Category Archives: Fitness

What have I gotten myself into?

Ever do something on a whim, so pumped up by ego and peer pressure and all those hell-yeah-I-am-awesome feelings, only to have that cold, clammy feeling of “Oh s#!%” immediately afterwards?

Yeah. That’s where I am right now. I signed up for the Spartan Trifecta. Not one race. Three races. Of increasing difficulty. With only a three week break between each.

It was the perfect mix of I-am-woman-hear-me-roar bravado, a pep talk from a friend that brings out my physically competitive side, and a couple glasses of wine. This friend and I did the Spartan Sprint in 2012, and I managed to drag my sorry, muddy butt across the finish line. It was empowering and amazing, but it was also only 5km, and only one race. I got all riled up in the moment, and now I’ve committed to three races of increasing difficulty: the ~5km Spartan Sprint with 15+ obstacles; the ~14km Spartan Super with 20+ obstacles, and the ~21km Spartan Beast with 25+ obstacles. The longest distance I’ve ever managed to race is 10k, and my longest run to date is somewhere in the 13k range. So it makes perfect sense to sign up for a half marathon with obstacles, right? Of course it doesn’t. Nothing about this makes any logical sense to my brain. But I’m doing it anyway. My pride won’t let me back out. And neither will my friend.

I’m in a state of denial. Half my brain is totally chill about this – these races are seven months away, that’s loads of time! Right? And the other half is freaking out like a squirrel on speed. Seven months? How can I possibly train for something so monumental, so physically demanding, in only seven months?! I’m going to embarrass myself.

A little backstory: I have never been particularly physically fit. As a teen, I loathed phys ed. The end of grade 10 couldn’t come soon enough. I did have a love of hiking and team sports, so I wasn’t a total sloth, but I wasn’t one of those cute sporty girls that was good at every sport. After graduation, what fitness I had took a total nosedive. Sloth in my early 20s and pregnancies at 26 and 30 left me in a bad place. There were a smattering of attempts to be active, learn to run, and lose weight in there, but none ever took hold. Bad habits returned or something derailed me, and I was back at square one. Shortly after my second child was born, I got a reality check: my mom had a heart attack at the relatively young age of 51. I remembered a Christmas vacation in my early teens, where my beloved grandmother, who was in her sixties, had a massive heart attack and required an emergency pacemaker surgery to survive. I was scared then, and I was even more scared when I got the call from my stepfather. Heart disease runs in my family, and the thought that I could be next was terrifying.

So in early 2012, I set a goal for myself: I would not be next. This time the exercise and diet stuck, because I made sustainable changes. I started eating clean and working out. I committed myself wholly to team sports, playing floor hockey three days a week, and running and weight training in between. I ran two 5k races and a 10k too, with pretty decent times for a newbie. And most importantly, I lost a ton of weight – well over 70 pounds from my last recorded high in the fall of 2011.

Despite all I’ve achieved so far, I wouldn’t consider myself particularly fit. I’m still overweight and flabby, just less so. I don’t eat that healthily all the time, in fact I still have a major soft spot for ice cream and chocolate and chicken wings and beer. And I have motivation issues, falling off the wagon is something I’m pretty good at. I’ve become better at maintaining my loss, but I’m going to have to do a hell of a lot more than that to finish the Spartan Trifecta. I’m going to have to find my way to a whole new level of fitness that is unimaginable to me.

And I am scared. The bravado I had before has given way to a feeling of dread.

How can I possibly do this?

I have to find a way. There’s no backing out.


Fitness Friday!

So, here I am, a little over a week in on this challenge to be active every single day in September. I’ve decided to make Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred the backbone of my 30 Days of Fitness because it’s something I can very easily do from home with little motivation, all I need is 30 minutes of baby nap time and I can bust my ass in the living room! There’s no excuse for not exercising if all I have to do is find a half hour to myself. Eliza even helped me out this week, she worked out alongside me and came over ever so often to say encouraging things like “You can do it, buddy”! and “Don’t phone it in, mommy!” She’s a little Jillian in training!

Here’s what I was up to this week:

Day 3 (Saturday): 30 Day Shred, level 1, 3lb hand weights. I was feeling pretty rough going into it from pushing hard the two days before, but I powered through! By halfway through I was feeling amazing, but later that night I felt like my legs were going to fall off.
Day 4 (Sunday):  30 Day Shred, level 1, 3lb hand weights. I was even more sore going into it than the day before, but the soreness wore off even more quickly and I was into it before circuit 2.
Day 5 (Monday): Walking, lots and lots of walking. Over 4km worth of walking.
Day 6 (Tuesday): Alternating resistance training with cardio intervals, 1.5 circuits. I was too exhausted to finish the second circuit.
Day 7 (Wednesday): Took the kids to the park and ran hard chasing my 4 year old for a good hour. I think that counts for something!
Day 8 (Thursday): 30 Day Shred, level 2, 3lb hand weights. Jeebus, I forgot how hard it is to do all that stuff in plank pose! Also, had a floor hockey game, was good with lots of running.
Day 9 (Friday): Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss (~60m) DVD, plus I got about halfway through Shred It with Weights. I would have finished if it hadn’t been for the baby waking up, but it’s not exactly safe to do a kettlebell workout with him all up in my stuff.

So, nine days in and still going strong! My motivation waned a bit around Day 6, but I managed to at least do something to keep my butt in motion. Ideally I would have done more, but it was hot and I was tired from the massive house-clean project we’ve started, too. 21 more days!

I’ve also improved my diet a fair bit. I’m trying to make a more conscious effort to think before I put things in my mouth, and that has led to me avoiding some unhealthy snacks lately. A friend even brought over a DQ Blizzard, and I ate only half! That’s a damn miracle for me, normally I’d hoover the whole thing down. Breakfast is still a hard one for me, though. I have a hard time eating first thing in the morning, and it’s usually a busy time for me with both kids too. They’re ravenous in the morning, so I spend most of my time getting them fed and I totally forget about myself.

So, loyal readers, a question for you – what are your favourite healthy breakfasts? Inspire me!

30 Days of Fitness

Like many women my age, weight is an issue for me. A big issue (pun intended). Two kids have not been kind to my body, and genetics are hardly on my side, either. Eating is my therapy, too, so I’ve got a lot to work against in my fitness quest. I did a weight loss challenge at the beginning of the year, and while I did very well, I also fell hard off the bandwagon when it was over, and went back to my terrible habits of sloth. What can I do about it? I’m not sure. Motivation is a real issue for me in many aspects of my life, but especially when it comes to health and fitness. I’m not getting any younger, and the pounds aren’t magically melting away, so something’s got to change in my head. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I have to do something. Something is better than nothing, right?

Someone suggested doing Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred every day in the month of September, and that was sort of an “a-ha!” moment for me. I tried the Shred, and while I like it, I can’t do it every day. I just can’t. Nothing kills my fleeting and minimal motivation faster than lack of variety, but doing something every day for a month? That I can get behind. So, that’s my goal for September: do something physical every day. It could be a workout video, going for a run or a walk, doing some weight or resistance training, playing floor hockey… something. Anything. But I will not do nothing. And I figure what better way to stay motivated than to check in every Friday and share my triumphs and failures. I have decided not to make this a scale-related thing, too. I am easily deflated by the normal ups and downs of early weight loss, and I need to focus on fitness & healthy habits, not numbers. I’ve taken before/after measurements and weight (and a photo!), but I won’t repeat for comparison until Day 30.

Since it’s Friday, here’s this week’s check-in:

– Day 1 (Thursday): Floor hockey. Ran hard, played well – probably one of my best games this season!
– Day 2 (Friday): Jillian Michaels’ Shred It With Weights DVD with 10lb kettlebell – good workout but got really tired near the end, that last circuit is HARD! Also did a 2.75km run/walk, my first run in years. I am really hoping to keep on the running through the fall and winter, I loved running before I had kids and was quite proud of my time and distance. I would love to get back into it again!

Apparently it takes 21 days to create a new habit – well, let’s hope I can have some new healthy habits in 30! 2 days down, 28 to go.

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