Thursday, April 21, 2011

Article: 5 Biggest Fitness Mistakes

I found this article through the Yahoo featured stories this morning. Every bit of it is SO TRUE.
This article comes from Bill Phillips of Men's Health magazine. (Original article found here.) Just because it's from Men's Health does NOT mean it doesn't apply to women! I think mistake #2 is especially important for us women to consider!

Read on...

Mistake #1: Not Lifting Weights
You’ve no doubt been told that aerobic exercise is the key to losing your gut, but weight training is actually more valuable. Three reasons:

1. Lifting protects your muscle. When people diet without lifting weights, research shows that 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat and 25 percent is muscle. That 25 percent may reduce your scale weight, but it doesn’t do a lot for your reflection in the mirror. However, if you weight train as you diet, your weight loss is more likely to be 100 percent fat. Think of it in terms of liposuction: The whole point is to simply remove unattractive flab, right? That’s exactly what you should demand from your workout.

2. Lifting boosts your metabolism. Your muscles need energy to repair and upgrade your muscle fibers after each resistance-training workout. For instance, a University of Wisconsin study found that when people performed a total-body workout comprised of just three big-muscle exercises, their metabolisms were elevated for 39 hours afterward. What’s more, they also burned a greater percentage of their calories from fat during this time, compared with those who weren’t hitting the weights.

3. Lifting torches calories. It’s considered common knowledge that jogging burns more calories than weight training. Turns out, when scientists at the University of Southern Maine used an advanced method to estimate energy expenditure during exercise, they found that weight training burns as many as 71 percent more calories than originally thought. The researchers calculated that performing just one circuit of eight exercises—which takes about 8 minutes—can expend 159 to 231 calories. That’s about the same as running at a 6-minute mile pace for the same duration.

Mistake #2: Not Lifting Enough Weight
Ladies, we’re especially talking to you on this one. Your goal is to challenge your muscles, not just go through the motions. For instance, if you can lift a weight 15 times, it’s not going to do your muscles much good to lift it for only 8 repetitions. A good way to gauge if a weight is appropriate: Note the point at which you start to struggle. Let’s say you’re doing 10 repetitions. If all 10 seem easy, then the weight you’re using is too light. However, if you start to struggle on your tenth repetition, you’ve chosen the correct poundage.

Mistake #3: Not Working the Lower Body Enough
To cut inches from your waist, make sure you’re working the muscles below your belt. In a Syracuse University study, people burned more calories the day after they did lower-body resistance training than the day after they worked their upper body. “Leg muscles—like your quads and glutes—generally have more muscle mass than those of your chest and arms,” says study author Kyle Hackney, Ph.D. (c), C.S.C.S. “Work more muscle during your exercise session, and your body has to expend more energy to repair and upgrade them later.” So the best approach, of course, is to hit every muscle each workout.

Mistake #4: Not Eating Right
You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. After all, you can eat 1,000-calorie fast food burger in just 5 minutes, but it’ll take you more than an hour to burn that many calories with physical activity. So make sure you’re not using exercise as an excuse to eat whatever you want. You may even find that regular workouts help you better follow a smart eating plan. Case in point: University of Pittsburgh researchers studied 169 overweight adults for 2 years and found that the participants who didn’t follow a 3-hour-a-week training plan ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories a day. The reverse was also true—sneaking snacks sabotaged their workouts. The study authors say it’s likely that both actions are a reminder to stay on track, reinforcing your weight-loss goal and drive.

Mistake #5: Skipping Workouts
We’re all busy, but that’s usually just a lame excuse. After all, plenty of people find time to exercise. And when was the last time you heard someone say they regretted their workout? Probably never, and here’s why: U.K. researchers found that workers were 15 percent more productive on the days they made time to exercise compared to days they skipped their workout. They were also 15 percent more tolerant of their coworkers. Now, consider for a moment what these numbers mean to you: On days you exercise, you can—theoretically at least—accomplish in an eight-hour day what normally would take you nine hours and 12 minutes. Or you’d still work nine hours, but get more done, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier with your job, another perk that the workers reported on the days they exercised.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Update on Win, Lose, or Blog competition

I mentioned in this post that I applied to be a contestant for Win, Lose, or Blog. Well, I obviously didn't get selected. (I would have announced it on here if I had!)

Since their Biggest Loser competition started, I've lost 6.4 lbs. That's 0.6 lbs away from my 4-month plateau/gain. It's also a 3.3% weight loss.

WLB posted the current standings for their Biggest Loser competition. I just figured out that if I had been selected, I would currently be standing in 5th place (out of 8 contestants). Not bad. Not bad at all!

I'm pretty stoked to almost be back to my pre-plateau weight again. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I am LOVING the P90X lean program! Love love love!!! I can see my body shrinking. I can feel my clothes fitting better. I can also feel myself getting stronger. It's awesome!

For a refresher, this is what my phase 1 weekly schedule looks like:
Tuesday - Core Synergistics
Wednesday - Cardio X
Thursday - Ab Ripper X, Shoulders & Arms
Friday - Yoga X
Saturday - Ab Ripper X, Legs & Back
Sunday - Kenpo X
Monday - Rest or X Stretch

I'm currently on Day 9. I'm 1/10th of the way through the program, and still going strong!

One of the keys to my success is getting up early to do my workout first thing in the morning. The only way I've been able to keep that up is through lots (and LOTS) of prayer, as well as getting to bed early. It's 9:31 pm as I write this, and as soon as I hit "publish" I'm off to bed!

Another key to success this time is that I turn off the music from the DVDs and play my own motivating music.

Here are a few songs on my workout playlist:
"Stronger" - Mandisa (always my warm up)
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" - Whitney Houston
"The More" - downhere
"Burnin' Up" - Jonas Brothers
"Conga" - Gloria Estefan
"Let's Get Loud" - Jennifer Lopez
"Supermassive Black Hole" - Muse
"Any Way You Want It" - Journey
"I'm Reading a Book" - Julian Smith (the end is my favorite)
And a large hodgepodge of Anberlin and *NSYNC

I like to keep it interesting. :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Plateau No More

Remember how I said I was slightly addicted to ice cream? I didn't buy it this week. For one, it's not in our budget right now. But secondly, I don't need to eat ice cream every day. So I had a small bowl at my parents house, and then we went out to ice cream last night (I forgot we had planned it).

This past week, I took the time to plan my meals. I did my best to stick with my plan, and I was "good" with my eating most of the week. I did bake cookies for my biology class on Thursday, and I had pizza and ice cream with my family last night. The key is to treat yourself in moderation.

I haven't missed a day yet this week since I took on the P90X challenge with my friend.
(Yes, I even did Yoga!!!) I've successfully gotten up at 5am each day to workout. Today is a little different due to the fact that we got in at 2am from picking my sister up from the airport. But I am going to continue with my workouts even though it's the weekend.

Yoga pose - Royal Dancer
(photo credit)

I forgot how addicting exercise can be! When I got home from school early this week, I tried to figure out how I would spend my extra hour of time, and all I could think of was wanting to work out some more! I am definitely headed in the right direction.

I love having the accountability of this challenge! I feel pushed and motivated to eat right and complete my workouts every day now! I think it's safe to say that I'm on my way out of my plateau! I've been at a standstill with my weight loss since last November. I bounced around the same 5-7 lbs for 4 months before I finally gave up.

This week, I lost 3.4 lbs!!!!!!

What??? That's awesome! Even with pizza and double ice cream last night? Yup.
It's amazing to see what consistency and hard work can do!

I know this won't be the same every week, but it was so encouraging to say goodbye to the 190's this morning when I stepped on the scale!

I've only got 0.7 lbs until I'm back at my pre-plateau weight.
I've lost a total of 62.9 lbs since my weight loss journey began!

Here are some upcoming milestones, to put it into perspective:
2.1 lbs until I hit 65 lbs
7.1 lbs until I hit 70 lbs
12.1 lbs until I hit 75 lbs

Wow!! Yay!! I'm so excited to continue on!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Okay, so I lied.....

...but I was really lying to myself.

I had set a goal of completing the full 90 days before my 1 year anniversary on June 25. So it was for that reason and that reason alone that I had resolved to "push forward" anyway. I thought about how I would feel after finishing.

Yeah, I finished P90X, but I only did 5 workouts in the first two weeks.

I didn't feel like I would be as proud of myself to say I technically "completed" it by my goal deadline.

Enter Janelle - one of my closest friends from high school and still a dear friend to this day. Here she is with me on my wedding day!

(left - me, right - Janelle)

While preparing to begin my week 3 workout, Janelle texted me asking questions about P90X. We talked for a while and ultimately decided to challenge each other to complete P90X together (even though we live 5 1/2 hours away from each other). We're not competing for any prizes or racing for highest percentage of weight loss. We're simply working together to achieve a common goal - a healthier lifestyle.

So I decided I would, in fact, start over. But this time, I have accountability. We're texting each other when we finish our workouts. It feels great to say, "I did it!"

As an added bonus, I just figured out that this only puts me past my original goal by 1 week. Not bad. Not bad at all. :)


P.S. Day 1 and 2 are complete!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

P90X Week 2 review

Hey, I remembered to post this on the weekend! Yay me!

P90X week 2 went very similarly to week 1. This time I only got 2 workouts in. At this point, I would likely start over. But that's the exact reason I've never completed P90X.

If I keep starting over because I haven't been perfect, I'll never finish. Why? Because life isn't perfect.

"We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it."
{Proverbs 16:9}

Normally, I wouldn't use the Message version of the bible. Too many people see it as a translation, not an interpretation. However, there are times when it hits spot on.

So this week, I'll plan to head into every day with a new outlook. I CAN do it, and I don't need to start over.

P.S. I lost 0.8 lbs this week. It's still a loss!