Pinterest

pinterestI’m a motivation seeking girl.  Sometimes I look at my running shoes and think ‘not going to happen’.  It’s really hard to get off your ass when you know you should work out.  Trust me, I know.  I’ve come up with all sorts of excuses for why I’m not going to the gym.

But I found something the helps.  Pinterest.  I have several pinterest pages, all of which can be found here… http://www.pinterest.com/justjaynedow/

When I’m having a particularly ‘god I’m fat’ kind of days, I check out pinterest.  Sometimes I look at my pins, and sometimes I hunt for new ones.  I search keywords like ‘fitness’ or ‘before and after’, and I see all the success out there.  Before I know it, I’m planning a healthy lunch, and wondering if I should get two workouts in instead of just one.  Type in ‘motivation’ and see the crazy stuff that comes up.  These people make you believe that you’re capable of the same things.  I mean seriously, I can totally have that body, I just have to work for it!

Now, there’s a catch.  Pinterest can take up a lot of time.  Before you know it, you’ve used your entire time allotted to fitness to look up motivational pictures.  And two, it can become heavily addicting.

But if you ever feel underwhelmed about exercise, and you just want to eat a bag of chips and watch a chick flick, go to pinterest and type in a few keywords.  Before you know it, you’ll have motivated yourself right into your gym shoes and out the door.

My favorite are the ones that stay things like ‘I regret that workout – said no one ever!’ Haha, seriously, have you ever regretted a workout?  Sometimes I feel like I could have worked harder, but it is not the same kind of guilt that goes with not going to the gym at all.

Thank you, pinterest, for doing so many things for me.  Today I am motivated, and I know you’ll be there for me tomorrow if I lack that same motivation.  You also keep track of how I want to decorate my next apartment, styles I want to try, people I admire and generally thinks that I love.

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The number isn’t changing…

fatIf you’ve read my blog until now, you may know that I’m am currently on the downward crawl of weight.  Until now, my progression has gone fast, then not at all, now slow.  And I mean, slow.

Here’s the thing.  Every single day I look in the mirror, and I like what I see more and more.  I mean I can see changes happening.  I can see my legs slim down, my butt firm up, my waist slowly shrink…  but that stupid number isn’t going very far.

I know that I’m losing weight.  I see it.  I see the positive changes in my body.  But the number is really giving me grief.  It’s disheartening when you feel like you’ve lost, and you star at the number and you get ridiculous weekly totals of like .6lbs.  Seriously scale?  People always say fat weighs less then muscle, so I guess I’m gaining muscle which is good, but still, we’ve been trained to believe that the number means something.  Not everything, but something.

Now that I’m running, and running a lot, I feel like there should have been a shift.  A new mud-slide of weight after a short plateau.  Apparently that’s not the case.

I blame the first ten pounds.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but I lost those first ten pounds quickly.  I was dedicated, I was motivated and I had a whole new life pushing me to succeed.  I feel great after those ten pounds.  But come on body, I have another ten at least to go!!

It sounds kind of lame to say that the work doesn’t feel as hard when you see the results.  Obviously that’s how we would like it to go.  In the beginning, I worked hard and I saw gain (or loss actually:)).  Now, I work hard, and I see a very small amount of loss.  I work harder, and I see a small amount more.  I get frustrated and work harder, and it inches by like a snail.  I miss the first ten pounds.  They came off so easily.

But I am beginning to understand how people so easily lose and gain ten pounds like it’s nothing.  ‘Hey I lost ten pounds!’ followed by a few weeks later ‘hey I gained it all back’.  I used to think to myself ‘I wouldn’t let myself go back!’.  But now that I’m here, with ten pounds gone, and a frustrating grind in front of me that takes all the motivated and determination I had at the beginning, only now it’s kind of trying to drift away because I feel better about myself, and I can see why some people would just kind of shrug and say ‘I did so well’.

I’m happy that I’ve started running again.  I think that without that, my exercise would be going to the gym only.  I was beginning to feel a little like my routine was gnawing at me.  I love the gym, and I love working out, but it’s hard to mix it up when you know exactly what you want to accomplish and work on.  With running, I have another option.  When it gets warmer, I’m going to add more outdoor options.  I’ll go to the gym maybe two or three times a week, and then mix up the other days with running, biking, hiking and outdoor sports.  Hopefully by next fall, I can join some indoor soccer or basketball and keep that going as well.

Let’s just say this bluntly.  The next ten pounds is going to be a bitch.  But when it’s gone, and it will be gone!!  the difference is going to make all this slow grinding and agonizing effort totally worth it.

Running

runningI’ve been thinking a lot about running the last couple of days.  I’ve now run twice, once on Saturday, when I did under four miles in 52 minutes, and now yesterday, where I finished 4 miles in less then 50 minutes.  The difference was the hills.

Here’s the part that makes me think.  In the past, when I’ve tried to get back into running before, I’ve had to take it slow.  I mean, really slow.  Start with run five, walk two.  That kind of thing.  This time, I get into a good pace, and I keep going.  50 minutes runs for my first runs?  To me, that’s crazy.

Also the affect on my stabilizer muscles is nuts.  They hurt so badly the next few days!!  It’s hard to think I’m not injured with the amount they hurt.  But then, like any muscle pain, I feel better after a few days, so I know it’s just the muscles.

What’s made such a difference this time that I can run so far when I’m just starting, far and long enough to work my stabilizer muscles that hard.  Why aren’t I tiring after a few minutes, exhausted by the end?  What did I do differently?

I think the answer is the gym.  I haven’t been running on a treadmill, but because of my goal of making my legs thin and fabulous, I’ve been focusing on them.  My legs are stronger than they’ve been in a long time.  I’ve been doing squats and lunges for nearly two months now, and my thighs and ass have really begun to come around.  I’ve been seeing progress in my legs for weeks.  I think that maybe because my legs are stronger than they usually are, and the cardio I’ve been doing in the gym has strengthened my heart and lungs, so physically I’m capable of running.  Now that my stabilizer are getting worked, they’ll hopefully get stronger too.

Now that I’m running, I can’t start neglecting the leg work I’ve been doing.  If strengthening my legs has made me a better runner, then I’m going to focus on that ten times as much.

Now this is just theories, but I’m going to go with them 🙂

Running

runningI used to be a runner.  Well, more specifically, I was a soccer player and that came with running.  I could run forever.  But since I hurt my knee, I haven’t done a lot of running at all.  I cannot call myself a runner anymore.

On Saturday, I was looking out into the sunshine dreading going inside the gym.  I don’t usually dread the gym.  In fact, I love it.  But it was the idea that it might be our only day of sunshine that got to me.  So instead of going to the gym, I put on my running shoes, and decided I was going to give it a try.

I’m pretty strong right now from all my gym days, and my cardio is doing pretty well.  It wasn’t the effort that got to me at first, but the knee pain.

It’s not a terrible pain, only remnants of the injury.  I get this pressure at the front button of my knee that sort of annoys me more than anything.  But if I push through it, it goes away.  Once that’s gone, I can run without much problem.

I ran for a long time, which was a ton of fun.  I did over 3 miles in 52 minutes.  I set a slow pace, that someone could speed walk too, and kept going.  When my body was really warmed up, I went faster.  My last mile was faster than my first mile.  Once or twice I even put a real jump to my step and pushed.  It went really, really well.  When I was done, an alarming 52 minutes for my first run :), I felt great.  I was excited that i could be a runner again.  I was excited that I was strong enough and fit enough to go for so long (even thought, as I said before, it was a slow pace).  I was nothing but excited about the entire experience.

Then Sunday came.  Good lord, I was sore.  My quads and hamstrings and calves were a little sore, but fine.  But really got me was all the joints.  Not the joints themselves,s but the little muscles that hold you all together.  The stabilizer muscles.  My knees, ankles and hips all hurt.  I felt a little like I was falling apart.  I was excited about being sore, but a little concerned about the pain.  At first I thought it was the joint itself.  But here’s a tip, you can’t stretch a join so that it feels better.  For my hips, I sat on the second step, but my foot sideways on my upright knee, and leaned forward over my leg.  Sort of a half lotus elevated.  It stretch out the exact spot in my hip that hurt, and it felt amazing!!  My knees and ankles loved the lean.  Stand a few feet from a wall, put your hand on the wall, and then lean your hip towards the wall keeping your feet a few feet away.  It stretches your hip, your knee and your outer ankle.  Amazing.

Because I know it’s the muscles, I realize more of how the gym can make you strong without making you strong.  My major muscles were able to take the abuse and push forward, those little muscle had to come out of hibernation.  Running works your entire body.  It works everything to push you forward and keep you upright.  People who say ‘running in the gym isn’t the same as running’ drive me crazy because no one is arguing that.  When I go to the gym to do cardio, I don’t think I’m outside running, I think I’m doing cardio.  I’m strengthening my heart and lunges, and shedding fat.  If I wanted to run outside, I would run outside.

Now a better argument is that running in the gym doesn’t work out all your stabilizer muscles the way running outside does.  That way, if you wanted to work out those muscles, you know how.  There are ways to mimic it at the gym, but it takes a different focus and specif exercise.  It might end up being easier just running outside.

When I went to the personal training a few weeks back, she told me that I should focus on a whole body workout so I don’t miss all those little in between muscles.  I think this proves she’s right.  Heading into spring and summer, my goal is going to be to do my cardio out and about, to strengthen my body and all it’s little muscles, and then use the gym for specific, targeted muscles groups.  I think that will help me get an overall workout without having to make my gym routine super complicated.  I’ll start hiking and biking again, and pick up my running once more.  Once the weather gets warmer this will be a little easier, to right now I’m going to stick with ‘if it’s sunny, then I go outside.’

Goal Wavering

Lately I’ve been wavering a bit with my weight loss.  Simply put, the drive I had these last few months has sort of fizzled out.  I couldn’t figure out why.  Yes, I’ve lost 10 lbs.  Yes, I feel great!  Yes, I look in the mirror and I’m beginning to like what I see.  Is that really enough for me?

I found myself beginning to think that maybe this is what there is for me.  This is the shape I’m meant to be, and I’ll never be back down to my previous weight.  Maybe I didn’t realize how hard it was to be down there.  I stopped counting, I stopped really paying too much attention, and I had a few not so good for me snacks.  I even slacked at the gym.

But then it hit me.  I had no direction.  I had this loose goal of hitting some lower number that was sort of ambiguous.  My goal had been 10 lbs and I hit that 10 lbs.  I achieved my first goal!!! yay!!  But without a second goal, I had nothing to fight for.

So I gave myself another day, just to go over things in my mind, and then I sat down with Dee and discussed it.  We know I want to go farther, but she said to make another manageable goal.  So we picked another 10 lbs.  Another 10 lbs will take me down to a really healthy weight for my height and build.  Another 10 lbs and we can re-asses where I’m at and make another goal.

I made that new goal three days ago.  Wait, four days ago now!  And guess what re-emerged with a vengeance!! I’m motivation! 🙂  All of a sudden I have a specif something I’m working towards again.  I can see it now, the end, and I can see how to get there.  This loose idea of ‘I’ll lose some weight’ just doesn’t work.  There needs to be something more substantial to take me through the hard moments.  If you find yourself wavering like I did, sit down and make a new goal.  It’s alright to change things for yourself when you realize what’s realistic for your body.  It doesn’t mean you’re failing on old goal, and making excuses, it means you’re looking at it rationally.  And when you achieve a goal, take a day or two to celebrate, and then put your effort into whatever your next goal is.

For me, that’s another 10lbs.  And I’m still working on my slimmer legs.  So far, that’s going extremely well 🙂

Motivation Absense

So something happened.  I got sick 😦  lame, I know.  I had this terrible cough that just wouldn’t let me lay flat, which meant I couldn’t sleep… it was awful.

I can’t really beat myself for being sick.  I can however be troubled by the fact that I’m not sick anymore, but suddenly, for the first time in weeks, I’ve seen my motivation totally waver.  I mean like back to old habits wavering.  It’s kinda weird.  I was able to sort of easily avoid danger zones before, but now, my mind is somehow justifying things once more.  I’m still not 100% healthy, but I’m certainly at the point where I should be able to get back into it.

Dee tells me to shake it off.  Sit down, don’t get down, and tell myself that we’re just going to start again.  I haven’t slid back very far, so it’s not like starting from the beginning.  But I definitely haven’t made progress in almost two weeks now!  It’s a little disheartening when I was doing so extremely well before.  But I just need to take a breath, and realize that I can do that well again.

This is why you rarely hear that people lost consistently.  One month they do awesome, and another they don’t.  It’s ruined my average weight loss, but that doesn’t meant anything really.  It doesn’t matter if I lost the weight in record time or the slowest time.  The point is that I did lose it.  I am still loosing it.  At the end, it’s that final number that matters more than how long it took you to get there.

There, just writing that made me feel better.  I slid a little, and I can’t say the last two weeks were awesome.  But I can say that I’m capable now of continuing on.  I’m still capable of reaching my goals.  I have a long way to go, but there’s not reason why I can’t get there.  In fact, I have just as much opportunity today as I did a few weeks ago.  I just need to keep telling myself that.  I need to keep telling myself that I’m still capable.  I can still do this.  I’m still doing this.  Disheartening sections of time will happen.  We can’t let it get to us.

Hopefully tomorrow I can find my motivation once more.

Personal Training

man woman exercising weights workout fitness ballToday was my very first ever session with a personal trainer.  Let me say this as bluntly as possible.  She kicked by butt!  Seriously, I never work that hard.  I mean, you think you do, but you don’t.  No way.  After half an hour, I felt like curling up in the corner and dying.  I mean I felt great, but I worked crazy hard.

Here’s what I learned.  They simply know how to get you going until you’re barely able to walk.  They know how to guide you through exercises.  They know how to motivate you.  They know to use that crazy machine in the corner everyone avoids.  This woman taught me how to work every muscle in my body in half an hour to the point of fatigue.

This is definitely not for everyone.  Some people will hate the high intensity, and the quick pace.  This woman even walked from machine to machine quickly so I was scrambling to keep up.  It’s tough, and it’s definitely something you need to be mentally prepared for.  You need to be prepared to feel like you’re going to vomit and pass out.  You need to be prepared for the feeling of ‘I just can’t do another one’.

Most of the workout was done with body weight.  She used this contraption called an ‘Artarix?’ device.  Basically it’s straps with handles and adjustable sections that you set up to a bar, and then use your own body weight to do moves.  It’s fricken hard.  It’s really all about form.  Everything should engage your core.  Everything should burn.  I did the lean back and pull your body up with a row.  I did the  lean forward and push yourself back like a push up with stability issues.  I did the crazy get way down in a push up position close to the flower, but your hands are hovering off the ground and you crunch you legs to your elbows.  Seriously, that one almost killed me.

But there were others that I could definitely do myself.  The sit up with the medicine ball throw.  The elbows on the bench in the plank position and knee to elbow crunches.  Everything we did burned a certain muscle, and boy did it burn.

After my first personal training session, here’s what she told me.

1.) I have stability issues in my knees.  That’s actually good to know, because a knee injury a few years ago is still affecting me when it shouldn’t.

2.) I work at a desk 🙂  She caught that one right away.  My back muscles are weak.  She said slouching is the main problem with weak back muscles, which sucks, because your back is really… well the backbone of your whole body 🙂

3.) I’m pretty strong for someone who doesn’t to much weight lifting.  She said I follow instruction well, and I know to pay attention to my form instead of just how many I’ve done.  That made me feel proud.  I’m glad I’m not starting at the bottom.  I’m glad that I’m strong.

4.) It’s not a good idea to focus on different sections of your body right away.  I’ve been going to the gym, and doing legs one day, chest another, abs another… she said that this is not wrong, only it sets you up for injury because you’re failing to work the muscles in between the major muscle groups.  She said most people she start with a full body work out to ensure those muscle get strong, before they focus on specific areas.  It will help your stability, make sure you can properly maintain form, and help you work harder than you thought you could.

I certainly liked my session today.  I’m really not convinced it’s something for me.  I worked hard, and she kicked my butt, but I still enjoy my time at the gym on my own.  Is it worth the money?  I think it probably is if you’re going for strength.  She taught me things in one session that I will remember every single time I go to the gym.  But it’s $75/approx a session… I have a hard time justifying that when I know I’m doing really well on my own.  I think if you’re beginning, you need to have at least one session.  I think if you hit a plateau, you need to pay for a session.  I think if you’re at your personal max, and you don’t know how to push harder, you need to go.  But where I am right now, I’m not sure the price makes sense for me.  One day I will hit a plateau, and then I’ll spend the money to help push me farther.