Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “Workout”

10K vs. 15K Steps? Does It Matter?

Saucony Hurricane ISO

Caution — Shoes are much, much more neon yellow than they appear! More steps a day just wear these puppies out sooner.

Here’s an interesting morning read about mail carriers in Glasgow, Scotland and heart health. Those who deliver the mail are far more heart healthy than their counter parts working a desk job. Why?  Glaswegian mail carriers deliver the mail by foot!  While The New York Times article is focused on whether we should target 15,000 steps a day vs. the current 10,000 step recommendation, I think they are missing another piece: strength.

If the Scots deliver the mail on foot, that means they are also doing a lot of weight training too. A mail bag loaded with bills, letters, flyers and Amazon boxes adds up in pounds/kilograms.

Yes walking is good for you. However, if most Americans can’t even get 10,000 steps in a day, what’s the point of upping the number of 15,000. Also the mail carriers in Scotland deliver by foot. That means they walk for nearly 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and get paid to do so. In the US, somewhere around 100 million employees are sitting at a desk.

Does your manager encourage you to get in a chunk of your 10,000 steps while you’re on the clock?

I’m curious if the study actually looked at their diet. If you had to walk every day for your paycheck wouldn’t you eat better too?  Again walking is healthy, but you can’t out walk a bad diet.

 

 

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?

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.

Getting My Focus Back With Yoga

mothra-vs-godzilla-006

Yoga looks graceful, but this is what I look like when moving into Warrior Pose! Yoga with Adriene does a great job putting you at ease.

I’ve found my yogi. No not the bear. I’m talking yoga. I’ve been hunting for a local yoga class that doesn’t break the bank and isn’t in a sauna. My physical therapist suggested I try Yoga with Adriene, a Texas raised instructor who teaches yoga via YouTube.

So this morning I tested Adriene’s 20-minute Yoga for Complete Beginners (see below). No I’m not a beginner, but I’ve been sidelined for more than a year. Not with an injury…just laziness. So easing into a routine was what I needed. Read more…

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…

A Little Downward Dog To Reduce Stress

meditate

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Mills.

Exercise is a big key to lowering my stress and anxiety (and cortisol) levels. From everything I’ve read, yoga is the magic bullet. I tried yoga about 4 years ago and really enjoyed it. However, our bank account wasn’t a big fan. Yoga studios are insanely expensive in Northern Virginia.

My first (and last) yoga studio charged me around $600 for 3 months. Why would I pay that?

After a series of injuries from trying to walk every day (pulled hamstring, IT band and Achilles tendon), my doctor told me to stop walking, lose 50 pounds (I weighed over 300 pounds), and then only do yoga.

Once I was cleared for walking, I said goodbye to the expensive studio. Instead, I did yoga by DVD for 3 times a week. That ended once started my 5k training.

I picked up yoga again via my old gym. After an hour of spin class, a little downward dog was very much welcomed.

But now I’m gym-less. I just don’t want to shell out $45 a month where I have to wait to get on the free weights.

What about going back to DVDs? I’d love to, but that can’t happen until next year. That’s when we start turning my office/exercise space (which is now storage/kitty space) into an exercise/craft room, complete with a TV and exercise DVDs.

So the search for a good, but not too expensive, yoga studio begins anew. Practically all the new studios near are big into Bikram — a.k.a, “hot yoga.” I did that once and will NEVER do it again.

Thankfully, my physical therapist gave me a couple of good leads on studios to check out. Ideally, I’d like to pay as I go. Just easier on the pocketbook.

What am I looking for in a studio? I guess I’ll know when I see it. A class geared toward stress/meditation is important. Friendly instructors would be nice. I guess if my little Grinch heart starts feeling warm and fuzzy after a class then I’ll know I’ve struck fried gold.

 

Starting Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic floor muscle

My radiation treatment caused my bladder to leak a little. So I’m starting physical therapy to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles and stop the leak.

Well I had my first physical therapy (PT) session the other day. While my hospital has a pretty good size PT division, there are only 2 therapists who specialize in pelvic floor muscles. Normally I don’t care if a medical pro is male or female, however, in this case I appreciate that both therapists are women. I felt way more comfortable talking about my challenges after radiation treatment and asking very specific questions that I won’t detail here.

I’ve mentioned before that my pelvic floor muscles are more important than ever after my hysterectomy. Thanks to my radiation therapy, strengthening my pelvic muscles has become more urgent. The radiation caused my bladder to leak a little when I sneeze or cough.

Not cool! Read more…

Review: From Fat To Finish Line

from-fat-to-finish

Finally saw From Fat To Finish Line and I loved it. Whether if you are a runner or not, this moving will inspire you.

Last night the hubby and I settled in the watch a film I’ve been waiting to see for nearly a year – From Fat to Finish Line. The documentary tells the story of 12 people who’ve collectively lost 1,200 pounds and team up to run a 200-mile relay race from Miami to Key West. You learn of their weight loss highs, lows and how running gave them focus.

The film shines the spotlight on each runner telling about struggling with weight loss. All experienced the doubts from family, friends and themselves. I could relate to everyone on the team. Their struggles and successes were exactly like mine.

Many on the team started running as a way to shed pounds. But what clearly shows is the shear joy many on the team feel from doing what humans are physically designed to do – run.

Running also became their compass: a way to keep moving forward to their true north, no matter what life tossed their way. As the Rick, the team captain says, when asked how he felt after running his first mile: “I feel like I can do anything.”

That’s what this film does best. Even if running isn’t your thing, this movie will inspire you to keep moving forward.

It really is a wonderful film and I suggest you bump it to the top of you Netflix queue.

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