Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I was trying to get some good pictures of my quads. This morning, the light in the kitchen was so bright I thought I would be able to get some decent pictures but I ended up with too much camera shake. I didn't want to use the flash since it would reflect in a big way off the mirror so I used the manual setting. And, if you are a photography nut like me, you know that you must hold perfectly still or else deal with blur.

Anyhoo, please excuse the dirty mirror. These are quads as of right now.

This angle sort of looks funny. I look like I have one leg that's significantly smaller (and maybe I do).

This is a horrible picture but I had to post it because of the definition of the quad muscle and hamstring swoop.

Below is a "before" picture. This was taken probably a year and a half ago. There isn't an "OH MY GOSH WOW!" difference, but there is definitely some change for the better.

And like I've said before, this blog is a way to make myself accountable. It's to document my progress so I have a way to look back at how far I've come. I still have a lot of work ahead of me.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Mainly for my own reference (because I use this blog as a diet/fitness diary) I need to say that today is the 2nd day of low carb eating. One more day to get through and then Wednesday I can bump it up. This time of night is especially hard. It's almost 9am, everyone else in the house is having their bed-time snacks and I'm reeeeeeally craving some salty chips. I could totally just sit on the couch and pig out on some nachos right now. (go to a happy place, Charlotte)

I can do this!

Yesterday was the start of week 4 of the metabolic circuit routine. I can't believe how fast time has just flown by this past month! I did have an interruption in the grove due to Christmas but that's life, you have to expect those things to happen from time to time. It barely put a bleep in my consistency though. Everything is pretty much back on schedule. Everything got shifted back a day and starting Sunday, it will be pretty much all back to normal schedule. Next week I also start adding another day of MCT so I will be doing that 3 times per week instead of just two. And then still doing the 3 days of regular weight training.

Not a whole lot else to report there. Things are going good.

I decided after Christmas I really needed to buckle down and sacrifice a little more when it comes to diet. I certainly did a number on my body this past two weeks as far as sugar is concerned. I've eaten enough Christmas goodies to feed an army. That is over. It's behind me now. Starting the day after Christmas I declared myself "officially" on a healthy-as-possible diet plan. There is not that much time left until summer and if I don't start paying more attention to what I'm eating, all my hard work will have been for nothing. Because like I've said before, no amount of exercise will un-do a poor diet.

At this point, there are only a couple of things I need to do to get the results I'm hoping for by June 1st (which, incidentally was my goal date last year...sigh). And those things are 1)eating properly and I'm also going to have to start carb cycling (YUK....it's so hard) 2)bumping up the cardio (also yuk)
Because, when I combine weight training, with cardio and carb cycling.....BAM - that's when the magic happens.

It's going to be a hard few months. Lots of sacrifice, lots of reminding myself what I want and why it's important to me and then (hopefully) lots of reaping the rewards! I can do this!

Friday, December 24, 2010

back at it

Despite the past 3 days of NO exercise, I got back at it with metabolic circuit training today. I was worried that I would FEEL those 3 days off but I did great! It was an instant mood lifter, I thrive on it. Now, I just need to get past tomorrow and then on Sunday, it's salad, salad and more salad!! I'm going to have to work hard to get rid of all the extra calories from cookies and heavy Christmas food.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lunch? I had cookies.

Check this out, I was so busy today, I forgot to eat lunch. Yes, I FORGOT. That, like, never happens. I just like to eat too much. I have not worked out the last two days. I was just going to switch around my rest days but when I slack two days in a row, I have to just call it a skip.

I'm not going to fuss over the last two days. Tomorrow, I'm going to get up, get my metabolic workout (that I was supposed to do today) done so that I don't lose any ground. The holiday is throwing some detours into my workout schedule but no worries. Should be back to normal by Sunday or Monday.

As long as my pants are still fitting me good, I'll be ok ;)

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

oh cookies

All I can say is I'm ready for Christmas to be over. I love Christmas, I do. The decorations, the gift hunting, the music, the food. Oh yes, the food. This is why I'm ready for Christmas to be over. I love to bake, and to eat. Cookies, and pies, and bars, and candy, and fudge....it never ends! I've got piles of these marvelous sugary treats hanging out in every corner of my kitchen.

Oh my.....

I've shoved more sugar and butter into my cake hole than I'd like to admit. But, I keep telling myself, it's Christmas, that's what we are supposed to do, right? We are supposed to eat, drink and be merry. If only I could do that sans guilt. I really miss the days of childhood bliss. The days when I could eat 20 cookies and not give a single care as to how many calories it was or if I would still fit into my pants tomorrow.

I told myself at the start of this week that I would be good until Saturday since last week I ate a little too many nutmeg meltaways than I should have. So what do I do? Make fudge. I know how irresistible fudge is, I am doomed. It's in the fridge, calling out to me right this very moment. Not only that, but my husband made his famous gingerbread cookies last night. They are so heavenly. It's pure torture having this stuff around.

And it's such a double edged sword because I try so hard not to eat the stuff but then I feel bad because I'm missing out on one of the joys of the holidays. So I eat a couple cookies. And a couple turns to a couple more....maybe a couple more. Until finally, I have eaten more sweets than I normally would in a month and then I feel bad. Again. This time for having given in to my urges and not being able to stop at one or two.

Sometimes I feel like this obsession I have for diet and exercise is more like a prison. I'm constantly aware. Constantly guilty if I'm not perfect with it all the time. I wish that I could let it go and be free. But I know I would not be happy then either. And to think of the years of hard work I would basically just throw away and for what? To pig out on chocolate cake more often? No way! I will just get back up and keep trying to do what I know in my heart is right....for me ;)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Keep that motivation going, no matter what!

Been sore this week. Hamstrings, butt, and triceps mainly. I've been experiencing a lot of tension around my back, shoulders and into my neck. I have assumed thus far that it is due to stress (I've been so stressed out and crabby lately...don't get me started) but I'm wondering if it has anything to do with my weight routine.

I'm using a barbell with a total of 30lbs for my metabolic circuit. I keep the weight the same for every exercise since it's to be done quickly with no rest, so switching weights is not an option. It would be a pain anyway.

I do seem to struggle on the last two rounds with the military presses and I'm starting to wonder if that has anything to do with my shoulder, neck and back aches lately. 30lbs is not a lot, and I am able to finish all 8 reps, all 5 rounds. Who knows.

Exercise is supposed to give you energy and put you in a good mood and do all kinds of wonderful things but lately I seem to be nothing but tired, sore and crabby. I wish I knew what was causing my funk. I also wish it was as easy as just deciding to be in a happy jolly mood and BAM, happiness. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to make that work for me yet.

The one thing that drives me to continue to lift weights and keep up with my circuit training is RESULTS. Plain and simple. I am seeing them. For the first time in years it seems, I am seeing little changes in my body and it makes me feel like I can actually see a light at the end of this tunnel! Finally! That is the perfect motivation. Because no matter how frustrated I get, no matter how many times I cheat on my diet and feel horrible about myself, no matter how many times I measure my legs and come up with the same number, I can strip down to my underwear, look in the mirror and SEE changes happening to my body. And I'm fired up all over again!

What usually happens is I am consistently training hard and eating well, expecting to see some changes for the better when I take my measurements at the start of the next week. Then nothing. So the next week I work even harder, eat even better. Still nothing. It's the most horrible, awful, helpless, confusing, depressing feeling in the world. I KNOW I have room to improve. I KNOW there is a way to do it. I KNOW I am doing all the right things, but obviously something is missing. It's just so frustrating. I've tried eating less, eating more, eating better, cheating more, switching exercises, switching days, alternating load.....EVERYTHING. And my friggin measurements just...won't....budge. WTF??? See? This is why I get crabby. Well, that and my kids are pretty talented when it comes to pushing my buttons too ;)

That's when it's extremely crucial for me to stand in front of the mirror and tell myself that I have come a looooong way! I am more defined than ever. I am lean and healthy. And I look good. I have to do this or I fear that I would fall into a sobbing, chocolate-y mess on the couch and never get up.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quote for you

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not. - Mark Twain

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rest Day

Saturday was a metabolic circuit training day. Sunday was a weights day. Today, I rest! Ahhhh.....

So what will I do with myself? I plan on Christmas baking. I love it and hate it at the same time. I love it because, well, I love to bake. I hate it because I also like to eat the stuff I bake. And right now, it isn't going to help my progress to eat a bunch of cookies. Even if they are made with stevia, they are still full of white flour.

It's pointless to be working as hard as I am and then erase it all with cookies. I will eat some, I'm not going to deprive myself of the joys of the season, I just know how to do it strategically ;) Because, believe it or not, when you eat the naughty stuff matters. There is a way to have your cake and eat it too! Just not the whole thing, k?

Anyway, from a fitness standpoint, training is still right on. I'm on week 2 of my metabolic circuit routine. I am excited for week 6 and dreading how hard it's going to get. BUT, I know that with the progression leading up to week 6, I'll be able to handle it. I am hoping by then my abs are just going to pop right out like 3D. The next two weeks of the Christmas holiday will be the biggest challenge, as diet ALWAYS is.

I'm hoping it helps erase a little jiggle from my legs as well but I'm not getting too optimistic about it. Since I'm trying to build muscle right now, there may be a little extra fat added in the process. But then come spring, it'll be time to tone down the muscle building and ramp up the fat burning. And that means cardio. Blech.

I'm not completely opposed to it. I actually like it most of the time. But if you read me, you know that I would much rather pick up a barbell than pound away on the treadmill for hours a week. And I bad mouth running a little more than I should. Running is ok. I do enjoy it from time to time. But I like to run when it's my terms, "Hmmm, it's nice out I should go for a run." or "I have so much energy, I think I'll spend it on the treadmill." Not when it's a chore like, "Ugh, I have to get my run in so I can log 4.5 hours this week." or "I have to burn off this extra flab before summer." Exercise should be fun, you should enjoy it or you just won't stick with it.

But there are plenty of ways to get around the cardio rut. I'm probably not going to do steady state running every day. Kill me now. I'm going to make it exciting with some high intensity intervals. Sweat my butt off (literally). Or throw in one of the 20 DVDs I own. Or do some plyometrics, maybe? But that is about 3 months away, I've got to stay focused on the now.

What is your favorite way to stay in shape?? Feel free to comment ;)

Friday, December 10, 2010

More progress pics

Some might call this a bit narcissistic, but you have no idea the amount of courage it took me to click "publish post" today. Some people think that spending so much time, energy and focus on your body is selfish and vain. I don't care about what those people think. I'll be the one who's still jumping around with my grand kids and great grand kids at 80 years old. What will they be doing?

Last June I was supposed to post pics of me in a bikini. That was the promise I made to motivate myself to train hard. Fear of pictures of my body for all to see was good motivation. Then I sprained my ankle and was down for a long time. The pics didn't happen.

I've posted pics of my abs and my arms and back, now it's time I step up and post some of my legs. This is the area of my body I'm most unhappy with. This is the WHOLE reason I started weight training in the first place, years ago.

Now the key to pulling it all together is diet. I just need to consistently feed my muscle with the proper ratio of macro nutrients.

This is me, the shutterbug;)

And these are my muscles! I don't really have calves and I don't think I ever will. But I don't care that much. My main focus is quads and hams. I can't believe how far I've come since I've started training. Believe me, this may not look like much, but this is vast improvement!

I'm getting there. I know that I will reach my goals. I'm very strong willed. I'm dedicated.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Because it's Thursday

I wanted to post a pic of my arms for the sake of progress. They aren't where I want them to be yet, but I'm sure they will get there with perseverance. Honestly, I'm quite happy with them. But as long as I continue to try and build my legs, I'll do so with arms as well.

I had to edit the bottom of my shirt because I didn't want to show off the girls!

I take bad self portraits.

Did my new circuit routine for the second time yesterday. That was all for the first week. I did 5 rounds, 6 exercises, 90 second rest after each round. Each week I will lessen the rest time and eventually add 1 more round and 1 more day per week. WOW - that is all I can say. It's hard work. I can't wait to see the shape I'm in after 6 weeks of that! For real!

I'm still at my regular weight training 3 days per week also. Did the body weight workout Tuesday. I'm up to 40 push ups. They are still hard. I think I'm at 32 or 34 dips. Yesterday my triceps were a little sore. My legs weren't sore though. Today my quads are just slightly sore. I'm doing legs today so I'll probably be walking funny the next two days - same as every week.

I'm trying to follow a more strict diet plan while I'm doing this. It makes no sense to work this hard to blow it on junk food. Because no matter how much you train, you can't out-train a bad diet. I should know!! I'm proof that training hard produces no results when you aren't careful what you're eating. That part is even harder than the training! It's hard to say no to bad yummy food at times. It's definitely a sacrifice.

Basically I've really reduced my starchy carb intake. Instead of 4-6 slices of bread a day, I have 1-2 slices of sprouted grain. I also might eat oatmeal or a baked potato. The rest consists of as much protein as I can manage, lots of lean beef, eggs, Greek yogurt, etc. I got so sick of chicken that I don't eat much of that. And I also eat tuna (as much as I can without fear of getting mercury poisoning) and salmon. And of course, I'll drink a protein shake if I'm in a pinch where there's no meat readily available. I'm a real sucker for cheese. I love cheese. But I eat too much of it. So I found this really neat package by the shredded cheese that contains mini packets with little hunks of cheese. They are 100 calories each so it's a perfect serving and very convenient. Just grab and go. I've also been eating a lot of fruit and nuts for snack. It's a great tasting, easy snack combo. Usually for me it's a pear or green apple (or clementine, lately) and either cashews, pistachios or mixed nuts. Trying really hard to incorporate a vegetable into each meal (very hard for me), even been eating some raw broccoli and cauliflower.

Body re-shaping is a looooong process. It requires a lot of active thinking (daily) about what you are putting into your body and how and when you will get your workouts done, and even planning certain meals around hard training. I've got all the knowledge and tools I need to succeed. The rest depends on my consistency and persistence. I need to stay focused, stay motivated and I know I will get there.

Good lucky to you on your fitness endeavours! Keep training! Watch your diet! Never give up!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Feeling GREAT

Gonna treat myself to a belly piercing when my 6 weeks of MCT are over. I should've done something for myself after my 8 CONSISTENT weeks of hard core weight training. Well, I did I guess. I took 2 weeks off!

Anyway, it's going awesome! I feel great, I've got more confidence than ever and I am super motivated. I'm even eating like a rockstar! (stopped by Quality Bakery yesterday to treat my kids to donuts and I didn't have one) I love looking in the mirror and finding new definition that I've never noticed before: a nice line running up the middle of my chest, abs like YEAH, noticeable separation in leg muscles...

Tell me how lifting weights ISN'T the best form of exercise out there!!! And if you think it doesn't work your heart like cardio, you've obviously never done metabolic circuit training! 5 rounds of heart pumping, weight lifting, kick your ASS training rocks any boring run on the treadmill!!

But hey, to each his own. If you like that sort of thing, that's cool. I'm not here to judge. Only to document and share MY OWN progress. Success or failure with what I've tried in the past. What works for me, might not work for you. I totally thought running would get me the body I wanted once upon a time. Then I started reading about fitness.....a LOT. And found out, there is a much better way to get a bangin bod!

After I had my 3rd child, I ran. I was never a runner. But I got a treadmill and I ran. I also did Turbo Jam DVDs. (still do every now and then, they are so fun) I lost a ton of weight, I was thinner than ever. But I wasn't "in shape". I still had jiggly legs and a jiggly butt. What's gonna get rid of that? Not more running, I'll tell you that (tried that). It'll only get you so far. I started noticing changes, firming up, muscle definition, only after I started lifting weights.

Now it's an addiction. I LOVE the way it makes me feel. I love being in my weight room, my favorite music on the iPod, lifting. It's hard work. But it makes me feel strong and sexy. Looking back at the progress I've made really fires my motivation, too. I keep a notebook with all my stats so I know where I started and what I'm up to now. It's amazing to think how strong I've gotten, how much hard work I've put in. And I'm proud of it.

Muscle is sexy.
Train harder. Look better.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Metabolic Circuit Training

Added it to my fitness repitoire today.


THAT is a workout! I know how hard lifting heavy sets can be. But this fast paced, high repetition, little rest way of exercising is equally as taxing, just in a shorter period of time.

I needed to ramp up my activity level. This is how I'll be rolling for the next 6 weeks:

3 days per week - regular strength training
2 days per week - metabolic circuit training
2 days per week - rest

And after 4 weeks have past, I will bump up the MCT to 3 days per week, still leaving one day for rest.

Today, I started with 5 rounds of a 6 exercise circuit, with 90 seconds of rest between each round. Each week I will rest less and eventually add an additional round. Yikes!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm a protein type

If that doesn't mean anything to you, you probably haven't read The Diet Solution by Isabel De Los Rios.

But anyway, I'm a protein type...my body functions better when I feed it more proteins than carbs. I need to eat less bread and pasta and more meat (including dark meat turkey, steak, etc).

And this makes total sense to me since I tend to eat more carbs than I should mainly because it's a lot easier to eat a couple slices of toast than it is to cook up a steak (hence, not getting the fat loss/muscle gain results as quickly as I want).

I've tried sticking to her "diet" plan. I've got sample menus for 20 entire days of eating right, so there is no question how I need to be feeding my body. But even so, I find it difficult to adhere and I give up. Not that it's necessarily difficult, just that I am too lazy to have a vegetable with every meal or a fruit or whatever the case may be, and sometimes I'm not even hungry for it.

Like today for lunch, I made myself a fresh burger. I just got back from the grocery store and I thought, mmmm, a fresh burger sounds good. So I whipped up one fabulously tastey burger and ate it on a make-shift bun out of sprouted grain bread. Then I forced myself to eat a big carrot. Not that I don't like carrots, because I do. But because I wasn't hungry anymore and I felt like I was overeating. It's a very difficult thing for me to get past.

But, apparently, you need to eat certain foods at certain times, even with other foods, to see the full benefit. And I'm not used to it. I need to re-train myself to eat. And I can't prove it wrong because obviously the way I've been eating isn't working for me. And I've not stuck with this way of eating for more than a few days. But I really want to try.

And supposedly losing fat isn't just as basic as calories in vs. calories out unless you are severely overweight. Once you get close to a goal or in my case where I'm really considered "underweight" for my age and height (but still have fat to lose), it becomes a hormonal thing. And my body needs to be hormonally balanced for it to happen. Sounds horrible. Good luck with that, right? Stars, sun and moon need to be aligned and it only happens every 15th year....blah blah blah...

I lost my train of thought because I started typing this yesterday and didn't get to finish it. I've been so dang busy lately. My head is just swirling constantly with everything I need to remember to do. Whoever thinks the life of a stay-at-home mom is easy has their head crammed way too far up their ass! I speak the truth. I am the one who takes care of EVERYTHING EXCEPT putting money in the checking account, let me tell you! Sometimes I wish my life was as simple as waking up, eating my breakfast (not worrying about everyone else), going to work for 8 hours, coming home to dinner on the table, and then relaxing on the couch the rest of the night. The man has it easy, trust me!

Anyway, I was on the phone calling family members about my mom's surgery, then abruptly had to scramble to pick up my preschooler because the teacher doesn't like it when we are late. And then I never got back to the blog because I wanted to bring the Christmas decorations upstairs so I wouldn't forget to start putting them up. That's a week long job in itself!

So, forgive me because I don't remember the exact point of this post. All I can tell you now is that I am trying this way of eating. It really is taking quite a bit of thought in the beginning. I'm hoping it becomes more habitual over time. Adding more protein to my diet sure can't hurt since I'm lifting weights and want to add muscle. My quads are feeling so firm these days, I just get an instant high from it. I was calling my dog this morning, patting my legs and I had to stop and relish in the delight of how non squishy they were! AND, I can see one of the lines that separates the quad muscles! The rectus femoris and vastus lateralis. It's very slight, but it's there! Enough to make me excited and proud of the hard work I've done.

Happy Friday, everyone!