Archive for exercise

the sport’s academy has very absorbant towels!

I’m pretty sure that Natalie is trying to kill me.  Okay, now that may not be entirely true.  I suspect that she has better things to think about than killing off at 35 year old fat girl with exercise.  Things like taking care of her newborn, but this morning you would’ve been hard pressed to convince me of it.

*disclaimer: Teresa may have to correct my recollection of things as I was lacking oxygen when the following indecent occurred.

We started this morning, 5:30 a.m. to be exact, with our 2 laps and dynamic warm ups, activities that I expect.  But then, Natalie decided to herd us all out to the treadmills, or as I now fondly refer to it “the killing zone”, for some cardio.  We began at a 3 mph walk and then increased our incline to 3.  Then came 6 mph for what felt like an eternity (2-3 minutes?).  We then got to lower our speed to a brisk 4.5 mph but upped the incline to 5.  Then back to 6 mph.  I couldn’t do it.  I surreptitiously lowered my speed and labored/panted/pleaded with the heavens for the next minutes to end.  Are you getting that it was hard? 🙂

After leaving the killing zone we headed back into the gym to do a team ladder race thing involving arm curls at the first line, front lifts and side lifts at the second line and burpees at the final line, running back to the starting line before each new activity.  All four team members had to run along while each person took their turn.  I ended this feeling a little green.

We then did something else, I can’t remember.  Lack of oxygen people!  Before repeating the team race, trying for a better time.  I opted to be the first one to run the lines and as I finished my term… it started.  I grabbed the nearest towel and began to vomit.  I vomited 6 or 7 times as I made my way to the dressing rooms.  It was just water but still unpleasant.  Natalie walked with me trying to help my calm down and breath because I’m pretty sure I was panicking at this point.  As she left me in the dressing room, heading back to the team,  she did tell me that while it was too bad I was sick it was awesome that I’d worked so hard.  I think this is code for “Yeah! I’ve got some bragging rights with the other trainers!”.

Have I mentioned that I think Natalie is trying to kill me?

As I headed back to the gym, after splashing my face with cold water, I passed by Dan, the Sport’s Academy director, and he high fived me for being the first vomit of the competition.  Is that a high five worthy event.  If so… I totally rocked it!

P.S.  I really do like Natalie.


treking along

This week has been pretty much business as usual as far as my training class goes.  We’ve done some cardio, some upper body and today we did some lower body stuff.  I conveniently forgot how much I hate lunges and drill type activities but here I was today lunging, squatting and bear crawling down the gym.  I guess these are the activities I must resign myself too so resign myself I will.

Monday was a grumpy morning and I spent most of the morning in a rather pissed off kind of mood.  I suspect this was due to lack of sleep and thankfully it hasn’t spilt into the rest of my week.  I’m not yet sure what to think of my team.  I totally love having Teresa there but other than her and Josh I’m not feeling much like much of a cohesive group.  We have a group challenge competition on Saturday and perhaps that activity will solidify us as a team.  I hope so because one of my favorite things about this weight loss program is the feeling of family you get working out with the same group of people every morning.

I have managed to get to the gym earlier so far this week and on those mornings that I didn’t get there quite as early as I should have I did stay after to work some more.  I’ve also have an incredibly active preschool storytime this week of dancing and I’ve danced with preschoolers twice a day all week.  On monday I figured that I’d burned 400 calories just during storytime and my daily calorie burns have been over 4000 every day.  That is unreal.  I usually reach about 3300 in a day when I just doing my regular workouts.  I’m thinking I need to dance during storytime every week.  I wonder how I can make that happen with next weeks them of autumn.  hmmmmm……

Tomorrow we’re spinning so I’m sure I’ll have something exciting to report after that.  Maybe I’ll do what others have done and duct tape a towel to my bicycle seat.  That could work!

real life comes barging in

It has been forever since I’ve posted and while I feel bad about that I’ve had a lot of other things on my mind the last few weeks.

Actually, since the Ultimate Loser contest ended I haven’t done to well on the weight loss agenda and not blogging about it was a way to keep myself unaccountable.  Initially, I think, I had set myself up to fail.  During the contest this last time, I kept telling myself “as soon as this is over I’m going to eat…” and I kept my word.  I would buy things while grocery shopping that we’re terrible choices telling myself I could eat them after UL was over.  As a result by the beginning of August I’d gained back around 7 pounds.  That’s two weeks of hard work down the toilet.

I also hadn’t been exercising regularly and and had taken off my bodybugg.  These two things help me, in different ways, remember what my goals are and that I have a goal I’m working towards.  With their absence it was really easy to slip into bad habits.  If I’d kept exercising I might not have lost anymore eating the way I had been but I wouldn’t have gained like I did!

Then in August a group of friends and I decided, while climbing stadium stairs, that we didn’t want to wait for the gym to sponsor another competition.  That and I wasn’t really sure I could afford to join again when they did.  I had just purchased a new (to me) car and was adding a car payment to my  monthly budget.  I just wasn’t sure I could come up with the money to be an ultimate loser again.  So my friends Jen and Sarah decided that we would start up our own “contest”.  Jen and I had been on the same ultimate loser team before and we all wanted to lose more weight so we got a group together and have begun to compete against each other.  There are /8 of us who meet 3 mornings a week at 6 am and take turns being the ‘trainer’.  We’ve officially become the CV Losers and are working out, weighing-in and supporting each other.  We even have our own competition blog to keep track of pictures, weights, training schedules and to share recipes and tips with each other.  We started on the 11th of August and so far it’s going pretty smoothly for everyone.  Everyone that is except me.

Around this same time I began to have some worrisome things happen to me.  Under normal circumstances I’d just ‘wait and see’ if things cleared up but something in the back of my mind niggled that it might be worse that a pulled muscle or pinched nerve so I went to the hospital and had things checked out.  During that initial visit my thoughts grew progressively darker.  I had a CAT scan to rule out things like stroke but they did find something of concern so I was referred to a neurologist and had a MRI.  For the last three weeks I’ve been to see many doctors, I’ve had several tests and last week I was diagnosed.  What I have is big and incurable.  It’s also scary and I’m worried about the consequences.  Will I be able to work to retirement?  Will I be able to care for myself?  Will I be able to afford the costs of the tests and medicines?  I don’t know.  Lots of people live with this condition and have very few symptoms.  They lead very normal lives but there is a small percentage that this diagnosis is catastrophic for.  Where will I fall in the spectrum?  I went to the library on Friday looking for a book, just one book, so I could read about it.  They didn’t have the one I wanted so I borrowed a biography written by a man who has the same illness.  I read 2 pages and shut it.  I don’t want to know about how hard it’s been.  I don’t want to know about the different flare ups and the toll it’s taken on him.  I don’t want to know about any of that.  I’m not ready to deal with that kind of reality yet.

In general, I’m really not thinking about it at all.  Seriously most of the time it isn’t even blipping on my radar.  Except that it is…

I’ve gained more weight the past few weeks.  I hole up alone in my apartment and self medicate with pizza and chinese food and coke.  I want to sleep all the time.  I don’t call people and I cancel plans.  Some part of me is thinking about it and so I need to get back in control.

My continued weight loss has become even more important to me now.  There is no cure for the illness I have but being healthy, active and fit cannot hurt.  Even if it is just for my own mental well being, I need, more than ever, to reach my goal.  If I lose my mobility and must depend on others it will be much easier for me to accept if I’m 150 pound Karen rather than 250 pound Karen.

It’s time to take control of what I can and what I put in my mouth and I do with my time are things I can control.  So I’ll be continuing this big fat loser blog and share with you all the things I’m doing to get to my goal weight.  I tell you about the workouts and the cravings.  I’ll tell you about the pains and rewards.  I don’t plan to talk about my illness unless it relates to my fitness goals but I do plan on becoming the best me possible.  I don’t want to waste any more time!

post competition difficulties

Since the weight loss competition ended I’ve really been struggling with my diet and exercise.  Part of this is the obvious “I don’t have anyone waiting for me to show up in the morning” and the rest is that I’m lazy.  I’ve slipped back into some pretty alarming habits and I’ve got to nip them in the bud before they become the norm again.  I truly wish I could afford the massive amounts of cash required to maintain a membership at the sport academy.  I have many friends who go there and they offer classes I could take and they have a pool I could swim laps in.  However, I’ve already struggled to accept the amounts of money I’ve spent to join the competitions that I’ve done, I just can’t justify a $600+ yearly membership.  However, I have a little light in my tunnel.  Last week I got a flier in the mail for another local gym.  They are offering a year long membership for $100 (that would cover 2 months at the SA).  So I took my birthday monies and joined.  It’s not far from my house and they open at 4:30 in the morning so I can go as early as I want.  I wish I was disciplined enough to exercise using the obvious economic way… running around my neighborhood but I am not.  I’m reluctant to post my intended exercise plan here because I always fail when I do but let’s just hope that this birthday present will be what I need to lose the remaining pounds I’m sporting!

Wind Caves

Today we had our last real group workout for this Ultimate Loser incarnation.  Tomorrow it’ll all be about weighing, measuring and taking pictures.  It’s been a good week, hard but good and today was the same.  We went up Logan canyon to hike up to the wind caves.  It’s a 1.9 mile hike one way and we only had an hour so we didn’t make it.  I was waaaayyyy behind everyone else but that spared them my extreme huffing & puffing as I hauled myself up the mountain.  At one point we ran into a moose which was very disconcerting.  He was in the middle of the trail and just wandered off but I was still very aware of where he was and was always looking for good hiding places should it decide it didn’t want me there.  All in all it was a good hike and I burned 600 calories.  I can’t say I’m dying to try it again though.  It really hurt me knees coming down the trail and I’m still feeling it.  I’m gonna have to ice them tonight.  Hiking is not my favorite thing to do but I think I can survive it much better than I could before.  I’m just not a nature girl.  Yeah, I know that sounds terrible but my idea of hell involves a mountain trail, a tent and a campfire.

I stood on the scale this morning before I left for the hike and it looks like I might be up a few pounds since last week.  I have no idea how this is possible as I’ve been working my ass off (haha) and the thought of gaining on my final weigh in has me panicked.  I’m eating only the bare requirement of calories today, avoiding water, trying to make all my food choices high in fiber and I’ll be done eating by 5 pm.  I’m also thinking that I should hit the steam room tomorrow morning, but as my friend Jen F. pointed out, then I’ll be all sweaty in my ‘after’ picture.  We’ll have to see if I think I can repair the steam room damage to my appearance in a timely and convenient manner at the gym.  If I can do it the steam room is a definite must!

hikin’ & dancin’

Last night my 2 very lovely friends, Michelle & Lisa, took me on a hike along the Bonneville Shoreline trail for my birthday.  I was a little worried since I had climbed a billion stairs that morning but it turned out to be just what I needed to keep my joints loose and get the extra calorie burn I needed for the day.  It was a fun little hike and I think it would be the perfect way to do something active but relaxing on a Sunday afternoon.  I’m happy that Chelle shared the trail with me and that she and Lisa were such good company.

This morning I got up around 5:15 and headed to the gym to get in some time on the treadmill before our class.  Alissa had arranged for an instructor to come teach our group a Hip Hop aerobics class at 6.  I was aware that I lack certain dance skillz but wowzers! was I bad-ad-ad!  I’m waving good-bye to that dream of staring in a MTV hip hop video.  Bye, bye.  Still, the instructor, Michelle, was a blast and the Hip Hop Hustle class was really fun.  We learned a lot of dance moves and then she had us put them together into dance combinations.  It’s funny how the stuff I couldn’t get was pretty easy but when the moves were in a fast paced dance combination I was hopeless.  I also was waaaayyyy too self conscious to throw in much hip thrusting, booty shaking and gangsta attitude into my “dancing”.  I did however sweat bullets and had a lot of fun.  I wish this was a class that was offered regularly.  It is something that I might even be convinced to pay the $50 a month required to maintain my membership at the Sports Academy for.

my old nemesis revisited

Today I managed to get to the gym by 5:10 and I felt refreshed after a lovely nights sleep. The difference? Yesterday when I got home all the screens for my window were leaning against my front door. I was able to put them in all the windows of my stifling upstairs apartment and the lovely canyon breeze kept things cool and infinitely sleepable all night long.

Today Alissa took us all up to Romney stadium again and we started off things by running up and down all the lines on the football field. I had no idea that the surface of the field was so soft and springy. I was worried that it was the perfect softness for rolling my ankle and wondered how football players don’t sprain things more often. I would imagine that the ground has been specially formulated to do the least amount of injury but I was still a little worried. After that and some arm work we then had 40 minutes to walk up and down all the stairs in the stadium. I had thought I’d managed to avoid this wonderful exercise. They didn’t have us do it for a challenge this go around and the day I missed class was the day they had done some stairs at the stadium. No such luck though! I cannot express in strong enough terms how completely miserable I was climbing all those stairs. I did manage to do it faster and I didn’t vomit but the process was less than happy for me.

I’ve concluded after 8 months of exercising that the ‘runners high’ people speak of is a big fat myth. I suspect it’s a myth put forward by fit people to make the slothful feel inadequate but I don’t have proof. I’ve yet to feel happy and good while exercising. Mostly I feel grumpy and the degree of grumpiness runs from annoyed to fuming mad. Today I was nearer the fuming side of the spectrum. I wish I could feel happy like a cool spring morning while burning the pounds away but alas… it’s not meant to be! The thing that keeps me going in spite of hating the whole exercise thing is that I know in the long run I’ll be really really happy that I’ve done it. And for now that hope is what keeps me going.

triathlon lite

Today was an er-er-early morning! I’ve been trying to get to the gym as close to 5 am as possible this whole time but it seems a great deal earlier when your required to be there at 5. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been finding it challenging to fall asleep at 10:30. You would think I could considering all the early mornings. If I was to go to bed at say 8 I’d be fine but there is something about 9 pm that causes me to catch a second wind and then I’m doomed!

Alissa had warned us that we’d be doing a triathlon and I had the whole weekend to stew about it. In all the morning called for us to jog 3 miles, bike 12.5 miles and swim 6 laps (250 yds) and it took me the entire 2 hours to finish it. Forget all the rhapsodizing I did about jogging a 12 minute mile. It took me 60 minutes to finish 3 miles. We ran from the SA to Romney stadium and back and the addition of the slight up-hilled nature of the run completely set me back. It took me about 40 minutes to finish the biking (on a stationary bike) and then I was able to do the swimming laps in about 10 minutes. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I think I could have been faster running too but Alissa waited for me at the stadium and went back with me (because I was in a slo-pokey last place!). It was too intimidating to try and run with her right there and I am way too contrary so I didn’t really push it like I should have going back. I suspect I could have done quite a bit better if I’d been on my own. I was very deeply in last place by the time I finished the running but was able to catch up on the bike so I finished around the same time as most of the team (thank you Offspring, Rooney, MGMT, Foo Fighters, She Wants Revenge, etc for supplying my ipod with the necessary biking beats!). I was pretty sure after that first hour that I was going to be the big stinkin’ loser of the morning so it’s nice that I was able to turn it around. I’d probably be willing to try this again and it would be interesting to see if I could complete things faster. As it stands though I won’t be doing an 5k’s anytime soon!

regrouping in progress

Well, I’m still ‘bad attitude girl’ at the gym but it’s getting better. I think what is happening is the result of too many hard & stressful things culminating at once. Work has been very busy and while it’s nothing I can’t handle, when you add storytime weather cancellations, 2+ hours of working out a day, an apartment still full of half empty boxes, 2 weeks of laundry and dishes piling up and strict calorie counting… something had to give. Evidently what gave was my ability to keep my stress under wraps in public (that and a lovely herpes out break on my face!). That kind of outburst from me, in a public forum, is rare (thank the stars above) but it was also really embarrassing and going back to class on Wednesday was h.a.r.d. I’m just hoping that this weekend I can decompress and regroup so I can end this weigh loss challenge on a positive note.

As for what we’ve been working on in our morning workouts… Alissa has been having usarrive to class at 5:30 every morning and ‘run’ a mile before our other activities. For me this translates to jogging a bit and walking the rest briskly. Last night I went to work out and decided to up the ante for myself on the treadmill. I jogged 30-45 seconds of every 2 minutes for 30 minutes. The fact that I could was amazing and so this morning I tried very hard to jog as much of every other lap of the 2 miles Alissa assigned as I could. As a result I clocked an @ 12 minute mile. Compared to the 23 minute mile I could do in October this is something to celebrate. She then had us ride 10 miles on the stationary bikes (yes the same bikes I had a meltdown over on Tuesday). I won’t say that it was fun but I will say that I was able to do it and right now that is saying something big.

Beginning next Monday we’re starting class at 5 am and will be working out for 2 hours with Alissa. We’re starting out by participating in a mini triathlon. I suspect that means we’ll be swimming yet to be determined laps, ‘running’ 3 miles and biking 11 miles. I’m soooo looking forward to that!

Swim Challenge

Well, I think I’ve proved to myself that I can swim when necessary.  Last night I went to the gym to meet with my fellow team member, Billy.  He has been participating in triathlons for the last 4 or 5 years and has worked on his swimming techniques.  Up until now I have maintained that I’m a terrible swimmer but Billy gave me some great tips about streamlining my body and how to breathe.  He also told me that some people swim with their legs and some with their arms and that is okay.  I’m a arm swimmer and once I understood that my kicking wasn’t so important I was able to relax… a lot!  It also turns out that I’m really bouyant and that the biggest reason for kicking is to keep your self afloat.  Staying afloat isn’t my biggest worry (I suspect my fat rolls are excellent floaties) so I just needed to work on making my stroke more streamlined.

This morning when we got to the pool our challenge was, as a team, to swim 1 mile.  That was 36 laps in the pool.  Each team member needed to swim at least 3 laps of the mile and so we worked it out to use our Billy advantage.  He swam every other lap and the rest of use took turns getting our 3 laps in.  And how did I do?  Pretty well.  I feel really good about my performance.  I didn’t hold us back and in fact really held up my part of the effort.  Our team won the competition (thanks Billy!) and it was nice to know that I had given 100% of my effort on this.  I think I’m going to have to make swimming a regular part of my exercise routine.  It feels pretty good to know that it is something that I have the potential to do well at.  I’d say I can see a triathlon in my future but lets face it… I will never be a biker.

Our team won 35$ gift certificates to use towards a massage (never gonna happen–too many ‘don’t touch my fat body’ issues) or a facial/wax/mani/pedi.  I don’t know what I’ll do yet.  I’m not very comfortable with any of these things.  We’ll just have to see.

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