Sunday, December 7, 2014

21 Day Fix-ish: Week 1

The goal: Follow the 21 Day Fix exercise plan (with modifications to keep it low impact for my recovering foot injury) and track calories (since the eating plan is too low carb for me).

If I hadn't stated the intention on my blog last week, I would not have done it; there was more than one day where that was the only reason I pushed play.

Result being: I did all the workouts! Calorie counting lasted half way through the week. It's a start anyway.

  • Workouts are short - approx 1/2 hour each, which is less intimidating when you are facing one every day
  • I'm following modifications, keeping it low impact because I am still favoring my left foot, but still feel like I'm getting a decent workout
  • Dirty 30 is my favorite and I can see me adding that being added to my regular rotation. 

  • No days off! It's honestly more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I like to know that I have at least one day where I am not scheduled; it's also nice to have the option to switch a workout to a different day. 
  • I am going to be heartily sick of the warm up. It's the same warmup for 5 out of 7 days. Thankfully I get a break on Pilates & Yoga days.
  • The obligatory vitamin and Shakeology promos. I'm sorry Autumn, Shakelogy is just not that tasty; it's never going to feel like a cheat.
Overall, I am happy what I did this week workout-wise; food could use some improvement (as usual).

Included in the lunch plans for this week: Homemade "Instant" Curry Noodle Soup

Fairy Tree!

Sunday, November 30, 2014


We had our first snow, which melted away. We had our first snow storm of the winter, which is now in the process of melting away.

Let's see...what else...Weekend before Remembrance Day we woke up to water leaking onto the kitchen floor. After calling three plumbers, we managed to get someone to come on Monday. Fortunately it was just the faucet that needed to be replaced. That weekend we had lovely weather, and I managed to get the yard all cleaned up for winter.

Exercise...Well, I'm not quite back yet. Sometimes my foot (and/or ankle) still gets achey, some days I was busy...and some days I'm just plain lazy.

I tried out some of the 21 Day Fix. I felt like I was back on familiar ground; they reminded me very much of the Jackie Warner DVDs I like so much. But, I haven't fallen in love with these workouts, not sure why exactly.

I have not been feeling like I wanted to actually tackle the full 21 Day program (21 Days in a row, no days off = ugh!), but then I looked at the calendar and realized that, as of Dec 1, there are three full weeks before I am on vacation until after the holidays, and it seems like maybe it would be a good time to give it a go...So I'm sorta thinking that's my plan.

I'm not doing the eating plan...Everytime I read it over and try to tell myself that I can make it work for me I get cranky. The plan is very low carb and I'm just not a high protein girl. So I'm thinking I will tackle the workout schedule, and try to stay within the calorie target. I can track calories for 3 weeks, right? We'll call it 21-Day-Fix-ish.

There, I've said it; now I have to do it.


Photos from our first snow day.
The birds are always busy at the feeder on stormy, snowy days.


The Fabulous Felines are always taken by surprise when this nasty, cold, wet stuff shows up. 
We are not amused.

This early in the season, I always enjoy the pretty views.  Come March I will be so over it.

November Workouts
03: 21DF Upper Fix
04: 21DF Cardio Fix
07: 21DF Lower Fix
09: Fall Yard Work
10: Fall Yard Work
11: Fall Yard Work
17: 21DF Cardio Fix
18: 21DF Upper Fix
19: 21DF Lower Fix
29: 21DF Dirty Thirty

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nose In a Book


When last I blogged, I had just taken a tumble down the stairs and banged up my left ankle and foot. Did a pretty good job of it too. It was swollen a litte bit for the first couple  of days, and then developed into bruises on the side of my ankle, and along to side and top of my foot. Not to mention the scraped knee, bruise on the front of my right ankle, and another scrape and bruise on the underside of my right wrist. Go big, or go home, right?

I worked from home for a week, since hobbling around was difficult. But I discovered that walking was easier with shoes to hold my foot up, so since then I have not been laid up. My foot is definitely much improved, but still not back to normal. It's still a little sore if I move it certain ways. I still find I can be a bit awkward when I walk around without shoes. I am limited in what shoes I can wear (The horror! Do you know how many pairs of shoes I own?).

Everyone keeps saying that this type of injury takes a long time to heal, and I know that I probably just need to be patient. But there is that little voice in my head wondering if I did some damage after all, and maybe should have had it looked at. But I am sure it will just take time.

Two weeks after the foot injury, I managed to get an ear infection. First one that I've ever had, at least that I can recall. It hurt. I was surprised how much. I spent Thanksgiving weekend taking ibuprofen and holding my aching head. Went to a walk in clinic and got a prescription for antibiotic ear drops. It took a full week to get betted.

October has been a tiring month, what can I say? I haven't felt motivated to do very much. I have been sitting around, reading a lot of novels. In my head, I can hear echoes from my childhood; my mom muttering and/or scolding about "those girls", always with their noses "stuck in a book." My sister and I liked to read. A lot. It was our preferred form of entertainment. Frustating to my poor mother who wanted us to get up and do some chores, or go outside and play.Or, you know, answer when we were spoken to, instead of being completely oblivious to everything going on around us.

I was surprised when I got older to hear that my mother actually likes to read. I knew that my dad liked to read, but I never saw my mom sitting down to read a novel, until us kids were older. She said she stopped reading when she had kids because she didn't like being interrupted all the time. I've been totally getting that lately, sitting around with my nose stuck in an e-reader a book. Why must Husband insist on talking to me? Can't he see that I am reading? Why do the cats need me to get up and walk them to their food dishes or give them treats every 5 minutes? Can't a person have some time to themselves to read?

Possibly I need to pull my nose out of the books and do some other things for a little while.

I have made the decision a few times to try a workout, carefully...Then I talk myself out of it again. I don't want to make things worse. Better to let the foot heal. And so, the whole of October has gone by. So I am deciding again - it is time to try some exercise. Carefully. Wish me luck.

We have been having a fairly decent fall so far, but we're having a pretty wild rain storm today. It's entirely possible that we will get snow tonight. Snow and ice pellets, the forecast is saying.

I am feeling sad today; my youngest sister is having to say good-bye to her beloved dog. We've known it was coming - due to old age, for which there is no cure - but I had hoped it would be a while yet. And they are so far away - on the opposite end of the country. At least my other sister is out there too. But I feel very sad.

I have hardly taken any photos this month. Another side-effect of having your nose in a book all the time. Guess it is time to peek out at the world and see what is going on.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

PiYo Round Two

I had hoped to keep up with weekly posting, but oops! So here's how the rest of September went down...

If you've been following along at home (Hellooooo! Anyone out there? No worries, I don't mind talking to myself...), you'll know that PIYO Core and I did not get along. Specifically, the side planks and roll ups. Core work does tend to be my least favourite thing to do, so even though I know it's important, it tends to be the first thing I skip. While I feel that PiYo has been doing good things for me, I feel like I need to do some other Core workouts to hopefully get to the point where the PiYo Core workout does not seem like an exercise in frustration.

To that end, I have decided to dig out some of my old school Pilates DVDs, work them into the PiYo Schedule, and see what that does for me. If it feels like that's not working for me, I'll...try to figure out something. :)

So this is how I've started out:

Pick Your Level Pilates - with Ellen Barrett.  I love Ellen Barret workouts. She makes me feel tall and graceful, adjectives which are not in any way descriptive of my 5' awkward self. This DVD has 3 levels - beginner, intermediate and advance. As you do the workout, you can pick any of those levels for each move. I normally do all intermediate (except for roll ups...always beginner with the  roll ups), but after PiYo I decided to give the advanced a try, and most of it is doable (you know, except for the roll ups). Not sure if it is due to increased ability, or just lack of confidence in the past...Possibly a bit of both.

Pilates for Dummies - Was my very first foray into Pilates. Definitely identified some areas where I need to work on flexibility, but not as hard as I expected. Also, kind of boring; now I remember why I stopped doing this one.

Crunch Super SlimDown Pilates Yoga Blend - another old favourite from Ellen Barrett, which I had not done in a long time. This is a longer workout; again, I would say not as difficult as I remember from the last time, but definitely some challenging moves in this  one.

Week 1 - starting from Sept 8 - I skipped the intro workout this time, replacing it with a Pilates DVD. I doubled up on the Define workouts, doing both Lower & Upper in one session, and throwing in Pilates DVDs on the other days.

Week 2 - I was actually noticing a bit of strain in my hands & wrists, so decided to back off a bit and go back to splitting up the Define workouts for this week.

Week 3 - Was just one of those weeks. Things kept coming up. I did one workout. I was still in a good frame of mind though, because I feel like I'm back on my game. A bad week is not going to derail me; I will just start over the next week...

Then Sunday night, going down the stairs I somehow missed the last step, or possibly 2 steps...all I know is I ended up on the floor at the bottom and, along with a few scrapes and bruises, I've hurt my foot and I'm hobbling around. So there will be a short break in the workout schedule.

Could have been worse, no serious damage done, just trying to stay off my feet for now and let things heal.

September Workouts

01: PIYO Drench
02: PIYO Buns
03: PIYO Sweat
04: PIYO Core
06: PIYO Sculpt
08: PYL Pilates
09: PIYO Define: Lower + Upper
10: Pilates for Dummies
13: PIYO Sweat
14: PIYO Define: Lower + Upper
15: PIYO Sweat
16: PIYO Define Lower
17: PYL Pilates
18: WAlk[20 min]
19: PIYO Define: Upper
20: PIYO Sweat
21: Crunch Pilates/Yoga Blend
23: PIYO Buns

The weather was seriously beautiful last weekend. I spent some time sitting out in the yard with a book, which is something I did not do enough of this summer. It's been a bit of a weird summer, actually, and I'm not even sure how to explain why. It was definitely not a good year for my garden, just finally getting some tomatoes now, and not many of them. Peppers are just starting, I doubt they will get a chance to mature. I got a late start, for sure, but it also seemed like things were just really slow.

Hopefully we can still look forward to some good weather, though it yesterday cooled off considerably. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary: Week 8 of 8

The good news is that week 8 was a complete turnaround from week 7; I had my energy back, and I was back to loving PiYo. Honestly, I was feeling so disappointed during week 7 because I went from feeling pretty great about the workouts to not wanting to do them at all. Maybe I should have given myself a few days off, but I was so focused on the fact that I was two weeks away from finishing the schedule.

From Tuesday on I was back to feeling good. I was marking off workouts, counting down to the last one where I could say: I did it!

Here comes the bad news...

I had to work Sunday morning. It only happens every few months, and most of the time - not every time, but usually - we're done by late morning/early afternoon.

But of course this Sunday there were delays starting, so we had to wait around. It was somewhere around noon when we finally got started, and then it was around 5 pm when we finished. I was tired and cranky, I had other things to do, and I didn't want to go back to that place where I was begrudging the workout...Of course the last one would be Drench too, which is the longest workout on the schedule. So I decided I would do it on Monday.

Monday, of all days, we were late leaving work.

I could have done it today, but I kind of feel like the moment has passed. This week was already planned out in my mind. So I'm skipping it.

Technically, that means I've missed two workouts, because I missed one a  couple of weeks ago as well. And, it took me 9 weeks, because I was sick in the middle. So you can call that a fail if you want. I actually am okay with it. It's the consistency that is important, in my mind anyway. It's not like there were 8 weeks and then it's done forever, I actually am rolling right back into another round of PiYo, though I will be doing a bit of a hybrid this time around, at least to start; we'll see how it goes.

So somewhat of an anticlimactic end to my PiYo Challenge, but there it is.

As for the results - I do feel like I have increased my strength and flexibility. In the beginning, I was often getting muscle cramps in my foot, and/or my hip when doing the workouts - those have all but disappeard. I have lost a few pounds. I haven't done measurements yet, but I doubt there is a huge difference (to be fair, my eating was not very consistent, as usual). I do think I can see a slight difference in my upper arms, but probably no one else would notice.

That may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but for me it was a success because I wanted to do the workouts, I stuck with the program for 8 weeks, and I enjoyed most of it. I feel proud of what I was able to do, and that I was able to improve. I want to do more and get even stronger. I definitely feel a bit of a confidence boost. All that, to me, adds up to success.

I forgot to post my August workout summary last week - too busy counting down those last workouts...Better late than never!The gap right at the beginning is where I got sick at the end of week 4.

02: PIYO Sweat
09: PIYO Sweat
10: PIYO Strength Intervals
11: PIYO Sculpt
12: PIYO Sweat
13: PIYO Core
14: PIYO Drench
16: PIYO Buns
17: PIYO Strength Intervals
18: PIYO Drench
19: PIYO Core
20: PIYO Buns
21: PIYO Sculpt
24: PIYO Sweat
25: PIYO Sculpt
27: PIYO Sweat
28: PIYO Core
29: PIYO Buns
30: PIYO Drench
31: PIYO Strength Intervals

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary: Week 7 of 8

I guess it's more like Week 7.25, since I'm two workouts into the last week already.  It's the home stretch!

I gotta tell you, last week was not so good. I'd had company the weekend before - which I looked forward to, and sincerely enjoyed - but I was exhausted by the time they left on Sunday. It is just a lot busier than I am used to when we have people to stay. Normally, I can go at my own pace, have some quiet time to myself (Introvert, party of one!) but that doesn't work when we have house guests. I don't mean that to sound like complaining, it's just a fact of my life.

Anyway, I pushed myself to do my scheduled workout on Sunday and Monday, but was still exhausted on Tuesday. And when I say exhausted, I mean dragging myself around, aware of a physical urge to curl myself up in a little ball somewhere. So I gave in and took Tuesday off, and did feel a bit better.

It was still hard to finish out the week, and I gotta say I was really cranky about doing Drench yesterday. Up til now, PiYo has mostly been easy. I haven't had to talk myself into my workout most days. I like some of the workouts better than others, but overall it's been a program that I enjoy. Last week was like the flip of a switch and I just didn't want to do it, I begrudged the workouts, and I didn't enjoy it.

Maybe I should have taken some time off, but I am so close to the end now! I'm in that mind set where I have a schedule and I must follow the schedule. That does tend to get to me eventually - I must do, rather than I want to do.

Today was Buns, which is my favourite, and I did actually enjoy that, so hopefully I am getting my groove back. Four more to go!

This weekend I took it pretty easy. Saturday I sat in my chair and read a novel (Visions by Kelley Armstrong). Then Saturday evening watched The Escape Artist, that I've had sitting on my PVR for a while now. Sunday & Monday (yay for long weekends!) I watched season 4 of Downton Abbey,which I've also had sitting around for a while too. Lots of couch potato time - I need it now and then.

Over the weekend I also did my first canning of the year - a small batch of dill pickles (with cucumbers I grew in my garden), and salsa (with tomatoes from the farmers market).

It may not sound like a very exciting weekend, but I think it was what I needed.

And  now, courtesy of my iPhone...

My breakfast of late. Freestone peaches are in season and I am doing my best to eat my fill, which leads to my perfect breakfast: fresh peach, plain yogurt, a little bit of muesli. Lovely!

The result of my weekend labour (ha! it was Labour Day weekend!): 5 jars of dill pickles and 5 jars of salsa.

A visitor that dropped by my window at work today. Just because. :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary: Week 6 of 8

I have found myself thinking about yoga quite often during this challenge - probably not a surprise, since the workout is described as a blend of yoga and Pilates.

Early on, particularly once Core arrived on the schedule, I found myself thinking appreciatively of yoga workouts that allow you to work on a pose; getting comfortable with alignment, building strength and confidence, working your way up to something you find challenging.

This week I've found myself thinking about sun salutations. I remember what it was like trying to learn them - I was actually going to a live class at that time, and we would start the class with sun salutations. I felt like I was flinging myself around on the mat, trying to keep up, hearing the instructor talk about flowing with the breath and thinking how impossible that sounded...Until one day it just clicked. It really felt like that: suddenly I had it and I was flowing.

As of Week 5, there are six different workouts on the PiYo schedule. The routines go pretty fast, while the workouts themselves are plenty tough, sometimes it's hard to keep up with the switches as well. Maybe this is harder for me than the average person; I do have hearing issues, and I don't always catch the cues. This means I need to get pretty familiar with the routine.

And I think I'm getting there. Which means it is getting both easier and harder at the same time. I'm getting better at catching the cues. I'm spending less time standing still, staring at the screen wondering we do what now? Which means I'm working harder...And to be honest, I felt like I was working plenty hard most of time time before.

I am also seriously thinking that at the end of Week 8 I might want to start all over again.

Monday: Drench - Still glaring at the 48 minute start time...but I'm starting to get this (the first time a lot of it felt way too fast) and even enjoy (though if I'm being honest, I don't particularly enjoy being that sweaty...Ugh!)

Tuesday: Core - Still sucks, but ever-so-slightly less.

Wednesday: Buns - Checked the schedule Tuesday night and literally said "Oh yay!" when I saw this was the workout.

Thursday: Sculpt - Less than 30 minutes; love the short ones!

Friday: REST

Saturday: Missed workout - Drench :(

Sunday: Sweat - E for Effort :(

I knew I wouldn't have time for a workout on Saturday; I'd hoped to get it in on Friday but that didn't happen. Sunday I was just so frickin' exhausted, I  could not face Drench. You know those days where you feel tired, but a little exercise perks you up? That was not my Sunday. I talked myself into Sweat, but it was not my best performance. Still, one workout skipped in 6 weeks is not a bad record, as far as I am concerned. And  maybe I'll still manage to get it in sometime in the next two weeks.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary: Week 5 of 8

So, after an unplanned week off due to being sick, I was back on track this week. Here are my thoughts at the half way point:

The Good:
  • It helped me to ease back into regular workouts. A lot of the workouts are short, especially in the first couple of weeks, which definitely makes it easier. And knowing I have a schedule to follow, Husband knows that when we get home from work, I'll be doing a workout. Actually, having a schedule to follow has been good for me too - there is no thinking about what workout to do. Schedules don't always work for me - in the past there have been times when trying to stick to a schedule has just made me feel stressed and overwhelmed - can't say it won't happen again, but so far so good.
  • I know that I am getting a good workout. But the segments are short, and before you know it you skip on to a different type of exercise, so it feels doable. 
  • Burpees! I've always thought I couldn't do them. Any time I have seen burpees demonstrated, it's always been with the feet in a narrow stance; so you crouch down with your hands on the floor, legs bent so your knees are tucked in between your arms and below/against your chest. I totally can't do that. I always want to have my feet wide, so I always thought I was doing it wrong. The burpees in PIYO are from a Sumo squat - feet wide outside the arms. I can totally do that, so I'm just feeling really good that I'm doing burpees. Please don't tell me they don't count, I don't care! 

The Bad:
  • Side planks. Pilates roll ups too, but mostly side planks. In the first few workouts my reaction was: these are hard, but I will get better. I could actually manage to hold a few full side planks before I would have to modify and put down one knee. Then I seemed to hit a wall where I felt like I could not even hold the modified ones, so I end up just getting frustrated and giving up (See the Core workout from week 4). And it's not like I can do everything else perfectly - there are quite a few things that I need to modify - but for some reason I am feeling defeated when it comes to the Core moves. This is maybe not necessarily a bad thing about the program - more like JavaChick + PIYO - but...I guess I feel like you can jump into the "hard" really fast with this program, without having a chance to build up to things. I also feel like I don't quite know  how to express this, and maybe it's just me.
  • Disk 1 of my set started having problems early on - as early as the second week I think? It would stick in spots. I would take it out, try dusting it off. Maybe the next time it would play just fine. Then it would start sticking again. Now it completely skips segments of the workout. The first time it happened, I wasn't sure, so I just kept going. The second time, it actually skipped two segments, and I knew that was wrong; that time I was able to get it to go back and play the skipped content. Today it skipped again, and I could not get it to play, so I just had to miss one section of the workout. The good news is: I emailed them and they said they would ship another disk. Of course, it will take a couple of weeks to get here and by then I will be almost done.
Honestly, I really like this program. There are a lot of ads on the disks, and in a couple of the workouts Chalene actually pitches Shakeology and Beach Body Wear...I could do without that, but I also am quite capable of just ignoring it.

I like working out with dumbbells. I find it to be very satisfying. But there is something impressive about this type of workout - watching a strong yoga practictioner, for example, or the people in these PiYo DVDs - it looks so effortless, there is a fluidity and gracefulness to it, but it takes a lot of strength. Possibly it is the awkward, clumsy part of me that is attracted to this, but I want to be able to do it!

I guess that's what it comes down to. The workouts are challenging, but I want to keep doing them because I want to get better at it.

Full disclosure on this week:
  • I was apprehensive when Core came around again. There are one or two other workouts that do have side plank moves in them, and I hadn't found them any better, even though I've been trying really hard to approach it with a positive attitude. So when I did Core this time, I mostly just ignored what they were doing on screen, went at my own pace, and gave myself a chance to work  on it. I still can't keep up with the actual workout, but I am doing something and I will get better.
  • I didn't finish Drench on Thursday. About half way through, I felt like I had something stuck to the bottom of my big toe (right foot). I pulled it off and it turned out to be a piece of skin. Ow. Not quit sure what happened there. Anyway, just a little piece of skin, so no need to wimp out, right? Except that I'm trying to do planks, lunges, downward dogs, and rubbing my toe against the yoga mat. It was stinging and I was trying to remember when was the last time I cleaned this mat anyway? No matter how much I told myself to just suck it up, I wasn't planting my foot properly, and I was afraid I was going to turn my ankle or something, so I finally gave up. Just call me Wimpy JavaChick.

Anyone know what this bird is?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary: Week 4 of 8

Taking it day by day this week...

Okay, things are getting hard. So yesterday (Sunday) was the first time through Strength Intervals. It was only about 25 minutes, but intense. Since it was a Sunday, and I had my sneakers on for that one, I decided to hop on the treadmill for a short, easy walk. Seemed okay at the time, but later in the evening I was completely zonked.

Today was Sweat again, which is another fairly intense one. Today it felt really hard. Toward the end, you do a series of wide squats, then add on squats where you are touching the floor and then reaching up, then some burpees. I normally can get through this - it's actually a segment that I like - but today after the first set of  burpees (the squat to burpee routine is repeated twice), I actually had to stop. I was feeling a little light headed, seeing spots, and my chest was freaked me out a bit to be honest. Anyway, I waited out that second set and then was able to finish the rest. Now I am feeling kind of tired an achey. Actually, both last night and tonight, Husband has asked me if I'm okay; I said I'm just tired.

I don't know if it's because things are amping up. Or maybe I am just exhausted at the moment - last week was fairly stressful at work, with Friday being the worse; one of those weeks where you feel like work is a marathon, you know? With a little effort, I was able to let it go over the weekend, but I think I dreamed about work last night, and today was another hard one (thankfully, I think we've reached the other side and things should calm down).

Today I had the choice of Core or the bonus workout: Hardcore on the Floor. I waffled back and forth, but decided to stick with Core since I have a hard enough time with that one. I also had an uncomfortably bloated belly by the end of the day for some reason - no idea why, did not eat anything out of the ordinary. Definitely did not make me enthusiastic about a core workout.

Core is my least favourite of the PIYO workouts so far, I have a really hard time with it, and it hasn't felt like it is getting any better. Today was the fourth time through, and it was the worst so far. I cannot tell you how much it sucked. I almost burst into tears more than once - the first time being when I got into the first side plank and promptly fell back on my butt. I almost feel like I shouldn't count it as done, for the number of times I ended up just sitting, frustrated, on the mat.

I am going to chalk it up to a bad day and hope the next time is better.

Today was Buns - my favourite I think! It's challenging - lots of squats, lungest and burpees - but I find just when I am starting to think I can do no more, there is a switch, so I think the pacing is good in this one. I definitely feel like I worked hard, but I kept up. 

New workout called Drench. I was not too keen going into this. The countdown timer showed 48 minutes at the start, and for the first little while I kept looking at the timer thinking I don't want to do a workout this long...Until I forgot to stop checking because I was too busy concentrating on the workout. It actually went by pretty quickly; you definitely don't have time to get bored.

Yesterday, during Buns, I noticed that I mostly felt it in my quads, not my glutes, and it made me wonder if I was doing something wrong. But there was one segment today - Power I think - where my glutes were definitely burning, so I guess maybe it just depends on the moves?

In each segment, moves are introduced and you build flows. As you learn the moves (theoretically, anyway), the reps get cut down; that's pretty standard for PIYO, and many other workouts. In this one, some of the flows got faster in the end and I couldn't keep up. Maybe that will change, since I'm still not quite comfortable with all of the moves yet. I'd say that is one complaint I have in general though, sometimes the changes are so fast and I miss them. Most of the workouts are short, and you are not doing a lot of reps, so it feels like every move should count. Obviously, the more you do it, the more familiar you will get, but I can't say I'm conifdent that will happen in the next 4 weeks. Of course, there is no reason I can't repeat the program, and do better the next time around.

I'm resting! It is actually rest day, according to my schedule. I had switched my Thursday workout to Friday last week, so I've done 7 days in a row (for the second time). We have friends coming Sunday evening to spend the day on Monday, then leaving Tuesday morning, so I had been thinking that I would just keep going with the workouts, since I expect I won't get one in on Monday.

Yesterday's Drench was definitely a tough one, though. Then my cats decided that 3:30 was a good time for me to get up, and I didn't get back to sleep until 5:30-ish. I woke up feeling very sluggish, and my body just feels tired. And, for the first time with this program, I actually feel a bit sore today. So, I decided finally decided I needed a day off from PIYO, and I'll just live with the adustment to my workout schedule later in the week.

Feel much better today, after a decent night's sleep! Was on my feet most of the day, doing chores around the house, getting some shopping done, and my legs and feet were already a little tired going into Sweat, but I got a decent workout in and that is one more crossed off the calendar!

I had good intentions, but this was just a day where nothing worked out as planned. So now two workouts behind.

...And now here it is Tuesday and I am officially 3 days behind. Our friends came Sunday, we had a busy day yesterday, lots of fun, but late getting to bed last night. They left this morning, and we went off to work. I had every intention of coming home and jumping back intot he PIYO schedule, but part way through the morning I started feeling crappy...And just kept feeling worse as the day went on. I have a sore throad and I'm really tired and draggy, and a little sniffly...So I am goofing off tonight, planning on early bed time, and hoping I will feel better tomorrow...

And that's July! Can't complain really...

01: YDL Sun Salutations Flow #1
02: Garden
03: YDL Moon Salutations Flow #1
05: PIYO Align: The Fundamentals (about 20 min, then the power went out - Thank you Arthur)
07: PIYO Align: The Fundamentals
08: PIYO Define: Lower Body + Treadmill Walk [25 mins]
09: PIYO Define: Upper Body
11: PIYO Sweat
12: PIYO Define: Lower Body + Garden
13: PIYO Define: Upper Body
14: PIYO Sweat
15: PIYO Define: Lower Body
16: PIYO Core
17: PIYO Define: Upper Body
19: PIYO Sweat
20: PIYO Core
21: PIYO Define: Upper Body
22: PIYO Buns
23: PIYO Core
25: PIYO Define Lower Body
26: PIYO Sweat
27: PIYO Strength Intervals + Treadmill Walk[24 mins]
28: PIYO Sweat
29: PIYO Core
30: PIYO Buns
31: PIYO Drench

Sunday, July 27, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary: Week 3 of 8

This week's workouts:
M: PIYO Define: Upper Body - Bright idea to arrange my 2 yoga mats in a '+' configuration, so when side plank series happens, I can swing sideways to face the TV and get a better view; hopefully that will help me get the hang of it.
T: PIYO Buns - Kicked my butt and I loved it!
W: PIYO Core - Not sure those side plank series + roll ups are getting any better?
F: PIYO Define: Lower Body - last time! Switched to Friday, because we met up with friends for dinner Thursday evening. Had a pretty frustrating workday on Friday, and this was the first time since starting PIYO that I really didn't want to do it, but I ignored my bad mood and got it done.
S: PIYO Sweat - Getting the hang of this one...which means I am working harder.
S: PIYO Strength Intervals - New one! Intense, but short. Had my shoes on for this one, and decided I had enough left in me for a short treadmill walk; may have been a mistake.

Let's talk about food...

JavaChick food facts:
  • I prefer to eat vegetarian until dinner time; if I am on my own and don't have to worry about feeding Husband, there is a good chance that dinner will also be vegetarian. This is partly ethical, and partly personal preference (I don't like meat that much, and eating a lot of it doesn't sit well in my stomach).
  • Breakfast is optional. For a long time I tried to force myself, because 'thou shalt eat breakfast' is one of the healthy living commandments. Thing is, I rarely feel hungry first thing in the morning and I don't like forcing myself to eat. Now I try to go with how I'm feeling.
  • I am a picky eater. There are a lot of things I just don't like. Fortunately, I do love salad!
JavaChick and the official PIYO eating plan:
  • Follow a formula to calculate a calorie range; from there you count servings of food. I like this idea in theory. 
  • The food categories are Primary Vegetables, Secondary Vegetables and Grains, Fresh Fruit, Lean Protein and Healthy fats. 
  • Secondary Vegetables and Grains is where I ran into trouble; in my calorie range, I get 2 servings. They include quinoa, beans and legumes in this category. Being vegetarian-ish, I tend to  consume these things with whole grains for protein (Fun Fact: if you read the Shakeology bag, they include Quinoa, Amaranth, and Pea Protein in their protein blend). Also? If you want almond or coconut milk in your smoothie, it comes from this category.
  • This made me feel frustrated before I even started; possibly it is me just being whine-y, I don't know.
  • The plan also has you eating 3 meals and 2 snacks - I've tried this before and I don't find it works for me, though I know many people swear by it.
  • To be clear: I don't necessarily think this a bad eating plan, it's just difficult for me with all of my little food idiocyncrasies. I just want to dump quinoa on my salad and count it as a protein darnit!
JavaChick's main healthy eating goals:
  • Cut out most of the processed stuff. There is a lot of snack food stocked in our work kitchen. When they first started with that, I avoided it...but gradually, over time, I gave in. I was finding that I am eating popcorn or chips (small bags) every day, whether I'm actually hungry or not. I know I can stop, because I have before; I just have to state with certainty that I am giving it up...So that's what I am doing at the moment.
  • Still not loving the Shakeology, but sticking with it for a bit longer to see if it does anything for me.
  • Lots of healthy stuff, watch the portions, pay attention to hunger cues.
Honestly, if I can stick to that last point, I have found that weight will start coming off - slowly, but without my feeling like I am on a diet. It's the paying attention that is not always easy.

How things are going:

Went into this plan just as I was coming off vacation. Toward the end of our vacation, we were eating a lot of crap. I felt ready to get back to normal eating. My weight was a couple of pounds higher than the high end of my usual range.

Week 1: I started with determination to make the PIYO plan work. I also wanted to make sure that I was not tempted to get into the snacks at work. So, I was bringing a shake for breakfast, salad + protein for lunch, and then fruit + nuts, veggies + hummus for a snack. I felt like I was eating all day. I felt stuffed all the time.  I realize to some people, that might not sound like it should be too much food, but it was definitely not working for me. Plus, the counting for the  plan was just not working for me. I can't get past the 2 Secondary Vegetables and Grains...

Week 2: No change in weight from Week 1. I'm feeling like I can't make the PIYO plan work as is. I look at calorie counts for things I would normally eat and see if I can swap some things around. But then, that's not really following the plan is it? Maybe I could log my food in myfitnesspal just to make sure I stay in the range...Basically, I was all over the place and ended up doing nothing! I just ate the way I would normally eat. I had shakes Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Week 3: Weight is back down in normal range. I can see the difference in the mirror. I feel better! Had shakes for breakfast. Tracked in myfitnesspal, up until Thursday when we went out for dinner. Husband brought home Cheetos on Friday. I ate the Cheetos. I did secure agreement not to do that again next weekend.

I was really happy with the first part of this week, and it came easy. Things tend to go off track on the weekends, and I need to work on that.

So, goals for the coming week:
  • Repeat first half of this past week!
  • Stay on track as we roll into the weekend! 
  • That might be a challenge, now that I think of it, as we do have friends coming to visit...
  • No Cheetos for breakfast! How is that for a goal? 

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!