Sunday, 22 February 2015

Seeing some progress

I have been very disciplined this month and have been trying to adopt a more consistently zen-like approach to my workouts and weight loss.  I say "trying" because I am more zen-like on some days than others.

On the plus side, I have virtually entirely stopped unrecorded snacking, and where/when I do snack, it is generally in moderation and within plan.  That's a huge win for me after the unbridled snacking I did in December. 

I have also been very disciplined with my workouts, doing my combination of HIIT elliptical sessions with longer "straight" elliptical workouts after my weekly sessions with Mr. Fitness (the personal trainer). I have also been doing a second weight session on my own, using the workouts Mr. Fitness has set up for me.  I am sure that I don't push myself quite as hard when it is just me, but I am pushing enough that I feel it the next day, which is a good thing.

All of this hard work is gradually paying results.  I am definitely seeing some improvement to my overall tone, and I can't wait until next week when I do my month-end measurements again.  I am certain that I will have continued to lose inches, because it's visible even to me.  My shoulders, stomach and legs in particular have been noticeably more toned recently.  Yippee!

I am also seeing definite improvements in my strength and stamina as well as my balance and coordination.  The first time Mr. Fitness and I worked together I kept falling over and lurching into things when he wanted me to stand on one foot or balance a particular way.  Don't get me wrong - - I still lurch and look as coordinated as a Clydesdale on ice many times - - but I am ever so slowly seeing improvement.  I only lurch around and stumble every second time now, rather than every single time.

One thing I have really noticed recently is how dramatically weaker my left arm is than my right due to the carpal tunnel on that side.  We were doing "21s" (bicep curls in 3x7-count variations) during my last session with Mr. Fitness, and on the full bicep curls I could barely raise the dumbbell with my left arm.  The right arm - - no problem.  The left - - weak as a noodle.  This is very frustrating, but apparently not uncommon.

Although the workouts have been going well, it has been challenging to keep my positive attitude when the weight loss has come so slowly.  I saw the usual "Ladytime" gain of 3 pounds of water and bloating at the usual time of month, and it took me 2 weeks of rigid discipline and fierce determination to get those pounds off and to see even trivial net losses.  Given how disciplined I have been with my food consumption and how hard I was working out, I find it difficult to keep from getting frustrated at times when the scale resolutely sticks above where I want it - - even when I know that the scale will come down eventually. 

But come down, the weight has, bit by bit.  I really don't mind if the weight comes off slowly or even plateaus if my measurements are changing, because I know that Mr. Fitness is helping me to develop my muscle tone and strength.  But until the end of the month I will not have definitive proof, so I will just have to be patient and keep plugging away.

On a related note, Mr. Fitness was like a kid in a candy store when he saw all my new workout equipment, and he immediately began integrating it into our sessions.  Now that was motivating!  Not to mention fun - - some of the things we do don't even feel like working out (like a lot of the medicine ball work we do), but I know they're doing good things.  That is a bonus I had not anticipated.  The gym equipment and the investment in a personal trainer has been worth every dollar to me, because I am doing things I never thought possible thanks to the structured and supervised workouts with the weights.  90 pound bench press?  Never thought I would do that.  80 pound deadlift?  Not a problem, as it happens.  And I am only going to get stronger from here.  I like that.  Scratch that.  I love that. 

So the net of it is that I can't wait to measure myself this week so I can get some positive reinforcement for all my hard work.  But I like what I am seeing so far, and I can't wait to see where I will go with this. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

New Weights!

Yay!  At long last (ok, it's been a whole week) my new weights have arrived.  Some medicine balls, some kettle bells, some free weights, and a bunch of plates for my barbell.

Let me tell you something that will be glaringly obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense: weights are HEAVY.  In that, they take a lot of effort to lift and move.  For some reason this basic fact completely escaped me.  In my mind I must have expected the weights to float into the apartment on gossamer wings or something.  In reality the Nerd did 95% of the heavy lifting and then I was left with the task of unpacking and organizing everything.  Even with that minimal contribution, however, I was working it - - my 45 pound plates weighed, well 45 pounds, and there's no getting away from the plain old mass of it all.  As Henry Rollins (my rock star boyfriend*) says, "the iron never lies". 

Here is the new equipment in all its glory, making friends with my existing gear.
I really love the look and feel of everything and how functional the space is.  That's probably a good thing considering I spend 4+ hours in this room every week (not all at the same time, of course, that would be bananas).

I can't wait to do a proper weight training workout in here, but of course I will have to wait - - it is a long overdue rest day for me tomorrow (because it's been a while and my old knees are not what they once were), and then Thursday will be here soon enough with Mr. Fitness here to kick my butt.  We shall see which of my new toys he feels like working with. 

* Not really, but give me a call the next time you're in the T-dot, Henry.  The Nerd will understand. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Feeling Inspired

I am feeling very motivated right now following my recent positive strides and I want to strike while the iron is hot.

As a treat for myself (!) I have purchased a few more dumbbells and weight plates for my weight training as well as some medicine balls for a change of pace.  I also picked up a couple of additional kettle bells, one lighter and one heavier than my current kettle bells. 

I was going to get more plates for my barbell regardless because when I first got the barbell I only picked up a few of the lightest plates - - 2.5, 5 and 10 pounds - - because of course there was no way I was ever going to be strong enough to lift more than that.  When Mr. Fitness wanted to push me on the bench press by loading up everything I had, it was not super heavy - - 55 pounds only.  Clearly I had underestimated how much I could or would want to lift. 

The medicine balls are just to spice things up - - there are a lot of exercises that can be done with medicine balls, and I am all about variety. 

Can I just say that I never in a million years would have thought that I would be the kind of person who would purchase workout equipment as a treat.  A box of chocolates, sure.  But weights?  WTF?  You call that a reward??  Apparently, yes.  And the real sick thing is that I am really looking forward to getting the new weights and working them into my routine(s). 

Now if you will excuse me I need to go down to my workout room and rearrange some things...