Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I'm not at home. I'm away from most of my resources ... but there is still work to that needs to be done. I've got a conference to present at tomorrow, a draft that should have been handed in a few days ago (luckily it wasn't a fixed deadline, but still ...), a mock viva to prepare for ... and that's just what's happening over the next few days.
Anyway. I guess I'm just in a bit of a panic. My exercise routine has not been going as planned though I’ve managed to squeeze in a few short walks here and there. It’s been rainy and chilly – not the ideal (summer vacation) weather! Still, the cool, crisp air does make me feel energized.
Today I’m off to Bristol to attend the BAAL conference. I’m nervous about tomorrow’s presentation. I feel like there’s extra pressure on me this time as I won a scholarship from the association for this conference so it feels like I really have to deliver a stellar performance. That’ll be tough as I’m feeling quite a bit less than stellar at the moment. Oh well. At least I’ll be in Bristol – a small city, but one I enjoy being in. I hoping to get in at least one long walk by the river and perhaps attempt a short jog in one of the nearby parks … We’ll see. The priority is the presentation – mustn’t lose sight of that!
I hope to be back to my regular posting schedule now … but if I do miss a day or two here and there, not to worry – I’m around somewhere!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I started off with burpees. I absolutely hate these exercises. I remember last summer I would refuse to do them properly. I'd be able to jump into plank position but pure fear of falling/failing was preventing me from jumping my legs back ... Finally one day I said to myself - Enough is enough. What's the worst thing that can happen? So I fall, big deal. Try it!!! So I tried it ... and I did it! I'm still amazed at how much fear plays a role in keeping me from pushing to my potential. Anyway. I'm pleased to say that I can do 20 burpees in a row without too much difficulty - it sure does get my heart rate up!
The burpees were followed by plank position variations. How can such a simple looking exercise cause so much pain and be so tough? I hate this exercise but I was determined to do the variations and get past the dread. So I started with the basic plank position, followed by keeping the same position but with one leg raised up. Then side plank followed by side plank with a raised arm twist (you twist the raised arm under your torso then back to starting position) and finally normal plank position but with both one leg and opposite arm raised/extended - I only did 15 per side. (Obviously all the positions were done for each side). In between each variation I did the regular plank pose. I held each position for 30 seconds. There were a few positions - namely the side planks - ithat I couldn't hold for 30 seconds straight but I did do a total of 30 seconds. Can I just say OUCH??!!! I never imagined so much sweat from an exercise that basically requires you to stay still ... Well I did wobble quite a bit, but you know what I mean!
I finished off the routine with my third least favorite and absolutely dreaded exercise - bicycle crunches. I did 100 of those and wanted to burst into tears.
Well, that's another workout on 'holiday' done ... I have to admit it does help relieve some of the anxiety I'm feeling over my thesis draft ... Still, pushing through as always :)
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
To take a bit of a break I decided to go or a quick walk just before dinner. It was my first proper outdoor walk since being here - and I loved it! It made such a difference to walk outside and not on a treadmill ... and breathing in the cool, crisp fresh air versus the dusty, dry air of Kuwait was such a treat! After my walk (only half an hour) I did some resistance work - tricep dips, lunges, bicep curls, side bends etc.
I know it's good that I'm doing something while I'm away but I have no idea how effective it will actually be. We'll see ...
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The good news: my overall health is excellent. All my levels of glucose, cholesterol, etc. are perfect. The doctor said that he wouldn't have believed I came from a long line of hypertensive, diabetics plus a family history of breast cancer and osteoporosis.
More good news: My fitness level is excellent - except for my BMI/weight. I beat their predictions of my cardiovascular and lung function by 15%. The exercise program I've been following is working though they want me to focus more on cardio now to help with fat loss.
The bad news: A few years ago I had surgery for a medical condition and it seems like that condition has come up again and is a bit serious. The doctor doesn't see how I'll make any proper achievement in weight loss until after I resolve this problem. I know it's a bit evasive at the moment but as I said, I'm processing it all. Hopefully I'll get to see a specialist before I leave London.
It's never fun hearing that you have health issues. I'm trying to tell myself not to let it distract me from all the good news.
For now, I'm just telling myself that I should be pleased with the positive points and embrace the fact that knowledge is power. It's still full steam ahead!
Monday, August 22, 2011
I've booked a full fitness test and health evaluation for tomorrow at one of the private hospitals here in London. I've been at this plateau weight for so long that I thought it would be worth getting a full check-up to see what's happening and hopefully get some advice on how to make my workouts more effective and also get some tips about improving my nutrition. I know I put in the time and effort and I am conscious of making healthy choices and doing exercise -- but I feel like I'm stuck. I figured since I have changed my routine up it was a good idea to have a proper health evaluation. I really hope the tests go well tomorrow and that I come out with some good advice.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Mainly, you really can't watch that show and make extremely bad food choices. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy your food, but I think what it's done for me (yes I know I've only been traveling for 2 days) is serve as a reminder - you don't need to eat junk food, you don't need to gorge on chocolates etc. It's just helping me be conscious of what I'm doing - and more importantly where I want to be. If I do have dessert (which I do), I know that I'm going to put in the effort to walk a little faster or watch what I'm eating at my next meal.
People always say - I can treat myself. I'm on vacation. I absolutely agree -- but I think my definition of what a treat for myself is changing. The treat now is that I'm trying on clothes 2 dress sizes less than the last time I was here. Screw those chocolate cupcakes. I want that smaller sized dress!!
Feelin' motivated and energized ... and totally Lovin' London!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
I'm usually not too worried about my London trip because walking is pretty much automatically worked into my daily routine. I think just that extra activity from hardly any extra movement aside from the gym in Kuwait to walking to the tube station, walking in parks, etc. makes a difference. This time, I was going try to work in a bit extra into my routine ... But also give my body some much needed rest.
That rest started on the plane where I scored a free upgrade to business class -- bliss! I stretched all, the way out and SLEPT! My muscles were unbelievably sore from the consecutive weight training pre-travel so this was a real unexpected treat! I didn't do anything except relax for the rest of the day.
This morning I headed off to see a friend who is actually one of the trainers at my gym. Our London tip just happened to overlap. On our agenda was SHOPPING! I already knew we would be doing major walking - so I wasn't too worried about getting exercise for the day ... But I still did some before leaving. I've come up with a mini exercise routine to do while I'm here. It's basically a total of 500 reps of various exercises ... So 200 sit-up, 50 leg raises, 50 squats; 20 push-ups etc etc until I reached 500. I'm going to try and do a similar routine every other morning just to help keep up with some training I did before traveling.
Anyway. We did a ton of walking throughout the day and evening. It felt so good to be walking outdoors in the crisp, cool air - such a difference from the dusty air of Kuwait. So far, a great start to this holiday :)
Friday, August 19, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The first thing I discovered was actually how strong I had become. When I picked up the bar for squats with KG 15 on them (I later realized my starting weight for squats was actually 12 – bad math again on my part!) I had absolutely no trouble putting it on my shoulders and starting. The bar actually felt light! Anyway.
So here’s a quick breakdown
(1 set/as many reps as possible in 2 minutes)
Squats @ 15 kg. – 65 reps
Push-ups – 25 in good form (with some rest)
Seated row @ 20.43 kg – 60 reps
Step-ups @ 5 kg & 4 steps under base step – 45 reps/leg
Prone jackknife – 40 (20 continuous and then 10 + 10)
So that’s it!
The start of each exercise was fine – but the final reps (or rather, the final minute of each exercise) became more difficult as is expected, right?
I was really hoping that I would have been able to do more push-ups. Why are push-ups so tough? I only managed to do 10 in full proper form before taking a rest and somehow completing the next 15. It was frustrating, but I’m definitely going to keep practicing to improve them while I’m away.
However, did you notice the prone jackknives? I did 20 in a row!! I was very happy with that. I kept telling myself – come on, you can do this! I would have loved to have done 50 … but I think 40 is a pretty good number considering that it was only just over a month (July 12) that I could barely do 8 in a row without serious difficulty!
I’m glad I chose to have a 2-minute limit. This way when I get back from holiday I can try the workout again and see where I stand before I start Stage 2 …
I’m nervous about tomorrow’s workout because I have had no rest days in between my strength training (and barely any sleep). Still, I’m so close to hitting my pre-travel workout targets … I have to make it.
Since I was so sore after yesterday’s workout and I knew that finishing two more weight training sessions would be taxing on my body I had booked a massage at the spa that is attached to my gym. It was a great hour to have for myself to just try and relax plus the masseuse I go to is phenomenal! I hadn’t been to her in a while and I was really happy when she said – Wow, you have so much muscle now! She also did say – You have lots and lots of tension (surprise, surprise). She did a great job and working out some of those tense knots in my back and shoulders … I really should make a point of going to her more regularly … anyway, it was a nice little treat and hopefully that bit of relaxation will help me through tomorrow’s workout as well!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
That's it!! I've completed Stage 1 of NROL4W!
Monday, August 15, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I took today off from the gym to get some much needed rest and to spend some much, much needed time on my PhD. I definitely feel better after taking a bit of a break, and I'm ready for tomorrow's big workout.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Since I’m now in the second half of this training challenge, I figured it was time to double-check my nutrition. I knew I was eating healthily. I even knew that my portions were fine. However, there were two big problem areas – first of all, I was not hitting my calorie target for the day. I would usually be running 300-600 calories under what I was supposed to be eating, even though I felt like I was eating enough and I wasn’t hungry. The other problem was my carbohydrates – I was clearly consuming too many carbohydrates – and falling short on my daily calorie, protein, and fat intake (is it just me, or does anybody else think it’s a bit weird to say I need to increase my fat intake to lose weight) … anyway, it’s all about balance, right? Getting the right amount of everything. Getting the nutrients from healthy food.
So … I’ve been measuring, calculating, noting, editing, modifying, packaging, freezing, etc. etc. etc. Whew! It’s exhausting – but definitely worth it. The one thing that I still have to get a handle on is how much time this all takes – it’s not easy. Finding out proper nutritional information and then doing all the calculations – making sure that they’re accurate and not just somebody’s personal guess … plus the time it takes to double (triple) check my calculations. Yes, it takes lots and lots of time.
At first I thought I could just spend a bit of time before each meal and prepare everything, but now I realize that I need to set aside a good chunk of time two days each week in order to figure out my meal plan, do the counts, and do as much prep as possible.
Now, I’ve got a list of my frequent foods for each type of meal and I’ve done the nutritional breakdown for those foods. My breakfasts are not that interesting, nor are my lunches. It’s my dinners that I’ve been trying to get a bit more creative with. I’ve got a whiteboard in my kitchen and it’s got nutritional info written. The good thing about the list is that I’ve also included various quick snacks that I can eat without having to worry about the nutrition factor. Plus, thank goodness for freezer bags/containers – I’ve got my fish fillets weighed and packed, my vegetarian chili measured out and stored in containers, and I’m gradually adding the calorie breakdown of different foods to add it to my collection. I hope that soon enough I’ll be able to choose my foods without going into so much detail, but for now, I think I’ll have to put in the time in order to get it right.
Here’s a picture of my board – calorie breakdown of my frequent foods + a reminder of how many calories & nutrients I should be consuming each day, and my list of quick snacks and healthy foods with their nutritional info. J
Monday, August 1, 2011
Well, I certainly didn’t think I’d be sharing this info with anybody today! Still, following Kenlie’s FMM – here are my answers J
1. Do you like to shop? Absolutely!! Love to shop for anything, but I’m particularly obsessed with shoes!
2. How often do you wear makeup? Everyday – at the very least eyeliner and lip gloss whenever I leave house – whether I’m heading out to buy groceries, go to the gym, or go out with friends – it’s the minimum I always have on.
3. How do you feel about nail polish? Love it! I like to be creative with different types of French manicure combinations. Today I put on a dark coral color and I love it! Very summery J
4. Do you consider yourself to be a feminist? Yes, in the sense that I believe in equality for men and women. To me feminism does not = anti-men. It’s about embracing every aspect of being a woman – the good, the bad, the ugly … and the beautiful (Read Katie’s blog entry on feminism and watch the video she’s posted – it’s great)
5. What’s your biggest challenge as a woman? That’s a tough question. I don’t know if I have any big challenge because of my gender …
6. Do you wear skirts and dresses? I don’t wear dresses often, but I do love my skirts.
7. How do you feel about high heels? Love them. Love them. Love them. Hate flats.
8. Do you subscribe to magazines? If so, which ones? I subscribe to Women’s Health, Shape, and Cosmo
9. Do you shave your legs/wax/ use depilatory creams or go au naturale? I feel completely blessed that this is not something I have to worry about – but when I do have to take care of any issues, I’ll shave
10. What do you like most about being a woman? I love the fact that I am capable of doing whatever needs to be done. I am proud of being able to work, workout, study, take care of my house, socialize, and take time for myself. Sometimes the tasks can be overwhelming – but they’re never impossible & I think that strength comes from being a woman.
For today – a few motivational quotes from Jillian Michaels. I absolutely love her intensity and the passion she has for helping people make healthier choices and live happier lives.
"The past does not define you, the present does.
"Why choose fail when success is an option?
"Be brave and be patient. Have faith in yourself; trust in the significance of your life and the purpose of your passion. You are strong enough to sit in the space between spaces and allow divine inspiration to shed some light. when you put positive energy and productive effort into the world it will come back to you. Occasionally in ways you might not immediately understand and on a time frame you didn't expect. Look. Listen. Learn. Stay open. Your destiny is awaiting you."
... and my favorite (something I keep in mind whenever I'm doing cardio)
"Unless you puke, faint or die, Keep Going!"
All quotes taken from goodreads.com.
Today marked the halfway point of this workout challenge. I hope that I’m able to complete the remaining workouts before my progress is properly evaluated. I have definitely found that in the first three weeks the mental battle has been tougher to fight than the physical one (aside from my bronchitis of course).
Workouts 5 and 6 are up to 3 sets but only at 10 reps. I hope that I’ll be able to increase some of the weights. I know that I’m having most trouble increasing my weight with the seated row and lateral pull – I’ve tried the next weight up and my form is totally off, so I guess I just have to gradually build up to that.
Today I completed Workout A of Workout 5. I think it went really well. I’ve now moved over to the bigger weight room since I can’t do the squats on my own anymore. I was going to just do 25 kg, when the trainer that was with me said – No, you can do 30. So I did. It just reminded me, once again, to take a few moments and try and assess – am I not lifting more because I’m scared or because it’s really not something I can do at this point in time without compromising my form/risking injury (notice that I didn’t say ‘is this something I can’t do) J
I went upstairs to the women’s section of the gym to complete the rest of my workout. It was lovely being the only one there … until someone else came in. It was actually a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in over a month so it was nice to catch up – but all of a sudden I felt self-conscious … only because I knew that 3 sets of 12 reps of the prone jackknife were coming up and I was dreading it!! I almost considered skipping it (as I type this I’m thinking – why would I let someone else’s presence affect me so much? It must be a fear of failure and fear of looking stupid. I need to get over this.) … but I didn’t – and in fact, I completed those 3 sets with no hesitation at all. As soon as I steadied the ball, I was able to balance my feet on it without any unsteadiness. My arms felt strong and steady. My core was tight. Away I went. All three sets completed and I felt great. So different from my first try! I was very happy.
I wanted to write a bit more about nutrition today, but I think I’ll save it for tomorrow’s post as I still need to put up Motivation Monday and hop over to FMM to see what’s happening.
Today was a good day J