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.

October 1, 2014

October Goals

Well, here we are. It's October. The last month hasn't been perfect, but it's done. And I'm pretty pleased with the results:
  • With the exception of the rash-induced insomnia, I have been sleeping well and waking up with plenty of energy.
  • My clothes are all loose - almost too loose, and I'm looking for maybe someone to take them in so I don't have to buy all new clothes just yet.
  • I don't feel as food obsessed - meaning, most days, I am not counting down the minutes until I can reasonably eat again, and I am not eating junk just for the sake of meeting a calorie goal. I did not count calories this month, but would say with certainty that each day I ate less than my previous goal of 1550, and I felt less hungry all the time.
  • With the exception of the week before my period when I wanted to eat everything within my reach (and sometimes did - lesson learned, I still have a problem with jars of nut butters, even when they are compliant. Still single-serve packets or nothing at all.), I have been very good about not snacking between meals. I have made sure that my meals are enough to sustain and nourish me for a few hours. My exceptions have been on workout days, when I have a handful of almonds and raisins or a Larabar.
  • Oh, and the weigh in.
On September 1, I weighed 294 pounds. On October 1 ... 278. A 16 pound loss. Not bad at all!

There have been a lot of skipped workouts lately - a few late nights at work, a trip to the doctor's, a weekend spent cleaning the apartment and driving all over town looking for bed bug mattress covers. I still made my fitness goal two weeks, though, so I am not beating myself up over having to re-prioritize once in a while.

So, what's the plan, now that it's October?

Well, I woke up and ate egg muffins for breakfast. And I brought chicken and vegetables for lunch. A handful of pistachios for a post-workout snack, and dairy-free tandoori chicken legs and asparagus for dinner.

I'm just going to keep up with it. It's not often that I find something that comes to me naturally and yields desirable results. If this is working, why stop? Plus ... if I resisted treats on our anniversary, when we had house guests, at the Italian festival, at the party ... I can certainly resist them on any regular day. It won't be forever, and some days won't be perfect. But I will stick with this the best I can.

What about you? How was your September? What are your October goals?