Treadmill Sweatfest

After a great 9-mile fall run yesterday, I planned out my second OTF-hack workout and was pretty excited about it…that’s always a good sign! Then my upstairs neighbors kept me up until 5 so I slept in a bit later than usual. When I finally rolled out of bed, I hit the tread for this endurance/strength/power combo day:
Treadmill intervals - Endurance, Strength, Power - OTF-hack

I was a sweaty mess! I had the whole gym to myself until literally my last 30 seconds and then someone came in and got on the tread right next to me. Don’t you hate looking like you’re leaving because of someone else?! I swear, I was finished! The 3.5 miles on the treadmill and my sweaty mess of a body were evidence enough of that! With someone there, I was too self-conscious to do my strength workout in the gym, so I headed back up to my apartment to complete this:

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I timed each set to match up with the length of the cardio blocks, so I did them for 9 minutes, 8 minutes and 7 minutes, respectively. Since the first block was long-ish and I realized I was now the asshole jumping up and down on my downstairs neighbor’s ceiling (albeit at a REASONABLE time), I added in tri dips on my coffee table (10) and supermans (15).

After the cardio part, I thought, “that was hard, but I did it.” That’s a great feeling! As long as I keep pushing myself, these cardio/strength workouts are definitely going to help me maintain the level of fitness I achieved from six months at OTF.

Oh, but another hard part of at-home workouts is getting on the floor, which I don’t normally do, and seeing the dust situation under my furniture! It was hard to keep going instead of running to get my broom – but you can bet I did that as soon as my timer went off!

My OTF Hack Workout

Today I attempted my first post-OTF (RIP) gym sesh. Actually, I more than attempted it, I crushed it!

I miss OTF, but I kept OTF-style (cardio + strength interval) workouts on my training plan 2-3 times a week.

Today, I did a strength day (aka hills for days):

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I don’t have access to weights right now, so for the strength blocks, I’m sticking to bodyweight exercises. I used this POPSUGAR circuit routine, doing each circuit continuously for 8 minutes:

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It was a great workout, although having to pay attention to the cardio part instead of just following along was somewhat mentally challenging, but that’s kind of the appeal of this style of workout – it’s tough, but it’s short and you can get through it!

Exploring the PNW: Mount Pilchuck

I went on my first, AMAZING Washington hike two weeks ago and I’ve been dying to go again! The weekends since have been rainy and I’m not quite ready for that, so I’ll just tell you about my trek up Mount Pilchuck.

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My coworkers are all very outdoorsy and active (prereq in Seattle, I think) and a group of them goes up a different mountain every weekend. When I told another coworker I was going with the group, the look on his face was pretty much like, oh my gosh, she’s going to fall off a cliff and die.

Some of their hikes can be pretty intense, but for my first one, they took it easy on me and we went to Mount Pilchuck. It’s a nice little 5.5 mile roundtrip, 2300 elevation gain hike in the North Cascades northeast of Seattle. It was pretty much the best day ever for it, not a cloud in the sky and cool.

It was a crowded day on the trail, so we went off the trail and scrambled up the rocks for about half of the hike. It was my first real experience with that – and with snow! – and it was so much fun!

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The top is a little lookout hut some people spend the night in. You can see Mount Rainier and Mount Baker and Seattle and the Sound. Ridiculous views!

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I think I did pretty well overall – no falling off cliffs and got an invite for another one sometime. On the way back down we took the trail, which was pretty much just ice, so there was a lot of slipping and sliding, but that was probably the hardest part. So we stopped and had a beer here:

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Overall, it took eight hours! I wasn’t really expecting that, but my Chipotle burrito and 9pm bedtime never felt so good! Washington is a playground of countless hikes like this and I’m so excited to get out there and play!

 

Finding My New Yoga with ClassPass

In Arizona, I had my workout routine down. I loved Lifetime and its yoga and spin classes. It pained me to cancel my membership, regardless of the fact that I wasn’t going to live anywhere near one! There are sooo many options for working out in Seattle – an LA Fitness right by work, a 24 Hour a block from my apartment, my apartment gym, boutique gyms a few blocks away and an endless amount of specialized studios a stone’s throw away. Oh, and gorgeous weather and many new running routes to discover.

I was going to stick to my apartment gym and running outside for a while, but I was craving yoga, so when I got the opportunity to try a free month of ClassPass, I jumped on it.

ClassPass partners with local studios – spin, yoga, pilates, dance, barre, boxing, you name it – and for a monthly fee, you can attend classes at any of those studios. I think the fee is different depending on your market, but it’s cheaper than most monthly memberships at the partner studios and you get to mix it up instead of being stuck with just one type of workout.

The concept is wonderful, but in reality, I attended three classes at the same yoga studio closest to my new place (which is the max you can attend at any one studio in a given month). I’m still figuring out my routine (and traffic!) so I wasn’t able to get to any more. Once I get settled a little more, I may consider trying it again.

If you want to try ClassPass in your area, click here for $25 off your first month!

Work it Out: Orangetheory Fitness

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Orangetheory Fitness! During the month of August they are doing a salute to the troops and giving new guests a free three-class package. I joined a friend who already is a member and a friend who was also doing the trial and finished the last of my classes last night and I loved it.

Orangetheory is an hour-long class that fits in cardio and strength training. Everyone wears a heart rate monitor and TV screens around the room show your heart rate and what zone you’re in, with the idea being to stay in orange or red (84% max heart rate and above) for a good portion of the class. Or if you’re me, like the whole class. I’ve never worked with a heart rate monitor before, but apparently my body likes to get to work.

No, everyone is not looking at your heart rate and judging you. Yes, I did look up and compare to see if others were in the same color zone I was in or if I was the only one totally overexerting myself, but in a group of strangers, I didn’t know which profile on the screen matched which sweaty class goer, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

The class of 24 (different sizes at different studios) is split into two groups. One group does cardio first – treadmill intervals – and the other does weights – three rounds of 3-4 exercises AMRAP style. They say you can burn 600-1000 calories during the class (my results told me I was burning about 500-600).

What I liked: Someone telling me what to do. All I had to do was show up and commit to working for an hour. It forced me back into running and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and I love it all over again. The music and the fast pace – the hour just flies by.

What I didn’t like: Personally, nothing. Well, okay, I guess the price of actually getting a membership because I’d love to join, but since I can’t quit my gym and it has all the equipment and more to do the same type of workout on my own (minus the motivation), I can’t justify spending even more monthly on a class-based studio.

The thing I didn’t like in general is that it’s a fast-paced class and you have one instructor working with a large group, split up doing different things, so the newbie in the corner doing either ineffective at best, unsafe at worst, strength training is not going to get the coaching he or she needs. I witnessed it last night when the older lady across from me was swinging her weights all over.  While they don’t necessarily emphasize speed over form, they also don’t promote form over speed.

As I said, though, I really liked it overall and I’ve already got my own OTF-style workouts in the works!

Bikini Series Check-in: Week 8

Eight weeks ago I started the Tone It Up Bikini Series – eight weeks of workouts leading up to the first day of summer.

No, I don’t have an awesome before and after to show off, I’m actually tempted to call the whole thing a fail because I didn’t complete every single workout. We’re doing a personality assessment/exploration at work and I see now that I’m disappointed because I’m a high-S (for steadiness) personality and I love to finish things and get very tied to my projects (all yep).

BUT, traveling coast to coast kinda got in the way and it was really freaking cool, so it’s okay. Also, I’m going to be nicer to myself and not call it a total fail because I did get pretty sweaty on occasion, there were mornings I got up nice and early to make sure I got the workouts in and I learned some new things:

New strength moves – Tone It Up deals mostly with light or body-resistance strength training, but they are decent workouts. I don’t need to be so sore and unable to move for three days after for it to be a good workout.

I can push myself through interval training and it’s probably pretty good for me.

The biggest takeaway was: any workout is better than no workout. There were some days when the schedule called for a 20 minute booty call and then spending the evening visualizing your goals, I was like, “for serious?” But, it helped me see that consistency is key and the truth is the woman who follows the TIU plan religiously is probably going to be better off than me when I’m running for an hour two days a week plus taking a vigorous cardio class on the weekend. And I also found out I have it in me to suck it up when I don’t feel like working out after work because, hey, it’s only 40 minutes.

So, Karena and Katrina have a first week of summer schedule up now and are going to keep up the weekly workouts. While that’s not my whole plan, I’m a Tone It Up convert and I think I’ll love having the resource for those days when I don’t want to be my own trainer.

Bikini Series Check-in: Week 1

Last Monday marked eight weeks until the first day of summer (although we hit 100 in Phoenix this weekend, so it’s here NOW) and the start of the Tone It Up Bikini Series. I’ve followed Karena and Katrina’s blog, show, Instagram, but not really gotten in on any of it until now.

The Bikini Series offers cardio and strength routines for every day of the week. I like that it’s specific, but also leaves room for flexible choices. Here’s how I made the first week schedule work for me:

Monday: Bikini series cardio interval (3 miles on my new treadmill) + arms routine

Tuesday: 20 minutes on bike trainer + sculpting video

Wednesday: 3 mile run + booty workout

Thursday: 2 mile run + sculpting video

Friday: 40 minute swim + ab routine

Saturday: spin class + arms routine

Sunday: 20 minutes spin + kickboxing class

I will admit I had kind of written Tone It Up off as fluff and not intense enough for me. I really don’t believe those girls maintain their banging bodies with five-minute light-weight strength training routines and a 30 minute run every morning. In fact, in addition to the routines they prescribe, Karena trained for a half Ironman earlier this year.

BUT, I do think Tone It Up is a great reminder that something is better than nothing when you have limited time and/or motivation and then when I am ready to step it up, I can.

Working out usually kick starts my healthy eating, so I’ve been doing well with that all week too and I’m down a few pounds and can see my abs a little better already!

Other things that are helping me get back on track:

My new treadmill…It’s love. It’s so great to have such quick access to a run (counting outside out because it’s too warm)

Having a job I actually like…it takes up more of my day, but I actually have energy in the evening instead of being emotionally worn down.

My busy summer calendar…it’s not called the bikini series for nothing! I’m ready to get my body confidence back for my beach and girls’ trips I have planned!

Anyone else doing this series or getting ready for summer in a different way? Am I the only one vowing to be consistent throughout the fall and winter next time instead of trying to cram it in just before skimpy clothing season (kinda like every year)?

A Week WITH Workouts

Since I last posted, lamenting about not being able to get my butt in gear, it’s been just about a month and I’m very happy to say I’m back on track.

Call it a combination of considering a triathlon this spring + the already 80 degree weather reminding me that, as a friend said, “spring training and shorts season is in like five minutes and swimsuit season is in like ten” + support/accountability partner + momentum. Whatever it is, I’ll take it! This is how my workouts went last week:

Monday: 4 mile tempo run + strength
Tuesday: hot vinyasa class
Wednesday: strength + 30-min (1200 meter) swim
Thursday: 4 mile run
Friday: hot slow flow yoga class
Saturday: 3 mile increasing pace run + strength + 2 mile steady run
Sunday: hot vinyasa class

Sean came with me to the gym on four of those trips! Making a plan to go after work and having someone hold me to that is huge for my motivation, which usually peaks at about 3pm and then heads straight down, sometimes not making it to 5pm.

Notes from the week:

1. All of my runs were treadmill, which I normally don’t like and it’s gorgeous weather and there’s really no excuse, except that those were days I went to the gym with the boyfriend and just as he encourages me, I want to encourage him.

2. Mentally I’m having trouble with increasing mileage, particularly on a treadmill when I can just hop off and call it good, which is why on Saturday I split up my 5 miles (of COURSE I’m still stubborn enough to get them all done)!

3. I used to consider yoga strength training and it certainly gave me definition in places I had been missing it, but I’m back to lifting, and for that, I blame a picture that Mama Laughlin posted showing her basically at the same weight, but looking fantastic when she added in strength. I can’t for the life of me find that damn picture.

4. Some days I’ll walk to the weights section and be like, “I got this.” Some days, I’ll be like, “what’s this heavy thing?” On those days I hide in the women’s section (at Gold’s) or an empty fitness studio (at Lifetime) and try to remember exercises I saw on blogs, in magazines or just make up some stupid ones myself.

5. I have been way too inconsistent with my yoga in the past few months and the classes this week were TOUGH, but I went and I know they’ll get easier.

6. I hoped to swim closer to a full mile (1600) in my 30 minutes, but that’s also something I know will improve.

7. Working out makes me a much happier person and makes it easier to get everything else on track. I ate better this week and my house was in a much better state than it had been. Sean is weighing the benefits of happy Megan v. the drawbacks type-A Megan. You can’t have one without the other!

A Week Without Workouts

Last week was one of those weeks. Going way back, I was rocking my training and two Saturdays ago did my first long run – 8 miles without too much build up to it and it felt pretty good. But that night and the next day I was hobbling a bit and since it was my fourth day running in a row, I decided to skip the next day’s shake out run.

And I haven’t worked out since! Oh no! When last week started, I felt overwhelmed by having to host a jewelry party on Thursday and then go to Flagstaff for a bachelorette party on Friday. Why is it when you’re going away for the weekend, the whole week feels extra short and busy and stressed?

Seriously, though…a jewelry party (a girls’ night in, really) and a girls’ weekend in a relaxing mountain town? Yeah, not all that stressful, but they were looming over my head and I felt too busy to workout. I totally wasn’t! I just had to clean a little and pack a little (and have a fun date night with Sean).  Each day still had 24 hours and that’s more than enough time.

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I think it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed after returning from a trip. Unfortunately I don’t have today off, so after getting back from Flag and showing a few houses to a potential buyer yesterday afternoon, I caught Bridesmaids on TV last night for a little unwinding and now it’s right back to the grind.

BUT I don’t want to spend the whole week feeling like I’m playing catch up, so I’m not going to let that mentality take over again. My training sessions for the week are actually pretty manageable and I was having a lot of fun with my workouts before I apparently decided to quit cold turkey. It’s time to have some fun again.

How long do you go off track before you shake some sense back into yourself?

Attack of the Holiday Sweets

I’ve officially been at my new job for a month! Time has just flown by!

At first I was very concerned my little Corolla would drive itself back to my old office out of habit, but I’ve more than adjusted to my new drive (it’s just as close) and my new hours.

The thing that hasn’t changed is that around this time of year, the office is filling up with sweets!

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On Monday, we received homemade fudge, a Fairytale Brownie assortment box, the biggest box of cookies ever and a very large Russell Stover box. Seriously, the cookie and chocolate boxes were so large they looked like props! And that was just in one day and that is just the beginning of the season! My new real estate team is very well-loved by their clients and the partners we use, so I can only expect more to come pouring in.

On Monday, I did my fair share of sampling, but then I had a CTJ with myself.

If I’m going to make it through the holiday season without actively training for a race, with my new normal of maybe getting to the gym four times a week, and while still trying to reach a small weight loss goal, I’m going to need a better plan than “see what everything tastes like and then check again in a few hours to see if it changed at all.” Yeah, that’s not a good plan.

I started thinking about making a trade-off plan…I eat a cookie, I do 100 jumping jacks; a chocolate equals 30 crunches…but I’m not a big fan of exercise as punishment or trying to figure out exactly what would negate the calories consumed. I saw that in a Tracey Gold movie once, it doesn’t end well. (Um…when did I miss the memo that there are full-length Lifetime movies on YouTube?!)

Instead, I am just going to increase my activity level and eat smarter in ways that still let me enjoy the holidays.

Take my dogs on long walks a few times a week. They need the exercise and the nearby neighborhoods have great Christmas lights!

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Get in a small workout every day. I saw this on the BERRY‘s Daily Motivation the other day and think it’s a great idea so I may just create my own. I caught a few minutes of an infomercial for T25 over the weekend and am reminded that even little things move you toward your goals! I used to hate showering without sweating for the day…time to get back in that habit!

Suck it up and go for a bundled up run every now and then. Note to anywhere north or east of me, it’s not actually cold, just by Arizona standards.

Okay, maybe find a race to train for, even if it’s a medium- to long-term goal. That helps me stay on track more than anything else I’ve found.

Sweat like you mean it once a week. Sometimes working out is just going through the motions, but I’ve decided to sweat like I mean it at least once a week – long hikes/trail runs, back-to-back kickbox or spin and yoga classes on a Saturday morning, long bike rides, bricks, basically anything for longer than my standard 60 minutes.

Crossfit like a badass.

Set up my bike trainer and spin it out while watching a holiday movie. At least part of it before snuggling on the couch!

Work out in the morning whenever possible. Morning workouts always win for me. If I do it before I have time to think about it or come up with excuses. It’s even more important during the holidays when last-minute plans can pop up and my errand list starts to get out of control.

greekcucsTake my lunch to work. If I’m tempted to add a sweet treat to the end, it’s not as damaging to my calorie count for the day. I’ve been doing well with this since I started. It’s been the return of the Greek salad! It’s much easier to just avoid the eating out habit than to start it then try to break it. 

Keep tracking my calories. I’ve been using My Fitness Pal for most of the year now and there are definitely days (like Monday) that I’d like to pretend some of my snacks or meals didn’t happen, but I keep putting them in to keep myself accountable. It helps me balance the rest of my day and also sometimes helps me realize the damage isn’t as bad as I might think it is!

My first steak I cooked myself for steak fajitas after a great gym date!

My first steak I cooked myself for steak fajitas after a great gym date!

Keep planning dinners at home. I generally know when I’ll be partaking in holiday festivities ahead of time, so I don’t have to plan meals for those nights, but on the other days I can put a little effort out to cook something good at home to make up for it! Bonus points when I use my slow cooker for a warm soup on a cold winter day!

Reboot with protein shakes or juicing every now and then. Sometimes my belly needs a rest!

Drink delicious Starbucks coffee treats while I’m out shopping. I’m loving SB’s caramel brulee latte. Yum, but it definitely packs a bigger calorie punch than my typical morning black coffee, so I try to avoid stopping on the way to work. But while I’m out shopping, particularly at outdoor centers, a warm treat is an extra special treat!

You can have it all, just not all at once. Putting the treats off limits will make them more enticing. Telling myself it’s okay to have a treat every now and then is a much smarter option. I strive for 80/20.

Keep dressing in my cute new skinnies and leggings. The not-so-new boy has made significant improvements to my fashion sense since we started dating, particularly my winter clothes, but there’s no hiding weight gain in skinny jeans or leggings!

Motivate myself with new workout clothes when I reach my goal! While out Christmas shopping I’ve found more than a few things I’d love to add to my workout rotation, but I’m supposed to be shopping for others. After the new year, though, I’m going to get some new goodies, but hold off until I reach my first goal!

What do you do to combat the dreaded holiday weight gain and winter lethargy?