Monday, February 10, 2014

LiveFit Trainer: Week 5

My second attempt at week 5 went much better than last week. I got in all but one workout (one leg day instead of two) and my nutrition was much better. I did have a pretzel at the mine 5k with Gem but really didn't have too many cheats. 

Baby bis and tris are coming out

My weight has stabilized in the mid-130's but I can tell my clothes are fitting differently. My jeans are looser in the waist and tighter in the butt and thighs. Some of my fitted long sleeve shirts are starting to feel kind of snug around my biceps too. Overall, the changes are more subtle than the first few weeks but definitely there. I'm hopeful that, with three more weeks of adding cardio, I'll really see some definition soon.

That's really about all I have for week 5. So let's hope some big things happen with week 6! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Runnin' Outta Our Mine 5k ... Again

I've run this race every year since it started. I'm a little bit over the whole underground running thing but I knew Paul would get a kick out of it so I had signed us up for our first race of the year. The day before the race my babysitter fell through so we ended up bringing Gem with us and she decided to run too.

Race morning was pretty laid back as the race doesn't start until 11am. We arrived at 10 and got Gem registered and our bibs pinned on. Then we hit the bathrooms and walked around and saw a few friends. Mostly we just sat on a curb and waited.

 Paul and I as INKnBURN pirates 

 Gem and I before the race

A few minutes before 11 we went outside and gathered around a fire barrel to stay warm while we waited for the start. When the race started (I never heard a gun or horn or anything!) I grabbed all of our coats and threw them in the snow off to the side. We all ran up a hill for a quarter mile or so and then into the entrance of the mine. It was such a relief to get into the 55* interior after the 18* run up the hill. 

Gem did really well the first mile. We passed the clock at about 11 minutes with only one or two quick walk breaks. The second mile she started to get a little tired and we took a few more walk breaks. Right before the two mile clock we finally reached the water table which pacified Gem for just a little longer. The second mile clocked in right around 12:30.

Running through a mine

The third mile was Gem's undoing. She walked a lot more and even began to cry. I was a little tough on her because I knew she was going to act up. Every 5k she's ever done she has thrown a fit and wanted to quit in the third mile but I can never talk her out of doing them in the first place. I'm pretty sure a lot of the other parents probably thought I was a jerk but I know Gem can finish a 5k and I wasn't pushing her too hard.


We finally turned a bend and were back on concrete floors. We could feel the fresh breeze from the mine exit and Gem perked up. Her pace picked up and we managed to make it to the last bend with only one more walk break. Then the finish line came into view and she started to sprint hard. I guess she couldn't wait to be done!

Area of the mine used for boat storage

As soon as we crossed the line in 38:07 (a new PR for Gem!) she threw up. I was a little horrified but kind of proud that she has the drive to push to the finish. She was upset about throwing up at first but as soon as she was handed a water and a cookie she cheered up. Then she got a few congratulations from bystanders on pushing so hard (and a few finish line puke stories) and she began to brag to everyone that talked to her about it!

Overall, this race is poorly organized and I'm not that thrilled with moving the start/finish outdoors in February. But I'm glad I've been able to share it with Gem and Paul now. Hopefully next time we sign up for one it can be puke free!

Friday, February 7, 2014


Recently, I've heard and experienced a lot of comments about people's bodies. Let me start this with a question... When did it become acceptable to say anything except, "You look great!"? I am not sure what these comments say about the people who spoke them. Are they that ignorant? Are they just rude or stupid? Maybe they are jealous or even think they are giving a compliment. No matter what their reasoning, I reiterate, it is NOT acceptable in the least to comment on anyone's weight or appearance EVER!

Let's start with my awesome running mama friend. She is 5 months postpartum and running 40-50 miles per week. On her Sunday long run she passed another woman. This woman thought it was appropriate to remark, "I feel like a slug just walking. Here you are jogging and pregnant." Now let's break this down. First, my friend was not 'jogging'. She was running! Get it right! Second, she's not pregnant and she's only 10 pounds away from her pre-pregnancy weight. She looks amazing and she's going to run an ultra before her baby is even a year old. So, unless, you can see a head crowning, it is NEVER appropriate to assume a woman is pregnant. I assume this was an incident of a backhanded compliment. If something like this has ever come out of your mouth may I suggest alternatives like, "You go girl!" or "I want to be as awesome as you someday!" Weight, gestational status, and jogging comments should be caught by the brain to mouth filter if it is functioning!

Nope, not pregnant!

The next example happened to my very buff firefighter friend while waiting for some work to be done on his car. A woman in the waiting room asked him, "Do you ever feel like the world is closing in on you?" He asked her why she asked and she stated, "Because you're just so big! Your phone looks so tiny when you hold it!" Okay, I know the debate on how big is 'too big' will never end. It's personal preference, period. But my friend may have to enter your burning home and pull your limp body through the smoking ruins to an ambulance, possibly up or down stairs and around furniture and rubble. I'm sure you would be grateful for his brawn in such a scenerio. So how about from now on we change our line of thought to, "that guy/girl must work really hard and have extreme discipline". If you don't want to be that 'big' or be with someone with lots of muscle then don't. But shut your pie hole before you assume that it somehow limits their life.

She could probably pull you from a burning building
Photo credit: Violate the Dress Code

Finally, I have gotten several comments in the last few weeks about being 'so skinny' or 'tiny' or whatever. Here's the deal. I'm squarely in the normal range based on BMI. I'm squarely in the normal range based on body composition, weight, and every other metric for a woman of my age and height. Maybe Americans have a skewed view of normal now that obesity is considered an epidemic. Maybe the backlash against stick figure models has swung the pendulum too far in the other direction that we're now idealizing carrying extra weight. Whatever the cause, I don't care. What I do care about is that these folks have the cahoneys to make comments about my body to my face. If I was slightly to moderately overweight and made a statement that I wanted to lose weight my friends would rush to reassure me that I'm beautiful the way I am. No one would suggest that I eat less, join a gym, or anything else because that would be 'mean'. But thin women are supposed to be confident and happy in their own skin so comments like, 'eat another helping of _____. You could use some more weight' shouldn't bother us.

Well, to be blunt, F THAT! I have insecurities. I have cellulite, stretch marks, and body parts that I wish had more definition or shape. I love what my body DOES. I've trained it well and I can accomplish amazing feats but that doesn't change that sometimes what I see in the mirror makes me have a moment of self-doubt. On the flip side, there's a serious stigmatism to certain body shapes. There's raging debates over thigh gaps and bikini bridges and whatever else is 'trendy' right now in the eating disordered communities.

See those two lumps? Not abs. Those are my ribs.

You know why that sucks? Because I have both a thigh gap and a bikini bridge. I'm not suffering from an eating disorder. I'm not physically or mentally ill in any way that is causing me to be 'too skinny'. I just happen to be shaped a certain way and now I get to be hated or ridiculed for it and I'm supposed to just take it because our society has made social commentary on other people's bodies, especially if they are closer to 'ideal', acceptable.

Well, it's not and it never will be. Think before you speak. Treat other people, of all shapes and sizes, with respect. Build them up. Compliment them on something that isn't out of their control. Find reasons to look beyond their physical shape. Because when you finally see the person on the inside that's when the person will feel comfortable in their own skin no matter what it looks like at that moment.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

LiveFit Trainer: FAIL WEEK!

This past week was a complete failure. I only got in two workouts, a back day and a leg day. My diet was awful and my motivation was MIA. Paul and I both had minor but irritating colds. Paul's son had a much worse version of our illness. My oldest had it too and then my youngest started throwing up. To top it off things at work were hectic which left me feeling mentally drained at the end of each day. I ended up gaining back a pound or so and I just feel fluffy and unfit. In the end it's all just excuses but those added up to a lost week.

Sick baby fall asleep in her breakfast

So now it's time to get back on track. I'm starting week 5 over again and getting my diet back on track. Paul and I are also racing running a 5k on Saturday so I have more reason to stick to eating healthy, hydrating, and getting back to my workouts. We won't be racing hard but it should be enjoyable to stick together and run for fun for once. If you have been around for awhile then you probably remember the mine race that I have done the past several years. I really wish I had a GoPro so I could show you all the full experience of running a 5k underground!

One of only two workouts last week
Here's to second chances and the ability to turn around a bad day or week. As the saying goes, it's not about perfection. It's about progress!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The DL on DOMS

Who hasn't seen a marathoner walking backwards down the stairs? Or gingerly lowered themselves to the toilet after leg day? Maybe you pride yourself on your DOMS (aka Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) after a hard workout. You may even believe it's a necessary evil for growth and progress. I'm here to tell you that's absolutely untrue.

I've recently been having this argument with Paul. I've been doing leg days twice a week because I really want a squat booty for the pool this summer (and it might help my running, too). The thing is Paul is usually wrecked after leg day. He's gently hoisting himself off the couch by arm power alone while I prance up the stairs and laugh at his pain. So this last leg day Paul appointed himself sadistic coach.

The 'I am going to puke, pass out, or die' face

I went up 20 pounds on leg extensions. I used him as a human squat rack (the Y doesn't have them) so I could squat 40 pounds heavier than I had been without a rack. I doubled the weight I was using for lunges. I PR'ed my leg press and calf raises. All the while Paul pushed me to go harder, squat lower, add more weight. I was CERTAIN that I would be walking like a cowboy the next day. I was wrong.

This discovery caused me to dig deeper into the science behind DOMS and post-exercise soreness. I found an article in the Journal of Experimental Biology where I learned just how wrong 'No Pain, No Gain' is. According to the authors the study was designed to 'test the hypothesis that symptomatic (i.e. detectable) damage is a necessary precursor for muscle remodeling'. In short, they wanted to see if muscle growth can happen without being sore.


Two groups of college students were tested. The first group was given three weeks of 'training' where they slowly ramped up their exercise. The second group was thrown in with the first on the fourth week with no ramp up. They just had to keep up as best they could. The second group showed higher levels of creatine kinase (an enzyme that is released when muscle is damaged through exercise, injury, etc.) and expressed more soreness and exertion than the first group. So, if more muscle damage means more growth, then the second group should have shown more gains right? Wrong.

Muscle gain and strength increases were equal across both groups. This study went as far as blood work and muscle biopsy to verify these findings! And it wasn't the only study that had similar findings and results. So my takeaway from all of this is that, if you know you're working hard and you're still seeing gains, then a lack of soreness the day after exercise doesn't mean you won't progress. It just means you can get off the toilet and climb the stairs without calling Life Alert! And I call that a win!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

LiveFit Trainer: Week 4

It's official! I survived Phase 1 of the LiveFit Trainer! So far I have been extremely impressed with the results. It's not easy trying to eat clean and fit in 5 workouts a week but I've been doing it. I've even gone in blizzards and the polar vortex mess or whatever they're calling it this week.

I wasn't the only crazy at the gym!
The results for 4 weeks of training have been outstanding. I never expected to see progress this fast and it's not just noticeable to me. Paul is seeing the changes and I just keep lifting more every time I go to the gym. It's almost unbelievable!
I've gone up 50 pounds on leg press alone
And physically, the changes are visible and show in my measurements too. So here's where I'm at as of the end of Phase 1!
Body Part          Start          Phase 1
Neck                 13.5            13.75
Chest                 33               33
Waist                 28               28
Hips                   38               37.5
Biceps               11               10.5
Thigh                 20               22
Calf                   13.5            14.25
Weight             137             134.5

And that's all for now! As I move into week 5 I will be adding back more cardio with my weight training. Things are about to get more intense as I move into phase two and I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens as I continue to get stronger!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Live Fit Trainer: Week 3

This week was the first week of the program that I lifted 5 days per week. I also went from 3 sets of 12 reps to 3 sets of 10 reps, which meant going heavier. My extra day consists of a second leg day and I think I'm starting to see some results. So needless to say I am a pretty happy girl this week!

Pretty sure that's a bicep beginning to show

My weight still hasn't changed and I don't want to take new measurements until the end of Phase 1. But what has changed is the weight I'm lifting. Some examples:

Leg Curl:
Week 1 - 50 pounds
Week 3 - 80 pounds

Leg Press:
Week 1 - 112 pounds
Week 2 - 160 pounds

Bicep Curls:
Week 1 - 10 pounds
Week 3 - 20 pounds

So overall, I am thrilled. I know the first few months of a strict program I will see big gains because of neurological changes. Your brain begins to tell your muscles to recruit more fibers for each movement and you make more neuron connections. It really has nothing to do with actually getting stronger but it's the precursor to building the body you want.

Shoulders are beginning to get some definition

I'm also experimenting more with ways to make lean protein and veggies exciting. Thankfully Paul is an amazing cook. Here's one of his recent creations for us:

Spicy Baked Cauliflower (and Tilapia)

1 Head cauliflower
4 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
5 Cloves garlic, diced or pressed
Chili powder to taste
Paprika to taste
McCormick Fiesta Lime seasoning to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375* F
2. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and spread in 9x11 baking dish
3. Cover with melted coconut oil, garlic, chili powder, paprika, and fiesta lime seasoning
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cauliflower is no longer crunchy

And there you have it. My week 3 progress and a recipe! How are you holding out on your 2014 goals?