Magic Miles

This morning I woke up at 5:00am; I was wide awake, staring at the ceiling.  Don’t ask me how and don’t ask me why.  For the past week I’ve been setting my alarm for 6:00am to get some early exam studying in and I have slept through it everyday until 7:00am.  Now today, the day I do not set an alarm, my body decides to get up at 5:00.

After a half hour of staring at the ceiling, I finally decided to take control of the situation.  I hopped out of bed (the easiest time I’ve had doing that in months) and bundled up.  Layer upon layer, I dressed until I was ready to face the NEGATIVE 22 DEGREE CELSIUS temperatures outside.  Yes, you read that right, -22 degrees! And I decided to leave my cozy bed, before the sun had risen, to run in it.

Truth be told, making crazy choices like this regarding my fitness empowers me.  What other people see as psycho or impossible, I find strength in.  This morning I ended up running 8.5km in an hour.  A layer of 5cm thick snow covered the sidewalks as more fell from the sky.  It felt a lot like running on the beach in loose sand.  When I finished, I ran to the local Tim Hortons to enjoy my morning coffee.  My mum joined me just after 7:00am.  It was such a wonderful way to start the day.

Going forward, I felt so strong.  I was able to take control of my morning instead of frittering it away staring at the ceiling.  I was able to run outside in conditions that would make most people cringe.  

I write this blog post, besides enjoying the little bit of bragging about my accomplishment, to encourage you to allow yourself to make the choices that most people cringe away from.  Be willing to be that crazy person and do not limit yourself.  Because trust me, doing the crazy can feel so amazing.

Persistence Brings Progress

As the title suggests, today I experienced some improvement on my arm day exercises.  I was able to up my bench press!  This is particularly exciting news for me as it wasn’t too long ago (think beginning of this year) that I was unable to bench the bar (45 lbs).  Check out my routine below:

  • Warm Up: Erg 1000m 4:13 
  • Barbell Bench Press – 55 x 12, 60 x 12, 65 x 10
  • Cable Pressdown (Rope) – 20 x 8, 20 x 10, 20 x 8
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise – 3 sets 10 x 10
  • Cable Curl – 30 x 12, 35 x 12, 35 x 8
  • Pull-Up – 3 sets of 8 with 100lb assist
  • Tricep Dips – 3 sets of 12 with 100lb assist
  • Cool Down: 5 minute ARC Trainer and Stretching

I’m thinking that next time I do pull-ups and tricep dips I will drop the assist a little bit.  I’ve currently now done them with 100lb assists three times.  This does intimidate me a little bit as I’m only able to pull out 8 pull-ups at a time but I think that it’s more of a mental block than a physical one.  

I can definitely feel my arms now afterwards, especially my triceps.  I recovered with a Vega Vanilla protein shake with rice milk (the store was sold out of both almond milk and coconut milk, grrr) and had turkey on rice cakes with avocado for lunch shortly after.  I am happy to announce that I’ve already drank two litres of water today and am well on my way to make it to my daily goal of 3 litres! 

My legs are feeling fully recovered from yesterday’s hill repeats and I feel more than well enough to perform my slated 4k tempo run tonight.  Tomorrow I plan on doing leg/back day for my lunchtime workout.

Just before I end off this post, I want to bring to your attention that I do track my food using my fitness pal (www.myfitnesspal.com) and you’re more than welcome to add me; my username is: livefitlivefree.  Also, I tweet a whole bunch.  Check out what I’m saying @lvefitandfree

That’s all for now anyways, live fit

Leg Day Lovin’

Today was leg day and it just might be becoming my favourite day!  I was able to get new personal bests in my stiff leg deadlift, leg extension, and leg curl.  My routine included:

  • Smith Machine Squat – 95 x 12, 105 x 12, 115 x 12, 125 x 12
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift – 75 x 12, 85 x 12, 95 x 8
  • Leg Extension (machine) – 90 x 10 (twice), 70 x 12
  • Leg Curl (machine) – 80 x 10 (twice), 90 x 10
  • Barbell Standing Calf Raise – 45 x 20 (3 times)

This time I made sure to include a brief warmup and cool down to hopefully minimize DOMS later on.  I started with a 1000m erg that took 4:15 and ended with 5 minutes on the ARC trainer and a 5 minute stretch.  

Oh, and another one of my coworkers got a gym membership today to join in on the lunchtime workouts.  I guess the endorphins are contagious 🙂 Once again I recovered with a vanilla vega protein shake.  

My plan is to run hills tomorrow on my lunch break and then depending on how I’m feeling maybe hit up the gym after work for a little arm and ab session.  We shall see.  I will post more later! 

Need For Speed

Yesterday I managed to convince my sister to come run sprints with me.  After my progression 6k on Saturday, I still needed to make up the speed workout I missed the previous week.
My sister and I met up for a walk in the morning and after talk of how well HIIT workouts burn fat, I had her on board.  We ended up going to the waterfront path which runs relatively straight and flat and measured out 200m.  

Our workout consisted of 5 x 200m sprints with a 200m power walk in between (no rest).  It was good!  I knew I needed to fit in a speed workout this weekend and having someone join me on these workouts always helps me push that little bit extra at the end.

My sister kicked my butt in the first two, but after that my endurance training kicked into gear and for the last three I managed to knock out the same pace as my first.  We finished off with a 2km cool down run and a protein shake.  I’m hoping that incorporating sprints into my running schedule will help me come race day find that finishing kick.

My sister seemed to enjoy herself and I hope she’s willing to join me again for my next sprint workout.

Today is a rest from running but I did manage to fit in a 5k walk before work.  Today is leg day at the gym so we will see how that goes.  Hopefully I don’t have DOMS for 3 days after this time.

I’ll post my leg workout after lunch.

Mountain Trail Run

As I mentioned earlier, I was supposed to meet up with a couple friends tonight and go for a hike. Well, throughout the day a couple people bailed out and the hiking group ended up consisting of 4 other very active people: two gym-dwelling fitness guys, one tennis star, and another runner.  So long story short, our afternoon hike turned into a high-speed, high-intensity “trail” run.   I use trail for lack of a better word but most of the time we deviated off the trail and while keeping our eyes on the ground to ensure sure footing, maneuvered our way up and down the side of the mountain.

For the first half hour we hiked at a steady pace down the mountain and then for a good 45 minutes we ran at a decent pace (clocked 5:30/km on the flatter ground). The hike ended up lasting 1 hour 25 minutes and had us all panting by the end.  

This was an awesome way to hang out with friends and get a workout in.  One of the many reasons why I love summer is being able to be active in nature and this was the perfect afternoon.

If you have any sort of trail around your area I recommend taking a group of friends out for a hike, the energy from one another will fuel you up and down the hills faster than going alone.  Plus hiking with a group is always safer than by yourself; you just never know when an animal or rock will pose a threat.

Lifting My Fitness

I am now joining in on the numerous fitties that enjoy picking up things and putting them back down.  Yes, you read that right, I am now officially getting into lifting.  When I say officially I mean the big barbells, Smith Machine, and dumbbells that aren’t pink.  It’s exciting and intimidating all at the same time.

Last week my coworker and I decided that throughout the summer we should utilize the cheap campus gym membership (only $20/month) and workout on our lunch hours or after work.  So far it’s been a huge success.  We found a female beginner lifting plan from simplyshredded.com (http://www.simplyshredded.com/the-ultimate-female-training-guide.html) and made up a good schedule for our workouts.

Our first day was Wednesday and we started with upper body.  The workout included:

  • Bench Press – 45lb 3 sets of 12
  • Bent Over Row – 35lb 3 sets of 12
  • DB Shoulder Press – 15lb 3 sets of 12
  • Tricep Extensions – 17.5lb 3 sets of 12, 10, 12
  • Barbell Bicep Curl – 30lb 3 sets of 10
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl – 12.5lb 3 sets of 12

It took awhile on some activities to find the right weight to achieve 10-12 reps but overall it went well.  At the gym there are incredibly helpful staff that help with form and made sure we were performing the moves correctly.  I’m excited to see if the weights that I’m lifting will improve!

Thursday was a “rest” day but I still went to the gym for a quick lunch hour sweat.  It focussed on abs and I performed moves including planks, push-ups, v sit-ups, pike push-ups, assisted pull-ups, and assisted dips.

Friday was legs (risky considering I had a race on Sunday).  It included:

  • Barbell Squat (on the Smith Machine) – 95lb x 12, 115lb x 12 x 2 sets
  • Deadlifts – 75lb 3 sets of 12
  • Leg Extensions – 80lb 3 sets of 12
  • Leg Curl – 70 x 12, 80 x 12 x 2 sets
  • Standing Barbell Calf Raise – 35 lb 3 sets of 12
  • Lying Leg Raises – 3 x 15 each side
  • Weighted Crunch – 5kg 2 sets of 25
  • Plank – 30s side to 30s front to 30s side to 30s front no rest

Overall, it was a good start and relatively easy to get familiar with the gym equipment.  After each gym session I enjoyed a vanilla vega protein shake with almond milk.

Hope to start seeing some gains in the next month.

Yours in fitness.

Enough is ENOUGH!

Every year I struggle in March.  The weather is still cold, the days are still short, and to top it off I’m right at the start of term paper season with exams looming.  It’s not a good situation and every year it’s where I fall off the wagon.   This past March I went from being 144 to 155 by the time exams hit in April.  It was the sort of situation where I would find myself sitting down to write a paper with a new tub of ice cream and find myself polishing off said tub of ice cream as I typed my conclusion.  It’s a situation that becomes a large problem when you find yourself facing 6 papers in two weeks.  Not my proudest moments (but I did get honours for every paper I wrote if that counts for anything).

Now it’s May and I’m still carrying my 10 extra “ice cream” pounds and struggling in over half my workouts and disliking how I look in the mirror.  It’s time to ask myself honestly what’s going on!

After my latest weekend spent being disappointed with my reflection in the mirror, feeling useless in my fitness journey, and turning to ice cream for comfort (it’s a vicious cycle isn’t it?), I’ve finally had enough.  It’s time for me to realize that unless I fuel properly, workout efficiently, and give it time to work, I won’t break the cycle I’m stuck in.

First things first, it’s time for me to kick my sugar cravings out the door.  I’ve done some research, and usually I never turn to cleanses as they do not produce long term results, but simply for the purpose of eliminating my sweet cravings I am going to give one a try.  This (http://www.hungryforchange.tv/article/3-day-detox-plan) detox is considered a “mild” detox.  Although, anything that has me skipping my morning coffee I consider extreme.

I’m excited to finally have solidified my motivation and determination back again, I could feel it slowly creeping back with INSANITY and my new running schedule, but this puts the final piece in the puzzle.  Working out + good nutrition = results

Hopefully by the end of this weekend I will be able to blog about the amazing results this detox brought.  A positive is that my mum is on board with the cleanse too and I’m doing it over a weekend so hopefully my focus can be bang on.

But I must know before going into the cleanse that this is not the start and Sunday the end.  Once my cleanse ends I have to be willing to step up to the plate and ensure good nutrition all the time. No more of this staying on track until dinner time and then letting it all go.  It’s time for me to realize that this is a lifestyle and not some outfit I put on for the day; what you eat in private you wear in public!

I will keep you all updated on how this goes, as well as with my INSANITY and running, and I hope that in a month y’all can read my posts and be proud with me of my progress! Time will be the test! 

Stay tuned.

 

Sweat Baby Sweat

Last night my boyfriend and I met up to do my INSANITY workout.  I could tell after I got home from work that my motivation was waning and I needed to figure out something that would get me doing my INSANITY workout and get me doing it with high intensity.

Naturally I turned to my girlfriend skills and used my boyfriend’s competitive and fit nature to my advantage when I challenged him to try doing Pure Cardio with me.  He quickly agreed to trying it with me and just like that I had locked myself into doing my workout (plus it made for an extra date night this week).

We met up just before 9 o’clock at a local park, laptop charged and ready, to do the workout.  We found a well lit area suitable for our needs and started it up.  It was a wonderful night, just around twenty degrees Celsius, with a light breeze; a much better atmosphere than my dark and damp basement.  As well, doing the workout outside allowed for ample space to do the moves (long stretches to do suicides on, no ceiling to hit our heads when we jump, etc.).

I am not sure if it was the result of having an afternoon nap, running earlier that day, or just having a later workout time than usual, but I could tell that my speed was not as fast as it could have been.  This could just be me being overly-critical of myself, an issue I struggle with a lot, but it is worth noting.  Another anomaly of this workout was my water intake.  Normally I only drink ~500mL throughout my INSANITY workout (even when I did Pure Cardio), but this time I ended up finishing just about 900mL (also an interesting note as there’s only 3-4 official water breaks in the workout)!

All in all, I am very glad that I did the workout and happy that I could share the time with my boyfriend.  He’s really enjoyed INSANITY so far (he’s only done two workouts) and stated that he would much rather do an INSANITY workout than go for a run with me (something I have pressured him into doing at least a couple times a month).  I’m happy with that trade off as normally for my runs I do not need extra motivation but I have found that turning on the INSANITY DVD helps if I have added incentive.

Yours in fitness.

I’m an Insane Girlfriend

After my race on Saturday I was supposed to meet up with my boyfriend around 2 o’clock.  But, the bf had to work late and couldn’t make it until 4. Unfortunately, he didn’t let me know he was going to be late until after 2 o’clock passed.  Now here I had a decision to make… I could either be mad that he was late and didn’t keep me informed or I could decide to put that behind me and move on. I chose to do the latter option with a twist.

To my bf’s surprise, when he arrived at my house I was dressed head to toe in my workout gear and bouncing around getting prepped for a workout.  What did this mean for him? Well, I decided that instead of being upset that he was late, I would just make him do my INSANITY workout with me.  Surprisingly, he put up little rejection to the idea.  That’s the wonderful thing about having a fit and competitive boyfriend; you face him with a challenge and he will accept no matter how much he would rather not do it (remind me later to tell you of when he came to my advanced hot yoga class).  

Saturday’s workout called for Cardio Power & Resistance.  This was the perfect workout to throw at my bf as if he were to do Pure Cardio I’m sure all I would hear is that this is a workout for cardio bunnies.  Instead this workout had him doing push-ups (his favourite and my least favourite exercise), squats, jumps, planks, and all those wonderful strength building exercises.  By the time the warm-up finished he had a good sweat on and after circuit one he got the hang of how the workout is structured.  By the end we were both out of breath and yelling at one another to go faster or squat lower.

It was excellent working out with him there because it made me really concentrate on having perfect form as well as pushed me to go as hard as I could for the full duration of each activity. By the end I had my boyfriend onside with INSANITY and even agreeing to do more of the workouts with me in the future.  As of right now we have an INSANITY date set for next Saturday.  I’ll work him through the Plyometric workout next and maybe eventually down the line throw Pure Cardio at him, but as for now the INSANITY workouts with the most strength building are the ones he’ll enjoy the most.

All in all, it’s a good thing I have him as I’m not sure the majority of guys out there could deal with such an “insane” girlfriend

I’ve Found Where Insanity Gets Its Name From…

Oh. My. Goodness.

This morning’s workout called for Pure Cardio. Now if you’ve been reading along with my journey you would remember that I skipped the first Pure Cardio workout and substituted in a long run. So, this morning was my first time attempting this workout.

I now know the true meaning of an INSANITY workout. This workout is CRAZY! It’s not necessarily the moves that make it more difficult (although the jump from level 1, an activity that combines 4 push-ups with floor sprints, to level 2, same as level 1 but with 8 push-ups, was a lot harder), but the intensity and lack of breaks. Yeah, you heard me. Shaun T, once the warm-up is finished, gives NO time for a water break. It is constant HIIT moves for 22 or so minutes!

This workout had me sweating, panting, cursing, grunting, and occasionally screaming. I am happy to report that I made it through and only took two brief pauses in working out (for 20 or so seconds each). I will admit that when Shaun T called for the level 2 moves, I stuck with level 1. But hey, everyone has their weaknesses and one of mine happens to be push-ups.

I performed this workout in the morning before work. Once again I had no time waking up and the warm-up got rid of any groggy feelings. I did do this workout before I had breakfast, which means I was in a fasted state. I think it’s best to do these workouts on an empty stomach otherwise I’m sure I would have made a mess on the floor, if you know what I mean.

Overall, I’m happy that I’ve found the workouts to be intense. That’s what it’s all about right, train insane or remain the same. And as for results, I weighed-in and took my new measurements this morning! Check out my progress (yes, after only 1 week I have a change in my stats!!) on the “measurements” tab at the top of the page.If ya’ll have any questions, feel free to comment or email me through the “contact me” tab located alongside “measurements” at the top. That’s all for now!