October 24, 2014

Fitness Leadership (Class 3 and 4)

Now that we are done with our initial assessments, our trainers have made personalized plans for us to target the areas that we should be improving. The girls I am working with are incredible, very encouraging and smart about fitness. So I am enjoying working with them, even if the workouts really run me through the mill.

For the first three weeks, my workouts are somewhat introductory: I have one workout for Tuesdays and one for Thursdays.

Tuesdays
Warm-up:
Stretch: bicep stretches, tricep stretches, shoulder stretches, hamstring stretches, quadricep stretches, lower back rotation stretch
Treadmill: (1) 2 min, 0 incline, 3-4 mph [fast pace walk] (2) 5 min, 0 incline, 4.5-6 mph [run] (3) 3 min, 0 incline, 3-4 mph [walk]

Cardiovascular conditioning: (2 min rest between each exercise)
Step ups: 2 boxes high, 2x30 sec
Jump rope: 3 sets, 10 jumps
Mountain climbers: 3x8 reps (each leg)

Resistance training: (2 min rest between each exercise; repeat 3 times)
Goblet squats: 10 reps, 15 lbs
Step lunges: 5 reps each leg (front step), 10 lb dumbbell each arm
Step lunges: 5 reps each leg (back step), 10 lb dumbbell each arm
Abductor/Adductor machine: 15 reps, 50 lbs

Cool down:
Treadmill: 5 min, 0 incline, 3 mph [walk]
Roll out on foam roll

Thursdays
Warm-up:
Stretch: bicep stretches, tricep stretches, shoulder stretches, hamstring stretches, quadricep stretches, lower back rotation stretch
Jumping jacks: 10 reps, 15 reps, 25 reps

Cardiovascular training:
Elliptical (cardio machine): 25 minutes, high intensity
Rest 3-5 min
High knees: 4x5 reps each leg
Rest 2 min

Resistance training: 
Pull downs: 55 lbs 3x10
Rest 2 min
Bent over row: 15 lb dumbbell, 3x10 (each arm)
Rest 2 min
Push ups: 3x8
Rest 2 min

Cool down:
Stretch: mostly arm stretches, some hamstring and quad stretches

Busy, right? It may not look like much, but it's very intense! Some of the exercises we have had to modify - the jump rope was surprisingly tricky for me, so I jump with the rope to my side rather than over the rope. The lunges were also very hard for me to do at my current weight, so we modified those to suitcase squats, which is like squatting down to pick up ... well, a pair of suitcases. The last major modification was the push ups - I knew it was not going to work out just yet so we modified those to wall push ups. Still great workouts, just working within the realm of my abilities.

I am still struggling to find balance with my eating. This is now and forever will be my greatest difficulty. I enjoy working out and being active, but that isn't enough for weight loss. The saying goes "abs are made in the kitchen," which is absolutely true. Workouts should be complementary to a good eating routine. My recent struggle was with having lots of guests visit us - my brother-in-law, a friend from Chicago, and my mother-in-law, all in the last two weeks or so.

I want to do well, not only for myself, but for these girls. I want their experience learning to be personal trainers to be successful - as their client, I want to have results that demonstrate their knowledge and effort. So I am giving it my all while we are working together. The girls also made a few weeks of workouts for after their course is over, so I can keep up with the plans even after the in-person meetings. I am enjoying the workouts, and I enjoy feeling stronger, for sure.

October 15, 2014

Fitness Leadership (Class 1 and 2)

Work has been hectic, as we are just now passing the midterm. Exams have been given and graded, and my office has seen a record number of students coming to ask why, after not completing most of their assignments, they are failing the class.

I've been talking a lot with my husband and with one of my professors from grad school, trying to figure out what my next step should be career-wise. I don't want to say anything too soon, as we are still in the complete infancy of the planning stage, but I have the feeling things will be changing soon again.

Since October started and work got busier, our meals got slowly less and less Whole 30 compliant, and last weekend, when my husband did a half marathon, it was completely off-plan. My weight is up a little, and I am fighting it back down. With the stress of midterms, I went to the gym less (not surprised at all that when I go to the gym less, I choose off-plan foods more often), but I started back up this week, easing back into the machines at the gym.

Also this week, I started the volunteer work for the fitness leadership class. The first day was simple: we met the trainers we will be working with, then gave some of our fitness history. We got measured in a few different ways - weight and height, a skin-fold body fat measurement, a measuring tape around a few body parts. We also tested our range of motion and flexibility.

Big shock, I'm obese per the BMI. Based on my skin-fold test, I am about 40% body fat (preferable is 25-31%). I have about 169 pounds of lean body mass, which is really interesting to me. That means that at 188, my lowest adult weight, I was probably a lot closer to what my long-term goal weight should be than I imagined. I'm not going to dwell on missteps here, just recognize that the 180s are a good place for me to be, and set my sights on how to get back there.

The good news is, despite the fact that I'm much heavier than I would like, I am pretty flexible - the girls had me do an active lying straight-leg raise (meaning, they measured the angle of my raised leg compared to the floor using a goniometer [basically a fancy protractor]) and I can hold my leg up at a 79ยบ angle. It's not perfect, but again, for someone of my size, it's pretty good.

Last night we had our second class, and more measurements were taken, this time assessing our level of fitness in weight training and cardiovascular situations. We did an overhead squat test, which is squats with your arms raised (palms in) over your head. This is to measure your balance. We also did goblet squats, which is a squat while holding a dumbbell. This one was tough - we had to do five of them, but first, the girls had me do two and then assess if I could go up in weight to a heavier dumbbell. So by the time I found my weight limit (35 pounds), I had already done about 14 squats. THEN the five for the measurement. The last squat exercise was to see how many I could do in a minute. I think it was 30.

It isn't much, I know. But for someone who has never done any weight training before, it sure felt like a lot. I've always avoided weights because I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't want to hurt myself. But these kids are being trained to know what to do, and their professor is standing by supervising, so I feel comfortable with what they ask us to do.

After the squats, we did bench presses - like with the squats, we first lifted the bar a few times to test and see our weight limit, then we lifted and lowered the bar five times. My limit on that was 65 pounds. After that, the girls took the weights off and saw how many times I could lift just the bar with no additional weights (35 pounds). I didn't get the number for that one but I did well on it.

Lastly, we went upstairs and did box steps - you step up onto a platform and then back down, as many times as you can, for three minutes. I didn't get the number of times I did that one, either, but let me tell you, after all the squats too ... I was sweaty and tired. The girls took my heart rate before the exercise, immediately after, and two minutes after that.

Driving home after all that was rough. My legs were already sore - I honestly wondered if I would be able to make it to work today. Today, I am here, but I am definitely aching. I challenged myself to take the stairs up to my office this whole semester and made it 8 1/2 weeks ... today, I just couldn't. I'm hoping some rest today and maybe an ice bath or foam rolling will help work it out. Luckily, the Fitness Leadership class has a guest speaker on Thursday, so no more torture until next Tuesday. I want to be back in the gym, so hopefully resting today will be good.