Friday, March 21, 2008

I've been busy

Most of you know I've been working out pretty hard for the better part of a year now. The first 40 pounds came off pretty smoothly, but then I got stuck. I've been at just about the same weight since Thanksgiving, even though I'm still working my butt off in the gym.

Time for a change, I thought. I had heard great things about a new book--The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I did some research and then decided to get the book and see what it was all about. Boy. Suddenly things made sense. I'd been doing all kinds of steady state cardio--averaging about 600-700 minutes a week. Seriously. That's a heck of a lot of cardio! This book, written by Lou Schuler, Alwyn Cosgrove, and Cassandra Forsythe, suggests that I've actually been working against myself. Not only that, but I'd been severely limiting my calorie intake...another way of working against myself.

So I figured I'd give the workouts a go. I've been stuck since Thanksgiving--what could it hurt, right? I'm just finishing up Week 3, and let me tell There I am, over in the "boy's side" of the gym with all the free weights, and I'm holding my own! I never thought I could do it! My first workout (there are two different workouts for each stage, and you alternate between them during the week) had me doing squats. I started with 50 lbs (that's the bar plus two 2.5lb weights). On Thursday, I was able to squat 90 lbs. Then I moved on to alternating sets of push ups and seated rows. I can't do a full push up on the ground yet (I did learn, though, that a full push up is the equivalent of moving 60% of your wonder I can't do a full push up yet!), so I started with 60 degree incline pushups. Thursday I did pushups on a 35 degree incline. I started the seated row at 40 lbs 3 weeks ago, and on Thursday I pulled 100 lbs. Seriously! Next I did step ups and this CRAZY thing on an exercise ball called a prone jackknife. You start with your hands on the ground like a pushup, back straight, and legs up on the ball, all stretched out in a line. Then you pull your knees in to your chest. Sounds easy, but man oh man!

The "B" workouts are equally as challenging (deadlifts--started at 30lbs and deadlifted 90lbs Monday; dumbbell shoulder press--started 10lbs, 25 lbs Mon; wide-grip lat pulldown--30 lbs, 100lbs Mon; lunges, and swissball crunches).

I haven't noticed much change in the scale yet--actually, I've gone up 2 lbs (but that's mostly water weight and the fact that muscle is heavier than fat). The amazing thing, though, is that in the first week I lost 4.5 inches. I haven't measured myself yet this week, but I've lost more inches since then. The coolest thing is that I'm already seeing definition in my arms and legs, and things are much less "flabby". I've got one more week of Stage 1 and then I go on to the more challenging Stage 2.

The mondo cardio workouts are a thing of the past for me, too. I've switched them out for HIIT workouts--high intensity interval training. I spend 30 min on the treadmill alternating between walking and running. When I started, my walking speed was 3.0 and my running speed was 6. On Thursday I walked at 3.0 and ran at 8.5. The running part is really fast--just 1 minute--so it's not really as hard as I thought to run flat out for a minute. This type of training is much more effective than steady state cardio, and it helps you burn more calories for longer after the workout. I still do some walking on my non-lifting days, but that's more laid back-just moving to move kind of walking.

I can't tell you how empowered I feel after a lifting session. I never thought--especially with my arthritis--that I'd be able to do some of these things, but I can and even better, my joints seem to be enjoying the extra support from my muscles. The first several stages of this workout focus on building strength, and it isn't until stage 7 that the "cutting in" is supposed to really start, so I'm looking forward to seeing the changes in my body as I move along even further.

Enough rambling from me. I'm just super duper excited. I feel so cool to be out there and lifting these weights, and I know that it's the right path for me on the way to health and wellness. :)

1 comment:

Kerri said...

Keep up the great work!