A Great Workout and an AMT Review

My posts tend to get pretty heavy and pedantic. I don’t really write to delight or keep the attention of my readers (although I appreciate all of you!). But I also don’t like keeping a negative focus. So, I have good news and a much shorter post this time around.

Last night I watched my heart rate climb, felt sweat pouring down my brow, coached myself through two cramps, and ran my heart out on an AMT for 20 minutes. I gave it my all! There was something gratifying about being the heaviest person in the little line of machines and going faster than all of them with my head in the game. I stepped down and the pay off was immediate- my legs felt like they weighed a ton each but I was so pumped.
Have you seen an AMT? They are like ellipticals 2.0. but so much more. It stands for Adaptive Motion Trainer and the beauty of it is a more fluid motion and broad range in strides.

 

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                          The AMT-885 from Precor                             Photo Credit: amtfitness.com

 

Imagine a machine that allows you to bounce so that your movement isn’t rigid and isn’t guided by a track or wheel. You can bounce up and down like skipping on a jumprope or swing your legs far apart and feel like prancing gazelle. You can change your stride length from zero to thirty-six. You get a full range that feels like you’re running on air without the pounding of a treadmill or the stiffness of a crosstrainer or elliptical. You can go up and down like climbing stairs or do big large ovals like treading water.

I like that this is much less impact than running on a treadmill or on concrete but still gives enough bounce to get the benefits of some impact. Impact is a friend and foe to one’s body, especially with obesity. I know that some impact on my bones and joints is a way to keep them healthy and strong but I also know that high impact exercises work against my body since I’m carrying way more weight on my frame than I should. When I first tried this machine at my gym, my knees were not happy. I was dealing with knee problems and so I approached this machine carefully and tried to limit my time on it to 10 minutes initially. I found the impact really helped and feel my knees to my knowledge are benefitting from it!
I typically do 20-25 minutes of cardio followed by weight machines and then wrap it up with another 5-15 minutes of cardio at a more leisurely pace for cool down. I’d like to increase that number to 35 minutes of cardio, some weight machine, some free weights, and a 10 minute cool down.

I have a book coming my way to help me learn more about the machines and exercise moves so I can confidently do them with the right form and knowing what muscle areas they target.

If you have this type of machine available at your gym but have been intimidated to try it, I say give it a go! It’s so much fun!

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Fitbit Bits #4

I still haven’t strapped my fitbit back on since the whole cord fiasco. I’ve gotta eat crow for that. But moving on…

I’m moving!

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That’s a screen capture from yesterday. I use an app called Swarm to privately log in my workouts. Only my friends on the app see my check ins.

My boyfriend is on board with the gym too and that makes keeping the commitment so much easier because on nights we see each other we plan it into our schedule. We do our own thing at the gym but it’s still nice to have a buddy go with you. He lives too far to work out consistently with me but we usually get a gym workout in on Mondays and Wednesdays.

My parents made some hurtful comments last night about me being too busy and that I should focus on myself and my health. Well, yes, I should keep my health a priority, but what the heck guys, what do you think my gym stints and passes on your junk food offerings are? Chopped liver? It makes me upset because it negates all that I am doing and makes me feel like all they see is my outer self. Yes, I don’t look like I’ve lost an impressive amount of weight, boo-fricking-hoo. If they’re going to just judge me by appearance than I will never have their approval. Which is why at this point, I don’t care what anyone thinks, except that if they don’t have words of encouragement, I don’t wanna hear it. It hurts me more because blog-as-my-witness, I’ve told them that after the event this Saturday and my bible study wraps up 1&2 Thessalonians, I am keeping my schedule more open for organizing, cleaning, working out, eating right, etc. They know my intentions and yet keep ignorantly commenting.

On the plus side, I feel better in my clothes even though the scale isn’t moving much. I’m dealing with water retention problems after hard workouts and still haven’t found a good solution. And my event this Saturday is going to be awesome and all the work everyone is doing behind the scenes is worth it. We’ve raised nearly 30K so far for foster youth and that’s before  event day of donations and our silent auction!

Building Mentally Healthy Habits

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Who knew it would take my late twenties to understand the concept of self care?

I used to find purpose in myself by keeping super busy or involved in many things and that was taxing on my body, mind, and spirit. I’m ashamed to admit the little time I took for me meant sloppy tooth brushing, avoiding the 2 minutes exfoliating took, and running to bed many times when I could not keep my eyes open with a face full of the day’s makeup. These are necessary little things, right? So I just raced through all that. But it’s more than necessary, it’s ways I care for myself on a practical level.

Now I’m slowing down a bit, making even those little actions more intentional. I’m pausing for a moment to realize how important it is to not always be rushing and to take note that the minuscule things like cleansing my face and applying moisturizer every night are little ways I love the body I’ve been given. And yes, those crocodile legs are worth slathering in lotion. And I’m worth 2 extra minutes of exfoliating too.

If I can intentionally acknowledge I am worth less rushing and neglecting in my daily routines, I can finally move on to bigger things.

Keeping Quiet and Short Term Goals

I like that I have some anonymity here. Sure, I’ve got close friends that read my blog, but they are inner circle people that I don’t mind a little soul spilling to. I’ve been in a funk this month and haven’t been faithful to diet and exercise. But I feel like now that visitors and memorials and other hard things are over, I can better refocus. I know that’s a common theme here and one of my setbacks.

This time I’m keeping quiet in real life. People know I try to eat healthy. People know that I need to lose weight and WANT to lose weight. In fact, there are ladies from my previous church who have seen me at THM meetings and while they whittle their waistline, they probably wonder why I’m not improving dramatically. And that’s when shame sets in. It’s a little bit of progress comparison but mostly realizing that I’m the one that effs things up because I don’t stay focused. From the pinterest posts and fitness memes that shout YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES, to jaw dropping before and after pictures on my THM page, I feel a bit bombarded. In my head, even though they’re positive pictures, they translate to ‘YOU KEEP FAILING YOURSELF and LOOK WHERE YOU COULD BE NOW.’

So mum is the word. No one needs to know what I’m doing because they don’t understand my struggle. And I don’t need positive posts that end up tasting sour in my mouth. I’m letting my diet group go dark and keeping away from fitness posts. I’m not going to talk about weight loss journey with others for a while. I’m just going to push myself and go lalalalalala when I see some crazy 50 lb loss in 6 months or hear my mom blabber on about some new breakthrough weight loss research. I just need to listen to me.

I did something I’ve never done before – I succumbed to weight fear and paid an extra $80 to upgrade my airline seats for a trip. I was fearful, literally, fearful, that I wouldn’t fit. I thought about the shame of being told I’d need to buy another seat and how it would melt away all the self-confidence I’ve worked on building. I’m fearful because I know I’m that big. I’m the end-of-the-airline-seatbelt big. I’m hold-my-shoulders-in-so-the-flight attendant-doesn’t-bump-into-me big. Since I’m flying on a budget airline with smaller everything, I just couldn’t risk smaller than industry standard seats.

So now I have a 2 month goal. I have something to look forward to and fight for.  Sure, I still have upgraded seats, but I’m determined not to feel like I’m spilling out of it with what little time I have to work towards it. The upgraded seats are only 2″ wider. It’s not going to make a huge difference. But, I can work on toning my flabby body to help. And I can eat good on plan foods that will dramatically improve any bloat or water retention I’d have otherwise from bad eating. And feel good from diet and exercise, I can use that energy to play with my nephews and not sweat the homemade meals my friend makes that do not fit my diet.

Ideally, I’d like to aim for a 15-25 lb loss and hit the gym 5x a week until my flight. I won’t say anything outside of here though. I’ll just push myself and hope results speak for themselves one day. The race I’m helping with is late April, and I figure that even though I’m not running, since I’m helping with the event, it would be great to show up with lots of energy and endurance for a full day of running around and interacting with people who run and are fit. It’s like an armor of confidence I can wear knowing I’m working hard at my goals even though I’m not where I want to be yet.

Let’s see how far I can go. Let’s see where I am in late May from pushing myself and listening to myself.

Vitality Corner

I’ve done a few big projects to make my room a sanctuary and here’s a project I’d like to complete next: a vitality corner of encouraging quotes and pictures and many plants.

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I would call it a vitality shrine but some would take offense to that because of the religious connotations people assume with the word ‘shrine.’ It’s not religious in an idolatrous way, but it is reflective and meditative.

I want to use green plants as a reminder of all the things I want to be: 

– I want to bloom as I prepare myself emotionally, financially, and physically for mid-life. 

– I want to reach new heights.

– I want to seek the light even if I must bend and outstretch in one direction towards it. 

– I want to nourish my body with good healthy food and kindness so that my radiant outside reflects a well fed and cared inside. 

– I want to be growing in Christ. I feel tingling in my roots and hope to know and experience even more foundational truths about my God and our relationship. I need to be reminded that what I soak up in my roots helps me react to the world around me and feeds me substance.

– I want to prune and throw away the bad parts so that I can focus on what’s important and not feel inhibited. 

– I want to remember as I’m tending them that people who love me are tending me and to love them back fiercely with that devotion. 

– Like photosynthesis, I want to use good energy to fuel me and have that process produce beneficial things for my environment. 

– My assortment of plants may all look different and need different types of tending and soil environments for best performance, but they all work together to be beautiful although they are diverse. Similarly, I want to see my strengths and weaknesses more bigger picture and know that what I have works together to do even more good collectively.  I want to remember not to judge someone for not having similar outlooks, interests, faith, or personalities, but find ways to admire them and encourage our growth and relationships.

– Like potted plants, I want to accept help when I can’t get what I need from my limited resources. Plants need fertilizer, and I need other people’s wisdom, encouragement, and experiences to help feed me. I may need coaching, programs, and therapy to help me reach my potential at different times in my life and shouldn’t be afraid of needing these resources.

I think just a few years ago I would have thought this notion was silly, but perhaps that is a sign I’ve grown. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Fitbit Bits #3

So yeah, this fitbit bit doesn’t really involve my fitbit, it’s just here for accountability. 

My poor cord to charge my fitbit is missing (confession: messy room problems) and I haven’t worn my Charge in nearly 2 weeks. I’m not a watch or bracelet person, but I have grown pretty accustomed to my Charge. I feel a little naked without it. Not only is it a good visual cheerleader, it’s an awesome fidgeting device when my anxiety rears its ugly head. If I don’t find it this week, I am going to buy another cord so I can keep chugging along.

I lost my uncle the night (early morning) of my birthday and that week was very trying. I gave into some stress eating during that point and was too emotional to care but too rational to not mentally note it wasn’t okay. I’m giving myself grace and moving on.

Here’s how I’m doing in the weight department. You can see where I let myself go during the holidays and that while slow, I’m steadily declining again. I probably gained 2-3 pounds my birthday week but I didn’t track it and I’m back where I was before the stress eating. Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 2.36.12 PM

Each horizontal line above is about 10 pounds. So if you’re looking at the first week of December onwards, no I didn’t put on 50 pounds. LOL. I think what happened is that in November I stopped tracking (on myfitnesspal) and then got honest, thus the jump, too. And then a gradual decline as I got my fitbit and refocused.

I have one large commitment coming to an end today. That frees up an afternoon to be a gym day. And, beginning in May, the non-profit I help’s big event will be done for the year. So yay, sleeping in on Saturdays and more time to work out!

I haven’t followed up on my commitment to exercise at all. So I guess you could say, I haven’t committed yet. I do a lot of conscious walking but I haven’t added workout tapes or gym stints to the mix. At this point in time, I’d rather focus on toning and getting back into shape than seeing the pounds drop. I just need to make it a bigger priority.

Some hurtful comments were made and I did some crying last weekend. I’m shaking it off, however, and not letting it become a disappointment. When people say judgemental things, even when well meaning, they hurt.  But if I let their words fester it does me no good.

Short Term Goal:
Gym 2x a week, home workout 1x a week, 8-12 pounds lost by the end of March. 


Long Term Goal:
Gym 3x a week, home work out 2x a week, 25-30 pounds by end of May. 

Fitbit Bits – Post #2

I kicked butt yesterday/last week!

Average workday steps: 3500-5000
Average weekend/days off steps: 7000-10000
Gym Routine: Not established yet but going when I can
Badges:  5k steps, 10k steps, 26 miles, 70 miles, 10 floors, 25 floors – New!
Short Term Goal: 3 gym days, tone up and lose weight/inches for flights
Long Term Goal:  5 workouts/week, fit into a size 14/16 and set second/final size goal
Weight Lost: 3 Pounds – New!


I’m not good at syncing every day but it keeps track anyway so when I synced yesterday I earned the 10 Floors that morning and went on to earn 25 Floors and 70 miles late that evening!

Take a look at my floors yesterday. The step count looks meager but that is because the stairmaster is a monster and 30 steps = 1 flight!

I’m suffering a little jello leg syndrome but my goal was to uncomfortably push my endurance. I activated some awesome leg muscles and pushed my lungs with the incline and not resting between several floors. I didn’t do 37 back to back. That WOULD be crazy. But I did about 7-10 and would rest.

I finally saw some scale victory this week – THREE pounds! I tend not to lose at all, but when I do, it’s usually a cluster and then nothing. We’ll see how it goes this week.

My dad hit a long plateau with his weight loss and I offered to help him do my eating style with him to see if it helps. That is going to keep me extra accountable and may even encourage me to try some new recipes now that it’d be for more than me! And my boyfriend went out a few weeks after I got my fitbit and bought one for himself [that was the plan all along, mwhahaha, to get him to want one] and so I have an accountability partner in a sense with us both owning trackers. He’s more active on the job than I am but less active outside of work. With his tracker he is now going out of his way to fit in walks. I love that we’re both working towards better health.

On Monday nights, my boyfriend comes over for dinner. I usually make a trim healthy mama dish and he doesn’t mind. Now we’re adding in walks and hopefully as it warms up, hikes to the mix.

I have a lot more to improve, especially in gym routine, so I’m excited to see potentially more progress as I work on my goals.

 

Fitbit Bits – Post #1

Since this blog is a mishmash of everything in my life, I’m going to do periodic fitbit updates as it is one of my resolutions to be more mindful of how active [or lack thereof] I am.

Here’s where I’m at now:

Average workday steps: 3500-5000
Average weekend/days off steps: 7000-10000
Gym Routine: None yet
Badges:  5k steps, 10k steps, 26 miles, Weight Goal set
Short Term Goal: 3 gym days, tone up and lose weight/inches for flights
Long Term Goal:  5 workouts/week, fit into a size 14/16 and set second/final size goal

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I still haven’t added the gym into the mix. That’s on me, and I know I shouldn’t provide any excuses so I won’t.

But! I’ve been walking when weather conditions aren’t challenging on work lunch breaks. They aren’t long but they do get me a short exercise in the mix and gets everything going again after sitting for over 4 hours.

What I do is I walk from work to my farthest point and  run  fat girl jog back as far as I can, then walk the last bit back to work so people from the office don’t see me looking like an idiot.

This whole thing is only about 10 minutes total of exercise, but I feel victorious! Running…ahem…jogging…is really hard on my body and I’m impressing myself with the little stamina and good breathing I’ve had. I used to forget to breathe and have to stop to recover and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. Now, the only thing that happens is my back strains a bit after a while and my running onsets some wheezing AFTER my run/walk is over. Sounds a bit pathetic, but it is progress!

I really am more sedentary because of my career – that’s been interesting to figure out. Another reason I need the gym and stuff, for sure. On a full time work day, I clock in about 3500-5000 steps. When I was off for a week, I was consistently clocking 7000-8000 without trying, and 10,000 when I had time to do extra walking/running.

Ideally, my first fitness goal is to do 3 gym days for 45 minutes or more at a time. I’d also like to do a dvd workout on days I don’t go – either T-Tapp or a trainer led zumba routine or music-based workout.

From there, I’d like to increase it to 3 gym days with a true workout circuit and 3 days of T-tapp (I’d do it on gym days) and 2 days of harder trainer dvd workouts like my Jillian Michaels or Marissa Tomei ones.

I have some flights to plan mid year and later. On my last plane ride, I was at the end of the buckle. I have since gained about 10-15 pounds and I’m mortified of that buckle not clicking or someone complaining  that I should have ordered two seats. I AM NOT going to let that happen. I lose weight very slowly but I’m hopeful that with a good routine I’ll at least tone up a bit if not be down hopefully at least what I gained since then. That is my short term goal – to hop on that plane feeling good about myself and not feeling like I spill out of my seat.

Fitbits and Notions!

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Can you guess what I got as an early Christmas gift? I’m really enjoying my fitbit even though I was skeptical that it was just an overpriced pedometer. Every other article is about death and heart disease and my spirit animal is a sloth. I have several loves and hobbies – none which require much movement. It doesn’t help that I work a desk job.

Yesterday I clocked in a mere 2600 steps from morning until after work. Pathetic! We’re suppose to aim for 10,000 a day, and even with walking last night to see Christmas lights I only ended up with a grand total of 6500 steps. I like that this gadget will help me stay accountable for movement.

And as far as notions – I mean sewing notions! I am floored once again about things working out at just the right timing. One of my friends has been sharing about her sewing projects and I and a couple others voiced that we would love to learn so she opened her home and taught us a bunch! I thought I’d be going empty handed and just watch but I ended up spying a very basic Singer sewing machine for $26! NEW. AT TARGET. It was meant to be.

I don’t see myself getting super adventurous but I want to get a decent understanding! My friend shared a really cool tidbit:

Pin vertically instead of sideways so the sewing machine can “jump” the needles and you can pull them out later! That way the pinhead doesn’t accidentally get in the way.

Does anyone have any fitbit or sewing tidbits for this newbie?