Power Time

Power. This is a word that surprising I have heard a lot of on this journey to get stronger, leaner and lighter. I hear it practicing yoga when moving into “powerful pose” or when we need to send some powerful energy out of our finger tips. I see it when I am reading running articles on speed training, describing how much power and explosiveness I have to put behind my speed bursts. I now have the chance to play with it again I get to explore power in my next phase of personal training with Alannah. Last night we started the Power Phase of my training.

no problem

So I know I say this about every phase but I think this is going to be a tough one but challenging in a totally different way from Build and Strength.  Sure the weight was still heavy (just not quite as heavy) and on top of the heavy lifting the routine is broken up with quick bursts, and instead of our regular triplex style grouping of exercises we have moved to a quad, so four moves per circuit instead of the three we had initially been training with. The routine is full of new exercises which I am so thankful for.  It can start feeling a little routine when you are doing the same thing over and over again.  So there are some completely new moves, and other modifications to old moves, but even moving from a barbell to dumbbells helps to switch things up and challenging your brain a bit.

So how am I feeling about this phase? Well, I am pretty pumped, it is faster paced, definitely sweat inducing and EXHAUSTING.  At this point in my training I am feeling like I have built up quite a bit of strength and I have the ability to do so much more than I ever  thought possible so moving into this phase wasn’t as intimidating as I had originally thought it would be. Being completely honest I was terrified when this phase was described to me, I mean weights and explosive movements that sound crazy.  The thought of combining heavy lifting with high intensity exercises just felt so intimidating, perhaps it was the idea of such a jump up in the speed of moving through the workout, but I was pretty sure I would throw up.

I have now successfully completed my first day of the Power phase and I didn’t throw-up, pass out, or otherwise have any type of negative effect.  My muscles were unquestionably exhausted and used up by the end, but I believe that was the point.  So all in all I would have to say I am very stoked to get started and “power” (a little word play) through this phase, I think the combo of strength and high intensity exercises will be a huge fat burner  so I am excited to see some results.

Happy Thursday Everyone!!!!!

Is anyone else starting a new workout routine?  What are you getting into?

Late Day Weekend Round-Up

Oh my goodness the day got away with me, and I totally blanked on getting this post put up for everyone.  Then I came and sat down to tell everyone of my extremely exciting adventures this weekend I realized that it happened. I finally had a slow mellow and kind of relaxing weekend! It is all pretty exciting.

I started the weekend off with my regular trip over to Epic fitness for a training session with Alannah, it was the last day of our Strength phase and it was totally crushed! I set a new record at the gym for the flat back bench press with dumbbells, and it feel pretty great.  My arms and shoulders were definitely raging out the next day but it was the kind of hurt that makes you feel like you did a good job.  So the record was 40lbs in each hand for 7 reps and I ended up with 10 reps putting me just that tiny bit in the lead, and blowing my mind.  To think just 4 months ago I was working out with 5-10lbs weights thinking how could I ever lift them over my head for 3 sets of 10, and here I am pumping out 10 reps with 40s.   I think that is my absolute favourite thing about weight training, it is actual tangible progress and it happens on such a regular basis that it is truly difficult to become unmotivated about it.

To catch up on a promise from over a month ago now, here is my before Build and Strength phase picture of my arms AND my afters finally.  There is a slight bit more definition and as my rational mind had been telling me at the time there is no extra arm bulk up.  Actually the measurements for my arms has pretty much come in at the same thing since I started training, I guess they can’t get any smaller and they don’t want to get any bigger.
gunsCollagearms januaryI apologize for the quality of the photos, I was basically taking selfies of my arms and well that can get a little difficult after 10 minutes of flexing for a picture.  I find that you can see the biggest difference in my shoulders, they are more defined, not bigger just “sharper” for lack of a better word.  But there you have it folks, I was eating loads of protein because of all the weight training I was doing, and I was lifting HEAVY and I didn’t bulk up.  I think as a woman if you want to bulk up like that you have to take some pretty serious steps and really seriously watch what you eat. Just staying on the path of clean eating and healthy living won’t make you bulk up like the Hulk, although you will feel like the Hulk with your new found strength.

After my training my weekend was pretty relaxing attended a CPR and AED course Saturday and then did some studying Sunday for my final exam before I become a certified Nutrition and Wellness Specialist, my exam is tomorrow so here is hoping it goes well.

In a nutshell that was the weekend.  I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed the glorious temperatures of only -16 (that is 3.2F for my American friends), and nope that wasn’t sarcasim with temperatures like -46 (-50.2F) today was like living in the tropics, if the tropics had snow.

Anyways, I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and a great Monday seeing how it is almost over. 

Who’s that in the Mirror?

I started writing this post prior to going to my training session last night.  The session was not only a workout but it was also a weigh-in day for me.  I figured it was a good time to address how I have been feeling about my body changing and the types of things that have been going through my head, mainly because I was on a bit of a high and pretty certain that my body would be providing me with some positive feedback in terms of measurements and body fat percentage.   Honestly I was extremely excited to see my results because I was so sure I was going to exceed the progress I had seen the month before.

Well, unfortunately that wasn’t so much the case. I gained a bit of weight (most likely from muscle so I am not really down on that) and only lost 1 single inch. As bummed out as I am about all of this I do understanding that I am definitely toning up and I am seeing positive results like my clothing fitting much better looser but for some reason seeing such a small amount of numerical progress felt like a punch in the gut.
weighinI attempted to keep a happy face on, because I am honestly very proud of what I have achieved to date and grateful for the person I am and the body I have, but I guess my disappointment was more apparent than I had hoped it would be so Alannah and I ended up having a long chat.  We spoke about my reaction to the information (not so great folks) and what we could both to move forward and progress the next time. There is no point dwelling right?

After mapping out my priorities, responsibilities, time restrictions and goals I slowly came around to the realization that not every month is going to be a life changing weigh-in month. Although the weigh-in didn’t go as I had hoped and planned I still feel like this post I had started was relevant, and that it is still good to highlight positives even if I am having a hard time believing them right now. It is definitely worth giving myself credit for the work that I have done and talking about getting used to my new body.

As my body has started to change I have noticed a few things, mainly how attached I seem to be to my looser clothing. Almost, like I am keeping them because I am under the assumption that I will lapse back to my starting weight and they fit properly again.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am excited and happy for all the changes I have been seeing but there seems to be some sort of unconscious hesitation to accept them.  Seeing my before and during photos a couple weeks ago actually helped with the acceptance and acknowledgement of my body’s transformation.   I mean I know my body has changed, I know I am toning up I can see it, but I think it is one of those when you see something every day you don’t notice all the changes out there type of deal, so it wasn’t until I saw the pictures back to back that I realized just how much progress I have made to date.

I am at this stage now where I am excited and nervous at the same time. It is this sort of adjustment period where I am relearning how to navigate clothing shopping (seriously how do you find out what your pant size is?!) and the struggling with the fear worry that without constant vigilance I will end up back where I started (which has been my experience in the past). It is this period of adjustment and of becoming comfortable where I am and learning how to accept things as they are for right now which I am finding almost as hard as finding the initial motivation to get started.  Is that weird? I am not sure.

So I have started to think that perhaps it is a good thing that there weren’t massive leaps and bounds for the weigh-in this month because it will give me some time to get used to all the changes that have occurred and to be grateful and proud of the successes that I have achieved.  Also maybe it will give me the time I need to find out what my pant size is now and buy a pair that fit properly.  So I guess I have some homework to work on for the next month or so.

Happy Thursday! 

Have any of you ever encountered the same feeling of getting “used” to your new body? Or actually realizing all of the transformations that have taken place?  

P.S. Just a little aside, I have not forgotten about providing everyone with an arm update.  I just actually have to take the pictures, so instead of a month it will be two, but that just means my build and my strength phase will have been included, and I think it will provide a pretty decent visual of how us ladies don’t bulk up like men. So that is to come in the next couple of days/weeks.

Weekends Please Never End

When this weekend started, so Friday at 3:01pm for me, I decided that I was going to give myself a break/ free pass from exercise. My training sessions with Alannah at Epic were pretty kick you in the pants this week so I figured I was allowed to skip a yoga day.

20130114-055002.jpgSetting out with that mind set I turned off my Saturday morning alarm and hunkered in for the sleep-in of all sleep-ins. Well then 8 am rolled around (which I guess is considered sleeping in for me) and I was wide awake, so it was difficult to find any convincing argument to commit to skipping my yoga class.  So I got myself ready, fed the cats and headed over to the yoga studio for the 9 am Hatha Flow.   Once the class started my brain and body were both pretty happy that I had taken the time to make it to the class, my body was in serious need of a good stretch.

After yoga I rewarded myself with the only thing I like at Starbucks their Orange Blossom green tea, this is when I got the bad news, they were discounting the tea because it isn’t “popular” enough. Boo Starbucks boo! I would stock up on the tea for at home use but I am totally convinced the bags for at home use are half the size therefore half the flavour and just not worth it. I guess it just means I am going to need to find a new tea, and I am open to suggestions, so please send some my way!

After this it was time to get some Gingersneezes anniversary party and baby shower present running around done. So I headed on over to Terra 20 to get some earth friendly baby products for our friends and soon to be parents, and then headed on over to Michael’s to stock up on craft supplies.

While getting some supplies for the upcoming anniversary party I thought I had found the mother-load when I had found some lettering stencils (hand drawn letters is definitely not one of my strong suits) only to discover that the “actual size” advertisement actually meant “no where near the actual size”. Although slightly frustrating it was mostly hilarious and everything worked out regardless.

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So all in all the weekend was great, some crafting, some celebrating and a nice mix of relaxing and working out.  I hope everyone had a great weekend is ready for Monday!

Happy Monday, hope the sun is shining where you are. 

It’s Time to get Strong

It is that time again; time to get into the next phase of my training.  This phase is called “Strength” and let me tell you, after only two days I couldn’t imagine anything but strength coming from this. I have come to expect the first day or two of a new phase to be fairly challenging or at least to be hyper aware of different for my muscles groups, but this phase to date is a whole other ball park. So far nothing has compared to this phase, I mean it has all been challenging but boy is this a tough one so far.

This phase is focused on heavier weights (how that is possible is beyond me, they were already ridiculously heavy), and lower reps.  I mentioned in my last phase that I had been concerned about working to my failure point, not because I was worried I would hurt myself, but because I was afraid it would be a complete motivation crusher. After completing the Build phase I can say that working to a failure point wasn’t demotivational but it was definitely frustrating, mainly because of my personality and me being a bit hard headed at times. Seeing how in this phase we are working towards the same “failure point” Alannah and I had a quick talk about managing my expectations in an attempt to curtail my frustrations. Well so far with the weights being so much heavier (even though I am still transitioning into this phase – which means they will get heavier, oh goodness!) I have yet to feel frustration with only hitting 4-7 reps, I have so far been relieved to put the weight down or pass it off to Alannah.

With a new phase comes new moves, one of which is the weighted split squat and the dreaded recline pull is back. The split squat was new to me, so in case it is new to some of you here is a holiday-ed up photo of what it looks like.  Only difference I wouldn’t be wearing a hat and my weights would be a touch heavier than hers.

Split-Squat

I definitely love the change in routine and increase in weights because it is always so much fun to find out what your body is made of, how far you can safely push it and to discover the barriers you had original placed on yourself.

So far through all this training I have had a chance to start looking at myself from the inside out.  It has been almost like little positive switches have been turning on while negative switches have been turning off.  There is a lot less doubt in my physical abilities (I think squatting with over 100lbs on your back will encourage that) and with this change I am starting to remove self imposed mental limitations.

What obstacles have you been able to overcome lately?  What keeps you motivated to make it to the next level?

Happy Tuesday everyone!

 

Calluses

So it’s my third week of the build phase of my personal training, and it is going pretty incredible. I am finding that it is definitely starting to feel a bit more natural to make healthy/positive life choices when it comes to food, activities, self-esteem, family, friends, and my overall lifestyle. At just over 2 months into the program and I am definitely starting to see some pretty rad changes, from the calluses on my hands, feeling lighter and happier it has been a pretty fun change. I am writing about this because sometimes I think I get side tracked by how difficult it is sometimes and forget to acknowledge and appreciate all of the positive that has come from all of the work that goes into healthy choices.

As I had mentioned before this phase is about pushing my body to the limits and getting to a point of failure, because of the nature of this phase I have seriously been building up some strength. Last night was the first time that I had to take a step back and get some chalk for my hands because I felt like it would definitely help me hold onto the weights. I think sometimes you just get to a point where you need a little something more than just the skin on your hands to keep the weights from slipping through your fingers. I am not entirely sure if chalk helps that situation but it sure made me feel a bit safer doing a step up with ridiculous weights in my hands.

Each week I am shocked at just how much the body can handle and how well my mind is adapting to pushing past the “I don’t want to do anymore” and getting to the “Let’s just see if I can get out one more rep”. Originally I had thought this build phase, and working towards failure would be super depressing or at the very least frustrating (and at times it is) but mostly it has been a bit of a high for me. This adventure has really opened my eyes up to what an amazing tool our bodies are and just how much we are all capable of doing.

Oh goodness this all became very mushy. I think the holidays coupled with me doing a 90lbs step up last night has me in overload mode.

What keeps you motivated and psyched at the gym or in your fitness routine?

I hope everyone had a great Monday, and have an awesome Tuesday!

Building It up

As I had mentioned earlier this week I have entered the next phase of my exercise program, the build phase, I just finished up the second day and I am not sure if I am stoked, determined or terrified of what there is to come. I guess it is probably more of a mixture of all of these emotions rather than just one of them.

I am stoked on finding out what my limits actually are and then pushing them a little bit, I am terrified that working to my limits may be slightly discouraging and as ridiculous as I know it is I am a nervous about getting crazy bulked up. I know, I know, not possible I am a woman not a beast, so even if I workout like a beast I am still a lady and won’t bulk up like a man, but still with the weights I am cranking out I can’t help but let a little head troll tell me I am going to look like a man. So to calm my nerves I am going to conduct a little experiment here is a picture of my “guns”, I will check back in a month and see what new developments we have. I am assuming I will have some more definition but not much more bulk.

gunsCollage

Besides being concerned about literally turning into the hulk and becoming discouraged at always hitting my limit, I am excited for the new challenge, and the reasonable side of me says that it is all good, and it will be fun to find out what is on the other side of my current limits.

So far some of the highlights in this journey are:

  1. I have way less of a desire to quit, when Alannah asks me if I can get one more out I give it my best to get that one or two more.
  2. I have started holding myself to higher standards, not only for fitness but for how I am fuelling my body, and how I think of myself.
  3. My knee pain has DRASTICALLY reduced, it is actually amazing how big of an improvement there is, don’t get me wrong it still hurts just not nearly as much. I mean I knew I had weak butt muscles, but  I had no idea how much it would help with my running to develop them.
  4. My stability is off the chains! It is totally crazy; when I first started I almost needed to hold onto a wall to perform an anterior reach, without falling over, now I am so close to getting through 10 reps without having to place both feet on the ground. (Trust me it looks way easier than it actually is…well for me at least).
  5. I am more conscious of what is happening in my body.  With someone (Alannah) looking over me and always making sure I am alright, it has made me listen to my body a bit more, and look for queues to let me know how my body is doing. Sounds simple but I am more of a “just push through” kinda gal and lean towards the “ignore that sharp pain” mind set so learning this has been pretty challenging.

So we will see how all of this pans out, and in a month time I will report back to everyone with an update on how my guns are looking.

Happy Thursday!!!  If you are in the Ottawa area get outside if you have a chance, at a project 11 degree day I will definitely be hitting the pavement instead of the treadmill.