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.

Need some motivation?

Whenever I am in need of some fitness motivation… Pinterest is always to the rescue. All I have to do is look in the “Health & Fitness” category, see a board full of perfect abs and asses, and suddenly I am a body builder, no fitness challenge fazing me.

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Today was a legs and butt day at the gym, and mine feel like they are burning off as I type. I question whether or not I will be able to walk to my car in the morning. “Hi boss, my ass is on fire, I need to use a sick day.”

Really though… squats and leg presses are my new best friends, and I live for the days that they are on my workout schedule. Today I did 5 sets of single leg presses,  5 sets of “sumo” squats with the free bar, weighted step-ups, 90 degree wall planks with lifts, seated calf raises and a quick 2.7 mile bike ride. I was able to do more  than anticipated, which is always a nice surprise. Especially when shortly after my sets, I watch a big guy struggle with less weight than I did. Hoorah!

PS, one day my ass will look like blondie’s.

Here goes nothing

This has got to be the 3rd or 4th time I have started a blog. I have always wanted one, but I haven’t ever had a topic that interested me enough to keep up with it. The last few that I tried were abandoned after less than a month. I feel that to blog, you need to be passionate and dedicated to what you are writing about. Enough so that you could easily write about it on a regular basis and have a library of topics building up in your brain for future posts.

In high school I was an athlete. I played a brief stint of field hockey and ran track. I could run for days and was comfortable in my skin. Come college I put on the devil they call the freshman fifteen and absolutely loathed looking at myself in the mirror. I worked out at the school’s gyms now and then but wasn’t consistent enough with it. The dining commons didn’t help my case either. Those fifteen never fell off after I finished college and since I graduated two years ago, I put on a few more.

I have gone through phases since then where I have worked out regularly and was finally “getting my body back,” but then something would set me back and suddenly I was lazy again. One day last summer during a purge of my closet I found an old pair of shorts that I used to wear in high school and during the beginning of my time as an undergrad. I tried them on and I could barely get them over my thighs. It was both surprising and mortifying. I immediately set off for the gym and maintained a decent schedule for the duration of the summer.

I had a bad experience in a spinning class after a few months of really being good about exercising. I have a bad hip, and during a class one evening it began to really irritate me, forcing me to step out to avoid further injury. I was embarrassed that I had to leave the class, but more annoyed that my hip was misbehaving after a long stretch of feeling fine. I took a bit of a break from the gym to “heal”… big mistake.  What was supposed to be a couple of days off turned into a couple of weeks. By the time my “break” was over and I was back in the gym, I felt like I was starting from scratch. I had lost it. I was once again out of shape and self-conscious of my body.

A little over a month ago I decided enough is enough, Katie, it’s time to whip your butt back into shape. There’s not point in being hard on yourself if you aren’t going to be proactive. So, a very good friend of mine worked long and hard on a fitness plan for me – a 4-day workout plan. When he first sent it to me, I shook my head and was immediately nervous. The entire plan was almost entirely made up of things I have never done before! I was used to the stationary bike, the elliptical and the treadmill. His plan has me spending very little time doing cardio (at least, much less than I am accustomed to), and heavy strength training. Before I started this plan, I never stepped foot in the weight room. No way no how am I going in there… I don’t want to look like a fool! He pushed me and said “if you really want to do this and if you really want to see results, you’re going to have to tough it out and follow the plan!” Now, I workout 5 days a week and am doing deadlifts, squats, cable curls, you name it!

In addition to my new workout plan, I am eating a hell of a lot better. I was never really much of a snacker, but there was definitely room for improvement. Rather than 3 regular meals throughout the day, I try to eat 5 small meals. Much more fruits and veggies, protein and water. Cutting back big time on the carbs. Now to cut back on the wine!

I started my new plan on February 25th and have lost almost 10lbs since then. My weight, of course, fluctuates. It frustrates me from time to time when one day I was down 6lbs and the next day I have gained 2lbs. My “coach” has taught me that the end result is what counts and to not focus too much on the numbers, but on how I feel.

I am starting this blog to track my progress and motivate myself to keep on pushing. Here goes nothing!