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...

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