That Motivation Problem

Last week, I was kind of a rockstar. I ran 22 miles including a 9-miler and 6-miler, did two OTF-style sweaty sweat seshes and went on my longest kayak adventure yet. It’s pretty easy to pull off when you’re feeling great, seeing improvements, oh and have a shit ton of spare time.

This week also started off great. I ran five fast treadmill miles. Who knew Like a Prayer and Turn Back Time could be such great running songs? Then I hopped on the elliptical because reading on it is one of my new favorite pastimes and followed it up the next day with another great OTF workout, a power day this time = lots of sprints!

Then, those fast days, plus probably the jump lunges, caught up to me and I was super sore. AND I saw an article about the importance of rest days and realized I’d been going strong for eight days, so I figured a rest day was probably in order.

My competitive, stubborn spirit usually has me striving for seven days a week and “rest” days are more often “too busy to fit it in” days. But, rest and recovery is important for your body. Not taking rest days can actually inhibit your progress.

If you obsess much, active rest is fine – a long walk with your Rigo perhaps or a good stretch session, a bike ride to dinner.

I obsess much, but I try to shake myself out of that by taking a real rest day and being okay with it. This week, my rest day turned into a lazy, treat yoself day, then a lazy, treat yoself two days. How did I go from 60 to 0 so fast?

I got my butt in gear today with another good elliptical reading session (currently reading: Love With a Chance of Drowning) and everything else was better. My brain clears. My day feels complete. My eating stays on track. I’m more productive. I’m calm. ALL that is so important all the time, and especially so now when I need structure.

Despite knowing that, I still have those days when I have that motivation problem.

Anyone else with me? Any tips to bust through that?

Having a training plan helps me, but then again, it’s flexible and I know it and I can go from hardass to softy real fast.

I like the rule about never going three days without a workout. I think that’s what got me moving today.

Also, those cliche Pinterest phrases: no one ever regrets a workout and an hour-long workout is only 4% of your day.

Lately, the lure of reading is a way to get me moving since I could sit on my butt and do it, or jump on the elliptical and do it just the same.

I also sometimes tell myself I’m just going to start and after 5 or 10 minutes if I’m still not feeling it, I can throw in the towel, which after 5 or 10 minutes I don’t feel the need to do anymore. I gave myself that out today, but ended up lasting almost 90 minutes.

Sometimes, it’s just taking a shower! After a workout I’ll shower and can start my day instead of procrastinating for no good reason. Just having a schedule usually keeps me on track, so I’m hoping when I do have a schedule again I can keep up with my new level of rockstarness (past two days excluded of course).

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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!

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!

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.

Workout Giant: Golfing

With over 300 days of sunshine each year and 250 courses, the Phoenix area is a golfing mecca. Even so, I’ve had a minimal interest in the sport, played nine holes a few times in high school and been to a few driving ranges since then. But, when my sister started planning a golf outing for my dad’s birthday and said, “you golf, right?” I just went with it.

My parents play with increasing regularity, my brother-in-law at least has his own clubs, but mentioned he had played once in the last five years, and my sister and niece (at the ripe age of 11 weeks) came along to watch. On the third hole, I asked if she had realized how long it actually takes to play 18 holes. She didn’t.

But, Saturday happened to be a beautiful day – our cold spell from last weekend warmed up to a fantastic mid-70s afternoon – and we headed out to Kokopelli Golf Club in Gilbert. They were running a little behind schedule, so we warmed up on the range until our turn.

Driving Range

Then our carts came up and my brother-in-law put his work iPhone on a “shelf” that actually was a hole down to the engine.

Cart

Fortunately, a staff member wasn’t afraid to reach up and find it!

Then we were off! The first hole was a bit of a learning experience, but eventually, I figured out the clubs, had a few good hits and even had some fun. I kept telling myself I’m naturally athletic, something I never would have imagined the last time I played golf, but I really do believe now.

I only lost a few balls early on. My biggest problem was not actually making contact with the ball. It’s a very small target dontchaknow. My scorecard included a lot of hearts and stars and other symbols in lieu of actual numbers. Either way, it was a great way to get some exercise and get outside to enjoy a day of warm weather and sunshine!

So, was it actually a workout? There were carts involved, but walking back and forth to the ball and swinging (many, many times) for four and a half hours definitely felt like one! WebMD’s Fit-O-Meter tells me I burned about 850 calories! Afterward, all I wanted was dinner, a warm shower and to SLEEP! I didn’t even care that it was 9pm on a Saturday!

Workout Giant: Kickboxing

A lot of my workout giants are really just things that take me out of my comfort zone.  My comfort zone at the gym is the treadmill, the yoga studio, the pool, the steam room (ahhh) and sometimes the spin studio. But, I’ve been dying to try my gym’s Cardio Kickboxing class, which is held in the, gasp, “Group Fitness Studio 1.”

Many years ago I was in love with a kickboxing class at my little gym in Thousand Oaks and I was faithfully there every Monday and Wednesday at 5:30 and Saturdays at 9. IN LOVE. But, the gym didn’t pay their rent, got shut down and I never went to a kickboxing class again. Until Thursday night.

The instructor joked at the beginning of the class for the newbies (there were quite a few) that she locks the door, but fortunately I didn’t have to test that.  It WAS for sure a tough class – more appropriately named Cardio Kick Booty Boxing, I was sore for a few days after!  – but the hour was fun and sweaty and flew by! It was everything I remembered and loved and I’m so happy I have a class I can get to to punch and kick out a little aggression when necessary! And then at the end, you feel like this:

Are there any fitness classes you want to check out but haven’t yet? I included a few new ones on my training schedule in the next few months and since kickboxing was so great, I’m pretty excited about them!

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!

A Busy (Healthy!) May

Oh hey. Guess who hasn’t been working out? Me! I’m not actually excited about that and I’m not sure why it required an exclamation point.

I was totally all, I got my mojo on, but then life got in the way. I went to Las Vegas, which was awesome, and I have not one bit of guilt for the delicious food I ate, alcohol I drank or time spent by the pool, at the tables and on the massage table.

I got back on Sunday and on Monday, things got busy. My company is ramping up for our big national conference in early June and some responsibilities in my personal life are shifting too.

Each day in May is planned just about morning to night and, while the days themselves are not CRA-zy, the sum of the parts is intimidating to me.

So, how did I celebrate on May Day? Cookies for breakfast, Cheetos (with a sammie) for lunch, attempting to get back to the gym, but forgetting pants and DQ after dinner (it was delicious). Eek.

I know it’s totally mental at this point and that I’m tougher than this, but I am slipping a bit. It doesn’t help that I emptied my fridge out before Vegas and haven’t had the time to restock with good stuff.

Having good options to grab for snacks as well as easily reheatable lunches and dinners is the best way for me to mindlessly eat well (because it’s so easy to mindlessly eat like crap). It’s as simple as that! I know I’ll feel better if I’m not crashing from sugar and caffeine highs and my early mornings and late nights won’t hit me so hard.

Part of my May planning was pre-scheduled workouts on 29 of the 31 days. Granted, I only skipped the first two days (and that’s important to remember that you can always bring it back on track…one bad day does not equal total ruin), so it’s still possible to fit them all in, but in those two days I’ve realized I need to adopt a something is better than nothing workout mentality – just for the month – then I can get back to my live to sweat mentality.

Instead of a hard and fast training plan, I’m taking on Caitlin’s workout guide she came up with during her pregnancy. (NO, I’m totes not pregnant, I’m going to leave that up to EVERYONE else in the blog world and a lot of women in my real life.)

My goal is to work out five days a week whenever it fits in, doing at least one run, one swim and one yoga class each week. You know, to keep me sane. I finally got back in the pool last night and it felt great!

Anyway, I had a roommate in college and ALL she EVER talked about was how BUSY she was and how TIRED she was and you know what? It was obnoxious. I’m excited about everything I’m busy with, and I’m not complaining!

How do you stay healthy and active when you’re busy or stressed?

And now I’m going to talk about boobs.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The thing is, I’m pretty sure I just dislocated my shoulder attempting to take off a sports bra. I grabbed it from the sales rack as I walked to the check out, assuming it would fit.  Never assume. I mean, it did fit, but I’m not looking for Fort Knox level protection.

I understand that for many women, sports bras are all about function.  They have to lock and load their bad girls to be comfortable during a workout and so, with all the bra manufacturers striving to make bras that actually work (WTF?!), the simple, non-suffocating ones are hard to find!

For me, I’d just be happy with something light and comfy and pretty, like these options I was able to find at the Gap:

Can you recommend any shelf/cami bras? I’ve had luck with Vicki’s in the past, but they seem to have gone a little too utilitarian recently.  With the bras from the Gap, it seems I might have to sacrifice the sweat-wicking fabric (the one utilitarian feature I do like) for a fit that works.

Do you think about your boobs during a workout?  Are they a bother or a blessing?