This week the weather felt so much colder than the temp would indicate. (Mornings in the single digits, afternoons near 20.)
But there’s a bitterness in the air that makes me want to run for cover. And I am pretty sure it’s in the actual air, not just the political climate. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 🙂
Anyway, a couple years ago I took a weird “spirit animal” test – not one on Facebook, heh – that was supposed to describe your animal personality.
If I were an animal, I’d be a bear.
So, right now I’m pissed I’m not hibernating, and I want to go ravage Dumpsters for delicious junk.
That sets the lay of the land for this week’s training journal.
The Bear Ate My Workout Plan
First, I dumped my regular weights workouts and just decided to do fun stuff to see if I could do it. For instance, here’s my first attempt at a barbell Turkish getup, after I saw a video on Instagram.
Note: this is first thing in the morning, one cup of coffee, wearing my boots, not warmed up, and talking to myself. I am really super psyched that my shoulder let me do this, as we have been in a fight with each other for about 3 years now.
HIIT Cardio is My Friend
So, with this seasonal cruddiness, along with a tenacious cold I’ve been beating back, I’ve been focused on things that improve my mood.
And that’s cardio. Now, I’m not talking about steady-state plain-Jane cardio.
I’m talking about HIIT intervals on the Stepmill, learning and teaching Country Heat Live (which sends your heart rate up and down), along with a couple straight-up grind-it-out sessions on the elliptical.
I’ve also been throwing in some bodyweight mobility work and “animal” moves that I learned years ago when training for a fitness show – I worked with an MMA trainer who put me through some serious conditioning workouts that included bears, gorillas, frog jumps, duck walks, and more. Oh, and somersaults too.
The thing about doing forward and backward rolls after not doing them for a few years is that it’s both scary and exhilarating, and that’s injected a fun factor into the workouts.
My core has been screaming at me a little bit as a result … and I love it.
That Diet Though …
It’s also been crazy busy. I’m juggling several different projects right now and time is in short supply.
As my mom would have said, it’s a wonder I haven’t run into myself coming around the corner.
I even overslept two days this week.
(Luckily, I’m programmed to get up earlier than necessary and also get ready for the next day before I go to bed – I didn’t miss anything important, but I did have a couple mornings that included a last-minute scramble to get out the door.)
The thing about feeling cold, fighting off a cold, and wanting to hibernate? Plus starting the day in a rush? Oh, and also there being a Whoopie Pie Cafe underneath my studio?
Let’s just way: whoopee! 🙂
This Week’s Agenda …
More functional HIIT workouts, meal prep, and hoping that the snow-ice event slated for the middle of the week veers off the coast.
And … drumroll … I need to come up with a special birthday workout to commemorate being alive another year.
I’m already dreading next year’s b-day, so I gotta make the most of this one, yes?
I just finished teaching a cardio class. OK, so it actually wrapped up a half-hour ago but here’s the thing.
It was my first bonafide “real” workout in almost two weeks, because I’ve been fighting the cold/flu that’s going around. Yes, I’ve done some light workouts but nothing I’d count as a full-on exercise session.
And all I can say is: Wow. I’m kind of done-in.
If you’ve never taught a choreographed workout class before, I will let you in on a little secret. When you teach, you expend a lot of energy – because you’re not just doing the class, you’re also motivating, talking, entertaining, etc. That energy expenditure is not surprising.
The secret (at least for me): when you’re actually TEACHING the class, it doesn’t seem that hard, because you’re so busy. You can run/jump/etc. with much more ease than you normally can.
But after you’re done? Yeah. It catches up with you.
So that’s where I’m at right now. Too zapped take a shower.
I even stopped at DD for an iced coffee on the way home, and it’s been almost a week now since I’ve had a “not-breakfast” coffee as I’m cutting back on my caffeine intake (heck yeah I’m still having my morning coffee, but no more later-in-the-day brew).
Positive vs. Negative Energy
Done-in kind of describes how I feel in general this week. Recent events – politics, the cold/flu, and social media drama – kinda wore me out in general.
(Psst: Don’t worry – I’ll get to the nitty-gritty training/nutrition stuff soon … good news to report!).
Anyway, this done-in-ness has made me think a lot about the energy that swirls around me in my life. Not to get all woo, but I’m feeling very protective of it. Sometimes this feels selfish, but then I wonder if it is, really.
I think it’s important to take time to refill your energy well – to be quiet, shut out the chatter, and not get swept up in the anxiety that seems to be the norm lately.
Lately, as I’ve been more deliberate with aligning with positive energy, the negative seems to be falling away. In fact, this past week it occurred me that the negative energy is kind of like a dying volcano. It erupts … and then, if you ignore it, it burns itself out.
Which is really good, because sometimes, I don’t have a square to spare, KWIM?
Training and Nutrition
So to the nitty gritty.
I’ve been working on redoing the focus of this blog and making some new business arrangements that have me super pumped for the next few months (heck, for just the future!). Stay tuned for more on all that.
So, with all of that going on, my current fitness focus is not necessarily aesthetic but instead on strength, general fitness, and health (gotta get ready for the zombie attacks, KWIM?). Losing a few pounds wouldn’t be the worst, though.
Training: I’ve been doing mostly bodyweight and mobility work this week, on top of teaching today’s Country Heat Live class. Next week, back at the weights, focusing on total-body and HIIT workouts. Maybe we need some zombie apocalypse HIIT workouts, what do you think? 🙂
Nutrition: I personally do a lot better when I get into a routine with my eating and make sure I eat lots and lots of veggies. I am down 2 pounds this week. My current meal routine routine is a green smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch, a varied afternoon snack, and a protein/carb/veggie combo for dinner.
Dude, I almost fell into a trap that gets nearly all of us at one point or another.
I almost didn’t check in and report my weekly “progress.”
Because … well, here’s the thing: get a group of fitness coaches together and most of them will have the same complaint about their clients.
They only check in when things are going well.
Because otherwise, they feel too guilty to ‘fess up to their alleged failure.
I didn’t stick with my plan this week. But I’m bucking the trend and reporting in anyway. Yay, me!
Here’s what happened.
The Cat Sat on My Keyboard
I went into this week feeling great. The week before, I was on-track: my training was going well and while I wasn’t “perfect” with my nutrition, I got in all my veggies and other good stuff. (What is “perfect” nutrition, anyway? If you ask me, “perfect” is an eating disorder, but that’s another post for another day.)
Anyway, this week, it was like: “Workout? What’s a workout?”
I didn’t log a single workout session. And my diet wasn’t stellar, either.
It’s not like I sat on the couch bingeing on Netflix, because I got a lot of other stuff done, all of which I’m pretty happy about and that needed to happen.
For instance, for about two years now I’ve
hated the way my kitchen table ate up all the space in my kitchen and
disliked how small my computer desk(s) are.
So, in a move that caused a massive avalanche of furniture rearranging that affected every room in my place, I made my kitchen table my desk. Bonus: I now can write either standing up or sitting.
Old desk situation:
Cluttered, tiny, out-of-control work area.
So, it’s been a week of dealing with stuff like that. Good, but time-consuming.
They didn’t say this in the podcast, but the “how to live a good life” concept is kind of based on a simplified version of the “wheel of life” template that’s used a lot in life/wellness coaching.
The “wheel” has 8 areas that some coaches believe need attention in order for us to feel balanced and fulfilled: career, money, health, significant other, friends and family, personal growth, fun and recreation, and home/physical environment.
That’s a lot of areas to juggle, huh? Just thinking about it stresses me out.
But Fields uses a bucket metaphor – and he narrows down the number of areas to a more manageable three:
Vitality (mind and body health)
Contribution (how you use your strengths, etc., to serve the world, maybe through your work, maybe through other kinds of service)
A lot of times, we get out of whack because we pay too much attention to one and not any attention to another.
But the thing is, all those buckets need a little attention because they all have some leaks. You can’t just fill one up and be done with it.
And if one bucket goes empty, you’re in big trouble.
The Vitality Bucket
So, it occurred to me as I stood to write this (thank you, new table-desk!) I need to spend some more real time on the vitality bucket. And maybe I have to do it in a completely new way, with a new approach.
Do you do this? (It’s from the podcast.)
We love to pretend that everything’s okay. If we’re working too hard, we tell ourselves that we’ll sleep when we die. If we’re living on a steady diet of junk food and sitting at a desk for fourteen hours a day, we tell ourselves we’ll take better care of our health when it becomes an issue.
As I’ve written about ad nauseam, it’s been a year of changes for me, and so it’s kind of natural something would get neglected. But how (not) ironic is it that I feel like my own VITALITY bucket is almost empty?
Psst: personal trainers and fitness coaches put their own vitality at risk on a regular basis if they’re not careful. It’s part of the job. And that, too, is another post for another day.
Now, it’s time to give myself the errant-client coaching talk.
The cats still want to take over my desk. But now we can share.
Here’s the Fix
Remember: if I’m not good to myself, I’m no good for anyone else.
Winging it doesn’t work. Make an actual plan for this week, both in terms of food and workouts.
Time block! Go back to my old routine of setting aside chunks of time each day to devote to specific tasks.
And when I’m tempted to skip something because I think I don’t have time or it’s not worth it, refer back to item 1 on this list.
I almost didn’t post anything today because there’s nothing HUGE to report … but then again, there kind of is.
Because some weeks, HUGE doesn’t happen. And that’s ok. That’s life.
These are the weeks that advance us forward, a little at a time.
The truth is that some weeks, you’re confronted with a donut AND a muffin on the same day, and your to-do list is 20 items too long, and your old shoulder injury is acting up and you’re exhausted because it didn’t let you get a good night’s sleep and you are getting nonstop emailed/called/messaged … and all you want is a nap.
And then you eat the muffin AND the donut … both of them gooey with chocolate … in one sitting.
But then you forgive yourself because … well, because. Sometimes it happens.
This year I’m working on getting rid of the self-flagellation and the overthinking.
Next time, I’ll know NOT to go through the Dunkin’ drive-through for a midday coffee when I’m tired, because then the drive-through person can’t throw a little something extra in for me (I’m seriously lucky in that regard, btw. I get free food a lot.).
(OK, OK, let’s be honest. I already knew I’d end up with a treat if I went through the drive-through. 🙂 )
The Solution for a Busy Schedule
This week was crazy-busy with work. In fact, there were a few days I don’t think I had a second of “down” time except for a little nighttime reading.
All of the books I am reading right now mention something to do with decluttering to help you get clear on your goals (something I’m working on right now). So in addition to getting rid of the overthinking and self-flagellation, I’m going to be decluttering my office and other living spaces. I’m kind of psyched about it.
In fact, last night I completely rearranged my office/living room/kitchen, swapping out some furniture. My cat isn’t sure what she thinks of it all – here she is on top of my new standing desk.
The trick to getting your workouts done in a flash is super-setting and circuits. I’m a big fan of pairing opposing movements with each other and that’s what happened this week.
When I do this, I try to first hit the dominant muscle first to tire it out so it can’t help with the weaker muscle (like front squats paired with Romanian deadlifts, so the quads are prefatigued and don’t try to take over for the hamstrings during the deadlifts).
That’s what this week was all about.
This Week’s Training
Monday: Cardio/Legs – stepmill circuits (I love mixing up double-steps with side steps, single-leg steps, etc.), treadmill side shuffles, walking lunges on the treadmill, leg press, abductor and adductor work to help with the hips.
Tuesday: Upper Body – Classic push-pull workout, light on the push.
Wednesday: Ballet/mobility; Holy COW! This workout was SO MUCH HARDER than I expected. It was pretty awesome. But I need to work on fixing the fun factor a little. I see some blog posts about this in the future.
Friday: Dance fitness practice
Saturday: taught a dance fitness/yoga class. So much fun.
Hmm …. what about those macros I hinted at last week? Yeah, what about them? See muffin and donut mention above. 🙂
Bear with the navel-gazing. For at least a little while, I’m going to be writing a weekly update about my own goals and training regimen.
I made a commitment to myself at the start of the year that I’d post a training log as a way to hold myself accountable.
But I don’t want to make this training log sound like I am trying to change my body’s appearance significantly, get into #beastmode, or imply I’m not happy with the way things are.
Because the truth is, I’m pretty happy with them.
I’m happy because it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve had a migraine headache. (There is one lurking off in the distance today. I can feel it circling, but I hope to scare it away.)
How I Lost 10 Pounds Without Trying
You see, the past few years have been pretty hellish with these migraines. I’ve had at least one voracious head pounder a week, and they basically leave me ruined for at least a day. And when I mean ruined, I mean I’m on the couch in a quiet room with an ice pack and pillow covering my head. I can’t lie down. I can’t really sit up. And I most definitely can’t eat or drink anything without becoming violently ill. Some days it takes every ounce of stubbornness that I have to take Zoey (my dog) out to do her business.
The next day, I’m weak and exhausted, and basically scared to do anything that might bring on another one.
I’ve had tests, tried different meds, changed my diet, and more.
As you can imagine, this has put a real damper on my workouts (not to mention my life). It’s also made me realize how importance my own fitness is to me.
There was one cold winter night a year or so ago when I finally was coming out of a bad migraine. I took the dog outside to walk, and I realized that I could run and jog and jump, and so I did. For probably 10 minutes, and much to the delight of Zoey, I was a running and jumping fool. It was one of the best feelings in the world.
Fitness For Fitness Sake
Even with all of that going on, I’ve also been nursing a couple injuries, which made the workouts that I actually was able to do kinda crappy. They hurt and I didn’t look forward to them. I’ve tried meds and cortisone shots, all with meh results.
During this period I lost almost 10 percent of my bodyweight without dieting OR having any kind of regular workout regimen. Also, I ate a lot of carbs: crackers and soup and anything that felt like it wouldn’t upset my stomach.
To cap it off, there were a bunch of things in my business and personal life that happened, and … well, let’s just say it’s been a time of stripping things away.
This is Not a Pity Party
Wow, reading back over what I’ve written sounds kind of pathetic. But honestly (and I really don’t want to jinx anything), I feel like I’m on the upswing.
Slowly, I think we’ve come up with supplement/medication/lifestyle/diet combo that’s working for the headaches and my general recovery. I’ve learned about some weird things that trigger the headaches, along with some unusual warning signs.
Plus, I’ve streamlined a lot of things in and/or out of my life.
And, my workouts are finally feeling better. Like, I have actually been able to work out consistently.
Which is helping me feel even better.
In fact, I’m back to the initial reason I started working out for the first place years ago, which had everything to do with how it made me feel, and very little to do with how it made me look.
It’s About Health
I’ve gained back the weight. As luck would have it, now I think I’d maybe like to lose a few pounds so I can feel lighter on my feet and more agile. As I mentioned above, I like to be able to easily run and jump. (Although I kind of hate distance running, not gonna lie.)
I want to get my pull-ups back, because they’re fun. They’re a little easier when you weigh less. I don’t care about pushups so much, because they don’t make me feel as good.
There’s more, but I think that’s enough Internet oversharing for one day.
Here’s the log …
So my entire MO when it comes to my workouts right now is this: If it doesn’t hurt, do it. If it does hurt, try something else. And that means that I’m training movements, not exercises.
And I think the more training hours we’ve racked up over our lifetimes, the more important it is to train this way. It’s hard to hold yourself back sometimes but sometimes that’s exactly what we need.
Plus, I’m experimenting with new things that I can’t wait to share with you.
So for this week, I’ve got a bare-bones journal without much in the way of specifics. Next: more specifics. 🙂
Monday: HIIT cardio with legs
Tuesday: Upper body workout.
Wednesday: Recovery cardio and core
Thursday: Upper body workout
Friday: HIIT cardio with legs
Saturday: Taught Country Heat Live
Next week’s focus: Adding in some mobility with pre-hab and rehab work for hip and shoulder. Also, I’m kind of obsessed with barre-like workouts and figuring out how to incorporate them into my pre/rehab regimen.
I have to be really careful with making changes in this area, but this week was pretty spot-on.
Next week: the donut holes are gonna go bye-bye. Probably. 🙂 I’m going to be getting out my calculator and working some macro magic.