Thursday, February 28, 2008

Q&A Day

I've had some questions in my comments over the past couple weeks, and I'm not sure of the best way to answer them. At risk of being tremendously boring and/or having the longest post in the history of blogkind, I'm going to answer them all at once.

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 – 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.


Kate said...

No one in my life knows that I blog, I really prefer to keep it that way. A best friend of mine stumbled across my blog the other day, after I had given her the address of another blog I read because I thought she would enjoy it, and noticed my comments. Now she's reading mine, and I hate it! So I can understand your wanting to remain anonymous.

Hanlie said...

None of my extended family members read my blog. My husband does sometimes. I don't mind anyone reading it... I think my journey has value and no-one will tell me differently! I'm not ashamed of my weight and my struggles... I'm too busy being proud of doing something about it!

This was NOT a boring post. I loved the strength training information. And what a great idea to share a personal trainer!

paul said...

Well, you hit on one of the reasons my blogs are so sedate. People know who I am -- friends, family, colleagues, so anything that could strike any of these people the wrong way tends to get filtered out before it ever hits the screen.

The other reason my blogs are so sedate is that I'm not a very dynamic writer -- my missives would probably be more appropriate for a technical manual than for an "interesting to read" blog. ;-)

I'm a bit envious of your anonymity... Okay, a lot envious. There are things I would like to talk about, but just... can't. Perhaps one day I'll strike out and create a new account and identity, and one can hope I'd even manage to keep it a secret, and be blissfully anonymous. But for now... :)

paul said...

P.S. - I agree with the previous commenter. Lots of useful information, especially the answer to my quarter pounder and fries question!

... Okay, okay, maybe the other information was useful, too. :-) I appreciate the weight training links. I haven't looked at them yet (now is not such a good time), but I need to change up some of what I'm doing, so the information helps.

Miss July...not...yet said...

no one irl knows about my blog either. I think I put some personal stuff on there and would rather not hurt peoples feelings if I am just venting.

LOVED the info on the strength training. Just wish I was so motivated.

Chubby Chick said...

Great idea for a post! It's fun to get to know more about you. :)

Mom23QTs said...

Again, you are super motivating to me! I read you blog and realize how sedentary I am! Thanks, and keep up the good work!

sauchagirl said...

Thanks for sharing so much about yourself. It was great to get to know you a little more.

Nicole said...

"I know the chances of any of the above mentioned folks coming across this blog are slim to none, but it is a small, small world." Yeah, I totally get this one. I don't write anything in my blog I'm not OK with everyone reading. I have a private place to write those OTHER thoughts. Yeppers.

Blubba said...

Wow, what a bunch of great info. Who knew there were podcasts to help with the running intervals? Obviously, you did!

Keep up the good work, you're definitely quite inspiring. And I completely agree on the pictures (although I'm quite willing to throw pics of the Baby Blubba up at any time).

ashley said...

Happy! I feel like I've been ignoring you all week :( I've been slammed with midterms and work. It's funny, but I really felt like I was missing you :)

How are you with C-2-5K? Still rocking it?! I unexpectedly got pushed back a week after this crazy week. I did run tonight, though. It's funny how quickly our bodies can forget how to run!

Chanda (aka Bea) said...

I worry about people from work reading my blog too. I was reading Dooce when she got the ax- I certainly don't want that to happen to any of us! You touched on an interesting point for bloggers. How much is too much, and who do you want reading it. Sometimes I find worrying about that hampers what I want to say. Do ever find that to be true?

Ok, so I've gone a little off subject so I'll stop typing. Great post!

Lora said...

I know what you mean about staying anonyomous on your blog. My hubby founf mine and now I feel so guarded when I write - always wondering if he's going to read it.

I'm always careful about what I say about family & friends just in case!

ThickChick said...

I haven't really told my 'real life friends' about my blog and I've been doing it for almost a year now! While I do post my photo, I guess I just hope no one I 'actually' know happens upon my blog. =)

I think the idea of anonimity isn't necessarily a bad one!