confessions of a reformed couch potato

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confessions of a reformed couch potato

I made it past 30 days!

September 5th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

I made it past the 30 day mark.  After the first week I had doubts I would make it through the second week so it is a celebration for me to have made it past one month.

There are so many messages about being active for your health, stress reduction, weight management and lots of other important things.  I am not discounting any of that but for me it is all about living the live I want and I got a taste of that recently.

I just returned from an extended vacation of fishing and other fishing like activities.  This is not our first trip and historically I would find myself on the couch at the end of the day absolutely exhausted (frequently in the middle of the day as well).  This year I had the energy to make it through the day (doing more than I have in the past) and I had energy to go for a walk in the evening.  Let me rephrase that, I had the energy and wanted to do more in the evening!

If I had proof that I was going to have this response so early in the process, I may have complained less about my sore legs, arms and ……. back side.  If I had this proof in the beginning I may have not had the guilt about taking this time for me.  Nope, I don’t count all of the proof that is out there, I needed to experience it.

So what did I learn?

I still struggle with the wall.  That first wall of discomfort is so easy to quit at.  I need to just get over it and recognize that it will happen.

I found it difficult to keep up the pace I wanted without equipment telling me that I was at the right speed or going far enough.  On about day ten, I had my get over it moment.  Just get out and be active, do it as fast as you can for as long as you can.  It is not about how far or how fast it is about doing it.  It is not about doing it further or faster than before it is about just doing something.

I tried to jog.  For anyone that knows me this is funny in and of itself.  I am famous for my statement “I don’t run from a burning building.  Why would I for fun?”  Ok, still not fun and I looked really silly.  Here is the kicker – I don’t care.  I don’t care that it was not a smooth movement (like all of the other joggers I see).  I don’t care that I had to stop because I was so out of breath going up the hill (I started again).  I don’t care that I sounded like a monster truck on a gravel road.  I did it…..more than once. I may do it again.

Do your push-ups and ab work in public.  No one laughs.  No one even looks.  In fact, do them when you have a curious dog near you.  Canine encouragement is just another added bonus to having a dog. (You may need to have met my 95 pound bundle of underfoot, busy-body of a dog to fully see the humor in this one.)

I took my MP3 player with me and was so freaked out using on the roads I had to stop.  I don’t know how anyone can do it!  All I could think about was that I was going to get hit by a car and end up in a ditch.  Here is the funny part – in two weeks (going out every day) there were a total of about five cars and there were no roadside ditches.  Oh well, you can take the girl out of the safety office but you can not take the safety out of the girl.

It is all good and it will continue to get better.  I have the proof.


Day 8 to today

August 11th, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Well I have lost track of the days so here is the update through yesterday.

My training partner and I have been continuing on a daily basis and meeting with the trainer at least weekly.  We added two to our set of each exercise last week.  I thought two – no problem.  At the end of the session, I learned that two more is more than just two more.  We could do it but I would not have done it on my own.  It is just another reason to have the trainer there pushing us past our limits that we set on our level.

My training partner has been out of the office all week so I have been on my own.  Some days have been really productive and other it is all I could do to get in and do anything for 30 minutes.  But I did it – 30 or more minutes every day.  Until last night.  I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday so I made the decision to not chance making it worse.  If I did have something contagious that I gave to anyone else, I would have felt horrible.  Turns out I was just exhausted.  Not working out was the best decision I could have made.  I feel better and am ready to get back into the routine today.  Remember, this is all about self care.  Listen to your body!

So what have I learned…….

I can not drink water and walk….at least on a treadmill -there were flailing limbs,  me almost falling off the treadmill and a relief that I got that out of the way.  I survived without any injury and not even much of a bruise to the ego.  The only person laughing (or even looking) was me.

Some things don’t change, I could not skip as a child and I can not skip as an adult.  We tried a new method to warm-up and one set was skipping.  It was a great warm-up but it was more damaging to my ego than the near wipe-out on the treadmill.

New machines are great…..but there are limits.  So, I tried a different machine.  Within 5 minutes I had back pain (injury I am recovering from) and my legs were on fire – and not the good working the muscle on fire.  This was very different.  So I stopped!  I just walked away and spent the remainder of the time on the treadmill – slowly walking.  Not all of the equipment is right for me but I don’t regret trying it.  I will even try it in the future……..but give me a few months.

I have found my walls.  They are big and they fight back.  The first 15-20 minutes is fine.  Nothing spectacular but fine.  The next 15-20 minutes is unpleasant – I have used other words to describe them so you can insert several of them here.  This is where I historically quit.  I am sweaty, stinky and sore – not a pleasant place to be.  If I can make it past that 20 minute wall, it becomes pleasant.  No endorphin rush but there is a feeling of success and accomplishment and the muscle discomfort starts to minimize.

I have been able to go a little faster and a little farther each week.  It’s not a marathon but every .25 miles  or .01 mph faster counts in my book.

I have lost almost 5 pounds since we started this three weeks ago.  Weight is not everything and if I had not lost anything on the scale I would like to say I would be fine with that.  It is a benchmark for me.  The amount I have lost is a health amount for the time period.

10-12 squats are good (at least good for you), squats for one hour to pick-up the yard clippings might have been a bit extreme.  Fine, no might about it.  Just learn form my mistake and don’t do it.

Finally, coffee is no substitute for water.  This may be obvious to you and looking back on it it is obvious to me.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before your work-out.



Day 8-10 When life gets in the way

July 29th, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

We had another session with our trainer and we were able to make it through the entire program. I still have the muscle fatigue but at least I can walk up the stairs.
Then the big challenge, can I continue with the commitment with my training partner on vacation?

Tuesday was a late start but I did it. I found I wanted to do “just one more thing” before I left the office when there was not someone waiting for me. At some point I just decided to get up and go. Everything was there for me Wednesday morning so I am not sure what I was trying to accomplish.

Then there was Wednesday. I had life after work and did not get home until after 7pm. I ate dinner and then tried to work out. The gravitational pull of the couch was just too strong and I ended up watching a movie. I knew it was going to be difficult to get going when I got home so I spent time during the day walking more than usual.

I was still successful. It took me most of today to realize that. Was it what I planned, no. Was I still active, yes. If this is all about changing my lifestyle then it has to work in my life. So, no “failure” here. I am still more active than I was and will be more active today than I was yesterday.

There have been lessons.

If you eat pizza for dinner, don’t try to work out right after it. It is just not going to end well.

If your mp3 player is not working, try turning it on. It will work so much better when it is on.

Don’t select your treadmill based on the view it gives you of your staff. When it is the one in the sun you change your form to avoid the sun in your eyes, overheat faster and it does not give you a good view of your staff anyway.

Get a trainer and a buddy! They will push you just enough out of your comfort zone to make you work just a little harder. I would have stopped many times without their encouragement.

Pink shoes are not that bad. In fact, they are getting kind of comfortable. You might even see me in a pink shirt…….but I will insist it is salmon.


Day 3-7 What a difference one week can make

July 25th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

It is difficult for me to find time to do all of the things that need to be done in a day and part of my hesitation in being more physically active is just finding that time. This is no different than anyone else and it does not make me special. I have used it as an excuse to not do anything for most of my adult life.

This first week was really an experiment to see if I could spend one hour each day doing something just for me. I did it. So now that I did it once, can I do it again? Do I need to do it again? Does it have to be every day? Short answer for me, yes. It is not going to be easy but I need to do it……for a while at least.

The work week was actually easier than I expected. We worked with the trainer on Wednesday and walked on the track Thursday (three times around is one mile if you were curious). I was at a conference on Friday and Saturday so I used the hotel treadmill on Friday and when for a walk half way home on Saturday (yes, at the outlet mall….but the packages count as weights…right?).

The hardest thing has been that first step every day and it has not gotten easier. It took about 30 minutes for me to convince myself to go to the hotel fitness center on Friday and the only way I got there was to tell myself it would only be for 5 minutes. I spent about 60. About 30 minutes into it, I actually thought “hay, I kind of like this.” I never thought I would be THAT person. I never thought I would be the one to like it. I am not talking tolerate…..I actually was having fun. It was me, a little music and 60 minutes working on me.

Sunday was the hardest. That couch was calling my name. It was loud and clear and I gave in for the morning. I did get-up and mow the lawn (for 2 hours with a push mower) and then came in and did some work with the one set of weights I have at home. Please don’t tell me I am the only one that has tried an exercise plan that “if I just had at home I would do it more often.”

So what did I learn this week:
One ounce of cheese and some carrots two hours before I go work out are a much better snack than radishes. Fruit after make it even better.

Get a buddy! I would not have gone to the treadmill if I did not have one. We made a commitment to each other to do this and I would have felt horrible if she had made the time and I had not.

I pushed myself harder on the treadmill than I would have on the track. I knew I could get off the machine at any time. I did not have to plan for the walk back…..when I had enough I turned the machine off. FYI- I walked about twice what I thought I could and would normally stop myself at.

Actions make a difference and you never know where or how it will happen. This week my parents signed-up for training at a facility in their hometown. I am so proud of them for taking the first step. They said I inspired them – if that is the case, it has been my biggest success.


Day 2 – Planning, preparation and implementation

July 19th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Success number one – I did it. I am counting every success I can.

The session started with a review of our paperwork, goals and measurement criteria for success. Our challenges were much the same as everyone else. How do I find the time? Where do I start?

We started the actual work out with a cardio machine that takes far more coordination than I actually have. It was rather comical as we learned how to use it. I don’t know why I thought that I would be able to hop on and instantly know what I am doing and not have any issues…..but I did. That was the first lesson of the day. This will take time to learn.

After the warm-up, we went on to squats – more of a variety than I ever knew possible that worked muscles that I did not know existed. This is where lesson two came in to play……add something to your plan that you want to improve but you have some base line strength/ability/skill in addition to the things that you have no skill in. We are primarily working on our core and legs and it was a welcome relief to work the arms (yes, I need to work on my arms but they are better than my legs and core). It was that little emotional boost that I needed.

I will admit I called a time out three to four times in the session. I was light headed and honestly quite nauseous. As bad as I felt for saying that I needed a break, the only response I had was concern from the trainer and my partner. The only pressure I had was from me to get back to “the plan” and stop being a wimp. So here is lesson three, do what you can and listen to your body. The last thing anyone wants is for a participant to pass-out or vomit. I can say that as a human and the Safety Coordinator at Rec Sports.

For the last lesson of the day, eat before you go. Not right before you go but a few hours before would be good. Be careful what you eat before the session. The salad I had for lunch just did not cut it and the “snack” of radishes at about 3pm (left over from my lunch) was not the best decision. I am still not sure what was worse, feeling like I might vomit or knowing it would be radishes. Honestly, who eats radishes before exercise?

Am I sore? Yes, but it is getting better. For the first time ever doing something like this, I feel fairly good.


Day 1 – Take a deep breath

July 18th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

The title might not be completely accurate right now but it is where I will be. Don’t get me wrong, I like my couch. It’s new, reclines and is close to the kitchen. To be fair most of my house is close to the kitchen.

About two years ago I decided to get healthier. Great statement. Great goal. Poor execution for the first 3-6 months. I was overwhelmed, lost and really confused. I had information overload and was afraid to make the wrong decision so I did not make any.

In April of 2010, I took the first step. I started Weight Watchers and lost about 20% of my total body weight (still not ready to say the total out loud but my goal is about 35% of my starting weight). By February 2011, I was in a stalemate with the scale and getting frustrated it was going to win. I made the decision to have some more purposeful activity.

So it is July and I am taking what seems like the first step all over again. I start with a personal trainer tonight. I know it will be great but I can’t help feeling anxious, nervous and honestly scared. This is something completely new. Just to add to that anxiety, I am coming off a back injury (hence the delay from February) so I am a bit scared I am going to hurt it again.

Honestly the only way I am going to make it to the appointment tonight is that I signed-up with a training buddy. If I had not done that, well I am not sure I would have made it as far as the registration. If it takes finding a buddy and sharing what I learn to get me off the couch, then here we go.

So far I have learned the following –
Getting a doctor to release you to physical activity is easier than I expected. I have a good relationship with my doctor and she signed off for me to start before I have a follow-up with her.

Finding shoes was much harder than I expected. Why are there so many types of shoes? Why are the ones that are the pink ones comfortable (nothing wrong with pink it is just not my favorite)?

Finding workout clothes was much harder than I expected. Why do most stores only carry workout clothes that would fit people without curves?

So, on day one I am taking a deep breath. Hopefully on day two I will be able to let it out.


Hello world!

July 15th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

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