Working It Out – Drop Two Sizes

My latest exercise endeavor: Drop Two Sizes by Rachel Cosgrove

The cover? Blech. The model? Meh. The title? Horrendous. (All of which Rachel has addressed here.)

The workouts? Killer. The meal plan? Good. The results? Worth it.

I picked this up after her husband, Alwyn Cosgrove, co-author of the New Rules books that I love so much, recommended it to our NROL4W Facebook group for fat loss. I was definitely hesitant but I’m glad I went for it. As a result, we created a separate facebook group for those interested in her program and it has been so nice to have a support system!

The workouts are tough! They focus a lot on mobility, complex movements, a lot of off-loaded weights, balance stuff. It’s deceptively challenging. Especially the weekly metabolic sessions.

The diet is mostly common sense stuff – lots of fruits and veggies, lean meats, some complex carbs, a protein shake daily, and limiting yourself to 2-3 “splurges” a week (which is my biggest challenge). There is a little bit more to it than that but that’s the gist. Nothing crazy here! It works out to be about 1800 calories a day for me.

I doubt I’ll actually drop two sizes (as my diet is not squeaky clean) but I’d be really happy with one. I’m halfway through the program (almost) and can actually button jeans that are 2-sizes-too-small though they are NOT comfortable or flattering. Hello, muffin top!

I love that Rachel is a proponent of ignoring the scale – something I am seemingly incapable of doing. Most women gain weight (~4 pounds) on the plan. But lose 2 sizes. I’m on track with the weight gain, that’s for sure. But these jeans don’t lie. Something is going on with my body composition!

But there’s a problem. I’m essentially no longer running now (thanks to my hips) and now, my knees are acting up again these past couple weeks. My current internal debate is whether to continue on as is, modify the program to ease up on my knees, or stop completely. I have an appointment with my physical therapist in a few weeks and we’ll see what he says. In the meantime, I’m going to dial it down a little.

Emotional Detox?

I didn’t really mean to not be around this week… I just haven’t been cooking any new, fun things. The detox is still going well – we are 100% on track and haven’t cheated at all! I promise to try some new recipes out this weekend. I haven’t really noticed any significant changes in energy levels but I did sleep like a rock last night which is a rarity. (Though, I did have crazy dreams.) I’ve also dropped a couple pounds – just water retention from our NYE gorge-fest.

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Wednesday after work, I had physical therapy and yesterday, we had our first team meeting for Ragnar. I’m a bundle of mixed emotions right now. I’m feeling fat, lethargic, gross, and very self-conscious. I know a lot of it has to do with my current injury (patellofemoral syndrome) and the lack of exercise along with the last couple of very indulgent months (trip to Hawaii, Thanksgiving, trip to Phoenix, Christmas, Huz’s birthday, New Years). I’ve packed on a solid 10 pounds in 2 months. That hurts to say out loud. My pants are snug and uncomfortable. Big bulky sweaters are my new best friend.

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I don’t know if you know this about me but I am really hard on myself and don’t have the best self-image. I’m working on it. Sort of. Self-help books make me want to gouge out my own eyeballs with a plastic spoon though. Affirmations and self-talk? No thanks. In the past, I’ve handled this through exercise and good diet, knowing that I am putting in my best effort – dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. Weight lifting makes me feel strong and confident. Successfully running 2 half marathons (albeit, slowly by most standards) makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

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But this damn knee pain, I tell ya, it’s annoying. The thing with it is that it isn’t a constant chronic pain, and it’s not a sharp obvious injury. It’s just annoying. Stairs can be uncomfortable, low impact, low resistance cardio make me achy. Clicking noises are disconcerting. And I’m getting really antsy. I don’t do well with rest. I get pudgy and lazy because I really like food. And booze. And chocolate. Preferably boozy chocolate. Which I can’t have right now and that makes me ragey.

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For the first time in my life, I want to run. I want to hit the pavement. I want to work on my form and develop an iota of speed. I want to train. I’ve already registered for 3 races for 2012 and I would really like to be able to see them through. Our team meeting just made me more anxious – the fact that others are relying on me to not screw this up? Great…

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So for now, I’ll keep doing my physical therapy exercise. I’ll stop trying to run and push it. I’ll keep chugging along this detox and hope that this mild panic attack is actually a byproduct of detoxing – ridding my body of this negativity that has been eating at me for the last few weeks. You feel worse before you get better, right?

New Rules of Lifting: Fat Loss II

Vlog:

Workout Calendar: (click to enlarge)

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Workout Log: (click to enlarge)

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New Rules of Lifting: Fat Loss I

Workout Log:

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Workout Schedule: (click to enlarge)

There were a few pretty intense weeks in there with my half marathon training and a couple of recovery weeks while I nursed a knee/hamstring flare up and took it easy on the weights. All in all, it took me 6 weeks to complete what should have theoretically taken me only 4 (lifting 3x/wk) but I’m okay with that considering I was training for the half, ran a 10k, stepped up my yoga game, and did some cross training.

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Please note: I am not following the diet plan and was training for a half marathon even though long, steady state cardio isn’t recommended with this program. You can follow my cross training on DailyMile. And for curious minds, I’m currently up a couple of pounds, still taking progress pictures, and not calorie counting or anything for the time being.

New Rules of Lifting: Break In

Since completing New Rules of Lifting for Women, I’ve started on the original (aka men’s) version. It has a lot more moving parts to the program and is much more customizable. I selected the path of “Eternal Beginner” which specifies doing the Break In Phase for 4 weeks, twice a week.

Workout Log:

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Calendar – click to enlarge:

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Please note: I am not following the diet plan and am training for a half marathon even though long, steady state cardio isn’t recommended with this program. You can follow my running program on DailyMile.

New Rules of Lifting for Women: Stage 7 Recap

And the grand finale for New Rules of Lifting for Women:

Workout Calendar:

June 2011 (click to enlarge)

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July 2011 (click to enlarge)

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August 2011 (click to enlarge)

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Logs (click to enlarge)

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Stage 1 Recap

Stage 2 Recap

Stage 3 Recap

Stage 4 Recap

Stage 5 Recap

Stage 6 Recap

BODYWEIGHT:

Beginning program: 163
End Stage 1: 161
End Stage 2: 160
End Stage 3: 159.5
End Stage 4: 158.5
End Stage 5: 157
End Stage 6: 155.5
End Stage 7: 152.5 (A month of a lot of running in there!)

Total weight lost: 10.5 lbs

How I Became a Runner

Running my first half marathon this upcoming weekend is kind of a big deal for me. You see, I’m a self-proclaimed non-runner. Even when I ran cross country in high school, I was a non-runner. I was the second slowest yet still Varsity thanks to a super tiny school.

I’ve always struggled with running – both physically and mentally and those are probably related.

Rhody Run Official Picture

{Rhody Run 12k May 2011}

Any time I’ve tried running in the past, I’ve been susceptible to shin splints (constantly plagued me playing soccer and trail running) and plantar fasciitis, not to mention my cardiovascular system has never really been on par.

Part of my issue with running was that I would (and still do) constantly compare myself to others. I really beat myself up over running; I just don’t know what it is about this sport. But I’ve seen it as a challenge – a hurdle that I greatly wanted to overcome. Over the course of the past 5 months that I have started running, I’ve found what works for me and what has gotten me to the point where I can (almost) say, “I am a half marathoner.”

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{Run Wild 5k Sept 2008}

1) Limit running to 3-4 times a week. Disregard any running program that has me running more than that. It just ain’t gonna fly with my body. Maybe this will change as my body adapts more but I’m not ready to test it.

2) Have good shoes. Getting properly fitted running shoes made a world of difference. Also, not wearing heels to work and wearing good walking shoes has helped immensely.

3) Slow down. Learning to pace myself so I could actually run for longer was really difficult for me – especially since a lot of the time I am running with super speedy husband. If I just take it down a knotch, I find that I am quite capable of doing longer distances. It’s hard to ignore the stopwatch but it has to be done.

4) Run outside. When I first started running, I hit the treadmill. And I was miserable. I could barely get through a mile. The stagnant gym air is awful and steady pace and incline are incredibly boring and tedious. I’d rather be hitting the hills in my neighborhood – what goes up must come down so there is always a fun downhill to make up for the atrocious uphill.

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5) Gradual increases. This pertains to weekly mileage and the weekly long run. I generally stuck to the rule of thumb of not increasing weekly mileage by more than 10%. And with my weekly long run, I started out early on by only increasing it by half a mile each week. Going from 4 to 4.5 miles was much easier to chew than 4 to 5. But once we completed Rhody Run (7.46 miles), we jumped by miles – 8 to 9 to 10.

6) Stick with it. Our 9 miler (I think) was disastrous. I was an emotional train wreck and was sobbing and hyperventilating half the time. It was one of my slower long runs but I still managed a 12:20 pace but I was convinced during the run that I had made a huge mistake by signing up for the half. There is no way that I could do this. The following week, we did a 10 miler and it was fantastic. We hit a great trail and even though it was pretty hilly for a couple miles, I was really positive and enthusiastic and feeling great and managed an 11:27 pace which is right around where I was hoping to be at for the half, pace-wise. Moral of the story? You’ll have shitty runs. But they won’t all be shitty.

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{Original training plan, probably followed 80%. Click to enlarge.}

7) Rest up. This goes hand in hand with #1. I had to take a full rest day after a long run. Sometimes two days. There ain’t no shame in that game. I even took a full week off and skipped a long run to ward off my plantar fasciitis. I could tell I was having a flare up so I stretched, iced, rolled my feet, and kept off my feet as much as possible. By the time my feet were ready to rock and roll, I was itching to get back out to run. Who am I?

8) It’s ok to walk. I walk a lot. Especially at the top of big hills that are rampant in our area. And sometimes I walk even when there isn’t a hill. I walk for water. I walk to catch my breath. I walk to take in the scenery. And I’m okay with that. I’m not racing anyone but myself here. At the beginning of this year, I couldn’t even run a mile so I started with intervals. I’m not rigid with intervals anymore but I do understand the benefits of stopping to walk a bit. It reenergizes you and can actually make you faster.

9) Cross train. I’m not a cardio queen so my cross-training entailed of pumping iron. It made me feel strong and I knew that I was strengthening my knees and back and that would make me a better runner.

10) Don’t take it too seriously. If you aren’t enjoying it at all, it isn’t worth it. I liked getting outside and challenging myself and spending time with my husband and dog. The actual running itself? Not my favorite thing. But that feeling of accomplishment after the first time you run for an hour or the first time you run a sub 10:00 mile or the first time you hit double digits? Yeah, that’s worth it.

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