm day instead. Can I say: I love the leg press machine! You can pile the weight on your legs without hurting your back. I can't wait to get strong legs!

Deadlift - 50 pounds (*add 10)
Leg Press - 50, 100 pounds (*add more)
Lunges - Bar only (*add 20 or 30)
Calf Press - 100
DB Shrugs - 20 (*add 5)
Abs: Weighted Oblique Twists - Used 15 pounds
Abs: Back Extension - Used 8 pounds


Day 4 (Saturday): Upper Body B. I knew that I was on my own for this workout (Erin came down with a cold) and that there were several (2) machines that I didn't know how to use. I had tried the assisted pull-up machine before and  couldn't figure it out while everyone was watching me. So I youtubed it before hand. I also went to the gym during the Husker football game, when I knew it would be empty. There were still a few people there, but it wasn't intimidating. I warmed up with a 1.5 mile walk and cooled down with a 1.5 mile walk, for a total of 3 miles towards my 75 goal. Since I am doing these alone, I find it a lot easier to adjust the machine until it is hard enough. I'd say I got a pretty decent (and quick) arm workout in today. And I was very shocked at how much harder things are with the cable machine rather than with free weights. I really like that this plan has you doing different exercises on every day.

Assisted Dips - 120 pounds (*this number will get lower as I need less help!)
Assisted Pull-Ups - 130 pounds
DB Side Lateral - 10 pounds
Tricep Cable Pull-downs - 30 pounds
Bicep Cable Curl - 20 pounds

Overall, I think I really like this plan. I like that there is time to get sprint workouts done on the arm days. I like that I can get a few miles logged even on the leg days. I like that each day is different. I am still not sure that this will grow my muscles. I feel like there is no way I am working my biceps enough, just two days a week, doing only 30 reps each day, when I used to do 3-4 BodyPump classes, working those biceps 50+ times each class. But I have read all the research, and it all agrees and "lifting heavy" is the key to real muscles. I am just worried that I don't push myself hard enough. Because maybe you have to use more than 30 pounds to get out of your comfort zone. And nowhere online will they tell me where to start because everybody's different. The key is, if you get to 12 and can still do more, then it's too easy. But sometimes the next step up is impossible. Tricky!

I can't wait to start on week 2!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Weigh-Loss-iversary

On October 31st 2006, I spent the evening at Jennifer's house handing out candy. There weren't enough kids in our neighborhood and I didn't want to sit at my house all night waiting for three kids to ring the doorbell. After the kids were done coming by, we decided to go out for dinner (me and Jennifer and Ryan and Curtis, who I was dating at the time). It was kind of late. And for some reason things are closed. I remember it seemed kind of odd to all of us. And eventually we ended up at a buffet for dinner. I don't remember if was Chinese or pizza or what exactly. But while we were stuffing our faces with food, we started discussing the need to get in better shape.

Jennifer and I already belonged to the Gold's Gym, and I imagine we worked out some. There really isn't a time in my life when I didn't belong to a gym. Since senior year of high school anyway, when I joined the YMCA. Obviously working out has never really been my issue, although I am sure intensity and consistency has been.

During that dinner we made a diet bet. A biggest loser kind of thing. We all wanted to lose a certain percentage of our weight. I don't remember what that number was right now. We're all put a certain amount of money in the pool and if we meet our goal, we got our money back. If not, we  forfited the money to our friends. Hey, it's just like the dietbet website is today. They basically stole our idea. Or it wasn't original in the first place.

November 1, 2006 we weighed in.

And that was the start.

Over the course of 33 months (November 2006 - August 2009) I lost 81 pounds. I detailed that in a post here. Thirty three months. When I think back on it,  it seemed like it was fast weight loss. Every month I was running more and setting new goals and wearing new sizes. It was so exciting. People were noticing how well I was doing. They would make positive comments. But when I notice that it took thirty-three months, I realize that is only 2.5 pounds a month. And now I get so very frustrated when I have only lost six pounds since July (4 months). I shouldn't be so hard on myself. I had a lot more to lose then.

It's hard to believe that was eight years ago now. But every year on November 1st, I like to take a second and reflect on that day. And how it changed my life. It wasn't like I hadn't tried to lose weight before. But something must have clicked that Halloween. And my life has never been the same since.