Archive for October, 2010

Kettlebell class (and Renegade Row SUCCESS!)

I’ve had a long week.  Last night, when I was finally sitting down to unwind a bit before bed, I noticed a message on my Facebook page from the kettlebell instructor at my gym.  She was wondering if I was planning to attend class this morning, since the other woman who usually takes it would be out sick.  This is a drop-in class, and I take it whenever I can, but sometimes I’m just feeling too tired and I decide to take a rest day.  Of course, this doesn’t mean any extra sleep; Fridays are trash/recycling day in my neighborhood so my sleep is unfailingly interrupted by the sweet cacophony of my two dogs protecting the house (how’s that for poetic??).  Remembering this, I quickly replied that I was planning to attend (but omitted Jeb’s suggestion that I remind her that I need to function this weekend).  I had trouble sleeping last night, but got up on time and went to the gym.

The Class

I had time for a good warm-up, so I was ready to go when the instructor, Pam, arrived.  We started the workout, and Pam reminded me that I could rest as needed since there were no other participants.  Despite my long week, I felt great.  The longest round of the entire workout included sets of Renegade Rows.  Are you familiar with them?  Here’s a good video description of how to do them:

This guy makes them look easy, but they are NOT!  In the past, I simply hadn’t been able to do them.  They require a combination of strong core stability, shoulder stability, and plain strength while rowing.  I probably haven’t even attempted the exercise in a solid six months, so I was a little nervous.  I also knew that my strength had definitely improved so I decided to go for it.  I was able to get all my reps (except one on the first set) with 20kg!!  It is SO satisfying to have improvement like that!  I eeked out the rest of the workout, and felt energized when I left the gym.


And now, for the weekend…

We got some good news on the personal front this morning, so our moods are more relaxed than they have been in months!  We may run some errands tonight or tomorrow, and maybe even work on some painting and home improvements.  Jeb and I are thinking of having a New Year’s party, so we’re trying to get everything all fixed up.

Winning the Day

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently working on Todd Durkin’s Impact Body Plan. The workouts are fun (but TOUGH – see previous posts), and I’m already feeling changes in my body.  However, the part of the book that is helping me the most is the chapters devoted to the psychological aspects of dieting/body composition.  Or, as Durkin says, “Getting your mind right.”  This video, aside from the silly halloween costume, has some great tips for making change –


He says to “Win the Day.”  This is something I need to keep in mind.  I need to avoid impulse and be mindful with my eating (there’s that word again!).  As I mentioned yesterday, I’m having trouble keeping my eating habits particularly effective.  I don’t want to have to count calories all the time again, but it may come to that.  In the meantime, however, I need to focus on whether I WANT something or if I actually NEED it (as Durkin says).  There’s no need to work so hard at the gym and then waste some of the benefits by eating junk.  I’ve definitely slipped up some today, but I’m going to switch gears and try to Win the REST of the day! 🙂

My plan for this –

  • Cook a healthy dinner.  I’m thinking pistachio-crusted chicken with butternut squash.
  • Drink a LOT of water – and make sure I’m not thirsty when I think I’m hungry.
  • Only eat the food I brought with me to work – not allow myself to be tempted by the baked goods and halloween treats around at work.

Wish me luck!

Gorgeous Fall Day! (and a run)

It is positively GORGEOUS out today!  The air is finally dry, but still warm and slightly breezy.  I went out for a jog this morning to get in my “conditioning” workout of the week.  I hadn’t jogged at all since the warrior dash (about 5 weeks ago), and I was shocked at how much I had lost in terms of my running ability.  I’ve still been working out consistently, and I know my cardio has been good, but my legs just aren’t used to pounding the pavement right now.  I pushed myself, but was smart about it – I don’t want to get injured.  I ran only 1.6 miles, but there were some good hills in there.  Plus, my muscles are really tired from all my other workouts this week – plus helping friends move on Sunday.  It was really nice to be outside enjoying the sunshine for (what may be) one of the last truly NICE days of the year.


I paused a couple times along my route to take some photos of some of the trees changing in my neighborhood.  I have a nice camera on my phone, but I’m not good at taking really good pictures with it, yet.  I should work on that! 🙂

I love the puffy clouds in the first picture.  The tree in the third picture is actually VERY pretty right now, but my lighting was off – bummer.  I’m hoping Jeb and I are able to take the dogs hiking this weekend – I want to enjoy this warmer weather as much as possible before it’s gone!  We might end up working on the house, though – which is also good to finish while the weather is nice.

I’m definitely going to have to continue jogging. I want to be competitive in the Warrior Dash next year, so I don’t want to have to start running “from scratch” again next year!


Training log

I took a much-needed rest day yesterday, but got up early today to get in my 3rd lift from the new program.  I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with the routine and have been improving each workout – both with increasing the weights used and decreasing the rest times.  At the end of each workout, though, my muscles are burning!  For my “Grand Finale Conditioning” I did kettlebell snatches for my first set (intending to repeat for the other sets), but was so smoked that I switched to single-arm swings.


We’ve been having some really warm, muggy weather here in New England.  Today, the high temperature was 73°F!  Plus, the gym isn’t using the air conditioning anymore, so the humidity was even higher inside and I was REALLY sweaty.  When I left, it looked like I had been working out in the peak summer weather!


These workouts are challenging, but fun.  I don’t stop moving for more than a minute at a time, which is a dramatic change from 5/3/1.  Plus, even though my muscles are tired, my energy level is MUCH higher than normal.  I’m also quickly improving my cardio fitness, which is a plus.  I was worried that these workouts would seem less fun (and like more WORK – haha, I don’t want that!), and in a way, that is true.  My motivation remains high, though, and I feel really committed to finishing every rep of every set.


I am struggling a bit with my eating now.  I don’t feel any more hungry in between meals, but when I start eating, I just want to FEED.  Not sure what’s up with that, but I have to be careful!  My mindful approach to eating is still working, but I am worried that I will start to gradually slip.


Tomorrow, I’m planning a nice, slow run – should be gorgeous with the leaves changing!

In other news…

It’s my mom’s birthday!  Happy Birthday Mom – I love you!

Also, when I got home from the gym today, I had a copy of “The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011” in my front door.  YESSSSS!  I LOVE these cookbooks.  I learn so much about food chemistry and cooking techniques by reading the descriptions of the recipes – if you’re not familiar with the “Cooks Illustrated” and “ATK” family, there is a blurb at the beginning of every recipe describing how various ingredients and/or cooking techniques were chosen to achieve specific flavors and textures.  I also love that the recipes, while generally labor intensive, are generally pretty fail-safe, so I don’t hesitate to make them for other people on the first try!  I’ll probably cook a meal out of the book this weekend – can’t wait!

New Program (and a busy weekend)

I keep thinking that it must be almost Friday…but it’s not.  I have a full week of business before another crazy weekend.  This past weekend FLEW by so quickly.  On Saturday, I had to find a costume for a Halloween party with some of Jeb’s coworkers.  This was (perhaps unnecessarily) stressful for me, since I do not enjoy dressing up in a costume.  I think it feels too “out there” and vulnerable.  Also, Jeb got some fake blood for his costume that was a little TOO realistic.  I wasn’t expecting him to be wearing any makeup yet and when I turned around and saw “blood” leaking out of his ear and mouth, I was nauseated – and freaked out!  (At this point, I want to note that normally, blood does not nauseate me, but I cannot stomach ANYTHING – pain, blood, etc. if Jeb is the one dealing with it) When he saw the look on my face, Jeb washed off the most offensive of the makeup and we went to the party without further incident.  On Sunday, we got up early to help some friends move.  They had a fair amount of stuff and moved in to a 3rd floor apartment!  All of my workouts paid off, though, since I was easily able to keep up with everyone else and get the job done.


I started the new program – The Impact Body Plan – on Saturday too.  Today, I completed the second strength workout.  It is TOUGH.  I think part of the problem is that I hadn’t done anything with this much volume in awhile.  Also, rest times are short, so the cardio aspect is much more difficult than what I had been doing.  Each workout concludes with “Grand Finale Conditioning” which can be done with any kind of cardio – treadmill, elliptical, rower, etc.  On Saturday, I used the rower, and today I pushed the sled.

I’ve decided to change up my training logs.  These workouts are specific and all listed in the book, so instead of blogging the specifics of each workout, I will simply comment on them.  Today was particularly challenging after the busy weekend, but I was happy to push through all of that and have a good workout.  I can’t believe how much of a difference rest times make in the amount of work that can be done.  Normally, I can easily do 10 pushups if I’m rested.  This program requires 20 pushups after 20 weighted lunges.  I had to use a rack to do incline pushups just to get in all the reps.  Hopefully my body will adjust quickly and I will be back on the floor in no time.  The dramatic change in programming is definitely testing my ego, since I have had to drop weight in nearly every exercise.

Training Log

Another successful Deadlift Day!

Yesterday, I approached my workout with some trepidation.  My workouts all week had been GREAT, and I was starting to feel a little bit of the wear and tear.  I was worried that my  hard work all week would negatively effect my important Thursday ritual.  Deadlifting isn’t my favorite exercise (Squats are), but I’ve learned to love them – especially after my gym got bars with a smaller diameter and bumper plates.  Suddenly, my stubby little fingers can reach all the way around the bar and my range of motion is much more realistic.  My numbers have been improving steadily since I’ve been working with the progressions in 5/3/1 and, even more so, since I have had those other little boosts.  Yesterday’s workout:


3 @ 100#

3 @ 115#

15 @ 130#


Hip Thrusts:

2 sets of 15 @ 45#


Single-leg Romanian Deadlift:

2 sets of 8 @ 16kg


Normally, I can hit 8-10 reps on my last heavy set – but FIFTEEN??  I was so excited (still am!).  Also, you may have noticed, but I decided to cut my accessory work since I had such a productive session in my main lift and was feeling so exhausted.  All in all, though, a successful day!


Have you tried Deadlifting?  You should, especially if you’re a woman.