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!

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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!

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!

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!

Workout Giant: Lunch Time Workout

I am very fortunate to have my job for many reasons. One reason is that my schedule is quite flexible. Another is that it’s close to my gym.

A + B = WHY don’t I work out on my lunch break more often?!

The idea of getting a good work out in, refreshing and getting back to work in a reasonable amount of time is intimidating, but on Tuesday I just wanted a quick workout – a little cardio, a little strength – you fit in WHAT you can WHEN you can and it’s a heck of a lot better than skipping it all together!

I was surprised to find the parking lot packed when I pulled up, but my gym is very family friendly and the kiddos are still on summer break (seems like a given, but my boss’s kids have just ONE week of summer vacay left!) so it made sense, they usually crowd the pools all summer long, but fortunately for me, I was not headed to the pool.

I changed quickly, jumped on the elliptical for 10 minutes to warm up and then into an empty group fitness room for some more booty busting, which got my heart rate up! I wrapped it up with 10 more minutes on the spin bike and I was happily breaking a sweat.

A quick shower – sans hair washing – and wardrobe change and I was back to work!

I love the feeling of working out in the morning because I’m accomplished and “done” for the day…and the mid-day workout gave me the same feeling with the added bonus of getting up and away from my desk for an hour to recharge.

So, after tackling this workout giant, I’m no longer in the you “can’t get a good workout on a lunch break” club and hope to get in more mid-day sweat seshes!

Booty Burn

This summer, I got some pretty cute…okay, really sexy…new bikini bottoms.  I had my eye on the ruffley Brazilian-style bikini for a while and after a year of training for a triathlons and practicing yoga, I was thrilled when I tried them on before my Vegas trip in April. 

I train for race results and endorphins, but I’m not complaining about what it’s done for my body!  Minus the previously-covered VERY white part of my booty that now showed, the bottoms looked hot.

Those bikini bottoms + my workout hiatus + a return trip to Vegas at the end of this month (the bottoms are very Vegas, obvi) = time to get back to it.

Last week, I did what any woman thinking about wearing a tiny bikini in public would do…squats and lunges. And I’ve been hobbling around ever since! Mostly my exercises seemed to target my hamstrings and that’s all good, but I REALLY wanted to feel it in my butt.

So, I pulled out my Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises and yesterday, I hit the gym for some hip raises, single-leg deadlifts (minus the lift), step-up squats (couldn’t find…maybe I made this one up?!), single leg lunges and lateral band walks.

That seemed to do it! I definitely have a pain in my ass today…the good kind!

What are your favorite booty exercises? Are you motivated to work out by bathing suit season or the thought of wearing pieces (bridesmaid’s dress, anyone? I’ve been there too!)? Is it so terrible to admit to a little bit of vanity?!

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If I sit still for a second longer, I’m going to go nuts.  I’m ready to burn off some of this energy I didn’t know I’d find this afternoon based on the sloooow start to my morning.

The plan:  20 impromptu (does that still count since I kinda just planned them?) minutes running on the tread + strength training + sunblock + 45 minutes on my new-to-me bike

Recovery:  dark chocolate soy milk + rolling + stretching + maybe some ice

I think I’m in love…with Friday afternoons.

*Geek high-five to the physics nuts out there who get the post title!

On Sore Muscles and Terrorists

Currently, I’m exerting a lot of effort to make it look like I’m not exerting a lot effort.  I want to do the old-lady groan every time I get out of my chair and grimace as I shuffle around.

My strength training session yesterday was awesome and by awesome I mean, damn.  Thank you very much, jumping bench lunges. 

Like this:

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…and then you jump on the up. 

I recently got into a debate about whether a fit, active person should be sore after strength training.  I think so.  I like to feel like I worked my muscles.  Strength training is essentially breaking down your muscle fibers and having them rebuild (stronger and bigger). 

That being said, there are things I could have done yesterday to ease the soreness at least a little, that I kinda, sorta, maybe neglected.  I left the gym and planned on stretching and foam rolling at home, but this is the downside of having a foam roller at home.  Once I was there, I was distracted by other things. (Like McDonald’s oatmeal!)

In a perfect world, I would have rolled and stretched right after and then again last night while watching the Oscars. Lesson learned. Moving on…

I’m also currently kicking myself for not getting up and going to the gym this morning.  It’s so hard on Mondays!  I’m squeezing it in later (post-work, pre-volunteer meeting, pre-date…since when am I actually busy?!), so that’s not a big deal.  The big deal is that when I snooze my gym alarm, my mind gets back at me with awful dreams during that extra hour of sleep. 

Seriously.  This morning it was being held hostage by terrorists.  They were kinda nice, you know, for terrorists, but I would have been much better off at the gym!  I’ll take sore muscles any day.

The Early Bird

Yesterday marked my glorious begrudged return to my beloved A.M. workout.  I prefer the A.M. workout, but my increased mileage at the end of my half training meant I really couldn’t squeeze it in before work (without going to bed at 7 to wake up at 3…not happening). 

I find morning workouts to be like attempting double dutch during recess.  Every time the rope(s) come around, you feel apprehensive because it’s intimidating and so you wuss out.  But you know you really want to jump in, so eventually you do and you love it and you rock it and you’re like, “what the hell was the big deal?”

Getting out of bed for the first A.M. workout is tough and sometimes it flat-out sucks, but yesterday I jumped in.  Honestly, it wasn’t the best workout, but I did my time (which I hate saying because I always want to be engaged in my workouts). 

Today was much easier and much better.  It probably didn’t hurt that our “arctic” weather in Arizona (it’s getting down to the 30s at night, y’all) forced me to turn my heat back on last night, so getting out of bed today didn’t mean jumping around trying to stay warm while dressing in too-cold gym clothes.

And so, with one day under my belt, today was my actually glorious return to the A.M. workout AND strength training! 

If it's good enough for Marilyn...

At the recommendation of a personal trainer (and experienced endurance athlete) I worked with at the end of last year, I spent the first month of my two-month training equally focused on running and building up my running muscles with strength training and the second month solely focused on running, with a little cross training mixed in.

I’m quite happy with how I did in the race, so I think that plan served me well, but I am definitely excited to be getting back to strength training.  My relationship with strength training has been off and on (story of my life) because, although I know the benefits – like the awesome definition I get when I regularly include it – I really just love long, sweaty cardio sessions.

I started back slowly today – two exercises for each muscle group, moderate weight, two sets of 12 – but I definitely didn’t phone it in.  The last thing I want to do is overdo it, because then I have such a negative association with the weights and I start to avoid them again.  I know by the end of the day I’ll start to feel it, but it will be a good sore.

My February training plan still needs a little tweaking, but as of now I’m following a schedule that will get me doing strength three times a week and I will be handsomely rewarded with the sweaty cardio sessions I crave on the other days.  And sexy muscles.