Fight for Fitness results

I've been holding off on this post for a while, waiting to have my official final stats from Fight for Fitness. I knew I ended the ten weeks on a great note, and I've learned and accomplished a lot during this time, but I wanted those final numbers to paint a full picture. (Plus, I haven't had a spare moment until now! "Spare moment" being relative, as I am currently en route to Chicago.)

First, we had a fitness assessment to see how our hard work translated to muscle use. We didn't do this at the beginning of the program, so I had no basis for comparison, but I still did a lot better than I expected. I couldn't do the mile run, since I'm still injured (but finally making significant progress with that!), but I walked it in 15 minutes which is a pretty great walking pace. Then, I was tested on how many sit-ups I could do in a minute. At the beginning of the program, I couldn't even do five sit-ups without stopping. During the test, however, I far exceeded that! I can't remember if it was 21 or 24 (24 seems like too many for me…) but either way, it's a good number. Actually, the only thing I didn't do so well on was the plank (I held it for a little over a minute), but that was because I had a tickle in my throat and couldn't stop coughing. Oops!

Second, we had new measurements taken. I officially lost 10.2 pounds, which isn't the number I had originally shot for but I'm happy with, because I didn't know how much muscle I would build. And let me tell you: it was a lot! But first, my measurements!

Hips: 43 / 42 [start / end]
Waist: 38 / 36
Chest: 37½ / 36¼
Bust: 41 / 40¼
Thigh: 25¼ / 25
Calf: 15½ / 15¼
Arm: 13½ / 13¼

Not bad, not bad…. I'm honestly not surprised that my calf and thigh didn't lose much since they've always been the most muscular parts of my body (all that running and biking). But two inches in my waist is nice! And the ¾ inch lost in my chest is enough for me to comfortably fit into the dress for my friend's wedding on this trip so, hey, perfect!

How about some pictures to go with those numbers? The change is slight, but I think you can see a difference.

(I wish I was more consistent about how I take the pictures, size and distance etc, but I think you get the idea.)

Plus, let's take a look at my SUPER HOT ARMS:
Oh yeah!

But now it's time for the big news… my body fat percentage! When I started, it was the first time I'd ever had my body fat measured, so I didn't know what to expect. My starting number was 28.7, which is… average, but not what I want. (I wonder what my body fat percentage must've been when I first started exercising a year and a half ago!) Well, today I'm much happier with my number: 24.9%! I lost almost 4% of body fat in just ten weeks! I was hoping to get down to 26.something, so I was shocked to see this number. And I've been smiling about it for the past 24 hours. I worked hard, and I'm glad it shows! (My trainer told me that my body fat in my abdomen alone went from 36 to 24. Wow!)

And, it turns out (I just received the email as I was writing this…), I won the Fight for Fitness challenge, having lost the most body fat out of everyone in the program! I had honestly forgotten that there was even a prize until it was mentioned when I got my measurements taken last week, so I was never really competing for the prize or anything. Still, it's nice to have won… even if I have no clue what the actual prize is!

I definitely want to do the next FFFF session, but it depends on finances (it starts the week after I get back from Chicago, and I'll have a couple really short paychecks due to the trip.) Maybe I should take up a collection? ;)

That's all for today, but I do have blog posts coming up in the next week or so about swimming, yoga, and the Color Me Rad 5K (don't worry, I walked it and didn't injure my foot further…). Lots of pictures for that one! Until next time, check me out on twitter for more spontaneous updates (including Chicago shenanigans!).
There's a lot of discussion in almost any weight loss community about weighing daily versus once a week or month [or even never]. Some people get frustrated by the daily fluctuations [or lack thereof], which is understandable. If you had a perfect day yesterday, you ate within your calorie range and burned a ton at the gym, but the scale was up this morning? Well, it happens, but a lot of people take that as, "Why am I even bothering?" It's important to remember that weight loss is a gradual process, you often don't see a drop in the scale the day after [personally, I'm always up a couple pounds after strength training days], but it's going to have a downward trend after a while.

It's important for me to remember this, as well. Now, I am a daily weigher and if I'm up one day, it doesn't usually phase me. I take it in stride and know that it will even out. I'm doing everything right so I have faith in the process. Usually. Except this week. This week... I gained four pounds in five days. Despite increasing my exercise [I still can't run, but I've been swimming instead!], discussing changing my nutrition with my trainer, adding in yoga... the scale kept going up. Half a pound one day, a full pound the next... it was awful, and I actually cried on Thursday when I hit 174. Maybe I should take a break from the scale, I thought, if it's affecting me this much. I mean, I'm seeing improvements otherwise. My clothes are all bigger on me, and I'm fitting into smaller sizes. I'm lifting heavier weights and improving on my pull-ups. I don't have to stop and catch my breath after every single lap in the pool anymore. I bought a new bathing suit, they accidentally sent me a small instead of a medium, and it fits.

These are all definite signs of my improving fitness, so why am I so upset at one number going in the wrong direction? Am I really that fixated on the scale, despite thinking that I'm not? But be honest, wouldn't you be upset at seeing something like this, too?

Thankfully, however, the clouds broke on Friday [actually, they really did... It stormed Thursday night/Friday morning and took away all that heat and humidity!] and my weight was back down a pound. Then two more on Saturday. And three more today! 

And you know what? While I was waiting for my hard work to pay off, I went through my graphs and looked at the progress I've made, even if it wasn't showing up at the moment on the scale. I definitely have an overall trend, and it's definitely going in the right direction, even if some individual days don't show it.

Today's weigh in, I'm down to 168.2 which means that I'm 6 pounds less than I was on Thursday. I haven't done anything drastic, no crash diets for me. I just kept doing what I had been doing all along, and it eventually paid off. Trust the process, and it always will.

Are you a daily weigher, or less frequently? Does that work best for you, or should you switch?

Monday Excitement

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. No, it's not that I was excited to get to work [although I do love my job...], it's something else. Today is the first day of yoga at my gym! They offer a series of six week sessions, but I was too late in joining last session so I've been eagerly awaiting the start of the next session. For the next six weeks, I will finally be getting formal instruction on yoga! And sure, it's a beginner class, but... I've gotta start somewhere, right?

I've been doing yoga on and off [unfortunately, mostly off] for the past 8 years, and I've written a little about it before. But, it may surprise some of you [or not...], I've never taken a class. Everything I've learned in yoga, I've learned on my own with the help of DVDs, books, and articles online. Which means, I'm probably doing a lot of things wrong! I knew that I'd eventually have to attend classes with a certified instructor at some point but I just hadn't gotten around to it. Well, thank you, YMCA! I'm excited to start in just six hours!

Another reason I need formal instruction, besides making sure my form is correct, is that I someday want to become an instructor myself. Yoga has helped me out a lot in the last decade, and I wouldn't be walking if it weren't for yoga. Even if I only become an instructor to conduct free community classes at the library, I want to give back some way. And the best way to give back to yoga is to give it forward! And, well, it's hard to achieve the level needed to become an instructor on your own. Not impossible, but definitely hard. So, yay, classes!

But it's only a six week, once a week session, and we'll see how I'm doing after that, but I will eventually want to peruse more advanced yoga and do it more than once a week. To that result, I started looking up yoga studios... and what do you know, there's actually one right behind my gym! Actually, they partner with my gym [who knew??] and if I present my gym membership card, I get $5 off each class! That's cheaper than even the student rate, so that's pretty cool. They have lots of different classes, and community yoga on Wednesday nights, so I'm sure that I'll find something I'll enjoy. Even between Monday and Wednesday, that's way more yoga than I've been doing lately.

Of course, today starts yoga and I still have three Monday sessions of Fight for Fitness, so that means I'll be at the gym for four and a half hours on Mondays for the next three weeks! The good news is, I'll be super warmed up for my training sessions...

Well, I'm off to work. I hope you can find something in your Monday to make it enjoyable too!

Let's have a party!

Today... is a day for celebrating. In fact, it's a day for partying. I've got my boys of the Backstreet variety all ready to go for this one.

Why, you may ask, are you celebrating with a 90s boy band? [Well, besides that BSB is the BEST way to celebrate! Wow, look at those outfits...] The answer:
I LOST FIFTY POUNDS! Not only that, but I flew past it! I'm in the 160s! [Just barely, only by a few ounces, but I will take it!] It's been a long time coming, and I still have 30 pounds left to go, but for the moment I just want to sit back and enjoy this. [By which I mean, I went to the gym this morning and did 12 minutes of wall sits.]

Sometimes, words just aren't enough. Sometimes, you need gifs. From the 90s. 

I had to bring it back to BSB and their awesome 90s clothes...

As for everything else, I'm entering week 8 of Fight for Fitness and I can't believe that it's almost over! I definitely want to do the next session as well, which starts up in mid-October. I've been learning a lot and I'm definitely getting stronger [I've gone up two levels on the pull-up machine already!], plus I've been making friends within my group. So, it's definitely been a great investment [even if I haven't lost as much weight as I expected; I have gained more muscle though] and I'm looking forward to another 10 weeks of it. Between the workout sessions and the weekly challenges, it keeps me busy, but it's a great kind of busy.

Also, my gym has rented a rowing machine [which I've been told is actually called an erg] for two weeks and I love it! It's hard, and I've got the blisters to prove it, but it's a great workout and alternative to putting all the pressure on my feet [yes, my foot's still bothering me so I'm still not running]. I'm hoping that they'll have money in the budget to buy one for the gym to keep!

Now, time to go pick out my reward for losing 50 pounds...!

Mid-August Update

Wow, it's been a busy few weeks! I've been trying to find time to write a post here for at least the last two weeks with no success. Well, at least my form of keeping busy has been very fitness-oriented!

First off, I'm at the halfway mark of the Fight for Fitness program at my gym and things are going GREAT. I've been learning a lot, having a ton of fun, and making new friends. I'll write more about this in a moment, but I'm sure you first want to hear the results [so far] of all my hard work. Well, it was a little rough going at first, and weight loss is always small for me in the first couple weeks of a program, but I am now down to 172.5! Yeah, that's only 3.5 pounds for the first 4 weeks but that's okay! This past week, now that we've figured a lot out, I was down 2 pounds!

So close to 50 pounds lost! I should hit it in the next week or two [hopefully next week]! I'm super excited for this milestone, especially since it took me 10 months to get from 45 to 50. With getting under 174, I also hit the 27's in my BMI! That's exciting as well. Less than 3 points until I'm in a "normal" BMI range.

Today, I'm also rocking this dress for the first time in years. I usually don't like it because it's too clingy but today, it suddenly fits nicely!

So, as I said, I'm entering my fifth week of Fight for Fitness at the gym and it's going really well. I have training sessions on Mondays and Thursdays [I actually have to head out the door for today's session right after I finish this...!], there are 4-6 of us with a personal trainer who really helps and pushes us. I'm learning a lot of new strength training exercises, as well as proper form for everything [even things I thought I knew!]. I didn't know much when I started, but I think I'm learning quickly. The first session, all I really knew how to do were squats and lunges [but my form was perfect, so there's that!] and now I know so much more! Plus, we do at least one new [to me] thing every day, so I'm still learning.

The format is circuit training, and we do a mix of cardio and strength training. Generally, it comes out to about a half hour of cardio and an hour of strength every session. For cardio, we might be doing sprints on the treadmill [which has led to me discovering that I can run 8.5mph! Who knew??], jumps on the bosu ball [my arch enemy], or riding hills on the stationary bike. For strength training, we utilize everything in the gym. Bosu, balance, and medicine balls; dumbbells and kettlebells; barbells and ropes and our own bodies. Even some bizarre rope contraption that hangs from the ceiling, we did pullups and pushups on it one day and it was hard! I know all this is having an effect on me, too-- I haven't taken new measurements yet but I've gone up on weights already and can hold my own against a lot of the other [seasoned] participants, which I couldn't do when I started.

The other part to the fitness program, of course, is nutrition. For the first two weeks, we tracked what we ate [which I already do with SparkPeople, obviously] and then had a nutrition seminar with the main trainer where we went over the basics of proper nutrition. Then, after looking over our food logs, we had individual meetings with her. My diagnosis? I eat too much sugar [yeah, one of those weeks was a heat wave and I just wanted to eat frozen desserts!] and not enough calories in general. For my level of activity, I should be eating 2600-3000 calories to maintain my weight, and 2000+ for optimal weight loss. Well, I knew I needed to eat more but that much? She said to start with aiming for 1800-2200 calories a day and we'll go from there. After getting used to it [500+ additional calories a day is a big change!], I have to admit that she knows what she's doing [ha, who would have thought?]. I barely lost anything the first couple weeks [just a half pound] but now that I'm eating more, the weight's coming off much quicker. 3 pounds in two weeks is nothing to scoff at! My nutrition's still not perfect, but it's getting better. And I'm meeting with my trainer again tonight before our session to go over it some more.

Well, it's time to go change and head out for the gym! There's more I wanted to write about but I guess it'll have to wait!

Weekly Weigh-In

Well, it's that time of week again. This is going to be a very short post, because I need to get to bed, but I wanted to check in before doing so. It's been a really busy week, so I haven't had time to sit down and write about my first week in the Fight for Fitness program [spoiler alert: I'm having a blast!], but I'll hopefully be able to do that soon.

Oh, and I had to reinstall the comments system so those few comments that existed on the blog [that weren't spam] are sadly gone... I know, I know. That just means you'll have to write more now!

Anyway, today's weigh in... *drumroll* I'm down half a pound! Yeah, not that impressive, yada yada yada... but keep in mind that I never lose big the first week of a new fitness routine. It's one of those things that I expect. I've been doing a lot more strength training than usual, and my muscles have been sore and retaining a lot of water. Plus, we had a heat wave all week long, so I was going to retain water anyway. [Plus, if I'm being totally honest, the heat made me not want to eat the most healthy things. I stayed within my calorie range but too much of it was ice cream and other frozen foods.] Whatever, my body will catch up. I'm not too worried about it.

Actually, I'm downplaying it. I'm REALLY EXCITED about this half pound! Why? Let me tell you why. I've been playing with numbers between 176 and 183 for months now, but never getting below 176 [except for that one fluke day in March]. With getting down to 175.5, I feel like I've finally broken through. And, even that one fluke day, my recorded weight was 175.7 so today's weight is lower than that. Thus, it's the lowest it's been in at least three years [I think longer, but it's hard to say considering my avoidance of the scale for a couple years].

I celebrated by getting a new icon on my ticker.

Besides which, even if I hadn't had those specific markers to judge my progress by, a half pound is a half pound closer to my goal. With every pound [or half pound, even], it's that much easier to run. [Yes, I'm finally back to running after a month off to rest my knee, although I had to do so on the treadmill at the gym all week due to the heat.] I'm past 45 pounds lost. I'm excited about all of this!

Here's to another great week! Even better, hopefully, as I won't have to be dealing with the heat.
Weigh-in day! You know it went well by the exclamation point. The scale had been kind to me all week, but I wasn't sure what it would say this morning. I wasn't feeling well for most of yesterday, so I spent it on the couch and ate a little too much food. But, surprise, it was still in my favor today! The scale said 176 even, which is the lowest it's ever been [discounting that one time it said 175.7 because that was just a fluke]. I'm well past the halfway point now!

Not only that, but today's weigh-in puts me in a great position for starting the fitness program tomorrow. My goal is to lose between 15 and 20 pounds in the next 10 weeks, which would put me around 160 [or below]. 15 is definitely doable, 20 pounds is a stretch [especially since I'll be nearing my goal weight so things will be slowing down] but still attainable if I work hard. The perfect makings of a worthwhile goal, if you ask me.

I didn't take any progress pictures at the beginning of the month because I didn't feel like my body had changed much in the month of June. With the start of the fitness program, however, I wanted to take pictures so I can compare today's body to the end of September. And, surprise, it has changed a little since June's pictures!
[I think I'm actually getting taller.]

Looking good, if I do say so myself! I can't wait to see what the next ten weeks bring. My first session is tomorrow after work. Have I mentioned that I'm excited? Because I'm really excited!

Tickets to the Gun Show?

I'm glad I've documented my fitness progress so thoroughly [aka I love taking pictures of myself] because I still feel like I have no upper body strength and my arms are super flabby. But compare today's [bottom] picture to last August! It may be only a little progress [taking October-May off from regular strength training wasn't really helpful] but it's progress all the same! And hey, that ugly random bit of flab next to my armpit is gone!

My first personal training session is Monday and I'm excited to see what my arms will look like after the next 10 weeks!

Weigh-In, Weekly Recap

Well, another week has come to a close, although unfortunately the heat wave hasn't. I was going to get back to running this week, but the heat had other ideas so I had to settle for running in the pool. And swimming. And doing weights in the pool. I spent a lot of time in the pool this week. Thankfully, the heat's supposed to break at some point tomorrow or Tuesday, so it'll still be on the uncomfortable side of warm but none of this 93-feels-like-103-business.

Anyway, weigh in! I was excited on Friday morning because when I stepped on the scale, it said I was all the way down to 176.8! But then the heat wave got worse and despite the gallons of water I drank, some bloat from the heat increase is inevitable so the scale went back up the past two days. Not much, but I was a little disappointed. So today's weigh in was... 177.5! Almost a pound down from last week [0.9 is close enough, right?] and still a decent number. I'm excited to get into 176 though because from there, it's mostly uncharted territory [there was that one week where I hit 175 but I still maintain that was a fluke].
More than halfway there! Again!
Also, on Monday, I took my measurements for the beginning of the month:

I lost half an inch in my waist and hips each, and stayed the same everywhere else. Not too bad, considering I just started my strength training again the week before.

Nutrition-wise, I'm still working on hitting all my macronutrient goals and this week, I've also added in tracking my sodium. Sodium never used to be a concern for me because most of the food I ate was prepared by myself and I don't like adding salt into things. But lately, I've been relying more on convenience foods and thus, there's been a lot of sodium. So, that's my new focus.
It's a work in progress.
This week will hopefully see the return of running [I miss it so much], plus my regular strength training and aquafit classes. Next week, the 10 week fitness program at the gym starts! I'm so excited! The informational meeting is tomorrow evening so then I'll know for sure if I'll be doing it.

Weekly Weigh-In

The scale's been up and down, down and up all week, so this morning I didn't know what to expect. I knew my body was retaining water due to adding strength training back into my routine-- it happens every time, and my sore muscles have definitely been proof of that! But I'd also been eating within my calorie range [except for Friday, oops], which is always good. I also set myself a challenge to fall within all my ranges [calorie, fat, carbs, protein] at least 4 days this week.
As you can see, I didn't do too well with my ranges on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday but the first four days of the week were good. Also, I'm still [eternally] struggling with protein intake, just hitting the very bottom of my target, but at least I'm hitting it!

Anyway, the scale. Stepping on it this morning, I had no idea where it would be. I don't expect it to settle for a couple weeks, honestly. So... this morning it said 178.4! I lost 1.1 pounds from last week. Well, that was a surprise. Let's see what I can lose this week!
Now it's time to go to bed so I can get my ass kicked at strength training in the morning!

Fitness Class: AquaFit

I've always wanted to try water aerobics. It sounds like fun and hey, you're in the water so you're not sweating a whole bunch! So when I joined the Y and saw that they offered a class called "AquaFit", I was excited to try it out. It's on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am, which just happens to work out perfectly with my work schedule, so I headed over on Wednesday morning to check it out.

First of all, can I just say how different the Y is from my old gym? I know, I covered that in another post but I mean this in another way. The people here are so friendly. Not that the people at Planet Fitness were mean or anything, more that they just... weren't social. I saw the same people every day and we didn't so much as say hi in the locker room. Here, however, people have no problems with starting up conversations with whoever in the locker room, and alleviating any nerves about new classes. So, when I got to the locker room on Wednesday and changed into my bathing suit, one of the women there immediately took me under her wing for the class.

The AquaFit class actually isn't just water aerobics, it turns out-- there are water weights that we use, as well as noodles for resistance. There's a fair amount of jogging, jumping jacks, etc. but there are also a lot of crunches and dumbbell curls, squats and lunges. I was surprised at the soreness in my calves on Thursday! Most of the class took place in the shallow end of the pool, but we spent about 15 or 20 minutes in the deep end [optional, some stayed in the shallow end] doing mostly core exercises. Exercising in the deep end was harder, but I liked it better. We stayed in the shallow end on Friday and my feet kept hitting the bottom of the pool, which wasn't a problem in the deep end!

I should also mention that I was the youngest person in the class by at least 25 years. But I loved it anyway! Friday, one of the women asked me how I liked being in a class with all old people [her words, not mine!] and I replied that as long as I could keep up with them, I knew I was doing okay! Honestly, it's not an overall challenging class but there are definitely some things that are difficult. Plus, I think my knee's ready to get back to running this weekend [once I can find a spare minute or two] and this class will be a nice break on my non-running days. In addition to that, we do a lot of running drills in the water [high knees, running backwards, etc.] that will improve my running.

All in all, it's a very enjoyable class and I'm looking forward to next week. The only problem is, the Wednesday class is at the same time as the Women with Weights class so I think I'm going to end up alternating them every other week once I adjust to the weights class [right now I'm just going to that one on Mondays].

Next week, I'll be checking out the kickboxing class on Tuesday! If I'm not too sore from Monday's weights class, that is.
Today, I headed to the gym before work to try out a fitness class. Well, I had planned on going earlier for some swimming before the class but that didn't work out [I was exhausted and ended up sleeping well past my alarm]. Still, I was determined to get to the strength training class "Women with Weights", which was described as circuit training for all ages and abilities. Now, I've never done circuit training of any kind before [I know it was all the rage a few years ago], and I'm very lax on my strength training lately. Plus, it's been years since I took a gym class of any kind. So, this was going to be interesting.

The instructor, surprisingly, was not a woman teaching the women-only class. That wasn't really off-putting to me but I understand how it could be to some people. The class was small, eight of us total, and I was awkward and apprehensive at first, especially while the instructor was saying what we'd be doing for the circuits. Jackknife? Haha, yeah right. I did the modified one for those, and that was still difficult [mostly because my wrist started hurting, but not entirely because of that]. The rest wasn't too bad, although I'm sure I'll be feeling it tomorrow, but those were awful.

Once we actually started on the circuit, the instructor came around and corrected my form. A lot. The only ones I didn't need help with form were the jackknives, surprisingly, and walking lunges. But by the end, I had gotten everything down. And that's why it's important to have an instructor, to tell you how to do things correctly! He didn't make me feel embarrassed for needing corrections,  he was just helpful. Which was nice and what I needed! I was familiar with most of the exercises [dumbbell flys, tricep kickbacks, etc.] but had never had someone actually show me how to do them other than through workout videos.

We paired up for the circuit and by the end, my partner [an older woman] and I were laughing about the awful jackknives and sighing with relief when we got to the exercises we did like. She even reminded me when I let my form drop once while the instructor was with someone else. She was great! And after the cooldown, a couple of the others said that they hope I come back [I will!], and one even said I should go to yoga with her this afternoon. [Unfortunately, yoga's at 4 and I'm at work until 5 so I have to miss out on this session but maybe next time.]

So, it was definitely a good time and I'm looking forward to next week's class. I'm not really looking forward to tomorrow's soreness but, well, it's my punishment for letting my strength training lapse. That soreness will go away soon enough.

Weekly Update, New Gym

Weigh in day! I know, I didn't update last week. I'm sorry! Life has been pretty busy and I've moved up to actually working 5 days a week, so I'm trying to adjust to that. Plus, I had a knee injury that prevented me from running [or... doing much of anything for the better part of a week], which in turn made me lose motivation to check in, and you know how it goes. Well! We're here to stop those excuses, right?

So, my weigh in today. Still at 179.5. I was actually up last week [due to not being able to exercise, as well as eating above my calorie range], and I'm now back down to where I was two weeks ago. Not the best, but it could be worse. And this week's going to be better! My knee's better [although I'm still not sure about running on it], so I can exercise again! I actually went to the gym yesterday and got a workout in to make up a little for the rest of the week [although it didn't show up on the scale... it will, in a few days]. Which brings me to my other update.

I'm saying goodbye to Planet Fitness and have joined my local YMCA. There are a number of reasons for this, and it's a decision I'm happy with. I joined Planet Fitness a year ago, when I was unemployed and could just barely afford the $10/month. It helped me rehabilitate from my sprained ankle, and I started running again while I was there. But it's a very basic gym, and there are times when you just have to move on. This is one of those times. My Y offers so much more than Planet Fitness, and it's a mile closer to my house [which is a big deal when you're walking or biking to the gym]. It's also right down the street from the library, so it's super convenient to work out before work [I'm becoming a morning exerciser, try not to be too shocked!]. And, a quick rundown of everything my YMCA offers:

  • pool [laps and open swim available, as well as LESSONS!]
  • movie nights in the pool ["flick and float"!]
  • standard gym equipment of ellipticals, treadmills, etc. [will check to see if they have a rowing machine]
  • their weight room is separate from the cardio room which can be intimidating but I like it that way
  • rock climbing wall
  • spinning room
  • sauna [as well as regular showers in the locker room]
  • running club [I could be part of TWO! Doubles my chances of actually attending!]
  • racquetball and basketball courts
  • classes include: aikido, kickboxing, aqua fit [aerobics AND strength training. SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE], women-only weights [going to take this too], spinning, yoga, zumba, and a super-intense p90x-esque thing that i want to do once I get my strength training back to where it should be. And a few others that I’m forgetting.
  • [plus you can rent lockers for the entire month so I don’t have to haul my shampoo, etc. back and forth]
  • oh and they have separate gyms and locker rooms for adults, teens, and children. I don’t even have to deal with teenagers!
Whereas Planet Fitness had:

  • standard cardio equipment [ellipticals, treadmills, and stationary bikes. that’s all]
  • standard weight machines and free weights
  • all in the same room
  • that’s it
  • oh and a locker room and showers [but you couldn’t rent lockers]
See what I'm getting at? Yesterday morning I got there for about 8:15 and the pool was almost entirely empty [just two people in it], probably because it was a perfect beach day, but I'm not complaining. I did about 15 minutes of swimming, re-discovered that I am terrible at swimming laps, and decided to make "improve my swimming" my goal for the summer. So I'm really excited! Then I went up to the cardio room and did the elliptical and treadmill [no running, just incline work] before showering and heading home. And then taking a spontaneous 2 hour nap because swimming really tires me out.

So, my super-optimistic-getting-out-of-bed-early schedule looks something like this:
Monday: lap swim 8-8:30ish, women with weights 9-10am
Tuesday: kickboxing 6:30-7:30pm
Wednesday: aqua fit 9-10am
Friday: aqua fit 9-10am

In addition, they have a weight loss contest starting in a few weeks that I'm considering.

I don't really care about the contest aspect of it, but the accountability? And all that personal training? Yes, please! The personal training alone is worth $600. I've always wanted a personal trainer but they're expensive, so I've never had one. $200 is still nothing to sneeze at [that phrase makes no sense], but it's more manageable than $600. And it's part of a whole program that will keep me on track. And weekly fitness challenges! Okay, I just saw that [after contemplating this for the last 24 hours] and now I'm sold.

So, I will almost definitely be doing this come July 15th. Almost definitely because I still want to go to the informational meeting and make sure it'll be what I'm expecting, but it looks great so far.

Have I mentioned that I love my new gym?
I know, I said I would update every weekend with my weight and that lasted... all of one week. But I've just been really busy! But before we get to that, you may have noticed something different about the site! [Or maybe not, as the redirect doesn't seem to be working at the moment.] I've finally gotten around to purchasing my own domain, so you can now point your browser directly to to keep up with all my shenanigans! Having my own domain also means having a related email address, so feel free to email me with any fitness related things at!

As for this week's weigh in, Sunday morning the scale said 179.5. Eight tenths of a pound isn't a huge amount but it's also not too bad. It's moving in the right direction, which is all I can ask for.

After weighing in, I went out for a run. I'm once again trying the half marathon training plan [I know, I "started" it back in March... and then April... and maybe in May... but minor injuries and bad weather kept sidelining me!]. Anyway, with the training plan, the long runs are scheduled for Sundays. Earlier in the week, I had done the longest run I'd ever done in one go, with a distance of 4 miles. Sunday, the training plan called for 6. I told myself that I would try for 6, but would be happy with 5 [I missed those long runs the first couple weeks of this training plan]. So I went out, water bottle in hand, and headed down to the bike path.

I did it! The longest distance I've ever run! Okay, I took a couple walking breaks [can you tell from the blips in my pace?] but a lot less than I'd expected. I was so proud of myself. And the next two Sundays also call for 6 miles each, so I can work on eliminating those walking breaks over those runs.

A few pictures from Sunday's run:

Product Review: Spibelt

I have a fair amount of stuff that I'd like to carry on my runs, but not enough space to carry them. I have an armband for my phone, where I usually stick my house key and my license as well, but getting one of the three out without pulling all of them out is a hassle. When I bike to local races, I have to add at least one more key [my bike lock] to the mix, plus usually my debit card for emergency money [or, more likely, a drink at the corner store on my way home]. And then there's the added bonus that the phone I use for music and logging my runs isn't the phone I use for actual phone calls [my Android is currently off a plan so I only use it on wifi and have a cheap tracfone for those rare calls] and yeah, two phones don't fit into my armband. So, if an actual emergency were to arise, I'd be pretty screwed anyway [my Android can call 911, but not my mom].

I've been thinking about this since last summer, and researching different things for holding my gear. It's not a lot of stuff, but it's enough to need something. I'm not comfortable with going out for longer runs or to races without a phone that can make calls. So, after much research and internal struggle [twenty dollars for a glorified fanny pack?], I finally settled on buying a spibelt.

I ordered it late on Friday, it was shipped on Monday and had arrived on Wednesday. Not bad for a pretty small company in Texas. This is the high visibility spibelt, it costs the same as the regular but is in brighter colours! Because when would I ever turn down a bright pink anything? [The picture came out a bit darker than it actually is, but it's also darker than shown on the website.] Besides, it matches my running shorts. Perfect.

As for holding my stuff, it does exactly what it says it will. My phone, ID, debit card, and house and bike keys all fit into it, with capacity to spare. That'll be good for when I get into the heavy duty half marathon training and need nourishment on my two hour long runs.

I took it out for the first run and my immediate reaction was that it does what it says it will. It stays in place, and it holds all my stuff. I was confused as to where to put it [it says to put it below your waist but I have a very high natural waist so do they mean halfway between that and my bellybutton? Or closer to my bellybutton? Or even lower?]. Unfortunately, I have a pretty flabby stomach so anything exerting pressure on it, to stay in place or whatever, makes awful lumps elsewhere on my stomach. The spibelt was no exception. 

I've gone on a few runs since that first one and have finally found a good position for it, just above my hip bones.

Can you spot it? It continues to do a great job, and is still unnoticeable to me even after four miles of running. And, even though I was sweaty and didn't get the waterproof model, everything was still dry after I got home. So, I'm pretty satisfied with this product and would definitely recommend it to anyone who needs an extra pouch while running. I know that I feel more at ease now that I've got everything with me.

June Start

Well, I've been weighing in frequently and although it does keep me accountable to an extent, I realized the other piece of the puzzle was missing: keeping myself accountable to you, dear readers. So I'm going to start up again with the weekly weigh-ins and monthly progress pictures/stats. Today, I weighed in at 180.3 which, while not great, is better than the 186 or so that last week started with. So, yay! Progress!

I also took my measurements and updated all my SparkPeople stats, which I hadn't done in months:
So, I gained an inch here and there but overall, it's not too bad considering how badly I've slacked on strength training.

And then, to finish it all off, I took some updated progress pictures, which actually don't look too different than my last ones:

To kick off the new month, I also went grocery shopping yesterday and bought a ton of healthy food.
My fridge has looked like this for WEEKS, basically.

I mostly based my shopping list off of this post, which is why I'm glad I documented my start so well last year!

I've also been doing work on my goals and rewards list. As a reminder, I get a star charm on my bracelet for every 5 pounds I lose [starting once I get back below 176 because I've already got the charm for that]. I've got some non-weight related goals, and I'll add more of those as I go along.

  • run 5K without walking, finishing under 30 minutes: sneaker charm, new heart rate monitor
  • finish all Zombies, Run! season 1 missions: charm for my bracelet (to be determined), new phone! (*This may be impossible without a new phone for reasons but in the event that I can't actually finish it, I will just count one mission done for every ~25 minutes of running.]
Weight goals:
  • 170: mani pedi, new short sleeve tech shirt
  • 165: buy remaining Circle of Magic books, new tech shirt
  • 160: buy remaining Circle Opens books, new running shorts
  • 155: buy remaining  Tamora Pierce books [Will of the Empress, hardcover First Test], new running outfit
  • 150: new swimsuit
  • 145: traveling cupcake dress from modcloth
  • 140: new ice skates
  • 135: train trip dress from modcloth
Hmm, that doesn't look too bad when it's written out like that. Totally doable. And yes, I am bribing myself with books. They're the books by my favourite author (Tamora Pierce) that I don't own at the moment (or, in the case of First Test, it doesn't match the rest of the set) so they're definitely motivation.

Race Recap: Cherry Tree 5K

I was supposed to run the half marathon for this but got way behind on training thanks to the harsh winter, so I instead signed up for the 5K. I figured, even with taking some time off for very minor injuries, I'd be all set. Plus, it was the exact same route as the Irish 5K so I was familiar with the course and figured I would at least beat that time, right? Well... apparently, not running until a week and a half before the race, plus gaining some weight, AND the first 80+ day of the year, means that you'll get an abysmal time. Oops. I finished at 34:52, a complete minute slower than my slowest time to date. But let's not focus on that! Let's instead look at the pretty pictures. I'm getting much better at taking pictures while running.
Aaaand we're off!
Pink blossoms <3

Thinned out pack about 2.5 miles in

Heading for the homestretch!
The official photos of me from the race actually look great too [for the first time ever!] so I'm even considering buying one of those. So I guess, what I lacked in pace, I made up for in photographs?

Next year, though... next year I'm definitely doing the half marathon.

Back in Tune

Well, I think winter weather has officially left. We had some frost last week but we're due for our first summer thunderstorm tonight so, it's here [no, spring doesn't exist here in the northeast]. With the change of seasons, I have many other changes in mind. The biggest, thankfully, is that I've been getting back in tune with my body. For too long, I've just been paying attention to the number on the scale and [maybe] the number of calories I've been eating. Not anymore.

Being in tune with my body means eating enough [and not too much], but also eating enough of the right foods. Lots of fruits and veggies, which were sorely lacking in my winter diet. Listening to when I'm really too tired to go for a run, or when I'm just feeling lazy. Knowing, just by paying attention to my body, whether I've gone up on the scale or not.

That was this morning. I had a great weekend of weight loss, but I knew as soon as I woke up this morning that I was up a little. I had eaten well yesterday [chili, lots of salad and fruit], but also some salty things [I do love tortilla chips]. Not bad, and I stayed well within my calorie ranges [plus went for a 50 minute run], but I felt bloated this morning. Stepped on the scale and yep, I was up. Probably not something to celebrate, but I was so excited to actually recognize that feeling, to know that I was in tune with my body, that I was happy anyway. I've been ignoring my body's signals for far too long, and treating it so badly that I think it had stopped giving out those signals, at least where I could hear them. But not anymore. We're back to communicating. Amazing what happens when you do what you're supposed to, right?

Also, the past couple weeks have paid off on the scale as well-- after reaching a way-too-high number in my carelessness, I'm back down to about 178 after only a few changes. My goal is to get back down to 176 by the end of the week [which is totally doable], and then I can work on finally getting below that number I've been stuck at since September.

Of course, this means that the cardigan I bought a month ago, which fit perfectly then, is now gigantic on me but... oh well.

Other changes:
  • I will hopefully be switching gyms, to the local YMCA. They have a pool, rock climbing wall, classes, and lots of other stuff to keep me interested. Plus, they're much closer to my house and work than my current gym, so I can even walk there in bad weather over the winter.
  • I officially started getting paid at the library. I've been here since October as a volunteer and my hours/days have been gradually increasing since then so it's not a complete shock to my schedule, but it does mean that I have less free time. 
  • On the other hand, getting paid also means that I have more money [as in, any] so I'm going to redo my goals/rewards list. It's no secret that I lost momentum, and not being able to actually give myself rewards didn't help, so I think coming up with new rewards that actually cost money will be a little motivating. I'll write up that list soon, I've already got a few picked out.
  • I started a youtube channel and I'm going to be, occasionally, posting videos there. I want to do entire vlogs but also, just little videos of me exercising, trying on clothes, etc. There are a few videos up there already, of me attempting to dance to some Wii games. Enjoy.


I've been trying to do new things to excite me about exercising again. As I've said before, I need to add something new to my routine every few months to keep things fresh. For the past few weeks, this has been the Just Dance video games on the Wii. One of my favourites is Rasputin by Boney M, a song I've loved for a while and was excited to discover on Just Dance 2.

I'm not a good dancer at all, but at least it's fun.

Running Club

Today, I did something that I'd been wanting to do since September, if not earlier: I finally joined a local running club [well, I joined a few weeks ago] and went on a run with them. I discovered the running club last fall, but figured that I'd wait until after winter to join them [since they're in Providence and I'd have to bike there, and biking around here isn't good in the winter]. And their "year" is April-March so there was no point in signing up in October if I'd only get a couple runs in before I'd have to pay again. So, I waited. And it's finally that time of year!

I'll admit-- I was nervous. I had a few moments of anxiety before leaving my house [my HRM was already reading 135, even though I wasn't doing anything physical]. But I figured I'd have to do it eventually, so I went. It was 71 degrees out, hot for this time of year [yesterday it was 35!], so I was already pretty warmed up after the 4 mile bike ride there. I walked into the store and to the back room where they have workshops, yoga, etc., where I could see a lot of other runners just hanging around. Then I just... stood around awkwardly until someone asked, "Hey, are you new?" I said yes, and she said that her name was... Beth? I think? And she takes the newbies out. There were two other new runners, two women who looked to be a bit older than me, so the four of us did a simple 4 mile loop while the other 20 or so did speed work tonight.

Our run was fairly easy, with some hills [mostly small and gradual], and we stayed around a 11min/mi pace. Pretty good. Until, that is, about 25 minutes in. Suddenly, I was very hot and had to take a walking break. I didn't want to slow the others down, but I just needed a breather to cool down. I know I've mentioned before about my body overheating and having trouble sweating, and today being the first 70 degree day of the year, my body wasn't used to it. But, even though I knew I had to take a break, I didn't want to. My body was feeling fine otherwise, my legs were great and I could've gone on for miles aside from the heat. So frustrating! Plus, I didn't want to hold the group back. But the two other new girls went on ahead of me, and the leader stayed with me. I'm sure she's used to it, if she always takes the newbies out, but... I still felt bad. Argh. Next week, I'll be better!

Although, on the positive side, taking a minute of walking here and there meant that I actually got to talk to Beth instead of just panting along. We talked a little about her running history, and the half marathon she's running in DC next weekend, and about her dog [who's not a very good running partner]. So, I guess having to walk was okay, because that was kind of nice.

Anyway, we did about 4 miles in 43 minutes [and the other two looped around the last block to come back to the end with us, which was very nice of them], which was a pretty good pace for me. Then we went back into the store, where there were snacks and beer [apparently there's always beer?], but the more experienced runners weren't back yet. I snuck out as they were coming back, because it was getting dark and cold and I had to bike home still, and I also thought that was enough socialization for me for the first day. Next week, maybe I'll stick around. [Also, I now know that we can leave our stuff in the back room of the store so I can bring my backpack with my sweatshirt and bike lights, etc. next week.]

All said, it was a lot of fun and I'm really glad I went, and I can't wait for next week. Well, they have Saturday morning runs too but we'll see if I feel up to running at 8am [which means a 6am wake up]. I've been wanting people to run with for SO LONG and yay, I've finally got a group!

This post is lacking in pictures, so here's a picture from my trip to New York last week, where I spent an entire day walking nine miles around Central Park:
I'm so happy that spring is here, because that means I'm getting out and exercising more! It's so much easier to motivate myself to go for a walk or run when the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming.

So, my scale batteries died a few weeks ago and I haven't weighed myself. And I've been eating far too many cupcakes [I've started getting into cake decorating and you need lots of cake to practice on]. I got new batteries yesterday, and just weighed in. I'm up 6 pounds from 3 weeks ago, which was already up 3 pounds from before. NOT GOOD. At least I'm comforted by the fact that it's tons easier to eat healthy and exercise in the spring/summer, which is on its way, but still. NINE POUNDS. How does one even gain nine pounds in a matter of a month and a half? [Well, cupcakes.]

See, this is why I can't go without a scale. A lot of people are like, "Oh, it's just a number! Don't worry about it!" but for me, it's accountability. I can't go by the way my clothes fit, since most of my clothes are still too big for me so they never give any indication of getting too tight. I can't just go by the way my body feels, because... I felt fine when I was over 200 pounds. I honestly had no clue that I was gaining so much weight [although, it may be the reason my back's been acting up]. I need the scale, and I need it to tell me how I'm doing every single day.

Well, I guess my April starting weight is 185.5. I expect that'll go down a few pounds fairly quickly but still, that's the number it gave me today. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go dig my garden so I can have fresh vegetables all summer long.

I'm not infallible

I mean, obviously I'm not. If I were, I'd be at my weight goal already and up to running 10 miles on my long runs. I have setbacks, plenty of them, and I'm not perfect. That's what this whole blog is about, right? But I do try to focus on the positive, because it keeps me positive, but also because... I don't like others to see my faults. But how am I going to improve if I don't acknowledge them?

Here are two things I'm currently struggling with: portion control and morning exercise. I want to focus on these this week, but I need help. So I come to you, dear readers, for advice.

I've always struggled with portion control but it's worse than usual right now. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I haven't tracked my food in a while [I started again yesterday], but it's also just a general lack of control that I've felt. I tell myself, "No, don't eat another sandwich" and yet, two minutes later, I'm halfway through another one. I don't know what it is. How do I stop this? I just don't know. I've tried all the usual tricks, like drinking water between sips, but haven't had much luck.

Well, I know it's also psychological. It's not so much that I'm eating from hunger [definitely not] or boredom [well, not always] but more that the food's there and I can eat it, something I still haven't quite gotten over after my months of relentless hunger a few years ago. From what I've read and witnessed, it's a feeling that takes a long time to go away and may never fully leave. Some of my friends, who lived in poverty growing up, relentlessly hoard food even now that they're decently well off. Some eat as much as they can whenever they can. Both are concerned that their next meal may never come, or will at least be a long ways off. I'm still one of them, and I fall into the latter group. I don't know how to fix it, even now that I've got more than enough food to get me through each week and month.

The other problem is morning workouts. I keep having this idea that I will get up and go for a run before I have to be at the library by noon. That should give me plenty of time, right? Noon's pretty late! So I set my alarm for 8, plan to be out on the run by 9, then back home by 10 which is plenty of time to get ready before leaving my house by 11:30. On paper, it works out. In practice... not so much. Surprisingly, the problem isn't waking up on time. It's just the "getting out of bed and out the door by 9" part that I have problems with. I get distracted by the internet, catching up on the previous night's shenanigans and news, and before I know it, it's 10 o'clock and I've missed my run. Now, the obvious solution is to just not get on the internet when I wake up but I do have some legitimate things to take care of when I first wake up. The problem is getting off the internet after those few things are done. Isn't there a program to black out the internet temporarily on your computer, or something? That's what I need. I think I know of writers using them. Where can I find one?

Aside from acquiring a program that I only have a vague hint of actually existing, what are some tips to help me with this? I need to take a page from UfYH and remind myself, "The internet will still be there when I get back."But hey, you're talking to the girl who can't stop herself from eating an entire package of cookies, how can you expect her to portion control her internet too?

What I need is someone hovering over me and constantly telling me, "No, don't eat that, you've already had enough" and "GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED AND GO RUNNING, YOU'LL FEEL BETTER FOR IT". What I do have is... the internet. And most people aren't usually around at 8am [timezones, traveling to work, etc.]. And the internet's already a bit of a problem.

The second half of this post might be moot come next week because yay, daylight savings and it not being dark by the time I get home! But still, I want to conquer this "morning workout" thing anyway. It would be nice to actually get in my scheduled runs this week. So, tips would be appreciated.

[Tonight, I busted out my kettlebell for the first time in months so I expect I'll be feeling that in the morning. I also did a ton of jumping jacks, some lunges and squats and bicep curls and lateral raises, and my 40 minute walk to/from the library earlier in the day. But no morning run.]

Race Recap: Irish 5K

Sometimes you're just completely unmotivated for a race. Today was that day for me. I was tired, it was cold out, and my runs the last couple weeks hadn't gone as planned. I had gone to bed excited, had done all my preparations as planned, but the motivation just wasn't there when I woke up. What do you do? Well, if you're me, you complain about it on twitter and tumblr, and stay in bed as late as possible, but eventually suck it up and go.

Today's race was part of 3 race series called the Tour de Patrick. The other two races will be next weekend, in Providence on Saturday and Worcester on Sunday. You don't have to do all three, but of course I signed up for all of them. Back in December, I thought it would be fun and keep me running through the winter. Well, that plan kind of failed, as it was nothing but ice here in Rhode Island for over a month. But still, registering for all three races meant that I got three more [long sleeved] tech shirts, plus a CD of Irish music! [Well, I say Irish music but I really mean a local Providence band that plays Irish-inspired music.]

So, I hemmed and hawed this morning but finally gave in and put on my running clothes. Now, I usually like to dress up for races... but it turns out that I don't have very much green clothing at all and none of it's running gear, never mind outerwear! All my stuff is bright pink so, well, at least I stood out in the sea of green?
As you can see, I was wearing my race shirt, but... it was far too cold to go without my jacket! I also had on tights underneath my shorts, although you can't see that here [and my orange running gloves].

So... yeah, it was cold. Did I mention that yet? Supposedly, it was 40 degrees out. But the sun was hiding and the wind was blowing, so it was a pretty cold 40 degrees. I biked to the race, which was only a mile and a half away, and I was afraid that I hadn't worn enough layers. Once I got running, it was a different story but until then... brrr! I got to the race only about 20 minutes before the start time, so I spent the extra time walking around and dancing to the music, trying to keep warm. Finally, I lined up behind the start line... and then a whole troop of firefighters lined up right next to me. Once we started, they were constantly shouting chants and march-running in step which was... interesting. I was ahead of them for the first half mile or so, but I could still hear them. They passed me at one point but I could still hear them until about the last half mile. I can't run and talk continuously for a half hour, never mind keep pace with 20+ other people, so I was definitely impressed!

As for me... since I wasn't where I wanted to be with regard to running [I hadn't run anything over 2 miles since December], I settled on the plan of running 4 minutes, walking 1, and repeating. It's my "week 8" plan from when I did 5k training way back in the summer, and it was already set up in my runkeeper app so why not? Okay, I kind of missed the first couple intervals because the reminder wasn't loud enough for me to hear among the pack but once we thinned out, I heard the ding that let me know to stop running for a minute.
oops, I forgot to take out the warmup
I've concluded that my favourite part of the race is the first mile or so. I actually sort of like being in the pack. Which is funny, because I thought that would be the part I hate. But the bobbing and weaving and constantly searching for the next break to push through? It keeps my brain engaged, and away from the defeatist attitude it can lean towards in later miles. [Plus, there's that whole thing about my body being fresh, in the first mile. But besides that.] Does anyone else feel like this?

The course was fairly flat, but had one particularly tough hill [about a half mile in] and a couple other smaller inclines. I'm actually well familiar with the route, it's the route I bike to the gym, and I know that hill is tough even on my bike. Add in the fact that I haven't done any hill work at all... well, it was a challenge but I did it. [The course in Worcester, however, looks to be very hilly so we'll see how I handle that one next weekend! Probably pretty badly, haha.] Of course, none of my walk intervals occurred while I was going up a hill... one while I was going down, but that's just my luck!
stats by mile if you're interested
I finished with an official time of 33:11, much to my surprise! I guess the run/walk intervals really are good if you're not feeling your best. That's a whole 17 seconds better than my best time of last year, which was the Downtown Jingle in December. 17 seconds! That's kind of a big deal! It's a pace of 10:40min/mi, so still not the 10min/mi I'm aiming for... but look at those running intervals, I'm consistently below 10min/mi when I'm running. It's just the walking intervals that brought my pace up. So, I definitely want to work on eliminating those walking intervals completely, and keep a consistent sub10 pace. That's this week's work. I'd say that I'd work on hills this week, but I still haven't scouted out the best places to run up hills [the only hill that I can really think of near me, besides my own street, doesn't have a sidewalk only on the hill and it's a pretty dangerous spot]. I think hill work is really just going to have to wait until the weather's good enough to bike somewhere on a regular basis.

And there was an afterparty, complete with pizza and beer, but the beer cost money and the pizza had cheese, plus I didn't know anyone, so I just grabbed a banana and water, checked my stats, and left. And went to the library instead, haha, because why wouldn't I stop by on a day I don't actually have to be there?

Next week is Providence on Saturday [which my mom is also doing! She's walking it with some WW friends] and Worcester on Sunday. I'll have more pictures from those, since I won't have to travel light on my bike to them.