Thursday, October 27, 2011

Intuitive Eating Fail

A couple weeks ago, I got so fed up with following a set diet and meal times, I decided to just not follow ANY diet. After too many all-or-nothing diet failures, I just wanted to not feel like a failure anymore. I have a feeling this is more of a female thing than a male thing, as J totally didn't understand how I could feel like a failure if I ate a mini Snickers one day. He kept telling me to just accept it and stick to my diet the remainder of the day. After I smiled and nodded at him, I'd go home and eat whatever I wanted, because after all, I'd already messed up the diet that day, so why not enjoy some treats?

NOT the right mentality!

The "right" thing to do would be to follow J's advice: get right back on track. My mind doesn't operate that way, though. I take an all-or-nothing approach to most things in life, and while this results in some impressive successes, it also contributes to some equally impressive failures.

With failure weighing on my mind, I decided to just scrap a diet plan and just "eat intuitively." Easier said than done!

My Fitness Pal

A few of my friends are using My Fitness Pal to track their food and exercise, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to try it out with my new non-plan eating plan. The last time I tracked my food with an online tracker, it was 2006, and I was prepping for my first show. I didn't keep up with it because I felt it was a pain to have to be near a computer to log all my foods. My Fitness Pal has a corresponding phone app, which is oh so convenient!


After I entered all my information and goals into the program, it gave me a target calorie count. That calorie count is NOT for weight loss though; it's for maintenance - which was NOT my goal! And here's the really weird thing - for every calorie you burn exercising, it adds that calorie back into your daily caloric goal. Say what?! My Fitness Pal is NOT my pal anymore, since it's not supporting me in my weight loss goal; it just wants me to look the same!

With the caveat of disregarding the additional calories that I'm "allowed" to have, the program is actually rather interesting. I distrust the actual numbers for calories burned for exercises, but they're at least a semi-guideline. The coolest feature is the bar code scanner! I just have to activate the scanner, hold up a bar code in front of my phone, and it scans the item into the database. So slick!

Intuitive Eating Fail

So I was using the Fitness Pal app, and happily entering in all the various foods I was eating ... when I suddenly realized I wasn't making ANY progress. My weight was staying the same, and if anything, my arms were actually losing their shape! Not okay!

I decided to be really honest with myself. I was using "intuitive eating" as an excuse to eat whatever the heck I wanted to eat whenever I wanted to eat. That'd be great and all if I didn't have a goal of staying tight! Plus, some of the foods I was eating definitely made my body go into storage mode.

I discovered that I'm not very good at intuitive eating, and it doesn't really work for my stay tight goals. So, I switched back to keto for awhile (with the exception of last weekend) until I reach a target look, and then I'll add some carbs back in.

I'm still using the Fitness Pal app, but moreso for just fun now. Since I'm following a meal plan again (sigh), I don't pay much attention to the calories consumed count. I'll continue using it for awhile, since it's also fun to connect with my friends on it.

Do you use a food tracking app? Which one do you use? Have you tried intuitive eating? Does it work for you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!

I've been a blog slacker. I'll be the first to admit it. A year ago, I was averaging about four posts per week. Now I'm barely averaging ONE post per week. What the heck happened?!

I didn't forget about you, friends! I just, well, I just haven't felt like writing much. Ever since the crushing disappointment of Team Universe, I've been in kind of a slump. After going back and forth and back again in my head about which direction I wanted to take with fitness, I wasn't sure I really wanted to document all the mood swings I was having. One day I was excited about the direction I was taking, and the next day I'd be all upset about the fact that I went up a clothing size.

And then I got really busy at work. After staring at a computer screen for eight hours during the day, the last thing I wanted to do at night was to sit in front of my computer and stare at the screen some more. But blogs don't get posted by NOT staring at the computer screen.

Numerous times, I'd log into my Blogger account with full intention of writing a blog ... and then I'd just stare at the screen. I keep a running list of topics to write about when I've got writer's block, but quite frankly, I just didn't feel like writing. About anything.

Even thought I didn't want to be in a slump, I just couldn't muster the energy to pull myself back out.

Things started to change when I heard that there are going to be TWO shows in Maryland next year! A new show is going to be added in June, which is a perfect time to compete. Since I won't be chasing the elusive Pro card anymore, I feel less stress about competing. Of course, I always taking competing seriously, but I'm not putting as much pressure on myself this time, which makes me feel so much lighter in spirit!

My workouts have also changed, and I'm really enjoying them. I've added plyos to every workout, and throw in the occasional cheerleading jump, just to see if I can still do them (I can, but I don't recover as quickly as I used to).

All in all, things are looking up again! I'm feeling more like myself: positive, energetic, and optimistic.

I'm baaaack!

In case I do get writer's block again, do you have any suggestions for topics you'd like me to address?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crossfit, Keenan Style

This week's Fitmas challenge involved four different options for Crossfit-type workouts. Since I didn't participate in Fitmas last week (the kettlebell workouts didn't fit into my training plan), I really wanted to try this week's workout. However ... as J and I looked at the different workout options, we realized I couldn't do any of them either.

Last week, I was diagnosed with Costochondritis, which basically means I have inflammation of the cartilage where my ribs attach to my sternum. Thankfully, it's nothing serious, but I'm not supposed to do any chest exercises for a few weeks. Since all of the Fitmas workouts included pushups, I had to get creative.

Here's the workout that J designed for me:

  • 15 Box Jumps
  • 3 minutes of cardio on the elliptical
  • 25 Bodyweight Squats
  • 3 Minutes of cardio on the elliptical
  • 15 Curtsy Lunges, each leg
  • 3 Minutes of cardio on the elliptical

Do the entire series as many times as possible in 60 minutes.

You know how sometimes you want to tell your trainer to shove it? When I looked at the workout, I wanted to say some not so polite things to J. But I just smiled and said, "You trying to tell me that there's a price to pay for eating all that Halloween candy this weekend?" The wise man just smiled and kept his mouth shut.

Did you attempt any of the Fitmas cross-fit workouts this week? If so, how did they go for you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not 16 Anymore

I came to a startling and humbling conclusion yesterday: I'm not as young as I used to be. Before you roll your eyes and tell me to, "Be quiet, young lady!", let me explain.

I may have mentioned before that I was a cheerleader in high school and college (that's actually how I began weight lifting, but that's another story for another day). One of our conditioning drills in college was doing sets of jumps: toe touches, pikes, front hurdlers, etc. Not only does it help with cardio conditioning, it helps with jump form. (Plus I think our coach just liked to make us work hard for the heck of it.)

I've maintained my flexibility since my cheerleading days, and after stretching out, I can still sit in the splits. So I didn't think anything of throwing a few cheer jumps on Monday during my workout. I was doing a plyo workout that included step-ups, lunges, squats, and star jumps, among other things. On the third set of [my least favorite exercise EVER] star jumps, I decided to switch things up a bit. Since star jumps are almost kind of like toe touches, why not substitute a series of toe touches instead?

Why oh why did I think that was a good idea?

This is NOT me. My jumps are nowhere this good!
I got to about 7 toe touches in a row and then nearly collapsed. I gave myself a stern lecture about not being a wuss and finished 3 more jumps before staggering over to the bench to sit down. About 5 minutes later, my breathing and pulse were almost back to normal.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I discovered that not only were my legs stiff and sore, but my entire upper back was screaming at me! My right trap is so sore, it hurts to even touch the skin. About midway through the day, I realized exactly why I was in such pain.

My body is no longer used to doing toe touch jumps, and the arm motions of the jumps really worked my whole upper back and traps. I can't remember ever being this sore in high school or college! Does that mean that I might be getting older?!

I remember when I was 16, and 30 seemed practically ancient. Heck, I thought 25 was old! Amazing how perspective changes with age, huh?

While I still like I'm relatively young, I'm beginning to realize I'm not as young as I used to be. My body is sure letting me know that! No more toe touch sequences for me for awhile. Maybe the star jumps aren't as bad as I thought they were ... on second thought, nope, they're still awful. But I'll deal with them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One Tabata, Two Tabata, Three Tabata, Floor

When I was in 9th grade, I was recruited by my Earth Science teacher to go out for track. He'd remembered that I was a decent sprinter back in 6th grade, and he was looking for more sprinters for the track team. I informed him that I'd never had any proper runner training, but he was insistent.

The first day of practice, I thought I was going to puke and ended up having to get driven home in the paddy wagon. How embarrassing. After the first week of practice, I had shin splints so badly, I was immediately put on the Injuries List. I didn't mind, though, because it meant I didn't have to run as much as the other team members.

I ended up placing last in both races of the first and only meet in which I ran. Running is not my friend.

So I have no idea why I even attempted the 2nd Week of Fitmas this week.

This week's challenge was two tabata sprint intervals. We were given three options to choose from. Basically, a tabata is a series of exercises designed to increase in intensity, while decreasing in rest period times. I selected the "progressive hill / speed interval workout made for the treadmill." (Note the word "speed" in the description. I should've known better.)

Last week, I did the Fitmas workout at a fast walking pace because of asthma and knee issues. This week I decided to disregard both (major) concerns and give it my all.

I thought I was going to die.

Here's the workout.

Level

Speed

Reps

Work

Rest
0 6.0-7.0 1 2:00 :30
5 3% 6.0-7.0 1 1:30 :30
5 3% 7.5 1 1:00 :30
5 3% 8.0 4 :45 :30 :20 :30
1 8.5-10.0 4 :30 :15 :30
0 10.0-12.0 4 :15 :05 :15
0 6.0-7.0 1 2:00 DONE!

While I didn't completely fail, I didn't do the workout as it was written. Why? Because I thought I was going to die. What I actually DID is in red text.

My asthma kicked in when I got the 8.0 sprints. When I stopped sprinting after 30 seconds, my heart rate was up to 180 beats per minute. WAAAAAY too high! I took a longer rest period to get my heart rate back down to the 150 zone.

I have to admit, it did feel good to sprint again, even though I nearly flew off the back of the treadmill a few times (I'm totally not used to anything above 5.0 mph). I'm proud of myself that I even attempted the workout, even though I won't be doing another tabata, as the challenge suggests.

I'm not happy to say that my shin splints came back full force. I blame it all on 9th grade track.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fitmas: Week 1

I love challenges and I love things with deadlines. That's why when my friend, Donloree, introduced her new Fitmas challenge, I wanted in.

Basically, Fitmass is a 12-week program with different challenges each week. The first week of Fitmas was the Shredmill Challenge. It was designed to be a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout, with different sprint intervals on the treadmill.

My Shredmill at home
I was excited about the workout, but a bit apprehensive too. As a rule, I'm not a runner (although I've been known to do 5K's), so I was concerned about the sprinting aspect of the workout. I was also concerned about the "high intensity" part. Because of my asthma, I have difficulty doing anything with a lot of intensity for a period of time, and then I need more recovery time than most people. For example, instead of a 60-second recovery time for a 60-second sprint, I may require 90-120 seconds of recovery time.

I decided to try the workout, but to modify it a bit to be just IT (Interval Training). Instead of sprints, I did a very fast-paced walk for each of the intervals. The problem was, because I was only walking (albeit very quickly), I didn't need that long of a recovery time.

The lesson here? Modifying workouts does not achieve the goal of the workout. I kinda feel like I failed Week 1 already, but I'm excited to see what Week 2 brings.

Are you doing the Fitmas Challenge too? If you're interested in trying it, contact Donloree to get signed up!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Back and Forth and Back Again

For the past couple months since my show, I've felt a bit lost. I knew the post-contest blues would strike, as they do every year after I compete. What I didn't anticipate was a complete re-evaluation of my fitness goals. Since getting completely blown out of the water in Figure at Team Universe, my head has been spinning in different directions.

My first thought was to add some size in order to be more competitive in Figure next year. Then I realized that I don't actually WANT to get any bigger. Although I may not have the amount of muscle necessary to compete at the National level, I don't feel that adding more muscle to my frame would actually look better. When I get bigger, I tend to lose my shape and turn into a little brick - no waist, straight up and down, and thick from front to back. Looking like a brick is NOT my goal.

My next thought was to try to lose some muscle and perhaps compete in Bikini. (Remember last year when I was tossing around the idea of switching to Bikini?) I went back to doing plyo-type workouts and changed my rep ranges on exercises. Nothing much seemed to change, except I lost some definition in my arms, which I'm NOT okay with.

Then while I was helping one of my friends pose and listened to her talk about her upcoming show, I realized that I really love Figure. While I think the bikini look is beautiful, I've worked too hard to build muscle for the past 14 years to just turn around and diet/train most of it off. Besides, I like the amount of muscle I've got right now.

Like I said ... my head's been spinning.

At this point (and that's not to say that things won't change yet again), I'm focused on retaining my upper body size, but bringing my legs down a bit. Since spot reduction isn't realistic, it'll be interesting to see how this plan actually works. I'll keep you updated!