A Little Pick-Me-Up

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“Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.”

I stumbled across this and it was just what I needed. I thought I would share for anyone else in need of a little motivation.

This quote speaks volumes for me.  Going through a big lifestyle change is hard. Really hard. Between the dietary changes and a serious workout regimen, it is so easy to get caught up in where you think you “should be,” while losing sight of how much you have already accomplished.

I am as impatient as they come. “I want results and I want them now!”  While I am not where I think I should be after 7 1/2 weeks of this change, I overlook the fact that I have already lost 10lbs and FEEL so much better than I did before I started. That’s a huge accomplishment in itself, and I sometimes forget that.

This goes back to the point of my post “Ambitious Goals for April.” I just need to keep telling myself that time is my friend and that the end result is what matters most!

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Ass. Kicked.

Yesterday I got to spend some time at the gym with my trainer and let me tell you… I. Am. HURTING.

I don’t get to do this very often since we live so far from each other, so it was nice to be able to go together rather than me briefing him on my workout like I do every other day. Gives me a chance to learn some new things and make sure I am doing all of my strength training correctly.

One of the biggest things he emphasized yesterday was to push myself to my limits. When I am on my own, I often think that I can’t do another rep, or that I’m not ready to add an extra 5-10lbs, but he continues to prove me wrong!

Much to my day-after-workout body’s displeasure…

I added 10lbs to my max weight for deadlifts. What I typically do is start with 30lbs and add weight with every set, eventually doing my final set with 50lbs. Yesterday, I started with 50lbs and focused on my form before upping to 60lbs.

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I also added an extra 20lbs to my max squat weight, totaling to 115lbs if you include the weight of the bar. I hadn’t done squats in about a week and a half since we were giving my knee a little bit of a break. I was happy to find that it felt fine, even with more weight than I was used to on my shoulders. We alternated between regular squats and sumo squats. There were a few moments when I seriously thought that I couldn’t get my butt down there again and it was helpful knowing he was there to spot me incase I couldn’t make it. He was also in my ear saying “ONE MORE, ONE MORE!” Not seeming to have much of an option, down I went. This was brutal. BUT, they say squats are key to a great ass, so squat I shall!

He totally tricked me when we did the assisted pull-ups and dips. I usually do a 100lb assist and about 4 sets of 10-12. He told me that I needed to lose about 5-6lbs of assistance every week on my own but I hadn’t started doing that yet. So, since he was being the boss-man, yesterday was the day to drop a little bit. First I tried 90lbs assistance which of course was harder than I was used to, but not terrible. Then he wanted to drop a little more and said he was setting it to 85lbs. So, up and down I go — kind of. I only managed about 6 reps for both the pull-ups and dips. It was a struggle. In my head I was like DAMN, am I really that weak? Why is this so much harder if it’s only 5lbs less?? Turns out that sucker was playing with me and actually set it to 75lbs assistance to make a point that my body is capable of more than I think.

tumblr_lwdnxeVGfQ1qk3lgjo1_500I also tried something completely new… bench pressing! Since it was my first time, I only did the barbell which weighs 45lbs. I clearly didn’t look as good as the chick to the left, but maybe one day I will be benching the barbell and some plates with ease like her. I actually liked it much more than I thought I would. If I am brave enough, I think I will try these on my own at some point this week.

In addition to the tough stuff, we did a handful of free weight lifts such as the Seated Arnold to make sure that I was doing them correctly. Turns out there are a good amount of workouts where I should actually be starting with heavier weights than I have been.

Overall I had an awesome exercise yesterday and I am bound to be feeling it for days. I have been waddling around like a little old lady. Ouuuch.

Finally hit the 10lb mark!

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I am nearing the end of my 7th week of the new fitness plan and I have FINALLY hit the 10lb mark!!

I feel like I was teetering one step back from this milestone for a little while now and was starting to worry (unreasonably) that I had hit the weight loss “plateau” that people talk about. I wondered how I could have POSSIBLY hit a plateau when I am still so early in the game?

Anyways, much to my excitement this morning when I stepped on the scale, I was officially down a total of 10.5lbs! YAY! This amounts to an average weight loss of about 1.5lbs a week, which my trainer says is a good pace.

What an excellent start to my day!

IN ADDITION…

TWO people told me yesterday that they can see a difference in my body! YES.

I love a challenge

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Bike Challenge: 10 miles in 40 minutes (2.50 miles every 10 minutes)

Achieved: 10.88 miles in 40 minutes

My Monday workout was a little off today. Very off actually. What was supposed to be a hardcore leg day filled with squats, weighted step ups, wall planks and leg presses ended up being a little bit of arms and some cardio.

My knee has been bothering me since last week so my trainer advised me to take it easy to find out if it is actually injured or if it is just an unfamiliar soreness. So, rather than my badass leg workouts, I focused on my pull ups, dips and push ups. I was supposed to do abs but I barely did. Shhhh.

After that I had a stationary bike challenge which I beat! Still not on par with what I was able to do last summer, but getting there! I am hoping that we can add one day a week where I do a lot of cardio – a challenge ride preferably – rather than just a quick cool down. I made a point to take a photo of my progress every 10 minutes and every 2.50 miles to see if I was keeping pace. Halfway through my ride I was 3 minutes ahead of schedule which was exciting. However, I clearly didn’t keep that up since I only surpassed the goal by .88. I attempted HIIT  (High-intensity Interval Training), by alternating between a sprint for 5-10 minutes and riding at moderate pace for a few minutes. It kicked my butt!

Today was good. My ass is already sore. Success!

Ambitious Goals for April

nikegoals“Ambitious goals make for outstanding achievements.”

My trainer would like this. He is always telling me to aim high.

I have completed 6 weeks of my new health and fitness plan. Before I started I would hop on a stationary bike at the gym for 30 minutes to an hour depending on my mood, maybe do a weight machine or two, then head home. It felt like a decent enough workout, but “decent” wasn’t enough for the results I wished to see. Just a couple of months ago, when I would finish my ride… I knew I still had a little more in me but didn’t bother pushing myself to my limits. How can you wish for results that you aren’t working hard enough for?

Now I am doing things I never thought I would ever do and I am pushing myself to the point that I am running on fumes by the time I am ready for my cool-down. However, despite the fact that I am working out hard and eating better.. I still have my bad days. Sometimes I cringe and get discouraged when I look at the scale and see that I have gone up rather than down. I ask myself and my trainer why my weight stayed the same or why I weigh more when I feel like I am doing everything that I am supposed to be doing. I worry that I am looking at the scale a little too much, and being too much of a negative nancy when I have an off-day. It happens!

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I try to remember to tell myself that time is my best friend, and that a positive mindset is JUST as important as a getting a good workout in and eating a well-balanced meal.

My goals this month:

1) To not get discouraged by a bad day or week – they happen, and the end result is what matters.

2) To leave the gym crawling after EVERY workout.

3) Get a friend or family member to accompany me to the gym at least 4-5 times during the month of April because working out with someone REALLY is better.

4) To not be neurotic in regards to the scale.

5) To remind myself that time is my friend, not my enemy.

6) To beat my personal record of 18.35 miles in an hour on the stationary bike.

Lastly, and most importantly…

7) To think BIG and achieve BIGGER results in the next 6 weeks.

After all, bikini season is coming fast!

Starting to see some definition!

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It’s very exciting to see your hard work pay off.

I am always amused by the people at the gym who spend more time staring at themselves in the mirror as they flex than they do working out. It’s like… who are you trying to impress, can’t get enough of yourself? HOWEVER, while I was doing one of my lifts today, I noticed in the mirror the slightest hint of unfamiliar definition in my arms! I found myself looking around to see if anyone was watching, then flexing my biceps and sneaking a peek at myself. It’s not a whole lot, but it is way better than the flabby arms I looked at sulkily in February.

Today was an arms day at the gym. I did 5 sets of chest presses, 6 sets of close-grip chest presses, 5 sets incline dumbbell curls, 6 sets cable curls, 5 sets of a lateral raise/front/press combination, and of course 5 sets of a weighted glute bridge to get the ass burning. This was all followed by a 20 minutes stationary bike ride, 5.19 miles. Overall a great workout!

Tomorrow is my challenge day at the gym which includes many weighted walking lunges and deadlifts. I am strangely looking forward to it. Happy almost Friday!

Homemade Grilled Chicken Gyro

I am a fan of ordering a meal out just as much as the next person. But, after a while it becomes a little heavy on both the pocket and the waistline.

Right across the street from my workplace is the best little Greek restaurant, and my co-workers and I love to buy their gyros from time to time. Well, turns out that a lamb gyro with all of the toppings can amount to anywhere between about 420-560 calories alone depending on where you get it and how much “stuff” you put on it. While the toppings consist of mostly veggies, it’s the Tzatziki sauce that makes it the best… and possibly the worst. According to the MyFitnessPal calorie counter, one serving of Tzatziki sauce  can be anywhere from about 40-60 calories. So if you’re a into slathering on the sauce, this could add up!

Last night I decided to put on my Greek hat and try making my own gyros. Rather than using lamb, I grilled up some chicken and I made a homemade Tzatziki sauce. Let me tell you… to DIE for. I just finished eating leftovers for lunch as a matter of fact.

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After doing a little research, I found that one white pita bread amounts to about 160-165 calories on it’s own. I bought Joseph’s Flax Oat Bran & Whole Wheat pitas which  only has 60 calories in each.

I sliced and marinated the chicken in a mixture of fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, just a sprinkling of seasoned salt and garlic garlic garlic (my fave).

While the chicken soaked up the yummy flavors I made the sauce using STRAINED low-fat plain Greek yogurt, shredded cucumbers, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, fresh dill, a tad of olive oil, a dash of cayenne pepper, some seasoned salt (or celery salt) and more garlic (yay!). This sat in the fridge while I cooked the chicken and heated the pitas.

Top your pita with chicken, fresh tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, red onion and some tzatziki sauce (go light on the sauce if you want to cut back on some calories) and voila! Totally filling, cheap and healthier than buying lunch! Homemade is the way to go.