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Checking-in: Yoga, Running, and a General Update

9 Feb

I think we’ve all heard about the great things yoga has to offer… flexibility… stress-reduction… whatever. I’ve had my reservations with yoga since I tried it in sophomore year of college and realized it’s actually pretty difficult. Well, for me at least. While yoga brings some people a relaxing way to work-out, it brought me to the point of popping a blood vessel under my eye from straining myself. That was a while ago though… and I figured it was time to try it again.

In my lurking around the running subreddit, someone posted about yoga and how well it compliments/improves running. A commenter posted two videos: one that’s a pre-running yoga session, and one that’s a post-running yoga session. I decided to start doing these before and after my runs. I can’t say if it’s helped much yet or not…but I still find yoga pretty difficult to do. And I figure if something is difficult or feels uncomfortable, then I should probably do it more.

Anyway, I figured I’d post these up for reference and if anyone’s interested:

Pre-run yoga

Post-run yoga

So I guess it’s probably due time for a check-in of sorts. Well it’s early February now… mid-February will mark the 10-month mark of living health-fully. I’m a few pounds away from the 100-lb weight loss mark. I plan to celebrate the 100-pound mark with sky-diving… or something else cool and adventurous.

RUNNING
I’m still running three times a week… 3 miles each time. I haven’t tried running over 3 miles yet… I just don’t really feel interested in doing a lot of distance right now. I’d like to break 30 minutes soon, and the closest I’ve come is 31:51 for 3 miles. Maybe my first 5k race in March, I’ll break 30 min.

EATING
Still eating paleo/primal, though I’ve cheated a few times lately (Super Bowl party anyone?), and I’ve also started to incorporate Greek yogurt (Fage Total Plain) into my diet a few times a week. Yes it’s dairy, which is not ‘paleo.’ But there’s some benefits to be had with the greek yogurt. It’s got probiotics, a lot of protein in a serving, and is incredibly convenient. It’s a good snack for me when I come home at night from a work-out. There’s naturally occurring sugars (lactose), so that’s why I like to have it after a work-out… but supposedly it does spike insulin and can cause problems with weight-loss. I just wanted to try it out as a high-protein snack.

WEIGHTS/STRENGTH
I’m now in Phase 6 of New Rules of Lifting for Women. The work-outs feel weirdly short. I’m not complaining though — the last phase had 2 minute rests between sets, so it would take me over 1.5 hours to complete my lifting work-outs. This phase only takes me about 30 minutes or so… so that’s been nice. This phase has negative chin-ups in it… which is pretty different and kind of cool. I mean, I know it’s not an actual chin-up, but I still think it’s fun to climb up on a stool and hang off a bar and pretend I’m letting myself down from doing a chin-up. Hopefully someday in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be able to actually do real chin-ups.

On the topic of strength training… a friend of mine from work (who is a guy) and I like to have random little competitions. I thought I could out-lift him in a leg press, since I lift regularly, and I’m significantly larger in size than his dainty-self. Well, I lost… he’s surprisingly strong for his size. Or maybe I’m delusional in thinking I had a chance at out-lifting a guy. But I found out I was able to lift 495 lbs on a leg-press. I could probably have done more, but I failed at the 545 mark and didn’t try anything between 495 and 545. My friend completed the 545 rep… then he proceeded to do 4 more reps to rub it in my face. I was disappointed with my loss… but at least I still whooped him in our swim-off shortly thereafter.

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The New Rules of Lifting for Women – Phase 1 re-cap

6 Sep

So here’s a post where I talk about progress and numbers. Get ready to be bored!

I started to work-out regularly in the beginning of June when I first got my membership at my current fitness facility. As I previously mentioned, I mainly stuck to cardio activities for the first month or so — alternating swimming and Zumba classes throughout the week, and Saturday I worked in a pilates barre class that catered to my inner wanna-be-ballerina. I was seeing the weight come off nicely, but I think part of that reason was that it was still towards the beginning of my weight-loss journey, which is when the weight falls off most rapidly/easily anyway. I did the cardio-only thing for about 1.5 months.

I kept seeing mention of how important weight lifting was online whenever I’d be reading up on fitness/health blogs and materials. It seemed like a lot of the paleo/primal crowd was also into things like crossfit and generally lifting heavy. I felt like I had been neglecting a pretty important part of being a healthy human being: strength-training.┬áIn fact, I think a lot of us (especially women) don’t realize how important it is for fat-loss. Or we’re so focused on being thin and slender that we don’t really care about strength and muscle tone. At least I wasn’t… I just wanted to be thin.

I decided to start incorporating lifting into my fitness regimen, in hopes of speeding up the fat-loss process. I really didn’t have any clue about weight lifting (reps? sets? what?). So I bought a book called The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I liked the tagline: Lift like a man, look like a goddess. I was sold.

The book has info on weight lifting of course, but also diet. I don’t care much about the diet information — I feel pretty happy with what I’ve been doing (eating paleo). But the program has been interesting and has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Whenever I had lifted weights in the past, I shy’d away from free weights and kept to myself on the machines. It was intimidating when I first started, but I’m glad I did. I have a lot more confidence in the gym (and in my own strength abilities) than I did when I first started. I can ask other lifters (dudes) at the gym if they have more sets on the squat rack, and I listen to myself and think: wow — I sound like I’m a lifter too!

With all this said, it’s time to record the progress of Phase 1. Phase 1 alternated 2 work-outs (A & B). I’d do a work-out 2-3 times weekly (usually Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday). Time to post the progress!

Stage 1 Re-cap:

Workout A:

Barbell Squat

Starting weight: 85 lbs (including bar) ( 2 sets of 15 reps — I couldn’t even do all 15… I think I did like 12 or less each set)

Ending weight: 145 lbs (3 sets of 8)

Special work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 30 reps of the original 85 lbs

Push-up

Not much progress to report here… I still do kneeling push-ups like a chump. I’ve always just done however reps it calls for.

Seated Row:

Starting weight: 45 lbs (2 sets of 15)

Ending weight: 80 lbs (3 sets of 8)

Special work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 36 reps of the original 45 lb

Step-Up (with dumbbells)

Starting weight: 15 lbs (2 sets of 15)

Ending weight: 25 lbs (3 sets of 8)

Special work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 30 reps (each leg) using the original 15 lb dumbells

Prone Jacknife:

Starting: 2 sets of 8

Ending: 3 sets of 15

Special Work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 17 reps (not very impressive)

Work-out B:

Deadlift

Starting: 95 lb (2 sets of 15) — I couldn’t even do all 15… started with set of 10 reps and then 12 reps.

Ending: 115 lb (3 sets of 8 reps)

Special Work-out: I was able to do 1 set of 19 reps with the original 95 lbs

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Starting: 15 lbs (2 sets of 15)

Ending: 25 lbs (3 sets of 8 reps)

Special Workout: I was able to do 1 set of 20 reps with the original 15 lb dumbbells

Wide-grip lat pulldown

Starting: 50 lbs (2 sets of 15)

Ending: 80 lbs (3 sets of 8 reps)

Special Workout: I was able to do 1 set of 26 reps with the original 50 lbs

Lunge

Starting: 15 lb (2 sets of 15 reps — but I could only do like 10 reps anyway)

Ending: 25 lbs (3 sets of 8 reps)

Special Workout: I was able to do 1 set of 20 reps (each leg) with the original 15 lbs

Swiss ball crunch

Starting: 2 sets of 8 reps

Ending: 3 sets of 15 reps

Special workout: I was able to do 1 set of 23 reps.

Overall, Phase 1 was pretty good. I dipped my toe in the pool of weight lifting. I have more muscle tone in my arms and legs, and as you can see from the numbers above, I’m stronger now.

I’ve been glancing through what’s coming up in Phase 2 and I’m intimidated all over again… but I know it’ll be okay. And I’ll feel even more badass after that’s done too. Now I’m on a 1 week rest period (from weight lifting, but I’m still swimming) until September 10th.