Advertisements
Tag Archives: fitness

I Sometimes Listen

31 Aug

Do you listen to what your body wants? I sometimes do, I’m kinda working on it, some days…

trust my body

I find that I often tell myself I have to do this, or my responsibility is to that, when really, my decisions should be based more on what cues my body is giving me, what it is saying it needs, than what pressures I feel from others or myself to fulfill certain obligations or duties.

That is harder for me to do when the activity is something I usually enjoy, and in general, look forward to.

Like my Friday night workouts.

I work two jobs on Fridays, after job number 2 I head to the gym, usually start my work out around 10pm and depending on what muscle groups I am working end up home around 11:30pm or midnight. Midnight is more because I’m trying some new moves or took extra long stretching, or maybe fit in some extra cardio, generally I aim to be there an hour and a half.

My personal rule is that I go every Friday, the only exceptions being if I race the next day, have picked up an early morning shift the next day, or am sick or injured. Otherwise, rain or shine (or snow!), feeling energized or kinda sleepy, I go. I’ve never regretted going, never regretted a workout, even if some of them are definitely not me at my peak, lol. I figure a workout, any workout, is better than none, and to not go is me giving in to my lazy side, which fyi, my lazy side is loud and demanding and must be reigned in often lol.

Tonight however, even though I had my gym bag with me and was planning on going to the gym after work, I was tired, and kind of didn’t want to. Ok, no “kind of” about it, I really wasn’t feeling the idea of going to the gym. I tried convincing myself that once I was there I’d be fine, even better than fine. I told myself to just go through the motions of getting changed, follow the routine, get in that gym and everything will fall in to place and I’ll have a good workout.

Nothing I said made a dent in the yawning, or the tiredness that I was feeling. Hell, the person who replaced me at work even mentioned I looked really tired.Β There was no good reason for me to be so tired, I slept my normal amount last night, I always work two jobs on Fridays, today was my normal routine, but today it was hitting me harder than usual.

I told myself I would aim for home but when I was passing the gym if I felt like it I’d stop. Then, when walking to my car it was so nice out I thought that if I didn’t stop at the gym the least I could do would be to go for a walk. I like walking at night, and I feel I should take advantage of the warm weather while I can since fall is sneaking up on us and soon I’ll need another layer *rolls eyes*.

Confession time, I did neither. I drove past the gym, got home, hopped in the shower, felt like I could have dozed off in the warm spray, got cozy in my pj’s, and curled up with my book, a cup of tea, and the cat. Aaaaand that is pretty much where I have stayed since I got home.

My body was sending me all these signals that working out, even if it is my normal Friday night routine, was not at all what it wanted to do this evening. Normally I would have ignored it, had a not so great workout where I most likely would have put myself at a higher risk of injury because of being less focused while working out, or I would have just drawn a blank when at the gym for what to do because my brain wasn’t functioning at full capacity, and what is the point in that?

Where is the harm in listening to the signals my body is sending, paying attention when it says it is tired and needs a break, and then giving it that break?

Admittedly, a big part of me feels like I’ve failed in some way, failed because I always work out on a Friday and my not working out tonight wasn’t because of any of my previously mentioned reasons. But…it isn’t a failure to take care of myself. If anything I think I might count it as some sort of personal growth. Imagine that, personal growth! How adult of me lol

can not adult

I think a lot of people stop listening to what their bodies are telling them. We get in to our routines, we go on auto pilot and hit the gym or the hiking trail or the running path or the whatever, not when our bodies are wanting to go but when it fits in our schedule. I get that, I do, not like I can skip out of work half way through my shift to have a workout because that is when my energy peaks. So we make sacrifices, we go after work, or fit it in early morning, or do extra on our days off, and probably, for the most part, that is ok. Our bodies are adaptable, which is a handy perk, but even an adaptable body needs a break every now and then. Needs an early night curled up on a comfy chair resting.

I’m working on feeling comfort in my quiet evening, not guilt for a missed workout. Feeling glad that I could understand what my body was saying it needed, not worry this will be the beginning of a trend of missed workouts. I’m reminding myself the gym will always be there, there will always be another chance to work out, and one night off won’t be the end of my workout plan, or my active-ish lifestyle.

Basically, I’m working on listening to my body, following through to give it what it needs, and accept that is the right choice. Friday night gym session be damned! πŸ˜‰

 

Advertisements

My Best Time – So Far!

19 Aug

I have made a habit of hiking the Coquitlam Crunch one to two times a week for I dunno, a couple months or so? A friend suggested it and I got hooked.

It is described on the city website as a steep urban trail that offers a great workout, which I’d say is fairly accurate. The city website also says it takes 1.5 hours to complete, but they always overestimate for the trails.

The first time my friend and I went we were around the one hour and fifteen minute mark I think…I don’t really count the first attempt at a new trail though because you don’t always know where you are going, and there end up being pauses to figure out are you turning left or right because the trail branches off both ways, reading signs, stuff like that. Second attempt and onward though, those get tracked and turned in to times to beat!…not that I’m competitive with my stats or anything lol

This trail has three road crossings, and depending on if traffic stops or not that can really affect your time, which sucks. There have also been two times where I paused to watch deer, but only on the way down. Pretty much nothing stops me on the way up, I have a mission and am determined to keep moving! The first time we went up I paused to read all the signs, they mostly have blurbs about the area, the wildlife, things like that.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is one section with stairs, looks like this…

IMG_0038

Well, actually, I’m sorta lying. Oops! There are two sections of stairs, they are at the same section though, just one set is to the left the other set is to the right. I tend to go up the set to the left and down the set on the right. I find the set on the right easier because there are more flat spots so I save it for my way down when my legs are tired. On the way up I want as many steps crammed in together with fewer flat resting spots as I can get.

Pictures don’t do the Crunch justice. There are power lines the entire length of the trail and in pictures they dominate what you see, but when you are there it is easy to ignore them and just enjoy the view.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My best time had been one hour and two minutes and I was determined to get it under an hour, even if all I managed was 59:59, I wanted it under an hour!

This past week I went and had no confidence in my ability to beat my best time, I was going to be happy if I managed to hit one hour and four minutes. It was mid-day, the worst time of day for me, I wasn’t as hydrated as normal, there is poor air quality thanks to fires, and my legs hurt from my previous days workout. If I hadn’t been in the area I don’t know that I would have gone to do the Crunch at all that day, but I was in the area, and if I am there I can’t pass up an opportunity to go up, so up I went!

Something about not putting pressure on myself to beat my best time seems to generate results. I only asked my body for the best it could do that day, and was going to be happy with whatever that was, and lo and behold, I got my best time, and it wasn’t 59 minutes!

IMG_2056

56:26!

Do you see that Fit Bit info? I completed the Crunch in 56 minutes and 26 seconds! wOOt! wOOt!

I don’t care if it is rude to celebrate yourself, I am happy with that! πŸ˜€

Yes I know there are people who can do the whole thing in a much shorter span of time, and yay for them, but for me, in this moment, I am excited I completed the Crunch in 56:26. And really, there will always be someone who can do what you are doing better, and that’s fine. I only compete against myself, I only look to beat my time, not the person next to me, as my coach says, race your own race.

So now the time to beat is 56:26…talk about setting myself up for a challenge!

Leg Week?

10 Aug

Is leg week a thing? I feel it should be a thing, I can’t be the only person who has done this…granted I did it by accident, but still, I’m not the only one, right?

leg day 1

Last Friday night (it is currently the next Friday) I had leg day at the gym. I hadn’t had one in a while due to scheduling and life and laziness so it was nice to get back to routine. I pushed myself, because what is the point of working out if you don’t push yourself? By the end of the workout I could tell I was going to be feeling the results of that workout for days.

I love that feeling. πŸ™‚

Saturday there was pain, there was using my arms to push me up from a chair, and using arms to take the weight off my legs when I would go to sit, and there was the knowledge I would probably suck at running if I had to run that day. But all that is good, because it is good pain, and it means I worked the muscles hard, the pain will fade, the results will stay.Β  Saturday is my rest day due to how my work schedule is so I didn’t do anything to really work the legs beyond normal day-to-day things.

Sunday I went for a hike after work, it occurred to me that might suck since my legs still had a noticeable amount of muscle pain but I went anyways. During the hike I noticed my legs started to feel better, stronger, they were benefiting from being worked again, even though I was still feeling the Friday night workout. I think, and I could be wrong, but I think the hike helped clear out some of the built up lactic acid and helped them stretch and basically just helped the muscles in their recovery. Yay for a good hike! The trail has a lot of ups and downs and uneven surfaces so not only did the larger muscles get worked but so did the smaller ones used for stabilizing etc. Also, part way in to the hike I noticed my stride was lengthening, I have a decent stride length but started the hike with a shorter stride due to discomfort, as the pain cleared my stride got longer, and I felt better.

Monday evening I did the Coquitlam Crunch which is like a less evil version of the Grouse Grind…which means nothing to you if you don’t live in Vancouver BC or the surrounding areas lol Basically it is a steep urban trail, with an elevation of 244 meters, that gives you a great and fast workout. So far my best time is one hour and two minutes round trip. My goal is to get that under an hour.

Then Tuesday evening I did a long walk with a friend after work. Which brings us to Wednesday where I did the Coquitlam Crunch with the same friend I walked with Tuesday. I had intended to go to Lynn Valley and hike the trails but that will wait for another day.

So, I inadvertently had, what is that, 5 leg workouts in 6 days? Um, oops? Sorry for neglecting you upper body, I swear I still love ya! lol

Normally I do a much better job of working out all my muscle groups, and its not like I have some driving desire to only work on my legs, they just somehow got all my attention this week.

I think the flaw in my workouts is that it is summer, and that means hiking, and trails, and all those lovely outdoor workouts can be done at any time of day, on any day, without worry about weather cancelling your outing, so I tend to go out on a trail instead of inside to the gym. I mean c’mon, if given the choice wouldn’t you go out on a trail, get some fresh air, see some pretty sights, maybe spot a deer or bear or some other fuzzy critter, rather than be inside the gym where yes, you get a good workout but all you really look at is equipment and yourself in the mirror?

The hiking gives me a chance to either ruminate on something that is bothering me, or clear my mind and enjoy the quiet for a while, whichever I need. I can be alone, with nature, infusing myself with the peace that comes from being surrounded by trees (seriously, what is it with trees that they are so soothing?) or I can go with a friend and enjoy a lovely chat while getting in a workout.

The gym, I love the gym, but to me it is more like work, or an expectation, or I dunno, a thing I schedule. I don’t mind any of that, I really don’t, but sometimes I like the idea of being out on a trail more. I know it isn’t as good of a workout as my gym time, and my muscle definition suffers every summer because of that, but I can’t give up my trail time, I enjoy it too much.

However, my enjoying of my trail time this week has resulted in a lot of leg workouts, and no upper body workouts, until Thursday that is when I was at dragon boat practice.

I’ve really got to take care to balance things a bit better because while Leg Day is a thing, a good thing, a thing to be done often, Leg Week is a teeny bit of over kill and maybe shouldn’t be repeated anytime soon…don’t want my back and arms and shoulders to think I don’t care about them after all! πŸ˜‰

 

Forgot My Plan

7 Jul

Don’t forget your plan when you go to the gym, or in my case, to make a plan. sigh.

Usually when I go to the gym I have a plan of what I want to accomplish. It isn’t some set in stone can’t be adjusted in the moment kind of thing, but it at least covers how long I want to be doing cardio for and what muscle groups I plan to focus on when lifting weights. Within the muscle groups I know what moves I will do, but even those can be changed once I am at the gym.

The changes are usually because of not being able to access the equipment I need / want. So, say I wanted to run for 30 minutes but all the treadmills are in use, then I’ll go to the elliptical. Or say I want to do Wood Choppers using the pulley system but the proper attachment is nowhere to be found, then I’ll do them using a free weight or medicine ball, or maybe I won’t do them at all, maybe I’ll do Russian Twists instead.

It’s all about getting in the workout I want while making minor changes based on equipment availability and comfort level around the people that I am sharing the gym with.

By comfort level I mean some days the free weight section is crowded with jacked up guys who are doing super sets and moving from one exercise to another and they are taking up a lot of room with their little stations that they created. Or a bunch of guys are working out together and they kinda take over the space so some of them are working out while the others are hanging on equipment next to the guy who is working out while they all chat. I get it, they want to be social, but it sure can be annoying for the rest of us sometimes. *rolls eyes*

This was not meant to be a rant! Oops!

What I was trying to get to is that I always have a flexible plan when I go work out, ensuring I come away from my work out feeling like I have accomplished something and got in a solid session.

Until the other night.

I knew I was going to do my cardio, but hadn’t committed to which machine I wanted to use for it, in fact I kind of didn’t care what I did for my cardio. I ended up using the elliptical for 30 minutes, which is fine, but I could have done better.

Then I took a look at the free weight section and didn’t want to deal with navigating all the guys that were there so I went to a different room, it is a bit smaller but is a good space for free weight work. There were some guys in there but usually I’ll go in even if it is partially occupied cause, well, I can. But since I didn’t have a plan for which muscle groups I wanted to work on, and no real motivation to be there, I didn’t go in the room, instead I went to the stretching area, had a cool down, and went home.

I have never had such a short workout. And I can’t believe I let myself leave without getting some weight work done.

It was like, once there, with all the equipment, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what I wanted to do, or what I should do, and I couldn’t make a decision, so I left.

Maybe it was because it was at the end of a long day and I was tired and my brain just couldn’t make any more decisions. Maybe for whatever reason I had less motivation that day and I used that lack of motivation as a reason to leave after doing only cardio. Maybe I am just a lazy person at heart and I wanted to go home and be cozy in my pajamas while watching Netflix. πŸ˜›

Whatever the reason, it wasn’t a great workout, and I think a big part of that is my going in to that gym without a plan.

The plan doesn’t have to be some big great detailed thing. Some days it is as simple as:

  • 30 mins cardio
  • weight work for arms, shoulders, and back
  • some core work
  • stretch

That’s it! That is all it takes to make a plan! Who knew something so simple could be the difference between getting a good work out in and only getting 30 minutes of cardio in? Not me, that’s for sure!

Lesson learned, plan, even just a bit, and my workout will be way better.

 

Yoga Fail

14 Apr

The plan.

There’s always a plan right?

The plan was to get up and go to morning yoga at my gym.

The reality was the alarm made noise, I didn’t even pretend to hit snooze, just turned it off, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Oops? πŸ˜‰

That meant to get my workout in for the day I’d have to fit it in after work, which is fine, it is when I prefer to workout. Only catch is I work until 9pm Saturdays and I start at 7am Sundays, so usually after work on a Saturday I really live it up by coming back to my place, showering, and watching YouTube or Netflix for a bit until I go to bed.

Not tonight though, no way was I missing a workout on the third day of this challenge!

Situations like this though are exactly why I decided to not be super strict about my definition of a workout, because instead of going to the gym I did a body weight (and ok I used a couple actual weights) workout in my living room.

The cat, in case you were wondering, was not impressed.

I could have done a workout dvd, and probably will at some point, but I wanted to see what I could come up with on my own. It isn’t exciting, but hopefully it was enough to count…I did get sweaty, not been at the gym killing it sweaty, but a light ladylike glow, so I’m going to pretend that means I accomplished something lol

My little circuit consisted of:

  • jumping jacks
  • squats
  • mountain climbers
  • russian twists (with my medicine ball)
  • push-ups
  • bicycle crunches
  • plank
  • overhead press (with dumbbells)
  • flys (with dumbbells)
  • and this thing I don’t know the name of, I lay on the ground, holding a dumbbell or kettle bell, arms straight above me (think right over my face), then I lower my arms while keeping them straight till the weight hits the floor above my head, stretching my arms as far as they will go. I don’t know what is it called but I love that one, you can really feel muscles engaging.

So yeah, that was my circuit, nothing fancy. I did a minute of each with no rest in between then a minute rest after the circuit was done. I did it three times, probably should have done a fourth but ya live an learn. I’ll know to do a fourth next time.

After that was done I cleaned the apartment, seriously, can my Saturday nights get anymore exciting? πŸ˜‰

I have a friend stopping by tomorrow and I wanted the place to be tidy for her. She is one of those people whose place is always gorgeous so the least I can do is make my little basement suite clean. It’ll never be gorgeous, but clean counts for something, in my books anyways lol

I may not have made the yoga class and stuck to plan that way but I still managed something resembling a workout, meaning Day 3 (or Day 42) is in the bag! πŸ˜€

cat yoga

Of the two of us, the cat is the only one getting some yoga in lol

Day 43 – Protein Smoothie Bowl

13 Apr

Before you ask, yes I will be posting updates randomly about my 44 Day Fitness Challenge here. Why? Well, I have to be held accountable somewhere, because if you think I can hold myself accountable and not cheat you obviously don’t know me very well lol πŸ˜‰

Day 2 in the bag! Or day 43…whichever way you want to count it. Down. Up. It is all the same to me!

Today was a gym session after work, leg day! I always forget other people go out and have social lives on Friday nights. When I get to my gym there are always a decent number of vehicles parked there and I internally start to bitch about how many people are going to be in the gym at 10pm but then I walk inside and there are maaaaybe 6 people? And that is a generously high number. Which is when I realize that the parking area is also used by people going to nearby pubs. Oops?

I mean c’mon, who wants to go to a pub when you can go to the gym? On a Friday night. Almost like you have no social life or something. Ok never mind, this is gonna go dark fast if I don’t start blabbing about something else lol

Protein Smoothie Bowl!

protein smoothie bowl

Granted, not the prettiest looking food item I’ve ever posted on here. But I’m sure it isn’t the ugliest…maybe…

It is a scoop of protein powder, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1 small banana, and a tablespoon or so of plain almond milk. Blend until it hits a consistency you like, I prefer thicker so I’m eating it with a spoon rather than making it a drink. This way I can pretend I’m eating ice cream, only ya know, not as tasty.Β  Aww man, now I want ice cream! But even I, with my special quirky ways of interpreting things, can’t find a way to make ice cream an acceptable post workout meal. Too bad though, cause that would be an awesome post workout meal…don’t mind me while I daydream about ice cream for a minute…

Ok, done! For now at least lol

So yeah, two days sorted, only 42 more to go! πŸ™‚

 

44 Days

12 Apr

44 days until I put on a bridesmaid’s dress and celebrate my best friend’s big day.

44 days.

That is not a lot of time to magically improve myself so I look ok in that dress. And yet, if I was counting down to vacation and it was 44 days away I’d be moaning about how far away that is.

Funny how your perspective can change huh?

Now I know that the big day is not about me, and I should only be thinking of her and how much I want it to be awesome for her. But let’s be real here for a sec ok? I’m vain and I want to look good in that dress lol and so while a big part of me is focusing on how she is getting married and I want it to be amazing another part of me is wondering if it is a realistic goal to have 44 workouts in the next 44 days.

In case you’re wondering, I think it is a realistic goal.

I used to make challenges, or find challenges online and follow them. I’ve done 30 day fitness challenges, I’ve done “Lose a Pant Size By (insert date here)”, I’ve done Paleo challenges, I’ve done seasonal fitness and food challenges. Basically, name a challenge and I have either already done it or am up for trying it. But I haven’t made my own challenge in quite a while. The most recent one I took part in was the “100 Squats a Day for 30 Days”, which in case you’re wondering about that, I did it, it was fine. I squat a lot anyways so it wasn’t that hard of a challenge for me. In fact I’m doing a second round of it because a friend wanted to do it and I decided to do it again so she’d have a squatting buddy. Which sounds weird when typed or spoken out loud lol

While sitting here ruminating over the realization that the wedding is only 44 days away I realized I needed a plan. A concrete, have goals and a way to meet those goals, plan. I was recently reminded that having vague goals in terms of fitness (or anything else) doesn’t really work. You need a way to measure your progress towards reaching your goal so you can modify your plan along the way, giving you a better chance at achieving your plan, hitting the mark, grabbing your star, whatever cliche works for you… πŸ˜‰

So, I made a plan. And because I like visuals I made a tracker to put on my fridge. It isn’t anything special, just a 3 column, 15 row, chart that counts down from 44 to the day of the wedding. Each box has enough space for the number of days left, and room for me to write what workout I did that day. I also left space to make a comment about my eating for that day. Not enough space to list my food or anything, just enough space to make a comment about if I did well food wise. I suppose I could put my caloric intake there, be better able to track if my eating is matching my activity levels…I dunno, we’ll see what I do there. Mostly it is to track my workouts because I feel I’ve been dropping the ball with those lately and need something to help motivate me.

I pre-filled out my dragon boat workouts, because those are a given, and certain gym days that I always do. The rest of the days will be a combination of extra gym days and other workouts, so maybe one day I do a workout dvd, or go for a hike, or I dunno, walk the seawall. I’m not creating set-in-stone rules for what constitutes a workout, I feel that would be too limiting, and I want to leave room to listen to my body and what it wants. If I say only going to the gym counts as a workout but I have a day I can’t get there I don’t want to feel like my dragon boat practice, or a long walk, or even some body weight work at home, doesn’t count, or worse, is a failure, when it is in fact still a workout.

I’m trying to be less rigid in my definition of what counts as a workout…I don’t know how well I’ll manage it, but I’m gonna try!

Something I think I should do though is create an overall workout plan, so X number of leg days, X number of shoulder & back & arm days, X number of cardio sessions a week, that way I know that even with my broader interpretation of what counts as a workout I am still getting in a certain number of sessions per muscle group so my odds of hitting my goal increase.

Which, speaking of my goal, I do have them, goals beyond just fitting in the dress better I mean lol They are quantifiable, can be tracked and measured, and my progress towards them will be tracked and measured over the next 44 days. And if I don’t quite make it to those goals in time for the wedding, well, I’ll keep working on them, because ultimately I suppose it isn’t really about fitting in that dress (though part of it is!), so much as it is about getting in better shape and feeling better about myself.

So if anyone wants to join the challenge, feel free! I know 44 days will seem an arbitrary number to anyone not counting down to this specific wedding, so feel free to alter the number to your own deadline. Think of it as a very customizable challenge – pick your length of time, pick what you think counts as a workout, and commit to one workout a day for the length of time you chose.

Remember, success is 10% physical and 90% mental, it’s not your body that is tired and wants to quit, it is your brain and you thinking you can’t keep going. So keep going. Push farther than you think you can go, to prove to yourself you can keep going, and next time it’ll be a little easier and you’ll be able to go a little farther.

bd76c77e43b4d371ff50eb2505b6bb42

If a meme says it, it must be true.Β 

%d bloggers like this: