So What’s Next?

When I was setting up the mapmyrun app on my phone, it had an option to set an auto post to facebook, and you can have a message post with it.  Well, what would I want to always post as the message?  I ended up with “What’s next?”  It’s just that feeling after you accomplish something.  You feel like you can accomplish anything.  You can conquer the world.  I ran a 5K this morning, and I felt like I could have gone again when I was done.

Last month, I organized and abs challenge on Weight Watchers.  Lots of people joined.  One person posted on my wall that they have never finished a challenge before, but they stuck to this one and it has totally given them confidence.  Isn’t that awesome?  Well, the challenge was so popular, and I don’t have the washboard abs just yet, so I am setting up another challenge for May.  Anyone stumbling on this post is welcome to join the fun!!

Here are the details, should you choose to accept this challenge:

1 Old school:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=350
Starting Position – Lie on your back with an inflated balance board/disc underneath your lower to mid back (optional), your feet flat on the floor, legs together, and arms crossed in front of your chest. Engage your abs and push your lower back into the disc beneath you.
Action – EXHALE: Using the abdominals, “crunch” up by lifting your head, neck and tops of your shoulder blades away from the floor. INHALE: With control, slowly lower to the start position to complete one rep.
Special Instructions – Keep your shoulders relaxed and your neck tucked in toward your chest while crunching up to help reduce neck strain. Do not attempt this exercise on a wooden or hard-surface balance board.

Make it easier: Instead of crossing your arms at your chest, place your hands behind your head/neck for support.

2 Leg Raises:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=143

Starting Position – Lie on the floor/mat on your back. Keep lower back in contact with the floor, feet and legs straight and together. Place hands to sides or under lower back for support.

Action – Keeping legs straight and together, back flat, lift legs upward until they are straight above hips. Lower down to starting position slowly and with control (but do not allow feet to touch the ground between reps) to complete one rep.

Special Instructions – Make sure back stays flat on floor and abs are tight (pull navel in towards spine).

3 Bicycle Crunches:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=12

Starting Position – Begin by lying on your back, placing your hands behind your ears. Do not put your hands clasped behind your head. Lift your legs in the air and bend your knees so that your legs form a 90 degree angle.

Action – Move your legs in a bicycle motion. When your left knee is closer to your body, reach your right elbow to it. When your right knee is closer to your body, reach your left elbow to it. Try performing the exercise for 60 seconds in 2 sets.

Special Instructions – None.

4 Banana:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=140

Starting Position – Lie on floor with legs together, arms extended overhead, belly button pulled in toward spine.

Action – Keeping head between arms, slowly raise upper body and legs off floor to form a gentle bananalike curve. Hold for a slow 30 counts.

Special Instructions – Don’t hold your breath! Try to keep breathing steady and even. Concentrate on holding abs in.

5 Abs Roll out with Wheel:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=338

(alternative if no roller –  use towel or sliders)

Starting Position – Kneel on a mat with your knees hip-width apart, hands grasping the ab wheel handles, arms directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your back flat and your abs engaged (belly button pulled up and in away from the floor).

Action – INHALE: Roll the wheel straight in front of you as you lower your hips toward the ground so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. EXHALE: Using your abdominals, slowly roll the wheel back in until you reach the starting position to complete one rep.

Special Instructions – Keep your arms straight and your shoulders away from your ears at all times. Only roll as far forward as you can while still maintaining good form. Do not allow the hips to drop toward the floor or the lower back to arch.

6. Back Extension:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=147

Starting Position – Lie facedown, legs together and extended straight, arms bent with hands behind neck, head and neck in a neutral position.

Action – EXHALE: Lift the upper body (chest, shoulders) off of the ground, “crunching” towards the hips. Hold for 1-2 counts at highest position. INHALE: Slowly lower with control to start to complete one rep.

Special Instructions – This is a very small movement– don’t move further than you can naturally and easily. Keep legs squeezed together, hips on floor. There should be no movement from your hips to your toes.

Note – This is not a direct abs exercise, but it will help strengthen your core!

7 Kayaks with Medicine Ball:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=455

Starting Position – Hold a medicine ball (or dumbbell) and sit on the floor with shoulders relaxed, arms extended, legs hip-width apart, heels on the floor, knees bent and back straight. Pull your abs in tight, and with a straight back, lean back from the hips until you feel your abs engage. Hold that position and lift both feet off the floor (pictured).

Action – INHALE: Keeping feet off the floor, abs engaged, and arms extended, twist from the waist to the left side. EXHALE: Twist back to the center (starting position). INHALE: Twist to the right side. EXHALE: Return to the starting position to complete one rep.

Special Instructions – Keep your abs pulled in, shoulders relaxed, and feet off the floor. Focus on twisting from the waist, allowing your upper torso and arms to turn with you. Keep the lower body as still as possible. Keep your back long and flat at all times.

Make it easier: Don’t lean back as far. Use a lighter weight or no weight. Hold the weight closer to your torso.

Make it harder: Lean back and/or twist farther.

8 Advanced Wood Chop:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=465

Starting Position – Hold a medicine ball and stand tall with your legs straight, feet hip-width apart, hips centered and abs engaged. Keeping your lower body planted and torso square, extend your arms overhead and toward the right side of your head (pictured).

Action – EXHALE: Without twisting from the waist or moving your hips or feet, slice the medicine down on a diagonal toward your opposite (left) hip. INHALE: Without twist or bending, return your arms back up to the starting position to complete one rep. Repeat on this side and then switch sides to complete first set.

Special Instructions – You should master the Classic Wood Chop exercise before trying this version, which requires greater core strength and stabilization. The idea behind this exercise is to keep your body, torso and core strong and stable as you swing your arms across the diagonal. Don’t let your body twist, bend or pivot while the arms move. Keep the arms as straight as possible and your shoulders relaxed at all times.

9 Airplane:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=118

Starting Position – Stand with feet together, arms at sides, and gaze at a spot on the ground about 5 feet ahead for balance.

Action – Lift left foot back, bending forward until left leg and chest are parallel to ground. Extend arms out as shown. Hold for 3 counts. Repeat for all repetitions and switch sides.

Special Instructions – Be sure to keep a flat back (parallel to floor) and concentrate on keeping abs tight.

10 Dumbbell Side Bends:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=68

Starting Position – Stand with feet shoulder width apart, holding dumbbells. Knees should be slightly bent.

Action – EXHALE: Bend trunk to the left to a comfortable position and hold for 2-3 seconds.  INHALE: Return to starting position and repeat to right side.

Special Instructions – Don’t let your weight take you forward or backwards

11 Clamshell Crunch with Ball:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=177

Starting Position – Sit on a mat and place a stability ball between your legs (at your calves/ankles). Squeezing the ball in place, lie back onto the floor, keeping your feet just off the ground, knees bent. Make sure your lower back stays planted and your abs are tight. Place your hands lightly behind your ears in a crunch position.

Action – EXHALE: Simultaneously lift your shoulders off the ground and your knees into your chest to perform a double crunch. INHALE: Slowly return to start to complete one rep.

Special Instructions – Don’t let momentum swing your knees up for you. Be sure your hands are not lifting your upper body– concentrate on using abs.

12 Back Extension with Ball:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=17

Starting Position – Begin very close to a wall, facing away from it. Pull the ball into your legs as close to your body as possible. Keep your toes firmly on the ground and the soles of your feet flat on the wall behind you. Straighten legs so that weight is evenly distributed between your feet (at the wall) and the ball. Adjust the ball if necessary so that it is under your hips. Place your hands behind your ears or across your chest.

Action – EXHALE: Extend from your hips- Bringing your torso upward toward the wall as high as possible. Hold for 1-3 counts. INHALE: Slowly return to starting position to complete one rep.

Special Instructions – Make sure your feet are flat on the wall and that your weight is pressed into them for stability.

13 Kneeling Rollout with Ball:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=15

Starting Position – Kneel in front of the ball. Place your hands atop the Swiss ball and bring your feet off the ground. Bring your navel in toward your spine. Walk your hands out on the ball, moving both the ball and your arms away from your body. Once you feel your abdominal muscles working, you are in the starting position.

Action – Your hands should stay stationary on the ball. Pivot from your knees, bringing your torso and hips forward as the ball rolls away from your knees. Keep moving until your chest drops down, keeping your chest as upright as possible, without hyper extending your lower back. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Hold the furthest position comfortably for a couple seconds and roll back to starting position. Try doing 2 sets with 10-12 repetitions.

Special Instructions – If you feel any strain in your lower back, return to the starting position and check your form. If you continue to feel any strain, stop the exercise.

14 Jackknife with Ball:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=14

Starting Position – Start behind the Swiss ball, place your midsection on the ball and roll forward until your hands reach the floor. Walk out with your hands until the ball is underneath your ankles. Have your hands just outside of shoulder width.

Action – Hold the push-up position and retain a strong core. EXHALE: Bend at the knees and pull the ball up towards your torso, bringing your knees to your chest. Keep the movement smooth and don’t drop your hips or raise your lower back. INHALE: Extend your legs back to the starting position. Try doing 2 sets with 10-12 repetitions.

Special Instructions – Keep your spine in a neutral position.

15 Plank:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=7

Starting Position – Begin this exercise by lying on your stomach with your forearms on the floor pointing straight forward, your feet together and your spine in a neutral position. Your feet should be touching or no more than an inch apart.

Action – Lift your body up on your forearms and toes, keeping your body as straight as possible. Maintain this position for as long as possible and challenge yourself to longer periods in the plank position. Try to hold the position for 60 seconds in the beginning, working your way up in 30 second jumps until you can hold the position for 3 minutes or longer.

Special Instructions – Don’t let your hips/knees drop, your butt raise, or shift weight to one forearm.

————————————————-

The rules of the challenge are that you can do up to 50 reps of each exercise in a day.  If you do 50 of all 15, you get 750 points.  If you do that 7 days straight, you might not be able to bend over, but you will have 5,250 points.  In the WW community, we are split into Red and Blue teams.  My bloggers can be a Purple team.  Post in the comments if you do the challenge and let me know how it goes!!!

Happy Friday

I really did make that decision. I want to sleep more. I’m going back to bed. And then I got up anyway. I thought to what I have going on this weekend. Can’t go tonight, my friend is having an engagement party. I could go tomorrow, but I have to open new bank accounts before my current ones get switched to a crappy one. I am also helping friends move, and I want to rest up for the 5K I’m running on Sunday. So it will be less stress to just get it done now. I’m pretty happy I got through that reasoning and still made it to the gym. So happy it’s Friday.

Stats:
Total body 59 min 415 cal
Abs challenge 26 min 111 cal
Total 1 he 25 min 526 cal

Is it time for a nap?

Zzzz Over P Divided By Awake

I started a sleep study last night, and am now keeping a sleep journal. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and I’m glad. I thought it was going to be “here is the list of dos and don’ts in bed. Now come back when you master that list and are getting 8 squares a night.”

I don’t think so! Well, this is much more in depth. Filling out the journal is kind of like taking a personality test, and I love taking those!

I go back in two weeks, so we will see.

Stats:
Total body 58 min 371 cal
Abs challenge and stretching 25 min 91 cal
Total 1 hr 23 min 462 cal

“We’ll open up in Santa Fe, and forget this bohemian hell.”

Potentially Pondering Propensity

I have been told that I have a lot of energy when I work out.  Sometimes that I have a lot of motivation, will, or other such noun.  They are all to be thought of as compliments, but I am not sure if they accurately portray what pushes me to work out, even when I don’t want to.

This morning my alarm was set for 5:00 AM.  It did not wake me up.  I don’t know if it didn’t go off, although it was in the alerts banner on my phone.  I didn’t hear anything, but the phone wasn’t on vibrate.  I woke up around 6:15, saw the fail and reset the alarm for later.  My coffee didn’t get the memo, so it still brewed.  I mic’d 1/2 of it, and used a friend’s advice to put the rest over ice.  Very refreshing.  Unpacked clothes from gym bag to get dressed and packed gym clothes.  I would go to the gym after work.  No biggie, it has happened before.  The nice trade off is that I don’t have to finish at any time.  I can go as long as I want.

I pushed through the day, making plans for working this weekend.  Not what I really wanted after the week that needed to end.  One misfortune after another, and I just wanted to wash my hands of it.  When I left work, it was gorgeous outside.  For Rochestarians, we must seize these moments, for they are glorious and few. I decided to stop at wegs and pick up dinner, then go home, change and go for a run outside.  After all, I do have the Flower City 5K next week. 

So run I did!  I was slow, but steady.  Brought a smart water with me, and stopped every once in a while to have a drink.  Used mapmyrun to track it.  Now when I started, I was still going through in my mind how far I wanted to go.  I was very unsure of wanting to keep going.  I started to have to remind myself that I was mentally drained and emotionally drained but my physically body had no reason to be drained. I might think I’m beat and tired and exhausted, but it really was in my head.  So keep running and ignore the stupid head.

By the time I got about 1/2 around my little route, I was really enjoying the run.  Not sure if that had to do with my getting to East Ave, and out of the hood….  Once I got home, I still wanted to do some weights, because today is supposed to be a strength training day.  Every day is cardio.  2 of my 4 workout days are weights.  So I put in Jillian Michael’s Shred It, and chose the advanced workout.  I lasted about 16 minutes, did most of the modifications and had to make some of my own.  Ow.  Then I did my abs challenge.  Can’t be the organizer of a challenge and not do it!  My legs started seizing up, so I had to stop and massage them.  I was also completely beat, so I kept taking breaks.  I didn’t really give a hoot.  Bethany Ever After made it oddly relaxing.  Nevertheless. there my have been no time limit, but eventually I just wanted to be finished. 

So I don’t know if it is a determination or will, pretty sure it’s not energy, but I am more than 1/2 way to my goal of losing 124 lbs.  I am kind of in automatic pilot as much as possible, with taking care of myself and working actively to get where I want.  I have a propensity to move forward.

I was pondering the potential propensity while pedaling my legs around that route tonight.

Stats:
Running 1 hr 22 min – 982 cal
Shred It Kettlebell Adv 16 min – 184 cal
Abs Challenge 23 min – 165 cal
Total 2 hr 1 min – 1,331 cal

At least the day is almost over, even if the week is still going strong.  It has a propensity to do that, I guess.

Splendad

“Gotta have faith a faith a faith…”

Great music at spin today. It was 80’s day, so that usually means some choice tuneage.

“They got the beat, They got the beat, They got the beat, yeah They got the beat!”

Every morning, I put two Splenda in my to go cup, and two in my thermos. Except today when I put all 4 in my to go cup. Splendad.

“She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor
And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before”

I checked my stats at the end of spin, and I had an average 71 RPMs for the class. Pretty kick ass.

“Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame! You give love a bad name!”

Stats –
Spinning 59 min – 573 cal
Abs challenge 20 min – 119 cal
Total 1 hr 19 min – 692 cal

Friday is so close, I can taste the beefeater.

What’s Gained is Lost, What’s Lost is Gained

So a couple of weeks ago, I went to a conference and gained 5 lbs.  Last week, I stayed on track like a champ, and lost 7 lbs.  Great comeback, if I do say so myself.  I mentioned that my ultra fit friend has told me about going on vacation and gaining 5 lbs.  She also has told me that she will lose it the next week.  It’s so great to accomplish this myself.  It’s a huge confidence builder that I can have a “vacation week”, where I may not be perfect, and bounce back.

Some may or may not know that I have been here before.  I did Weight Watchers a few years ago.  After losing 85 lbs, I started to get sick all the time and fell off the tracks.  The reaction seemed to be that it was all in my head.  I was getting lazy.  I knew something else was going on.  After fighting with my doctors (and finding new ones), I finally got some answers.  Raynaud’s, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Non-Complete Lupus.  Those are the big ones.  Big and small, I have a bunch of autoimmune issues which drag me down and tire me out.  Not knowing that something was causing this, made me very frustrated.  I finally moved forward, and knowing what can hold me back has allowed me to face it head on and not let it stop me.  Now if I fall, I know why I did, and I will get right back up.

This weekend was no exception to getting things done.  Friday I went out and spec’d a new hybrid bike.  I need one for the Tour de Cure in June.

 (please see my site to sponsor me!! http://main.diabetes.org/goto/grandgirl ).  

After that, I wanted a drink, so I met up with some friends, had some wine and dinner.  Saturday, I picked up my bike, and then took it for a quick ride.  Had to test it out!  After that, I picked up my nephew to celebrate his 5th birthday.  It was a few months ago, but I had totally forgotten that his older sister got a special day, when she turned 5.  With 2 nieces and a nephew, everything has to be equal!  I had seen the forecast that it was going to rain,

so I took him to the new Lego store at the mall, 
and to Build a Bear.  
That place is so cute!  It is totally hands on, and I think the prices are very reasonable.

We went to see the Lorax, and I was impressed that the little man was able to sit through the whole thing.  He did start getting concerned towards the end of the movie.  I had let him know we would go to Red Robin for dinner (his favorite place), and he was getting anxious that it would close if we didn’t get there in time.

I reassured him that it was only 4:30 and that they would be open well past his bedtime.

As for Red Robin, I really appreciate that they have an iPhone app, which lets you customize your meal.   You can trade stuff in and out, and then see the nutritional content.  Of course, when you do that, you find that even their salads can contain over 60 grams of fat.  I am not kidding!  I ended up getting the bruschetta chicken sandwich, but with lettuce for the bun.  I also had the quick thinking to confirm if that came with fries.  It wasn’t obvious on the menu, and the app doesn’t account for them.  It did, so I asked for steamed broccoli instead.

Way to rock the healthy choice!

That’s what my friends in the WW community would say lol.  For those interested, that meal is 12 pp.  I know!  Good luck finding something healthy there. If you do, I would totally be interested in low point meals there.  My nephew loves that place!

When we got back to my place (little man was spending the night.  Sleeping bag and all), we watched some of Star Wars I:  Phantom Menace.  He wanted to bring it with him.  Of course, by 7:30 he asked “I’m tired, can I go to bed now?”  Not used to kids wanting to go to bed.  More fighting it.  Of course he did skip his afternoon nap.

The next morning was my weigh-in day, so once my nephew woke me up I had to weigh in.  Psyched with my loss, I knew the day would be a productive one.  It usually is when I have a loss.

We went to a nice diner for breakfast, and then I brought him home.  

We played a game of war and then I played Just Dance with my nieces.

After that I made a lofty to-do list.
And since then, it has just kept growing!

I added the fun time I spent with my nieces and nephew, because then I could check some stuff off and it was just fun to make those something that was a priority in the day.

Digging into my list, I wanted to get back to working on my stairs.  A few months ago I took the carpet up from my stairs, in my house.  There are nice hardwoods, but they need significant clean up.

 This is what they look like right now.
This is the sanding that I got done on 1/2 the stairs on Sunday.

That night, I also made a new recipe, which I found on Weight Watchers.  It was a recipe for Fish and Curry.  I customized that one to put Chicken instead of fish, add more veggies, and substitute some of the ingredients.  Mine is Chicken and Vegetable Curry.
Check the finished product!

I feel like my version is missing something.  Not sure if the coconut milk is the difference.  It is still good and I have been having it for lunch this week.  My house wreaked of curry! Good thing I like that smell.  Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be taking over my cube, at work.  At least no one has said anything…

As I finished items on my list, I kept adding more, in my head.  One of those is that I have been wanting to clear the weeds out of my back yard for a long time (since I got the house).  Just like last year, every weekend seems to call for rain.  I think this weekend, I will have to suck it up and do what I can.  I know how nice my yard will look when the weeds are cleared out.

This week has been one glitch after another, and I am just pacing myself to get through to the weekend.  Saturday, I am volunteering for a highway pickup with my firm.  On the 29th I am running my first 5K, and really excited.  Beyond that, I have the tour de cure (please sponsor me!  My Sponsor Page!!! ).  I am trying to figure out how to fit in training for the 40 miles, which is my goal.  I know I need to train for this big of a commitment.  I work out at the gym Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and now Friday.  I used to work out on Saturdays, but if I switch that to Friday, I thinking Saturday can be more open for that bike ride, yard work, taking on the world etc.

Today I have been channeling the lessons that alcoholics have to practice.  One day at a time.  I don’t know much of any other way to live our lives, whether we struggle from addition or not.  Getting ahead of ourselves will inevitably lead to a crash and burn scenario.  I came home, got some work done, packed my gym bag for the morning, did my dishes, packed my breakfast and lunch, caught up on emails, and got this blog done.  All-in-all, I focused on today and now, and just focused what was in my control.  Now I feel better about now, and the rest of the week.  I am getting excited for the weekend and all the things I can work on.  My yard, as long as the sun is out.  My stairs, if it rains.  Anything I can get my hands on!

Tonight, I was catching up on my DVR, watching Glee.  I heard the greatest line.  Mercedes was talking about her dream to go to LA and her fears that she wouldn’t make it.  She said “I might be cream here, but what if out there, I’m skim milk?” Later Sam had posted her performance on Youtube and wanted to show her all the positive comments.  He said…

“You ain’t no skim milk, baby.  You cream rising to the top.”

Stalling Stats

I am still working on my weekend blog, which is plaguing me like my ever expanding to-do list.

Here are my stats for today:
Total body 1 hr 1 min – 427 cal
Abs challenge 20 min – 104 cal
Treadmill 5 min – 64 cal
Total 1 hr 26 min – 595 cal

Total body was really good. It’s great when we do lots of reps and then Pilates at the end.

Perfect score for Abs Challenge. First day I’ve done that.

Only had 5 min left, so I ran at a 5.0 on the treadmill, the entire time. I usually go at a 4.5 pace.

All in all, a stellar workout.

And then…. We went down hill. I don’t know if I lost my zen, but I was about to lose my s$&t. I went to get dressed, at the gym, and my zipper in my dress got stuck in the fabric. 10 minutes later, I conceded to the zipper/fabric victory, and proceeded to put my gym clothes back on. Over my stockings.

I had to get to my gyn appt. So that is right by my work. I’m late, getting here, but they graciously accepted my wardrobe malfunction story. Now I’m going to be super late for work, as I have to go back home and get a new outfit.

It looks like my little omen buddy decided to stick around. We are getting to be friends, and my ability to do basic functions (like getting dressed) is going out the window.

I’m getting my zen back, though. Zen and the art of getting by, by Me. 🙂