Stretching and the full squat

Jeeeez, it’s been a busy one! No time to go to the gym, barely time to go grocery shopping, I feel like everything is falling behind where I normally keep it chugging along at a nice pace!

I don’t know about you, but when things get disorganized and I’m super busy I have trouble sleeping. Normally when I’m busy at work I stay at the client or the office to be as productive as possible, but this week I decided to try a different approach and work from home at nights when needed. I was surprised at how effective this made me. I managed to get all the laundry that had been piling up (5 loads worth) done over the course of 2 nights, cleaned my house, and managed to scrounge up some food despite my almost bare fridge.

Despite all that I still wasn’t sleeping well. Normally once my house is clean I sleep like a baby? So what’s the deal?

Time to relax…

Oh right… I have not lifted, ran or even stretched in about a week! No wonder I can’t sleep. My mind may be exhausted from work, but my body has barely moved (aside from running up and down the stairs to switch over the ridiculous amounts of laundry).

Over lunch yesterday I read Mark’s Daily Apple‘s post on floor living and I thought that maybe that little bit of increase movement might help. So I crouched down and tried to rest of a full squat.. I probably lasted 30 seconds… ok, not good. I proceeded to intermittently stretch out my hips, quads, calves and especially my hamstrings over the course of the night between loads of laundry and finishing up some work on the computer and kept going back into the full squat. By the end of about 3 hours of sporadically doing this I finally got my hips and hamstrings loose enough to comfortably squat for about 5 minutes!

I was pretty proud of myself, but what I noticed most was when I got into bed, my back and hips felt much more “neutral”. I tossed a lot less and found a comfortable position almost instantly. It’s amazing how much more comfortable your body is when it’s not wound up tight from sitting all day!

I think I have a new goal…. lounge less. My couch might be incredibly comfy, but obviously my body is happier with a full squat and some stretching.

Oh and Happy International Women’s Day!

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Friday Workout Recap

I have 1 week to show day!!!! (I don’t count the day of the show). OMG! I thought some of you might want to know what my workouts have been like leading up to this final phase and what workouts I have planned for the last week of prep.

Firstly, I’ll give you a status update on how I am doing. I’m tired. Like bone weary exhaustion. I actually slept for 9 hours last night and woke up just wanting more sleep. I’m pretty sure this is because I am working my body super hard and not giving it enough food to rebuild itself. Your body works much more effectively at rebuilding when you are asleep so if I’m not giving it food, it wants more sleep. Fair trade, but I don’t have time to sleep more!!!

Sleep is oh so important to losing weight because…

  • as I mentioned above, your body is much better at rebuilding when you sleep.
  • It also reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) and too much cortisol causes your body to hold on to fat deposits because in times of stress you might need that fat! Evolution hasn’t caught up to the fact that my stress is from sitting at a desk all day, not because winter is coming (which I can’t say without feeling like a Stark!).
  • Not getting enough sleep decreases you insulin sensitivity too which means your body will release more insulin and insulin causes fat storage.
  • Not sleeping enough also decreases your overall feelings of energy and when you are in a slump you crave sugary things that will give you a quick boost to your energy… and then crash again… wash, rinse, repeat, gain weight!

This is not a comprehensive list and really only covers the weight side-effects of not getting enough sleep, but clearly sleep is a much overlooked factor in weight-loss and health.

Secondly, my legs are sore… all the time. I am not training my legs specifically any more than I normally would which is 1-2 times per week. What I am doing is a lot of tight squeezes on the stair master (which works legs), a lot of total body conditioning like burpees, squat jumps, cross-body cable pulls, and kettlebell swings (which work the legs), a lot of HIIT involving rowing, hills and biking on high resistance (which work the legs) and not taking rest days!

So when I do a leg day specifically, I am in pain, I then do all these other things and never give my legs a chance to fully recover and then do it all again. This makes even doing the elliptical (which let’s face it, is the easiest cardio ever) really hard. I am not so sore that I can’t walk, it’s more the kind of soreness where you are “aware” of your legs. I am walking and I know that each step requires my quads, hamstrings and butt. No normal. I would normally say ok, my body needs a break, but noooo I’m a crazy person and entered a vanity contest so I am dragging my tired legs through workouts every day this week!

Lastly, I’m foggy. My brain is not running quite at full capacity. I notice words don’t come quite as easily as they normally do. This is incredibly upsetting to me because I have a great affection for using exactly the right word in the right situation. Words like doppelganger, sesquipedalian, and assuage have been known to grace my sentences with responding eye rolls of “what are you talking about?”. Instead I find myself halting in the middle of a sentence searching for a simple word, hoping the other person knows what I am trying to say. I even full on forgot a movie I had watched the night before. I clean forgot and could not remember until I went home that night and scanned through the movies until I remembered (it was men in black 3). I dislike this side effect of dieting!

So I’m tired, I’m sore, and my brain is foggy. BUT I am still enjoying my food, I am keeping on track with my workouts, I am looking leaner (but haven’t lost scale weight… go figure) and am extremely excited to step on stage.

So keeping that in mind, here are some workouts that I have done in the past couple of days and my plan for next week. All the workouts here are doable at any level. Just change the intensity, weight, or reps to what you can do.

Wednesday – Legs

WO Name: My legs are sore but I don’t care!

Warm up – 5 minutes of running

Leg workout

  • Superset: Goodmornings and wide stance squat with 80 lb barbell across shoulders – 12 reps each exercise, rest one minute, 4 sets.
  • Bulgarian Split Squats with no weight – 15 reps each leg, rest 1 minute, 4 sets
  • Superset: Narrow stance leg press and calf raises on leg press machine with 180 lbs – 12 reps each exercise, one minute rest, 4 sets
  • Lying down hamstring curl machine with 80 lbs – 12 reps, 1 minute rest, 4 sets

Cardio: 30 minutes elliptical machine

Abs:

  • Crunches on the swiss ball – 15 reps, 3 sets
  • Roman Chair leg lifts – 12 reps, 3 sets
  • Oblique v-ups – 12 reps each side, 3 sets

Stretch: 15 minutes full body

Thursday Morning: Full body/HIIT with Max

WO Name: The BAMF bike WO plus mirror muscles

HIIT: Set a bike at an easy level (I was at level 10) and pedal for 2-3 minutes to warm up or do whatever warm up you like. Then do 20 minutes of: 1 minute at low level (10), and 1 minute at high intensity (level 20 for me). During the high intensity minutes “saddle-up” which means stand and transfer your body back and forth across the seat to push the peddles.

*** I had 2 times where I took 2 minute low level breaks because as I have mentioned, my legs are super sore. Max had originally set this at level 11 and level 22 but after the first round we reduced it because I was way too sore for that level. With enough food and normal rest in me I would have been able to do the workout as designed, but you can only do your best!

Mirror Muscles: (Chest and abs) Load a bench press bar with a weight you can do for 15 reps without breaking form but is challenging. I used 75 lbs. Place a mat to do abs on beside the bench.

Performs the Bench Press and Jackknife sit-ups as a superset for 6 sets with countdown reps as follows: 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Rest for 1 minute in between sets and remember to keep good form throughout the whole thing.

Thursday night – Biceps and Cardio

WO Name: The gun show

Cardio: 45 minute incline walk alternating randomly between a 5% incline and 10% incline at 3.8-4.0 mph. (I would normally stay at a high inline and at 4.0 mph, but my hamstrings and butt could not take it)

Biceps (to finish off the stereotypical mirror muscles):

  • Suppinated DB bicep curls – 15 lbs dumbbells, 15 reps, 1 minute rest, 3 sets
  • Alternating hammer curls with hand near the body (to do this, hold the DB perpendicular to the ground and your arm at a 90 degree angle with your forearm near your stomach instead of at your side, them lift the weight close to your body up to your shoulder and follow the same path down) – 15 lbs dumbbells, 15 reps each arm, 1 minute rest, 3 sets
  • Weight plate pronated curls (hold a weight plate at 11 and 1 o’clock like a steering wheel and go through a full curl range of motion without discomfort) – 25 lbs weight plate, 12 reps, 1 minute rest, 3 sets

Stretch – 10 minutes

Now you are all caught up on what I have been doing and I will give you my plan for the next week:

Today/Friday:  60 minutes on the Stairmaster + Shoulders and abs

Saturday: Posing practice + 30 minute interval run + Back workout + lots of walking around (with the BF)

Sunday: 45 minute elliptical + Heavy leg workout (last leg workout before competition) (with the BF)

Monday: 60 minutes on the Stairmaster + Chest, triceps, shoulders and abs

Tuesday: Morning – Full body workout with Max, Evening – 45 minute elliptical + Back and Biceps

Wednesday: Depletion workout (full body high reps with 1 -2 sets for each muscle group) + 60 minutes on the Stairmaster

Thursday: (maybe) 45 minute of incline walking + hot yoga to sweat out some water

Friday: REST

Saturday: UFE Halloween Mayhem!

Since today’s post is all about the workouts, my next post will be all about the food in the upcoming week since, you know, 80% of how you look is diet 😉

What is fitness?

For my first actual topic related post I figured I should probably tell you what I’m talking about when I say fitness. There are so many different definitions out there, but when I talk about fitness I’m talking about the whole package. A better term might be overall health, but this seems to be more related to the lack of illness or ailments than of achieving anything. Fitness for me consists of the following things:

  • Being physically active and able to do the things I want to do with ease.
  • Having good nutrition that supplies me with the energy and nutrients to get through the day.
  • Maintaining a good body composition (body fat % is a good indicator of this, NOT the scale).
  • Getting enough sleep and rest to feel energized.
  • Balancing these things with the other important aspects of my life.

Another part of this that is a bit tangential to it all is the fitness competition that I am doing in October. The requirements of preparing for a fitness competition do not really fit this definition of fitness and balance. In order to compete you have to focus in completely on your goal and diet down to a weight that is not maintainable. So when I talk about what I am doing leading up to this competition, keep in mind that this is not my everyday life, though I am trying to make it as sustainable as possible.

Everyone has a different idea in their head about what fitness is. A lot of it has to do with what we want to look like, which seems to take priority and can often lead us down roads that are not healthy in order to look a certain way. My ideal body probably has a lot more muscle than what the average girl would want, so I am working on getting that body. I try not to let other people’s ideas of health and beauty impact me too much and neither should you! If you want to get fit and be healthy, then go after it.

You ARE worth it, so go after what you want.