Thursday, March 22, 2012

Challenge Update - On to Phase 3

It has felt like an eternity, but I have finally made it to Phase 3. How am I doing, you ask? Eh, I'm hanging in there. It was nice to put Phase 2 behind me, but to be honest, Phase 3 is anything but a walk in the park. This phase is tough. Jamie Eason introduces HIIT training into this phase. The basic translation is that we no longer rest - we now "actively" rest. No fun. So, instead of catching my breath between sets, I'm now doing supersets of several exercises and jumping rope for a minute in between sets. Today I did lat pulldowns, reverse bicep pulls, and then 25 crunches; yesterday my favorite was the over arm cable pulls with the push ups on a kettle ball. Pure craziness, I tell you... My body is dog-tired.

My trip to Rome fell right at the end of Phase 2 and overlapped the first couple days of Phase 3. I decided not to stress myself out over it and just jump back in when I got back. Turns out I walked miles and climbed a bazillion steps, and most of which was done carrying a 30 pound toddler. Big R and I both laughed when I read that my workout for Monday was supposed to be Quads and Calves - we found this funny because I had climbed 480+ stairs to the top of the Duomo tower in Florence carrying little r pretty much the entire way. I decided this made me even somehow...

I'm doing an ok job following the plan despite having a couple of weeks where either I or little r (or both) were sick and going to the gym was not an option. I woke up really early some mornings and got to the gym just after 5 a.m. so that I could fit in a workout and then stay home with little r or take care of something else that needed attention. I also did several of my cardio workouts at home. My most exciting addition to the workout plan though was riding my bike to post. This sure beats running on a treadmill for 30 minutes, which is something I pretty much despise. Spring is finally here and with it came warmer weather, or a few weeks ago, at least it was dry and not so frigid that some gloves and a good hat couldn't keep me warm on my ride to the gym. It has been so awesome being able to ride my bike again. YAY for spring!!!

Unfortunately I had to somewhat jump off of the food wagon. I'm still eating healthy and using Jamie Eason's plan as a guide, but when we started having to count calories and greatly reduce carbs, I was not doing well. I was starving all the time, and the scale and the tape measure were giving me absolutely no motivation to keep going. I decided that having a slice of good German rye bread with my egg whites was a-ok, and I turned off the Livestrong application on my iPhone and instead just watched that I ate things in moderation and only when I was hungry. Funny, but randomly I started losing some weight again and I had a lot more energy.

So, what are my results, you ask? Well, here we go...

At the start of week 9 I had lost a total of 5 pounds, 2 inches from my waist, 2 inches from my thigh, 2 inches from my hips (I'm starting to sense a trend here), and 1 inch from my chest (thank goodness that didn't follow the trend). I also started tracking my body fat index at the start of Week 6, and I've gone down about 1% in those three weeks.

I got a lot of crap from people for not smiling. Something about taking your own picture at the gym screams "don't smile, you are a dork!" So, I asked a friend of mine to take the picture for me this time. I'm also sporting some new workout clothes. It seemed that since I'm spending such an insane amount of time at the gym, good workout clothes probably wasn't going to be a waste.

Just to give you a visual comparison, here are my pictures from Phase 1 and 2:

Honestly, I was a little disappointed that Phase 2 didn't show the same drastic results I saw after Phase 1. My weight was all over the place, and I think it was because of the dieting. I learned one important lesson this past month and that is you should really listen to your body. If you are light-headed, really hungry, and feeling bloated at the same time, something isn't quite right. The cravings were unreal, and I felt moody and unhappy a lot of the time. With those demons, you'd expect to be shedding the pounds!

On the positive side, I feel really good now. My posture somehow feels straighter, I'm more confident, and I am definitely stronger. I rarely do my yoga practice anymore, more because my body is too physically exhausted AND because I literally have no more time. I have been able to squeeze in a yoga session about once a week, and it is unreal how much stronger I feel. Pretty amazing.

Phase 3 is probably going to kill me, but I'm hopeful that the results will be worth it. I've spent a lot of time thinking through how I'm going to stay in shape after this challenge is over. I'm glad I did it, but I will be even more happy when it's over. As much as I really enjoy having chiseled arms and flashy muscles, I miss yoga and the peace it provides me. The gym is not my happy place like it can be for so many others. I get frustrated and anxious at the gym, and spend more time being irritated at the people that don't put their equipment away or take too long on each exercise that I have a hard time relaxing. I also always feel like I'm trying to rush through my exercises and get the heck out of the gym so I can start my day. This isn't really the mindset I've been striving for.

All that said, I have enjoyed learning about myself and discovering all the different exercises you can do to strengthen your muscles. Jamie Eason uses a ton of variety. We never do the same thing more than 2 weeks in a row, and she does a creative mixture of strength training exercises to properly tone your muscles. I'm hoping to work with my friend, K, after we're finished with this craziness to see if we can recreate some exercises that won't bring us to the gym more than a couple times a week (or in my case, I'd like to do it all from home if I can!). I plan on bringing back my daily yoga practice and striving to attain some challenging poses. And running these awesome trails around my house is almost all I can think about especially on days like today when spring is singing outside.

I'll be posting final results in just a few more weeks. Until then, eat healthy and take care of yourselves. Oh, and secretly keep your fingers crossed that this insane Phase 3 magically transforms my body to look like Jamie Eason - hahahaha.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. Good lucky lady! You're doing so well. I, not by exercise, somehow twisted my ankle, so I've had to back off working out for a week and will have to continue that, but trying to do well with eating to balance out. So, I won't be meeting my birthday goals, but May is still realistic!