One hobby at a time, I'll do it to the extreme long enough to get and share the full experience. Get fit in 12 weeks, travel for 3 weeks, cook Vegan for 4 weeks, or every dish in a southern-food magazine one week at a time. I'll try it all, sometimes healthy, sometimes fun, always interesting, sharing by video, blog, and Twitter. Email me to ask questions or give suggestions! Get the real-life, unbiased, free interactive experience of trying new things, 52 weeks a year!
I'm on spring break! I woke up at 5:30 a.m., just 30 minutes after I normally do for work. So I decided to just get up, and get my double walk in for missing my workout yesterday. I actually walked for about 2 hours and 15 minutes (including stretching).
I did one set of my hand-stand push-ups while out for my walk. They didn't go as well because I was still tired from it being so early, and I had already walked about 3-4 miles. But I had my camera with me to take some pictures of the sunrise to prove I was up so early (and capture that which I almost never see, other than driving down the freeway in my car: the sunrise), and figured I'd take a video of my hand-stand push-ups.
Here's the pictures of the scenery:
Here's the video of my first 4 hand-stand push-ups of the day (I took it sideways, and I don't know how to rotate it, so you'll maybe have to hold your laptop sideways, sorry! :)
My last day of school leading into spring break! I napped today for an hour and a half! (See yesterday's blog post for the details on why :) Just very tired, and wanted to make sure I didn't get sick over spring break!
I'll make up for it tomorrow with a double workout.
Activities: UPPER BODY - Hand-stand push-ups, push-ups, Ab-wheel, Walking.
Hand-stand push-ups are coming along nicely. I can go further down on each rep now, but still not more than about half-way down. I feel more stable, though (which is a huge part of what strength is: muscle memory).
(It's from the same main MSN sub-site I've seen good articles on before: fitbie.msn.com)
If only getting enough sleep was easy to do. Not enough hours in the day as it is. I already go to bed like an old man at about 9:00 on average (yes, some days at 8:30, but others at 9:30). During the work week it's like I just wake up (5:00), work, work out, eat, and sleep again. That's 8 hours of sleep. I don't know if I can pack any more hours into the night and still eat dinner! I suppose 8 hours is ok, though. Some people only sleep 5 hours! I can't even fathom it.
I realized that my 'hour' walks on lower body days weren't an hour anymore; they were about 50 minutes. I'm walking much faster now than I used to. I'm not trying to walk faster, but I just am; otherwise it feels slow. So I added an extra loop around the soccer field in the middle of the park I walk around; it's about the size of a football field. Even with that extra loop, my walk was barely over an hour.
Feeling a little bit better today, but still run down. Didn't get enough groceries for the week, so now I need to figure out what's for dinner!
I'm worn out; not feeling great today, a little light-headed. I feel like I've had too much caffeine and too little sleep, but I really haven't had either of those happen, so I'm not sure why I feel like this. I don't think I'm getting sick; I don't know. I felt like this yesterday when I was working out a bit too.
Just 4 more days until spring break! Then I'll catch up on my sleep, hit the exercise a little bit harder, and make these blog posts a little bit more interesting with some photos of my hand-stand push-ups, etc.
Activities: UPPER BODY - Hand-stand push-ups and everything else, plus 2X Walking.
So I worked out for about 2.5 hours today. Did all my upper body stuff, then walked for almost an hour, took a 20 minute break, and walked for another hour. I worked out so long that I ran out of energy and time to write a good long blog entry!
Wow, what a great workout today! I decided to start doing some more hard-core stuff I wanted to get into, but wanted to first make sure I was in at least decent shape. So today I did some part-way hand-stand push-ups. I did 3 sets of 8 to build strength/muscle. I'll try to get some pictures next time, but here's how to do it:
1) Place hands about 1 foot away from a wall, and feet in a sprinter's starting position.
2) Kick your feet up against the wall so the wall catches your feet; you're now in a hand-stand position.
3) If you can, lower yourself about 2 inches, then push back up; it's hard!
4) If you then can't do that anymore, or couldn't do even one, just lower yourself in a 'negative' to the floor, then kick back up into it.
Then I did my regular workout, but I had a great solution to my stretching dilemma! I realized it's not so much that I don't have the time to do it, it's that it seems like the scraps at the end of my workout. You should stretch after you've worked out at least some so that your muscles are warm/loose, but instead of leaving it until the very end, I decided I'll do it when I'm about 1/4 mile away from home on the last leg of my walk each day. There's a park there, so I just stop and use a bench that's there to do my standing hurdler stretches! That way, when I approach that place each day on my walk, I'll feel obligated to do it right then, and I can't say screw it & sit down or eat dinner because I still have to finish walking home.
My back is feeling amazing sans-billfold. I can't believe what a difference already. I can feel things adjusting in my lower-back/pelvis area; popping (in a good way), and my legs feel more stable already. My left side of my back didn't hurt at all after my walk (it had been every day now for a week or two). I'm really hopeful that between that and my stretching that I'll be able to run again, maybe in a few weeks!
If you feel your body hurting, there's got to be a reason. I almost just chalked it up to getting older, but I'm sure glad I didn't. I may never have realized what was happening until one day maybe I wouldn't have even been able to get around normally. This exercise routine has been doing great things!
I hope you can make some discoveries about how to feel better because of your workouts too!
Immediately my billfold felt weird; it felt huge in the back left pocket instead of the back right pocket where I'm used to having it. It is huge. I measured it: it's 2 inches thick.
It hurt to sit on. I felt off balance just sitting; I was. I adjusted my entire body to compensate.
During the day the left side of my back didn't seem to hurt as much. Even more noticeable was that the traps (connecting my right shoulder to my neck) were strained and prickly. Then all of a sudden at one point I had an extreme pain shoot through the right side of my middle back; the same part that's been hurting me on the left side.
Here's a picture of it next to a coffee mug for size reference:
I Googled it: billfolds can cause back problems. It's so obvious now, I can't believe I've been doing this for 15 years! I mean think about it: would you put a 2-inch lift on one of your shoes but not the other? It's ridiculous, of course you wouldn't. Yet that's what I've been doing to my back every time I sit down. If I've been sitting an average of 5 hours per day, even just 5 days a week, for 15 years that's about 20,000 hours! Anything you do for 20,000 hours has to have an impact. I mean just think: I'm only exercising for 90 days at 1 hour per day, and I'm expecting extreme results. 20,000 hours and I'd be an Olympic athlete.
From now on I'm not going to carry it in my back pocket at all. I'm going to carry my ID, major credit card, and that's it! I'll need some sort of smaller clip to keep it in my front pocket. Between this and stretching, I have high hopes that my left side will turn around, and just maybe I'll be able to run again at some point.
Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab-wheel, Shoulders and Forearms, Walking.
Still posting a day behind; I'll post today's after this one. I tried to figure out what could be so wrong with my back, more so than it ever has been, especially since I started exercising more often. Left side of back, left leg isn't as flexible, left knee hurts when I run. Why now instead of when I was in my early 20s?
I remembered a doctor telling me not to carry my backpack on only my right shoulder. So I now started wondering if I was doing something on only one side since my college days that could be the problem...
...my billfold (for non-mid-west people: my wallet). It's been in my right-back pocket ever since high school, but even more so after college. During high school and college it wasn't as thick; not as many credit cards, special promo cards, etc. I also didn't always carry it to classes. I didn't drive in the car as often, and I didn't sit in a hard chair as often. Perhaps 3 hours a day I sat in classes in college, but I'd do my homework in my dorm room on the couch or some other soft seated place. All my high school and college jobs were also done standing, not sitting on my billfold.
I've carried my billfold for about 10 years since then. So I wondered: what would happen if tomorrow I put it in the other back pocket?...
1/3 of the way through the 90 days, and I got too lazy to stretch or even post this on time! So this is the day after posting for day 30. I just walked, but did it for an hour. Man the left side of my back hurts just from walking. Tomorrow I'll stretch it really well again as I did yesterday.
Posting the day after again. Good workout today. Been doing PNF stretching on my standing hurdler stretches; really made a huge difference yesterday. Without that active stretching style, my legs seemed not to stretch, but just to be made out of stone. So hopefully if I stick with this it will improve things.
Up to 4 reps in both sets of Ab-wheel! Now I just need to trim up a bit more. My diet during the week is better because it's structured, but the weekends have not been as good.
I've been laying off the lunges a bit, both because I'm trying to reduce the strain on my legs and back (because legs are very connected to back, and my back has been having problems), and because I want to focus on stretching. As it turns out, the stretching can be quite a leg workout if you do the PNF stretching I mentioned in a previous blog entry.
It's been terribly cold and windy, both yesterday and today. Still managed to get out there though (sometimes walking a bit at an angle; 40 m.p.h. winds here yesterday).
If you're not stretching, I recommend it as a preventative effort cause getting injured sucks!
I'm posting this the day after; I've been getting lazy about blogging about my 90 day fitness, but I haven't slacked in actually doing it!
My stretching has become a focus. I've been doing standing hurdler stretches; they're like the ones you see ballerinas doing along the side of a dance studio on the railing with one leg up. Anyway, it's pretty bad. Making sure that my hips are facing forward, my knee is forced to be bent at about a 25 degree angle (think half of the steepness of a staircase). My left leg is MUCH less flexible than my right. That's also the side of my back that keeps hurting, and my left knee is the one that prevents me from running. I'm more hopeful than ever that if I get flexible maybe I can run again (I was dreaming about running last night).
Nothing special today, just walking & stretching. Trying to be good with what I eat this weekend, but I wanted some wine, and that leads to snacks! Keeping it short today, stick with your workout; hope it's going well.
Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab-wheel, Walking & Stretching.
I woke up at 1:45 this morning, and at 2:15 I decided that I was going out to the living room to watch T.V. At 3:30 I decided I wasn't going to be able to sleep (or didn't want to go to sleep around 4:00 and wake up at 5:00). So I decided to get my push-ups and ab-wheel done (I'll still go walking this afternoon). So am I going to stretch this morning also? Probably. It's 4:20 right now, and Sarah won't be up until 5:00.
My ab workout is going very well. I did my 1st reps from my toes on the ab-wheel! I've been limiting myself to 6 reps, 2 sets of the ab-wheel. Six reps is about the most you can do at your max-effort (i.e. from my toes) which builds the most strength/muscle tension, which is what gives rock-hard abs. When I finish my ab workout these days I can see my abs in the mirror when I'm just standing regularly now. It reminded me of a time in my first 2 years of college when I was on a run and somebody told me to quit flexing my abs, but I wasn't; I just had very little body fat, and at that time because of doing Tae Kwon do so much I had really strong abs and so had residual muscle tension.
Six reps is also the max you can do before you start building a ton of muscle (between 8-12 reps). I once knew a lady who, after being pregnant, wanted to get a smaller waistline. To do this, she did tons of ab workouts, but would do so until failure repeatedly (she really worked hard at it) and ended up building a ton of muscle, her abs. She ended up looking like she was still pregnant (literally, I myself thought so, and so did many others who were there), and even let me punch her in the stomach. It was rock hard. The doctor told her she unfortunately had built up all that muscle, and there wasn't any way to get rid of it! Only selective surgery or muscle atrophy would get rid of it, so basically she was stuck. The moral of this story is: do 6 or less reps per set, no more than 2-3 sets; this will build rock hard strong abs. Otherwise, do well over 15 reps (ex: 50 reps of leg scissors) per set, and I'd suggest 1-2 sets max with plenty of rest between sets; this will give you endurance, but not as much pure strength, and not as much rock-hard definition.
If you're doing the ab-wheel (which I recommend if you didn't already know) and are starting to move towards your toes, do maybe 1-2 reps from your knees on your first set to get the blood flowing and muscles working, then try to do the negative of your 3rd rep without dropping to your knees. On your way back up, try to leave your knees as soon as you can, and pull yourself the rest of the way up on your toes.
Besides the first 1-2 reps in set 1, you should do the reps from your toes first (i.e. in set 1 do reps 3-5 from your toes; in set 2, do reps 1-4 from your toes), and do the last 1-2 reps from your knees again to make sure you are still in proper form after having blasted your abs from the reps from your toes. You want to train yourself to keep perfect form because otherwise your abs aren't working as hard, and you could injure yourself (note: in a few weeks though, do all reps from your toes when you're a machine). Don't forget to breathe as I've said before; pressure in your head can build if you hold your breath.
Gotta go stretch. I hope your workout is also showing improvements!
Activities: LOWER BODY - Only Walking & Stretching.
My back is giving me more problems. Stretching again this p.m. since a.m. I again gave in to being tired. I'll make time again tonight for it. Maybe that'll be what has to happen; just tough it out and commit another 20 minutes each night after my 1 hour of exercise.
I'm irritable today; mixture of work, back pain, and probably testosterone from working out. So that's all for today.
Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab-wheel, Shoulders & Forearms, Walking.
Stretching? Not at all. I argued mentally with myself from 4:40 until 5:10 a.m. I lost the argument. So I'm stretching for 15 minutes tonight instead. I'll try tomorrow morning again, but if it doesn't work, I might have to rethink how I'll do it. My back is starting to really get tight and hurt; I think it's slightly pulled.
Abs are going pretty well; no reps 100% from toes on Ab-wheel yet, but getting closer. I can already see/feel my abs getting stronger.
The city sure looks different walking to the grocery store instead of driving! Lots dirtier, darker in the shadows of the high walls here, very smoggy air because it's trapped by the walls, and some blocks with no sidewalks which I never noticed while driving. The one cool thing though was that the smells of the nearby restaurants really smelled good (when there wasn't smog smell). Kind of a 'street-food' smell.
Speaking of that, time for dinner! I ate only fruit for lunch which actually was nice for a change, but now I need some casserole made in the crock pot (sauerkraut, potatoes, and pork roast!).
This is the only time I remember being happy about spring daylight savings time; it wasn't dark outside yet, even though I got a late start on my exercise, so I could still walk the mean streets of Las Vegas without the fear of sexual assault of my person :)
Also I ended up walking to the vet to get my cat's food instead of driving; may as well make things efficient...
...which brings me to my next topic: stretching (finding time in the day to stretch). I still haven't been able to work it in, and here's why: as I mentioned in a previous entry, according to my college psych prof, you can't simply do a new routine, you must replace an old one with the new one.
I'm not willing to give up part of my hour to stretch because my goal is to look fit by the end, and to do that, I need to walk and lift. But if I don't stretch, my back isn't going to last.
Everything in your body is connected more than you might think. Tons of the back muscles are connected to your legs, or at the very least to the motion of walking/running. And as I mentioned recently as to the toe shoes not working, I'm starting to really think it's because I'm not flexible enough. My left middle back is getting really stiff/sore, and that's the leg that's also having trouble when I run (the left).
SO, what I'm going to do is make part of my day more efficient. I tried to think of a part of the day where I could replace my routine with stretching. The only time I could think of is from 4:40 until 5:10 when I often hit the snooze button rather than get up. I'm not really sleeping that much during that time, so I think I could get up instead, stretch, and be done by 5:10 or so.
I've mentally made the commitment/agreement with myself I'm going to do it, so tomorrow is the test! I'm going to try to do this every day upon waking. Splits 2 days per week, hurdler stretch 2 days, and jogger's stretch 2 days per week. Then 1 more stretch yet to be determined.
Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab-wheel, Walking.
Although my calorie intake has been bad lately, I've still been doing my 1 hour minimum. I figure I burn about 500 calories in that hour typically, and so even on a bad food day my net intake is probably break-even or lets say maybe even 500 calories over. In the long run, if I only have 1 bad calorie day for every 2 good days, I'm still on a path toward losing weight. The average net calories are what needs to be negative. So even after a string of bad days, it's good to think about the long run average so you don't get discouraged.
I've been trying to adapt from Ab-wheel from the knees to Ab-wheel from the toes. I'm starting on my toes, but then dropping onto my knees on the way down (when it gets too hard for me to stay on my toes). Then I try to get back onto my toes on the way back up near the end. I'm keeping my sets from 12 reps from the knees to 6 reps working into the toes so that my form stays good (because it's harder to do, I can't yet do 12 reps in good form trying to do so from my toes).
I tried the "finger shoes" for running. Ended up getting them at REI; they will accept them even after they've been used a bit. That's good because unfortunately my knee was still the same; a couple hundred yards into the run and I was done.
My stretching is still terrible; haven't done it in about a week. I've got to do it every day I think so that there's a routine; every-other-day just isn't working. I'm hopeful that perhaps my bad knee is related to my terrible flexibility, so I'll work on that in the hopes I can run again at some point.
Until then I'll just keep the 1 hour per day going and try to gain a bit more momentum again for some extra effort along the way and motivation to eat healthier!
Still at a low point; need to just walk today. Not enough energy to do more, not enough time to do more. Struggling with keeping a good diet. It wasn't a requirement of my M90F experiment, but I still would like to keep eating healthy. I'm craving pastrami sandwiches and buffalo wings. I also don't want to take the time to go grocery shopping and then make food yet today. I'm barely scraping up the will to get out for a walk today, but going to do it right now (once I post this, it's too late and I have to do it or be a liar!).
Lunges are exploding in distance; probably could have gone much farther, but needed to keep my time to 1 hour today. Need a night with more relaxation time! Sorry, no more today. But get out there and do your hour!
Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab-wheel, Shoulders & Forearms, Walking.
After about 2 weeks, you may start noticing that the restrictions you placed on yourself in the first 2 weeks no longer apply, mostly because of recovery concerns in the following day(s). You no longer have to limit yourself to perhaps 2 sets, or 8 reps per set to avoid soreness the next day. So then you start pushing yourself further.
If you're like me, you still may not be sore, even after doing more sets and reps. Maybe a little, but not enough to not do more still.
So what, then, is stopping you from doing even more? Maybe time constraints. But consider something like push-ups. I'm sure if you've been doing 2 sets of 30, you could squeeze in the time to do 35 reps per set instead. Or if you've done that, then what about 40? When do you stop, and why?
For me it's a concern over keeping the correct form. But this is also closely tied to being tired or uncomfortable because it hurts to push yourself; maybe you feel like puking, so you stop. Or maybe your pain causes you to lose form, so then you stop. But wait right there! The PAIN might be making you stop using correct form, thus it's really the PAIN that's stopping you mentally.
I recently saw on one of those Navy SEALS shows on Discovery channel that they said physical toughness can be trained/developed, but not mental toughness. I'm going to say that I disagree. (note that I'm not comparing myself to a Navy SEAL in any way! Those guys are crazy tough, and have my highest respect).
Physical toughness is developed by thinking about the correct exercises to do, then doing them. I think mental toughness is developed by thinking about thinking, and then doing what you need to. i.e. metacognition. More precisely, it's all about understanding your priorities, and then being aware of where you're at with respect to those priorities. Ok, that sounds vague...
Take push-ups for an example: my priority is keeping correct form. On your last push-up, maintain perfect form. If you can't do another one, your arms will shake, you will stop moving, you may start to slowly move back down, all while still pushing hard. That's how you know you've done your last push-up: you physically can't do another one with perfect form. You might puke, you might be in pain, but you still can't do one.
Beyond that, to go further you'd need to change priorities, like perhaps the SEALS do in training. They'll go until they literally drown because they know the trainers are there to revive them (hopefully); they go beyond form until their bodies actually stop living on their own. Then when they wake up after being revived they say "ok, let's do it again."
I've felt myself regaining some mental toughness I remember I used to have that I had lost; it's a great feeling! I hope you're feeling it too! I'm curious if anyone else has thought about this, or realized their mental toughness increasing... post below and let us know!
Activities: LOWER BODY - Plyo-lunges, Jumping Jacks, High-knees, Squat thrusts.
Windy outside today! Wind advisories in Nevada are not silly; we could barely see the mountains on the way home from work today because of all the sand in the air (and in my eyes from walking to my car!). Metal light poles fallen in the streets with glass shattered all around, power outages, etc.
Needless to say, I didn't go walking. Instead I took the opportunity to switch gears (as I've been meaning to do). Time to amp up the cardio factor. Start with some good, old jumping jacks! You might think it sounds silly, but try to do them for just 5 minutes straight and we'll see if you're laughing then; stay up on your toes and keep those arms moving above your head.
Here's my indoor routine today:
10 minutes, split up into:
A) 2.5 minutes jumping jacks
B) 2.5 minutes Plyo-lunges
C) 2.5 minutes Squat thrusts
D) 2.5 minutes High-knees
10 minutes stretching, split into:
B) Hurdler stretches
Do this 20 minute set-up 3 times (i.e. 60 minutes total). If you can do it non-stop and all-out without puking, you're my hero.
Here's the Squat thrusts mentioned above:
Here's the High-knees mentioned above:
Sorry for the undies showing a bit, my shorts are getting a little too loose!
Lastly, here's the cottage cheese whip with vanilla extract whipped into it on top of applesauce, on top of toast, with some grape nuts and cinnamon (not cinnamon sugar) that I mentioned in a previous blog entry. It works out to be about maybe 250 calories total, and satisfies a sweet tooth for a good breakfast or a dessert after dinner instead of something unhealthy.
By the way, I've got blisters on my feet from the jumping jacks already, so don't overdo it the first day :) Have a great workout today, even if it has to be indoors!
Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab-wheel, Walking, Shoulders.
I saw an interesting article on MSN today on having a partner help to motivate you in your workout: http://fitbie.msn.com/tips/how-pick-right-running-partner But notice it also said simply having an audience helps for the same reason. So I'll say it again: post your goals somewhere where your family/friends will see them (hint: post them here!) so that you're 'forced' to live up to your word. My recommendation: set a time goal, (ex: 1 hour per day, or 30 minutes per day, etc). That way as long as you put in the time, you'll stay with it even if you have a day where you're dragging.
Note: in my running days, I actually preferred to NOT run with other people because it forced you to conform your pace to others' pace(s), and that doesn't help you to run optimally, with your own gait/stride, and can hold you back, or it can wear you out so that you're not in good form. But I DID like the fact that we always went out and met back as a team pre and post run, even if we didn't run with each other on the run itself.
I noticed that I never posted my 'before' still pictures from day 1, so I figured I'd throw those on here today, and I also didn't post my 'before' pic of my forearm measurement so here's that as well:
Notice the roll at the base of my neck in the picture above! I couldn't believe it when I saw this picture! I think that's gone now... whew!
I realized today I'm still obsessed with the thought of eating unhealthy foods. Not only do I want them, I want to go NUTS and gorge myself on everything unhealthy. I really do think unhealthy food is addictive, and I'm wondering how long before I'll be done 'detoxing' from it, and stop having these insane cravings...
Still excited to start running hopefully soon! Thanks to my friend Andrew for sharing his type of new shoes: http://wp.me/p2eY0z-3P (link is to his fitness blog that you should definitely check out!). I'm going to check them out along with the 'barefoot' shoes, and try to decide between them. I know some places let you actually return them even after being worn (ex: Scheeles in Eau Claire, WI), but many don't. I'll see if I can find a place out here (currently still in Vegas, but soon in Madison, WI!) that will let me try them out and return if I don't like them.
Don't let Monday stop your awesomeness; get out there and work!