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Friday, June 22, 2012

Nothing changes if nothing changes

I'm on my trip right now but here's something interesting (I hope):

If nothing about your current life-style changes, how can you expect changes to happen to your health and body?

When someone first starts out on a "life-style change",  they'll almost always see immediate results because any change, big or small, to their current lifestyle will have an effect on their body.

But what about those of us who have been going at this "life-style change" for months... even years?  Finding more and more things to change gets to be a little difficult and sooner or later, you'll hit a plateau. I'm not just talking about a weight-loss plateau, but a plateau in any area of your health and fitness journey (ex. strength, endurance, body fat, etc.).

Here are my tips on preventing/breaking through a plateau using exercise.

  • Change up which machine you use - Most people tend to stick to one type of cardio machine but by switching it up, your body now has to get used to using different muscles to get you the same cardio effect.  On the other hand, if you switch machines daily, you may want to think about switching machines weekly, even monthly, instead.  Although there's nothing wrong with cross-training, because your body is comfortable with ALL the cardio machines at once, it's hard to change it up if you needed to.
  • Change up the resistance or level of the machine - Always doing level 5?  Jump up the resistance to level 8 every two minutes, then throw it down to level 3... then up to level 12.  
  • Try an exercise class - It's amazing what a class-environment can do for motivation and boredom!
  • Try swimming - it's a completely different type of of cardio workout
  • Incorporate high intensity interval training (HIIT) - I wish I could get EVERYONE doing interval training.  A lot of experts say that intervals are for more conditioned exercises but I think that's BS.  Of course, I don't suggest that someone who's just started out do walking/sprinting intervals, but a beginner can easily alternate between walking and power walking.  That still gets your heart rate up/down.
  • Like the first tip under "Cardio" change up which machines you use - There are TONS of machines that work the same muscle group, so switch it up once in a while.
  • Change up your rep/set scheme - Always do 3 sets of 12 reps?  Change it up to 4 sets of 10.  Of course, this can only change so much depending on what your goal is at the time (bodybuilding vs. power vs. strength vs. endurance, etc.).
  • Focus on all three muscle actions: concentric, isometric, and eccentric - Mose people concentrate on the concentric part of a movement, where you muscle is shortening to move the weight.  For example, the upward motion of a bicep curl.  But by focusing on the isometric (holding the weight at the 90 degree angle in a bicep curl) or the eccentric (the downward/lowering part of a bicep curl; also called negatives) movement, the muscles get worked in an entirely different way.  Yes, it's the same motion, but you recruit different muscle fibers in each action.
Basically, switching up the frequency, intensity, duration or type of exercise should help move you past a plateau. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fitness Bucket List

I'm on my trip right now but here's something interesting (I hope):

The other month I came across the above picture and LOVED the idea of creating a bucket list of things I want to achieve on this journey.  Not just fitness related, but health related.  If you're not familiar with a bucket list, it's basically a list of things you want to do or achieve before you kick the bucket.

Here's a list of some of the things on my "Health and Fitness Bucket List":
  1. do a pull-up
  2. attend a Bodypump class
  3. go rock climbing
  4. run Koko Crater
  5. try surfing
  6. squat twice my body weight
  7. take a cooking class 
  8. try a spin class
  9. complete a full round of Insanity
  10. stand-up paddle boarding
  11. join the National Weight Control Registry
  12. go on a fitness cruise(!)
  13. try Cross Fit
  14. get away from all processed foods
  15. attend a yoga class
  16. compete in a bodybuilding competition
  17. go completely Paleo/Primal for a full month
  18. become a certified personal trainer...
  19. ... with a job
  20.  5K Color Run is coming to Hawaii
What's on your health and fitness bucket list?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Motivational Monday: TRUE

I'm on my trip right now but here's something interesting (I hope):

 I'll repeat myself again.  You canNOT out-train a bad diet.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flashback Friday: Since I'm on a trip...

I'm on my trip right now but here's something interesting (I hope):

Flashback Fridays are a re-posting of my previous blog entries.  Sometimes I need a good kick in the butt and these old posts remind me of how to get it done.

Why I flash-backed to this post:  This was an a-ha moment for me when I first wrote it.  I also chose it because the post kinda describes a trip and since I'm on a trip right now... perfect!

Original post date: 8/13/09
Original post found here.

So I know this is only day four of my promise to myself, but guess what... I've learned something already.

In order to get to the future, you have to live in the present.

So common sense and so NOT profound.

Why didn't I know this before? Well it's not that I didn't know it, I just didn't listen to it. I mean the main quote of my blog is "one step at a time..."

When some people start out losing weight (like me), they get into this super-motivated-I-can-do-anything mode especially when the first 5 lbs. are lost because those are always the easiest. They (I) set up goals and picture themselves as what they want to look like at the end of the journey but they forget about the journey itself.

It's like planning a trip. You decide you wanna go to Fitville and you plan all these must-do-activities for when you get there: where to eat, where to stay, what to visit, what to do but without even planning on how to get to Fitville, you'll never get there. Without knowing how you're going to get from your house to the airport, then from the airport to the hotel in Fitville, your goal is already impossible to accomplish.

This is exactly the same thing with weight loss.

It's awesome to know what you want your body to look like and do when you're at the end of the journey (btw, a weight-loss journey never ends... takes you straight to Maintenance Land!) but you also have to know how to get there. Going back to when I started out, I knew what my goal destination was but getting there was going to be the tricky part. I set weekly and monthly goals to help me along the way but that's like only planning the airplane ride then the car ride from the airport to Fitville. What about how to get from my house to the airport?!

The past four days have made me realize that my weekly/monthly goals are way more attainable if I break them down even further... into daily goals.


It's as simple as telling myself I just need to get through today - eat clean TODAY and get in a good workout TODAY. Don't worry about tomorrow today, worry about tomorrow when it gets here. By breaking down my goals to the smallest amounts possible not only makes the goal seem that much more achievable, but it also lets me see the goal... I mean really see it!

Currently my weight goal is about 20 lbs away. Instead of focusing on the entire 20 lbs. I'll focus on just the next two lbs., then the next two, then the next two and so on and so on. But instead of just focusing on the two lbs. I'll focus on what I need to do to get rid of those two lbs. I'll focus on my workouts each day and break it down even further and focus on pushing myself during the workouts.

Just get through the next 5 minutes of running and when I've done that, I'll focus on the next 5 minutes. If I'm able to really give it my all for each 5 minute increment and just repeat it, my workout will go by in no time and I'll probably have pushed myself harder than normal. It's a win-win situation.

Applying the same idea to my nutrition each day - hell, each meal - and I should kick those 20 lbs. in no time! Amazing it's taken me this long to really realize and apply this to my life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Counting calories: Their role in my journey

I'm on my trip right now but here's something interesting (I hope):

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a calorie counter.  With all the bad/crazy connotations that calorie counters are associated with, I'm proud to be one.

Why?  Because counting calories saved my life.

Lets look back almost 4 years ago, to the beginning of my journey (don't worry, this will be a very brief history).

September 2008.  This picture pissed me off so much, it started my journey:

 September 2008.

I knew right then and there, I needed to change my lifestyle, but I didn't know where to start.  I've tried Weight Watchers before and counting points just wasn't my thing.  Back then (2006ish), almost nothing had WW points listed on the box like today so figuring out the points was too much trouble.

So for me, calorie counting was my next try.

I found a site (My Food Diary) that offered a several-week trial offer so I signed up.  I promised to give my full 100% effort to this site till the end of the year (3 months away) and then reevaluate if counting calories was my way of losing weight.

Long story short, I lost over 20 pounds in 3 months and the rest is history.

April 2012

Yes, weight-loss comes down to calories in vs. calories out and I honestly believe that's why I've gotten to where I am today, but my calorie counting today is VERY different than what it was 3 years ago.

Today, I still like to keep my calories in a certain range (1300 - 1700), however the make-up of the calories I eat take precedent over how much I eat.  1700 calories of clean, whole foods will make a big difference in your body composition compared to the same amount of calories coming from processed food.

Do I plan on counting calories for the rest of my life?  No.  It's all about reevaluating where I am on this journey and finding something (new or old) that will work for me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Motivational Monday: Lift HEAVY

I'm on my trip right now but here's something interesting (I hope):

This is so true!  Most women people think that lifting heavy weights will make you "bulky".  It's just not chemically/hormonally possible for women!

Lift heavy to get a lean, muscular body!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Vacation time!

I haven't mentioned it much here on the blog, but later today I'm leaving for a two-week vacation!  I'll be visiting Oregon, Nevada, and end up in California and I can't wait!!!

The last trip I went on was to Vegas a couple of years ago and I came back home with NO weight gain.  That's one of my goals for this trip too, but I'm actually hoping to lose weight.  I know, it's vacation.  But if I didn't gain any weight in Vegas, it's very possible to lose some on this trip.  Here's why:
  • Vegas = buffets, beers, and sitting down gambling
  • Oregon/Nevada/Cali = LOTS of walking around, access to gyms, much healthier food
I'm also bringing some things to give me a slight edge on weight-loss. 

Since Anthony won't be joining me on this trip, I'm bringing one of my other loves.

Yup, I've brought my Bodybugg out of retirement (read my reviews here and here).  Although I won't be tracking my calorie intake on my trip, I'm really curious to see my calorie burn and step count.  I'm hoping to see a burn of 2500+ and a step count of 20,000+.  On any given day (sitting at a desk for 8 hours + my workout), I burn about 2100 calories and get about 8500 steps, so my goal numbers are doable, right?

Another thing I made sure to pack:

My supplements, including protein powder, fish oil, multi-vitamin, creatine, and BCAA's.  I'm bringing ALL my supps because I've googled the closest gyms to my hotel and I've got my workouts planned into my schedule, so here's hoping that I'll be in a gym (or two) over the next couple of weeks.

I'll have very limited access to the outside world while I'm away (just how I like it!) so I'll be catching up with you guys in two weeks!  Hope you enjoy the scheduled posts coming up.

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's official...

... I am a certified personal trainer WITH A JOB!!!

I just got back from filing out and signing all the hiring documents at the gym!!!  As long as the background check clears (which it should, right?) my start date is July 1!

It's so surreal how this is all playing out.

I swear it was just last weekend that I came home from my personal trainer certification workshop... but now the hard part begins. 

Branding and selling myself. 
Finding my niche as a trainer.
Gaining (and holding on to) clients.
Studying for more certifications.
Learning a WHOLE lot more about the industry.

I'm scared nervous excited going in to this, but I plan to make it work!  This is my way of paying it forward and helping others who also struggle on this journey.

Monday, June 4, 2012

RFSC: Challenge wrap-up

CANNOT believe this 10-week challenge is over!  During this challenge, I:

- met a TON of great new people
- accomplished things I don't think I could have without the accountability of my fellow challenge-mates
- got healthier
- got fitter
- got stronger both physicality, mentally, and emotionally
- can't wait for the next challenge!

Listed below are my original goals on day-1 of the challenge, with my updates written in red.  I chose not to focus on a weight-loss goal because 1.) I'm so close to goal weight the weight-loss has really slowed down and 2.) I wanted to focus on the things that REALLY matter on this journey.  Exercise and nutrition... with NSV's thrown in for good measure.  =)

NSV Goal
  • Success story.  The other week I was talking to Anthony and told him that one of my NSV goals is to be featured on the "Wall of Success" at our gym.  The catch is I don't wanna ask to be a feature, I wanna be asked... big difference.  WIN!!! Hit this goal the other week and you can read more about it here.  I haven't had a chance to get a picture next to my story on the wall because taking pictures at my gym is a big no-no (corporate rules suck), so I gotta be sneaky about it.  Once I get one, I'll be sure to post it.
  • Donation time!  This weekend, I'm spending the time to try on ALL my clothes and sort them into piles of too big, too small, and just right.  By the end of the RFSC, I want to fit into the "too small" pile and have to donate the other piles of clothes.  WIN!!!  Hit this goal too... kind of.  I can't fit into all the clothes in my "too small" pile, but I'm getting rid of a lot of "too big" and "just right" clothes from 10 weeks ago!  
Exercise Goal
  • Keep on going.  Continue my current 12-week exercise program, which will take me into the middle of May.  WIN!!!  On the last couple of days for the LiveFit program and gotta say I really liked it!  Won't get into details in this post, but maybe in a future post I'll do the pro's/con's and what my results were.
  • Something new.  Based on where I am at the end of my current program, research and choose my next routine. WIN!!! I leave for a two week trip next weekend (!!!) and have put my newly-certified personal trainer skills to good use by developing a 3x/week workout program that I can do in my hotel room.  Once I get back from my trip, I already know what I want to do next!  Why this program?  It incorporates something I'm a huge fan of: powerlifting moves to build strength and muscle.
Nutrition Goal
  • Clean, clean, clean!  My #1 priority for the next 10 weeks is to really focus on and dial in my nutrition.  Clean, whole foods to support my body and intense workouts.  WIN and FAIL!?!?! I definitely a lot more focused on clean eating during this challenge so I consider that a win.  I also consider this goal a fail because I could have done A LOT better on the actual eating part.  Nutrition is and always will be the hardest part of this journey for me.
  • Increase healthy fats.  Definitely need to add more "smart fats" to my diet: salmon, avocado, nuts, olive oil, flaxseeds, coconut oil, etc.  WIN!!! I can't believe how much better I feel after eating so much healthy fat... and you know what?  I still lost weight.  Don't be afraid of fat in your diet.  Our bodies need the good kind to stay healthy so pile it on!  My new faves after doing this challenge:  avocado, coconut, egg yolks, and nut butters!
  • New eats = happy tummy.  Making it a goal to try one new recipe a week.  Nutrition can get pretty boring if you eat the same things over and over, so finding 10 new (hopefully yummy) recipes to add to my rotation will do me good.  FAIL!!! Couldn't even do one recipe a week.  I did find a couple of winners that will stay in my rotation, but didn't even come close to making  this goal.  Does new juicing recipes count?