Saturday, January 29, 2011

Les Mills Classes vs. Cardio Equipment

By this point in time, I have successfully attended 3 Les Mills classes--the first was Body Flow, and then 2 Body Combat Classes. I don't want to hate on those people that regularly attend Body Flow and are into all that yoga stuff, but I was not a fan! If my goal was to increase my flexibility, then yeah, it might be good but I just don't buy into it. I like my cardio machines--I'm hardcore about getting on at least 2 cardio machines when time allows. Contorting myself into different "warrior" positions just isn't cutting it. First of all, NO ONE IN THIS ROOM IS A WARRIOR where do they come up with these names/poses? Secondly, how on earth is anyone breaking a sweat and huffing and puffing by the end?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to hate on yoga in all forms (and not to mention Body Flow is a mix of yoga, pilates, and tai chi), but that class is not going to help me get anywhere. In fact, in order to prove that I'm not a yoga hater, I should mention that: a. I have an AWESOME friend, who is now a certified Bikram yoga instructor, and b. I have attended 2 Bikram classes and loved it (but I love the gym more, shhhh don't tell her)!

Badass, right? (And yay, I learned how to include pictures! Now how about captions??)

For as much as I disliked Body Flow, I have to admit that I love Body Combat! This too incorporates some weird "samurai" movements, but in all, I like the punches, jabs, uppercuts and hooks that it entails. That's not to say that I'm good at it far from it actually, but it's fun! It's more of the intensive cardio workout that I enjoy, minus the machines. I still have a ways to go before I become coordinated enough to not make a fool of myself (yay for the back of the room!), but for now it is what it is.

Think something like this, but me in the back row, a lot less coordinated :)

Although I do not have measurements or self-photos, I can definitely tell I've been making progress. Although this came as both a pleasant and unpleasant shock to me. For the past 2 months, there has been a shirt sitting in my closet from LOFT with the tags still on it. I was 4 days past the return date, but decided to keep it anyway because it was cuter than I remembered. I decided I was going to wear it last night, pulled the tags off, and put it on...only to find out that MY SHOULDERS ARE TOO BIG FOR THE DARN THING!!!! Talk about disappointment a reality check! I don't think I realized just how much muscle I would be building and how much it would affect my appearance. That's not to say that I'm not glad I am where I'm at--I still have 6 months to go and am obviously making improvements (a huge plus), but is it too much to ask to still fit into extra-small shirts at LOFT?? Sigh, the things I do for personal achievement. And the shirt is going to the consignment shop!

This weekend has been a little bit of an off weekend as I'm finding myself with less time than I had intended, but tomorrow I will be at Gold's full force! It's Mega Launch weekend at Gold's for the new round of Les Mills classes, but it surprisingly hasn't been too crowded. I'm interested to see what I improve on even a week from now!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Balancing Act of Sorts

Today marks the end of the first (partial) week of classes of my last semester of college and an even longer weekend. I can already tell it's going to be a daunting load. Luckily I think I will manage though. However, this is my list of responsibilities/priorities (not in order): class, training, my internship at the NewsPlex, work at LOFT, the puppy, my sorority (still debating this), and work at Ruby Tuesday (an even bigger debate). As you can see I have a lot on my plate; the bolded ones reflect the most important activities right now. All this AND try to maintain a vague representation of a social life.

So far so good though! I've had 3 days of classes and I've managed to keep on schedule with my workouts and bring healthy snacks to eat throughout the day! These usually consist of the following: a protein shake (got my new Muscle Milk powders in the mail the other day), a pack of mixed nuts (Planters NUTrition because of the lower sodium), and sometimes string cheese. However, I have noticed that I've been slacking on my written nutrition/workout journal. It's a bit harder to keep up with it amidst everything else going on (homework, work, etc).

I do have to admit, this weekend was tough. It started out going well, until Friday night hit. Up until this point, I have only had 2, maybe 3 drinks in one sitting (usually several hours). Well, let's just say I got caught up in the festivities of the night and a) lost track of how much I was drinking, causing b) a massive hangover lasting all the following day. Luckily, I did manage to get in a workout every day this weekend, but once again, nutrition got pushed to the wayside. Today I managed to get back on track by cooking healthy food for the week (or however long it lasts). Ground turkey, black beans, asparagus, and brown rice--all DELICIOUSLY healthy! Now I just have to keep at it!

Anyway, just wanted to post since it's been a few days. I've been going up in weights slowly! Yet, at the same time, I still feel weak. I have noticed my shoulders getting more definition (in my opinion). Hopefully soon I can get some pictures up here (eye candy if you will...NOT)! Night!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Save the Date!!

Guess what folks! I found my show! FINALLY! I will be participating in the 18th Annual Potomac Cup Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness Figure Championships on July 23 in Woodbridge, VA. Mark your calendars! I've already cicled the date on mine (duh!). A big thank you to Kaylie for helping me decide (and good luck in your training, girl)!

Today has been a bit of an off day, though I managed to sneak in some quality cardio before setting off for Virginia Beach til tomorrow yay optometrist appoinments. One of the things I'd been dying to do though was go to the outlets in Williamsburg. Since Christmas, I have been checking out workout gear online--I desperately need want more. Although, in my defense, I have been doing massive amounts of laundry lately. Aside from the past few days, I have been in the habit of hitting up Gold's twice a day--once in the morning for cardio, then once at night for lifting and stretching. Let me tell you something, it adds up! In a five day period, I think I went through about 15 pairs of socks alone! 15! So I did what any normal person would do--bought more. I'll just think of it as my ecologically conscious self saving water by having to do laundry less frequently (don't disagree--my arguement isn't strong).

Lucky for me, when I got to the outlets, they were having some MAJOR sales! I just showed my mom all my loot, and even though I spent way more than I should have a pretty penny, I averaged about $10-$15 per item. I cannot stand working out in cotton, so of course I hit up Under Armour. Nike = meh. New Balance was pretty fun to shop in. Easiest shopping trip ever. Although I realize I may have a problem--when I finished getting checked out at the register, the sales associate goes,"This may be a dumb question, with all you've purchased, but is there anything else you may need today?" Okay, okay, I didn't buy THAT much only 22 items total.

Can't wait to get back to Cville tomorrow afternoon and get some use out of them! I do believe tomorrow is bis and tris, yes! Now the only thing I need is cross-training shoes--running shoes aren't cutting it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


95% is how I can describe my back at this moment. It's feeling a lot better than a few days ago, but I'm not quite 100% yet. In fact, last night I went to bed with a Thermacare back patch on (SO warm on a cold winter's night). Yesterday, however, was my off day. I did not intend for it to be that way, but I just never made it to the gym, as plans kept creeping up on me: haircut, shopping for my internship wardrobe (luckily I didn't break the bank!), doggy play date, dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, and catching up with a friend. I am the slightest bit disappointed in myself for this reason but I didn't want to mess up my hair!, and to top it off, dinner was at a mexican restaurant. I tried to be healthy, but I can't say that I actually know the nutritional content of the "Fiesta Taco Salad with Grilled Chicken" that I ordered. Granted I didn't eat the sour cream or the deep-fried taco shell. I do have to admit to indulging in a few chips though, dang it!

Okay, so shying away from the food aspect... I woke up this morning earlier than expected and was all gung-ho about taking a class at Gold's this morning. I looked up the class times and everything and walked into the gym toting my yoga mat. After a quick warmup on the elliptical (quick = 30 min), I realized I didn't see anyone going into the GGX room with mats. That's when it occurred to me I had been looking at classes for FRIDAY accidentally. Somehow due to my laziness, sitting on the couch the past 2 days because of the combination of not having to work and relaxing to help my back, my mind missed a day and thought today was Friday. Needless to say, I was more than a little frustrated that I miscalculated and was unable to take the class right when I was finally courageous enough to struggle along in the back of the room participate in BodyFlow. At this point, my mind had checked out of its cardio mindset, so I wasn't about to hop on the stairs like I would normally do. Instead, I did a few minutes of stretching and some abs. Kevin was out of town yesterday and today, which may have something to do with my lack of motivation (though I'm sure he would say 30 minutes of cardio is enough since that's not my priority).

On a bright note: Kevin asked me the other day if I had started to notice any clothing fitting differently. My first reaction-- "You have to be kidding me, I'm about a week in and he already thinks I should be seeing results in my clothing?? Get real!" But now, I can honestly say that I do notice at least somewhat of a difference, especially in pants. And I feel more confident lounging around in a sports bra. Good thing it's the dead of winter, because no one would want to see Pale Liz running around in a sports bra and shorts--I don't know how some girls do it even at the gym! Cover up, its FREEZING! Don't get me wrong, I only wear a tad more than sports bra and shorts (I can't do the whole workout pant thing--too hot!), usually wearing just an additional UA tee or a tank. But when I walk into the gym, it is far from hot in there even with the more-than-usual, soon-gonna-fail new years resolutioners giving off more body heat. To each their own!

Luckily, I think Kevin is coming back tomorrow, because I'm SURE I need a good butt-kicking! I probably shouldn't say that because he's going to think it's time to do legs when it's actually bis and tris...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Back!

Hi all, my laptop if finally fixed (what a relief!) so I'm back to keep you posted on my progress! It's been a busy week, full of workouts, work, more work, and more workouts. And of course playing with the pup (including a few extra walks to the rotunda). So it's been a week and a half since I first started cracking down and working more on both my nutrition and my training. I must say, so far so good! I feel great! I wish I could say I feel great, but I know both where I am and where I need to be, and I have a long ways to go.

Lately, my work schedule has left me doing cardio in the morning then coming back for training around 9pm. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the late workouts, but I feel like it leaves me and Kevin in a time crunch to get through our workouts and there have been a couple of times where we've had to double up, so its both me and another of Kevin's clients working out at the same time. I don't mind sharing time because Kevin has been very supportive and it gets me more contacts at the gym, but there are times when I just feel so much weaker than his other clients. For instance, last week me and another client both worked on chest, and for each set, she was using 10 more pounds than I am. Granted, she works shoeing horses for a living, but it doesn't do much for my confidence. It does, however, boost my motivation and get me to work harder.

Then last night, we worked on back with another client, Megan, and I do have to say I felt more on the same level with her. We used the same amount of weight (I'd say she's probably a little stronger than me in terms of free weights), and it felt good. I've realized that I love pull-ups I don't mind pull-ups and actually enjoy the negatives lately (I am able to hold myself up longer/I have more control as I bring myself down from the bar). Unfortunately, my hands do NOT like pull-ups or negatives; even with chalk, my poor hands are left callused and red. Oh the prices I pay...

But all in all, things are getting a lot better, and easier(?). I've decided to copy Celia keep not only a nutrition journal, but a fitness journal as well to track my progress, since I'm sure you don't want to know all the little details. It's worked out really well so far! I have noticed (especially after two doubles at work this weekend leaving me with little time to eat an actual meal), that I need to make sure I get good sources of protein. Lately I've been resorting to nuts--I went to Sam's Club Sunday and bought 3 things: nuts, nuts, and protein bars--but as Kevin mentioned, I need some other sources of protein. String cheese was one easy suggestion, so I obliged and bought a pack. I've been doing well at eating more small meals a day, but I still don't think I'm eating enough. Or maybe I was just so used to eating out more often and eating crap whatever the hell I wanted, so now that I'm more aware of what I consume, I'm losing weight faster. Who knows?

As you know, I've been debating the whole drinking issue for a couple weeks now. Well, I think I've made my decision--I will allow myself to drink one day a week, but in COMPLETE moderation. For those of you who have been brave enough had the opportunity to witness me when I go out, you would never think I knew the definition of the word "moderation." Good news--I found a dictionary! No, but really, moderation is key right now. Celia was nice enough to watch the Wildcard games with me on Sunday, and it was kind of interesting for me. I started off CRAVING a blood mary, so I amused myself by ordering one. I felt okay, and granted we were eating too. But I could slowly see it going downhill when I ate the fries that came with my meal, which I told myself I would not touch. Bad news bears. Although, looking back on it, I guess it's not SO terrible, especially since I didn't have dinner. Then, seeing as we were staying out for both the Sunday games, I told myself I would order another drink when the second game started (read this right: 1st drink at beginning of 1st game, 2nd drink at beginning of 2nd game). 2 drinks in about 4 hours--okay, I can deal with that. But I did start feeling uneasy after the second drink (maybe due to lack of alcohol for the previous 8 days??)... When I got home, I was stuck with a large feeling of guilt, but now I can't quite say that it was all that bad ordering TWO drinks in FOUR hours. However, I know it's not going to always be this easy to limit myself especially during spring break aka Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I WILL stick it out though!!

Once again, Kevin has been telling me too cool it down some on cardio. I'm not doing nearly as much as I used to--maybe an hour max these days, a little more if I'm not weight training--and I don't feel guilty about it. We've talked about interval training instead of endurance training, and lucky for both of us, I had already started to make that transition. There's one very nice older man at the gym, Walt, and right now I'm dying for the opportunity to workout with him one day. A few weeks back we got to talking and he mentioned a great interval plan he has using the bikes; I'm not usually big on the bikes, but he assured me that it really kicks your ass gets your blood flowing. So both that and finally trying some sort of GGX class are on my list of things to do. Kevin really wants me to take Body Flow, a mix of yoga, pilates, and tai chi, so I can focus more on stretching than cardio on my off days. Eventually I will get to that when my schedule (and motivation) permits.

I'm actually a little nervous about the next few days. As I mentioned, last night we worked on back. I was already feeling a little weak last night during dead lifts and bent over rows, but on top of that, I may have taken a nasty spill last night. I had just gotten home and went outside to let out the pup; unfortunately for me, the stairs were icy with the LACK of snow we got, and I slipped as soon as I stepped foot on the top stair. Both me and the pup went tumbling down the stairs (though he was fine and I managed to find my butt landing on the sidewalk). My back immediately started to feel tense, even as I got in bed to sleep. Today, it's still a little tense, but I can't quite differentiate if it's tense or sore. I don't think my back felt like this immediately after the workout, so I assume its just a little bruised from falling. I'm definitely going to take note of this more over the next few days. Luckily, I don't have time to weight train tonight, so the break may help me figure out the source of the tension. I don't think it's anything serious, but at the same time, I don't want to do anything to further aggravate it. Thank goodness we have things like Tylenol and Advil nowadays.

Well, this post has touched on a lot (and left out a lot) since my last post, but thanks for sticking with me. I'm hoping a good night's rest eases my back, and hopefully tomorrow I will FINALLY be brave enough to try out a class at Gold's!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Catch ya in a few days!

Just so you all are aware, no I'm not bailing on my blog this early! But my macbook is in the shop for around a week, and there's only so much I can do from my droid. So unless I decide to get on a computer at the library, I will fill you in with my progress in a few days. Expect a lot (hopefully)!

Good night (from my phone) and have a good week!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Nothing irritates me more at the gym than people who put their stuff down on a cardio machine and walk away for like 10 minutes while they get their crap together. Not cool. And yet, this is exactly what happened this morning. When I first got to Golds, there was a man on the StairMaster that I like to use--fair enough. So I hopped on the elliptical for about 45 minutes, but since the ellipticals are in front of the StairMasters, I kept having to look back to see if it was free. About 10 minutes til the end of my workout, I look back and it's not in use--yes! Then, when I'm just wiping down the machine I was on, a guy comes up and puts his crap on the StairMaster and walks away. 5 minutes later, he is still nowhere in sight, so I went on to the stretching area and kept my eye on the machine. Finally, 10 minutes later, the guy shows up. GREAT. I could have been halfway through my workout! Are you kidding me?

Not only is this annoying, but the fact that Gold's only has 3 (are you kidding me, only 3?!) StairMasters. All 3 are different models and so a workout on one is completely different from a workout on another, especially in terms of interval training. So absurd. And I think everyone knows (everyone that uses the StairMasters at least), that the one I use is the best of the ridiculously minute selection three. And yet there is an enhancement fee going through in a few days--I do hope they learn and buy more!! Note to self--when you see your favorite machine open up, no matter what you are in the middle of, GRAB IT and GRAB IT QUICK!

As for nutrition, things are going so well! Although, Kevin told me that I was going at things a bit backwards. Before I set out for the gym yesterday, I had a lunch of chicken and asparagus. While he mentioned that this is a good meal, it's not what I want for energy before a workout. As he said, I should think about it this way: The protein is for after a workout, carbs are okay for before. Think of a lion--after he goes on the hunt and catches his prey, he relaxes with the meat (the protein). So protein is for relaxing (or I guess kinda reenergizing after. Good to know. Now that I have the whole good, clean foods thing pretty controlled, I just need to work on getting in more smaller meals rather than the whole 3-meals-a-day thing.

Until next time!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2011! You know what that means--I kick-start my nutrition goals (bye bye alcohol, I'll miss you), and really get this training up and running. The good news is, I've been talking to Kevin about this a lot lately and he said I've given myself plenty of time to get prepared for this competition. So that means I have a little additional time to research what exactly my nutritional guidelines will be. In preparation for the major dietary changes, I've found myself cutting sodium wayyy back. Currently, I'm cooking about a week's worth of food--hello chicken & green vegetables!

Speaking of food, I went grocery shopping this morning, and it took me about twice as long to buy 15 items as it would have taken me to peruse the ENTIRE store on a normal grocery trip. There's this "theory" out there that in order to eat healthiest, you should buy most of your groceries from the perimeter of the store; so for the most part, that is what I did. However, I did find myself comparing nutritional information on mixed nuts for about 5-10 minutes (why is it so hard to find nuts with low sodium?!), and an additional 5-10 minutes comparing peanut butters (two jars for the new pup, one for me). I meant to spend about 15-20 minutes grocery shopping, but it turned into more of a half hour to 45 minute trip. I assume it will get easier. I was almost tempted to go to Whole Foods because they have so much healthy stuff, but I don't quite buy into the whole "organic = better" craze. I'll stick with my Kroger eggs and produce.

So now, 2 hours later, I have both gone grocery shopping, and cooked most of the food I bought. Quite productive for a Sunday morning--and it isn't even 11 yet! One thing that I'm not quite certain of is my coffee addiction. Is this bad for me during training? Does it matter this early on? Do I REALLY have to cut it out? I'd assume that adding anything INTO coffee daily is bad--I currently just add a little bit of half and half or Silk brand creamer--but what about the coffee itself? I know it's a natural diuretic (great, now I'm researching this), but I've also heard that it's almost the polar opposite of water. According to this site, coffee AND water are both listed as natural diuretics, and help aid in the removal of excess water. Isn't that what I need before the competition? Well maybe not the day of, or any time around then... Let's just say, during early mornings of work or classes, I'm not (very) functional without this liquid addiction.

All I have left to do before I kick-start the nutritional regimen is: a) Find one! and b) buy a TON of tupperware and a food scale. Yay for portions! Now, I can safely say that as of 12am January 1, 2011, I have cut most of my bad habits and am taking this whole thing VERY seriously. I still am debating the whole drinking thing (I feel guilty for debating it THIS early on); that is, do I want to completely cut it out, or do I want to just drink, in moderation, once a week or once every few weeks so as not to completely deprive myself. Thoughts?

For those of you that have commented to me about what I'm doing, thanks for all the encouragement even if you do secretly think I'm crazy. A special thanks to Melissa for the wonderful New Years card that I got in the mail--love ya! Next up today--cardio and training before an evening of work at Ruby Tuesday. Which reminds me, I'll most likely have an upcoming post about how HARD it is to work at a restaurant while doing all this!

Hope you all are enjoying the new year! Any exciting/interesting resolutions?