Friendly Competition

I’ve been doing a whole lot of talk about losing weight.  To say that it hasn’t happened is really putting it lightly.  While I have recently gotten back to the gym, it still isn’t as regular as I’d like.  Life is busier than it has ever been before, and when faced with the choice of the gym vs friends, friends win.

In Women’s Health last month (another one of my free magazines), there was a little survey about competitiveness, and the majority of women responded that it wasn’t their spouse, or sibling, but their friends that they were the most competitive with.

I love my friends, all of them, but one way or another, this is totally true.  So rather than deny it, I sent my best friend a message suggesting that we put that competitiveness to good use, and have a weight loss competition between ourselves.

 

The competition: Whoever loses the greatest percentage of weight loss wins.

 

 

 

The timeline: 3 months; from February 27th – May 27th

 

 

 

 

 

The stakes: The winner has to visit the loser.

 

 

 

 

 

I have been friends with my best friend since High School. We have been friends through college, were in each others’ weddings, and have celebrated 3 babies being born between us. Until recently, one or both of us has always lived near our parents, so visiting was easier. We are currently 1,000 miles away from each other, and that will very soon change to over 4,000. So even though the loser foots the bill, I’m sure you can see how a visit will be a win for both of us.

Our Babies!

That being said, friend. I am going to kick your butt!

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The 20 Minute Workout

In the past 6 years or so, I have dedicated a lot of time to working out. I have spent hours running, lifting weights, practicing yoga. I have done crunches and squats, sprints and distance, backbends and bows. There was a point when I would spend 2 hours a day at the gym sometimes. Other days, I would go twice. I thought nothing of piggybacking a 4 mile run with a power yoga class.

Then this beloved little man happened.

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Of course, when you become a parent, everything changes. You might be thinking I’m just pressed for time in general, but that isn’t necessarily the case. There is child watch in the morning and the afternoon, I could go twice if I wanted to.

No, instead we are going through something that is referred to as separation anxiety. I call it clingy baby syndrome.

My little cling-on is definitely going through that phase, and it really stopped me from going to the gym altogether for awhile. But the Y that we go to has 2 locations, and a friend suggested that maybe Simon would fare better at the other. So the next day we went ahead and tried it.

He did not do better. Both times that I went to get him, he was in tears. They come and get you after 15 minutes of straight crying, but he wasn’t quite that bad. Yet. He saved that for the 3rd day.

However, after a few weeks of neglecting myself, I decided that he was just going to have to be upset for 15 minutes. So the 20 minute workout was born.

It isn’t anything new, but if you’re a mom (or anyone) trying to pack in as much workout as you can in a little bit of time, this is the way to do it: High Intensity Intervals.

You might have heard of them before, you might have done them before. Maybe you haven’t, or maybe you forgot. I forgot. I forgot because they’re hard! But they are perfect for fitting a tougher workout into a short amount of time. By the end of 20 minutes of steady state cardio, just chugging along on the treadmill/elliptical/bike/stairmaster, I’ve just started to work up a sweat. By the end of 20 minutes of intervals, I am TIRED. Seriously tired. Tired and sweaty. There any plenty of ways to quantify a workout: calories burned, heart rate, distance, etc. But I think the best measures are simpler: the talk test and your perceived exertion. I don’t go to the gym with a buddy, so I have no one to talk to without looking crazy, so I prefer the latter.

My perceived exertion when the child watch provider comes to get me after 20 minutes of cardio, is “Oh darn, I was just getting started”. My perceived exertion when they come to get me after 20 minutes of intervals is “Oh thank goodness”. Intense intervals aren’t meant to be done for very long, so I only do 20 minutes whether someone comes to get me or not. At that point, I walk by, listen for Simon’s screams (because every mom can pick out their child’s screams), and if he is okay, I’ll move on to some lighter cardio, or strength training.

This has been working out so perfectly for me. I feel great knowing that I really got a good workout in, while also knowing that I’m not leaving my baby totally miserable for too long.

***I am not a fitness professional. At one time I thought I would enter that field, so I’ve done a lot of research and practice, but in no way am I a professional. If you are looking to start a high intensity interval program, here are some great resources:

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Program Suggestions
How to Create Your Own Interval Workout
Tom Venuto’s Practical Analysis of HIIT (Really good article)
Cardio vs Interval Training
Interval Training and Increased Percentage of Fat Burning
Want to get really intense?: Try Tabata Intervals

I have been trying to really stick with something. Anything, really. Interval training is going to fit the best with my fitness level, the time I want to dedicate, the time Simon’s wants me to dedicate, and the goals I want to achieve.

I’m not much of a motivational poster type person, but this one really resonated with me, and has been living on the wallpaper of my computer. I’ve really been keeping it in mind as a tool to hopefully help me get through this little bit of wall I’ve been feeling up against.

The Last Ten Pounds – Entry 4: Update

So if you were looking for new posts about the Last Ten Pounds challenge, you noticed that I haven’t mentioned it in awhile. See at first, the holidays were coming. Then, it was the holidays. Then, we had just gotten home and I had a house to put back together. Then, we were super popular and had a ton of playdates. Then, it snowed. Then, I had laundry to do. Then, I needed to buy cat litter. Then, I…well you get the point.

My excuses are getting less and less meaningful. I really didn’t get much done during the holidays, but we did try to get out, and we ran a few times. Since we’ve been home though, I haven’t even seen the gym (!!!). Maybe I’m just waiting for everyone who made a resolution to get back into working out to get over their resolution. Not that I want them to fail. I just want to know I’ll have a treadmill.

My biggest excuse though, is Simon. I hate that, but it is the truth. I started taking him to the gym on a regular basis when he was about 6 months old, because their childcare hours finally fit around his naptimes. I really wanted to get him going early because I was hoping he would get used to the place, the people, and he wouldn’t get terrible separation anxiety. That did not happen. He has horrible separation anxiety.
It isn’t so bad if someone takes me from me and then gives him constant attention, but they don’t always have the staff for that there. So I feel bad leaving him, and making one of them either carry him around the whole time, let him be upset, or have someone come get me to take him home. That last one happened right before Christmas. Its the teeniest bit embarrassing.

Anyway, needless to say, things have not been going well. I’ve been eating a bit better. My plan for eating soup for lunch has been going really well. I haven’t completely cut out sweets, although I haven’t been bingeing on them either. I froze the cookies I made last week. If I keep freezing all this stuff I’m going to need a bigger freezer. But they are so easy to pop out of the freezer and microwave for 30 seconds, and you have a fresh homemade cookie. Probably not what I should be talking about in a post entitled “The Last Ten Pounds” but, it was better than eating the entire batch of cookies over the course of a day or two, so in that, it was a win.

You’ll notice, obviously, that this is a written post, and not a video blog. That is because, I don’t like video blogs. If I go on someone else’s blog, unless I really really like you, I’m probably not going to wait for your video to load. Sorry. I don’t even watch my friend’s Facebook videos (sorry friends). Anyway, I can at least appreciate that people like different things. I don’t mind doing the video blog, so I figured I would put it to popular vote (Vote!  I don’t care if I know you or not, and I won’t know what you’re voting.  You won’t hurt my feelings…unless you don’t vote).

I guess it is time to lose the excuses? I didn’t get to the gym this morning, we had an Army meeting to go to around nap time, so I wanted him to get an early nap, which means no gym. My car wouldn’t start though, so we didn’t end up going. Anywhere. I don’t have any excuses for the rest of the week, but perhaps I just haven’t thought of them yet (I do need more cat litter, actually..). Whenever I do go back, I really hope Simon does okay, because I hate upsetting him so that I can work out. I know it is important for me to take care of myself, but it still feels a little selfish.

Oh, lastly, I haven’t lost or gained any weight, so it is still the last 11 pounds to go.

Anyway, until next time.  Hopefully I’ll be able to update with some actual results.

Sometimes, I Run

We’ve been at my parents’ house for a few days now. They got a treadmill a few weeks ago, so I’ve gotten to use that. But this is also home my favorite outdoor running route. There are lots of hills, some that I just plain refuse to run, but I have ran this route so many times over the past 5 years or so that I’ve been running, that it is not only great for the familiarity, but it is a great gage of my general fitness level.

I stepped outside with my husband on Christmas Eve, breathed in that chilly winter air, and started making our way down the pavement. After the past week of rushing around buying ingredients, eating cookies, packing, wrapping, and definitely not working out, being outside, to run, was such a great feeling.

The run itself – was okay. It is about a 3.25 mile loop, and the last 0.25 is up up uphill, then uphill some more, and I was content to walk that this time. We were just happy to be outside.

But, that was the last that I’ve run. I much prefer to run outside, even, dare I say, especially in the cold. Christmas Eve was 3 days ago though, and I haven’t gotten outside again, or been able to use the treadmill anymore. I keep telling myself that we will run more at my in laws’, whose house we leave for tomorrow. We will just have to wait and see if that is true.

This has me thinking today, about what makes someone “a runner” vs. “someone who runs”. In the end, I couldn’t really come up with any definition, although I could think of examples. There is no quantifying measure, not in your mileage, not in your shoes, not in the accessories you’ve acquired for the sport. So I could call myself a runner, but I just don’t feel it. Sometimes though, I run.

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I like running because it is easy. You put on shoes, you walk out the door. No fancy outfit, no racquet to carry, no bike to maintain. I don’t like running because it is hard. I’m not naturally good at it. It is work for me to not be huffing and puffing. I love running because when I do work hard to improve at it, is when I am the most fit. I hate running because…it is hard! I know I’m not the first to say it, but I definitely have a love-hate relationship with running.

Right now, I am trying to focus on my third point there. It is when I run regularly that I am rewarded with looking, but more importantly, really feeling my best. The haze of Christmas is lifting, and while I keep us busy and there is always an excuse, I feel an internal momentum that this week is the time to get back on track. Since Simon was born, I’ve yet to really get back to being myself, and I feel like that time is now. So I need to follow through on taking the responsibility to do that!

I’ll start tomorrow.

The Last Ten Pounds – Recap

So, I am feeling the Christmas crunch.  Like all my favorite shows, I’m running repeats this week!  If you missed any of the past three episodes, here are some links:

Episode 1:  Introduction

Episode 2:  Goals

Episode 3:  The Scale

Next week we will be driving around a lot, visiting family, but I still think I should be able to get a new episode in!  And everyone knows keeping up with the last ten pounds is the hardest at Christmas, so at the very least…updating will keep me honest!

Countdown to Christmas:  5 Days!

The Last 10 Pounds – Episode 3: The Scale

The Marine Corp PFT Standards
I thought this question might come up. First, I am not male, and second, I am 27, so why I am I trying to meet the standards set for a 17-26 year old male? First off, this is the absolute bare minimum you need in order to pass. Not to excel. The numbers I would need to excel either the male or female test are currently too lofty of a goal. But the minimum for the female is pretty much where I am now. Anything in between seemed arbitrary, and I wanted something more concrete. This minimum for younger males seems just hard enough to be attainable for me. I know if I put in some work, I can do it!

The Last 10 Pounds – Episode 2: Goals

So the plan to do something I don’t want to do has gone pretty well so far….as do all new ideas on the first day.  Today we went to the DMV.  I’ve been putting it off for a few months now.  Of course, we have to go back, because I can never get what I need done at the DMV in one trip.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand today, the second “epsiode” of “The Last Ten Pounds”.

I apologize for looking at the baby monitor about halfway through, and then constantly glancing at it.  He was being a wriggly little guy!