Tag Archives: fitness

Runner’s Knee Injury Update

9 Dec

Please, please, please, please fix my knee. Note: not my knees. A little hairy to be mine.

 

Well, I finally did it.  I went to the doctor again for my runner’s knee.  I was really afraid of what he might say…would I ever be able to run again??  Here’s where my runner’s knee was at prior to the visit:

  • It started a little over a year ago predominantly in my left knee, though both ached.
  • I experience pain under the knee cap and the pain increases the more active I am.
  • I went through physical therapy to improve the pain for about 2 months.
  • My runner’s knee is caused from poor “tracking” meaning my hips are too wide and my knee isn’t lining up as it should.

After going through a few months of physical therapy and months of “trying” to run, the pain has persisted.  Though the interesting thing is now the pain is focused much more on the RIGHT knee.  Odd that it has switched.  I have almost no pain in my left knee – which before was the main issue.  So after months of NOT running and continued pain (likely through all my dancing), I decided to head back to the doctor to see if it’s possible something more was the problem.

Upon arriving at my doctor’s office, I was first examined by a resident who did the usual “does this hurt?” examination.  After evaluating my knees in various positions, he said it seems like the pain is identical as I had before (just as suspected).  He left the room and shortly reentered with my doc.  After a series of physical examinations the conclusion was the same: runner’s knee.  My incorrect knee tracking (due to my big womanly hips) is causing my knees to rub continually and cause pain.

Le sigh.  Good that it’s nothing worse… but bad because, well… I already tried to solve this problem unsuccessfully!!!

So what’s the game plan? Here are some suggestions to help improve my knee:

  • Recommit to my PT exercises.  I did them religiously for awhile, but once I started ChaLean I noticed many of my PT exercises were in the videos – so I didn’t do them daily.  Looks like I have more outer hip strengthening to do.
  • Look into orthopedics.  My doc recommended Smart Feet to help improve my alignment.
  • Rest and Ice… yeah the usual.

So the big take away is that I NEED to get this resolved… because clearly running isn’t the only trigger.  I haven’t gone on a run in literally months, yet my knee is still swollen.  Dancing, bending, jumping… it seems like anything agitates it.  Once the wedding is over, I’m going to come up with a plan of attack and really see what I can do…because clearly it’s going to take a much more aggressive approach to get over this injury.

Project February: FIX MY KNEES!

Good news: My knee doesn’t appear to be broken forever.  It can be resolved.

Bad news: It still hasn’t been resolved and I’m kind of a at a loss for what more can be done.

I guess I should be pleased it isn’t anything worse!! :)  Happy Monday!

-Kelly

 

The Surprising Similarities Between Dancing and Running

19 Nov

Remember that one time that this blog was a running blog, that actually talked about running?  Yeah it’s a foggy memory in my head too.  Thanks to my knees breaking and getting engaged…I do more wedding planning (daily) than running (never, thanks knees).  Life happens.  And for the record, I’m determined to be a runner’s knee success story that you all can read/cheer about, as I throw a celebration parade and toss candy throughout all the land. Slightly excited about that mayhaps…

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The past few weeks I’ve spent a ton of time dancing in preparation for the musical White Christmas (which opens FRIDAY!).  Through my dance rehearsals I’ve been reminded of running somewhat frequently, and thought I’d have a little fun comparing and contrasting the two.  Because let’s be serious, the dance floor is as close as I’m going to get to running for another few months.  Er, yeah, makes perfect sense. Go with me.

Similarities between Dancing and Marathoning

  • Your feet are just disgusting.  Whether it’s blisters, sores, or other nasties… they just aren’t that pretty. AND you can’t get a pedicure because you’re afraid of losing your callouses. I’m tempted to post pictures, but I will spare you all.  You’re welcome.
  • It is freaking hard.  After my 4 hour dance rehearsal I actually uttered, ‘That was literally harder than a marathon.’  Keep in mind one (usually) trains for a marathon and this dance rehearsal was the first session for me in many years.  Let’s just say I wasn’t properly trained for it.
  • It can be both thrilling and frustrating.  GAH must stop running, WEEEH must never stop running!  GAH can’t get this stupid lift, WEEEH let’s dance like this forever!
  • The right attire can improve comfort and reduce chaffing.
  • Shoes make all the difference.
  • You’re tempted to text pictures of your feet to friends and family because you feel like a warrior.
  • If you’re asthmatic like me, you have to remember to take your inhaler before you begin!
  • Stretching can make all the difference in performance and reduces injury.
  • You secretly hope people will start chanting your name in support.
  • You plan your other workouts around your runs/dancing rehearsals… because of course, you want fresh legs!
  • It can make you sore.  Really, really sore.
  • Holy moly does it make you hungry!  Why yes I need to scarf that whole lunch box!!  I’m a growing girl!

So even though I can’t run, I’m still hanging in there (read: keeping very busy and distracted).  PLUS I’m managing to find a way to ‘blog’ about running.  Win and Win.  Just FOUR days until the show opens… holy tummy ache.  Last night was the first night with microphones and lights, tonight we’ll add some more costumes, and tomorrow I get my wig.  Things are getting real!  Hope you all had a great weekend!

Kelly

Learning to Like Yoga

12 Nov
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My trusty yoga mat – maybe I’m also learning to tolerate it because Adam used it to propose. He’s a tricky one.

Yoga and I have long been sworn enemies.

“Wait, I just have to stand there holding that position?!  Where is the cardio?  Where is the high intensity?  I’m bored.  Are we done yet?”

“Hmm, so you’re telling me that I need to just relax and sit there?  And  empty my mind?  How the heck do I do that!?”

and…

“I’m expected to hold positions called ‘downward facing dog’ and ‘tree’ and take this whole thing seriously?  Yoga people are in la-la loosey goosey land”

All of these thoughts have crossed my mind about yoga at one point or another. For many years I had a flat out yoga boycott. “It’s stupid and touchy feely, therefore I will not do it.”  That seemed to be enough for me.  I happily avoided yoga, pursuing other fitness endeavors including running, zumba, or the elliptical. But within the last year, something within me has changed: I have learned to appreciate yoga.  This has been a conscious effort and it hasn’t been without work!  It’s a huge step and honestly, I’m not that upset about it :)  These are some of the reasons I wanted to ‘learn to like’ yoga:

  • It is very complimentary to high intensity fitness.  Doing yoga on my “off” days is perfect.  It allows me to remain active and workout, without too much wear and tear on my body.  I use it for days off from both running or lifting.
  • It can be refreshing.  Once you understand it and know some basics, it can feel very refreshing when you’re done. It took me about 6-8 months to feel ‘refreshed,’ but eventually it happened.
  • I am injured.  Yeah, between my knees and now my ankle, I wanted a form of fitness that I can do despite injury or age.  Yoga rarely irritates my knees.  Yoga FTW.
  • Increased flexibility which helps other things.  Whether it’s running or dancing, increased flexibility can have a positive effect on performance.  I have really enjoyed the new flexibility gained.  Makes me feel less “old” :)
  • I feel like yoga is helping me have a more ‘well rounded approach’ to caring for my body.  Instead of focusing on burning calories and high intensity, I’m giving my body a little love by forcing myself to slow down, stretch, and smell the roses.   All things I need!
  • I can’t run so I need something where I can ‘zone out’ – after months and months finally yoga is that for me.

So how did I do it?  How did I force myself to learn to like yoga?  Well, first of all… it takes time.  And in my case, lots of time.  I didn’t expect it to happen overnight, and frankly I had very low expectations for even liking it at all.  Here’s what I did.

How I Learned to Like Yoga

  1. Start with a DVD.  I started doing yoga out of the comfort of my own home.  I didn’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed in front of a bunch of yogis.  I didn’t have to worry about not knowing what the heck to do.  And for me, this method was perfect.  I could watch the DVD and learn on my own schedule and timing (conveniently could pause it if I needed more time to study a move).  The DVD got me familiar with the lingo and ‘language’ of yoga.  Heck, it even allowed me to laugh out loud at some of the ‘silly phrases’ that can come along with yoga.  What can I say, I’m mature.
  2. Start with a routine.  I did yoga every Thursday.  I just knew it was my yoga day and dang it if it was scheduled, I was going to do it.  I did the DVD as a rotation of other workouts so I was in the habit of working out every day and yoga was just the next one in line.
  3. Mentally prepare for it.  Starting about Wednesday morning I had to start ‘talking myself into yoga’ so I’d be ready by Thursday morning (and wouldn’t press the snooze button).  I would give myself the expectation that I was going to do it and think about all the reasons why I wanted to do it (distress, stretch, flexibility, stamina, mental health). Self talk can be a powerful thing!
  4. Start small.  P90X has a yoga DVD that is 90 minutes long. NINETY MINUTES!  Well knowing my hatred of yoga I knew that just wasn’t a smart way to get me to do it.  Adam and I found a yoga DVD that had 6 different segments that averaged 20 minutes long.  We could do anywhere from 20-60 minutes by combining different segments instead of 90 minutes.  This was my gateway to yoga.
  5. Get a mat.  Making a small financial investment in yoga made me feel more invested ‘in my practice.’ I guess I would liken it to runners buying their first pair of ‘real’ running shoes… just makes you feel like a runner.
  6. Be patient and kind to yourself.  Holy cow those first few weeks months of yoga were frustrating.  I felt like I literally couldn’t do anything. I tried to be kind to myself and constantly reminded myself that this was a journey that would take awhile and benefits would come.  They may take forever, but they’d come.  It took a lot of positive self talk (remembering the why) to get me to return.
  7. Have an accountability partner.  When I first started yoga I had Adam to encourage me to keep going.  And I could encourage him on the days he felt less than enthused.  Now that I’m out of the hating phase, I don’t need one as much – but it was incredibly helpful during those first few months.
  8. Take a class.  When you finally feel ‘ready’ – take a class!  Just a few weeks ago I took my first yoga class after about a year of doing yoga at home.  It was awesome!  I could understand what was going on and while I’m by no means great at yoga, I felt competent at least attempting most of the moves.  In the class I learned more proper technique for some moves and it was very beneficial.

So there you have it – my recipe for success.  I still don’t ‘love’ yoga, but I’ve made huge strides. This morning I voluntarily chose my yoga DVD because I’ve been pretty sore lately due to all the dancing and P90X, and I wanted a low impact workout to take care of my body.  Yep, I wanted to do it.  Crazy things can happen kids.  I guess it’s time to call a truce with my war on yoga.

Hope you’re all having a great week.  Happy Tuesday!

-Kelly

Do you do yoga?  Why?  Any major benefits you enjoy?

Sometimes All You Need is a Break

6 Nov

After returning from my whirlwind Bachelorette weekend I was excited to get started with P90X.  After finishing 90 days of ChaLean Extreme on Friday, I was pumped and ready for the next challenge.  Well… insert a little bit of standby travel drama and suddenly it’s Tuesday morning before I’m back home for a workout.  All my plans to complete my fitness test and my first whole week of P90X sort of crumbled.  Suddenly I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store (being delayed 24 hours can put quite a kink in the week!), and I needed more days in the week to get my schedule accomplished.  Throw in sleep deprivation from a fun filled amazing weekend (yes, worth it ;)), and I had the recipe for complete P90X failure.

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One of my fav bachelorette gifts. Oh the perks of getting married in winter!

Instead of following my own advice of waiting until you’re really ready to begin P90X, I just jumped in and tried to stay afloat.  There was a bit more sinking than swimming so I decided to redub the week “Pre-P90X week.”  And I’m so glad I did!  This translated to finishing 3 of the workouts which started to get my body and brain used to the intensity and length.  I also got the fit test out of the way (umm so much weaker when I don’t have Adam to compete against encourage me).  I managed to stay pretty active, but also allowed myself time to rest and relax from the weekend.  I took a few glorious days to sleep in and not feel guilt free about my workout.

This was my best “break week” yet!  Mainly because it was a break week of moderation.  I still worked out, but not every day.  This left me feeling refreshed, but not uber lethargic from no workouts at all.  Sometimes when I take a week or two off, I just totally jump off the wagon and IT’S SO HARD to get back on.  Moderation break week = awesome. Additionally, food-wise,  I enjoyed some Halloween splurges that were fun, without going overboard (which is sometimes what happens when I allow myself a break day or week).  This nice moderation allowed me to get more excited about P90X, but allow some freedom… the perfect blend.  Everything in moderation as my Mom always says!

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Yes I will enjoy this cupcake in moderation.

This week I ‘started’ P90X strong and I’m feeling great about it.  I got my chopping party in on Sunday and have my food ready for the week (YUM!  I forgot how much I enjoyed eating by post-it note).  With my measurements and fit test out of the way, I’ve really been able to focus on the workouts.  Perfection.

It’s fun working out again with Tony, he really is pretty ridiculous.  So far the longer workouts aren’t killing me yet, but it’s definitely an adjustment (let’s just say I’ve been running late all week).  So far I have completed Chest and Back (push-up city), replaced Plyo with ChaLean Intervals (my knees are still bugging me, and I softly rolled my ankle last week in rehearsal… don’t even want to talk about it. ), and did Shoulders and Arms this morning.  Tomorrow brings 1.5 hours of yoga. Yikes.

I will say folks… I’m sore.  Even though I’ve been doing ChaLean Extreme, it’s amazing how different exercises bring out different muscles. This is why I love variety!  There is truly no end in sight to pushing my body.  I guess I thought at a certain point I’d have more trouble getting sore… simply not the case!  Hmm.. I wonder what it’s like for professional athletes??  Do you guys still get sore when you switch to a new workout?

In other news, just 3 weeks until White Christmas opens!  I’ve been tapping, dancing, singing, and acting my little heart out every night.  Things have sure been busy (most nights eating dinner in my car, thank goodness for food prep).  I constantly feel my to-do list growing (hello thank you notes!) and my time shrinking!  I imagine the poor little blog may suffer a bit, but I’ll do my best to document my progress with P90X (and of course the wedding, we all know that’s my favorite part!).  Just know I send my love even if I send no posts :) In two weeks I’ll see my sports med doc for ankle/knee issues, looks like I’ll be facing my demons after all.  A bit nervous about what he’ll say about my running future.  Say a little prayer.

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The whole group heading to do some promotional photos!

And in wedding news… things are trucking right along!  Adam and I had our LAST premarital session Sunday (we’ve had to do like a million because we’re getting married at his family’s church, but I’m catholic so we need to do both… let’s just say fiasco).  We feel thoroughly “tested” (we had to take 2 multiple choice tests through the process) and know our strengths and weaknesses as a couple.  Knowledge is power right? As much of a “pain” it has been to fit in all these sessions, it is really nice going into things with every stone uncovered (okay many stones uncovered).  Should help make the whole marriage transition a bit easier!

Adam also finished up our wedding programs this week (I’m in LOVE) and we finished up “Our Story.”  This is a little book about how we met that we’ll have in the pews.  The story how we met is pretty unique and we thought it would provide some entertainment to our guests, and if you can’t tell…we both enjoy writing just a bit.  :)  Happy to have those big projects out of the way.  At this point I’m trying to switch my focus to the musical and off the wedding.  Easier said than done.

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Our rings! We went with simple gold bands. Because we’re cheap, I mean traditional.

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Happy after our last session! Sad because I had to say goodbye to Adam. :(

Anyways, have an awesome week!!  Power Yoga in the morning… GAH.  Wish me luck. 1.5 hours of yoga is a lot even for a ‘yoga-liker’ like me…I’m getting there Lucy and Catherine.  Slow and steady I’m starting to ‘like’ it.

-Kelly

ChaLean Extreme Final Results

29 Oct

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Well it’s hard to believe, but 90 days with ChaLean Extreme have come and gone! I’m so excited to have officially ‘graduated’ from this program and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

What Is ChaLean Extreme?

ChaLean Extreme is an at-home fitness program that can be done right from your living room, with training by Chalene Johnson.  The program is broken up into 3 one-month sections that involve different weight lifting DVDs.  The workouts each last around 30-60 minutes, which is fantastic for anyone with a busy schedule (pretty much everyone ;)). While the focus of the program is lifting weights (go heavy or go home!), there is an intervals DVD (alternating between cardio and weight lifting endurance), and also a sole cardio DVD.  I really enjoyed the variety offered, and the fact that there are 5 days of workouts and 2 rest days. I filled one day with Yoga and the other I usually kept as a real rest day or danced (for my upcoming musical, White Christmas).  The flexibility of the schedule was really appealing to me, but it was also a challenging enough program that I never felt bored.

Final Results

These results are based on following the workout plan and completing most of the DVDs (I worked out on average 5-6 days a week).  Some weeks I switched out the cardio DVD with my 3-4 hour dance rehearsals. I figure it’s probably about the same ;)  Additionally while I did not strictly follow the 1300 calorie meal plan with recipes, I did eat well the majority of the time.  I packed my lunch daily for work and tried to do a higher protein, less carb mix.  I was probably eating on average 1300-2000 calories (depending on the day and the amount of other dance rehearsals I had). I did have occasional treats and was not super strict on completely avoiding things not on my diet plan (especially with special events like my brother’s wedding and bachelorette party).

Tape Measure (across the 90 days):

Waist: -.5

Hip: -.5

Chest: -1.25

Arms:  left +.5

Thighs: +25

Weight

-3.5 lbs.

Muscle Definition

I have noticed a definite improvement in overall tightness.  I feel like my body is lean, as promised!  There is much more definition in my arms and abs in particular.  My core is pretty tight!!

Body Fat

-3% (WOAH!) I am thrilled at this. And I feel like it really makes sense.  So although I haven’t lost tons of “inches”  I feel much tighter and muscular.  This makes sense.  I’ve already done P90X several times so ‘size-wise’ I’m probably about where I should be.  It’s just awesome that my body fat is going down and my muscle is going up! This is a huge health benefit and I’m really thrilled about this one!

Wedding Dress

I had a dress fitting over a week ago and shocker: my dress is a little bit big.  Yeah, caught me off guard.  Which is exciting…Yay!? But…  (A true first world problem if I’ve ever heard one). But… the fit of my dress was one of my favorite parts, it hit me just perfectly!  My game plan is to wait until 3 weeks before the wedding before altering anything.  It’s mainly big in the chest (as my numbers support), so the alteration would be a quick fix. PLUS I have the holidays before my wedding (yum Mom’s crack cookies) and TONS of dancing for 4 weekends of shows for White Christmas.  They will probably even each other out.  Let’s see what happens.

Picture

Please don’t hurt me, but I forgot to get a picture this weekend while I was around people.  I’m going to have Adam take a picture this weekend, so I’ll edit this post if I manage to get one.  But I will leave you with a picture from my Bachelorette party as a consolation prize. :)  More on the weekend to come…

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Pros:

  • Quick workouts, nothing over 1 hour
  • Great variety, with a different workout every day.
  • Goals and challenges with the 3 phase structure.
  • Awesome, fun, motivating trainer
  • Empowering program with a focus on weight training
  • It works!
  • Not a ton of equipment: weights are pretty much it.

Cons:

  • Meal plan, it’s really not for me since I’m not a huge fan of cooking for every meal.  I needed something that could be adapted to my lifestyle (like the portion plan in P90X).
  • You really need weights for it to be 100% effective.  There is a resistance band included and I used this whenever I traveled.  It’s a great option, but I do think weights are a better option.  I would suggest weights of three different sizes… really 4 or 5 is best.  This can be an investment.  I invested in them for P90X so it worked out great for me, but something to think about.
  • There is some great variety here, but not a ton of variety (I’m thinking P90X with its yoga and Kenpo DVDs).

Overall, an excellent well-planned program that I would recommend to anyone who is looking to become leaner and tighter in the comfort of their own home.  This program is very suitable for all levels: beginner to advanced, as many modifications are shown on both sides.  I can’t recommend this one enough!

Up Next:

This morning I took my “final” ChaLean measurements as I took my “before” measurements for P90X.  I’m so excited to start up with P90X again!  It’s extreme (more extreme than ChaLean), but it’s extremely effective.  With all my dancing and lifts in White Christmas (there are about 8 in one song), I need to be STRONG… not just lean.  I think P90X is awesome at getting you strong, exactly what the dr. ordered. More on my third cycle of P90X later this week!

Happy Tuesday!

Kelly

One Year of Strength Training!

22 Oct

Just a quick hello to say “Happy Anniversary of Healthiness to Me!”  Yeah, what a narcissist. ;) But, but… I’m SO happy!  (And dare I say, shocked?)  I’m happy I’ve been able to keep up this lifestyle for a full year!!   When I started P90X exactly one year ago today I was hoping and praying it would be a long-term change.  I wanted to make some improvements in my health for the better.  And I’m beyond delighted that I’ve stuck with my new habits for a full year.  Here’s to the next year of fitness and healthy eating being a regular part of my life!

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Now my fridge looks like this! (Well, when I remember to grocery shop ;))

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At the start of my journey exactly one year ago today!

Once I Can Run Again

21 Oct

Hello Monday!  Hope you all had a great weekend.  This weekend got me thinking a lot about running.  Truthfully, I try not to think about running.  It is kind of depressing, and I don’t particularly enjoy moping about…though it does happen.  My knees are still giving me pain even after a visit to the Doctor and Physical Therapy last May.  I know, I know… I need to go back and get it figured out.  More tests = more time, more money.  Between planning a wedding, performing in a musical, and trying to stay sane (Adam, I’m seriously trying to not be crazy I swear) I’ve decided to just put off figuring out why my Runner’s Knee isn’t improving until after the wedding (let’s call it my February project).  There’s only so many things I can handle at once.  And truth be told, I’m afraid of what the doctor will say.  Will I need to give up running for good?  By delaying a diagnosis I’m holding onto the hope that this is just an injury that can be overcome once I have more time to deal with it.  Brilliant plan I’d say.  Denial.  Works every time.

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Remember this happy runner girl after my 1:51 half? Yeah, me neither :(

Today was the first day in a while that I really allowed myself to think about running again.  At least think about it in a positive, hopeful sense.  I wanted to make some goals for ‘once I’m running again.’  Some of these may be impossible given whatever my knee injury might now be… but dare to dream right?

  1. Run some 5Ks.  Believe it or not, I’ve never run a 5K for time.  There was that one time I ‘illegally’ ran with my brother, but spent the race running backwards to keep him moving.  And hmm… I think that’s it!  I really want to see what I’m made of when it comes to shorter distances.  These may also be more knee friendly to me.
  2. Run another marathon.  My last full marathon was “pre-ankle injury” and I really want to get back out there and make it happen.  I have a goal of running Boston someday (yes, I realize that with my times I might have to wait until I’m 80), but I will never get closer to Boston if I never get back to marathons.
  3. Get better at hills.  Nashville is hilly, enough said.
  4. Improve my asthma.  I really want to get it under more control.  Right now I feel like it’s okay, but I’m hoping to really be able to say “yeah my asthma doesn’t affect my running potential at all.”  Not there yet.
  5. Do fun runs!  Whether they are 5Ks or half-marathons, I want to do more races with friends or groups of people.  I think those types of runs really shake up the “I’m running this for serious for time” and always help me remember the fun social aspect of running.
  6. Be a Runner’s Knee success story.  I’m not there yet, but I want to be able to say to other sufferers, “Hey!  You can get through it!  You can run again, it’s just a speed bump.”  Fingers crossed that will be me.

Happy Running!

Kelly

What are some of your running goals?  Have you ever overcome a big injury?

ChaLean Extreme: Lean Phase

18 Oct

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It’s hard to believe I’m in the home stretch of ChaLean Extreme (just 1 week left!).  I am now in the 4-week “Lean” phase.  The first 30 days: Burn, the next 60: Push, and finally LEAN!  This last phase is similar to the rest of the program in that every day I’m doing a different workout.  This is so important to me and keeps me motivated (and interested!).  There are 3 days of weight training (Mon, Wed, Fri) with Tuesday yoga (they have a rest day, but I threw in my yoga DVD), and Thursday an interval day and Saturday as a cardio.  It’s a great mix of some variety filled fitness!  Woot!  The great thing about the lean phase is there are more full body movements.  In the Push phase we focused on one body part at a time, for example: Bicep curls.  We maxed out at a heavy weight, aiming to do 6 bicep curls.  Now in the lean month we are combining two movements.  For example, bicep curls with calf raises.  This engages the core (awesome benefit) and helps get the heart rate up a bit more.  The sets are up to 12, but with a lower weight to survive all those curls!

The structure of the lean phase workouts is great and really makes things fly by.  I look forward to the workouts, though they definitely are challenging.  AND the Extreme Abs workout?  Holy difficult!!  There are moves in there that I’ve never seen before (hello, clap sit up?) which is really fun, but also challenging.  It’s great.

The length of the lifting workouts is a bit longer: on average 40-50 minutes.  And when I add in Extreme Abs (16 minutes), it does make for quite a bit longer workout than phases 1 or 2.  But I love that it’s been a gradual increase of time and will really help when I go back to P90X (gah… 75-90 minute workouts).

The workouts themselves are accessible to a wide range of levels, with modifications offered for every move.  I really love this.  Chalene instructs you how to care for your body with good form.  With my knees there are some moves I just can’t do and it’s great to have a lower impact option.  I think ChaLean Extreme has been a great prep for P90X and also break from it!  Though I am doing less push-ups and pull-ups in ChaLean Extreme, so I feel like I may be losing a bit of strength there.  Let’s see when I start P90X in a couple weeks.

ChaLean Extreme has been a great, well organized program – the lean month is no exception!  Ready to bring it for just a bit longer. And I promise to try and get an after picture next week!  What a slacker…

Happy lifting! (and more importantly, Happy Friday!!)

Kelly

Dedication to Fitness and Healthy Eating

16 Oct

The last few weeks I slowly came to a realization.  I officially started my “lifestyle change” in October of last year, so I’m coming up on a full year of fitness (hooray!!!!). Perhaps it’s the length of time, or the stress of wanting to fit in my dresses for all these weddings. ;)  But I kept having the thought, “oh my gosh, I’m going to have to do this for the rest of my life.” (Editor’s note: duh). “This” referring to eating well (and fitness too).  And you know what?  I was pretty grumpy about it.  Dear goodness, I’m going to have to put in ALL this work for the rest of my life to stay this way???!!  I’m going to always have to pack and plan food?  Always have to get up super early to work out??  Never have a week of eating Qdoba for lunch and pizza for dinner every day?  Nooooo……

I cannot carry on at the thought of not eating delicious Qdoba multiple times a week.

Image courtesy of Imgur

It was the realization that I enjoy being fit, that I like fitting in my clothes, and I love the stress of not worrying about pictures ‘getting a bad angle’  … all things I worried about before I started my ‘get fit’ kick almost a year ago.  But this mood brought up not so pleasant feelings like:

  • Dear goodness, am I ever going to be able to enjoy eating junk without the thought of gaining the weight back? (or falling off the wagon)
  • Will I ever be able to just go out to lunch regularly like a normal person and not pack and plan meticulously?
  • Why can’t I just be like Adam and several of my other friends that don’t gain weight no matter what they eat?  Will I always have to carefully watch what I eat? Life is so unfair, wahhhh…
  • Why do so many people seem to eat whatever they want and live so happy and care free?  Some blogs only reinforce the thought, “Oh look at how much I can eat, I’m not a girly girl. Being careful about what you eat is for the birds!  You must be obsessive or weird to watch your food closely.”  When the reality is: some people gain weight much more easily than others.  And it’s okay to be that way too.  I mean right?  I am normal, right!?  Right??
  • Does it make me weird to have to watch what I eat?  I get razzed all the time at work about my affinity for avoiding sweets and packing healthy.  I’m not doing it to make others feel bad, I’m not doing it to prove my healthy supremacy, and honestly I just wish I could eat my weird healthy food in peace and quiet (and maybe hide it ;)).  AND, and… I don’t do it every day and I’m not perfect at it.  It doesn’t make me a bad person to have to watch my food.  It’s just my reality. Heck, it might be your reality too.

I was feeling sort of bogged down by all of these feelings.  A big contributor is not being able to run.  I think I never realized how much my running allowed me to be more flexible with my eating.  Now that I can’t run I do have to be much more careful.  I don’t want to say that I look at cake and gain weight, but let’s just say I’ve never been blessed with a super fast metabolism.  Such is life.

See! I’m running!

Image courtesy of Imgur

I have let the thought of meal planning for the rest of my days overwhelm me.  I sort of sulked about it and went to the “woe is me, poor Kelly will always have to be careful because she doesn’t have a killer metabolism. Life is so unfair.  What a tragedy.”  Yeah… let’s just say it was a pretty pathetic thing. Generally I just read the news and that helps me figure out there are much bigger problems in the world (seriously I recommend this tactic if you’re ever feeling some self-pity).  But still, it was a mood killer to be filled with these thoughts.  I continued to packed my lunch, still ate well, but I did so with a certain bitter flair.

Let’s face it… living healthy is a lot of effort.  I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I do try my best to be healthy (garh, cupcakes, cheese, and pb nom nom nom). To me my ideal ‘healthy-living’ looks like:

  • Packing a balanced lunch everyday
  • Grocery shopping once a week to make sure I have fresh stuff
  • Chopping parties to make sure I have easy to eat veggies/fruits.
  • Exercising 5-6 days a week.  And I love sleeping, so this is a big one.
  • Avoiding yummy, delicious foods in an office with treat bowls and tons of snacks/candy.
  • Will power. Using my stinking will power. Gosh it’s draining.

The past weekend I didn’t have full control of what I ate, (and I ate many sweets because, duh, it was a wedding) so I splurged a bit.  I was left feeling pretty lethargic, out of sorts, and honestly, kind of grumpy.  It sort of shook me out of my pathetic sadness funk and made me realize: Healthy living IS SO WORTH IT.  So I  dedicate this post to those days where you don’t want to keep living the healthy lifestyle, when you feel jealous that you can’t eat whatever you want all the time, and when you’ve forgotten why you keep at it every day.

Why it’s worth it:

  • Healthy living makes you feel your best.  It just does.  It’s like filling your car with the right fuel… it runs better.  When I’m eating well and exercising I feel more energized, less stressed, and happier.
  • Healthy living can help with other health problems.  When I’m eating well I also gain a clearer complexion, and less chronic aches and pains (less headaches mainly). Awesome side effect.
  • Healthy living to me means moderation.  It doesn’t mean I can’t ever eat sweets again (like mopey Kelly was convincing me), it just means that they stay treats.  They stay something I eat and enjoy on occasion.
  • Being stronger is awesome.  Seriously I love feeling like I can step up to the plate whether it’s moving boxes, cleaning, running, or dancing… I just feel more durable.
  • Eventually it is a great coping mechanism (instead of turning to food when I’m stressed).  For me, I FINALLY feel like this is starting to happen.  Honestly, I still turn to food when I’m super stressed (oh gosh, huge wedding decision must eat peanut butter.  THE WHOLE JAR YUM!).  But… it’s getting better.  I don’t feel the need to emotionally eat all the time.  It still happens, but I want my new coping mechanism to be exercise or yoga.  It’s taken me about a year to fix this habit (honestly I didn’t realize that I did it until a few months ago), but changing habits is hard.  Again – so worth it.
  • And a little vanity – heck it’s awesome fitting into clothes, it makes shopping less stressful, and I’m not scared of getting my picture taken.
  • Long-term.  I’m taking care of my body to last a long time.  I’m doing it for me, but also my future husband (eek!), future kids (I’m on the 10 year plan), friends, family, or anybody that wants me around for a while.  I want to be healthy for me, but also for them!
  • Healthy living makes me feel more ambitious and outgoing.  When I’m healthy I feel like I can conquer the world.  It’s an awesome feeling and is worth all the effort to make it happen.
  • Living my old lifestyle was JUST as draining, though not in the same ways.  Sure I’m not spending all the time up front… but I pay for it in the long run.  I feel more sluggish, less happy, and not nearly as optimistic.

Any more to add to the list?  Leave me your thoughts in the comments.  Let’s get pumped up on why it’s worth the effort!!

There’s a reason it’s called a “change of lifestyle” – it means learning new habits and acquiring new skills.  And it’s hard.  If it was easy we’d be a population of lean, healthy, fit people!  And there wouldn’t be such things as “healthy-living” blogs.  But at the end of the day… it is so worth it.  Now next time I’m complaining about being burned out or not wanting to chop another pepper, just point me to this post.  Truthfully, I just needed to write this letter to myself to remind me why I began it all!  And what an awesome journey it has been!

Happy Fitness, friends!

-Kelly

Yoga Class and Fun Updates!

9 Oct

Hey Gang!

It’s an exciting day all the way around.  Today I leave to head South for my big brother’s wedding (tear!). I’m thrilled for this weekend and literally just can’t wait to be down with family and friends to celebrate.  It will truly be a magical weekend.  AND…today is my first yoga class! Yep, you heard that correctly! Recently my gym at work started offering fitness classes during lunch and after work.  Talk about score!  Since I can’t run during the lunch hour like I used to, I decided to look into a nice alternative.  And brilliantly enough there are Mon/Wed yoga classes.  Double score.  Before I dive into the exciting events of today, let’s take a look back on the past week!

Visit from Adam!

Remember him?  Yeah, my fiancé was back in town this weekend.  The past two weeks he was on an outpatient rotation that allowed for weekends off.  Can you imagine, two weekends off in a row?!  Gosh, pure heaven.  We had a super productive, yet relaxing weekend.  In terms of wedding things, we finalized our ceremony and music (I LOVE it!), we had a bachelorette dress fashion show (see below), we went to THREE of our premarital requirements (including a half day premarital retreat with other couples), and we worked on printing labels for our invitations.  I have been blissfully giddy with all our productivity.  It is INCREDIBLE how much I love wedding planning when Adam is around, and how much I hate it when he’s away!  It was great to feel wedding-refreshed and really jazzed up about the whole thing.  Wedding planning seems to go in waves of excitement/stress, so this weekend was perfect.

We also had the chance to be fancy people and went on our first date in forever.   We dressed up and I even put on make-up (gasp!) for a visit to the symphony. It was a fantastic show and we really had a wonderful time just going on a date.  So. Much. Fun.

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Oh yes, such fancy people!

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We even had fancy people drinks!

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Funny story about this outfit: we bought it about an hour before our date. Adam forgot his dress clothes in Nashville!

Bachelorette Dress Showdown

My bachelorette party is coming up in a few weeks (crazy it’s so soon!!), so it was time to get more serious about finding a dress. I really hate shopping.  I know, I know, what’s wrong with me!?  Well, let me rephrase that: I hate shopping for specific items that I must find.  If it’s just a casual day roaming, great.  But a marathon day of hunting for every white dress in any store – BAHHH.  Somehow my sister talked me into a bachelorette party in New Orleans.  Yep, you heard that right.  A whole ridiculous weekend.  I have long felt ‘anti’ any big inconvenient weekends for these sorts of events…it somehow felt like an imposition on my friends.  My sister used some pretty good logic to talk me into it though: people won’t come if they don’t want to (true), AND all of my friends are incredibly spread out…meaning 90% of them would have to buy a plane ticket to come to the party no matter where it was, why not give them an awesome tourist destination and perfect weekend getaway.  I followed her logic, so to New Orleans we go!  12 girls will be there in total, so Julie was definitely right that it would be a hit decision!  For many of us, it will be the first time to NOLA :)  So onto the dress dilemma, here are the runner-ups and winner!

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Runner-up! I LOVE this dress, but it was deemed not “bachelorette” enough. My sister wants a real bridal look, and I’m happy to oblige.

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Runner-Up! Adam deemed this dress ‘a bit aggressive.’ Haha. Let’s be honest, it’s a little more risque with the leather skirt and tight fit. The picture doesn’t show off it’s full “aggressiveness.” Back to the store it went…

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Runner-Up! A comfortable dress, but didn’t have much of a wow factor. I ended up wearing this on our symphony date instead ($15.80 at Forever 21, score).

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WINNER! This dress is flappertastic and amazing to move in. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but all the tassels are so fun and flattering when I move. Can’t wait to wear it!

Winery Wedding

So this weekend is my BROTHER’s wedding – and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  I’m heading down early in order to be a slave happy, helper wedding bee.  I am so happy I could take some time off to be there to help get things organized and hopefully reduce stress in any way I can. My sister is flying in from Seattle, my Dad from somewhere (he’s a pilot, haha I don’t know where he is), me from Indy, and my Mom drove down so we’ll have a car for pick-up and errands.  I can’t wait to post pictures next week from the whole weekend.  The wedding is set in a winery, which is the place my brother and his fiancée went on their first weekend getaway.  Aww, so romantic.  They have been working so hard to make it a comfortable, beautiful, and memorable wedding.  I can’t wait to experience it.  Both my sister and I are bridesmaids and I will be singing with Adam in the ceremony.  Should be nice.

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Remember this dress? Time to wear it!

Yoga Benefits and Nerves!

Alright, onto the whole point of this post… my first yoga class.  Well truthfully, I believe this is actually my second yoga class ever, but this will be my first in what I hope is a new regular habit.  With all my dancing and strength training, I really wanted to add in a new activity that will help in flexibility and injury prevention. Especially now that my knee is even worse (don’t want to talk about it :S), I think yoga could be just the ticket.  I brought my own mat from home (yeah, I’m a total yogi) and will head over there around lunch time.  Honestly I’m a bit scared.  I’m so used to the comfort of my own living room to do yoga, and more specifically, the comfort of being ALONE! I’m not incredibly balanced or flexible so I know I will feel a bit silly.  I’m hoping this class will push me, help me have correct form, and make me more confident in my yoga skills. AND the big thing – make me enjoy it.  I’ll be honest, I’ve pretty much always hated yoga.  But I do understand how helpful it is, and over the last year I have learned to like it.  Or is it, tolerate it?  Either way, I know I do feel more relaxed and calm after I finish yoga, I just don’t know how I feel about the actual doing yoga part.  :) If you’re on the fence or just can’t get your mind around yoga, I’d suggest starting with a beginner DVD.  Forcing myself to do it just once a week has been very doable and has eased me into yoga very gently.  To help pump me up for class today I did a little research to find some health benefits of yoga.  Here’s what I found:

Yoga Health Benefits
  • According to the Mayo Clinic, Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood  pressure, and improve heart function (sweet).  And it can be done by almost anyone.
  • The Yoga Health Foundation even goes as far to say it can ease chronic back pain, depression and nerve impulses with diabetic patients.  It also listed something very near and dear to me: asthma and breathing. Several studies have shown increased lung function with regular yoga practice.
  • The Yoga Journal lists myriad benefits including improving blood flow, warding osteoporosis, and improving strength.

And that’s just after a quick google search!  The benefits are there, and I’m looking forward to stepping up my yoga practice from a once a week video to a twice a week class.  I look forward to more variety…  I feel like I’m ready for the next level!  Honestly I always hated yoga because I wasn’t good at it, and because it wasn’t a huge calorie blaster.  But, with my chronic knee pain I want to work out not only for a svelte figure, but for my health and longevity of being active.  I think yoga is a great answer for me.

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Remember, Adam and I got engaged using my Yoga Mat, hopefully those happy thoughts will push me through today :)

Send me your positive vibes as I nervously step into my first class today – I really hope it isn’t too hard and or ‘in touch with my feelings’ for me, fingers crossed I can get some practical yoga ;)

Happy Wednesday and have a great rest of the week!

-Kelly