A new year, a clean slate


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I’ve fallen off the wagon big time but I’ve been getting back on slowly.

Since being made redundant, I’ve been going to the gym more regularly and I’m back to lifting weights, however puny these weights are now, since I have no strength left. There’s something rewarding about your muscles being sore after a good workout. And it’s giving me some structure to my days, which is good.

I’m currently the heaviest I’ve been for 4 years and I’m back at my original starting weight when I started this blog. Quite sad about that really. I maintained 20 pounds lost for a good 3 years and then bam! But nevermind, 2012 is going to be a good year.

It’s going to be the year that I get back to regular gym attendance and regular weight lifting.

It’s going to be the year I get back on course with my eating.

It’s also going to be the year that I get back to writing more regularly and focus on the creative side for a bit more. I’ve said this before but I’m determined this year.

I’m also going to be a more regular presence online so be prepared to read more ramblings (if anyone is still actually reading).

I hope 2012 is a good year for everyone. It seems that 2011 was a bit of a joke for many of my friends and I think we’re all due a good year now. You with me?

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I miss being allowed to be strong

I’ve been going to the gym here for a while, since I moved really. I knew that it was a women’s gym; that it was small without any barbells or many machines; I knew it was not my big shiny Toronto gym with the muscle men and awesome trainer. I knew this and yet I still signed up because it was within walking distance. That was pretty much the reason. I needed a gym within walking distance since I didn’t have a car and this was it. Oh, and it has classes.

I signed up for one of the programs they offer – an 8 week program of diet and exercise. You sign up for two classes a week and the classes are small – 2-5 people in each. They offer Toning (ie lunges and squats), Spinning, and Boxing. I mainly signed up for the program to do the boxing since it was only offered this way, but I figured that I needed motivation to get back into the gym and get my strength back, so this would be good.

The classes are 30 minutes but they warned us that they would be 30 INTENSE minutes.

Really? I’m still waiting on that.

The boxing was good. I ached after the first class and I loved it. The second class wasn’t as tough but it got me puffed, which was good. I just wanted more. 30 minutes wasn’t enough.

It’s the “toning” class I have issues with. I understand that there are different training techniques and some people use low weights and high reps to train. These people are mainly women who are scared of bulking up. I didn’t expect this at a gym. Even a women’s gym.

I expected to be pushed to my limits, to be fatigued and sore and proud.

Instead I feel bored. We worked out tonight using resistance bands and even though I was working with the hardest band, I didn’t feel much. Sure, my legs were a bit tired after 50 million lunges and I was dizzy at one point because there was no air flow, but when we were doing bicep curls with lunges using the bands? I felt nothing. I gripped the bands as low as I could to increase the resistance but possibly because we were going so quickly, I felt nada.

I was bored.

So I talked to my dad about it and he mentioned that he doesn’t think many women in Australia and New Zealand do heavy weights like I did. This is a major generalisation, I know. But when I think about it, I know most women go mental on the cardio machines, do a million lunges or use the weight machines on low weights so they don’t bulk up.

I trained with an AWESOME devil of a trainer for 2 years who pushed me to bench press 50 lbs, to leg press my weight, to do full pushups and almost got me to do 1 pull up. I was STRONG. I was PROUD.

I miss that. I will push myself because nobody else will. I know my limits have not been reached here and I know I’m capable of so much more than 2 lb weights. Seriously, I’m not joking. They pulled out 2 lb weights last week. True, 50 shoulder presses will ache after a while with those but 50 shoulder presses would ache sans weights too!

I will stick it out at my gym until my contract runs out in November and after the wedding, I will seek a better gym where I am encouraged to be STRONG.

Moving on to bigger and better things

My new goal (as I mentioned yesterday) is to move from weight loss to maintenance and building more lean muscle. To help me get there, I’m upping my protein and lifting heavier (thanks Mizfit!) and after just one training session, I’m feeling awesome about it.

A couple of NSVs that I have to share:

I was doing single dumbbell rows and after one set with the 12lbs, I moved up to 15lbs. That’s huge for me, considering that 6 months ago I would have probably fallen over with a 15lb weight in my hand, much less be able to do 12 reps and 4 sets of it. I’m pretty stoked about that.

We ended the session with a plank. Usually, I get to a minute but I’m struggling by the last 10 seconds. Today, I got to a minute. I got to a 1:15. I got to 1:30 and then I collapsed. Considering that when I started this journey 9 months ago, I couldn’t even do 10 seconds in plank position, I’m REALLY stoked about this. Next time: 2 minutes (but don’t tell my trainer)!

Now if my hip would stop hurting, I’ll be a happy camper entirely. I have one leg *slightly* shorter than the other (about 1/2 inch or so) so the right hip aches occassionally. I know that network chiropractic helps it but the money aspect is huge at the moment, so I have forgone it since I’ve been in Canada. I was hoping to get back to Melbourne at the end of September and book in for a few sessions but alas, my visa is not sorted yet so my trip is postponed until at least December. I think I need to get myself a few sessions here otherwise lunges will be permanently on the no-go list and while I’m not a fan of them, they do burn mucho calories and work those muscles.

One thing I’m definitely proud of is the fact that I’m not afraid to tell my trainer when I need more weights. I never used to trust my strength and ability before. I’m more confident now that I CAN do it. Sometimes I do overestimate and again, I’m not afraid or shy to say Whoa! That’s way too heavy and know that I’m not chickening out. I no longer think as a weak chick. I am strong.

I am a STRONG woman. Hear me roar.

Oh, and my new protein shake? Rocks as a shake, not as perfect on the oats – I need to rejig the oatmeal recipe (less protein or more oats and water) but as a shake I’m loving it.

On remembering your limitations

My father has been training with a personal trainer for about 3 years now. He goes 3 times a week for 30 minutes and gets in cardio and weights (how, I’m not sure!) and that’s all his exercise. He’s 61 years old with a bit of a beer belly (less now though) and the balance of a 90 year old I sometimes think. He used to be really active when he was younger and then let it slide and really only got back onto the fitness train 5 years ago.

Today he joined me for my training session with J and I was very careful to make sure that he knew that he didn’t have to do anything he didn’t want to do or feel comfortable with. I told him that I get my cardio in for 25-30 minutes before my training – all he needed to do was warm up. Nope, he got in 25 minutes of cardio.

Then we started training. First, J had me doing lunges on the Smith machine with 20lbs for the first set. I did it and then it was Dad’s turn. Oy. Two lunges in he twisted slightly and strained his quad. That was it. There’s my dad, limping along and my trainer looking at me asking “did I break him?” LOL

So we sent him to the bikes to keep the muscle stretching as there was no ice around and he was determined not to go home and I continued legwork. Then he joined us again for upper body work.

And proceeded to pick up weights that were too heavy and refuse to budge. I’m all for pushing yourself – heck, I push myself everytime – but I start lights and move up in weight. So there I am working along and my dad is pushing himself and I know that he’s going to hurt like heck tomorrow. He hasn’t trained for 3 weeks and strained a muscle and probably pushed himself a little too hard just to prove that he could do it.

And this is the problem I have and I think the reason many people don’t weight train.

They try it once, push themselves with heavy weights, hurt like heck the next day/week and never do it again.

The important thing is to know yourself and know your limitations. My dad is 61. Yes, he’s a strong guy but his body is not as young as he thinks it is. He has a bum knee and a damaged shoulder. He has bad balance and while his upper body strength is good, he is still 61 years old. Even he admitted yesterday that he keeps forgetting that.

I’m not advocating staying within your comfort zone but just be aware.