Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Keep It Rollin

I will not lie. I did not work out yesterday. Here is the bottom line: it just didn't happen.

Of course it is my fault, but I blame it on the fact that I did not make a specific goal for that day. On Sunday I thought, "I'll work out tomorrow." And that is as far as my preparation went. I did not say to myself what kind of work out, how long, when, and where. It was open and vague. And like other disciplines in my life, if I am not specific, it does not happen.

I had not mentally prepared.

Today was totally different. I was completely mentally prepared for my "Pure Cardio" work out that I did this evening. IT WAS AWESOME! It was extremely painful and difficult, but it also went by so fast! During my day I was thinking about working out. I avoided the dreaded Reeses desk multiple times because I was thinking about working out and I did not want to do anything to screw that up.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of mental preparation. To be successful in any work out journey, you must first conquer the mind.

But because I did so well with this today, I can sense and FEEL it carrying on through tomorrow, as well. I am really pumped up about working out tomorrow. I am going to do the Insanity DVD that I missed yesterday tomorrow morning and then do tomorrow's DVD in the evening.

Christmas is just a few days away and this creates more reason to stay excited and engaged in the work out process. I cannot let my mind get soft and eat poorly and neglect my work out just because it is "that time of the year."

I must continue to push. And push really hard.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lazy Saturday

It isn't really lazy. I am just allowing time for my body to rest up and heal to prepare for next week. I know that I will have to push myself much harder if I want to begin seeing any kind of results.

But that is where it gets to be really fun.

It is really fun when you begin to push harder and harder. It is all about perspective. Once you get into a pretty solid rhythm of working out, it gets easier and easier to push yourself to the next limit. You have to enjoy competing against yourself if you want to be successful in exercise. And if you don't, you have to be able to learn to like it. You have to thrive on competition and challenge.

The greatest momentum builder and motivational factor is accomplishing something you previously should not have been able to do.

Perspective is everything.

But because you have been working out, it IS possible to run 5 miles. Or 10 miles. You CAN do it. I think we forget that our bodies our built to survive. You just need the mind the survive. You must enjoy competing with yourself. And you must enjoy that challenge.

I am already beginning to prepare mentally for next week. I worked hard this week - and the result I have is soreness. But that is a good thing (read my last post). So today, I went on a simple 20 minute run just to keep the progress rolling. I will take tomorrow off completely as I give my body one more day to heal before Monday.

Push it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Got It Done

I sought out today to do the Insanity work out twice - and I did. I got it done. I'm really excited. I had actually hoped to do it first at work on lunch break and then again at night, but I forgot to take my work out clothes to the office. So I did it immediately after I got home. Then we ate dinner, watched an episode of LOST, and then did it again. Now, to be completely honest, I did skip the last set the first time I did Insanity tonight. I did it because I wanted to conserve enough energy for the next time so I would not dog it. I don't think that I did dog it at all. It was tough.

My body is sore all over. My legs, my arms, my chest, and my shoulders. Everything hurts. On one hand, it sucks. It sucks when it is painful getting out of a chair or sitting down to go to the toilet. It sucks when it is painful putting on a jacket. Everything just hurts. But at the same time, the soreness is nice.

Being sore is a constant reminder of the hard work you have put in and the dedication and commitment to see your goals through.

It is similar to how you eat really healthy during the day if you've started your day with a work out. You second guess that Reeses bar when you're sore. You remember.

If you eat that Reeses bar you have worked out in vain.

Sometimes you've just got to push. And push hard. You will be sore. But don't let that be a reason to not put the effort in. Soreness is a reward for your hard work. It is the fruit of your labor - literally. Use it as motivation. Use it to build momentum. Enjoy it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Finishing Strong

My wife and I just finished the Insanity "Pure Cardio" dvd. It was awesome. It was also extremely difficult. The nice thing about the workout is that it goes by so fast because it is a quick pace and they switch up the exercises frequently. There were no breaks in this work out. It was really great! 38 minutes of cardio.

This was an excellent way to cap off the day. I finished strong. My day started differently from a normal day. I was late getting out the door, so I had to eat my snacks in the car as I was driving. Then after I was finished with the school, I swung by the house to grab my lunch. I then quickly ate what I would have eaten for breakfast, which was granola. Nevertheless, it was a great day and was very healthy.

Here is what I ate:
Granola bar (snack)
low fat string cheese (snack)
granola (breakfast)
left over taco soup, grilled chicken, and another string cheese (lunch)
Penne with feta and zucchini (dinner)
protein shake (post work out)

Tomorrow I hope to do the Insanity dvd twice. I plan to take it to work and do it during the day (hopefully with some coworkers). And then I will do it AGAIN in the evening with my wife. I hope to finish the week strong!

Making Adjustments

Sometimes you need to make adjustments. Life may throw things at your schedule, and your plan may not always be executed the way you would like. That is ok. You just need to roll with it. That is precisely what happened to me. I had planned on waking up and going to the gym early this morning before going to my friend's class to help her students read.

My wife and I are in the process of trying to get our 2 1/2 month old daughter to sleep all the way through the night. Compared to many babies, she is an excellent sleeper - and overall is a very "easy" baby. And what I mean by that is she doesn't fuss all that much. At night, pretty much since we have brought her home, we really only have to get up once to feed her. We are now trying to get her to sleep all the way through the night. That means when she wakes up (normally for a feeding) we try and wait it out so she can go back to sleep. That is what we did last night. So there was a period last night, which felt like eternity, where we were just waiting it out, and checking on her every 5 or 10 minutes. She did fall asleep.

I didn't get the best sleep. When my alarm went off, I knew I would feel miserable at work. So then I began planning my new adjusted schedule. I thought to myself, "I could either get a work out in during lunch time, or immediately after work to replace this morning work out, and still do our cardio Insanity dvd tonight." So when I got ready for work, I packed up my work out clothes and left for my day. I could have skipped this first work out altogether - and my reasoning would have been justified.

Instead of making excuses for my inability to work out (really, questioning my commitment), I made an adjustment to my goals to make it happen.

There is a difference.

In the past, I would have been fine (almost ecstatic in some cases) to have a valid excuse not to hit the gym hard. But I learned in my first work out journey that success only comes when you will do anything to make happen what you have purposed to do. When unplanned (or planned) events pop up in your life, you cannot use them as opportunities to not work hard. The committed will use those times to show the true strength of their will and heart to preservere and build momentum.

I went into the Y right after work and got some great lifting in. I lifted chest today. My work out was tough and efficient. My wife and I will do Insanity "Pure Cardio" tonight. I am looking forward to it. Will report the full conclusion of my day then.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Party

Today at work we had a Christmas Party. It was definitely a time when I could have really REALLY fallen into temptation with my eating habits. It was a catered meal from Olive Garden. I knew going into that situation that I would be forced to make decisions on what to eat and what not to eat. And what I did to help me make those decisions is I ate extra snacks shortly before the party started. I knew it would be easy to overeat in that situation (I typically do) and I also wanted to help purpose in my mind the TYPE of food I NEEDED to consume and avoid. I think I did fairly well. I chose the grilled chicken and steamed veggies as opposed to the chicken parm. There were also a number of beautiful deserts available. Everyone was eating one. So, I halved a desert with someone, and purposed in my mind that I would only eat a few bites. I did just that. I had three bites. They were delicious.

Now, the part of the day that was not successful is when my wife and I decided to go to the movies. We have been wanting to go see "Invictus," (which was awesome) and since I got off of work early (because of the party) we took the chance. Whenever we go to the movies we always go to Walgreens and get 3 movie candies for 3 dollars (always). I KNEW that is what we were going to do. I had Hot Tamales.

I really enjoyed them.

And to be honest, I am completely ok with that. Now, what I am NOT saying is that I am ok with "digressing" from my plan. I knew that we would see the movie and I knew that we would have candy. We still had an excellent work out tonight and overall, I still burned more calories than I took in.

The "Cardio Recovery" work out for Insanity was still extremely difficult. It was a lot of squats and lunges done at a snails pace. It sounds easy, but it isn't. When you count slowly, you actually work twice as hard. My legs were on fire and this was supposed to be a "recovery" day. It was different than other days. The other work outs are non stop cardio routines that make your heart pound. This was difficult in just a different way. I liked it.

Here is what I ate today:
Granola with vanilla yogurt (breakfast)
Yogurt (snack)
Fiber one granola bar (snack)
low fat string cheese (snack)
grilled chicken, veggies, and salad (lunch)
3 bites cake (desert)
hot tamales (movie goodies)
low fat string cheese (snack)
taco soup and corn bread (dinner)

I plan to wake up tomorrow morning and head to the gym to work out. I volunteer at a school on Thursday mornings, and don't have to be there until 9:30. So I can wake up at 7:30, get there by 8:00, and work out until 9:00. I will then do the Insanity dvd tomorrow night.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Night

I capped off another great day with the Insanity work out. The work out we did was "Cardio Power and Resistance." It was great and really worked up a sweat. This work out included a lot of jumps, squats, push ups, and exercises like that.

My wife and I immediately ran and made ourselves some protein shakes. It is what we look forward to during our work outs. I swear it is like drinking energy sometimes. It really helps refuel and repair.

I noticed some really cool things today about my own personal discipline. Because I worked out hard yesterday and this morning, I had an extra amount of motivation and personal responsibility to make TODAY as healthy as I could. There were numerous times I refused the temptation of chocolate sitting on someone's desk as I passed through the hallway at work. It was so empowering. As I walked down the hallway to go to a meeting, I knew I would be presented the opportunity to snack on a Reeses mini (which is my favorite and I would LOVE). And as I approached the desk with the beloved waiting for me, I knew that I had a decision to make. I stared at the bowl of little delicacies, and purposed in my mind to enjoy the sweet taste of victory through abstinence as opposed to the delicious flavor of chocolate peanut buttery goodness. And I really only had this success because I had worked really hard and did not want to give up that up. I learned one important fact:

Sometimes, attitude FOLLOWS action.

Before, I would always grab a goodie or two as I passed this dreaded office desk. But because of my actions, my attitude toward my dietary situation had changed. My mind was able to overcome the pressure because of the work I hard already put in.

Here is what I ate today:
Granola with vanilla yogurt (breakfast)
fiber one granola bar (snack)
low fat string cheese (snack)
turkey sandwich, yogurt, and a little bit of soup (lunch)
chicken with green olives, rice, foccacia (leftovers), and a salad with spinach and light Italian dressing (dinner)
protein shake (post workout)

I accomplished my goal of working out in the morning at the Y and doing cardio at night. Today was very successful and extremely healthy.

I will not get up in the morning as I could have fallen asleep at work from 2 days of getting up early. I need to catch up a little bit - which is an important aspect of overall health. I plan to do the Insanity DVD tomorrow which should be "Cardio Recovery."

Tuesday Morning

I have accomplished my morning goal so far. I woke up and got going around 7:00 am and was at the Y at 7:40. It is amazing I even got up because our daughter did not have a good night. Normally she sleeps very well and we get up one time to feed her. Last night, and really all of the evening yesterday, she would not stay asleep. We (my wife) was up with her a lot last night. Needless to say, I did not get the best of sleep.

I realized as I was driving to work after my work out that my 9:00 am meeting was not 9:00 am, but was actually 9:30 am - which is a bummer that I was just realizing it after my work out. I still got a good one in, though. I lifted biceps and triceps and did abs. I almost always do abs whenever I lift.

Before I left for the Y, I had some granola with vanilla yogurt. And I just ate a fiber one granola bar for a snack. It seems today will be another strong, healthy day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Recap of the day

Today was a really strong day. I woke up and went to the gym this morning for a quick but strong work out. It felt good.

I told you this morning I made a few realizations as I was walking up to the weight room. What dawned on me as I approached my work out, is that I cannot simply pick up where I left off from my last successful work out journey. Instead, I must accurately judge my current status, and make adjustments from my previous progress.

I cannot lie to myself. My strength and stamina has decreased.

Now, what that does NOT mean is that I am any less intense. I cannot approach my work out that way. I work as hard as I can and put 110% every exercise. I will be forced to use less weight in order to keep correct form. But I work really hard.

That was the first thing I realized: I have simply digressed. It is sort of depressing.

On the flip side, however, is my second realization: Because of my successful work out journey, I am well aware of what I CAN accomplish. This is a positive way of looking at the first realization. No, I cannot put up as much weight as I did before - but because I HAVE done it before, I KNOW my full potential.

The key to a successful work out journey is SEEING your full potential unlocked inside you.

I used the knowledge and experience I gained to plan and prepare for my morning exercise, and I used the image of my greatest physical success as motivation to propel myself through my workout.

I used my past successes as motivation for today.

Like I said I would, I worked out again tonight. My wife and I did the "Plyometric Cardio Circuit" from the Insanity DVD set. It was and intense 40 minute cardio session. This was a great way to cap off the day. I had a good sweat and had my heart rate up the entire time. Push, push, push, and then rest.

Here is what I ate today:
protein shake
3 eggs, 2 slices of toast (breakfast)
low fat string cheese (snack)
turkey sandwich and yogurt (lunch)
fiber one granola bar (snack)
chicken with green olives, rice, peas, and home made foccacia (dinner)
67 ounces of H2O

This was a healthy day. Good choices and plenty of food.

Tomorrow I am going to try and execute the same plan that I had today. I will set my alarm earlier than normal so I can have time to make it to the Y and get a good 45 minutes to an hour work out. I will just bring clothes to the Y so I can shower and get cleaned up there before my 9 am meeting. I will lift biceps and triceps (always fun!) tomorrow morning.

At night I'll do an Insanity DVD with my wife again. We will probably do "Cardio Power and Resistance."

Will report tomorrow with progress...

This Morning

My alarm went off this morning at 6:30. I wasn't ready to get up yet so I decided I would hit snooze one time and then I would get ready for the gym. I did just that.

I arrived at the Y at 7:00am. I had an efficient workout - I lifted shoulders and did abs. It took me about 45 minutes. I only worked out this long because I know we are doing cardio tonight. I used to do cardio and then immediately do lifting, which is why my workouts took 2 hrs.

But this morning was good. As I was driving to the gym I made a thorough plan of what I would do when I arrived. I decided I would do shoulders and then abs and I began preparing for my set mentally. And I also planned what exercises I would do for that body part.

I was not aimless.

I came home and drank a protein shake (which is normally the highlight of the workout, except I didn't have any milk so I had to mix h20 with dry milk to make milk - it was miserable). And for breakfast I had two eggs (sunny side up) and two slices of toast.

I made one really important realization this morning about returning to a hardcore work out routine. I will share those thoughts and progress on the rest of my day tonight before I go to bed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A New Goal

I am on a journey. A work out journey. I have decided to share this journey through a blog. Some of that is accountability and some of it is motivation. By sharing my goals for each day, I will be motivated to carry them through.

I have been on one serious work out journey before. It began in September of 2006, when I knew I would be getting married a year later. I went from 210 lbs and about 21% body fat, to 173 lbs, and about 14% body fat. I worked hard - very hard. Two hours a day. Six days a week. I never missed. Never. And that is why I was successful. I committed and saw my goals attained.

There were two things I learned most about that experience. 1: Motivation (at least, for me) comes from within. It does not matter what other people say to try and motivate me because in the end it is my mind that tells my feet to run; it is my will that chooses to work hard. I had to realize my own potential locked inside me. When I realized that I could be much stronger, faster, and carry myself with more perseverance, I worked out even harder. Again, this revelation came from within (God helped, too) and was not because people told me, "I could do it." I could do it because I was built to survive - not because my peers told me I am a winner.

God has made me (and you) strong.

The second thing I learned was the importance of accurate and clear expectations. Let me explain myself. Before (and after) my first successful work out journey, I would set unrealistic expectations for myself. Expectations like: wake up at 6:00 am each morning to run, work out everyday for 6 months, no soda for a year, no deserts or snacks, and eat more veggies (I despise fruit). I would get two days into my new "plan" and fail - either by will or forgetfulness. So what I learned was to take it one day at a time. At the end of each day, I made a plan and set goals for the following day. For example, tonight I was talking to my wife about working out tomorrow. I would like to lift weights and do Insanity (our work out dvd). So I have plans to get up tomorrow morning to go to the Y and then do Insanity with her at night. I have not decided to get up at 6:00 am for the next 30 days. Just tomorrow.

I can handle tomorrow. You follow me? I can handle one morning. And my mind can prepare for one day of a really tough workout. That is how my successful work out journey took place. I mentally prepared for one day at a time. In fact, that is really all you can handle. I kept the overall purpose and perspective in mind - that was to not look like a fool on my wedding night - but I concentrated on one day at a time. That is how I stayed sane.

So here is my work out plan for tomorrow:
6:30 am - Wake up and drive to the Y (Alarm is set on my phone)
Evening - Insanity DVD with wife. Don't laugh, its really good.

My overall hope is to be in good shape when my wife and I move to Cape Town - which we're hoping to be around spring (April or May). That is main purpose behind my plan. I will blog tomorrow with my results and thoughts from the day, and my plan for the next day.