Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bees Knees

Yesterday I spent some time researching knee problems, and none of them look particularily like something you want to have going on with your knee, but mostly all of them recommend seeing a doctor if you are having pain.  I don't really have pain, perse, but it is annoying.  I think I've mentioned before that I am a doctor's nightmare, self-diagnosing by researching on the internet before I step into an office.  I want to be prepared for what things might possibly be before someone strange starts prodding around. 
So my self diagnosis as of last night was Baker's Cyst.  I might add, I am usually right when I self-diagnose, but the knees have so many similar symptoms for a variety of issues.  By the time I looked at a few articles on-line, I was starting to think maybe I should finally have these old knees looked at by a professional.  Then, when I got home last night, I was hanging out with my kids and looked at how swollen my knee was, and when I pushed on a swollen area, it was all squishy inside.  The other knee isn't like that.  So that pretty much sealed the deal.  No leg training and no cardio until I can see a doctor for this.  It is really irritating to me that I am finally in the zone and I will be partially sidelined by some stupid issue that was likely caused by years of obesity.  Now I am only praying that it is a small tear, and not arthritic.  At very least, I am gratful that my legs are already a part of my body that I'm perfectly content with, so not training them won't be as bad a mental trip as not training shoulders or triceps.  My life is never dull!
Now that I am consistently training in the morning instead of the evenings, I am getting familiar with some of the folks who work out with me at the insane hour of 5am.  Today a woman that I have seen a few times, was training in the free weight room next to me.  She looks relatively fit, but she does all of these weird bouncing, really small range of motion moves, and speeds through sets like her underwear is on fire.  Today was the first time she spoke to me, as I was in the middle of a superset of shoulder moves, barely eeking out 8 reps.  This is what she said, "I'm new here, but don't you think they should have more of the lighter weights for women?"  I was a little dumbfounded, as there is a really awesome selection of weights in the lower end, even in 2.5pound incriments( 7.5, 12.5, 17.5, these are dumbbells I never knew existed until I joined this gym) and they go as light as 2.5 pounds.  I wasn't sure just how light she was looking for, so I just said, "I rarely see women in this room, to be honest."  And I went about my business doing rear delt flyes with 20 pound dumbbells.  I can see if someone is just starting out, they might want to get the feel of the movement by using a light weight, but honestly, if you know the move, there is not much you are going to be doing for yourself swinging around a 2.5 pound weight.  I tried not to give too much thought to the comment as I trained my shoulders hard, and happily finished with a little spare time to relax before getting myself and kids ready for our morning.  I love training shoulders, and I like how they are starting to shape up. 
So now, I have to rearrange my workouts a bit, because I have eliminated legs for now.  Instead of tomorrow being a leg day, then, I will train back (was supposed to be Saturday's session) and take an entire weekend off.  And Monday is a holiday so the gym will be closed, I am not sure what, if anything, I will do, maybe some ab work since I haven't been training them, or maybe some yoga stretches. 
I am feeling a little drained today, as is everyone I am meeting so far, so I am going to make an attempt to relax a little over the long holiday weekend.  Then, in a blink of an eye, college will be back in session and the chaos will be cranked up to full blast.  Oh, sweet beautiful summer, where have you gone?
Well, here goes another day!  Hope it's a good one!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ho Hum, Chest Day Again

I woke with ease again this morning, just moments before my alarm.  I am really liking that I don't have to struggle to wake up, it makes the thought of working out that much easier.  Today was chest, and to be honest, it is my least favorite thing to train.  I am actually quite unenthused about chest workout, and on this particular program, she has it designed as a heavily super-setted training, with abs, which I haven't been training.  So today, I was done in a half hour.   I was going to hit the treadmill for some cardio, but after just a few minutes, I knew my knee was not going to allow it.  I could have pushed through the tense, irritated feeling, but I know that would have delayed my healing.   I will do some research in the coming days, to see if I can determine whether or not I should see a physician for this issue, or if it's just a part of getting older. 
I am a little more than halfway through this program, and I'm still having fun.  I think the gym is a huge part of that.  I was thinking about how it'd be if I didn't join and was still trying to do this program with my home gym and 10 pound dumbbells.  I don't think I would have stayed on track as easily, I would have been bored.  But the gym is still an exciting place full of all kinds of interesting equipment to explore.  I have been there a month now, and am still discovering equipment I've never used.  At some point I will try it all.  Today was the first time I tried dips on the bars.  For triceps I have always done dips on a bench, afraid that I wasn't strong enough to do them on the bars.  So today when I was supposed to do them for chest, I tried the bars.  It felt really awkward and the hanging part hurt my knee of all things.  I was able to get a few dips done, but I was feeling it in my triceps, not my chest, so I left those out today.  I will work up to that.  Right now my utmost concern is keeping my knee functional.
Today I will have an abbreviated day at work, as I have a seminar on handling stress in the workplace to attend.  It is a nice way to get paid to be someplace other than work, and it makes my boss look good that I am attending these work-sponsored seminars out of my own free will and interest.  Plus, a fridge full of ice cold diet soda just calling my name?  I think it's going to be a smooth day!
Hope you are in the middle of a smooth week, friends!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Legs Insanity

This morning I was happy to wake just a few moments before my alarm went off, and feelilng well-rested.  I'm hoping that means my body is getting accustomed to waking at 4:30, I won't say it's been easy to reset my natural wake time, but I'm happy it is working out.  Most of my morning workouts actually feel slightly rushed, with me having to improvise in the end in order to get everything in and still make it home in time to get myself and my kids ready for the day.  By the time I get to work, I am already feeling like the chaotic part of my day is over. 
Today I trained legs, and it was a little awkward because I have been having weird joint issues with my left knee, a tightness in the back of the knee, and relief comes after the popping noise.  I'm irritated about it because I haven't done any running or stressful things to my knee (other than training, and I am careful to use proper form) but still this annoying joint thing.  Maybe it's the way I sleep.  Anyway, I know the only way to get the knees in a better place is to train the leg muscles around them to help stabalize the tendons.  So I trained them.  I also had a weird ankle thing going on with my right foot, it needed to pop in a bad way, but wouldn't budge.  So I worked through it.  My legs were so completely trashed by the time I got to my last two moves, that I had to shave one set off each of the moves in order to get through it.  As I walked to the locker room afterword, I felt like my legs were just going to give out from under me, they were so shakey.  But that is what needs to happen in order to build muscle.  The crazy thing is, I was using 80 pounds on leg press, and still cranking out 15 reps, so next time I will have to go heavier, as I was only supposed to be getting 8 reps in.  I know my legs are strong, and the leg press is one of the moves where you will use some of your heaviest weights, but I was suprised to see how easy that weight was for me.  My legs are looking nice after all this work.  By next summer I will have to be showing them off all the time!
While reading a blog this morning, the writer was having a contest and giving away gift cards for a T-shirt company, so I went to browse the shirts.  One has a saying that I love: train insane or stay the same.  It feels so fitting for me.  I was training harder than anyone in the gym this morning, and now that I've seen this shirt, I am thinking I might have to have it.  It is so true.  My husband has been going to this gym for more than 3 years now and he said, with the exception of a select few, all of the people working out there still look the same as they did 3 years ago.  Now I know not everyone works out for the sake of changing their appearance, but if that is your goal, you're going to have to progress past the 10 pound weights at some point.  And that is the weight I see a lot of men using on cable moves.  They do it super fast and do like 20 reps. 
I won't get on my soapbox today.  I just liked and felt that shirt a lot.  It gets me really fired up to get back in the gym tomorrow and prove that I am there to make a change in my body.  And I'm not quitting until I'm satisfied!
Hope your Tuesday's off to a fantastic start!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Indulgence is Contagious

In my seemingly never ending quest for fitness, this weekend provided another lesson for me.  The more money I have, the more I want to spend it on eating junk.  I remember when I was still living at home, and my paychecks were pretty much mine to do what I wanted with, I would often spend them on magazines, gum, silly stuff like jounals and pens, and more often than not, junk food.  There may be some deeper issues there, revolving around growing up poor and watching my mother count out the change in her penny jar so we could get a sweet treat on nights when my father was out with friends, or how my mother would eat pure garbage instead of meals, probably in an attempt to drown out whatever emotional stuff she was going through.  We learn from our parents, whether or not they have healthy habits.  But for me, in an attempt to keep it simplified, mo money= mo problems with food.  When I am struggling, I only have money to spend on the clean, practicle stuff that I absolutely need to get by.  No spare money to make a quick stop at the grocery store for a quick snack, or take the kids for ice cream. 
That being said, this weekend was a bit less successful than I would have allowed last weekend, or for that matter, since I began this program.  I found myself feeling rushed straight through the weekend, and many times, I felt like I just wanted a few minutes to relax and enjoy the last little bit of summer.  In retrospect, we should have spent our weekend at the beach, but you know what they say about hindsight!
Friday night we ate dinner at a quaint little Mexican restaurant, where the food is home made, the service is phenomenal, and the atmosphere warm and happy.  My kids haven't been there, so to them it was an amazing adventure.  We all left full and content.  Then we did an errand or two, and went to that frozen custard place I've spoken of, my kids were begging for it.  I was too full to have anything, and I am not fond of frozen custard anyway, so I abstained.  My kids ate about half of their too-creamy desserts.  I shuddered at the thought of that stuff.  Too sweet and rich for me.  In the past I probably could have put away an entire large size without thought.  I'm happy that isn't the case anymore.
Saturday found me at the gym doing that fantastic back workout I love and to my delight, the T-bar rows were as good as I remember.   I didn't get the same pump in my back as I did last week, but I was tired at the end just the same.  I am trying to fight off the next round of soup-nose that is coming via my younger son, but I have been feeling increasingly tired and soupy-nosed.  Saturday night we gave the kids the option of eating anywhere they wanted, and they chose...SUSHI.  We went to our favorite sushi restaurant and indulged in the freshness.  My kids even tried seaweed salad and loved it.  And for all the beautiful artwork they created for us to eat, it was gone in mere minutes!  I love that my kids are so open-minded about food, and are learning about making healthy choices.  That night, I went light on the sushi, so after going to a park to let the kids run off some of their energy, we stopped for a few groceries, and I picked up a small sweet treat.  It was a brownie with walnuts and carmel on top.  To be honest, my nose being in a slightly compromised state, I didn't really taste it as well as I'd like to, so as I was eating it I was thinking what a waste it was, empty calories for no good reason.   
Yesterday, I slept later than I have in years (9 am) and our day was rushed, between getting the kids out and taking care of our errands and cooking for the week, the day seemed to fly by, and I didn't do any cardio.  It wasn't in the plan anyway, but I do enjoy Sunday morning cardio.  While we didn't have a family meal, I did eat some chips and way too many bananas, which I don't usually have in the house, because it is sometimes a trigger food for me.  Last night, as I was craving junk food, flavorful food, anything other than what I should be eating, I made the connection with the money/food thing.  It is about indulgence.  When I have enough money that I can buy whatever I want at the grocery store, I want to buy everything.  And eat everything.  I ate relatively clean after that, but I realized how easily I can let my focus slip when my circumstance changes ever so slightly.  It was a bit alarming.  I started thinking, I don't want to go to the gym tomorrow morning, I want to sleep in.  But I know where that kind of thinking gets me, and now I have a little better glimpse into where it came from.  Indulgence is so dangerous for me, because it quickly spreads from one category to the next.  Food indulgence spreads to sleep indulgence spreads to personal time indulgence to spending indulgence, etc.  I knew I had to stop the cycle somewhere and get things back where they belong. 
So this morning as I headed to the gym, the fog outside was so thick, I could barely see where I was going.  It was so disorienting, as if being in a blinding snowstorm.  It was amazing how quiet it made it felt, like the fog was some invisible force field, filtering out sound. I'll admit, I felt a bit unfocused this morning as I trained biceps and triceps, but I was able to lift as much as last week, and complete my entire workout in just enough time to scoot home and get ready.  The mornings are so chaotic, but at least I've got my weight training in for the day, all I have to worry about is a bit of cardio later.  On the way home from the gym, the fog was lifting as the sun was rising, and I had to snap a quick photo
I thought of everyone who was still sleeping while this remarkable view was just outside their window.  Sometimes when you sleep, you miss the best stuff.  I know I made the right choice.
Happy Monday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lucky Friday

I was a total rebel this morning, and skipped my workout.  Yep, traded it off for sleep because my body is feeling really tired, and last time I didn't listen to it, I was punished with a nasty headcold.  So, the rest was needed, and made me feel relaxed and good.  Tomorrow I will hit the gym and do my back workout.  Is it strange that I am excited to do T-bar rows?  Well, I am nothing if not strange. 
Yesterday a wonderful surprise came, by way of a gift of money from my mother.   Let me tell you how much of a miracle it felt like.  I was at the point where I was rationing out my food, so that it would last until payday, and riding on fumes and a prayer that the gas in my tank would get me through until I got paid.  My gas light came on as I drove home last night.  And when I arrived home, worried about our finances, there was the letter with a check from my mother.  She usually sends $100 for the combo of back-to-school and my son's September birthday, but this time the check was considerably more.  To the tune of about 3 paychecks for me.  She had been in a car accident a few years ago, and the settlement finally came through.  So we revisited my husband's theory that there is always a balance in life, when things are going bad or are extremely stressful, there is always something good right around the corner.  This will give us a chance to get caught up on some bills and exhale a little bit.  The kids will have new clothes for school, instead of being forced to wear thrift store finds (not that there's anything wrong with that), and I can finally get some new tires!  It feels like Christmas!  I know we would have made it through somehow, we always do, but when something so needed comes in the form of a gift, it feels too good to be true.
Monday I will begin week 8 of my Live Fit Trainer program, it is the last of the muscle-building weeks, then the final phase will be "high intensity" as Jamie Eason puts it.  My husband made a comment about the program the last time we were in the gym, "It's a pretty advanced workout she's got you on" and it made me feel really good that I can keep up.  I have made modifications along the way, but for the most part, I am strong enough, and have enough energy to stay on track.  At certain stages of the program, there are videos of Jamie talking about the program and what is coming up, and for week 8 she says that she is dreading the high intensity phase that is next, but that she is also excited because this is where we start to see the biggest changes with our bodies.  I have already seen some great changes, I can't imagine what I'll look like at the end of September.  I have said it so many times, and I will say it again, I am eternally gratful that I have a resource like my husband to help design a program for/with me, but also, my husband has told me several times, that Jamie's workout is perfectly designed for re-use indeffinitely.  I like recycling.  At least I will know all the moves.  And it will be exciting to see how my strength increases.  Previous weight loss attempts helped me learn alot about my thoughts and emotions, this plan is helping me learn a lot about my body and what I can do.  I think, once I get this all figured out, I am going to be a well-rounded person.  I am already feeling so good.  Weight training is where it's at for me, it makes my metabolism rocket, makes me sleep so phenomenally, makes me feel younger/stronger/more energetic.  The drawback?  I may need some new clothes soon.  Seriously, everything is starting to get loose in the waist, to the point of having to pull things up repeatedly.  And at some point, I will have to stop wearing my wedding ring altogether or go get it resized.  Right now I'm wearing it on my middle finger instead of the ring finger, and it is getting loose again.  Not such bad problems to have compared to the alternative.
Well, one more day of the crazy sale at work and things will quiet down.  This weekend there will be sushi and a trip to the zoo, and I'm sure a lot more adventures that I'm not aware of just yet.  Hope y'all have a fantastic weekend too!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rapido!

Last night I almost didn't get to the gym, but I didn't panic.  Autism is a perpetually shifting thing, some days my kids are more bothered by their senses than others.  Last night was a night that my older son was very ADHD-edgy and my younger son was very overstimulated and sensitive to sights and sounds.  So as my husband and I were getting ready for the gym, I was already starting to feel like we were fighting a losing battle.  My youngest, Zach, was so irritated by sensations that he can't stand even the feel of clothes rubbing against his skin, and was lounging naked on the couch, trying to keep his older brother out of his face for two minutes.  They were fighting and annoying each other, and whining.  I came up with a quick 'plan B' just in case this wasn't going to fly.  To bring already agitated children to a small, noisy room with a bunch of other children is asking for trouble.  But after a bit of my husband trying to guilt him and bribe him into going, Zach finally agreed he would go to the gym.  So we went, and I was worried about their behavior the whole time.  I was completely OK with doing this workout at home, most of it was dumbbell-based anyway.
I trained chest, which for me is not an exciting workout.  Maybe because I can't see the results the way I can when I am training, say triceps.  But I did it with everything I had in me.  It was a short workout, and it felt nice being able to get done and pick up the kids a little earlier than usual.  My husband works harder in the gym than anyone I've ever seen.  To the point he is almost crying, his skin turning bright red under the extreme weight.  I sometimes can't believe the amount of weight he can use, and then he tells me, he is going "lighter" right now.  Yikes!  I guess that's why he looks so great.
My kids did end up fighting in the childcare room, their little bodies needing things that typical kids don't need; jumping, pressure, stimulants, quiet, nakedness.  Sometimes I feel like I don't have the strength to meet all their demands (or even understand them sometimes) but then I think of all they have to deal with that I don't, and my apathy dissipates. 
My husband has a planned rest tonight, so I decided I'd do my shoulder workout this morning so that we can have a relaxing evening together at home.  I got in my shoulder workout and my cardio this morning, but I instead of 30 minutes of medium-intensity cardio I had to cut down to 20 minutes of interval cardio.  They are equally effective, and helped me take care of everything in one workout, instead of having to go to the gym twice.  I am looking forward to a quiet night at home. 
In the cardio section of the gym, there are about 12 giant TV's tuned into to various channels, and you can plug in your earphones and listen.  In the early morning, there is never much of interest on, some news, sports, maybe a do-it-yourself show, but mostly infomercials.  And while I never plug my earphones in, I somehow always get sucked into the infomercials.  Todays was for the Brazilian Butt Lift, something called Bum Bum Rapido.  Let me tell you, I caught myself laughing at the absurdity, I must have looked totally insane.  The moves they do (especially the cardio ones which are fast and jerky) look so ridiculous, I can't believe anyone agreed to do them for the commercial.  And there is a testimonial of a lady with an extraordinarily large backside, at first I thought it was computer generated the image was so disturbing.  Then they showed the "after" photo and I just couldn't help but laugh.  Her butt was still just as wide but she had much shorter shorts on, and some of  the area had moved a bit north.  Why would they use this image to promote their product?  How bizarre!  At any rate, it was an entertaining distraction, and a humorous way to start my morning!
I felt really good after my workout and cardio, and even though time was slipping by, I took a little extra time driving home, really enjoying the moment and feeling how vital my body feels and how happy I am right now.  The sky looked amazing as the sunrise painted the grey clouds pink.  I couldn't help but snap a photo to remember this morning.
The pink clouds taste the best.  And they are calorie-free.  ;)
Today's going to be good, because I said so.  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Busy but Undeterred

Yesterday was a very busy day, it made me feel exhausted, but I still managed to get in my half hour cardio session before work, and a kick-a** bi/tri workout last night.  By the time I left the gym last night, my arms were so pumped my mind's eye was telling me I must look like Arnold, but the mirror told me the truth.  There is definitely some muscle tone poking its head out from under all the fat, but there is still a lot of work to do.  I did get to learn a few new moves/pieces of equipment and that is always fun for me, it keeps it interesting.
This morning I was so very sleepy when my alarm went off, but I got up and did my half hour of cardio anyway.  I walked outside, the sky just barely shifting to blue from the night's blackness, stars still twinkling brightly.  The crisp air did a nice job of waking me, and by the time I got back home I was actually feeling awake, warm and content.  My exhaustion this week stems from work-related chaos/stress due to a wildly popular employee sale, but it will be ending after this week, and things will return to a nice, normal pace again.  It is making me crazy that it's so busy, and I work alone, somedays I work straight through my lunch and don't get to eat.  So my 3-hour span between meals has been compromised during the day, which in turn compromises my energy level.  But I am doing what I can.  I have conquered stressful times before, and I will again, this time it will not involve shoving food mindlessly into my mouth because to try to drown the stress. 
Since I began the Live Fit Trainer, my take on the weekend has changed.  Instead of looking forward to it because it is an opportunity to binge on junk, now I look forward to the weekend for because of the opportunity to sleep in, rest my sore muscles, and enjoy a slower-paced day or two with my family.  Don't get me wrong, I still love to have a cheat meal on the weekend, and I do so look forward to it, but food isn't the focal point of my weekend anymore.  That is a huge mental victory!  I wish I could pin point how that change came about, but really I think it is simply from putting in so much work all week that my body is more focused on rest than food.  It is a very positive shift that I am not taking for granted!
Tonight I will work my chest.  If this week's workouts are any indication, I will be sore a little longer that in the past.  With the workouts changing bi-weekly and the weight increasing slowly, I am feeling the difference.  I am still a bit sore from Saturday's back workout, that's longer than it usually takes me to recover, but I was doing new movements and heavier weights.  It will lead to great growth.
I like the way lifting weights makes me feel, tough and smart.  I am no longer uncomfortable to be in the gym, weaving my way in and out of men heaving weights around, I'm not afraid to make noise if I am digging down to the deepest depths to get that last rep out, and I'm not afraid of looking at the equipment to see what it is and what it does.  I really don't care about what anyone thinks of me and my workout, I leave everything I have in that gym, and that is me conquering my mountain for the day.  To do any less would be...redundant.  And disappointing. 
Well here I am, actually getting a lunch break today, slightly quieter at work.  I am going to go enjoy the peace while it lasts.
Hope your week is going smoothly!

Monday, August 20, 2012

T-Bars and Sweet Treats

My weekend was the perfect mix of calm and chaos, and it was a great chance to put the worst of my head cold behind me and get back into the gym. 
Friday night, the night we usually have a family dinner out, my husband and I decided we would rather save our cheat meal for Saturday when the kids would be out of town on an adventure with my mom.  Even though I agreed it would be more enjoyable, I am so in the habit of eating my cheat meal on Friday nights that it felt a little disappointing to be staying home and eating boring food.  But, I managed to eat on plan and everything was fine.  I was looking forward to our meal on Saturday. 
After we drove to drop the kids off, we headed back to town and took care of a few errands, I stayed on plan the whole time, which was challenging but not impossible.  Then, we hit the gym.  The program called for legs, but my husband advised against it, saying it is the most taxing on the central nervous system, and since I am still not 100% better, he thought back would be a better place to start.  So I trained back.  Since it is a new set of weeks, the workout was different, and I really had a KILLER workout.  I was introduced to T-bar rows.  I think they are my new favorite move, my back felt so great when I was done with them.  When I work out I do it slow and controlled, and try to concentrate on controlling the weight as I stretch on the negative.  I can really tell that I am hitting the muscles correctly because the blood rushes into them and by the time I am starting to feel the burn, I know I am making progress. 
Feeling that I had completely earned it, we showered and headed off to dinner at a nice Mexican place.  The chips and beans tasted so warm and wonderful, and the meal was spicy and good.  I was too full to finish my plate, so my husband helped.  Afterword, we stopped at our local frozen custard shop for a treat.  I normally don't like frozen custard and choose something lighter, but that night I was feeling like I could handle it, due to the workout.  We hadn't been to this particular shop all summer, which is charming because it is designed like an old fashioned ice cream stand, where you order at the window and eat outside. 
Zesty's Frozen Custard
I had a vanilla custard with Andes mints blended in.  It was good, but I should have ordered a smaller size.  We ate our treat while walking along the Fox River Trail, which has beautiful views of the river.
Dock at Fox River
and we had a nice leisurely stroll and talk about the future, and the past, and how lucky we are and how great our kids are.  Its the kind of thing some parents don't get a lot of opportunity to do, and we have been fortunate to have more than our share of it since we moved back by family.  I will miss these times alone when we move away.  On the walk back to our car, we came upon an old, abandoned house, overgrown with greenery, it was an interesting sight.
Despite the creepy appearance, our moods were too lifted to watch a horror movie that night, we instead opted for a Woody Allen movie from our collection.  And we laughed.  Then I slept so deep and wonderful.
Sunday was supposed to be a rest day, but the morning was too beautiful to let escape, so I went for a morning walk.  The air was brisk and refreshing, the sun peaking through some clouds on occassion.  The animals were scurrying about getting ready for the day, and I found myself smiling while I was walking.  It feels really good to be back. 

This tree is down my street in a field.  I call it Perfect Tree because when it is full, it's shape is simply perfect.  I wonder if anyone else notices it as they drive past.
Once we picked up our kids, the quiet was shattered, but by then I was so happy to see them, that I didn't mind the noise.  We had a pretty mellow day together. 
This morning was a bit more chaotic than I like my mornings.  I was up at 4:30am, heading off to the gym for Leg day.  It took me a full hour for my workout this morning, as the weight was heavier, requiring longer rests between sets.  Also, there were 4 sets of most movements, so it took longer than a simple lighter weight/less sets type of workout.  I used the leg press for the first time in about 25 years!  It actually felt pretty good!  There were squats and double lunges and single leg squats.  Then when I got to the last move, leg extensions, I was simply out of time, so instead of doing the recommended number of sets/reps I just did one giant drop-set.  My legs and glutes were so trashed but I didn't have any time to think about it, as I had to get home, and get myself and my kids ready to leave in less than an hour's time.  The morning was very rushed and chaotic, but it all came together in the end.  Sick babysitter means a little extra stress, but there is little that my family can't tackle.  So here I am at work, geared up for a long shift, wherein my muscles will begin to tighten up and eventually get sore.  I say, bring on the pain, that means I did what I intended to do today!  Man, it feels good to be working out again!!
Tomorrow night I will train arms with my husband, so I will only have to tackle a half hour of cardio in the morning.  That means sleeping in, which makes me happy. 
I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Hey, if you haven't tried T-bar rows, you gotta try them.  You will feel invincible afterword!!  Have a great Monday!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Friday!

Today finds me happier than usual that it is Friday.  For me, it has taken a lot of energy to get through this week, and I am looking forward to a little R&R and a slower-paced schedule for a day or two, before things get hectic again.  When my kids and I are back in school in a couple weeks, we will be even more hectic.  But I realized when I was pregnant with my second child, no matter how chaotic my schedule, I always settle into a routine.  For me, that will be waking at 4:30 am to get a workout in before my day starts, and running until whenever I get my homework done at night.  I am the kind of person who feels better having things planned out, so I already know what my days will be like.  And contrary to earlier worries, I will have time for everything, I just won't be able to do my evening workouts with my husband anymore, except for weekends.  It has been such a valuable tool to have his knowledge and support as I learn the proper form on these moves.  It will give me a really strong foundation for making the magic happen.  I still see so many people doing weird things at the gym, I can see how it'd be easy to just zone out and just "get through" a workout, but I know with the proper weight, form and mind-muscle connection, I will reach my goals quicker, and not be just spinning my wheels.
The weather is changing, the days are getting shorter and this is the time of year that I need to be aware of my state of mind.  I used to suffer from horrible depression, and I notice that it tends to peak around the end of summer when the days get shorter.  Is it just me, or does it seem like fall has come earlier this year?  I don't remember the sun being quite this golden until September or October.  Perhaps it is selective memory.  I actually love autumn, the mosaic of color highlighted by golden sun, wrapping a sweater around myself as I enjoy a bit of a nip in the air.  This part of the country is simply breath-taking in fall.  And I like the way going back to school makes me feel, like a fresh start on something really big.  I love Halloween, all the playfulness and spookiness, and the way my kids get absolutely giddy just thinking about all the fun Halloween activities they will get to participate in.  If we move away in spring, this will be our last autumn in Green Bay, so I want my kids to experience all the fun things that autumn offers.  Not that there won't be a plentitude of things to do where we are moving, it has actually been in the top 5 "best places to live" lists several times. 
My mother is taking my kids overnight tomorrow, so my weekend might start off with an afternoon workout with my husband.  My energy is making a comeback, but I know better than to push myself right away, so I will probably go a little lighter on the weights.  I am actually looking forward to (craving) the way the muscle feels so warm and good when the blood gets in there.  Tomorrow is leg day, I actually love training legs, it makes me feel really strong, and makes me dream of having perfectly-toned glutes one day.  Sunday is a day off, but I will likely take advantage of not having my kids and go for a walk in the morning, perhaps along the river, maybe with my husband, and hopefully with a warm cup of coffee in my hand.  Sounds dreamy.
Here's to starting the weekend!  Hope yours is great!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grey Matter

Today is the first day in more than a week, that I woke feeling refreshed and energized, like the sleep I am getting is actually having an effect.  What a great feeling!  I am still fighting this cold, but I think I am on the mend. 
Since I began this program, I haven't been as pensive or emotional about my weight loss, I just went with the flow of the program.  But this little bit of downtime has given me a little time to pause and consider my journey.  It is such a mental thing, and with me it seems to be all-or-nothing, black and white.  I'm either all the way on-plan or I'm off.  The longer I am on this journey of learning and growing, the more that I realize that life is about finding the grey area.  There is so much in between black and white that we miss out on if we live an all-or-nothing kind of existence.  There is always a learning curve when we test out a new way of thinking, but in the end, whether something works for you or not, you always come away with more knowledge than you went in with. 
My body is changing.  My mind is trying to catch up.  While the past few days off of the gym were crucial for my body, my mind has been pouting like a spoiled brat.  In my mind's eye, I am getting mushy from not working out.  My mind is whining, I want to be better so I can go to the gym.  I feel like I'm losing ground.  There's only a few more weeks left that I'll be able to do evening workouts with my husband before school starts and I'm back to college.  But if I am to continue on this journey, I know I have to balance out the needs of my body and my mind.  Last night, as I was getting my kids to sleep, I laid on the floor and stretched a leg up toward the ceiling, and ran my hand along my muscles from the calf to the hip.  I was so stunned by how solid the muscle felt that I had to do it several times.  Now I know it doesn't look how it feels, but I like what I felt, strong and toned muscles.  I thought about how I've been so idiotic about the gym, pushing myself when I knew it would make me sick, because in my warped mind I felt like it would set me back or make me get mushy again.  The fear is driven from past failures, of times when I was doing great, but somehow dropped the ball, and not knowing what caused it.  There are so many failures, and so many triumphs, but I know now that nothing I do is beyond my control.  I failed because I allowed certain beliefs to become reality, because I stopped caring/trying.  Input didn't match the output.  There is no great mystery, you just keep working toward the goal, no matter the obstacle.  There are going to be days and weeks that don't go how we would like them to go, and there will be times we don't feel like pushing, but there will be many many times where we are in full realization of what we are doing and why, and times when we push ourselves to limits we never knew we could reach.  And, of course, there is a multitude of grey area in there, where we are pluggin along, doing our thing, working to make our lives make sense. 
When I looked in the mirror this morning, I saw an oddly-shaped body of someone who used to be much fatter.  I didn't chose to focus on how far I've come or how far I have yet to go, but on this grey area I am in right now.  This is how I look right now.  So different than I've looked for so many years, good or bad.  I don't love or hate the way I look, I am just accepting my current reality and letting it settle in.  I am doing good things that will lead to great results, but right now I feel really content to both be less than I once was (physically) and more than I have been mentally, and still have some room for some really great things to come.  Living in the grey is just what I needed.  The rest will balance itself out in time.
Hope your week is shaping up nicely!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pit Stop

Yesterday I posted from my throne of confidence, that I was going to eat well despite being sick.  I did not follow through.  By the time I got home after work, my throat was so sore the thought of eating my regular food had me wanting to skip eating altogether.  So I ate what I wanted, which was a bowl of Ramen noodles.  They were so hot and salty, it made my throat feel a little better and cleared my nose for a while.  The rest of the night I ate my normal food, and I'm happy to say my throat feels a lot better today than it did yesterday.  Fortunately, I haven't had to do much talking at work today, as I usually lose my voice when I get sick like this.  I am hoping that, with a few more days rest, I can lick this thing by the weekend, but I will listen to my body this time, and feel it out.  This is just a short pit stop before I get back in the race.
I spent a little time thinking about my 12-week program this morning, trying to decide whether to repeat this week that I am missing or just move on to the next week when I begin again.  Then I realized, this isn't just going to be a 12-week thing, this is going to be on-going, indeffinitely.  If I want to reach my goal, it has to be more than a passing phase.  I joined a gym to have access to all the equipment I need in order to change my physique and make my dream come true.  That isn't going to happen in 12 weeks.  Oh, there will be changes, dramatic to my own eye, but nowhere near "done".  So, in the long run, it is really insignificant what I do one week vs another, I just need to keep working toward my goal. 
I detest being knocked down when I have the determination, but I am not going to let a little headcold undo what I am working on.  When I am better, I am going to continue my work with the same gusto that I had before this week began.  I will have my energy back and be ready to recover some losses and push this program to get me the results I am hoping for. 
Feeling totally uninspired and a little in a fog today, but eating 100% on-plan.  May do a little stretching tonight.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Little Too Much

Last week I was tired and drained all week, but I pushed myself really hard despite.  Friday night at the gym, I was a bit zombie-esque, yawning and staring off into space in between sets, even my husband asked if I was going to be OK.  The truth is, I wasn't listening to my body, I was working out DESPITE what my body was telling me.  I was telling myself it was just hormonal, and that it would resolve itself in a day or two.  I knew there was a good chance that wouldn't be the case, but I felt like I owed it to myself and my husband to not miss our workout.  My older son had been coming down with a head cold, and by Friday night, his tonsil was swollen to disgusting proportions and he began complaining of a headache and coughing. He was a trooper and agreed to go out to dinner and ate like a champ, despite not being able to breathe through his nose.  I hate when my kids are sick, there is so little one can do to help.
 It would have been unethical to bring him to the gym on Saturday, being so sick, so I skipped my Saturday workout (legs) and tried not to tax myself to much, as my throat was begining to get sore and I was still feeling quite drained.   When my husband returned from his workout, we took a nice family road trip to Wisconsin's capitol city, Madison, where we are seriously considering moving to in springtime.  It is such a great city, urban by very liberal, and the lakes are beautiful.  My kids loved it, and so did we, so if we can get all our ducks in a row, we will move there.  My son was still coughing so much and there were points when he looked so tired, but he was having too much fun to slow down.  We got home late that night, and I woke early on Sunday, quite happy that it was a scheduled day of rest, so I didn't have to try to decide what to do.  My throat continued to get more sore, and my ears got itchy, the kind of itch you can't relieve.  That's when I know I am not going to be able to fight it off with vitamins and apple cidar vinegar.  Yesterday, I had the day off of work, but took the kids to the sitter anyway so I could get some rest during the day.  I was hoping to recover or avoid getting full-on sick.  The deception we feed ourselves at the onset of illness!  I ended up taking care of a bunch of stuff that needed to get done (shopping for school supplies, baking protein bars, paying bills, etc) and didn't get any more rest.  My husband had planned for us to get to they gym early, before getting the kids from the sitter.  Normally that would have been a great feeling, but I was so run-down yesterday that I was deteremined to not workout for fear it would tax my already-compromised immune system.  But by the time my husband had gotten home, I had just finished a called with a very rude customer service rep, and I was so stressed out, that I decided to go.  I made a plan of attack before we left, to just go way lighter on the weights, just to get some blood in the muscle, and to skip the supersets.  I trained back, so it wasn't too taxing.  I was using weights that were entirely too light to get any benefit from, but the little that I did got my blood moving and made me feel a little better.  And it killed my stress.  When we were done, I felt really relaxed.  I questioned my sanity going to the gym sick, and tonight I will likely use better judgement as the sickness is expanding inside my head, and I can't bring my son to the gym when he's sick.  So this week will likely be kind of light.  If I have learned anything from the past, I know that when I push myself too hard one week, I spend the better part of another week getting over the resultant illness. 
On the positive side, when I caught my reflection in the mirror today, I had to do a double-take.  I am getting much flatter in the stomach area.  There is actually a little bit of shape taking place.  I can see a positive future, and from now on, I will focus my attention of weight training and let cardio be a nice accessory.  I had to weigh myself, just to see if there had been a change on the scale, and I am down to 163.  Not a huge loss, but still a number I haven't seen in a while.  And as soon as I start to feel better, I will be right back on track, pushing myself in the gym.  But next time, I will listen to my body better.  Tired is tired, and rarely does anything good come from pushing yourself when you already feel drained.  Lesson learned.  Again.
I'm still keeping my food on the straight and narrow, it is much more important now that I'm not working out, and I don't want any setbacks. 
I will leave you with a photo of our trip to Madison and wish you all a fantastic Tuesday!  And welcome to my new follower!  Nice to have you along.
View from Monona Terrace.  Madison, WI

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Successful and colorful

Short post to recap last night.  I was thinking of skipping my leg workout, because I was feeling so drained.  Plus I wanted to make homemade protein bars and color my hair.  Here's how the night went:
Pick up kids from sitter
Stop at store for protein bar ingredients
Fight with kids about toys
Hardcore leg workout at home :)
Protein bars mixed and in the oven (with some help from the world's cutest sous chefs)
Hair color complete (I know I'm so vain about it, but the greys were bumming me out)
Protein bars out of the oven and devoured (carrot cake flavor, yum)
Put kids to bed
Mom to bed.

This morning was half hour of medium-intensity cardio.  Tonight I will train arms.
Sorry for the short post, there is activity at work that will keep me from my usual length!
Happy Thursday everyone!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crazy-Strong

Today I feel:
Hungry
Relaxed (read: lazy)
A bit more alert than yesterday
Ready for the weekend
Sore
Triumphant!

Despite feeling completely drained last night, I am married to a man who rarely ever misses a gym session, so we went to the gym.  Our lack of energy wasn't outwordly noticeable, but when we looked at each other, the usual fire in our eyes and playfulness was reduced to a sad, half-grin as we caught our breaths between sets.  I had my painful introduction to negatives (on barbell presses) and I felt like I wouldn't be able to use my entire upper body for the remainder of my workout, and that was my first move in the workout!  I'm certainly glad I had my husband there to help me through that set of negatives, I was shaking so bad I felt like I was going to drop the olympic bar (loaded with 30 extra pounds) on my chest.  Negatives are crazy challenging!  I am one crazy-strong woman!
I made it through the other moves, wondering how I could keep going, wondering if I had ever been this strong mentally or physically. My gym doesn't really have a designated area for doing floor work, and when it's busy, the area around the free weights is over crowded, so when it came time for my wide push ups, I found a little area next to the stability ball rack.  I felt a little funny doing push ups in a room full of equipment, but at the same time, the people who use the machines are generally: 1) Old; 2) new/women/afraid of being too muscular; and a few knowledgeable people who use the machines in order to lift heavier or change up the movement.  So I went about my business, and was only interrupted once, by an asian lady doing hundreds of really fast oblique lunges on a ball, that basically equated to her flinging her body around.  My neck was sore just watching that!  After I finished my set, I felt really proud of the work I am doing.  I am not going to be one of those women who goes to a gym for years, only doing treadmill or step aerobics or does workout after workout with weights no heavier than ten pounds.  I know about sweat equity, and I am going to use gravity to my advantage.  I am haging out with the men, learning from them and lifting like them, going where most women (at least the ones at my gym) fear to go.  I am not going to waist my precious time and energy on a lacklustre workout, I've got goals to tackle and things to get done.  And time is so very precious.  I know the results will not be quick, but they will be lasting and instead of being skinny-fat I will have earned curves and muscles to show off.
There is a poster in my gym that I love to look at during a workout, it is advertising a Power class that the gym offers.  The poster is filled with reasons why one would want to join the class.  The one I like the best is, "I want to have arms that make my friends jealous".  It is a thing with women, isn't it?  Most women I know want strong, beautifully toned arms, and I am no exception.  How do you tell a woman is strong just by looking at her?  To me, it's the arms.  In a city whose population is grotesquely obese, rounded, shapeless arms abound.  To me, that is the epitomy of UNhealth.  I have been there, looking at my round, ugly arms, wishing there was muscle there to show off.  Now, for once, I think I am starting to feel the other side of my goals.  I am working damn hard to make this happen.  I am getting help and learning and pushing myself like never before.  I am loving the results and can't wait to see what else I can do.  I wish this for everyone. 
I used to think running a 5K was my big moment of glory, but now I realize that there isn't just one, but many moments of personal triumph, and I have many more to come. 
Happiest of Wednesday friends!  Hope it is triumphant!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Week Five and Progress Photos

Week five of the Live Fit Trainer program hits in a week when I have the most extreme flux of energy.  To start the week out, I have that sensation of an approaching headcold, stuffy ears, slightly irritated throat that always comes right before my flux shifts.  Yesterday was the first day that I added cardio back into my program, and while it was welcome, doing it after a challenging back workout felt a lot less easy-breezey than usual.  But my gym has really nice treadmills, so that's a bonus.  Part of my resistence to it was that I was in a time crunch, but I managed to get everything in before heading off to work.  Barely!
This week will be a mix of morning training by myself and evening training with my husband.  In both situations, I will have to break up the cardio and weights, which are supposed to be done together, but I just can not make them both fit together and still keep on schedule.  Just another modification that I am making to help me reach my goals instead of giving in.  There's always a solution. 
Tonight, I will train chest and abs with my husband.  The chest workout includes one resistence set, which I've never done before, so I am expecting it to thoroughly kick my butt, and then I still have to do pushups.  I am not the biggest fan of them.  Not sure if I'll get abs trained tonight, my husband generally skips them and we usually run out of time (the kids are only allowed to be in the child center at the gym for 1.5 hours and we usually train right up until the time limit).  At any rate, things are still going very well, and I feel like I am making sufficient progress.  Once I get over this energy slump, I'll feel really great.  I'll head off any responses about overtraining, while I'm pushing myself pretty hard right now, this energy slump is hormonal, and completely routine.
In certain lighting, the muscles have even more definition.  I'm proud of them all the same!
I don't feel like I have all too much to say today, just trudging through the work week, looking forward to a family road trip this weekend.  I have had a couple request for progress photos, and while I'm saving the full view photos for the end of the program, I did take a few pics of my newly discovered delts and traps.  The tri's are coming along, but they will take a little longer than the rest.
Tip: from the top, I look smaller!  I'll have to remember that for the future!  I was actually trying to get the line of definition between the delts, but it doesn't translate in the photo and I lost my patience.

I don't train my traps, but they grow anyway.  This is the first time I've had "pipes" in my life!  I might get those arms I've been dreaming of after all!


Well, that's about it for today.  Here's hoping your Tuesday is even better than Monday was!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Things I See at the Gym

Things I see at the gym:
Grown men doing 10-pound tricep pulldowns at a pace quick enough to set the rope on fire
extraordinarily plump ladies in floral swimwear (really, why can't plus-sized swimwear be attractive?)
elderly men falling asleep on the hip abductor machine
idiots using the squat rack for barbell curls (taps foot and scowls)
people who are fit enough to use the Roman Chair ( a goal of mine)
big huge guys lifting weights that make them sound like they are trapped under heavy machinery
My husband's awesome butt as he does walking lunges
tiny little women full of tanning oil and heavily perfumed/make-up'd
asian ladies working out in flip-flops
a man who thinks he is inconspicuously picking his nose (shudder)
a woman who takes wiping the machinery to an artform
my reflection, smiling, sweating, working hard to get rid of the ugly.

Last night I trained legs with my husband.  It was challenging for both of us.  I was completely drained of energy before we went, but as I was training I realized that contrary to what I wanted to believe, the workout actually made me feel more awake, and actually kind of good.  My entire body is sore, and recovery seems to be taking a bit longer this week, I'm guessing because I can use heavier weights and proper equipment.  We spent a good long time trying to figure out what was going on with my form on lunges, and despite my husband's superior knowledge in all-things-physical, we couldn't fix my issue.  And after trying lunges several times, my right quad muscle felt like it was pushed to the brink, like one more attempt would have torn the muscle.  We agreed that it is something I can absolutely live without doing, especially since we did single-leg deadlifts, squats and hamstring curls.  Nonetheless, I have been to this place before with lunges and was able to figure it out, so I will keep working on it.  It bothers me not being able to rise to the challenge, but I won't risk injury to get there.
After the workout I hit the locker room to gather my belongings, and sat on the bench to change my shoes.  There are mirrors on the walls by the lockers, which I find a little strange, but I guess people want to check their progress as they are dressing.  I glanced at my reflection, my body slumped in horrible posture, and I cringed at my reflection.  My stomach is still so big.  I've been working really hard and it seems like I should be smaller than this.  Then I straightened up my posture and noticed that yes, my stomach is still a trouble spot(s), but it actually has gotten smaller.  Then I reminded myself, it's only been four weeks and already I can see an improvement.  I am making the changes that will lead to great rewards, and how wonderful it's been to have the courage to test my stamina and find that I have strength I didn't think I had.  Despite all the highs and lows of this journey in the past year and a half, I am still at the beginning of something big.  I have a long way to go, but I'm not just going to stop when I reach my goal, I am going to push harder and go farther.  Why?  Because not everyone can or does, and because I want more than "just enough".  I have lived in hatred of my body for far too long to stop at the finish line. 
The kids are having a sleepover at their friend's house tonight, so my husband and I are going to hit the gym (shoulders and abs) and then have a relaxing dinner together.  It will start my weekend out on a high note.  Hope you have a great weekend, too!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Defying Death, or, Roller Coasters Scare Me!

This little ride is called the Zippin Pippin.  It is said to have been one of Elvis' favorite roller coasters.  Last year, when it was errected in my tiny little city by the bay, both of my sons wanted so desperately to ride it, but only one was tall enough, so my husband took him on the ride.  When they got off, Israel was screaming "Rock N Roll!!!  I LOVE THE ZIPPIN PIPPIN!!!"  My husband vowed never to ride it ever again.  It was then that I learned of his extreme hatred of rides.  But I was off the hook because my younger son is the one who is attached to me, and he was too short by about an inch.  I knew I'd have to go this year, and I promised him I would.  So wouldn't you know, the place where my company decided to have it's annual picnic?  The amusement park that is the home of the Zippin Pippin (or as we in my household affectionately refer to it, El Pippino Del Zippino).  Zach has grown at least 4 inches since last summer, I knew there was no escaping it this time, and I knew my husband was not going anywhere near it, except to hold my things for me.  So after a short, unproductive period of trying to convince my son he did not want to go on this thing, the two of us got on.  Taking your seven year old son on a roller coaster is an adventure, but taking an autistic seven year old on the roller coaster just after he had eaten a veggie burger and an M&M cookie?  Whew!  We barely escaped a catastrophe!  I am not generally fond of heights, and even less fond of going down hills at what feels like uncontrollable speeds.  But what makes this particular roller coaster nearly unbearable is that it is a rickety wooden coaster, and each turn results in horrific jerking motion, nearly enough to give you whiplash.  And right before you reach the end of the ride, there is a tricky spot where it seems as though the coaster actually leaves the tracks and heaves your body upward, causing great pain to your legs as you try to harness yourself in the contraption.  I was quite relieved to step off that thing, my heart was racing, my forehead sweaty, all the wind seemed to have gone elsewhere.  When we got to the exit my son quietly told me, "That was awesome and scarey and I almost puked." 
When we met back up with my husband and our older son, Israel was hopping up and down saying, "Yeah baby!  Now it's my turn, Mommy!"  Again, I tried to talk him out of it, to no avail.  I had promised, and it just wouldn't be fair to deny him.  This is the son who is afraid of nearly everything (especially germs and spiders) and he is really meek and even looks a little fragile.  This roller coaster is something he has on a lot of other people, that he isn't afraid to go on this incredibly horrific ride.  So we went, I just dove in without thinking about it.  I told him, "I don't want to do this, but I know I promised, so I will.  But I will only go once, so please don't ask to go again when we get off."  He nodded in agreement, silent, as if he was disappointed that I had figured out what he wanted.  Before the ride began his nerves got the best of him a bit, and he admitted to being a little scared, but we had no time to dwell on it, we were off!  And the second time was a lot more tollerable than the first, except for that last bit of taking flight at the end.  My son who so desperately fought for his chance for this, sitting beside me dropping S-bombs the whole way.  When we got off, we were both relieved it was over, Israel shouting out for the world to hear that 1. The Zippin Pippin is the coolest ride in the world  and 2. He was dropping S-bombs and F-bombs the whole time.  He was quite proud of himself, and me of myself, for surviving the ordeal altogether. 
The rest of the evening was quite enjoyable, we wandered around and I went on a few more rides with the kids, and just before park closing, the lights on the rides illuminated, leaving the rain puddles alive with color.
Bay Beach Amusement Park at night
  We all slept really good last night after our adventures in our tiny city by the bay, with dreams of roller coasters perhaps. 
Tonight, I will workout with my husband again, and he will take me through a leg workout.  I am already pretty tired, but I know once I get in the gym I'll come to life a little.  I will say, It was really nice getting to sleep in a little later this morning.  After tonight there is only one more workout in Phase 1 of this program.  I may take measurements and photos this weekend, but I know one thing for sure, I am looking forward to a rest before starting the next phase, which is going to be even more challenging.
Hope your week has been a breeze.  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Happy Little Zombie

Blogging today is a bit of a challenge.  In the same sort of manner that fixing my hair was today, and something as seemingly uncomplicated as pushing open the door of the gym to leave was.  My triceps are completely TRASHED!  And whenever I work them, I have bad hair days because they are so exhausted from the work that it feels as though I'm trying to hoist up a small tank just to lift my arms over my head to fix my hair or put my oatmeal in the microwave.  And, having completed two gruelling strength sessions in less than 12 hours (last night was back and biceps with my husband), I am feeling a bit like a zombie.  A happy little zombie who lifted lots of weight.  For those of you who are familiar with the Planet Fitness commercials, the stupid saying kept going through my head, "I lift things up, I put them down."  I hate Planet Fitness for discriminating against people who work out hard enough to make a noise escape their body.  There are enough powder-puff non-progressive folks already swinging their arms around as if they are doing an aerobic workout with their 1 1/4 pound weights. 
But I digress.  I will tell you that I have seen some really strange things going on in my own gym in the past few days.  There are mainly three types that work out there, muscleheads like my hubby, Mexican guys and old people (we're talking 65+ here).  I don't really fit in, but I actually like that.  This morning, my entire workout was done in the free weight room (which includes triceps pulldown machines), and not only was I the only female in the room, I was the only non-hispanic person in the room 99% of the time.  I have nothing against them, they were very polite to me, but I could understand a few things they were talking about (blush) despite trying to block out everything around me and focus on my workout.  But man, they do some strange movements that make it hard for me to keep from bursting out in laughter.  It is a little distracting.  Must remember to bring iPod next time!
My workout with my husband last night was a different scene.  There were a lot more of the bodybuilder type guys in the gym, many of them were familiar with my husband, and it seemed he got a lot of attention/admiration.  Guys bigger than him would stop their workout to watch him train, his super-strict form exposing his cut muscles.  And as he was training me, others would stop to listen to his advice he was sharing with me, and sometimes I could tell they were watching me to see if I was picking up on the proper form.  Having my husband there with me made me feel less awkward and all of his gym friends were super nice to me.  And I can tell my husband felt great that he could share his passion with me, and he mentioned repeatedly, that he wants to make a regular habit of going to the gym together.  I actually prefer to work out  in the morning, it is much less crowded and I have way more energy before and after, but I can definitely see the value in having him work out with me.  There were moves I have been doing slightly wrong or less-effectively for a while, and he helped correct some things for me, which led to an awesome workout!  What a treat it is to have all the right equipment to use and the proper knowledge now, so I won't injure myself as the weights get heavier.  My husband did the same workout with me, which is a lot more sets and reps than he is used to.  He usually trains DC style, which is a lot, lot heavier and less reps, but when we got done, he said he was impressed with the workout that Jamie designed and that he was certain he'd be sore from it.  Now that's saying something! 
I am learning a lot about my body, my limitations, my weak spots and my courage.  I feel really strong mentally as I conquer goals I couldn't have a mere month ago.  This morning's triumph?  For the first time ever, I completed 3 full sets (ten reps per) of wide pushups AND 3 full sets (of 10) triceps bench dips!  Let me tell you, I almost didn't get back up on the last bench dip, those things kick my butt.  But I did it, despite my already-tired tri's and that small victory gave me renewed energy that I used to finish my workout strong!
This morning I noticed some more flattening happening, some lumps and bumps getting smaller, some back fat slowly shrinking.  And as I did my two-handed triceps extensions in front of the huge mirror, my first reaction was to cringe at the way my hips/stomach looked as my shirt rose with the movement, but then I caught glimpse of my triceps, and I could actually see them, and they looked STRONG!!  It was then that one of those cute little Mexican guys said something about "caliente"  (which means hot for those who didn't know) and whether they were talking about the weather or working up a sweat, I looked at my muscles and said to myself, CALIENTE INDEED!
Tonight, my company is having a picnic at an amusement park, and my kids have been looking forward to this for a month!  It is there favorite place to go in Green Bay, and it has been a successful bargaining tool for me.  I am hoping there will be some food I can eat, but I will be prepared just in case their isn't.  I'm not going to let anything ruin my hard work! 
Well that's it for today.  The extra caffeine I had this morning is helping to wake this sleepy little zombie, and I'm all geared up for a relaxing, fun time tonight.  My son wants me to ride the roller coaster tonight, which I will admit intimidates me, but if I have learned one thing from this journey it's that things are only as difficult as our minds allow them to be.  If there were no hills in the road, it would be a pretty boring drive!
Happy Wednesday!  Hope it rocks!