Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Workout 120131: Cardio Progress

Today's workout:

Hip Warmup Stretch
30 min Arc Trainer workout (level 2)
3 min Treadmill Cooldown
Side-lying Hip Abduction (15 reps each leg)
Bridges (10 reps with 5 sec hold)
5 min stretch

The best part of today's workout was the 20 -25 min section of the workout.  I was feeling strong and hit my stride.  I was able to speed up on the Arc Trainer to over 100 strides per minute and DIDN'T DIE!  It was great.

Monday, January 30, 2012

PT: Day 4

With no gym Friday or this morning, I was in pretty bad shape heading to PT this afternoon.  These are the exercises:

Warmup Hip Stretches
Balance Board
Bosu Squats - 20 reps with 5 sec hold
Side Steps - 75 in each direction (for some reason I decided to count them today)
Cage Stretch
Wall Ball Abduction - 20 reps each leg
Leg Back Extension - 20 reps each leg
Side-lying Abduction on Swiss Ball - 10 reps
Modified Side Plank - 10 Reps.
Swiss Ball Bridges - 10 Reps with 5 sec hold

When I started the Bosu Squats, I got an uncomfortable pulling over the front of my knee cap.  It was something I hadn't experienced before.  I told my physical therapist and she rolled out my IT band (area on the side of each leg).  It didn't hurt as bad as the last time she did it, but it definitely wasn't comfortable either.  when she was done I went back to the Bosu Squats and the feeling was gone.  I'm a believer that these people know what they are talking about.

After continuing with my exercises, it became apparent that my right hip was MUCH more tired than my left one.  After the side steps the right hip was on fire and I spent the rest of the session ordering it to do things that it didn't want to do.  My left hip was fine.  It's so strange how that can happen.  I wonder if it has to do with the way that I sit or how I slept.

Now I am headed to bed.  My goal this week is to be in the gym 4 days.  Given that I didn't go today, that means I'm committed to every day until the end of the week.  I'm beat tonight, but lunch is made and the laundry has been changed.  Time to get my rest!

Friday, January 27, 2012

PT: Day 3

Yesterday afternoon was my 3rd PT appointment.  Thankfully, my back had recovered and I was able to do all that was asked of me and learn a few new exercises.

Thursday's Workout:

Warmup Hip Stretches
Balance Board
Side Steps - I moved up to a higher resistance band.
Wall Ball Abduction - 20 reps each leg
Bosu Squats - 20 reps
Cage Stretch
Leg Back Extension - 20 reps each leg

Swiss Ball Bridges - Lying on my back I put both feet up on an exercise ball.  Then I do a bridge.  With my feet still on on the ball. 10 Reps.  I want to work up to holding each of the reps for 10 secs.  Right now I'm holding them 1 sec.  Sometimes.

Modified Side Plank - Lie on one side with the lower knee bent and the upper leg straight, supporting the upper body on your elbow.  Lift hip off the table.  10 Reps.  Goal is to hold the left for 10 secs.  ha.

One legged Squat and Place - Stand on one foot facing a stool (about 9 inches tall) with 6 cones in your hand.  Squat and place each cone onto the stool without putting the other foot down or bending foward too much.  Then Squat to pick up with cones one at a time.  Repeat on other foot.

Side-lying Abduction on Swiss Ball - 10 reps - This went much better this time.  Less falling down.

I'm starting to ask for questions while I'm in PT.  I've learned that an exercise ball is actually called a Swiss Ball and recovering muscles is all about teaching your brain to isolate the right muscle (your stronger surrounding muscle compensate pretty well).  I also learned about closed chain versus open chain exercises yesterday.  With closed chain exercises, your hand and/or foot stay stationary and in contact with something while the rest of your body goes through the exercise motion.  It's a neat way to think about how you move and what you are doing.  Examples of closed chain exercises that I do are Modified Side Plank and the One Legged Squat and Place.  I know that the Side-lying Abduction on Swiss Ball is an open chain exercise because I asked.  I'm not sure about the Bosu Squats.  I'm going to have to ask when I go back in on Monday.

In the meantime, I'm glad this week is over.  I look forward to doing more next week.  My goal next week is 4 days in with gym, 3 with cardio and 1 with arm workout and PT exercises.  I have PT two days next week as well.  To support the energy I'm going to need to do all that, I'll be menu planning on Saturday since we are out of town Sunday.  A lot is going on, but I really feel like I'm making progress and that is a WONDERFUL feeling!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Workout 120125

Today's workout:

Hip Warmup Stretch
3 min Treadmill Warmup
25 min Arc Trainer workout (level 1 - heart rate between 140-155 bpm the whole time)
2 min Treadmill Cooldown
5 min stretch

Ow.  I'm thrilled that I worked out today.  I'm also a bit concerned about how my back is feeling.  I was a little uncomfortable doing my hip warmup stretches, but it didn't bother me again until I went to stretch out my legs.  I sat on the floor and almost cried.  I can't sit on the floor.  At all.  I can lay on the floor with discomfort to stretch, but I can't sit without tears springing to my eyes.  Grrr.  I'm not pleased.  I'm hoping this is a passing phase of the physical therapy.  Driving and sitting (two things I do A LOT) are only mildly uncomfortable, but doing my PT stretches is almost impossible.  A little Ibuprofen and a few prayers and hopefully I'll be well enough for PT tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Mission.

I need to lose 100 pounds.

The doctors have told me over and over again.  Lectured.  Berated.  Denied treatment.  My body screams from the soles of my feet to the top of my lungs.  My health history is full of red flags - high cholesterol, family history of diabetes and heart disease, overweight (or obese) since puberty, sedentary job, ex-smoker.  The extra weight I carry effects every part of my life.

I haven't lost 100 pounds.

Not for lack of trying.  I start, I lose, I regain, I give up.  Over and over and over.  Every single time.  Sometimes I don't even start before I give up.  The need is ever present.  Like the weight, it defines who I am.  If I let it, it will define who I will become.  I obsess over it.  What will I do next?  What is the right answer?  Is there even a point?  I get depressed.  I get embarassed.  I get overwhelmed.  I GIVE UP.

I want to lose 100 pounds.

I want to walk upstairs without losing my breath.  I want to roll around the floor with my kids without pain.  Enjoy new activities without requiring physical therapy.  Wear dresses comfortably with cute shoes.  Walk trails carrying my food for the day.  Go camping.  Run a 5K.  Wear the outfit I like so much on the model.  Know the cat call I just heard was not making fun of me.  Dance, dance, dance.  Have acrobatic relations with my husband.  Go skiing.  Go skating.  Inspire envy from another good looking woman. 

I will lose 100 pounds.

I will make a plan.  I will overcome the fear and anxiety I feel thinking about my body and my future.  I will celebrate my accomplishments.  I will learn from my failures and stop punishing myself for them.  I will stop fearing food.  I will show my daughters what a healthy, confident woman can do.  I will become a healthy, confident woman.

Recovery Workout.

This morning's workout included:

5 min warmup on stationary bike
Warmup Hip Stretches
Hip Abduction (2 sets of 10 each side)
Bridges (10 reps held for 10 sec each)
Leg Stretches with Strap
2 min extra leg stretching

If you can't tell this was not a normal workout morning for me.  I might no talk about it often, but every morning it is a struggle to get out the door of my house.  This morning was an exceptional struggle.  I have a child who wakes up between 4:30am and 5:30am each day.  I try to leave the house by 5:15am.  I usually fail at this because of aforementioned child.  This morning was an epic failure.  I came back inside to brush my teeth and get my bags while my car warmed up.  While in the bathroom I stepped in poop.  Enough said.

Last night I showed my husband the bruises on my legs from PT.  I'm not sure that I'm okay with having bruises or not.  I'm calling the physical therapist today to check on that.  Regardless, he pushed me to at least get my PT exercises in so that I wasn't completely off schedule.  I headed downstairs and did get that.  I'm glad I did and I'm incredibly thankful for such a supportive husband.

Hopefully tomorrow will 'workout' a little better.  Haha.  I'm funny.  :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

PT: Day 2

So I figure I'm counting my PT appointments as workouts so I may as well post about them.  If for no other reason I really don't want to forget all the exercises I'm learning.  The hardest part is that I don't know what to call a lot of the stuff I'm doing.  But I can describe them.

Today's Workout:

Warmup Hip Stretches - Stand facing a chair and put one foot in the chair.  Lunge forward with arms straight over head, twisting upper body towards the bent knee and leaning to the side with the bent knees with arms over head.  Do each modification 10 times.  Switch feet and repeat.

Side Steps - Attach ankle shackles with latex stretchy bands connecting them (different bands offer different levels of resistance - therapist picks out the one she wants me to use).  Side step for about 110 steps (length of the room) taking a big step out with one leg and a small step in with the other.  Repeat going the other way without turning around.

Bosu Squats - Balanced on a Bosu Ball (picture of one to the right) squat and hold for 5 seconds.  Repeat 10 times.  Try not to fall off the Bosu.

Wall Ball Abduction - Stand sideways next to a wall with an exercise ball between you and the wall.  lift the leg facing the wall sideways and hold 5 secs.  Do 15 times.  Repeat on the other side.

Leg Back Extension - This one requires a machine and exercises the gluts (butt muscle) when done right.  I'm still learning to do it right and would need a glut machine (or whatever it is called) to repeat it.

Balance Board - The balance board used in the office has a half cylinder attached to the bottom of it, limiting the directions you need to balance (I couldn't find a good picture).  Stand on the Balance Board for 2 minutes with feet parallel to the cylinder.  Then stand for another 2 minutes with feet perpendicular to the cylinder.

Cage Stretch - Standing in the cage to the left, place one foot in the crook below the directions.  Grab the bars above your head and hold for 30 seconds.  Grab the bars to your right and hold for 30 seconds.  Grab the bars to your left and hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat twice for each leg.

Side Lying Abduction on Ball - Balance on your side on an exercise ball (kind of like a side plank but on a big ball).  Lift the upper leg into the air 10 times.  Don't fall.  Repeat on the other side.

I was able to do all of these exercises to some extent except for the Hip Abduction on Ball.  Maybe I was just tired.  Or maybe I was doing it wrong, but I fell off the ball a bunch of times and definitely didn't get the movement from my hip that I was trying to achieve.  Also the Leg Back Extension is still a strugle for me.  if I don't concentrate I work the Quad instead of the Glut, rendering my leg sore and having to repeat it all again.  However, I'm learning the exercises and I've definitely progressed from the last time I was in PT (2.5 years ago for the same problem).

One additional device of torture is the roller.  A big part of my pain is from an inflamed and very tight IT Band.  The only way to make it better is to massage the very sore side of my legs and strengthen the surrounding muscles.  Can I just say OW.  That is all.

Making Yourself Move.

Today I didn't feel like it.  My kids were up at 4:30am.  My oatmeal had spoiled in the fridge.  My husband had knocked the little thing that sprays the windshield wiper fluid on my windshield (versus all over my engine) off while cleaning my car.  And I have PT this afternoon.  Saying I didn't feel like going to the gym this morning seems like the understatement of the year.

But I did.

My workout:

Hip Warmup Stretch
25 min Arc Trainer workout (level 1)
5 min stretch

Today I decided to try the Arc Trainer.  Since I'm using the Elliptical in PT for warmups and I haven't had great luck with the ones in the gym so far, I figured it was a good option.  And I'm happy I did.  I don't know if it is because the machines are newer or if it is just the way they are made, but there is a lot less friction in the movement.  I don't feel as though I'm dragging my feet or the machine through the movement.  That was very pleasant.  And it left me to pay attention to how I felt and my heart rate/exertion level.

My sister said something this weekend while we were reflecting on our progress towards 5K completion.  She said that as long as you were getting in the intervals, your heart would get better as recovering after a strenuous push.  I had thought of the C25K intervals as training your muscles, but I hadn't actually considered that the heart is a muscle and you'd be training that as well.  When thought of that way, the Arc Trainer really did work out perfectly for my interval training.  I would push until my heart rate started to spike (I put that arbitrarily anywhere above 155 bpm) and then I would settle down and let it recover (less than 140 bpm).

I'm no doctor and I haven't done enough research to know that these are the correct or optimal numbers, but they worked for me today.  I felt good getting off the machine and I'm still feeling good now (albeit still more grumpy than those around me would prefer).

Also, a note for history.  I didn't get my workouts recorded at the end of last week.  Thursday was my first PT visit which I will try to write about tonight after my second PT visit.  Friday morning I tried a different type of elliptical and gave up on that machine after about 20 minutes.  Pressure, or maybe tension, was building up in my calves and ankles and becoming uncomfortable.  I switched to the recumbent bike for the last 10 minutes.  I was surprised to find that I could still get my heart rate up just working my legs.  I'm glad that I didn't give up, but I really wasn't happy with how I was feeling after that workout.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Trying too hard?

Wednesday morning is brought to you by:

Warmup Hip Stretch
30 min on the Elliptical - Interval workout
Alternate 2 min 1 resistance 4 slope; 2 min 8 resistance 10 slope
5 min cooldown
2 sets of 15 on each leg Strengthening Hip Abduction
1 set 10 Bridges(5 sec hold)
5 min Leg Stretches

I finished my workout, but I'm not feeling great today.  I'm a little concerned that I'm over doing it.  The Elliptical feels easier if I go faster (ave 100 strides per minute), but at the rate I'm going my heart rate gets over 170 bpm for sustained periods of time.  That might not be a good thing.  It's good to know that I can push myself, but I don't want to over do it.  I'm going to have to think on this.

Additionally there was no yoga strap available in the workout area for me to do the Leg stretches with the strap.  I'm going to Target after work today to pick one up.  I'm also looking forward to talking with the physical therapist tomorrow.  I don't like how my knee feels when I use the strap for my stretches.  I suspect I'm doing it wrong, but that's what she's there for - to get me doing it right.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Biggest Loser Workout.

Tonight I'm watching the Biggest Loser and getting in a set of my PT exercises while I'm at it.

5 min bike warmup
10 bridges (hold each for 10 sec)
2 sets 15 reps each leg Hip Abduction
Warmup Hip Stretch
Leg stretches

I love watching this show, but I definitely don't think I want to by yelled at by Bob Harper.  I'm not sure if that is a positive way to think or not.  If I'm serious about getting in shape, should I want him push me through a workout?  Could I do everything he told me to do?  Watching the show he asks contestants to do more than they ever thought they could.  And they do it.  Does he ask more than they could really give?  Or does he just know when there is some place they haven't tapped?

Deep thoughts for a Tuesday evening.  Thankfully tomorrow's lunches are made, my gym bag is packed and the laundry has been swapped and folded.  Fit life - fit body?  Who knows.

I'm going to enjoy my show now.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday accomplished.

Today is a holiday for many but not for me.  My morning workout:

Warmup Hip Stretch
30 min on the Elliptical - Interval workout
Alternate 2 min 1 resistance 4 slope; 2 min 7 resistance 8 slope
5 min cooldown
2 sets of 10 on each leg Strengthening Hip Abduction
1 set 10 Bridges
Cooldown Leg Stretches with Strap
5 min stretch

This all takes about 50 minutes right now.  I'm assuming it isn't going to get much shorter.  In fact, it will probably get longer as my endurance goes up on the elliptical machine and the physical therapist adds more at home exercises to my list of things to do.  During this workout I really pushed it during the high slope/resistance minutes and attempted to let my body recover a little during the lower slope/resistance minutes.  Over all I maintained the 100+ strides per minute during the 30 minutes that I decided to aim for.  Holding onto the machine for support was actually needed more when I was going slower.  I'd love to keep up the intensity the whole time, but my heart doesn't quite seem ready for that yet.

I'm still sad to not be doing the Couch to 5K program anymore, but I'm proud of myself for being an adult and getting back into PT to get this problem taken care of.  There's nothing showy about PT or working out for weight loss.  I guess there will be something showy (skinny me) when I succeed, but in the meantime I'm feeling like I'm trudging a bit.  I want to come up with a new goal, but I'm not sure what to focus on.  The number of workouts per week?  The strides per minute?  Pounds lost?  None of these are exciting me.

For now, I still have a 5K to complete without dying on February 11th.  I'm going to keep that as my goal and try not to be so hard on myself for not running it.  Even walking 3+ miles with my leg issues is an accomplishment to be proud of.  Time to quiet my inner overachiever and revel in my success.  Plus it buys me time to come up with my next goal.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Evening Routine.

5 min bike warmup
10 bridges
2 sets 10 reps each leg Hip Abduction
Leg stretches

I don't yet have a strap that works for doing my leg stretches at home. I'll be fixing that during my lunch hour tomorrow. All in all a good solid start to this new phase of my exercise adventure.

Starting again.

In some ways I feel like I'm starting all over again.  In others, I know I've made progress.  But first, today's workout:

Warmup Hip Stretch
24 min on the Elliptical - Interval workout
2 min 0 resistance 4 slope*
2 min 8 resistance 8 slope*
*Repeat 6 times
5 min cooldown
2 sets of 10 on each leg Strengthening Hip Abduction
Cooldown Leg Stretches with Strap
5 min stretch

I maintained an average of 100 strides per minute the whole time I was on the elliptical.  I'm shocked that I was able to do that.  That is where I know I've made progress.  It's exciting and surprising.  I have been on the elliptical in a few weeks so the progress kind of snuck up on me.  For that I am extremely thankful today.

Out of my prescribed PT exercises, I forgot to do the Bridges.  I knew I was missing something, but the paper was in the car.  gack.  I didn't do the Hip Stretch or the Leg Stretches with Strap exactly right, but I have since figured out what I was doing wrong.  With the Hip Stretch, the hips are making the same motion (forward lunge with the forward foot up on a chair) but the upper body changes the stretch by lifting arms up in front, leaning to the side or twisting to the side.  I think getting that stretch right will just take time.  The leg stretch is going to take a little more work.  My legs just aren't flexible.  Specifically in one stretch, with my leg out straight, and me lying on my back, I pull the leg across my body.  My leg didn't want to go that way this morning.  It'll take a bit more work.

And after my workout I cried in the shower.

A few days ago I registered for my first 5K and was planning how to complete it.  I would do jog/walk intervals.  I brought a cute red skirt to wear over my winter running pants.  I was excited.  I'm still a little excited, but it has definitely been dulled by the last 3 days of appointments.  No more planning needed.  I will be walking my 5K.  My knees are going to hurt as we work them even harder to figure out what is needed to get through this issue in my hips.  I have to massage my IT Band to attempt to loosen it up.  That is more pain.  Self-inflicted pain.

The ups and downs are getting to me a bit.  I'm resolved to continue.  I've already worked out more regularly than I ever have before IN MY LIFE.  Huge accomplishment!  Everyday I continue is one more day of rewriting my life.  But today is a down day and I've got to respect that as well.  Everyone has them and I guess mine is earned with all the change going on right now.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Anti-climatic Verdict.

On the upside, there is nothing structurally wrong with my knee.  X-Rays show it to be a healthy with good even spacing and no cartilage issues.  All the parts in good shape.  The physical exam uncovered a few sensitive spots around the knee cap.  The bursitis, treated with steroids and physical therapy two years ago, hasn't gone away at all, though I am experiencing significantly less pain than the last time I had my knees checked.  I'll take that as progress.

Now for the downside, nothing is broken, torn or obvious.  Sounds like an upside right?  No surgery.  No braces.  No steroids.  I see this as a VERY GOOD thing, but it means there is nothing to "fix".  I have physical therapy twice a week now to see if I can learn how to improve the functioning of my knee and get rid of the pain after workouts.  I also am to lay off the running for a bit.  I'm still doing my 5K in February (more about that later), but the interval training in prep for it will be completed on the elliptical.

If you've never been to physical therapy, you might not understand my glass is half empty approach to having a structurally sound knee.  PT is HARD.  The last time I was there I spent 3 months challenging myself and learning all the exercises I needed to incorporate into my life to get me better.  They are hard exercises.  There's a lot of them.  They SUCK.  And it hurts.  Whatever problem you go in there with you directly address.   That means a sore knee is going to get more sore.  Gotta get worse before it gets better, right?

I'm being overly negative.  I know it.  I accept it.  I just don't want to do PT.  But I don't want to hurt myself more either.  I started exercising in a vacuum 6 years ago and I hurt myself repetitively.  I pushed until it was just too much and then I gave up.  In pain.  Frustrated.  Depressed.  Now I have to work hard to over come that past.  I will.  Like it or not, I'm going to get better and then it will be worth it.  I hope.

Monday, January 9, 2012

C25K: Hot Mess Success?

Today's workout:

5min warmup
3min 3.7mph Jog
90sec 3.0 mph Walk
5min 3.6mph Jog
2.5min 3.0mph Walk
3min 3.7mph Jog
90sec 3.0mph Walk
5min 3.6mph Jog
5.5min cool down
5min stretch

You may have noticed that there was never a reboot of workout 3 from week 3.  I fully intended to run on Saturday, taking my workout stuff with me to Atlantic City.  The lesson I learned was that not all hotels are well-rounded.  Ones with casinos in them might be even less well-rounded that normal.  After dinner my husband and I went looking for the workout room.  It costs $15 per day to use.  But I really wanted to complete Week 3.  So we walked for 30 minutes.  And never found it.  Two casinos, an adults only pool (I don't want to think about it) and a day spa, but no fitness room.

So I surrendered.  I followed me surrender with a small prayer that I would get up and on the treadmill on Monday morning with week 4 workout 1 in front of me and not DIE.  And you know what?

I didn't die.

I'm starting to think my body knows something that I don't.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Resolution of Sorts.

I've tried to exercise for weight loss before.  I've also tried dieting for weight loss.  I've tried combining the two.  I've tried cardio workouts.  Strength training.  Yoga.  Meeting with a personal trainer weekly.  Meeting with a personal trainer twice a week.  I once was a vegetarian.  The Atkins diet was tried.  South Beach was only considered.  The Mediterranean Diet.  Eating only organic foods.  Eliminating potatoes.  Drinking only water.  Weight Watchers.  Spark People.

I'm tired.  I'm tired of trying the next new thing or the old thing that every one else swears worked for them.  I sick and tired of seeing marginal results, feeling like crap and giving up.  Again.

I want this year to be different.  And every year to follow this year to continue the trend.  I want to be healthy and happy and feel good about myself and the HONEST EFFORT I put in.  I want to see results.  I absolutely want to lose weight.  However, more than anything else, I want to FEEL GOOD about myself.

Since I began working out in September, I've weighed myself a few times.  I can't say I was encouraged by the numbers, but I refused to take note of them.  I was starting out on a journey and they were not going to be the focus.  To support my ignorance of them, I resolved to begin taking note in the new year.  After my first workout at the start of each month, I will take note of the number on the scale.  I need to know what it is as it is the number I am most judged by in the health community.  Given the holidays and my wacky visiting virus, I didn't get around to weighing myself until today.

January is brought to you by the number 240.0.

I'm not sure what that number says yet.  I'm not sure how I feel about it.  But I said I would take note.  And I have.  Here's to resolutions and finding out where they will take you.

C25K: Week 3 Reboot Parts 1 & 2


5min warmup
90sec 3.6mph Jog*
90sec 3.0mph Walk*
3min 3.6mph Jog*
3min 3.0mph Walk*
*Repeat 2 times
5min cooldown
5min stretching

Tuesday & Wednesday: Workout aborted!  Virus took hold of my body and I was to busy fighting that to even CONSIDER working out.


5min warmup
90sec 3.7mph Jog**
90sec 3.0mph Walk**
3min 3.6mph Jog**
3min 3.0mph Walk**
**Repeat 2 times
5min cooldown
5min stretching

My plan of attack for the rest of this week is to keep resting plenty to get my strength back from aforementioned virus and complete my week 3 workout 3 on Saturday morning.  That will leave me a full day of rest before beginning week 4 on Monday!

I can't believe I'm excited to be moving on to more running.  It is really really strange, but I like that I'm working hard at something and seeing results.  That's the way it is supposed to work.  But it never feels like it does.  This feels good and right and what a great way to start out the new year!

Falling ill with the virus from hell on Monday and not emerging from bed until required by paycheck to do so on Wednesday, I rescheduled by orthopedist appointment for next week.  I'm still looking forward to finding out what is up with my knee, but in the meantime I'm feeling pretty well with all the additional rest I've been giving it.  That and the lack of sugar my diet has suddenly experienced after I threw out most of our Christmas cookies - i.e. little sugary delights of evil.  If you are wondering I'm blaming them for caving into the virus that wiped me out.