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The Non-Training Training Program

Thank you sososo much for all the congratulatory comments on my last post! Y’all are too sweet :) Passing my personal trainer theory exam definitely feels like a small victory in this long journey I’m on. Also feels like an affirmation I’m on the right path!

Speaking of paths (segue alert!), I hit the trail this morning. I’ve essentially had the same gym routine since January, and I’m desperate to change it up! Even though it was supposed to be cold and rainy this morning, I couldn’t bring myself to slog out a run on the treadmill, so I took it outside anyways.

I would like to say it was freeing and glorious, but Susan-land is not la-la-land. It may not have been dark at 6:30 am, but it was cold. 4 degrees celsius, which Google tells me is 39.2 F. I have a high-quality shirt and jacket for cold weather, but just cheap cotton leggings for my legs. No good. As Caitlin would say, my thighs felt like frozen chicken thighs. When I took my leggings off, they were bright red from the cold!

Ended up running 4 tough miles. It felt like I was running through cement at times as my legs are still sore from my last weight workout. But I did it. It was fun-ish. And it gave me something different to say when my coworkers asked me what I did at the gym this morning ;)

No time for a fancy breakfast.

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That’s my excuse anyways, but we all know I just wanted waffles again ;) Nature’s Path Pomegranate with peanut butter and blueberry jam.

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Was going to put protein powder goo on top until I remembered I have an excess of egg whites in the fridge. The best protein comes from real food :)

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An egg white pillow with some laughing cow cheese sandwiched in the middle.

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Got my carbs, fat, protein and sugary goodness. The perfect breakfast :)

Lunch was l-l-leftovers!

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What was left of the “wonky Mexican hash” with melted cheese on top.

Then after work today, I went to the campus gym with two co-workers to show them around the weight area. Both are getting married this summer and want to look good in their wedding dresses! Both have been going to the gym for a while, but felt a little lost. It was so fun to see how excited they got over the new moves! One of the girls was so cute. She asked me what to do to get rid of belly pudge, I told her it was diet-related, and her face immediately dropped. Ahhhh… This is something I’m going to have to get used to I think…

Took the dog on his second walk of the day (I can’t say no to him!) then came in for a late supper.

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A tofu faux alfredo

  • Block extra-firm tofu
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 bag frozen broccoli
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 pint mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

I cooked the squash in the microwave, then added it to the pan with everything else. For the sauce I mixed up 4 laughing cow cheese wedges with soy milk until it was at a consistency I liked, then added a dash of pepper, nutmeg and parmesan cheese.

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Ever notice I eat a lot of things out of bowls? I find bowls comforting for some reason. Plus, they’re better for portion control. I can pile a lot more on a plate than I can in one of these bowls.

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Fun fact: I didn’t eat any meat today! I bet that happens more often than I notice. I was a veggie for 8 years after all!

 

The Non-Training Training Program

I’ve spoken a lot about training programs and how I like to sort of fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to working out. But, one thing I have learned, is that it is sometimes beneficial to look at the larger picture when choosing workouts.

During the program design section of my personal training course, we learned about periodization and the three different training cycles:

  • Macrocycle: A period lasting several months to a year
  • Mesocycle: A period lasting several weeks/a few months
  • Microcycle: A period lasting around a week.

If you’re not training for a big race, you are probably wondering why the hell you have to care about periodization and training cycles.

Well that’s why I’m here, duh!

Even if you’re not training for something in particular, it is still beneficial to follow training cycles if you want to see an improvement in general fitness. It doesn’t have to be grand. Hell, most people would just like to be able to carry their groceries indoors with greater ease.

The cycle typically starts with low intensity workouts and increases into higher intensity workouts.Eventually, you reach a peak intensity, where you are at your best performance. After reaching this peak, you recover. This is a REST PERIOD of a few days. After this rest period, you slowly begin the cycle over again with the lower-intensity workouts. Each "peak" stage will be a little higher, meaning you are getting more fit, yay!

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This is my fancy graph. I made it all by myself :)

This is where a little something called "progressive overload" comes in. This is one of the key training principles, and just one of many which I’ll be sure to talk about over the next little bit.

Progressive overload is just that – you progressively add to your workouts, be it time, speed, intensity, load, etc, to see improvement. If you go to the gym and do the same 30 minute elliptical workout every freakin’ day, then it is going to be hard to improve upon that. You need to challenge yourself to get better. And with each challenge, the same amount of work will feel easier!

It’s fun to say we just show up at the gym and do what we want. But in reality, a little more forethought should go into it.

  • Don’t progress too quickly (the 10% mileage rule for running for example)
  • Always err on the side of caution and rest when you need it.
  • Decide what you want to improve on, and work on challenging it
  • When you feel you’ve reached a “peak,” rest. Recover. Then start all over again.

For me, I take a few days off every 3-4 months. Usually to coincide with life events or just when my body says "whoa." I also tend to train with the seasons. I’ve probably already peaked in terms of strength training for this year, but I’ll be working towards a running peak early in the fall.

It’s also worth noting that you can’t just keep getting better and better without taking that rest period. Fitness doesn’t grow exponentially. But rather grows in little bumps!

 

And with that, I’m off! To make protein cookies :) Tomorrow is Flashback Friday. Trying to stir up a good one, see ya then!

Flashback Friday: Fitness Edition

Well friends, it’s that time of the week. The time when I trade my dress pants and heels in for flannel and slippers.

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Not to mention, I’m at my mom’s!! That furry thing next to me is our dog Archie. After such a busy week, I am definitely looking forward to my weekend home :D

Got my day started off this morning with Levels 2 & 3 of the 30 Day Shred. It was tough! The weight part isn’t as bad, but the things like plank ups, squat thrusts and lunge jumps kill me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again don’t underestimate a workout DVD! You get what you put in, and I was literally dripping sweat all over my mat by the time I was done.

I spent all my spare time this morning jumping around my living room, so breakfast was a speedy affair.

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Looks lovely, no?

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • cinnamon
  • banana
  • peanut butter
  • homemade granola

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Aaalll mixed up into a big ole’ mess. Was pretty satisfying actually!!

Lunch was a delicious mix of leftovers.

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Last night, I added tofu and frozen broccoli to the leftover spaghetti squash + sauteed veggies in a laughing cow/cottage cheese alfredo sauce. It was reallyreally good!

I hit the road to my mom’s house immediately after work. Exactly 90 minutes I arrived at the door to the smell of roast chicken!

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One of my favourite meals! Perfectly roast chicken meat, with potatoes, parsnips, homemade cranberry jelly and a random tomato ;)

Dessert was a slice of my Nana’s homemade banana bread with a swipe of butter.

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Although, we all agreed it was more of an orange walnut bread. My nana puts orange in everything, even her chocolate chip cookies! Silly nanas… :P

 

Flashback Friday

This Flashback Friday is going to be a little different. Instead of flashing back to old pictures of myself, I want to take a look back at old workouts. Okay, this may be really boring for you, but there is a point, I swear! Here’s what I was doing in 2009:

February 8th:

I jogged at 5.5 mph for the first 10 minutes, then alternated 6.5 mph for three minutes, 3.5 mph for two minutes and 5.5 mph for five minutes four times, ending with 10 minutes at 5.5 mph.

 

February 27th:

5 minutes: warm-up walk at 3.7 mph
5 minutes: jogging at 5.6 mph
10 minutes: 1 minute intervals at 5.6 mph and 6.0 mph
10 minutes: 1 minute intervals at 5.8 mph and 6.2 mph
5 minutes: jogging at 5.6 mph
5 minutes: cool-down at 3.7

 

First, I should point out that this was all done on 0% incline. I only started running in September 2008 with the Couch to 5k program. Last winter, I was just trying to tack on to the mileage and speed I built during that program. I usually averaged around 6.0 mph at 0% incline. Anything above that was considered “high intensity” for me.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I’ve returned to the treadmill this winter. When I was running outside in the summer, I was so focused on 5k times and getting up to 10 miles, I never noticed a huge difference in my running strength.

Imagine my surprise when I hopped back on the treadmill this winter, only to pound out 6.5 mph + speeds with relative ease. I got faster without even really trying! All it took was continuously running and sticking to it. In other words, getting the mileage under my feet.

More than that, all this summer, I felt like I was slowslowslow compared to all the other "real” runners out there. But seeing these numbers reminds me how far I’ve come in my speed, and that the only person I should be comparing myself to is…myself! For comparison’s sake, here’s a similar workout I’m doing these days:

5 minutes walking at 3.5 mph
5 minutes jogging at 5.6 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals between 6.0 mph and 6.4 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals between 6.2 mph and 6.6 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals between 6.4 mph and 6.8 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals between 6.6 mph and 7.0 mph
5 minutes jogging at 6.0 mph
5 minutes walking at 3.5 mph

I think it’s important to log these types of things so we can go back and see how we’ve improved. It’s easy to look at someone who’s running 7 miles every morning, or lifting twice the weight as you, and feel inadequate. But everyone starts somewhere!!

Question of the Day: Have you noticed any improvements in fitness? I have to add, I also did my first toe push ups today!!! I haven’t tried them in a while, as I thought I was just always doomed to never being strong enough. But Jillian got some legitimate toe push ups out of me today, and I was grinning ear to ear :D Who says working out can’t be fun??

Bites & Nibbles

LOVED reading all the jobs you guys have held. There were some good ones:

  • Brie drove a beer cart on a golf course
  • Heidi is an usher at an amphitheatre where she gets to see concerts for free and even Obama!
  • Deb was a sales person at a large-sized women’s shoe store
  • Jenn decorated cakes at Dairy Queen (I have major respect for this, because my friends and I used to be “those people” who would ask DQ workers to write inappropriate comments on the cakes :P )
  • Angela was a reservation agent for Hooters airline (yes, Hooters, as in the restaurant)

I don’t know why, but I get a kick out of hearing about other people’s random jobs :P

Moving on!

I get a big FAIL for sleep last night. 6-ish hours. I’m usually up several times throughout the night, but last night was bad. Starting at 5am I was waking up every 15 minutes! Boo.

Thankfully, I had some steel cut oats soaking in the fridge. Lori posted a quick cooking method for steel cut oats yesterday. All you have to do is soak the dry oats in the water overnight first, then they’re supposed to cook up much quicker in the pot the next day.

Unfortunately, this did not work for me. Maybe it’s the oats I have? I let them cook on the stove for almost 20 minutes until I couldn’t wait any longer. At least I had the perfect dish to eat them out of :)

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Oats in a jar. Aka “OIAJ.” 

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I mushed up half a banana in there too because my serving of oats looked so small. There actually wasn’t much almond butter left in the jar. I have a hard time saving a tablespoon’s worth for the morning!

Today is my day off, so I spent the morning in bed watching the Today Show and getting lost in the vastness that is the World Wide Web. My sweet tooth (and belly) kicked in during Regis and Kelly.

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These taste kinda weird, like a bar full of vegetables (duh) but I really like it!

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I enjoy the crumbly (yet sturdy) texture of the bar and the chocolate on the bottom. The ingredients are pretty darn good too, you can check them out here.

Then the cleaning madness began, and I breaked for a delicious lunch during The View.

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Egg salad sandwich and carrot sticks. The sandwich is two whole boiled eggs, mayo, onion, tomato and spinach.

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Dare I say egg salad is my favourite kind of sandwich? I’m especially a sucker for the little triangle egg sandwiches at church functions. But nothing beats my Nana’s ;)

I was going to take the day off exercise and just clean today, then yoga tonight. But the sun was shining, and we surpassed our predicted daytime high. The weather was just taunting me to go outside and run! I succumbed. It’s going to start snowing soon, and I probably won’t be able to run outdoors anymore. It’s illegal to run on the roads here (I’m in a very busy spot) and the sidewalks are dangerously icy!

Anyways, I kept it short, doing 5k in 28 minutes. I’m pretty happy with this! I haven’t run just 5k in a while, I’ve been doing a lot of looong and sloooow runs. It was nice to see I’ve been able to maintain a little of the speed I gained in late summer :)

I also whittled my middle when I got home. I’ve been getting quite dizzy lately when I do regular planks. I think it’s from being horizontal with my head down. But it’s concerning enough that I’ve cut it short the past few times. Does this ever happen to anyone else? I’ve been known to faint in the past (although, never when working out) so I get concerned when I start getting so dizzy I’m blurry-eyed.

Also odd, is that running short and fast distances always suppresses my hunger. But I always like to get a little somethin’ in me after a workout, so I snacked on some pumpkin spice roasted chickpeas while I iced.

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Unfortunately I did not get back to my cleaning after the run. I knew that would happen! I did however make a wonderful dinner, so that’s something ;)

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Shrimp “alfredo.” It’s whole wheat spaghettini, shrimp, broccoli and cauliflower. The sauce is two laughing cow cheese wedges thinned with a liiiittle bit of plain yogurt with some parmesan, pepper, onion powder and teeny pinch nutmeg. Heated in the microwave to melt slightly before tossing it with everything else.

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I was really craving shrimp pasta for some reason! Which is weird because I don’t usually care for noodles, and that shrimp has been in my freezer for-ever. It was delicious though, everything I wanted and more ;)

But no meal is complete without a little chocolate.

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I nibble away at it so it takes me almost five minutes to eat one piece. Mmmm…

Despite my short run, I really didn’t want to bail on yoga class tonight. I was looking forward to it! One thing I don’t appreciate about the Les Mills classes, is that it’s the same for several weeks at a time. Same songs, same moves. Gets dull after the first three times. But our instructor switched it up a little so it was fun. Hips are appropriately open, hamstrings are adequately stretched :)

Well, that’s just about everything I ate today! There was a handful of soy nuts and a few chocolate chips with my morning coffee, but that about sums it up :) Rare that I ever actually do that. I am about to go make a snack of pita bread and tofu spread so it’s not exactly everything. But you get the gist ;)

 

Questions of the Day:

1. What’s your favourite kind of sandwich? Egg salad here! My Nana also makes these asparagus sandwiches that are deee-licious. I think they’re just canned asparagus (mushiness is optimal) rolled up in bread with margarine and cream cheese.

2. What’s the best thing you ate today? Mine was dinner! But who knows, the snack I’m about to have could knock it out of its place ;)

 

Now I’m off to go log my day’s calories. I haven’t done it since breakfast and it’s going to take soooo long. This tracking thing is getting old pretty quick! But I want to have a week’s worth of numbers before I stop, and it’s only been five days.

See ya tomorrow!

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