Thursday, December 30, 2010

New 16-week Plan

Workout yesterday: Female Body Breakthrough (FBB) Week 2/Workout A + 5.0 miles on stationary bike

Workout today: 60 minute Kickboxing class + 5.0 miles on stationary bike + Abs

So I mentioned yesterday how I was starting a new 16-week program from the "Female Body Breakthrough." I am hoping this will help to tone and firm up some areas but I am pregnant so I'm pretty sure I will have to modify things at some point, especially as my belly starts to grow in size.

Here's a little bit about the program in case any of you are interested...

The Workout:
Cosgrove's 16-week plan is broken up into four four-week segments. During the first few weeks, you only do 3 weight workouts each week. By week 3, you start adding in two metabolic circuits in addition to the weight workouts that are also outlined in her book. Then during the last few weeks you can add in another cardio workout during the week if you desire.

The Rules
Rule #1: You should not miss a weight-lifting workout. If you need to miss a workout, you can miss out on a metabolic circuit but you MUST commit to doing all three weight workouts each week.

Rule #2: You should drink a protein shake within 15 minutes of finishing your weight-lifting workout.

Rule #3: You should lift heavy weight without compromising good form.

Rule #4: You should eat 5-6 small meals per day, each containing a fruit/vegetable and a protein.

Rule #5: You should eat clean 90% of the time (avoiding processed foods and sugar.) You still have 10% (or 3-4 meals each week) to treat yourself.

Rule #6: No steady-state cardio routines (until the last few weeks where you can add in one if desired). This means no running, no elipticalling (is that a word?), no biking, no stepping, etc. You still get some good cardio in using her metabolic workouts though.

(I have to admit I will be cheating just a bit on that last one. I know some of the metabolic workouts will be a bit tough for me to complete, especially as I progress in this pregnancy. I plan on keeping my kickboxing and BodyFlow classes each week and I do want to try to run/walk on the treadmill once per week as well for as long as my body allows.)

So that's it in a nutshell. I'm enjoying the workouts so far (still in the base phase), and they have all left me with a good "burn" the day after so I'm hoping that they're doing some good.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Female Body Breakthough -- My New Experiment

A few weeks ago I started following this blog: "The Great Fitness Experiment." It's a woman who does a new fitness experiment each month, trying out many of the different fitness regimes out on the market. Some of her experiments have included karate, kettlebells, vegan eating, long-distance running, double cardio, crossfit, etc. (I actually bought her book too and found it highly fascinating and entertaining.)

From her blog I came across this book:

I was very intrigued by this book because the author and I seemed to have a similar experience or sorts. Rachel Cosgrove, a fairly well known personal trainer, discovered that while training for an Ironman competition (2.4 miles swim + 112 mile bike ride + 26.2 miles of running!!) she was becoming a bit flabby. This seemed to be counter intuitive to what you would think would happen while training for an endurance event of such magnitude. She would often train 3-4 hours each day but it was all steady-state cardio training (biking, swimming and running.) On the day of competition, she was proud of her accomplishment and impressed by her endurance, but a bit embarrassed by the shape of her body.

Once the Ironman was over, she had a goal of fat-loss and put herself on an 8-week program that consisted of NO steady-state cardio but instead focused on weight training and interval training using metabolic circuits (basically body-weight type exercises such as jump squats, jumping jacks, jump lunges, burpees, etc.) All of these workouts lasted a maximum of 60 minutes each, reducing her gym time from 30+ hours each week during Ironman training to 5-6 hours each weeks using this new method.

So what were her results? Well I think these pictures speak volumes...

Before (during her Ironman competition)...


Pretty amazing results, right? During that 8-week period, she ended up losing 15 pounds of fat and regained the toned, firm body that she had once had.

And she had these final thoughts to say about steady-state cardio...

"It is time to bury the myth of using long, slow steady-state cardio to burn up fat, for good. No more spending hours and hours on a treadmill, elliptical, or bike...Get off the treadmill, stop spinning your wheels, and push yourself in the gym if you want to lose some serious fat. Take it from me, I finally learned first hand. It's time to put the last nail in the coffin of using aerobics for fat loss, bury it for good, and do some high intensity, interval dancing on its overdue grave." (To read more about her experience, check out this article: "The Final Nail in the Cardio Coffin")

So after hearing her story that sounded oh-so-familiar to mine, I bought her book and will be following her program for the next 16 weeks. Of course I don't expect to have these kind of results while pregnant, but I am hoping to get stronger and regain some of that muscle mass that I lost while doing so much steady-state cardio during the last few months.

Stay tuned for what Rachel Cosgrove's 16-week program entails...

(By the way, I am totally not knocking cardio workouts, I am a fan and will always be a fan of them. I plan to do at least 1-2 of them each week even during this 16-week program. I just really think we need to reevaluate what types of workouts will give us the real results that we are seeking. Remember, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten!" -- Roger von Oech)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lesson Learned

Workout Today: BodyStep Class + 7.0 miles on stationary bike + Ab workout

I have a little story that I would like to share with you all today. It's a very personal story (as it has to do with me!!) but I need to share it in order to prove a particular point..."If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." (Duh, right? But I seem to need reminding of this often!!) This statement is especially true when it comes to exercising.

For most of my adult life, I have been a regular exerciser. I started running when I was 15 and have belonged to various gyms in many different states. My workouts though, were definitely one dimensional. I was without a doubt what you would call a "cardio queen." I loved to run, do aerobics, bike, ride the elipctical, etc. and prided myself on my endurance. This also led me to a belief that because I was doing so much cardio (and burning so many calories, right?) that I could just eat whatever I wanted and I would be good. While I wasn't overweight, I also knew I wasn't where I should be considering the amount of time that I spent in the gym. I knew I wanted to change my body and I also knew that the best way I could do this was not going to be inside the gym but rather inside the kitchen. I started eating better-for-me-less-processed foods and eating more frequent meals throughout the day (the basic principles of clean eating.) I soon noticed that my energy levels were up, my skin was clear, and my pant sizes were going down.

In addition to overhauling my diet, I also started to REALLY weight train for the first time. I had been "dabbling" in weight training for years, after all I was an exercise physiology graduate and I knew all the benefits of weight training. I just always felt like I could get "more bang for my buck" doing more cardio than weights so it was something I only recently took seriously last spring.

After a few months, I had lost 15 pounds, tons of inches, a bit of body fat, became more toned and even improved my running times. I was literally in the best shape of my life and even had a woman at the gym tell me that my arms were getting "ripped."

I really liked how my body responded to less cardio (I was down to doing it about 2 times per week) while upping my weight training (I was doing this 5 times per week). I started to lift heavy and do a lot of circuit training (doing one exercises right after the other with little rest in between) which helped to maintain my endurance and cardiovascular fitness without the need to do any additional cardio sessions per week. My metabolism was smoking hot, I felt great and got a lot of compliments on how I was looking. Happy ending, right?

Well, not exactly...

In May 2010 I started to train for a half marathon and my focus again turned to doing mostly cardio. I threw in a weights session here and there, but I didn't want to train heavy because I didn't want to hinder my running workouts. I had a great training schedule, I loved training with my little running group every Saturday morning, and I felt rather "speedy" for the first time in my life. I ended up getting injured two weeks before my race and didn't have quite the race that I had trained for, but still managed to finish in under two hours.

However, by the time the half marathon was over, I wasn't pleased with what had happened to my body. I had gotted "soft." My hard-earned muscles from earlier in the year were disappearing and I felt kind of flabby. I had gained 5 pounds during training and found that I had cravings for carbs and sweets that I didn't have as much when I was focused on weight training rather than cardio-based workouts. After my half marathon, I took a break from running as many miles, but just substituted in other aerobic workouts in the form of Kickboxing, BodyCombat and BodyStep at my gym. Yeah, I would throw in an occasional BodyPump class to keep the muscle juices flowing, but I wasn't really seriuos about weight training anymore.

Then in October I found out I was expecting another baby (yeah!!) but it also meant my eating plummetted because I had hardly any appetitie and what little appetite I had was definitely not craving anything too "clean." (Anything green made me want to gag!)

Needless to say, the body I have now is not the body that I had 8 months ago (I know, I know I'm 14 weeks pregnant, but like I said, it started well before the pregnancy hit.) I know that I will be gaining weight for the next 6 months in order to have a nice, healthy baby, but I also know that I can make some changes now that will help me to bounce back a bit faster after this little one is born.

Stay tuned for what those changes will be...

Reasons for the "No-Blog" Zone

One of the big reasons that I haven't been blogging much here has been because of this little baby...
After six months (and a lot of studying crammed into the last 3 weeks or so!!) I officially became a certified personal trainer as of December 18th, 2010. So from here on out, I will be signing my name like this...
Dadra S. Call B.S., NASM CPT
(Totally kidding, of course!!)
It feels so nice to have completed this. While I am not quite sure where this will take me or what exactly I will do with myself now, it is something that I've wanted to do for a really long time and I'm glad that I was finally able to do it!!
Another, even bigger reason for the lack of blogging has been this...
Soon after completing my half-marathon I found out I was expecting baby #3!! After finding out, I had two weeks of feeling great followed by 6 weeks of misery. I have never been so sick for such a continuous amount of time in my life. Fortunately I was able to keep up with most of my work outs since the only relief I would get was from sleep or exercise endorphins. Many times I would feel completely lousy when leaving for the gym in the mornings, but within about 20 minutes, most of the sickies would pass and I would end up having a pretty good workout.
I am currently just over 14 weeks along (not sorry to see you go, first trimester!!) and my workouts have been pretty much the same so far (I did start wearing a heartrate monitor to some of my more intense gym classes just to make sure I was keeping it below 160...what my doctor recommends since I was very active pre-pregnancy.)

Now that I'm done studying and feeling pukey, I'm hoping to be back on here more regularly.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cold Weather Workouts

Yesterday's workout:
45-minute BodyJam Class
60-min Burn & Firm Class

As you can see, I am definitely still competing in the challenge at my gym, even it it's just against myself. I love me a good challenge!! (And I totally loved that BodyJam class yesterday. It brought me back to the 10 years of my life when I took dance lessons growing up!)

Speaking of challenges though, I feel like I need something to really motivate me this winter. I am NOT a fan of running outside during the cold months of winter which is why I rarely do any winter/spring races. I tend to bring my workouts inside during the months of December-March and then I get all excited and pumped to be back outside for spring running again. Last year I made the goal to exercise 2010 miles during the year 2010 and I should be able to meet that goal by the end of the year. I guess what I am looking for now is another challenge/goal to work towards and I am in need of some ideas. Does anybody have any???

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Still Alive!!

Now that it's been well over a month since my last post, I decided to get back on the bandwagon again and hopefully (but no promises!!) start posting again a big more regularly.

It's been a busy month and I take my test to become a certified personal trainer in just two weeks so I have been pretty involved with that lately. I have learned so much, although I am not entirely sure what I will do with it once I have it. I have a dream to one day open up my own gym in the basement and train people from there but that will be a ways into the future yet. Dream big though, right?!?!?

I have been taking lots of classes at my gym lately now that the weather has turned chilly. The gym I go to is actually having a competition between December 1 and January 15 to see which person can attend the most gym classes. The winner gets a free one year membership!! I thought I might have a shot at winning this since I regularly attend about 6-8 classes a week even without the competition drive. Alas, my dreams were shattered by day two of the competition. Turns out there are two men (ahem, a bit psycho if I do say so myself) who had already taken 12 classes in just ONE day!! They must have stayed at the gym all day long on December 1st and taken every single class offered. They plan on doing this until their stamina dissolves (or they become gravely injured which is probably even more likely.) Obviously these men have no life outside of the gym (i.e. no families to take care of, no jobs to speak of, no wives to come home to) and since I have rarely seen these two men at these classes before, it is obviously a completely testosterone-driven attempt to win this challenge. (Do I sound bitter, because I kind of am!!) At least one of the trainers has warned them about the dangers of 10+ hours of exercise a day and the fact that neither of them is in the greatest of shape right now just screams "Injure-Me-Now!!"

So what do you think? Does this sound a bit crazy to any of you either? Am I being too critical of these two men who really are working hard to win this challenge? I would love to hear your thoughts!!