Category Archives: Gym

My iron clad will & gym commitment

Last night was a test of my newfound commitment to workout at least 6 days per week. I was too sore on Friday to go to the gym, and Saturday I didn’t have an opportunity, due to being on a road trip from 7 am until10:30 pm. So Sunday, no excuses. But I didn’t feel like it. So what? I said I was going to go, and that there was no reason not to, so I went. My iron clad will made me. And I’m glad I did.

I have to remember how wonderful it is to be at the gym on the weekends, let alone a holiday weekend when everyone else is out of town. I practically had the gym to myself! I made myself get there in time for Iron Chef to be on at 7 pm. I even had my pick of treadmills – there 3 that are my absolute favorites as they are immediately in front of the fan, the only one in the whole cardio room! Have I mentioned that I sweat a lot? I mean, *a lot*! I have to wipe thick rivulets of sweat off my brow when I work out, and that usually starts in the first 20 minutes. As my normal time is at least 60 minutes, that’s a lot of drippage! There’s nothing worse than having salt drip into your eyes. Or to get hot and thirsty, lick your lips and get a mouthful of salt. Ick. So those spots in front of the oscillating fan are so lovely! I hate it on Mondays and Tuesdays when I’m forced to pick the first open machine and it’s miles away from the fan and its lovely cool breeze.

Anyway, back to last night! I was still stiff and sore. I didn’t want to go, but I made myself. I have decided that feeling like not doing a work out is no excuse for not going. I figured since I was so sore that I’d just do hill walking. I didn’t think I’d want to run, so I just did a fast paced walk at an incline, and started ramping it up every minute. It wasn’t so bad as I thought it’d be. And then the first commercial break came on. Dilemna! Every other time I’ve watched iron chef I have made myself run during the breaks. So it was force of habit that made me switch from hills to a flat run. I started at 4.5, super slow and easy, just to get into the rhythm of it. And ya know what, after 30 seconds of ow ow ow I’m so stiff and my muscles are not ready for this, it was fine! I ended up doing the dietmaven interval special! Here’s what I do. Rather than normal intervals, 1-2 minutes on FAST, then 1-2 minutes at a slow recovery pace, I ramp up until I can’t handle it anymore. I start out slow, say 4.5 or so, and after every time interval (this can vary from a minute or 30 seconds or if I’m trying to do it quickly, every 15 seconds) you bump up the speed by .1. In a commercial break, you don’t have long, so I went from 4.5 to 5.5 in less than 3 minutes. If you feel strong and want to push it, keep going. I often get to about 6.0-6.5 and then get super tired, and go to 3.0 or 3.5 to rest for a bit, before trying it again. My absolute best was making it to 7.0 and that was pure will (I was trying to compete with the thin athletic girl running at 7.0 next to me :).

Anyway, the running was way easier than I thought it’d be. I was sore, but moving sure helped work on blood flow through tired muscles. I went back to hill walks during the show, all the better to watch (unfortunately, battle okra will not live on as one of my favorite things to try and reproduce!). I ran every commercial break, even continuing on for a few extra minutes on my internval special since a really fantastic song came on (oh yeah, I switch from tv listening to tunes during breaks – that extra motivation really helps! I mean, how energized do you think you’ll feel watching a commercial for a car, I mean really!!). By the end of the hour, I felt bad I wasn’t going to be running, and that I had spent most of the hour walking.

Then I remembered I was going to amp up my workouts. I didn’t have to just do an hour. I could and should do more! So I restarted the machines (stupid 1 hour time limits!) and started running. I did my interval special and then did regular intervals. 1 minute on, 1 minute off. Every minute on would be at a slightly increased speed from the last one. I was up to 6.4 speeds (relatively fast for me), and then a muscle started bothering me. Just one, but the kind that I’ve learned means soreness and down time, so I cut my workout short at that point. I followed up with some foam rolling, something I am going to try and do more of, and went home.

I’m glad I worked out. I didn’t think I had it in me, but my body is made of sterner stuff than my will sometimes. Oh yeah, and my weight is at 208. No change from last time. Which goes to show you why I am choosing to both go more often (at least 6 days of hard exercise per week) and amp up the intensity (more than 60 minutes every time I go, and absolutely more than 600 calories burned per session).

Stats: 1:22 hr cardio
Miles: 5.5
Calories burned: 820

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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Goals, Gym


Help! Too sore to workout?

I did mega-lunges last night!!! I did so many sets of them, and so many repetitions that I can barely bend, or go up stairs. If I sit for a bit, then I am super stiff when I get up and have to hobble for a little while before the blood flow loosens up my muscles.

Now, I’m not complaining about the soreness. I’ve actually got a reason I’m bringing this up (and it’s not to whine!). This happens to me a lot. I push when I work out. When I do a trainer session, I push until I can’t do something anymore. Usually that results in super sore muscles. So here’s my conundrum.  If I did weights/resistance yesterday, and I’m supposed to take a day off before doing weights again (and I worked all the muscle groups, so I can’t switch to a different group of muscles), and I’m too sore to move easily, what should I do for exercise?!?!?

Seriously! I don’t know if it would be smart to run or not. I don’t want to just take the night off. I already did that Monday and I already have Saturday planned – photo safari to do some landscape photography in eastern Washington, from 6 am until 10 pm at least. No time for the gym tomorrow. So what do you recommend I do? What do *you* do when you are so sore you have trouble moving – do you take the day off? Just go for a long walk? Push it and do cardio that’s difficult to do at all?

I think right now, I may just go to the gym, and do a fast walk on the treadmill and watch the food network. I think Alton Brown is on at 7 for an hour. Hopefully it’s not a cupcake cookoff or something stupid! Either way, not a huge caloric burn, but at least it’s not sitting at home, cruisin’ the internet.


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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Excuses, Gym



Trying new things


First time back since my big March failure! I’m happy to report that I was able to make it through the entire class. All those downward dogs were fine – plenty of ab strength to make it, along with the (forgive me, I forget the name of it) transition that is like a plank/push up thing to go down into a cobra position. We did those over and over and over (and over again).

I wore a tighter fitted shirt, so my belly was not flapping around all exposed either. However, the shirt did ride up a bit and I had to continualy tug it down. That is always annoying. I hate wondering if everyone is looking at me, even though I know they aren’t. I wonder if that’s why larger people don’t do yoga. You have to wear tight fitted clothes and only slim people look good in that type of clothing???

The thing I’m not sure I’ll overcome is the sweating. I’ve said this before – yoga is HARD! You really engage a lot of muscles. Sure it moves the body and you stretch and twist and breathe, but you also work and move and hold, slowly, and repeat, and repeat! I dripped so much sweat. The problem is, when your body is slick with sweat it makes it really hard to grab and hold a body part in a tenuous position (like a foot when it goes way off to the side or up in the air). And doing downward dog (an inverted V, hands and feet on the mat, butt up in the air), my hands kept sliding on the yoga mat – I had trouble maintaining the position and all I did was try and control my slip sliding after about 10 minutes into the class.

I know I sweat a ton, always have. I wondered if this is just my lot in yoga, or if it would get better as I get more in shape and used to the class, but then I noticed this super fit guy in front of me that had a sweat towel and there were drops of sweat on his mat, so now I don’t feel so bad. But if there’s no chance I will stop sweating, how do other people handle holding all the positions? I’m confused, maybe time will give me more answers.

The day after, I was ok. Definitely felt it, but not in any one muscle group, and not enough to stop me from general activities. My stomach doesn’t hurt, so obviously my core/abs are in a much improved state from March. I’ll go again. I felt a lot more limber/loose after, which is what my main goal is at this point. Not the meditative aspect, but the physical ones. I don’t stretch enough, I have limited flexibility, and this one class may be the best thing for that.

New Trainer

I just swapped to a new trainer – my old (and incredibly wonderful last one) was just fired for saying she’s opening her own gym, so she’s no longer there. I wasn’t too happy about having to get a new trainer for my remaining 3 sessions. But I switched over to a new trainer and had my first session last night. I’m not totally sold on her yet, but I will reserve judgement.

* New approach
* New exercises
* New routines

* We actually had DEAD TIME! We took a break between sets, and didn’t do anything while I rested. I really felt it was such a waste! What, no super sets with another activity? I don’t even have dead time when I work out on my own, unless I take a break to drink water!!!
* Doing 3 sets* (see below)
* Less charismatic/awkward

Ok, I have to give it some time, we are both new to each other, and I think she’s still new to this gym. I’m sure we’ll get more familair with each other, have something to relate to/talk about, and be less reserved.

In training with my old trainer, I was always sad we only did 2 sets of everything, but now, having done 3 sets last night, I see it allowed us to do a lot more different exericses. Plus it left me wanting to do more, and when I have tried doing the routines on my own, I do 3 sets. Doing 3 sets reduces the number of exercises  you can do, so maybe it’s not a good thing.

I talked the manager into getting my 3 remaining sessions turned into 4. After all, if I have to spend time talking and getting to know a new trainer, that will lose me training time. I guess he felt he owed me something to swap trainers this far along, because he readily agreed. So my 3 remaining sessions has become 4. Last night was the first and I have 3 weeks remaining.

Overall? Not impressed, but I’ll see where it goes. I am sure I will learn some different techniques and exercises. Even if I don’t love it, there are only 3 more sessions.

Afterwards? I very well may go to my old trainer’s new training gym (it’s in my neighborhood), and work with her. It won’t cost any more, and I can still go to my gym for the other stuff (classes, regular access to gym equipment).

Again about the changes in routine

I just posted last about how changes in routine are A  Bad Thingtm. I have to say I wasn’t talking about a new trainer when I wrote it (as I hadn’t had my session yet), but I will say I don’t like having a new one (as of yet). I feel uncertain and unmoored. But as I decided in May, when I rededicated myself to going to the gym after a brief hiatus – I’m doing this for the long haul. This is a lifestyle change. And regardless of who helps, it’s my journey that I have to do primarily by myself. Yes, I can rely partially on the expertise and focused attention of a personal trainer, but in the end, it’s my dedication the other 6 days of the week that really matter.

If the new trainer doesn’t work out, then I have to l need to look into alternatives. Taking more group classes, maybe going to classes at a different 24 hour gym (such as downtown, on the weekends). Maybe I need to formulate a workout routine before I go to the gym and research it on my own on the internet. Maybe I need to upgrade to a fancier gym and try other options for trainers/classes. There’s a lot I can do. I just have to stay focused and do it.

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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Gym


Changes in routine = BAD!

Well, it’s a good thing to have a partner in crime. They keep you accountable. Today I got out of work at 5 pm, so early! I’m so used to getting home at 7 pm, that getting home so earlier, with a full 2 hours to go before the yoga class tonight, left me completely at wit’s end. So I caught up on some blog reading, and started to get that overly comfortable feeling, sitting in a chair, all cozy, on the internet, with a cool breeze coming in the window, getting chill and relaxed… And then I no longer felt like going to the gym!!!

It’s so funny. The later I work, the less fuss and nonsense I have room for. I get home, give my lovely kittens their 10 minutes of pettings, feed them a treat, and then immediately get ready for the gym. I change, get my clothes all folded into my gym bag, grab a towell, and off I go! There’s no room for getting tired, getting distracted, only complete and utter focus. I don’t have to think about whether or not I want to go to the gym, it’s just a given! Without time to have those thoughts, I don’t think about it, and don’t talk myself out of going. I go, it’s as simple and concrete as that!

Here’s a typical day: get up, make lunch, go to work, work for 8.5 to 10.5 hours (on average), go home, get changed, go to the gym, shower, go home, pet the cats, make dinner, watch something on netflix for an hour, go to bed. That’s my weekday, almost every day. Throw me a curve ball, like 2 hours of down time between home and changing for the gym, and there’s a good chance I’ll talk myself out of going. Except for, oh yeah, my live-in gym partner and personal motivator.

I have always heard how much better it is to work out in the morning. Get it over with, blah blah… Rev your metabolism more fully, blah blah, blah… But you know what? It doesn’t work for me. I can’t even get up 10 minutes early!!! I roll out of bed 30 or 40 minutes after my alarm, with only enough time to give the rudimentary 10 minutes of dedicated pettings to my cats (they are very high maintenance), get dressed, play with the cats again, make my breakfast and coffee, and get to work, hopefully not more than 5 minutes late. Anyway, the point is, I don’t do mornings well. Somehow, however, I’m able to work late, be worn out from work, and still have the energy to go to the gym, and not have dinner until 9:30 or 10 pm. It’s my routine, I’m used to it, and I don’t mind working out late. I typically don’t get to the gym before 7 or 7:30. I guess tonight wouldn’t have been an issue…if I went straight there after getting home. Unfortunately for me, I was waiting for a class, and for a change was able to leave work at a normal time, thus had a full 2 hours to kill!

I was going to talk about yoga last night, but this blog post got derailed. I didn’t even know I was going to write about this until it happened – I guess I just needed to talk about this. I’ll have to save the yoga results for later, grin!

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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Gym


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Weigh in and gym buffet

Haven’t officially “weighed in” in a while. Still don’t have a scale at home, so I use the weights and lever one in the locker room at my gym. Tonight? 208!!! I’m down 1 pound from last week. I worked out super hard last week, but after soreness/issues with a hip muscle, the upsurge in heat and humidity (which sucks all vitality out of me), and eating just waaaay too much this weekend, I only have 1 pound to show for the work,  instead of more. Oh well, at least I’m going down and working at it!!

In other news, my trainer was “fired” from the gym. She is opening her own place, also in my neighborhood. That sucks, since I have 3 more sessions to use up and I don’t want to just switch to a new trainer for only a short while. I may stick with her, and train at her place, soon to be opened in 1-2 months, and pay less than at 24 hour fitness.

I haven’t switched yet, so my normal training day, which is tomorrow, is now empty. I never make it into the gym when there’s a manager to facilitate this, as I don’t show up until 7:30 or later any evening! I think tomorrow, I may try out some of the gym’s other class options, particularly a class that I haven’t taken since February…Yoga!

Last time I took that I hurt so bad for 3 days that I couldn’t laugh or sneeze without intense pain. That’s what I got for having avoided any core muscle work before having my ass handed to me after an hour long extremely grueling experience that I swore off until I was in a lot better physical shape. If you have never taken yoga, let me tell you – it is HARD! Anyway, with all the strength training I’ve been doing, including abs/core, I think I may have a chance to make it through an hour without leaving, or sitting out the last 10 minutes (like last time!!). I may try and run tomorrow for a half hour or so, THEN go to yoga. Depends on how nastily muggy and humid it is.

So, that’s the news, the plan, and my current status. Be well… dietmaven out.


Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Gym, Weight loss


In it to Win It!

Sunday turned into a normal workout day instead of a super-charged one that I had hoped for. I ended up going out for dim sum, followed by a bunch of shopping, and made it back just in time for my hour date with the treadmill and Iron Chef (secret ingredient – Skipjack Tuna). I worked hard, but I still had a lot of fatigue in my muscles, that made me less able to perform.

Question: Does anyone have suggestions for reducing muscle fatigue the next day or two after a hardcore workout (in this case, lots of walking/running the day prior)?

The Two Month Mark
I’m happy to report that today will mark 2 full months of workouts. I think I’ve proven that I’m in it to win it! I’ve still managed to make it 5 days/week every week so far, which is my minimum goal. Yes, I could be doing a little bit more, but you know what, I’m a hell of a lot stronger, more fit, and have much more stamina than when I started!

John is also working out weekly with a friend of ours – early in January they made a spontaneous deal to train for a relay triathlon sprint. So this friend of ours, who manages a bar, works late, and has fallen into the routine of drinking rather heavily and often, is supposed to be training for this. She’s stopped smoking, and has begun drinking less, but she hasn’t worked out as hard or as intensely as she probably should for this goal. Personally, I feel as if she committed to doing the triathlon without much thought, and that’s catching up with her. John and I were talking yesterday about how it’s really uncommon for someone to start up at the gym, go strong from the start, and maintain it, so we’re way ahead of the curve. Yup! That’s us, we’re amazing!

Physical Changes:
One thing I noticed – my basic running speed has increases slightly since I started in January. Then, it was a struggle to run at all. By the end of the month I was able to run at 4.5 for long periods of time. Now, 4.7 is no problem, and I may be able to go faster for extended periods. I get a little winded at 5.0, but I’m getting there! It’s nice to see progress, as I feel so slow compared to where I was in years past. My fitness level and my weight are about the same as then – the only thing that has changed is my age.

Oh, and something else weird. I’ve been trying a lot of jeans on lately and they always get stuck on my calves. I don’t remember this being as much of an issue before. I haven’t measured (as I don’t have a tape to use), but I think my calves have been getting bigger, not smaller!!! At this rate I will never be able to get knee-high boots unless I get them custom made. That’s one of the things I had been looking forward to, actually be able to wear fun footwear occasionally instead of clogs or sneakers.

This Week:

  • Looking forward, I think I may be missing my Tuesday workout – I have to go back in to work at 9 pm (cue overtime opportunity! yeah!), after closing our building late (at 6:30 or so), and there just won’t be time! If that happens, I’m going to have to consider doing a Thursday late night workout.
  • I still haven’t made hummus yet! I have to do it before all my peripheral ingredients go bad (cukes, feta, olives).
  • We’re starting to see a lettuce shortage in supermarkets. It’s been more difficult to get clamshells of spring mix lettuces, one of our staple food items (ie, dinner salads!). There was a big freeze in Mexico recently, and we were warned that this would have a significant impact on supply and probably prices.
  • I am assisting with a big pinhole camera making workshop this weekend, so no outdoor activities or big workouts are planned. I’ll be busy enough as it is as the TA, but that’s ok, it will let me take the workshop for free – something I wanted to take but couldn’t quite afford!
  • Desperately need to make a run to Costco and pickup on dietmaven approved foods. Didn’t manage to make it grocery shopping this weekend at all, so we’re in food crisis mode at home! Not good!

Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Gym


A weekend of extra long workouts and lots of cooking!

John wanted to go to 10:30 am yoga this morning, so I (very!) reluctantly got ready to go. I was kinda planning on not going in so early, as I absolutely NEVER work out in the morning. I like it in the evening much better. So off we went, and I knew that I’d be there an hour an a half, an hour for his yoga, and an extra half because he wanted to do weights afterwards. I hopped on the treadmill and did a mishmash of running, walking, and hill climbing, finishing with a 20 minute fast (-er than usual) run (4.7 -4.9 speed) at the end. 610 calories. Cool. But by the end, I felt energized and thought I’d try and do the powerpump class Sunday morning at 9:30 (tomorrow), so didn’t want to do weights 2 days in a row. I elected to keep running/walking. I thought I’d just walk to do something, but felt so good that I decided to do a whole bunch of fast sprints. So I walked then ran, fast, for 1-2 minutes each. Total calorie burn? 900! My shirt was drenched, my face was beet red, and I was dripping all over the gym floor.

And later, going shopping for our big cooking extravaganza day, I really felt the tiredness in my leg muscles. This is the first extra long workout I’ve had since starting up. 90 minutes of hard cardio. I really sweat my ass off, too, but it has to be good to push your body if you physically can. I bet it has gotten used to 60 minutes of cardio at a time, so I probably shocked the heck out of it today!

Now we’re doing a big cooking splurgy day. I am making my lamb shanks with french lentils, which is luscious and delectable and will last for days. Takes 4 hours to cook, and has beer in the broth, for extra yummy flavor. It will be mostly lentils with a small bit of lamb on top. I’ll be soaking my garbanzos and cooking up a batch of hummus tomorrow, but I’m going to prep some quick pickled red onions to go with it today. I have all the other ingredients to make a scrumptious meal of pita, hummus, cucumber, crumbled feta, kalamata olives, and pickled red onions. It should be nice to eat during the week too.

John is doing his part, too. We made heirloom orange marmalade this week, and he wants to have fresh scones with it, so he’s going to make them up this evening, along with a lime drizzle cake with coconut cream cheese frosting. Not diet food, that’s for sure! I’m going to have to whip him into good diet shape! Cakes every other week is NOT dietmaven approved! Well, I will have my slice tonight, or tomorrow, whenever he gets to it. And I will definitely  have a scone with marmalade after I return from a hardcore workout! And lest you think I’m f’ing up with all the eating (which is really not horribly bad, if I keep it in moderation), I’ll be having another double workout tomorrow, since I will either do a weight class in the morning OR go snowshoeing, plus still go to the gym at 7 pm for Iron Chef and an hour of cardio in the evening!

I’m debating whether or not I will go for an evening walk. I’m mega-tired, but after reading how much food I have planned this weekend, I better get my but in gear and do it!

Stay healthy all!

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Posted by on February 19, 2011 in Cooking, Gym