Saturday, May 8, 2010

5/8/10 – KB Restart: Week 1

I did my first Kettlebell workout in over a month this past Tues morning. I got through everything except the Lunges. I didn’t even try. My heart rate was too high during the Flip and Squat, so I thought it best to move on to the less heart pounding 2nd half of the workout. I got through it well, and even took a walk that afternoon during my lunch break at work. However, the next morning I could barely stand, let alone walk. My thighs were dreadfully sore for the remainder of the week. In fact, they didn’t feel normal again until this morning. How lucky is that? This morning was my next scheduled KB workout.

I got through this morning’s workout pretty well. I even did the Lunges... very slowly, but I did not do the Bonus Round. I did a few extra ab crunches on my exercise ball instead. On Tues it was my legs that were most fatigued at the end. This morning it was my arms that were ready to drop off. Next time I must double check to make sure that I am working the kb during Swings, Cleans, and Squats, etc more from my legs and butt instead of my arms and back. This afternoon I took my usual walk at lunch time and my felt okay.

Adjusted Behavioral Approach:

This time around, I feel better armed with knowledge and strategies to overcome my short comings and obstacles. I have a clearer goal in mind, and tools to keep me focused and motivated, thanks to the powerful combination of the Lean for Life program and the Kettlebell workouts.

The biggest strategy I have is simply to remind myself how amazing I feel while I’m on the program and doing my KB. When I go back to my old habits, I feel moody, short tempered, and depressed, with low self-esteem and lots of guilt. I feel like nothing is possible so why even bother. When I am on the program and working out regularly, I have more energy than I know what to do with, and everything I want seems not only possible, but meant to be.

Along with this better sense of awareness, I intend to do more of the assignments given in the Lean for Life book, beyond just the day it is given, especially the mental visualization types of exercises. I want to incorporate more the LFL tools into my daily life. I need these tools and behaviors to become habits, replacing my old, bad ones.

The fact is that I am a sugar-oholic. Sugar is my “drug” of choice. I don’t drink alcohol that much, I don’t smoke, or take drugs other than ibuprofen. But the minute I consume processed sugars, either in actual sugar form or in highly processed grain products, my whole body chemistry changes. I can’t get enough of the stuff. My mood immediately plummets, I feel like crap (physically and emotional), and yet it is near impossible to stop myself from continuing down that spiral decent. I usually have to hit bottom before I am able to adjust and get back to more healthy eating.

However, over the past few months, I have seen how quickly I can change these behavioral patterns and keep myself from dropping to the depths of my addiction. If I splurge on occasion, as long as I get right back to basics again in my next meal or the next day, and continue on from there, I’m usually fine and can stay the course there after. It’s when I start splurging on a regular basis that my equilibrium is threatened, and my ability to make healthy choices is diminished. I suffer from the “just one won’t hurt me” syndrome. A very dangerous mindset that I am working hard to get rid of.

Same is true of working out. If I miss one session I’m fine as long as I commit and get back to working out at the earliest possible opportunity – preferably within the next two days. However, the longer I wait to do my next workout, the harder it is to stay committed to my schedule. I get lazy again, grabbing any and all excuses not to workout. This too effects my mood and decision making abilities.

Live and Learn and Apply. It is one thing to read books and learn how to do something, but it doesn’t mean anything unless you apply it to your life and do the work. The more I apply what I’m learning, even if I get it wrong, I grow in my understanding through experience. I am able to adapt and adjust better with each passing day.

Most importantly, I must do the work or nothing will ever happen, and my goals will not be obtained. There are no quick fixes, only hard work. Accept and embrace the work, do your part in what needs to be done, and the rest will take care of itself. Genius!

5/8/10 – Update and Lean for Life

When I started doing the Kettlebell workouts last Aug ’09, I did pretty well to keep up a steady workout regimen for three months (even though I stopped posting blogs here). I lost 10 lbs during that time, even though I struggled to eat healthy.

At the end of those diligent 3 months, the holidays hit and everything went downhill. I slowly started missing more and more workouts, till I wasn’t doing it at all. Add to that the fact that I was maintaining, and even worsening my bad eating habits with an increase of sugar and fat into my diet, and I ended up gaining all the weight and inches I had lost through KB. I knew that when I did start up again with KB I would need to tackle and adjust the way I eat.

Come the new year, I had an ear infection, which lasted almost 2 months. It is very difficult to work out and eat right when your system is out of whack due to illness. I finally got some antibiotics from the doctor, and the infection slowly went away. Ironically, when I was at the drugstore picking up my prescription, I saw a starter kit for the Lean for Life program, I was desperate to find an eating plan that would work for me. I’ve tried them all – Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrasystem, etc. They work great for some people, but not for me. The kit was on sale, so I bought it.

[Disclaimer: The weight loss program I am about to describe was not designed by me. I am only providing a very brief and incomplete outline of the program. Please go to for more information. I highly recommend buying and following the book, however this system may not be right for everyone. The website also provides an online interactive program, as well as counseling by phone for additional cost, and much more. I personally am only using the book. It is important to learn why and how any weight loss system works, so that you can assess its health benefits and do it properly and fully. This is not a “diet” or quick fix. Like KB, there is a lot of work involved.]

The kit includes a workbook, with details daily instructions and guidelines to train you how to eat healthy in order to lose weight, as well as tools to help you maintain your goal weight for the rest of your life. Each chapter gives you tips and strategies relating to exercise, self-sabotage, cravings, denial, rationalization, biomodifiers, managing stress, self-doubt and those nagging inner voices, problem solving, label reading, etc. In addition, there is a daily journal where you log everything you eat and drink, track your activity, track you weight and measurements, and write motivational/planning strategies for each day.

The weight loss eating plan lasts 28 days, and is based on keeping your body in ketosis. The book explains in detail what that means and the myths and benefits of it. Basically the idea is to eat fewer carbohydrates (less than 100 grams per day) and more lean protein (at least 6 servings per day), thus forcing your body to burn its excess storage of fat instead of just tapping into the carbs you consume each day.

You do the weight loss program for 28 days, then a 14 day metabolic adjustment period. The idea being that after a month of being in ketosis, you’ll have changed your set point to a lower weight. Your set point is the weight at which your body works to maintain itself. The 14 days is to make sure that your set point and metabolism have indeed adjusted. If you can maintain your lower weight for those 14 days (adding more carbs into your diet), then you either start the weight loss program again for another 28 days, in order to lose more weight, or you begin phase two of lifetime maintenance, having reached your goal weight.

The program also includes daily moderate exercise (at least 10,000 steps per day is recommended). I did the Lean for Life program for 28 days and lost 15 lbs, going from 210 to 195. And that was without doing Kettlebell. Amazing! However I hit a plateau during the third week. In addition, I didn’t follow the 14 day maintenance plan, so 14 days turned into 30 days off the program. April was therefore shot! However, it was a learning experience to see how far I could push my limits, and how quickly I could lose the few pounds I would gain now and then by going back to the program for a few days at a time.


It’s now the beginning of May and I’m starting another round of the 28 day weight loss program. I’ve also restarted my KB workouts. In this way, I’m hoping that adding 2 days of KB per week to my daily walking regimen (in my Shape-Ups - fabulous!) I will pump up my weight loss, and not only get me off of my plateau, but allow me to lose more weight/inches than before. My starting weight is now 195, so let’s see how fast I can lose another 15-20 lbs.

By the way, I am also measuring for inches lost and calculating body fat loss, which is a more accurate determination of progress, but I only check these factors once a week or every other week. I weight myself every day because LFL instructs me to. And quite frankly, seeing my weight go down on a daily basis is quite exciting and a new experience for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Week 6

August 19 – Not my best workout. I slept in this morning as it's my day off, and didn't start my workout till around 11am. I made sure to hydrate a bit, and prepared a protein shake to sip just in case. Didn't want the cramps to come back, and they didn't. Yay! But my energy was really low. I used the 12lb with every round except the Lunges, and took advantage of all 1 min breaks. Heart rate went up to 171 with the Flip and Squats (yes, I do flip the kb!), but stayed within 150 to 168 the rest of the time. Using 12lb more gave my arms a major workout overall, which was great. The One Arm Rows were really tough, though, with 12lb. I couldn't finish the last 15 seconds, but am looking forward to that improving. Great for the triceps!

#1 lesson learned throughout the past 5 weeks – Listen to your body!

August 22 – Yeah, not liking early morning workouts right now. My digestive system is still processing and I have no energy in the mornings these days. Must figure this out. I'm shifting my diet with better portion control and combining proteins, good fats, and complex carbs as much as possible. However, I did have ice cream on Thurs. I admit it. It was an emotional decision, which I've accepted and moved on from, but we are scheduled to have a mass amount of food at work on Sunday, so I'm going to have to work really hard not to over eat that day. Mexican food and yummy deserts. Oi!

As for my work out this morning, I'm keeping with the 12lb except for Lunges. Though this time I went back to 9lb for the One Arm Rows too. I tend to do more reps in the Triple Crush and Seated Press than Beth and Anthony do, so by round 13 my arms have a tough time pulling that 12lb up and back for the full set of rows. The 9lb seems to do the trick for now, as I can keep pace with Beth and Anthony and pump the heart to a high zone level. My heart rate went up to 173 for the Figure 8 round. With the 12lb I was hard pressed to get through it this morning. Could have been due to my low energy this morning. We'll see how it goes next time.

1. Swings – 12lb
2. Cleans – 12lb
3. One Arm Chest Press – 12lb
4. Squats/Sumo Dead Lifts – 12lb
5. One Leg Dead Lifts – 12lb
6. Windmill/Overhead Squat – 12lb
7. Clean & Press – 12lb
8. High Pull & Squat (w/ flip) – 12lb
9. Tactical Lunges – 9lb
10. Triple Crush – 12lb
11. Figure 8 to Static Hold – 12lb
12. Seated Press – 12lb
13. One Arm Rows – 9lb
14. Abs – 12lb
Bonus – snatch test – 12lb

August 24 – Oi! Diet got off track a bit this weekend. Lots of stress at work and I let it affect my eating. Ugh! Saturday was fine, and I did very well during the first half of the day on Sunday - small portions, properly combining protein, fats and carbs... but then... the cakes came out. I had one piece of chocolate cake and one piece of cheese cake. Crash and burn! I think if I had waited a bit longer after my well proportioned meal to have the cakes I wouldn't have felt so bad. However, 2 pieces of cake is not good! Of course, by the time I got home and was winding down for the evening, I started having hunger pangs. But I felt I had already over extended myself on the calories (even as empty as some were) for the day, that I just had a bit of yogurt and a vitamin drink.

This morning I was dragging! I tried to stay focused on the workout I would be doing this evening, just to get me through the day, thinking that would make me feel better. However, I indulged again and had another piece of cheesecake, left over from Sunday's feast. I admit it. Ice cream, cookies and cheesecake are my 3 greatest weaknesses.

Anyhoo, except for the cheesecake, I stuck to my small meals of protein, fats, carbs for the rest of the day. Come workout time, though, I felt my system was still too focuses on digestion, so it made me feel a bit sluggish while working out. My heart rate stayed pretty consistently in the upper range of my zone, without going over the max. I used the 9lb for the Lunges still, plus the One Arm Rows. Then when I got to the Bonus round I was just too pooped to used the 12lb. I didn't want to skip it, though, so I used the 9lb, putting as much energy as I had left into every rep. I focused on form and using my lower body muscles as if it were the 12lb. I felt good in the end.

This next week I really need to stay focused on my diet and detoxing.