Monday, October 22, 2012

You did this why? You did this how?

I never was asked WHY I was doing this.  But I was asked how I did it.  I think the answers to "why" is pretty obvious.  I was overweight, unhealthy, unfit, and unhappy with my physical appearance.  Being a yo-yo dieter in the past, I knew this time was for good and the weight was never going to creep back on, or at least that's my lifetime goal and always a work in progress.

But I lost track of "So how did I do this?", "What was your plan?" and most especially, "Tell me your secret."
My answer is this... there is not secret.  I busted my ass to get to where I am.  No, seriously.  It's not a joke.  There is absolutely no pill, fad diet or special drink.  Eat healthy & exercise.  It's as simple as that.

Here are some tips that helped me along the 80 lb. journey.

Set a goal!
I set goals and made a plan of how I was going to achieve the goals.  I started in January 2011.  My first goal was to lost 40lbs by my 30th birthday.  The reason for 40lbs was that I would have been less than 200 lbs and the lowest weight since my adult life began.  So I had five full months to lose 40lbs.  With a combination of at home workouts, spinning, kickboxing and running, I was determined to hit this goal.  When I weighed in the week of my birthday, I lost 41 lbs.  That feeling and sense of accomplishment left me wanting to achieve more so I set out to lose another 20 lbs for our family vacation.

Goals are really important because it gives you something to work towards.  It gives you the motivation, a reason, a purpose to continue this healthy lifestyle and feel awesome about yourself.  Reevaluate your goals if needed.  Don't feel like a failure.  Life can be tough, but it's figuring out how to overcome those obstacles that can get in the way.    Some people do well with a large goal and feel quite motivated, while others need smaller increments.  The same goes with rewards for hitting those goals.  Some people don't need rewards and see the weight loss as a reward in itself, while others like to buy an item or pamper themselves with a pedicure.

Put a plan in place.
Whether it's meal planning or working out, it has to be planned.  I have been meal planning for just about the last two years.  It helps to keep focused in the food store and not buy junk food at the store.  I didn't go down the candy/cookie aisles for at least the first nine months.

Do what you love, but vary workouts
 If you don't like to dance, Zumba probably isn't for you.  If you do not like to run, you probably won't be doing Couch 2 5k or any races.  But there is a workout for everyone and you need to find what you enjoy.  Working out should be a stress reliever, not cause anxiety before you begin.  And your preferences for workouts may change over time especially as you grow stronger and things don't look as daunting.  It's important to vary your workouts especially during a plateau in weight loss.  This will help send your muscles into a frenzy and get them moving in new ways.

As I said above, I run, spin, kick box, and do at home workouts.
My favorite at home workouts are

Have a cheat day!
Once in awhile, it's okay.  You can have that juicy cheeseburger or ice cream sundae.  I believe that we don't need to give everything up in order to achieve great success, however, eating junk food all the time isn't going to achieve the same results.  Figuring out how to have the foods we love and still be successful is key.

Be Selfish.
I lost this weight for me.  I wanted to be happy in my appearance and accomplish goals that I set forth.   This lifestyle is yours. Take the time you need to plan meals, get a workout in, or just take a moment for yourself.  You will be a happier person in the end.

Remember this.  
This is your journey.  No two people will have the same journey with the same results.  Do this for yourself and no one else.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Playlist:: 80s R Good Enough

I am obsessed with this mix from Steady Mixes.  I swam to it Tuesday morning, it's been on repeat in the house as I clean and am quite excited to swim to it tomorrow morning as well.  And I decided it will make a fantastic playlist for my group cycling class tonight.  

This mix is only 44 minutes long and the class I teach is about 50 minutes so I added two songs at the end for cool down & our stretch segments.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Playlist:: Enter the Danger Zone

While I am still tinkering around with Spotify and deciding how much I love or hate it, here is a link to the complete playlist: Enter the Danger Zone

Friday, October 12, 2012

Spooky Sprint 5k + tunes

Tomorrow I am running in the Somerville Spooky 5k.  I have been looking forward to running in this race since last year I wasn't able to run in the race because I had a back injury.  Although I did volunteer and was the sweeper for the end of the race, it wasn't completely the same.  So to say I am excited is an understatement.

Here is my playlist for the Spooky Sprint:

Post-race update:
What a fantastic day yesterday turned out to be!  It was a chilly fall morning, perfect for the Spooky Sprint!  The race kicked off at 9:30am.  I have run this course twice before as well as walked it last year, so I know it fairly well.

When I rounded the corner for the homestretch, I saw my husband and two daughters waving and cheering on the other runners.  They were the only ones on this part of the street and it was the perfect spot for them to sit and cheer everyone on.  As they gave me a high five and their best cheers, I was off on my final minute of the race.

I crossed the finish at 29:21, my very first sub 30 min 5k.  I have worked SO hard to get my time down and it paid off.  Not to mention I crushed my last PR by a minute and a half.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We all started somewhere.

Over the past couple of weeks, a couple friends have asked me what to expect for their first Spinning class.  And I think one of the best parts of teaching Spinning classes is having beginners walk through the door for their very first Spinning class.  I love giving them a first and hopefully fun dose of what the Spinning program is all about.

During their initial set-up and explaining a little about the class, I do inform them that it should be a fun and enjoyable workout, but it is a challenge.  Some of the other things I tell them are:

  • Your butt is going to hurt.  The bike seat isn't the most comfortable the first couple of times you ride.  Give it time; you will get used to it.  
  • If, after a month of classes, your toosh is still not used to the bike seat, invest in a gel seat cover (approx. $20 @ Walmart or Sports Authority) or bike shorts that has the padding inside.  Scour Marshalls, TJ Maxx or those kind of stores for a better price!  The shorts can be pricey, but worth it.
  • The resistance knob is a useful tool and should not be feared.  Challenge yourself to add a little extra resistance, but don't be afraid to take it off if you need to and by need to, I mean, you feel like you are going to die.
  • You can't judge how much you love or hate it after the first, second or even third class.  Give it a good shot.  Also try a variety of instructors.  Not all of us teach the same way.  As much as I would love for you to become a regular in my class, I didn't love every instructor's class I happened to be a part of.
  • Bring water. Lots of water. (at least 40oz for a 40 min class)
  • Bring a towel.  You are going to sweat.  
  • Use a heart rate monitor.  It's what the Spinning program is based around to give you the most  effective workout.
  • I started Spinning 80lbs ago.  If I made it through my first class, you will too.
  • This is your workout.  You get out of it what you put in. Think of how you want to feel when you are finished (and it better be something positive).  

And then I remember the first time I walked into my first Spinning class.  I was anxious, terrified, nervous, but yet excited.  I had wanted to try Spinning for years, but at the gyms I was a member at previously, I just never felt comfortable.  However, now at my heaviest weight, I somehow got the nerve up and decided to give it a shot.  I showed up early, picked a bike and waited for the instructor and now that instructor is one of my biggest fans, my mentor in all things fitness & most importantly, a friend.  I got set up on my bike and off I was to ride in my first class.  I can clearly remember thinking: "What did I get myself into?", "What was I thinking?", "Was I nuts for thinking I can do this?" and a whole bunch of other sentiments very similar to those.

I made it through my first class and although I felt that I barely made it through, a Spinning addict was born.

Give it a try.  Have fun with it!  And let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Swimming and swimming and swimming..

My new routine is to do a speed workout for 20-25 minutes and then swim for a half hour two days per week.  My running playlist is chock full of pop songs that I love and that I know will carry me through especially minutes 16 and 17 at a 7.2.

For swimming, I need a continuous flow of music for about thirty minutes.  I came across this website called SteadyMixes when I was scouring the web for some upbeat, fun songs for my indoor cycling classes.  They have a ton of mixes that are usually about 45-60 minutes long that range from pop to r&b to heavy metal.  Part of the website, Steady130, provides mixes from popular djs who remix current and old song as well as mash them up.  I have downloaded so many of the mixes and they are all free!

My favorite mixes are Stronger (An all girl mix), Spring Break '12, & their newest Face Off 80 v. Now.  Definitely sample them and download your faves for your next workout.

For swimming, I have a Speedo AquaBeat, an underwater mp3 player.  It came with it's own earphones, but I have wasted so much time trying to get them to stay in my ears so I rarely used it swimming.  I was in the market for new earplugs so I decided to try new underwater earphones.  And this morning was my first go round with them and they get a rave review!  I ordered Pyle underwater headphones from Amazon.  I decided on these because they were less than $20!  These were so easy to get into my ears and stayed in place during all of my laps this morning.  Definitely worth the price.
Pyle Underwater headphones

My aqua beat + Pyle headphones

Friday, October 5, 2012

We all have struggles

Whether it's fitting in workouts, fighting off cravings, or dealing with other life stresses, we all have struggles.  It's how we deal with those struggles that can make or break a lifestyle.  It's important to recognize a struggle and find a way to deal with it in a positive way.  And it's okay to ask for help or advice; infact that's probably the best approach.

My biggest struggle is eating at night.  I wind down at night and find myself hungry.  Rather than pushing the hunger feeling off, I rummage through the cabinets for a snack.  

When I first began this journey, I worked out with The Biggest Loser on XBox Kinect which goes beyond just fitness.  It includes tips from trainers and past contestants as well as challenges.  One of the challenges was to not take second helpings at mealtimes.  Another was not to snack at night which I was doing well.  

In order to deal with my struggle, I do a few things to avoid late night snacking.  
  • Stock the house with fruits, veggies, trail mix (be careful!), and other healthy snacks
  • Don't buy chips, ice cream, and other unhealthy snacks.
  • Drink water first.  Usually it's a thirst cue and not hunger.
  • Go to bed!
  • Read a book or do something else to take your mind off of it.
  • Revise your food intake during the day.
We can all do this!  Challenges are their to test us.  Prove that you can take those challenges and kick it!