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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!

‘Til The End

It was another bee-yoo-tiful day here!! It felt like summer, I got to wear a tank-top and shorts! It was 7C this morning when I woke up, so I knew a run before lunch was in my cards ;)

Took a page from Caitlin’s book (hey, she really does have a book!) and made her peanut butter french toast. Except, I used almond butter to mix up in the egg whites with cinnamon.

IMG_5420 I swear that’s not a shot of whiskey in that Crown Royal glass, it’s syrup! Really, I swear. Although, I am not above whiskey for breakfast.

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Oh yeah, and I inserted raisins into the bread too :) The almond butter created a nice outer crust. Nomnom.

Today would have been a perfect day to take my bike out – but I’m having a little bike anxiety. It’s been months and I’m getting flashbacks to all the times I fell off learning how to use clipless pedals last year. I don’t want to re-learn!

Anyways, I did the least anxiety-inducing activity I could think of – I RAN!

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But not without a snack first. PB + banana, vanilla cottage cheese + raisins + cinnamon. Someone (I can’t remember who!) asked me if the cottage cheese is artificially sweetened/flavoured, the answer is no. Plain ole’ sugar and natural vanilla flavour.

So happy I chose to run because it was glooooorious. Last year, I ran with a Nike + all summer so I knew how fast/far I was going. But this year, I don’t really give a damn! I wore my heart rate monitor to make sure my heart was working hard enough, but besides that I just did what felt good. Think it was 5-ish miles in 50 minutes. Saw tons of friendly people on the trail, listened to a great playlist on my iPod, and honestly enjoyed every minute :D

The song “’Til The End” by The Living End came on during my last half mile and it was perfect. Go listen to it and add it to your list, it rocked my socks :)

Came home and iced to keep the pain away (something I always do after longer runs) while eating a ginormous ham and cheese salad.

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Just because I’m not having Easter dinner this weekend, doesn’t mean I can’t still have ham! It’s just cold cubed ham with lots of veggies – including pickles. Topped with old cheddar cheese.

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For the dressing I mixed up two laughing cow cheeses + 1 tsp honey mustard and thinned it out with a little water for drizzling. It was delicious!! Would have been better with a boiled egg, but my tummy did not want to wait the extra 10 minutes for that to happen.

I went to the clinic today to get my skin looked at, but I got turned away :( Too many people were there! I may try again tomorrow.

Instead, I went downtown to soak in the warm air, including retrieving my latest work of pottery art.

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I used a stencil on this and it still looks like a child did it!! Aaahhahaha. Oh well. Will make for a fun yogurt dish at least :)

Then I hit up Second Cup for some personal training studying.

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Cell phone picture. Left the baby at home. Sipped on a sugar-free raspberry Italian soda (ie club soda and aspartame) with a s’mores Luna.

I stayed there all afternoon until my tummy told me it was time to come back home for dinner. And by dinner, I mean leftovers eaten out of a tupperware container.

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Turkey goulash, fourth and final round. Loved every bite!

The rest of my evening has been pretty laid back, and included a lot more studying. This time doing the online theory.

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I’m just reviewing everything over a million times, hoping that it sticks. I think I’ll be going to the gym this coming week with a couple girls from work to show them the strength training equipment, so that should help me feel more comfortable with the practical aspect. It’s getting clooooose!!!

On tap for Sunday:
~2 hour group fitness medley: spin, body attack, body pump and body flow. Bring it on.
~Another attempt at the medical clinic
~Do taxes
~Clean apartment
~More personal trainer studying

I just typed that out to hold myself accountable for it all. The only thing I really want to do on that list is the group exercise bonanza. Honestly, I’m looking forward for this weekend to be over – I kinda miss work!

 

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite genre of music to workout to? I realized the other day while running to Rancid, that I lovelovelove working out to punk music. It gets me the most pumped up!

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??

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