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Tag Archives: working out

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˜‰

 

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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˜‰

 

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.

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If a meme says it, it must be true.Β 

Day 3 and 4

23 Dec

I was too busy to write yesterday, sorry!

Today’s post is about Day 3 and Day 4 of the 12 Days of Fitness.

Are you still on track? I sort of am…kind of…maybe?

Yesterday was more of a weight workout type of day vs a cardio workout, which is what I tend to do.

My brother came over to my parent’s place when they were out (I am staying here for a bit over Christmas) and we put up a bunch of art work for my parents. This may not sound like a workout but it was multiple, heavy framed, pieces of art, most of which got put up on high or hard to reach areas. This meant that while my brother did the math for where to place the hooks so each piece was displayed to the best it could be, I was the one holding the artwork up so he could look at it. I was also running up and downstairs grabbing things, moving all over the house while helping with the whole decorate-the-house project and basically just moving a lot…while carrying heavy stuff…I feel that should count.

Do you think it counts?

I dunno…maybe I am fooling myself. I remember at the time of doing all that work thinking “damn, this is harder than expected, this definitely counts as my workout today” but now, looking back, I am of course, doubting myself. *rolls eyes*

For now, let’s assume it counts. Ok?

For today, Day 4, it is my birthday! Yay birthdays! πŸ˜€

birthday

I have a little tradition for my birthday. I got to WEM, I shop the sales, I enjoy the teeny tiny 5% sales tax that this wonderful province has, I meet up with a friend and we either go for a meal and then a movie or just one of those, or something else completely, and then I make sure I am home in time for a family dinner where the menu was of my choosing.

Oh, I also let myself sleep in a little because if you can’t sleep in on your birthday then when can ya? πŸ˜‰

I thought to use my walking of the mall as my exercise, which may sound stupid, but that really was the plan! It is a big mall and the stores I wanted to visit are not all that near each other soooooo I figured walk as fast as the crowds will allow from one store to another and get a bit of exercise in. The crowds weren’t that bad, but the line to buy things in some of the stores were unfortunately long and slow, which kinda messed with my plan by (1) making me not able to visit every store on my list and (2) not giving me as much walking time as I expected. The bonus though was that because I was now more time constricted I was walking even faster than I had planned, so maybe that helps to balance things out?

Look! At WEM even the penguins go mall walking! And if it counts as exercise for penguins it should count for people as well, don’t cha think? πŸ˜‰

Again, I don’t really know if it counts. After dinner and dessert and time with the family I intended to go downstairs, dragging my laptop behind me, and workout to either one of my dvds or a workout video from YouTube but I am just toooooo tired! All I want to do is have a cup of tea, a shower, and crawl in to bed, which is exactly what I am going to do, because really, when you want to pamper yourself what better day than on your birthday?

Detecting a bit of a birthday theme here? πŸ˜‰ lol

I think I am going to count both days as complying with the rules of the challenge. After all, the rules didn’t specify certain exercises must be done, just that you had to be consciously active and both days I was. Admittedly, with odd activities, but still, I was active! Plus, both days I worked up a bit of a sweat and I definitely felt strain in my arm and shoulder muscles when holding the framed pictures up high for extended periods of time.

So yeah, ok then, while writing this I have decided that both days count. So there! πŸ˜‰

Tomorrow I may do a more traditional workout though, just to get a bit more on track…maybe…

Day 2 of 12

21 Dec

Alrighty peeps, it is Day 2 of the 12 Days of Fitness and I’m sure everyone has been active today, right? Right!

I was up earlier than any human being should be when on vacation but that is what happens when you are staying with parents who wake up early…and when you are going to a morning WW meeting lol

Today was a happy day, went to my meeting, down a pound, entered a new weight decade, out for brunch with the parents, ate a delish meal at Cora’s. It was a random mixture of healthy and non-healthy foods, as most meals out are.

I got Theo’s Omelette which is an omelette filled with oh so many vegetables, covered in cheese, and served with a side of potatoes, fresh fruit, and toast. I asked them to make the omelette with half the normal amount of cheese because restaurants always seem to drown food in cheese and I think it came out with a pretty decent amount.

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After brunch it was errand time, borrowed my Dad’s car for a while and bonus points for me, I returned it in the same condition it was in when I left the driveway. πŸ™‚

This evening after dinner I realized that even though I had parked far away and walked when going to all the shops I hadn’t really done anything worthy of being called exercise so I grabbed one of the exercise dvd’s I brought and started working out.

Tonight I did the 5 Mile Walk dvd by Leslie Sansone, it is a “walk at home” dvd which means you are walking on the spot, or forwards and backwards, or side to side, in random combinations and taking her word for it that eventually you have walked 5 miles. I tend to jog for large parts of it, and incorporate more arm work, so I get a better work out.

walk-at-home

The woman, Leslie, is so annoying, ugh. But she keeps you moving which is the important part. Normally I play the dvd on my laptop with the volume down low and watch something on tv while walking but my mom joined me this evening so we kept the volume up high and we kept being told to “walk! walk! walk!” lol Β πŸ˜€

My fear that I would fail this challenge by Day 2 has been relieved. Now on to figure out where to fit something in on Day 3!

Did you work out today?

A Hike and A Workout

12 May

Wednesday was Day 3 of this new workout plan I am trying (you can read the deets on the plan by going back a post or two). Even though Day 3 is a body circuit day I figured that didn’t mean I couldn’t do other stuff as well, so I went for a hike. πŸ™‚

I worked Wednesday, my normal day off, 10a-4:30p and when I was done I was sooooo close to this hike called Quarry Rock I figured I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to go. I used to climb this particular trail on an almost weekly basis two years ago, last year I didn’t climb it as much which is unfortunate. I didn’t do as many hikes in general last year, not really sure why.

So this was my first time on the trail in a while. It has changed a bit, not in a bad way or anything, just natural changes that you will find in a forest. It is definitely showing the signs of lack of rain though, which sucks. The trail is drier, there is less green, the bridges built to get over the water aren’t really needed since there is barely any water. It is kind of sad when you think about it.

But! On the plus side I took pictures, so lets focus on those! lol

New signs have been put up, I’m thinking because of the stupid people you see on the trail wearing flip flops (not even joking!). Or I suppose they could be because some people head in to the wilderness with no idea about what they might encounter, and might not be properly prepared for the possibilities. Meh, who knows!

The next pics are views from the top…

2016-05-11 17.48.372016-05-11 17.48.442016-05-11 17.50.322016-05-11 17.47.46

Isn’t it so pretty? Makes the hike up completely worth it! πŸ™‚

While I was sitting up there, even with my sunglasses on, it felt like the sun was searing a hole through my eyes straight to the back of my head. Poor eyeballs. 😦 So I didn’t stay up there as long as I wanted to, but I did stay up longer than I used to. When I hiked this trail on a regular basis I used to get to the top, take a quick glance, then go right back down because I was hiking the trail primarily for exercise, not to enjoy nature. This time, it was such a harder climb than it used to be for me that I decided to enjoy being at the summit.

That climb really made me realize how lazy I have been. I used to be able to hike Quarry Rock without even thinking about it, which is why it was a great hike to do at the end of a busy work day once a week. It was exercise without being extraordinarily demanding. Now? Ha! Now it is hard apparently. There were parts where the only positive thing I can say about myself is that I was still technically going forward, felt like I was moving in slow motion through molasses, but I was still moving, so that’s something…

I have decided that I will hike Quarry Rock once a week, weather permitting, for the next couple months, get back in the groove of dealing with inclines and rocky surfaces an all that.

Here are a couple pics I snapped on the way back down to show you the shape the forest is in, see what I mean about drier than normal and a little sad looking?

2016-05-11 18.07.052016-05-11 18.07.01

When I got home from the hike I immediately started on the exercises for Day 3. Each set included:

30 seconds jumping rope

15 squat jumps

10 bench dips

15 standing calf raises

20 shoulder presses

10 side lunges (each leg)

25 crunches

I had to make some modifications due to a variety of factors but I did my best to keep to the spirit of the exercise I was modifying so I’d still get the same, or at least a similar, benefit.

The exercises I modified are the jumping rope, the squat jumps and the shoulder presses.

The jumping rope I can’t do because my apartment has an extremely low ceiling, there isn’t enough clearance for the rope. Also, there isn’t enough open space for the rope when it is going around my body. So yeah, not happening. Instead I ran in place for 30 seconds, I didn’t half ass it or anything, I basically sprinted in place for the same amount of time I was supposed to be jumping rope.

As I learned on the Monday, squat jumps and my knees are just not friends. Instead I did normal squats. I didn’t realize until just now when I was re-reading the exercise list that the alternate for the squat jumps was a 30 second wall sit, oops. I’ll do that next time. I don’t think it was soooo bad that I did normal squats though…

The shoulder presses, ok, so this is a weird one. I have free weights, they are only 5lbs and 8lbs but whatever, it is a start! So I have the weights and I know how to do a shoulder press, but I can’t do them in my apartment because the ceiling is too low. I can’t raise my arms above my head when standing and straighten the elbows because I am hitting the ceiling. Instead I did a forward lunge, maintained the lunge position, and did 10 shoulder presses. Then I stepped back, did a forward lunge with the other leg, maintained the position, and did the other 10 shoulder presses. I figure it might even be better than just doing shoulder presses because I am utilizing my core more to maintain balance and using my leg muscles to ya know, stay in the lunge position.

So yeah, that was how the workout went on Wednesday. Haven’t quit the new program yet! lol πŸ˜›

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