Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bodyweight Beginner Calisthenics Workout

Tribesports has come out with another great workout guide that can be done at the park (if it ever stops snowing!)   This routine consists of 5 repetitions of 5 different exercises:
  1. Australian Pull-ups 
  2. Split Squats (right leg) 
  3. Split Squats (left leg) 
  4. Lying Knee Tucks 
  5. Push-ups
Not sure what an Australian Pull-up is?  Neither was I till I watched the video guide.  

I don't have a lot of upper arm strength yet, but I think the pull-ups will be a great way to work on that.  My form for push ups leaves a lot to be desired as well, but it's getting better!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Clothing Dilemma

 Over the past 3 years I have lost just over 50 pounds.   That’s the equivalent of no longer having a small child sharing my clothes with me.  The problem right now is that most of my clothes are more than 3 years old, so are sized for a much larger me.  And since I like clothes to be loose and baggy, some of those clothes were too big for me when I did weigh 50 pounds more.

Some things, like sweaters and shirts I can make do with.  But the track pants that require me to hold them up when I walk, really should go.  The problem that I have is that I’m cheap frugal and don’t want to spend any money on new clothes when I’m planning to lose another 50 pounds.  And for the most part, my existing clothes are in perfectly good shape and I would not consider replacing them if they still fit me.

Recently several people have commented on the fact that my clothes are just too big for me.  Hilary finally hauled me into a store to buy new track pants (my clothing option of choice to lounge in at home).  We were in a name brand, regular size store (as opposed to the full figured stores I normally shop in).  My first inkling was to try on an XL size pair of pants.  Hilary was having nothing to do with that and made me take in not only a L but a M pair too.  The heavens almost sang to me when I left the store with a MEDIUM pair of pants in my possession.   

Hilary also bought herself some new pants this week, and despite having tried them on in the store, found that 2 of the pairs she brought home felt too big on her once she wore them for a bit.  So I tried them on and they fit me perfectly.  These pants are only a size 16.  I don’t think I have worn a size 16 since I was 12 years old! 

While I have resisted buying new clothes, having new clothes in smaller sizes is such a wonderful boost.  It makes the weight loss much more real and tangible than just a number on the scale.  And a little retail therapy can really brighten up your day.  Now I just have to admit that I need some new tops and I’ll be stylin’ from head to toe.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weigh In - March 17

Starting Weight - 217 on January 1st, 2013
Current Weight - 205

Weight lost gained this week -  1.5 lbs

No big surprise that I gained on March break!  My MIL is here looking after Liam for the week, so there has been a bit more wine and a bit more dining out than I would normally have.  I've had a lovely week and enjoyed every bite.

I have started using my kettlebell every day and I do think that has helped to keep the gain this week to a minimum.

Another week begins and the journey continues.................

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The truth about sitting down

I sit for the majority of my day.  40 minutes on the bus, 8 hours at work, and more time in the evenings either at the computer or in front of the TV.  I try to make an effort to get up and walk whenever I can.  While I wait for the bus I do laps of the station.  I try to get up at least once an hour at work and do a full lap of our fairly large office.  The evenings are harder, since I'm usually pretty tired and just want to crap out in a chair. I try to overcome the fatigue and do some exercise.   Read on to find out more about the perils of sitting.
Sitting is Killing You

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to work out at home

Being new to working out, I really had no idea what to do.  I had no desire (or money) to join a gym or hire a personal trainer.  I also didn't have an unlimited budget (or space) to fill my home with equipment.   So far my expenses have been pretty low; I've bought a yoga mat and a pair of 8 lb dumbbells.  I also bought a skipping rope, but quickly realized I have no where to skip.  The empty bedroom upstairs would be perfect, but the ceiling is too low.  So the skipping rope is a bit of a write off till I can get outside.

Not knowing what to do, I was very lucky to come across Tribesports.   Every week I put together a daily workout plan based on the challenges that I've signed up for.

Tribesports has all sort of challenges that are based on repetitions of exercises to be done every day for a week.  Everything from lunges and crunches to something called "dead bugs".  Publicly declaring that I've committed to doing the challenge and then logging in every day to update my progress give me the push and incentive I need to get the challenge done.  Even better is having people encourage me.   I've done more new and different exercises since joining Tribesports than I ever thought possible.  Jumping Jacks, squats,  bicep curls and planks.  They offer instructions, pictures and even video links for how-to's.

It's like having my own personal trainer available 24/7.

Tribesports encouraged this

Monday, March 11, 2013

Step one

  1. Buy new running shoes...................check!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weigh in March 10

Starting Weight - 217 on January 1st, 2013
Current Weight - 203.5

Weight lost this week -  4.8 lbs

Now that is what I'm talking about!  I haven't been this low since last September, when I fell off the "Get Fit Wagon" and lost my focus.  I'm back on it now!

This week was another week of focusing on low-carb options.  I really am enjoying it and not finding that I'm hungry or missing any one thing.  I have been drinking a lot of green tea as a calorie free hot beverage option.  I'm also trying to keep up my water intake.  Both of those are good things to turn to if I am hungry during the day.

I made an effort this week to exercise on my non-Tae Kwon Do days.  And I really pushed myself at TKD. On Wednesday I was able to run for the full warm up, about 10 minutes, without having to stop and walk.   I haven't started running outside of TKD in preparation for the Ocean Breeze Trail Run, but weather permitting, I'm hoping to this week.  I will be taking a Learn to Run course at Liam's school that starts on April 5th, so that I can run the 5K without killing myself.

This was also the week that I did not weigh myself every day.  The first couple of days were hard and I really, really wanted to, but I didn't.  By day 3 I realized that it was nice not to be stressing about the little ups and downs that naturally occur over the course of several days.  And of course it was a great surprise to step on this morning and see a 4.8 lb loss!

Liam is off school for March break this week and my MIL is here to visit.  I'll be very concious of the change in our routine and will be making efforts not to let that derail me.  I'm sure there will be nights when we eat out, and there is more wine in my house now than there usually is.  I'm going to enjoy myself, but within moderation, planning the rest of my day to be even better food options so that I can indulge a bit at dinner.  I'll also try to increase my exercise to help compensate too.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Kettlebells are cast iron weights that have been used since the 1700's.  They were originally developed to help train the Soviet Army but soon become popular with the general population and even started being used in competitive events in the 1940's.  They can vary in weight from as little as 5 lbs all the way up to an impressive 75 lbs.  They are a great addition to a home gym - they don't take up much space but offer a full body workout, including strength and endurance.

I was first introduced to kettlebell workouts when my SIL bought me the book The Swing! The author, Tracy Reifkind lost 100 lbs simply by swinging a kettlebell. The book is a great read and her story is very inspiring. She also includes a great section on selecting the right kettlebell for you and proper technique for building a workout routine around kettlebell swinging. My SIL uses her kettlebell as part of her workout routine and loves it.  It doesn't take a lot of time and you can pick it up and start swinging while you are waiting for the laundry to finish or the water to boil for a cup of tea.

Lots of gyms are now offering kettlebell classes, but really, it's something you can just as easily do on your own at home. Tribesports has a great kettlebell challenge that just came out this week. With just one kettlebell you can do 4 different exercises.  They recommend that women start with an 8 lb weight and once you are comfortable with that and have developed good form, you can move up to a 15 pound kettlebell.  Just click on the image below to see all the details on the Tribesports challenge, including detailed guides on each of the 4 exercises.

Let's get swinging!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Mental Obstacles

I have great plans!  I know that I can do things... run a 5K, pass my next TKD test, lose the next 10 pounds.   And yet, I struggle with mental obstacles.

I come up with all sorts of reasons for why I can't do something:

  • I don't have shoes
  • I don't have pants to run in
  • It's too cold out
  • It's too icy
  • I need to lose more weight before I start to run
  • I have the wrong music on my Ipod

Then I have what I consider the self sabotaging thoughts.
  • I'll skip working out today and do it twice tomorrow
  • I've already gone over on my calories so I may as well eat this cookie
  • I don't have time to exercise
  • I have more important things to do right now

None of the things I have listed can't be overcome.  
  • I do have a pair of shoes.  They might be old but they will do to get me started.  
  • I have yoga pants, I just need to tuck the wide legs into socks so I don't trip on them. 
  • I can wear a sweater and a hat and gloves. Once I get moving I doubt I'll be cold.  
  • The ice is now mostly gone and the side walks are clear.  
  • If I start running I will probably lose more weight.  
  • And really, that last one?  LAME.

Sabotaging thoughts are a lot harder to overcome.  I need to focus each and every moment on what my ultimate goal is: getting healthy.   Every time I'm faced with an option that is not going to help me along that path I need to stop and make the better choice.  I will stop self sabotaging my progress.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rooibos tea

Hilary and I started drinking Rooibos tea several years ago.  We enjoy a version that is flavoured with vanilla almost every night before bed.  Within 20 minutes of finishing a hot cup, I can barely keep my eyes open.  It's the best sleep aide I've ever tried.  Even our son Liam will often ask for a cup of "sleepy" tea at night.  Since a good night's sleep is so important to health and fitness, I ensure that I enjoy a nice hot cup every night to help send me off to dreamland.

Rooibos tea originates from South Africa.  It's naturally sweet and contains no caffeine.  It's also been found to have many health benefits ranging from:

  • calming stomach cramps, even colicky babies
  • alleviating allergy symptoms
  • preventing the development of fatty liver disease
  • potential in treating diabetes
  • and even preventing cancer
What is the best way to prepare a cup Rooibos tea?
To make a really good cup of rooibos, use freshly boiled water. This ensures you get the best infusion or extraction from the dried leaves. You need to allow time for the leaves to infuse and open, releasing their fragrance and flavour. If using loose-leaf tea, the rule of thumb is one to two teaspoons per cup for two to four minutes, depending on the strength you like. If you prefer tea bags, work on one per cup. A longer extraction time will result in stronger tea. Once it is poured, enjoy immediately.

The South African Rooibos Council suggests that you drink upwards of 6 cups of Rooibos tea a day to get the maximum health benefits. Since we mainly use it as a sleep aid, I was skeptical about drinking it throughout the day.  I didn't need to be falling asleep at my desk every tea time!  However, while the tea's calming effect can be felt no matter what time you drink it, it does not cause drowsiness during the day.  There is currently no research to explain why this is so, and the sleep aid nature of Rooibos is mostly anecdotal.  But as someone who drinks it every day, I truly believe in it's seemingly magical abilities.

All photos and facts courtesy of The South African Rooibos Council

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weigh In March 3

Starting Weight - 217 on January 1st, 2013
Current Weight - 208.3

Weight lost GAINED this week -  2.9 lbs

Another week with another gain.  And a big gain at that.   It's hard not to get discouraged when the scale isn't going the way I want it to.  I recognize all the things this week that have contributed to this gain, and I'm vowing to have a better week this week.  Having to miss Tae Kwon Do both Monday and Wednesday is a very big factor I'm sure.  Luckily there is nothing going on this week that will cause me to miss any classes.

I'm also going to change my habit of weighing myself daily.  Hopefully if I simply focus on good choices and a healthy life style, the scale will move in my favour at the end of the week.  So I'm staying off the scale until next Sunday.

We are going to continue with the low-carb approach, eating lots of fresh foods and I will commit to working out every day, even the days I go to TKD.  I find it hardest on those days to fit in the home routine I've put together for the week, but I will find a way.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I'm going for it!

This year Liam's school is trying something different as a fund raiser.  They are hosting a trail run.  It will include a 5K run, a 10K run, a 5K walk and a 2K run for the kids.

I have never run a race before.  Really, I've never run before.  Sure we run for about 10 minutes as our warm up at TaeKwon-Do, but that is as far and long as I've ever done.  It works out to be about 0.5K, a far cry from 5K.  And it's only been in recent weeks that I can occasionally run that length without having to stop and walk for a bit.

Even so, I'm entering the 5K run on June 15th.  The school is also offering a "Learn to Run" program that starts in April.  Along with that I'm going to start the Couch to 5K program as soon as the snow and ice are gone.

Until I can get out and start running, I'm working on strength building with indoor exercises.  I continue to take challenges from Tribesports that are body weight based, so that I can do them any time and any where. Of course losing some more weight will also help with running.  The less mass I have to move, the better!

Please consider joining me on June 15th and entering one of the runs.  Check out the Ocean Breeze Trail Run website for details and to register.