Category Archives: Fitness

Countdown To Century: 8

As of this morning I have only EIGHT more pounds to BURN to reach 100 pounds lost!

223.0

This number is pretty exciting to me for a few reasons:

1. This is *definitely* the lowest weight I have seen on the scale as an adult!

2. My BMI is now 34.92 which puts me in the Obese Class 1 category instead of my previous Obese Class 3 (morbid obesity) and Obese Class 2 categories!  That’s pretty exciting!

3. I am only 38 pounds away from my initial goal weight of 185…and I am only 23.2 pounds away from being in one-derland!  I cannot believe I am that close in only eight and a half months!!!

I am sure Monday’s rigorous workout schedule helped tremendously!  I spent nearly FOUR hours working out at the gym between physical therapy, cardio, Denise, and power yoga.  It was insane!  By the time we were in the last 10 minutes of yoga I actually wondered if my arms would hold me up for 10 more minutes.  🙂

So, in light of Monday’s insanity, I took it pretty easy yesterday and spent only about an hour at the gym.  I do not want this body to strike against my efforts of weight loss, so I must treat her nicely.

GOAL TRACKER:
10 weeks; 2 days
23.2 pounds

How is your week coming along?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week thirty-six)

I must admit this was an unexpected kind of week…in the best possible way!  I had some schedule changes in relation to my workout, and I think that was a great thing.

Here is what my week looked like:

Sunday – R.I.P. workout, inchworms, leg work, core work

Monday – physical therapy and power yoga

Tuesday – 30 min. with Neil

Wednesday – self defense and TRX with Denise

Thursday – 30 min. with Neil

Friday – physical therapy and 40 min. with Neil

Physical therapy is a *big* change in the way I have been working my body – namely my legs.  Ever since this whole knee malfunction, I have not been squatting, lunging, jumping, or otherwise irritating this knee.  That also means; however, that I have not really worked them good enough to make them burn or be sore the next day.  Physical therapy; however, makes my legs *burn* like crazy and feel like limp noodles (which is lovely)!  I truly believe that this addition to my routine has helped this week’s weigh in tremendously!

Power yoga is another new addition this week, and it kicked my butt (as I mentioned previously).  Denise also experimented with me on Wednesday night with some TRX, which I am still slightly sore from in a couple places.  It was amazing (and brand new to my body).

All of these new things combined created one powerful week as far as my weigh in goes.  This is something I was not expecting:

224.4

That is another 4.2 pound loss from last week!  This is exciting for a couple reasons!  First, that brings me to 90.6 total pounds lost in 36 weeks!  Second, that means I am 9.4 pounds away from 100 pounds lost (century club)!  How exciting, right?!

So, I think I am going to start a “Century Club Countdown” – which means I will report weigh ins throughout the week as the numbers go down.  I will still have my “official” weekly weigh in on Sundays, though.

Some other exciting news is that Dorsey told me once I hit 100 pounds lost he is going to throw me a party at Fitworks!  He is going to DJ and the whole thing, so it should be loads of fun with some of my favorite people in the world!  My life feels like it is really starting to come together, and I love it!

I wanted to leave you with this:

 To be honest, I am not sure just how much difference I can tell between January’s photo and yesterday’s.  I see small things, I suppose, which is fine.  I know I am heading in the right direction!

GOAL TRACKER:
10 weeks; 5 days
24.6 pounds

How was your week?

-Erica

Six Weeks For Change: Finale

Six weeks ago (actually a touch over that now) I hopped on board with Karen over at Waisting Time to improve aspects of ourselves in the six remaining weeks of winter.  My goals were pretty simple:

1. Go to at least one Zumba class (I completed two)
2. Try six new recipes (I have pictures on my camera to share, although, I am not sure I reached six – shame on me!)
3. Improve my balance (this one is a touch harder to measure, per se, although I do feel like it has improved – and I have been actively working on it since the “challenge”)
4. Jump rope successfully (I was *so* close to this one when I was instructed to avoid jumping and running with the bad knee!  I was able to jump with both feet and continuously for at least 45 seconds before my feet caught the rope.  All in all there was still significant improvement)

I would have loved to say all of my goals were met and exceeded, but that is certainly not the case.  I still feel a little disappointed about the whole jump-roping thing, but there is nothing I can do about that.  Once I get the green light for the knee, I will definitely be revisiting that goal!  I will also continue working on my balance (especially doing power yoga every Monday night with Denise and Aaron).

Did you participate in Karen’s “challenge”?  If so, what goals did you set for yourself, and did you meet them?

-Erica

There’s No *NEED* For The Gym

When I have conversations with people outside the gym about fitness, health, and weight loss they usually combat with, “I can’t afford the gym,” or, “I don’t have time for the gym.”  I understand that the gym is not for everyone.  Some people do not have a gym close enough that they would find it convenient.  Other people truly do not have time for the gym (such as they work during the only hours a close gym is open).  I get that.

However, you do not necessarily *need* a gym to lose weight, be fit, and increase your health.  Food is the number one component anyway.  Really.  What you consume has *far* more to do with how healthy your body is, and how much you weigh.

Aside from food, though (because that is not the purpose or direction of this particular post), there are plenty of options that get your body moving at home – in the office – in the park – anywhere – anytime.  Here are some examples of workouts I have discovered recently that do not *require* a gym membership, and most do not *require* any equipment at all.

I, of course, cannot do all of these exercises right now because of the restrictions for my knee.  However, these look like great workouts and would really deliver some great results (if you stick to them).

The yoga workout above is pretty intense (especially if you do the moves one right after the other) and will really work your body.  I did power yoga last Monday night with Denise and Aaron.  That was the first time I had ever done yoga, and it was seriously intense.  I was pouring sweat (literally) and there were definitely some moves I have yet to master (as in tree with your arms straight up and warrior 3).  Balance is my nemesis – still.  I have improved my balance, but it is still not a strength of mine – yet.

This plank workout is not for the faint of heart – and not for anyone who cannot hold a plank for…a long time.  I plank often (I love them, and, yes, I know that is weird) and this workout still kicked my butt.  No joke.  I ended up using 8 lb weights for the curls and 5 lb for the tricep kick-backs.  I probably could have used heavier weights for the curls, but I did not want to kill myself.  I will also admit that I was not able to run through this entire routine while in plank position.  I did the top two and then stood up.  Two more and stood…then went back for the last one.  I will work up to doing an entire run-though, but that will take some time.  (Which just gives me something to work toward.)

This pilates workout was alright.  It would probably work better for someone who has not done these kinds of moves before (a beginner, perhaps?).  I do Russian twists (similar to the first move) with a 12-lb. med ball, so just twisting like that did not do much for me.  The last move; however, was pretty challenging.  I had a hard time keeping my back entirely straight.  That probably is an indication that I still have some postural muscles to strengthen.  The side plank was pretty easy for me, although I do have trouble figuring out how to position my feet.  Once I get that figured out, I should be golden.

This leg workout is excellent (for me) because it requires no lunging…and only a chair for equipment!  This is one workout that pretty much anyone can do – even if you are just starting out.  Maybe your leg will not go as high to start, but you will still be working those legs!

Everyone has to start somewhere.  I was not able to do a whole lot when I stepped into the gym at over 300 pounds.  At that moment I felt like I was never going to be good at anything (fitness-related).  I felt like I was always going to look awkward and struggle with the simplest moves.  However, just continuing on (not giving up) improved my abilities quickly.  I found that I was doing new things every week.  I was able to squat a little lower, lift the leg a little higher, do two more reps, five more minutes, etc.  My body got stronger every day, and it felt great.

Like I said, you do not *need* the gym.  You just need to make it a priority – in your livingroom, in a park, in your office – and do not let the lack of a gym membership or equipment prevent you from working your body.

Do you workout outside of a gym?  If so, what are your favorite workouts that require little or no equipment?

-Erica

Finding Myself

This has been a crazy journey…and not a perfectly straight path either.  I have experienced highs and lows, successes and set-backs, joy and frustration…and so much more.  The funny thing is I have learned *so* much about myself in the process.  Things I, apparently, was not aware of before.  For example:

I have crazy discipline/will power.  My journey started a touch over eight months ago, and I can honestly say I have not “cheated” a single time.  I did have a *super small* piece of cake at both of my daughters’ birthday parties, but I did not consider that cheating, per se.  I planned ahead, ate *super tiny* pieces, and exercised my butt off following.  Even my trainer says my food journal looks bizarre without any random “bad” foods lurking about.

I have insane amounts of motivation and drive when I *really* want something.  I must admit I am bad with starting something and not finishing it.  I have always considered myself more an “idea” girl than a “follow-through” girl.  Fabulous ideas pop into my head *all* the time, but I rarely have the endurance to see those fabulous ideas all the way to the end.  I often get bored with things and just let them go.  The good thing about realizing this about myself is that I know when I come across something that *truly* moves me, I will have the “stick-to-it-iveness” to make something wonderful happen.

I am stubborn.  Really stubborn.  Nothing will get me going more than failing at something – especially something I see someone else doing perfectly.  If I falter or struggle with something, you better believe I am *too* stubborn to accept defeat!  I will keep working and keep failing until I get it right.  I will work myself to the point of exhaustion just to say, “I did it.  Finally.”  Denise has learned that about me, too.

I have passion for fitness.  This is something I *never* thought I would say, but it is true.  I absolutely *L*O*V*E* being at the gym.  Love it.  I spend hours, literally, at the gym when I go…and I love every second of it.  I love being around like-minded people – people who value health and fitness.  I also love observing other people doing crazy things and setting goals for myself based on what they are doing.  It motivates me to continue to push myself and step outside my circle of comfort to grow.

I might be an adrenaline junkie.  When I am really working hard, sweating, and feeling all my muscles working to their fullest potential (you know, when your muscles actually start trembling from the weight of your own body)…I have the biggest smile on my face.  When I feel my muscles burning, I want to push harder.  I *love* the way my body feels after I work the crap out of it…and I hardly ever want to stop.  Leaving the gym is the hardest part for me.

The longer I am on this journey, the more I love it.  I have met some amazing and wonderful people.  Inspiring spirits that really motivate me to be better.  Denise is definitely one of them.  I have mentioned before how awesome she is.  My life would not be the same without her in it.  Another is a more recent addition to my favorite people in the world: Aaron.  There is definitely something special about that guy.  He is one of the newer trainers at Fitworks, and I already love him.

The most exciting (and surprising) thing I have learned about myself so far is that I want fitness to be a permanent part of my life.  Not just in the sense that *I* want to work out for the rest of my life.  More so in the way that I want to *share* fitness with other people.  I want to help other people who are feeling how I felt when I started.  Feeling hopeless, like their lives will never change.  Like they are “destined” to be fat forever, regardless of their efforts.  I truly believed (before starting this journey) that I would spend the rest of my life over 300 pounds, and that there was nothing I could really do about it because I had tried *so* many times…and failed.

Meeting the right people changed my life…forever.  Something so small as one person genuinely believing in me is all it took.  One person.  Then it all snowballed from there.

Do you have someone inspiring/motivating in your life?  How instrumental do you think he/she/they have been to your successes and perserverance?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week thirty-five)

Yes, another week has flown by…and another slow/low week it has been.

I am still so confused how this could be.  I know weight loss fluctuates, and I know muscle growth can counter-balance weight loss.  Logically, I know these things.  Knowing those things; however, does not stop me from feeling irritated.  Sorry.  I know we just had this (whiney) conversation last week.

So, instead of more whining from me, I am just going to recap the week:

Sunday – 2 hours of legs and abs (10,115 steps)
Monday – 2 sessions with Denise (lots of inchworms and modified squat-thrusts) (11,496 steps)
Tuesday – Neil Armstrong machine and arm/abs work (14,860 steps)
Wednesday – legs with Dave (12, 012 steps)
Thursday – Zumba (14,730 steps)
Friday – Physical therapy/legs, arms and abs, Neil Armstrong machine (14,494 steps)
Saturday – break day (11,784 steps)

I will be heading to the gym this afternoon.  I have some new things I want to try out today.  Things I am pretty excited about.  I am hoping to get a whole body workout in today – only a little light on the legs.  Work starts again tomorrow, so I will only have time for physical therapy (which *really* works my legs, by the way) and some time with Neil.

Oh – and about today’s weigh in (I nearly forgot to put that in here – craziness)…

228.6

That is 0.6 down from last week.  Still moving.  Still down.  I am going to pretend I am happy and alright with that.  Deep breath and moving forward…

GOAL TRACKER
11 weeks; 5 days
28.8 pounds

-Erica

An Update On This Knee

This knee…is a serious pain in my…knee.  My first physical therapy appointment was yesterday afternoon.  I honestly expected to get a “that’s not that bad” or a “that’ll be easily fixed.”  Let me tell you, that is *not* what was said – ever.

It turns out that my knee is worse than I imagined.  When she marked the edge of my knee cap and then asked me to flex my quad (still lying flat and not bending my leg at all) the shock on her face said it all.  She then marked the edge of knee cap with my quad flexed.  The result?  My knee cap deviates to the left *more* than half an inch when I flex my quad.  I do not even have to bend the stupid leg to dislocate the knee cap – just flex.  My outer quad is *that* much strong than my inner quad.  Go figure.

The other bit of bad news is that my right knee does the same thing…I’m just not symptomatic on that side – yet.  So, all the exercises/stretches I will be doing for my left knee, I will be repeating for my right knee.  Hopefully this will prevent me from doing as much damage to my right knee as I have my left (and, of course, hopefully that prevents the right knee from ever hurting this way).

When the physical therapist checked the strength on all four sections of my quad, it was surprising.  My leg is very strong in three directions, and weak like a child in one (which, of course, is the inner quad).  This imbalance is what is causing my malfunction.  Additionally, my quad muscles and hip flexors are extremely tight, which compounds the problem.  I stretch every day (usually multiple times even), but evidently I am not stretching efficiently enough to properly lengthen/loosen my muscles.  So, they showed me ways to properly stretch…and, who knew a stretch could hurt so bad?!  When she started to stretch the front of my thigh, I almost shot off the table and said an abundance of sailor words!  Sheesh.

In light of this information, I am seriously debating whether continuing with Zumba is a good idea.  I love it, and I seriously want to go back.  However, all that bouncing around and squatting/lunging is strictly forbidden for the sake of not grinding any more of my joint away.  Decisions, decisions.

Looks like this will be a challenging road to travel…and this certainly means more alterations to my workout routines.  I *must* be very aware of how I move my legs and when I flex my quad.  Should be interesting.  Thank goodness I have Denise – she always knows what to do!  🙂

-Erica

20 Reasons YOU Should Lift Weights

At my gym there is a good mix of men and women that exercise regularly.  I must admit, though, there are very few women who lift weights.  More women are on the treadmills and ellipticals – or in the various cardio classes than on the floor with free weights.  More often when women at my gym decide to “lift weights” they are in the circuit training room using *very* light weights on those movement-restricting machines.

I was talking to one gal last night at the gym who said something along these lines: “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to be a body builder.”  My guess is that most women (and possibly even some men) associate lifting free weights with “bulking up” and becoming some sort of muscle-bound monster.  That is simply untrue.

I lift weights every week (usually two or three days out of my four to six days at the gym) and I am no where near muscle-bound.  I am; however, just starting to see some real definition when I flex my bicep, and I find this more than a little exciting.  So, I thought I would share some information about lifting weights that I found in a book I just purchased.

1. You’ll Lose 40% More Fat
2. You’ll Burn More Calories
3. Your Clothes Will Fit Better
4. You’ll Keep Your Body Young
5. You’ll Build Stronger Bones
6. You’ll Be More Flexible
7. Your Heart Will Be Healthier
8. You’ll Derail Diabetes
9. You’ll Cut Your Cancer Risk
10. Your Diet Will Improve
11. You’ll Handle Stress Better
12. You’ll Shrug Off Jet Lag
13. You’ll Be Happier
14. You’ll Sleep Better
15. You’ll Get In Shape Faster
16. You’ll Fight Depression
17. You’ll Be More Productive
18. You’ll Add Years to Your Life
19. You’ll Stay Sharp
20. You’ll Even Be Smarter

All of these reasons have an excerpt underneath them in the book that explains the science/proof behind the concept.  Of course this does not mean that cardio is not important, it certainly is.  However, everyone should be lifting weights.  Not super heavy weights, but weights heavy enough to challenge your muscles.  Heavy enough that you have to really work to complete 10 to 12 reps in *perfect form* (the indicator that you are lifting the perfect amount of weight).

Personally, I love lifting weights.  They make me feel stronger and I even can tell a difference the in the way my body feels the day after I lift.  Because of lifting weights, I am *very close* to having my body fat percentage in the “normal” range – high end of that range, of course, but normal none-the-less.  When I started my journey back in July my body fat percentage was over 50%.  I do not have an exact figure because the little machine at the gym does not read anything over 50%.  My BMI was 49.33 (and my BF% is usually 3 or 4 numbers higher).  Now, my BF is 37%.  What a *huge* improvement over the course of less than eight months, right?  Yes, I still have some serious fat to melt away, but I am getting there…thanks to lifting weights.

Do you lift weights?  If not, why?

-Erica

Weigh Day (week thirty-four)

I must admit I have mixed feelings about this day.  Part of me is frustrated, and part of me is content.  Go figure.

This week was a busy gym week for me.  I worked out with Denise Sunday and Monday.  Tuesday brought just cardio (Neil Armstrong machine).  Wednesday was self defense class with Dorsey and a hefty arms/abs workout.  Thursday was Zumba, and Friday was me floating around the gym for two hours working my legs – in the limited ways I am able to.  So, Saturday (yesterday) was the only day I did not step foot into the gym.  I was expecting to see much better results on the scale.  Not so much.

229.2

That is a loss from last week – one pound.  Again.  What is up with that?  Here is what is really strange…  Last week when I wrote my weigh in on my chart at the gym, Denise noticed a little pattern:

Week 28 – 4.2 pounds lost
Week 29 – 1.0 pound lost
Week 30 – 1.0 pound lost
Week 31 – 2.0 pounds lost
Week 32 – 1.8 pounds lost
Week 33 – 4.2 pounds lost
Week 34 – 1.0 pound lost

Can you see it?  So, theoretically, I will only lose another one pound next week when I weigh in…if this pattern holds true.  Of course, I hope it does not.  Losing one pound during a week irritates me, honestly.  Especially during weeks like this where I know I have worked *hard* to lose more than that.  I do not even think it can be explained away with muscle either.  I only lifted weights one day this week (Wednesday).

I know I should not find this *that* frustrating.  It is certainly better than gaining anything on any week, which I know some of my blogger friends have that to deal with.  Despite thinking of it in that way, though, I am still bothered by it.  So, I will be back in the gym today (in less than one hour) working toward a more-than-one-pound loss next week.  Here’s to hoping…

GOAL TRACKER:
12 weeks; 5 days
29.4 pounds

-Erica

Serious Fun {with a Hefty Dose of Pain}

Last night I ventured into new territory and attended a Zumba class held at Fitworks.  Denise has been telling me for months to get into those classes.  I have to admit I always find myself stopping to observe everyone in the classroom dancing, laughing, and having a great time.  I absolutely love to dance (who doesn’t, though?), so I thought it would be a natural love affair.

Denise and I discussed Zumba again since my knee malfunction came to pass.  I expressed concern that I would not be able to do all the moves (jumping/bouncing and the like).  Of course she said, “Then modify those moves, chica!”  After much deliberation, I decided she was right (yes, of course she was right) and I ventured in.

Here is the “problem” with me…I do not do “half-assed” things.  If I am going to do something, I am going to *DO* it.  So, when the moves turned into bouncing, squatting, lunging, and all the other stuff I am “forbidden” from doing…I was doing them anyway.  Maybe not jumping as high or lunging as deep, but there I was moved by the music and in the mindset that nothing could stop me.  I had an absolute *blast* and loved every single {painful} minute of it.

Once the class was over and I started to walk out is when the pain truly set in.  I found myself half limping to my car and wishing I had not done quite as much as I did.  As soon as I walked in my door, I grabbed ice and a comforter and headed for the couch.  I used the comforter to prop up my left knee/leg and ever so gently laid the ice down over the whole section.  The throbbing became so intense for a bit I could not even concentrate on anything.  I sat and stared at my ice pack.  Once my ability to form thoughts came back I found myself thinking forward to next Thursday.  How am I going to prevent myself from irritating my knee this much when I *want* to move.  I *want* to dance.  But, considering the amount of pain I was in all night (including so much pain it woke me up a few times in the middle of the night), I do not want repeat that fiasco again.

So, I suppose I will talk with my doctor this week about getting a knee brace of some sort.  Maybe wearing support that prevents my knee cap from pivoting/dislocating would help me move better (and/or make it hurt less)?  Who knows.  All I do know is I loved Zumba, and I want to do it again…this time without the hefty dose of pain.

Do any of you wear any kind of brace during workouts?  If so, was it prescribed to you (such as a custom-fit brace) or did you purchase it at the store?  Do find it helps you significantly reduce discomfort or does it serve more as a reminder to take it easy on that joint?

-Erica