Fitness Achievement Unlocked

Happy Friday, folks!

I hope everyone had a great week! This week has been a bit of a mixed bag since Penny is teething like crazy and it’s been really, really tough, but I’m still ending the week feeling really proud of myself. Why? Because for the first time, um, let’s go ahead and say literally ever, I worked out every single day this week! 

Clearly what I need to work on now is not making the same dumb face every time I take a gym selfie hahahahaha

Well, okay, I didn’t go to the gym today as I’m insanely sore (I had my final session with my personal trainer yesterday, and we definitely made sure I went out with a bang, haha!) and definitely need to rest. And I know that for some, 4 days in a row isn’t really anything to write home about. But it is for me! And I’m feeling good about my efforts, as well as about the simple fact that I’ve been prioritizing fitness and turning it into a real part of my life.

From the beginning of my (most recent) health journey, one of my goals has been to make working out part of my weekday routine. I figured that being able to work out every morning would help me in my attempts to create more of a routine, in addition to all of the obvious health benefits. Clearly I’m not quite there yet as right now I still need time to rest and recover (especially when lifting heavy things, like my trainer has taught me to do), but this week gave me a lot of hope that I will be able to get there in the near future!

 

And once I’ve hit that goal and see how it feels, I’ll be able to refine it and determine what really feels best for my body and the lifestyle that I want. Whether that means going to the gym 5 every weekday, switching to every other day (including weekends), mixing in other forms of activity, whatever!

Honestly, I’d love to magically turn into the kind of person who truly loves fitness and looks forward to working out every day, but I’m only halfway there currently, and may never be there fully. I can say I like the way it makes me feel, and some days I even genuinely look forward to working out, but most of the time it’s still a bit of a mental battle. And that’s okay, because I’m coming off of an entire lifetime of loathing exercise. So, I don’t want this all to seem like a big ol’ self-congratulatory shoulder-pat, but honestly I feel like I’m doing pretty well.

 

Anyway, in other news, poor Penny had a really, really tough day yesterday. I think she’s got her first MOLAR coming in (all of her teeth are like, sprouting up in her mouth all at once!), and was absolutely inconsolable when she woke up from her post-daycare nap yesterday afternoon.

Like, screaming, crying, sobbing, arching her back, throwing herself out of my arms… and nothing seemed to comfort her. Not holding her, not putting her down, not giving her pacifier to her, not singing to her, not even giving her a bottle. I just felt SO terrible for her. She was really resistant to taking medicine but I was eventually able to get her to take some Motrin and after it kicked in she did calm down a bit, but it was really rough for a while there.

I didn’t have very high hopes for how the night would go either, but thankfully she seemed to do pretty well. She took over an hour to fall asleep, which is very unlike her, but she seemed to sleep reasonably well and didn’t wake up screaming until like 5 AM — way better than I was expecting! She was able to fall back asleep and dozed on and off until around 7:30 this morning (again, thankfully.)

 

And she seems to be doing better today! Still a little, er, temperamental mood-wise, and her teeth are definitely still bugging her, but she hasn’t had another screaming-crying fit (yet…) so hopefully that means she’s not in as much pain, at least? Guess we’ll see how the rest of today goes…!

And with that, I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

You’re Invited to: Yelp’s Fit Club!

Soooo, I know it might not seem like it, but I try not to brag about my super awesome job all the time. Even though working for Yelp as a Community Manager here in Northern Virginia is literally the most perfect thing that has ever happened to me, I really do try to restrain myself from, say, recapping every single Elite Event that I host. ‘Cause, you know, I can kinda see how that’d get annoying, heh.

But, every now and then, something comes along that’s so awesome that I just can’t quite hold it in. And it just so happens that one of those awesome things is, well, happening next month… and you’re invited!

Introducing Yelp’s Fit Club!

Yelp's Fit Club DMV

Yelp’s Fit Club is a promotion that I’ve been working on with my fantabulous coworkers Kimberly (DC) and Mike (Maryland) to bring together an entire month of super fun health + fitness events all across the DMV! We’ve partnered with really great local businesses to put together a full schedule of greatness: we’re talking yoga classes, nutrition challenges, dance workouts, healthy eats meetups, and more!

And the very best part? It’s all F-R-E-E!

Thaaat’s right! All you have to do is RSVP on Yelp.com via your (also free) Yelp account. Want to bring friends? The more, the merrier! Just have them do the same thing on their own Yelp accounts. You’ll receive email confirmations after you RSVP to each event with further instructions and details.

Since most New Year’s resolutions tend to start to wane (shocker!) by the time February rolls around, we figured that it’d the perfect time to do something big health- and fitness-wise. Plus, given that February is American Heart Month, even if you’re not looking to slim down or tone up, coming out to a Fit Club event is just a great way to get your blood pumping!

Blood, Yelp, and Tears!

 

If you live in the DMV area, I would lovelovelove to get my sweat on (or healthy eats on) with you at one of these events! I’ll be at every event that’s taking place in Northern VA (guess it’s a good thing I’ve been working out so much lately, eh?), so I hope to see you there! You can check out the entire list of events here.

Oh, and even if you’re not local to the DC Metro region, you should check Yelp Events to see if Yelp’s Fit Club is happening where you live! Other Community Managers across the country are also hosting Yelp’s Fit Club (or a variation of it) around now, including Orange County, Tampa Bay, NC Triangle, Cleveland, Detroit, Ottawa, and even Honolulu!

In the meantime, I hope everyone has an awesome weekend! Personally, I’m pretty pumped for what this weekend has in store: tonight I’m seeing The Tempest at GMU with my pops, tomorrow Sean and I are celebrating our 3-year anniversary (a few days early), and on Sunday, well, I plan on playing a loooooot of Little Big Planet 3. 😉

See you guys on the flipside!

P90: 2.5 Weeks In

Wellps, I’m a little over two weeks into the P90 program and somehow, miraculously, defying all logic and precedence, I’m still going strong.


Despite the scale-related setbacks that I’ve been experiencing, I’m actually starting to feel pretty great about having set up an actual fitness routine (though, as I explained yesterday, it’s not really that routine yet… but at least I’m still fitting it into my day somewhere!) and the slow improvements I’m making with the various moves in P90 Sculpt and Sweat A.

I still find myself following the modifier for a lot of things, like the press jacks (actual jumping jacks are kinda hard on my bazoombas), pushups, walking planks, and ab stuff, though even that is an improvement on where I was when I started. I didn’t really talk about this in my initial Week 1 update, but even though P90 is the “beginner” videos, I still found myself needing to modify some of the modifier’s moves at first.

There are a lot of moves that require you to be able to hold a plank in order to complete the move (sprawls, walking planks, the half-pushups), and I wasn’t really able to do them well, even following the modifier (which mainly meant just doing the moves slower or less deep). So I’d have to do the half-pushups on my knees instead of on my feet, or just try to hold a plank through the sprawls instead of actually, y’know, sprawling.

But now I’m pretty much doing the full moves as prescribed, and even upping my game and following the non-modified folks in the video, especially with the mixed martial arts moves and cardio. Hoorah!


Just another week and a half of the “A” videos and I’ll be able to move onto Phase B. Which is good, because as I suspected might happen, I am admittedly starting to get a little bit annoyed with watching the exact same video every other day.

Mostly it’s Tony Horton’s “dad jokes” that are starting to make me a little stabby. There’s this one joke that he makes in the Sculpt A video — one of the workout guys in the video’s name is Jim. So when he’s introducing the folks, he goes something like, “Jim! Jim Beam came to work out. Jack & Jim went up the hill to fetch a pail of… liquor!” *cue forced laughter from workout folks* Then Tony continues, “No, they fetched a pail of Shakeology! That’s what they did!” and that’s when my eyes get their own little workout because they are rolling SO HARD.

I’m thinking that I might start doing the videos with the captions + put on my own music, since at this point I think I’ve done the moves enough that I don’t need to really watch the screen to remember how to do them, I just need the cues to know when to move on to the next one.

Anyway, it’s not so bad that I’m tempted to stop watching (yet), since it is somehow gratifying to go through the same cycle of moves because I get better at doing them each time. I’ve also learned a few additional things about this workout so far that I thought I might share:

  • I am finding I like using dumbbells more than the resistance bands during strength moves. The resistance band handles hurt my wrists a bit, and it’s kind of awkward to attach the band to a door hinge because it means I have to do the resistance moves at a little bit of an angle.
  • I think I need a better/thicker mat — my tailbone hurts doing some of the ab moves (especially those targeting my lower abs, which require the use of my legs). I’ve cracked my tailbone once and bruised it twice in my life (I fall down stairs a lot…) so maybe this isn’t a problem that most people have, but I’m definitely thinking I need some more cushioning. Even doubling up my mat doesn’t seem to do enough, so I definitely think I need a thicker mat. Working out on carpet might also be a solution for this, but I have hardwood floors so womp womp.
  • As I mentioned before, in addition to the Sculpt and Sweat videos, there’s also one called “Saturday Special” that you do on, well, Saturdays. Duh. It’s a lot more intense, and still requires a lot of modification for me, but I think this makes sense since it’s the same video throughout the entire 90-day program, not just Phase A.
  • I’m really pleased with how immensely doable P90 is on a daily basis. The time really flies (God bless that countdown timer!) and before you know it, you’re done and you feel nice and sweaty even though it’s only been 28 – 34 minutes. It’s such a short amount of time that I have also started adding in a little bit of additional strength work afterwards if I have some extra time.

Anyway, even with Tony’s annoying dad jokes starting to get on my nerves, I’m still pretty happy with having started the program (as a reminder, I’m just following the fitness plan, not the nutrition plan — I’m not using Shakeology or anything), and while I’m definitely not in fighting shape by any means yet (dude, it’s only been two and a half weeks, haha) I am already seeing differences in my physical capabilities. Which, frankly, is surprising to me because I didn’t actually think progress would be noticeable after only two weeks. But I guess that’s because I’ve never paid attention before! Or, maybe it’s because I’ve never actually worked out this much before. Your guess is as good as mine. 😉

Timing is Everything

Hey friends. Thanks for letting me rant yesterday — not gonna lie, I feel better already just knowing that I’m not alone in being frustrated with the scale not budging. Misery does love itself some company, heh.

Anyway, I’m trying not to stay too long at my own pity party. Onward, right? My super big and impressive plan at this point is… to just keep on doing what I’ve been doing, as many of you have recommended. Like I said yesterday, I do know that I’ve got a lot of good things going on here. So I’m just going to try to stay off the scale for now, and instead concentrate on how I’m feeling. You know, focus on improving my form when I work out, getting stronger, and we’ll see how things look in another week or so.

Oh, and for those who were asking, yep, I did take measurements when I started P90. The program recommends re-checking your measurements and weight every 30 days, so we’ll see if I can hold out that long, or if I crack and measure myself earlier, haha.

So, speaking of P90, as you know, working out more than, like, once a week, is kind of a big deal for me. And incorporating a daily workout into my schedule has definitely been a learning experience. I am super lucky in that my (awesome) job with Yelp is a work-from-home position, which means I’ve got a much more flexible schedule than most folks who work a standard 9-5. So the great thing is that I have pretty much the entire day to workout. Of course, the not so great thing is… that I have the entire day to work out.

See, without the schedule regularity that comes with having to report to an office, my night owl tendencies take over. I think my internal clock is just permanently set to West Coast time.(For example, I’m writing this post at 1:30 AM.)  So I tend to stay up late working on stuff, and then sleep in until I either wake up naturally, unless I have a specific reason to get up.

Usually this is a call or a meeting that I have set up for the following morning, in which case I’ll set my alarm for juuuuust early enough to be able to get ready. So if I have a 9:00 AM call, for example, I probably am not getting out of bed before 8:30. If I have a 10:00 AM meeting, I’m probably peeling myself out from under the covers around 9:00, and then it’s just a wild flurry of showering and schnauzer feeding and applying makeup and donning mismatched clothing as I race out the door by 9:30. What can I say, I like to live on the edge?

Anyway, all of that is meant to illustrate the fact that I very rarely exercise the discipline to wake up early enough to accomplish anything other than the basic stuff I need to do to get ready before beginning my workday. So, as you can imagine, operating on a schedule like that means that working out tends to get pushed into the late afternoon or evening, when I have time again. Or, like in yesterday’s case, when my entire day suddenly found itself filled by an accidentally super-long nap (I was apparently one of the few non-government-employed folks who had MLK Day off from work), I didn’t work out until like 10 PM. Whoops.

And hey, that’s one great thing about choosing to do a home workout program — it is just there waiting for me at all times, ready to go whenever I get around to pressing play. I can literally work out whenever. Of course, they do say that working out later at night isn’t great because it ramps your body up too much before sleeping, but since I usually don’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning anyway, I’m not that concerned about it, haha.

I know there are tons of people who hit the gym after work, or get their workout in over their lunch break, so it’s not like I’m doing anything groundbreaking by not always working out first thing in the morning. But the thing is, I’m finding that on the days when I do manage to get my sweat on in the AM, I honestly feel like I have “better” days overall. Exercising first thing makes me feel so accomplished heading into the rest of my day. And I’d like to think that it helps inform my food choices as well, leading me to make healthier choices throughout the day because I’ve already been in a nice, sweaty mindset from the beginning.

Anyway, I guess I should just revel in the continued shock that comes with the fact that I’ve even made it through 16 days of active fitness and working out, regardless of the time at which I manage to do so. I mean, I used to spend more time actively talking myself out of going to the gym than I ever did actually working out. It would go something like this:

“Okay, you need to go to the gym. Just workout for half an hour, and you’ll be done. Or, well, I mean, sure, it’s only 30 minutes of actually working out, but once your factor in getting dressed, getting into the car, driving to the gym, finding a parking spot, walking inside, coming home, taking a shower, and getting dressed again for the day, it’s way more time than that. Maybe I should just skip it…”

Yeah, pretty pathetic, I know. But, hey, I am really, really good at talking myself out of working out. Which is, again, why I am so magical and amazing for having stuck it out with P90 even just this far, hahaha. As long as I’m doing it at some point every day — be it 10 AM or 10 PM — I still consider it a win.

It was actually being down in Macon and spending time with my sister that really helped put things into perspective for me when it comes to being able to fit working out into my daily schedule. My sister Jenny manages to do so much with her day, always including working out (she teaches fitness classes) and handling my niece Mia. She makes it seem so reasonable to hit the gym for an hour, especially when you do it first thing in the morning, because you still have your entire day ahead of you once you’re done! Meanwhile, I’ve spent the majority of my life totally clueless as to how to make the most of my day. (“Aw man, I only have time to watch five more episodes of Gilmore Girls in a row today, where did the day go?!)

Anyway, all of this rambling is meant to say that I am going to try and start making more of an effort to organize my mornings so that I can take care of my workout in the AM. Because it does feel pretty good starting my day off that way, and I’m all about doing things that make me feel good about the fact that I’m willingly sweating on a daily basis. I’m even setting an alarm for the mornings again! (You guys probably hate me so much after reading this post, hahahaha.)

When do you tend to work out? Is it by choice or by necessity?

Every Day I’m Struggling

I know that this is like, the ultimate white girl problem, but I really struggle with working out.

I’ve just… never really liked it. I didn’t grow up in a super active family, I was never very athletic and don’t have great physical coordination. I don’t love getting sweaty, and I hate being obligated to shower (especially with my various hair colors, where it’s important not to wash my hair too frequently.) Working out is not something I’ve ever been able to easily work into my routine (primarily because I never tried that hard to work it into my routine, but I digress), and it’s not something I’m used to doing on a daily basis.

The P90 schedule 

But, as you are aware, I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and really shift my health and weight loss efforts to have a major emphasis on fitness.

Which, you know, means I actually have to work out.

And, amazingly enough, I am! Frankly, I’m pretty impressed with myself for simply being able to say that I’m two weeks in to this daily working out thing and I haven’t missed one yet! Given that I’m pretty sure I could win the Guinness World Record for World’s Laziest Woman, that’s a pretty big milestone for me.

But before I give myself too many self-congratulatory pats on the back, I gotta be honest. Because while I did work out yesterday, it was the first day where I almost didn’t. I almost skipped my workout, and I almost broke my streak.

Sure, I’m sure I could’ve mentally justified it if I had gone ahead and skipped out on my gettin’ sweaty time. I was tired — I didn’t fall asleep until 3 AM the night before.  I had a lot of work stuff on my plate. It was cold and I feel like I’m getting sick and I wanted to take a nap and blah blah blah. Miraculously, I managed to hold steady against all of these built-in excuses and peel myself off the couch long enough to work out… at about 9 PM.

Now, I know, I know, the important thing is that I didn’t skip it, that I did do it, even if it was late in the day, even if it was as a last-resort, and I should feel good about that. Except, I didn’t really feel good about how the workout went either.

My muscles were heavy, my body was aching, and everything seemed like it took three times as much effort. So I only really made it about halfway through the workout before essentially giving up and just half-assing the rest of the moves.

And I didn’t feel so great about that. Which is also kind of a new feeling for me, because who would’ve known? Who really cares if I don’t give my 100% during a workout? It’s not like Tony Horton is going to crawl through my TV set to give me what-for. But, as it turns out, I care! Who knew?!

And after giving it a little bit of thought, I think that I came to some important realizations that will probably be good to note as I continue through this journey:

1. Taking a rest day is important.

I didn’t take my rest day on Sunday like I was supposed to. I did an extra day of cardio because I had started P90 mid-week, and I wanted to make sure my first week started strong. And as someone who has always had a disproportionate number of rest days over workout days (you know, like, 10:1, ahahaha), I didn’t really realize that giving your body a day to recover — even if it doesn’t feel like you need to recover — is an important thing.

I think that my body feeling sluggish and my legs feeling heavy and all that stuff is, at least in part, due to me not giving myself enough time to really recover. Not that I’m here running marathons or anything, and hey, maybe when I’m a little bit more fit, I won’t really need a full rest day, because my body will be much more used to pushing itself. But at least for now, while things are still new, my body’s still adjusting, and my muscles are still being woken up from their long, long slumber, I should keep a closer eye on things and let myself rest if need be.

2. Turns out, fueling your body right matters.

I’ve never been a huge fan of health lingo. I’d kind of roll my eyes or find my mouth forming a smug little smirk anytime I read references to “fueling the machine” or “feeding the temple.” I mean, it’s just EATING, right?! Well, maybe it’s not, exactly.

Turns out that if you are trying to lead a more active lifestyle, these terms start to take on a little more meaning. The timing of when you eat really does impact how energized you feel — i.e. “You gotta fill the tank before going for a drive!” (LOL eyeroll.) I used to go most of the day without eating, and would only finally eat my first meal of the day in the mid-to-late afternoon. But now? If I expect myself to workout in the morning, I need to make sure I’ve eaten something beforehand. Only, not right beforehand, because my acid reflux is bad enough without sprawls and burpees contributing to the issue, haha.

Yesterday, my eating schedule got a little messed up due to a series of appointments & meetings that I had mid-morning. So I didn’t really end up eating anything of significance until around 2 PM, and I do think that contributed heavily to my lack of motivation to workout.

Furthermore, due to my slightly hectic schedule, for the first time in the past two weeks, I totally picked convenience over nutrition. Which actually brings me to my final point…

3. Not all calories are created equal.

I like to think that I’m pretty knowledgable about calories at this point. I’ve been counting ’em for a long time. I can tell you off the top of my head how many calories are in an egg (70) or a banana (90) or a cup of romaine (8). And while I was losing weight the first time around, I took a lot of pride in being creative with my daily calorie counts.

I felt (and I do still feel) that it’s totally possible for you to continue going out to eat and ordering in, and still lose weight. Because a calorie is a calorie, right? Even if you eat out a lot, you can still make food choices that keep your calories a little lower. And if you were to spend two-thirds of your daily caloric allotment on fast food, but still stay under your overall intake goal, it’s not that big a deal. Because as long as your total number of calories in is lower than your total number of calories out, you’ll eventually lose weight.

Weeeell, I still believe that’s true. Kind of. However, when you add physical exertion into the equation, the type of food you’re ingesting becomes a lot more important. Suddenly, your body is actively utilizing the calories you ingest for energy. To make it so you are physically able to do the sprints and the press jacks and the side lunges and the tricep dips. And the kind of energy your body extracts from a McDouble (390) is definitely different than what it might take from, say, a salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, and avocado (which could land you around 390).

Given my poor performance yesterday, I feel pretty confident that the kinds of calories I need to consume matter a little more than they used to. I had a lazy, convenience-driven day yesterday, and I really felt it in my muscles when I worked out. I felt sluggish and heavy and just general not-great. So while a calorie may just be a calorie when it comes to weight loss, a calorie is NOT just a calorie when it comes to fitness.

So, yeah. Consider these my beginner’s lessons learned thus far. Granted, it may be a little bit silly for me to be trying to spout these wisdoms now, with my active lifestyle still in its relative infancy. But, hey, a learning is a learning, right?

I mean, all that said, I am still proud of myself for rallying and working out yesterday. In spite of the many factors I had working against me, at least I can say that I tried! And some activity is always better than no activity, there’s no doubt about that.

Besides, today is a brand new day, so hopefully with some better fuel in my system (oatmeal for breakfast!) a full-night’s sleep (in bed by 1 AM!) and a more normalized eating schedule (awake in the single digits!), I’ll be back to sweating it out and feeling good about it in no time!