Tag Archive: strength training

An Oxygen State of Mind

So my new goal is to become an Oxygen Magazine success story. I get this magazine every month. And every month I read it cover to cover secretly wishing I could have a body like the models in the magazine. I don’t want their bodies, I want my body in their fit shape. It was hard for me to lose weight, but I was determined to do it so I succeeded. But this right here? Man, I swear this is even harder than maintaining the weight! First of all, I can’t seem to get my eating under control. In order for me to get the body I want, I have to eat clean. This means I’m going to have to plan SO much better. It also means I’m going to have to wake up earlier in the morning to make sure my cooler is packed with absolutely everything I need to get me through my day. So in an attempt at accountability, I decided to blog about it.

What I’ve learned studying for my personal training certification is that for a desire to be considered a goal it must be positive, written down, specific, attainable (within reach yet hard enough to be challenging), have a deadline, and it must have sincere emotional appeal. 

Here are my goals:

  1. I want to achieve the following goals by the time I run the Flying Pig Half Marathon on May 5, 2013, which is 14 weeks from tomorrow (1/26/13)

  2. I want to lose 9lbs.

  3. I want to decrease my body fat percentage (I want to get this taken with calipers instead of the hand held thing at the gym so that it’s more accurate. Right now it says I’m about 28% body fat. I want to get a more accurate reading, and I want a body fat percentage of 20%)

  4. I want to gain more muscle definition

  • in my arms (I want the fat/flab from my arms GONE and tone my triceps more.)
  • in my shoulders (I want to sculpt my deltoids more so that my arms look even better.)
  • in my legs (I want to burn fat from my thighs specifically to see my quadriceps and hamstring muscles. I also want more definition in my calves.)
  • In my abs (I want to burn ALL of the fat from my midsection and be able to see my abdominal muscles.)
  • in my back (I want the back fat GONE! I want to be confident wearing backless dresses or tank tops in the summer.)

How do I plan to attain my goals?

  1. I will plan, plan, plan, plan, and plan some more! I will plan my meals at the beginning of the week and cook at least one to last me the whole week. I will plan my workouts for the whole week and will stick to that plan. I will plan my cheat meals so I have something to look forward to each week. I will remember that IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL!

  2. I shall not miss a workout! This is going to be easy peasy when it comes to cardio because I teach one Zumba® class every day except Sunday. There are two days a week that I teach two classes. I still have to practice my routines so that they are tight, not to mention I need to choreograph some new songs. I also have to start training for the Pig. I’m hoping Zumba® counts as cross training because I don’t really have time for any other cardio. Well, that’s not true. I can sneak in some other stuff before I have to start doing long runs later on. Plus I don’t want to get bored so I want to try new things, like spinning. As far as strength training, I only have one more month left of training with my trainer and by the time my sessions with him are up, I’ll be a trainer myself. I already teach at the gym where I train, so I’m thinking about applying to be a personal trainer there, too. Hell, why not? I’ll already be at the gym anyway, so there will be no excuse as to why I can’t fit in my weight training. Not to mention the motivation I’ll get from being around other fit and like-minded people all day. No one wants to be the lazy one in the group. And that’s what I’ve been lately: LAZY! I haven’t been doing my own strength training workouts, only when I’m with my trainer. So starting tomorrow I will get my weights in BY MYSELF!

  3. I plan to EAT CLEAN. This means all whole foods, nothing processed. Right now, I’d say my diet was about 75% clean. I was striving for 80%, but I think I will strive for 90% clean. I need to be realistic in that there are going to be some convenience foods in my diet. I’m on the go A LOT and while I pack snacks, sometimes I forget. I’m human. I know if I set myself up with a goal of eating clean 100% of the time, I’m not going to do it and it’s going to make me feel bad about myself which will make me eat. They say abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Welp, there are some things that are going to have to go.

    1. Cereal. I am a cereal killer, I really am. Before I had my son, I could eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My favorites were Corn Pops, Cap’n Crunch, and Coco Puffs. I also enjoyed Frosted Flakes with a banana sliced in them, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Sugar Crisp (which I guess is now Super Golden Crisp, but whatever). The only one of these that makes it into my house now is Honey Nut Cheerios because my son loves them. It is unfortunate, but the box that’s in the pantry is the last box we’ll have. He is not going to be happy, but he’ll get used to it. There will also no longer be any Chocolate Cheerios because I can’t not eat them. Poor Reuben. I don’t eat oatmeal, but I’m going to start to try to stomach it. I ate it regularly when I was breastfeeding because it helps with your milk production. I never ate it before, and I haven’t eaten it since. It’s amazing what we’ll do for our children that we won’t do for ourselves. Anyway, I’m going to try to make it from plain old regular oats and add fresh fruit to it. Already I’m gagging. I’m also going to start making my own granola. Right now I use organic granola or Kashi Go Lean Crunch (Honey Almond Flax flavor), but I’m not sure if that’s considered clean or not. I don’t know if I can give up my Smart Start yet. That replaced Frosted Flakes in my life and as far as I’m concerned it’s healthy and yummy and dammit I don’t want to let it go! I need to start making hot breakfast more often. Again, I need to wake up earlier. UGH! I love to sleep. And this whole healthy lifestyle is getting in the way of that. And sleep is a part of a healthy lifestyle. I can’t seem to find the balance. That’s another goal for another day.

    2. Random snacks. I buy stuff for Reuben that I end up eating. It’s not terribly unhealthy, but it’s also not clean. Like I’ll get him chewy granola bars and I’ll eat them, too. If I’m snack crazy enough, I’ll even eat a cereal bar. I don’t even like cereal bars because they are soft and yucky, but I’ll eat almost anything if I’m on a binge. Right now I have those Sweet-n-Salty Nut granola bars in the pantry. Sad to say I ate TWO of them last night, back to back. And I was in bed and sleepy, but I wanted to snack and wanted something sweet. Old habits die hard. But hard to kill or not, that crap is over because I can’t eat it if I don’t buy it!

    3. Peanut butter. *Sigh* This is such a travesty. The truth is, I’ve done SO much better having this in the house. This used to be a trigger food for me, but now it’s not, and that is actually a non-scale victory for me. However, I buy regular peanut butter that has some type of sweetener in it. Why? Because it’s cheaper and honestly, it’s just more convenient. I used to by natural peanut butter and it’s not that I don’t like it (and honestly it’s not that much more expensive), it’s just that stirring in the oil every time you use it is annoying. I was over it. So now I’m going to have to start making my own nut butters. Which is going to be more expensive than just buying the jar. BUT it will help me in that I can make ONLY the amount I need and it will keep me from eating all the nuts. Man, I can violate some nuts, you hear me? Any nuts I buy are gone within two days with the exception of almonds. I won’t overeat those. But peanuts, cashews, pistachios, mixed nuts? Yeah, I’ll kill those.

    4. Eating out. I indulge often in eating out for a few reasons. One, I still don’t have internet at home because I’m still on a crazy budget. So I’ll go places that have free wifi and sometimes I’ll eat while I’m there. If it’s McDonald’s, it’s no big deal because I’ll usually get coffee, apple slices, a grilled chicken caesar salad, or a yogurt parfait. It’s not bad at Panera Bread, either, because they have quite a few healthy options. But if it’s IHOP, we usually end up with a problem. I only end up at these places if I’ve forgotten my cooler or if I only packed snacks and no meals. But this goes back to planning and waking up earlier to make sure I’m completely prepared for my day.

So that’s my plan. And believe me, I plan to stick to it. I am going to take before pictures, take my measurements, and my body fat percentage this week. I am going to post the pictures here in my blog for all the world (or all 10 people who actually read it, lol) to see. I will probably show the pictures to my trainer which is absolutely horrifying, but it’s all in the name of accountability. Once I do that, I know for absolute fact I’ll follow through with my plan. There is no way I’m going to let that man see what I look like outside of my workout clothes without ending up with an after picture. I’ll probably find a way to send the before picture to Oxygen, too. I’m so sincere about this. 

As long as I remain dedicated, consistent, determined, and prepared, there is no reason why I shouldn’t reach my goals. I’m ready to see all that I can accomplish so that I can show my clients what IS possible. I want that feeling of accomplishment. I want to feel powerful and successful. I want to feel 100% confident in my clothes. I want to feel 100% confident in the gym when I’m shaking and gyrating in Zumba® class. And I want to feel 100% confident walking into the gym with a shirt that says TRAINER on it. I’m ready to step into my destiny. And I’m going to do it by having an Oxygen State of Mind.



Here I am on the second phase of my journey. I can’t believe it! I looked at my reflection today (wearing clothes that actually fit) and was amazed. I have a completely new body. And all I can think of is, wow, wait until I reach goal! Wait until I get rid of this flab. I looked at myself today and remembered how I thought I’d never get back to this weight again. That’s how I feel about this flabby fat, like it’ll never go away. But I know there will be a day that I’ll look at my healthy, toned body and think back to today. I look forward to that day. I’m ready to work toward how I want to look on that day. I’m ready to start Phase 2: Operation LOOK BETTER NAKED!

Yesterday was a rest day. I normally have to force myself to take a rest day, but not yesterday. I had a crapload of stuff to do and my knee hurts. I think I have runner’s knee. Running has been put on hold until I can go buy new running shoes. In the meantime, I’m going to really focus on building my thigh muscles so my patella works right when I run. So for now, it will be walking, but I’ll still be trying to increase my speed. At any rate, I didn’t do a fitness test of any kind yet. I really wanted to rest my knee. I did, however, study the exercises that I have to do in You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren (he has a FB page, too). I really, really like this book. No matter what your fitness level, there is an exercise in this book for you.

Let me start at the beginning. I’ve talked about YAYOG before, but I haven’t done much of anything except tricep dips. So let me tell you a little bit about it before I get into my workout. YAYOG is a book of bodyweight exercises. No weights are involved, just the use of your body. Perfect for me since I don’t have a gym membership. Half of the book is dedicated to showing each exercise and how it’s done. The rest is his story and the workout programs. I’m starting with the Basic Program for beginners. Each program is to be done in 10 week cycles and each 10 week cycle is broken into four blocks. I’ll tell you about each of them as I start them.

Muscular Endurance Block ~weeks 1 & 2~ The exercises are done in what’s called ‘Ladders’. You do 1 rep, rest, 2 reps, rest, 3 reps, rest, and so on until you can’t do any more reps. Then you start to come back down the same way: 14 reps, rest, 13 reps, rest, etc. Each exercise in the block is done for 7.5 minutes (there are four exercises, so only a 30-min workout). If you finish the ladder, start over until the 7.5 minutes is up. If you don’t finish the ladder, no biggie. Four days with four exercises on each day. Two days upper body (Push/Pull) and two days lower body (Legs/Core).

I start today. Week 1/Day 1 is here. I’m going to go walking this morning as soon as I’m done with this entry. My last chance until the rain comes and lasts well into next week. I’ll try to get 6 miles in today. I’ll do the my strength training while Reuben is taking his nap this afternoon. What I like about this book is that he tells you how to modify the exercises to your level. He even talks about doing push-ups standing with your hands against the wall. I will be able to see how I progress from easier to harder versions of each exercise as I get stronger. I’m excited! I do want to buy some fat calipers so that I can figure out my percent body fat. I’ll have to start without them (I think I have to order them online), but that’s fine. I seriously doubt I’m going to change my body composition that fast.

I haven’t decided how I’m going to work my cardio around this. I want to do so much, lol. I still want to walk, participate in races, and start running again, but I’m really more interested in building muscle at this stage in the game. I want to not only be happy with my body, I want to be impressed with me. I have other exercises that I want to incorporate into my YAYOG workouts or make it like circuit training. I haven’t figured all of that out yet. I’ll see how I feel after today or maybe after the end of this week to see how I can tweak it. Or maybe I’ll leave YAYOG as it is and on those days do another 30 minutes of some type of cardio strength training circuits. I also need to create a new workout playlist. Excited!

So I guess i need to post those before pics, huh? Let me say, I have no intention of ever wearing this bikini anywhere but taking these pics. That’s what I bought it for back before I got pregnant. I’m afraid of water and don’t know how to swim (I’m planning on learning, though), so I don’t really own any swimwear. Not true, I bought a swimsuit last summer, but I doubt it fits now. Anyway. The before pics. Posting these gives me a serious sense of accountability. I will take pics and post them each month to monitor my progress. Here goes…

before front
before back
before side

I never tire of looking at that picture of my back. It looks soooooooo different from this, circa 2002:
before 2002

I am determined. I am committed. I will not waiver. I will not quit. I *WILL* tone my body. I WILL LOOK BETTER NAKED!!!