If I missed any questions, let me know!
So, here goes ...
What do I do on my “intense” workout days?
For me at this point, my intense workouts happen once a week on Monday night. On Mondays, I head to the gym, do my couch to 5k run on the treadmill, and then I spend an hour working out with my husband, our friend, and a personal trainer. We save money on the trainer by all working out together. The trainer wants us to warm up before we get to her so that we’re ready to really work out by the time our hour starts – she loves that I do the couch to 5k run beforehand.
The trainer does a lot of strength training with intervals of cardio. I can’t tell you exactly what we do because the exact workout varies week to week, but by the end of each session we’ve always done a full-body workout. Sometimes we use weight machines, sometimes we use free weights, sometimes dumbbells, sometimes bosu thingies, sometimes balance balls, sometimes medicine balls, sometimes equipment-free exercises like planks and pushups etc. etc. etc. After the first couple months, she started having us work multiple muscle groups at a time. So, for instance, we might be doing bench presses while lifting our hips and holding a medicine ball between our knees with our feet up on a bosu. That crazy move works arms and legs and core at the same time. The cardio intervals could be sprints around the track, or running up/down the stairs, or jumping jacks, jump rope, etc. etc.
What strength training program are you doing?
I think “program” implies a degree of structure I don’t have! I do strength training 2x per week (or that’s my goal anyway). One day it’s with the trainer, and that’s described above. On the other day I do strength training post-running on my own. That workout could either be on machines or at home. At home I have dumbbells (5, 10, and 15 lbs), a balance ball, and an 8 lb. medicine ball. I don’t do the same strength exercises each time, but each time I try to get a full-body workout with a little more focus on abs and arms than legs (since the running is leg-focused).
For instance, last night after my couch to 5k run I worked out at home and did:
- 1 set of 20 reps of wall squats with the balance ball while holding 10 lb. dumbbells
- 1 set of 15 reps (x2 – one time for each leg) of single leg squats with the balance ball
- 2 sets of 20 reps of one-arm 15 lb. dumbbell rows with the balance ball (x2 – one time for each arm)
- 2 sets of 20 reps of 10 lb. dumbbell shoulder press on the balance ball (note that in this video the gal takes her dumbbells low – lower than a 90 degree angle. My trainer tells us not to do that.)
- 2 sets of 20 reps of 10 lb. dumbbell chest flys on the balance ball
- 2 sets of 25 reps of crunches on the balance ball, holding the medicine ball between my knees
- 2 sets of 20 reps of 5 lb. dumbbell triceps extensions on the balance ball
- 2 sets of 20 reps of 5 lb dumbbell reverse flys lying on the balance ball
- 2 sets of 20 reps of oblique twist using the medicine ball (in link, scroll to where it says “twist”)
I downloaded the workout above from SparkPeople.com – I tweaked it minimally, adding on the oblique twist and the use of the medicine ball when I did the other crunches. Sometimes I browse through a couple books I have or websites and come up with my own full body workout - but the SparkPeople site has made me a little lazy lately.
Am I running an actual 5k? When?
Yes, my plan is to run this 5k on April 19th. I don’t have a speed goal – I just want to be able to say I ran it. I’ve done 5k runs before where I walked most of the distance and ran a little, but this time I will run the whole time. (Notice how I say WILL instead of WILL TRY TO. Will Will Will. I’m working really hard to believe myself here.) I suspect I may run more slowly than some people walk it, but so be it. Speed will come later if I decide to continue this running thang.
What do you listen to on your iPod when you do your couch to 5k runs? Is it inspiring?
There are these free podcasts you can download for the couch to 5k program that tell you when to walk and when to run. They work great for me because I’d get very annoyed and probably lose track if I tried to check my watch the whole time. From what I understand I might be able to program a heartrate monitor to tell me when to walk and run, but I don’t have a heartrate monitor yet. The podcasts have music, and the music is good (not what I usually listen to, but good for running). The music does help keep me going, and it’s nice that the guy on the podcasts tells me “you’re doing great!” and “keep your shoulders relaxed and arms loose” and all. I’m looking forward to being able to run using my music though – it may help a little with the motivation, from what you guys tell me.
What do you look like? Where are your pictures?
You know, I have to tell ya, I'm a little freaked out by the idea of posting my picture on here! I have no problem with revealing my innermost self and thoughts and twisted sense of humor, and I’ll willingly share my outermost stats (like weight), but I could be in a very bad position professionally if someone I works with runs across this blog and reads about my frustrations with someone I work with, or my thoughts about possibly changing careers, etc. I don't think I've said anything that would get me fired (yet), but I’ve definitely said things that would make for a sticky situation. And better safe than sorry … being dooced is not something I want.
So ... yeah. I say “Not yet, maybe never” on the request for me to post a picture … or maybe someday I’ll post an "after" picture from the neck down (although unfortunately I didn't take a before pic). Maybe. I know the chances of any of the abovementioned folks coming across this blog are slim to none, but it is a small, small world. I've run into friends at gas stations hours away in different states, my brother ran into someone he knew when he was in London, I ran into someone I knew at an airport halfway across the country ... these things can happen!* It might be irrational, who knows, but I’m not paranoid about most things so I’m going to trust my instincts here. I don’t think my concern is unfounded. Hey, what did you say? Are you talking about me? Stop talking about me! I’m not paranoid! I’m not!
You’re almost at goal. How will going on maintenance change what you eat?
When I go on maintenance I can add a few more points a day to my daily points target. I start at 4 more points (so, approximately 240 more calories), and then experiment, gradually adding on from there if I keep losing weight (since the goal will be to stay the same weight). But from a “what exactly are you going to add,” I’m not sure. I’ve contemplated doing more to wipe artificial sweeteners out of my diet. I eat yogurt with artificial sweeteners almost every day, and ice cream bars with artificial sweeteners every couple days, and the occasional diet soda – I could switch from those products to the real deal, which will up the calories/points. It’s quite a debate, though, because being able to eat MORE food would be awfully nice. My points target right now is 20 points a day. That’s not a lot of food. So … I'm not sure. I guess we’ll see how it shakes out when it happens.
When you had the healthy-eating meltdown and ate the McDonald’s food over the weekend last weekend, was it at least good? Sadly, no. The burger was not fresh. It was a total waste of points. On the other hand, the French fries were a little bit of greasy heaven …
* Given the small world we live in, I recognize that theoretically someone I know could stumble on this blog, read it, think “this sounds just like someone I know!” and ask me about it. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.