Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “strength training”

“You Can’t Accomplish Anything Without The Possibility Of Failure”

An Awesome Documentary Got Me Questioning How Hard I’m Willing To Push Myself – Mentally, Physically & Emotionally – To Achieve What I Want.

This weekend I spent some time looking for upcoming local races, both 5 and 10Ks. I’m always way more consistent in training when I have a deadline I’m working towards. That’s when I came across the most amazing race I’ve never heard of – The Barkley Marathon.

I learned about it via a documentary that’s currently on Netflix – The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young. It is an amazing story that spotlights the quirky traditions and oddball personalities surrounding this race.

But what I loved most happened after watching the movie. More on that below. But first, What is the Barkley?

Read more…

10k Training Commencing, Weather Be Damned!

exercise goals

From outdoor to indoor cycling, daily walks and long hikes, I’m focused on running a 10k this year and re-establishing my habit of exercising daily.

I want to run a 10k this summer. Unfortunately the weather isn’t cooperating. Old Man Winter doesn’t want to let go just yet. Between last week’s snowstorm that left mostly ice and the rain, I’m stuck indoors wishing I invested in all-weather running gear.

But all is not lost. Since rejoining the gym I’m toying to using it as much as possible before the weather takes a turn for the better.

Now I’m not a treadmill runner. I’ve tried that before and I’m just too clumsy for that contraption. Spin is where it is at, baby! Yep, my cycling classes not only helped my legs get into shape, but improved my endurance too.

Monday was my first class in nearly 2 years. It was pretty much as I remember: playing with the resistance setting to get the most of the workout and a bike seat that only Satan could have created.

Ugh! Even with biker shorts (they are padded), my butt is still sore from that class. A few more classes should end the soreness.

Of course I loved every minute of it…the class not the soreness! Of all the things I did at my old gym I really missed spin the most. It was a great way to burn off all that excess energy I build up during the week. But I really loved was my yoga class immediately after spin. It’s a perfect block of time to burn off and refocus your energy.

Unfortunately there currently isn’t any yoga following cycling at the moment. That just means I’ll stick to following Yoga with Adriene.

Between spin class, weight training, daily walks, running intervals (weather permitting), and upcoming bike rides and hikes along local trails (can’t wait), I need to carve out time in my schedule. I really lost the habit of exercising daily. A schedule is the first step in rebuilding that habit. I also need to create specific goals and milestones to hit. I’ve set goals for weight training, but now I need targets for cycling, walking, hiking and running (tracking distances, daily steps, speed, etc.).

Hmmmm…I have to noodle on that a bit more.

What are your fitness goals this year?

Final 40 Fat Challenge

March 19 weigh inThis morning I stepped on the scale for the first time since January. I expected to gain weight back from my week-long fast (usually half comes back). Turns out I kept just 2 pounds off. As a ‘glass half full’ gal, I’ll take that.

So I’m officially stepping on the scale once a week. I’m tracking my food consistently once again. The wine is officially out of the house. For the foreseeable future, eating out is over with.

Funny how exercising regularly improves your mental focus. I know exercise doesn’t help with weight loss. It’s all about building strength, improving cardio and balancing hormones.

Most importantly it clarifies choices.

Battle Of The Final 40 Begins
Stepping on the scale I start my new journey – getting to a healthy level of body fat.   I know focusing on weight is dumb and doesn’t do any good. I need to focus on reducing my body fat while maintaining/building muscle. It was those fat cells that went wonky on me and caused the cancer after all.

I’m using the same calculations I made back in August when I figured out my ideal body weight.   For the sake of sanity I’m calling this challenge “The Final 40” since the balance of lean body mass and fat pegs my ideal weight at 165.

That doesn’t mean 165 pounds is my maintenance weight. Before cancer came a knockin’ I was dealing with a nasty infection due too excess skin (sigh…those were the days).

I’m looking forward to those days once again.

New Challenges, New Goals, Better Attitude

new life

My life has changed and I’ve set me sights on some new health goals to work towards.   FreeDigitalPhotos.net and mrpuen.

Over the last 5 years I’ve learned to focused on health and not weight loss. The results have been awesome. My doctor pronounced me healthy. After achieving my goal  I did the expected.

I coasted.

For 18 months I maintained my weight of 185 pounds. Sure I still wanted to drop about 25-30 “vanity” pounds because I knew the extra weight would eventually cause havoc as I got older. Knowing that didn’t propel me to take action. Oh, I came up with some new goals…and promptly started coasting again.

Why? No fire in the belly.

Five years ago I was staring at a bleak, unhealthy future of diabetes and heart disease. Fear drove me to act. But once I reclaimed my health, I thought the fight was over.

Boy was I wrong. Read more…

Changing The Workout Routine

sleeping peekabu

Peekabu demonstrating how I physically felt after being back with a personal trainer after just two sessions.

This weekend I was sore from head to toe — shoulders, arms, chest, back, hips, gluts (oh, man!) legs — and it felt awesome! At my husband’s urging, I’m working with a personal trainer again. I wasn’t happy with my last trainer. Her aversion to both sticking to our scheduled appointments and using free weights soured me on personal trainers. I loved my first two trainers, but her attitude left an indelible impression with me.

Plus the hubby and I carved out a little area in our basement for workouts. Why should we spend the money on a trainer?

The hubby made some strong arguments for going back to the gym.

  1. Despite my 3 muscle workouts a week, the husband noticed no difference in my, strength, attitude or stamina. He didn’t see how I could meet my fitness goals for the year.
  2. While diet has more to do with my menopause symptoms, what I was doing in the home gym (yoga and weight training) wasn’t having an impact.
  3. Soreness…or lack of it. In his view, I wasn’t pushing myself as hard as I could.
  4. Most importantly, I was happier when I was going to the gym than I have been working out at home with all the distractions.

He’s right, of course. I’m not pushing myself. I certainly feel good after I workout, but the overall boost in energy just isn’t there. While I agreed with his arguments, No. 4 really hit me.

When I’m at home I find there is so much to do and so little time. So everything becomes a choice. Go for a walk in the cold or clean the kitchen? Do yoga or get a jump on laundry?  Get 20 minutes with the dumbbells or try to fix the dishwasher?

Yet those 18 months I when I belonged to a gym, I never chose chores over working out. Back then working out was a habit, like brushing my teeth. It was never an “either/or” decision.

Finding The Right Fit
After I agreed to go back to a trainer, I thought the challenge was going to find the right person. The Gold’s Gym near our home wasn’t the one I quit more than a year ago. I was leery of going back to Gold’s. But my husband assured me we’d ask a lot of questions to  find the right trainer.

Turns out, not all Gold’s are equal. Some are franchises (my not so great experience) and corporate (my new gym). The corporate Gold’s are all about free weights. Yes they have weight machines, yoga, spin and HIIT classes, but free weights are their focus.

My new trainer had no problem starting me with barbells.  During our first session he evaluated what I could do: planks, push ups, crunches, dead lifts, presses, squats, rows.  Immediately he spotted that my hips and lower back are problem areas (something my physical therapist told me to work on).

Actually my whole core is weak. I haven’t really focused on them post-surgery. Right now I’m about 75% healed, so I’ve been nervous about pushing myself. The problem is I’m not pushing myself at all. So my schedule is upper body on Tuesday, lower body on Thursdays, and rebuilding my core for 20 minutes on both days.

Setting 3 Month Goals
Afterwards we talked goals. I’ve signed up for 3 months (two 1-hour sessions a week). We discussed target goals by the end of that time.

  • 60-second plank
  • Standard push ups (no knees!)
  • Strengthen my core (includes back and hips) which is pathetically weak after surgery
  • 10-15 pound increase in bench press
  • Recapturing some of the definition and tone I lost post surgery

All are very doable if I’m willing to put in the work…and I am.

For the first time in more than a year I’m really excited about working out. Yes, I was sore over the last week. But I’m asking my body to do things I haven’t done in a while.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Some Mudlove!

I just got a little note in my inbox about a Valentine’s Day special on the CW tonight about one of my obsessions  (it’s at the top of my bucket list!!!) — The Tough Mudder. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than curled up on the couch with my husband learning about the folks doing the world’s ultimate muddy obstacle race.

Mudlove is in the air tonight!

Combating Bloat By Working The Abs, Avoiding Veggies

veggies

Some of my favorite veggies are awesome on the health scale, but are not helping my abdominal bloat.

One of the side effects of surgical menopause is my body has absolutely no time to adjust to the drop in estrogen. This means dealing painful stomach bloating. How bad is the bloat? Some times my belly swells so large I look pregnant. Yikes!

It gets especially painful around my belly button – that’s where the camera was inserted for my surgery. It’s the one incision area that is the slowest to heal as it takes the brunt of the bloating.

There are a few things I can do with my diet and exercise to minimize the bloating while my body finds its footing.

  1. Bidding Adieu to My Favorite Veggies – For the time being certain vegetables no longer welcomed in my kitchen. While I don’t use a lot of garlic and onions, they are a staple when it comes to adding flavor. Unfortunately they contain fructans, soluble fibers that cause bloating. I’m also giving up all cruciferous vegetablesbroccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, all cabbage, collard greens… Oh the list seems to go on! At least spinach, avocados and tomatoes are safe.
  1. Kicking Out Carbonated Water – The carbon dioxide in carbonated water can get trapped in the digestive system, causing bloat. I started drinking carbonated water as a way to drink more water. Now I drink about 80-90 ounces of tap water a day, so kicking fizzy water to the curb shouldn’t be difficult.
  1. Building Up My Core – On days where I do yoga or walk the bloat is pretty much non-existent. Not so much when I do weight training.  Thankfully there are some other exercises that can safely incorporate into my strength training: crunches, sit ups, seated twist and energy push. The first three are perfect for strength training as they use body weight. The energy push can be used as part of my warm up routine.

These three steps are my starting point. Now there is a chance that I may have to give up my beloved dairy. I certainly don’t have any signs of lactose intolerance.  Nonetheless I started cutting back on dairy (creams and cheese) to get my total daily carbs under 20g.

I plan to see how well these 3 steps help with the bloat. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll see if dairy needs to get added to the list.

Pelvic Floor Strength Thru The Roof!

Pelvic floor muscle

With my hysterectomy, I have too much room down there and organs can start shifting, causing major problems. And my radiation treatment left me with a bit of incontinence. Good news there is an exercise to fix me.

After a three of months of doing pelvic floor exercises 6 times a day everyday, I’ve officially graduated from physical therapy. No cap n’ gown were involved, but I made great progress and no longer need therapy. My pelvic floor strength was off the chart. Awesome considering how bad I was before I started.

I figured I was making progress about a month ago. After one sneezing frenzy nothing leaked out of my bladder.

Yes…it’s the simple things that make me happy these days.

Nonetheless, my therapist suggested I do my pelvic exercises 3 times a day to build endurance and maintain strength. Important now that my uterus is gone. Also she wants me to work on building hip strength.

Between my yoga, squats and Fitness Blender routines, my hips should feel the burn in no time.

Now it’s time to work on the rest of me.

Do I Need A Trainer or Can I Do It Myself?

gym

Our home gym is open for business and my new trainer is eagerly awaiting to torture me.

Yay! We’ve expanded the gear for our tiny home gym.  Now we can work out with actual free weights. The space is still too small for barbells, my husband’s preferred equipment. Thankfully a little creativity was all we needed.

Our New Home Equipment
I already had the resistance bands and yoga mat. We didn’t want to spend too much, and when you are dealing with free weights, that is a challenge. So we added 3 things that collectively cost us less than $440. Not too shabby.

1. Adjustable Weights
Unfortunately we don’t have the space to use barbells. While my resistance bands are a great tool, my husband was a bit leery about using them. If he can’t use barbells, his fall back is dumbbells. But again, space is the issue. Thankfully we saw a solution at our local sporting goods store — adjustable weights. Read more…

2017 Health, Fitness & Weight Loss Goals

jan-7-weight

My 7-Day Fast to make sure my cancer is gone for good is over. I’m down 12 pounds. Now it’s time to set my health, fitness, weight loss and fun goals for the year.

My 7-Day Fasting Challenge is over and I feel great. I broke fast last night during my belated birthday dinner. Chilean Seabass and fresh greens never tasted so good. During dinner I started noodling about setting some goals for the year.

And I have many for the year. I think that’s because half of 2016 was consumed with my cancer diagnosis.  But now I’m cancer free and my focus is on reducing my risk for other diseases and building strength. Weight loss, as usual is the great side benefit.

Dot’s 2017 Health Goals Read more…

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