Tuesday, April 02, 2013

How This Middle-Aged Woman Works Out

In January, Rob and I began exercising fairly regularly.  It took a few weeks for us to get into a rhythm but, once we got going, it fell into a part of our routine.  M-W-F we do strength training and some cardio; T-Th-Sa we do cardio.

That’s the core of the plan, anyway.

My day begins earlier than Rob’s (by choice) and I do a morning yoga practice almost every day.  The morning yoga is the foundation for my day and I love it when my body surprises me by letting me do virabhadra.  It happens so rarely, it will probably remain a surprise for the rest of my life.  LOL!  And there are days when utthita trikonasana is difficult. 

But every morning I have this opportunity to pause, to reconnect with my body, and to really listen to what it has to say to me today.  It is amazing how each and every day it is a little different.

Later, when Rob is awake, whether he is working or not, there is P90.  Now, for those of you who have watched the P90X commercials, you know something about the person who created this particular dvd but this one is a milder version.  The workout is only about 30 minutes long.  It’s actually the exercise plan recommended as a starting point for those who hope to “graduate” to the far more difficult P90X.  On days when Rob is working, I am on my own with the dvds.  And when we started, I was using 3 and 5 lbs weights.  Now I look forward to the days when Rob is working so I can grab his 8 lbs weight.  There are even a couple of moves where I can use the 12 lbs weights.  Shhhh . . . don’t tell Rob.  That’ll be our little secret.

The thing is, I see progress in the weights I am using which is a good thing because I sure don’t see it anywhere else.  Since the beginning of the year, I’ve gained weight.  I had been doing Body by You by Mark Lauren consistently but I didn’t feel it was very challenging.  If you have not done a lot (or any) strength training in a while, you may want to look into his programs because you can easily do the four simple exercises in a few minutes a day and be done.   Although I didn’t find it very challenging, it did keep me consistent while Rob and I were still trying to work on being mutually consistent.  Once Rob and I were working out regularly together, I honestly didn’t think that this book added any real benefit to what I was already doing. 

That was back in February, towards the end of the month.

On most days, I would also do some extra cardio.  Yes, even on the days when Rob and I were supposed to do the cardio dvd in the P90 program, I would do something else.  I would use the bike or do a walking dvd.  Erin actually bought a Leslie Sansone dvd set and let me borrow it.  I’ll be writing more about it sometime soon.  I am into the second week of this 21 day dvd set and it’s about what you would expect from any of the Walk at Home series—simple, uncomplicated, and easy to use.  Sometimes, Rob and I go for a walk around the neighborhood.   On Saturdays, I walk with Kanika on the nearby trail. 

That’s practically daily.  I think there is a day or two each month where I do not do anything but my morning yoga, and there is a day a week when I replace the cardio dvd on P90 with either a longer walking dvd or the bike.  The truth is, some of the stuff on the dvd is terribly challenging for my balance (kicking, for instance) and I would rather walk or bike for 45 minutes than bobble through 30 minutes of the other.  Plus, let’s face it, 45 mins and 10 miles later, I can read more than a few pages in a book as well which feels like a bonus given that exercising is supposed to be a reward in and of itself.  And I can't read a book while following along with the P90 dvd.

So add this up.  I do about 45 minutes of yoga daily.  With or without Rob I do about 30 minutes of P90 4-5 days a week.  Almost every day I do an additional 30-45 minutes of either walking or bicycling 6 days a week.  At least I can say that has been my exercise routine since about mid-February.  It took a while to get into a rhythm and build it into something that works.  Now that it is all in place . . . well, after three months of exercising one would hope to see results.  I have.  Just not the results I was working so very hard to achieve. 

And still I press on.  Today, due to anticipated disruptions and having to shower in someone else’s home, I’ll be cutting back to only a 3 mile cardio workout and the P90 abs routine.  Only an hour of exercise today because I don’t want to have an interrupted morning yoga practice.  Between Rob’s dental appointment and our knowing the plumber will be here but not knowing when, I am just going to do what I can do and shrug off the rest.  And in my world, saying I’m only going to do an hour of exercise is taking it easy.  Ha!


  1. That sounds like great progress to me! The fact that you're increasing your weight because you need to is always a good thing. I think any results, even if they aren't what you hoped for, are better than not doing anything :) I get discouraged easily sometimes, so it helps to remind myself that any progress is important and beneficial!

    1. That's what I remind myself. Moving from 5 lbs weights to 8 lbs (when my husband isn't using them) is progress. I'm wacky enough to hope that I'll actually lose some weight as I lift them, if you know what I mean. It'll happen. I just wish it would do so sooner.

  2. Sounds like you are making great progress! The weight gain is most likely muscle so don't be concerned. Did you see the gal who won biggest loser this year put on 20+ pounds of muscle? WOW She lost something crazy, like 100 pounds with 20 + muscle.

    Keep up the great work. I need to consider some of these at home fitness routines, a lot of people are using them.

    1. mpartyka, I have watched the show in the past but I stopped because I found I didn't like the way it made me feel judgmental towards some of the participants. Plus, watching them do things I can't do (because I have a condition that makes it impossible for me to balance well) was a reminder of my limitations and I prefer to focus on what I can do rather than be reminded of what I can't. The fact that I'm not using a walker is a big deal. Six years ago I was and I haven't used on now for years. I've done a lot of work to be stronger. And I'll keep it up. :)

  3. Woohoo! Moving up your weights is great. I've yet to get higher than 5 lbs.

    Common wisdom on the 3 Fat Chicks website is that strength training will cause a stall in weight loss for awhile, building muscle while losing fat is good, of course, but the scale isn't going to move down when you start that process. Eventually the muscle will boost metabolism and it will help.

    The other common wisdom on the 3 Fat Chicks website is that exercise is never enough to get weight loss to happen. Changes in diet always seem to be necessary as well. Sigh. Because I would definitely prefer if it could be all a focused effort in exercise for so many reasons.

    My observation, though, is that people who focus on exercise first are more likely to succeed in the long run. There's something so satisfying about exercise that it seems to keep us motivated through everything else it takes to lose weight.

    Joy's Book Blog

    1. Joy, I actually went to a nutritionist for that very reason. I wanted an objective person to look at how I eat. And she had nothing to recommend. As it turns out, between my husband being a diabetic and our mutual love for cooking, we eat so healthy that for six months she would have me come in and she would look over my food journal (I used sparkpeople to print it out) and have no recommendations. The same thing happened with Weight Watchers, actually, although they recommended I eat more. After six months with WW, I hadn't even earned the 5 lb lost key chain. And the weekly meetings were nice but not worth the monthly fees since I was not losing anything.

      I really wish it were my diet. When my husband was diagnosed with diabetes, making the MANY necessary dietary changes for him were a piece of cake for me. We were eating the way I eat anyway and we embraced the challenge. I'm sure if my doctor and/or dietitian were able to find healthy changes I needed to make to my diet I would have been thrilled and jumped on it with enthusiasm.

  4. I have to wonder if you are eating enough. If you don't eat back at least what youburn a day.... Think of all you do besides exercise, then your body will hold onto every calorie. A good starting point is 10x your weight. This was my issue for years . Loosing weight was so hard. Now that I am eating more calories I am finally seeing progress. I lost 3% body fat last month and 6 pounds. Invest in a pair of cheap 10$ body calipers. They are a much better indication of progress than the scale. For more check out Coachcalorie. Just Google it for the website.

    1. That has been one of the problems because I do struggle to eat enough calories. That's why I was working with a nutritionist. I'm currently eating calories in a cycle of lower calories five days a week and two days of higher caloric intake. I still maintain the proper proportion of protein:carbohydrate:fat ratio. I'm hoping it will start having a positive effect because I'm tired of paying people to tell me I have a great diet and know how to eat well only to gain another pound month after month. At this rate I'll be obese by the end of the summer. I'm really trying not to see that happen.