Sunday, July 20, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary: Week 2 of 8

This week's workouts:
Monday:        PIYO Sweat
Tuesday:        PIYO Define: Lower Body
Wednesday:   PIYO Core
Thursday:      PIYO Define: Upper Body
Friday:           REST
Saturday:       PIYO Sweat
Sunday:         PIYO Core
I am picturing myself googling 'PIYO' to find out more about it. What kind of workout is it? Is it within my capabilities? Will I enjoy it? So I'd like to try and answer those questions, but I find it a little difficult because we all have our own point of reference.

I think this is the best I can do as a short summary of where I am coming from:

I'm not super-athletic, I've always thought of myself as kind of wimpy. I did have a gym membership for a few years, but the majority of my exercising has been done at home. I am not a runner. I love Zumba. I prefer a circuit type workout, because I feel like you can get more out of a shorter workout. Over the years, I have worked out in front of my TV with the likes of Kathi Smith, Ellen Barrett and Jackie Warner; there have been others, but those have been my favourites and my "go-tos". I tried 30 Day Shred and I hated it. I  am in no way an advanced yogini, but I do prefer a yoga workout where I actually feel like I am working...Though there are times when a gentle stretch is just the  ticket.

And this is my take on PiYo, two weeks in:

PiYo is described as a Pilates and yoga inspired workout, with the speed cranked up. That's pretty accurate; the workouts are short (at least so far), but definitely challenging. Thanks to my history of yoga and Ellen Barrett DVDs, a lot of this has felt very familiar (sun salutations, warrior flows) and some of it still feels very hard:

  • Side planks - something that I have a hard time with and knew I wanted to work on before starting PiYo. So it's good. But at the same time, you don't really spend a lot of time working on side plank in this workout - it's part of a sequence. For sake of comparison, I've done other workouts that include similar moves, and I usually modify the plank; I think the difference here is that everything goes so fast, and I haven't quite got the feel of them yet. Maybe the downside of the short workouts - there's not a lot of time to demo moves, you just jump right in.
  • Pilates roll ups. I've never been able to do them. PiYo does offer a modification, which is helpful. But after a few of those sequences, I kinda feel like I'm just flinging myself around, trying to keep up with the flow; again needing time to learn the routine likely has something to do with it.
  • Core and Upper Body both include side planks and roll ups, so doing Core on Wednesday,  followed by Upper Body on Thursday was tough.
  • Crouching Pushup or Crouching Crow. A few years back, I was doing a workout program that included something called "V pushups"; basically, you get in a downward-dog-like position, and do pushups, working your arms, but keeping your legs still. With the PiYo crouching pushups, you are doing a similar thing, but bending your knees; watching it on the screen, it looks like they are drawing their knees in, and tucking themselves into a little ball, while doing the  pushup with their upper body. Having done the V pushups before, I thought I should be able to get this, and I was getting really frustrated that I couldn't....Until I figured out that I needed to adjust the position of my feet; I was trying to keep them too close, and needed to move them to more of a downward dog distance. It's still hard mind you, but at least now I feel like I'm getting  somewhere.
There is probably more, but those are the things that stand out in my mind so far. The Define: Upper & Lower workouts are quite short. I finally feel like I am getting  the hang of them, and they are about to disappear from the schedule. One issue I did notice in the Lower Body workout - they repeat the warrior sequence twice on the right side, but only once on the left, which bugs me. Keep the sides even people!

I haven't actually been sore from any of these workouts yet, but I had swapped my rest day last week, so by Thursday I had done 7 days  in a row and I was feeling ready for my rest day on Friday. I do feel like my pushups are improving already!

In summary: I like that it's not taking up a lot of time, I feel like I am getting a good workout, I can't do it all, but I am improving a little bit each time, and I'm enjoying the program.

I want to address the food side of things too, but I should probably leave that for another post since (a) this post is already long enough, and (b) I'm still thinking things through. I thought I would talk about Shakeology though, since Angie asked about it, and because it seems to be a big part of the BeachBody program.

First I should mention that I am not a protein shake or smoothie fan, so I'm probably a bit of a hard sell in this area. I prefer to eat my food, rather than drink it. That said, there are times lately when figuring out what to eat just seems like too complicated, and the idea of downing a dose of superfood nutrition in a shake starts to have some appeal.

I was seeing quite a few mentions of Shakeology from people who were trying out Beach Body programs, and they all seemed to include the word 'delicious', so when I ordered my PiYo, I opted to include a bag of the Vanilla Shakeology as well.

I tried it a couple of times before the official start of the PiYo challenge...The word I would use is: tolerable. I don't like stevia, and it definitely has that dinstinctly unpleasant stevia aftertaste; I also find it a little gritty.

The first week, I did drink it every day, from Monday - Friday, then gave msyelf a break on the weekend. This past week I had it three times.

I have been adding fruit to it - strawberries, frozen cherries, peaches. I make sure to add something tart or bitter, to try and offset the stevia taste - plain yogurt, lemon juice, lime juice, cocoa, black coffee. Sometimes I add more vanilla.

Tolerable. Not delicious.

However, I'll continue to give it a try, to see if I notice any benefit from all those superfoods and antioxidants.

In non-PiYo news, it took the cats all of a week to discover the gap along one corner of the fence, where they can crawl right under. We need to get on that cat proofing! The upside, our fenced in area is a bit larger, and now that the fence is back up my garden is safe again.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary - Week 1 of 8

So I'm trying this PiYo Workout. I feel like I need a bit of a kick in the butt, and this looked interesting to me.  I feel somewhat sheepish about the whole "BeachBody" brand - I  find a name like that hard to take seriously. However, their workouts seem to get lots of positive reviews for being fun, challenging, and effective.

Of course, there is a lot of emphasis on transforming your body in a given time period - in this case, 8 weeks. I have found that "dramatic transformations" do not happen for me...I am trying to find a balance between taking this seriously - because I do want to put in the effort and get the best results I can - and not getting my hopes up. It feels tricky.

Sunday - Prep Day
I am participating in a Facebook group, so will be doing the program along with others. Official kickoff is tomorrow (Monday, July 7), so I've  known this was coming and, and I've known that I need to do some planning. The workout plan is easy enough - they give you one, and I will follow that (as well as I can).

There is also an eating plan which is causing me more of a headache. While I don't expect Husband to follow the plan with me, it will effect our meals, so I've been tried getting him to look at it; he said "Oh, this is a calorie counting plan" and tossed the booklet away. It's a calorie counting plan in that you calculate a calorie range, but then you count servings of types of food, which is similar to the one plan that was ever semi-effective for me. But I'm finding the planning to be a little frustrating, and I feel like I am not getting off to a good start. I think that it is going to require a bit of trial and error to figure this out.

Also, since I want to take this seriously, I decided I should do before pictures (so that I can see evidence of my dramatic transformation), and it seemed like it would be easier to get Husband to take them for me, even though I feel really silly doing it. But of course, nothing involving having my photo taken can ever be easy. It's done, let's leave it at that.

End of the day: Find balance; I can take this seriously without putting too much pressure on myself.

Monday - Day 1
First day on food plan, first workout. Survived! Definitely have to tweak the food plan; I eat slow; I felt like I was eating all day which I do not like.

Also first day back to work after vacation. Just finished trying to deal with my overflowing closets, so many clothing items that no longer fit or that I don't love but can't make myself get rid of, and I walk through the mall looking at pretty things and thinking maybe I should shop. The problem is not my clothes; the problem is I am not happy with how I look. 

End of the day: I need to get to a place where I can be happy with me, and deal with the current clothing avalanche before I think about shopping.

The Rest of the Week
Well, I had good intentions.

What can I say? Evenings are short when when you come home from work, do a workout, practice piano, make dinner and prep next days' lunch, clean up and make time for Husband and felines.  And then hopefully crawl in bed no later than 10:30. I like earlier if I can, so I can settle in and read for a while.

Anyway, PIYO is going pretty well so far. I was apprehensive going in. I was afraid it would be too hard. And some of it is very challenging - there are moves that will take me some time to master. Yet, it's not that much harder than the yoga classes used to attend, and that I liked so much; indeed, some of it feels very familiar, especially since I've been doing a sun salutations workout fairly regularly for the past little while. The workouts are short - it almost feels like cheating somehow, that they are over so quickly. Whether they are going to cause any amazing transformation remains to be seen. I will be happy if I can see an improvement in my upper body strength, since that seems to be the most challenging area for me.

As for the eating plan, I think I need to make some adjustments. I like it in theory, but some if it is not working for me. Haven't quite figured this out yet, but will keep working on it.

End of the day: Keep on keepin' on!

Miscellaneous Ramblings
What else has been going on a Casa Javachick? Well, Husband called the fencing company on Tuesday to see if he could get a ballpark idea of when they'd get around to us. They said they'd look up our contract and get back to us...And a short time later called back and said: "We'll be there tomorrow."

Raise your hand if you think they forgot about us...Yeah, that's what we think too.

By the middle of Friday afternoon, phase one of our new fence was complete. We still need to do the cat proofing bit, but we had to wait for the fence to be installed so we could see exactly what we need to get to finish everything up. But for now, we do have a fence, and so far the cats have not found a way out. I have finally found a little motivation to go out and start cleaning up my garden beds which are in sorry shape.

End of the day: One step at a time!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vacation: The Way Life Should Be

Somehow it became July when I wasn't looking! I used to try and at least post at the turn of the month, because I like doing a little summary. Lately I have been missing them - I think [with my end of vacation relaxed perspective] that I have been overwhelmed a lot of the time lately. Can't say that makes me look forward to going back to work (not that I am ever in a rush for vacation to be over).

This time, my excuse is that I was busy being on vacation. We've had a week and a half, and it's been glorious! We were in Nova Scotia visiting the families for the first part. My baby sister was home for a visit  - Yay! Then we came home to relax, and try to get some things done around the house. We've had perfect weather, up until today's hurricane-like rain and wind. Of course, today would be the day that we had an appointment to take the felines in for their annual check up and shots, but we all survived (though the cats were not too happy about the whole thing and gave us the cold shoulder for a while once we got home).

Along with vacation relaxation, there has been vacation eating and drinking...lots of fun, but that has to stop on Monday; I'm okay with that.

Feeling like it is time to get serious for a while. I've been goofing off a lot lately. So as of Monday:
~ Starting a new workout plan
~ Going to focus on clean eating

Husband is in agreement with the clean eating thing, though we will see how things go; his ideas of healthy eating tends to be a bit different from mine. But it's a work in progress, right? Sometimes we do well, sometimes we don't, but we are working on improving.

See, how relaxed and positive I sound? So ready to jump in and make the effort? That would be the relaxed and rested end of vacation state of mind...I wish I could figure out how to keep that forever!'s to getting back on track, and in a week or two when I'm moaning about keeping up with it all, remind me of the fact that I am wanting to do this and seeing it as a good thing!

Vacation Photos

We went to Peggy's Cove!

And Lunenburg! On the same day! I was tired.

Enjoyed the bird watching at my in-laws.

Caught up with aunts, uncles and cousins at a family barbeque (yes that is me in the green shirt, making it obvious that I need to get back to the healthy living thing and drop a few pounds).

Watched my sister chase chickens that had escaped from their coop.

Went for a walk in the woods with my brother and sister.

Brought home peppers and rose bushes to plant - thanks Dad & Mom!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cranky JavaChick Needs a Vacation

Last week was really, really bad. Not that anything really terrible or disastrous happened, I just mean I had a bad week - hard/stressful/exhausted? I think PMS was part of it and just made everything else so much worse. Normally I crawl in bed, turn out the light, and fall asleep, but last week that wasn't happening. Our cat fence has not been fixed (because we are waiting for a new one to be installed) so we can't let the cats have access to the cat door at night, or any time we are not at home. This means the cats start poking at me around 4 am, wanting me to get up and let them out.

I was sooo tired and frustrated, I nearly had a melt down on the way to work one morning over the cat fence. Husband wants to have a chain link fence installed, and then add the cat proofing kit. More expensive, but theoretically should stand up better to our crazy winters. I said I just want it ASAP. So a guy from the fencing company came over to give an estimate - sometime in early May I think - and when Husband asked how soon we could have the work done, they said they were just waiting for the ground to dry up, and they were hoping to be able to get started in a couple of weeks.

So when they came back with the official estimate, Husband said yes, and then they said "Oh, there are other people ahead of you in the queue, so it will be 4-6 weeks." I was not happy to hear that, but it just hit me hard last week when I realized it was not going to be done before our vacation rolls around and we head for Nova Scotia...Meaning the cats will be confined to the house the whole time, and they are going to pee on everything.

So yeah, I just about lost it one morning and Husaband was looking at me like I was an alien or something, and telling me to calm down, because there is nothing we can do about it.

It is more often the case that Husband gets in a temper about something and I am the one being all annoyingly calm and reasonable. I did not enjoy the experience from the other side. I knew it was pointless to be so upset, but I couldn't help it.

On top of that, there were stressful work things going on. I was directing a lot of negative thoughts at myself regarding my weight.

It was just an all around bad week.

This week has been better. We took a couple of vacation days last Friday and Monday. We had some rainy weather that the cats didn't want to go out in so I got ot sleep through the night. That made a huge difference.

I spent a couple of hours wandering around greenhouses and garden centres which was extremely relaxing and peaceful. I came to the conclusion that I have not been having enough time to myself lately, to just do my own thing. Not that I couldn't have, I just haven't been making it a priority. 

I am still frustrated about the cat fence, and feeling awful at the thought of the cats being stuck in the house while we are away. I can't say that the negative voices have gone away either, but they are a little quieter at the moment.

I hear/read so much about how we should learn to love ourselves/our bodies as they are...I really don't know how to do that? Even after 15 years, I can reconcile this me with the skinny version that used to exist. I don't know how to let go of that.

There is no real point to this post other than giving me a place to complain. Life is hard sometimes. There are lots of good things, and I know I am fortunate in so many ways, but sometimes the hard stuff seems to drown out all the good bits.

Good bit: I have vacation coming up very soon! I will get to visit with my baby sister! And the rest of my family too, but I haven't seen my sister in a couple of years so I am looking forward to it. Only thing that would make it better is if both sisters could be there. (We will leave out the fact that I am irritated with Husband bcs he told his parents we would stay with them without asking me first - we've stayed with Husband's parents the last couple of trips, and I would have preferred to be at home with my sis this time - kinda seems like everything is getting on my nerves these days, ya know?).

How about some things that make me feel good? 

As always, if you want to see more photos, you can always hop on over  to the garden blog.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holding Pattern

I don't really have much to say this week...Just chugging along as the weather slowly improves, and the snow disappears day by day.

The cats have started waking me up at 5 am, wanting to go out. This is what happens every spring...and it tends to get earlier and earlier as we get closer to summer...This usually ends once it gets warm enough for us to leave the window with the cat door open all night, but that won't happen this year until we get the fence fixed/replaced. I foresee an interesting spring.

Actually poked my head into the garden on Saturday. It was so sunny and warm out! The yard is pretty swampy though, and it will be a while before it dries up enough for me to do anything out there.

Still, the weather is warm and we've been getting some sun. Finally. I think it might be spring!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Slow Spring

Last week I was so, so tired. Not sure why. I told Husband I felt jet-lagged and it was totally not fair because I didn't go anywhere. By last weekend I was feeling more normal though, which was a relief.

Friday, which is my usual work from home day every week, was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. We haven't seen many birds around over the winter, but Friday morning when I got up I saw cardinals out the back windows, and the feeders out front were busy with sparrows, juncos and even a woodpecker.

I thought they might disappear again, since Saturday was not a very nice day - snow and rain most of the day - but the birds seem to be sticking around. I'm hoping they know something we don't, and that it is a sign that spring is finally here.

The down side to that, we are in for more rain this week and there is still quite a bit of snow left to melt, so some people are probably going to end up with flooded basements which is never fun.

We had a bit of excitement Friday morning when a bird flew up from the basement and into the kitchen, followed closely by Frank. Frank caught the bird before we could get to it, but Husband grabbed Frank who reluctantly dropped the bird. The poor little chickadee landed on it's back, but it was still moving a bit, so I carefully picked it up, and when I released it on the patio it flew off, so hopefully it was unharmed.

Mostly short workouts this month, but fairly consistent so I am content.

March Workouts

01: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
02: Treadmill Walk[30 mins] + MC#2
03: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
04: Treadmill Walk[25 mins] + MC#3
06: Treadmill Walk[25 mins] + MC#1
08: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
09: Treadmill Walk[47 mins]
10: YDL Sun Salutations #1 + MC#2
11: Treadmill Walk[25 mins] + MC#3
16: Treadmill Walk[45 mins]
17: YDL Moon Salutations Flow #1
18: Treadmill Walk[25 mins]
19: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
23: Treadmill Walk[45 mins]
24: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
25: Treadmill Walk[25 mins]
27: Treadmill Walk[25 mins]
29: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1

Mini Circuit #1
Squat + shoulder press w/dumbbells

Mini Circuit #2
Pilates tricep pushup
Deadlift + wide row w/dumbbells

Mini Circuit #3
V Pushup
Walking lunge + bicep curl w/dumbbells

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Not Funny

I don't know how well you can see, that, but that red banner across the top of the forecast says BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT.

If I had been on my own, I would not have gone anywhere today, but since Husband is here, and is going to the office every day, we went in to work this morning.

This is the view from my desk at 1:45, just before we left to head home. Normally we have a view of the harbour...

At 6:00, from our living room window...

It's March. Almost the end of March, in point of fact.

We are not amused.