Tag Archives: health

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

 

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

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?

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

ChaLean Extreme: 60 Day Results!

2 Oct

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Wow – it is hard to believe it has been 60 days of working out with Chalene (Well really 67, I pushed back a week per Dr.’s orders). It has been an awesome 60+ days and I am still enjoying the program.  I feel strong, I look forward to the workouts, and the time needed to complete them is working out quite nicely with my unusually full schedule.  Because I’m not following the diet plan prescriptively, I am likely not seeing maximum results.  Nonetheless I’m still pleased with my progress – at least what I can see with my eyes!  The numbers haven’t really changed, somewhat as expected.  Maybe my body has reached its happy place numbers-wise?  Totally possible.  I’m a few weeks from celebrating my “anniversary” of starting P90X and rededicating myself to regular fitness.  That’s one year of pumping it and working out – perhaps my body has found its new normal!  Either way, ChaLean is still a program I’d highly recommend, just keep in mind I didn’t use the program for huge changes…but based on others’ experiences, it is possible to have a transformation.

These results are based on:

  • Completing almost every ChaLean Extreme Workout (except for the week skipped for health reasons, and I missed the cardio video twice).
  •  Increasing the Ab video from once (as directed)) to 3 times a week.
  • Aiming for around 1500 or 1600 calories per day.  There were some cheat meals in there (the wedding and usually on weekends), during the week I am pretty disciplined. If you are looking for big results you’d have to be more strict.  Personally my balance of strict during the week and more relaxed on the weekends works well for me.
  • I’m not following the ChaLean diet Guide.

Tape Measure Results:

Waist: -.25

Chest: 0

Hips: 0

Thigh: 0

Bicep: -.25 on the left, 0 on the right

Weight:

-1 lb.

Muscle Definition:

Tough to measure, but again, according to my eyes I feel more defined.  My back and shoulders seem much tighter.  And really my arms are much stronger and tighter as well.  So far so good!

Body Fat %:

No change.

Up Next:

I just started the “Lean” Phase and the very last phase of ChaLean Extreme!  Hard to believe I’m coming to a close here soon.  I feel ready to really push it and make sure I finish strong.  The lean phase seems to be a bit longer (workouts 45 min instead of 35) so I’ll have to plan accordingly.  After ChaLean I’m considering doing another round of ChaLean Extreme, or possibly a round of P90X.  With the wedding falling during that time, I really want something structured.  Yep, I’ll admit, the desire to look trim and great for my wedding is alive and well.  What is that?!  I’ll be happy to have it behind me so working out can always feel fun again (okay mostly feel fun).  Sometimes when I feel like “I have to,” I don’t want to, and it begins to feel like a job.  Funny how that works.  Anyways…structure it is, because it does make it most enjoyable and doable for me!  Because I’m still having pretty significant knee issues I will stick to something lower impact.  But we’ll see, looking forward to finishing up!

And pictures… I forgot to have Adam take pictures of me last weekend (it was a busy, busy moving weekend full of pouring rain, crazy mishaps, and all sorts of ridiculousness).  BUT, he will return this weekend, so I’m going to ask he take some pictures then.  Hopefully I’ll finally get some stinking pictures up (cough cough, slacker, cough).  I have found it’s much, much harder to document my progress living alone.  Here’s to next time getting some better pictures.  Have a wonderful week!

-Kelly

ChaLean Updates!

26 Sep

Hey Friends!

I hope all has been wonderful!  It’s been a whirlwind of a two weeks for me full of a wedding (no, not my own, 114 days til that!), a time-out on working out (Dr.’s orders), and moving.  I always said that I wanted to blog because I had something helpful or valuable to share…and let’s face it folks – the last two weeks just haven’t been very interesting.  So I didn’t blog, because whatever I said would have been painfully boring.  Sure I’ve been busy, but who wants to hear “Oh my gosh I’m SO busy.”  Gross.  You’re welcome for not blogging.  Let’s try and keep this stuff relevant and interesting. ;)  Additionally, it’s one of those things where when faced with the choice of blogging about healthy living or actually trying to live healthy, I’m going to pick the latter every single time.

So what has been so important to keep me away from all my blogging friends!?  Well, a picture essay for you all to enjoy:

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A lovely South Carolina destination wedding!

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This lovely beach wedding was for Adam’s cousin, though sadly Adam couldn’t attend (stupid residency). I sang “Lucky” during the ceremony and had a lot of fun!

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Oh yeah, and I wasn’t the most healthful eater. Oops.

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But I caught the bouquet! Hooray! :)

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Packing up my apartment! My lease is up and I’m moving in with my soon-to-be in-laws (the coolest people in. the. world.) until the wedding. Call me old fashioned.

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I made egg scrambles for my parents. Let’s just say they were overwhelmed with my sheer amount of culinary talent.

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My Dad picked out his suit for the wedding! Isn’t he dashing?

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The bridesmaid dresses came in! I tried it on to show my gals! One lives in Seattle and the other in Atlanta, so pictures are everything! Please ignore the moving mess behind me. :)

Yeah – so life is crazy.  Anyone else out there a perpetual let’s-make-things-busier-than-needed person?  I do it every time.  But again, I must enjoy it :)  And if you’re crazy like me, I’m sure you do too!  Okay, onto some relevant updates!

ChaLean Extreme

I’m still pumping iron with Chalene and loving it!  I feel strong, lean, and really haven’t noticed adding any bulk.  This week I “restarted” week 4 of Phase 2.  Last week I had a non-emergent medical procedure that forced me to take 5 days off from working out (stir-crazy!).  I decided to just re-do my week and will begin my FINAL phase of ChaLean Extreme next week.  I’m still really enjoying the program and would HIGHLY recommend it as a terrific beginner program – because Chalene is so patient.  BUT, it’s also great for advanced folks because she really pushes you to lift heavy.  An awesome program.

I’ve also been doing some thinking on P90X vs. ChaLean and will have more words with a complete post – but I do find ChaLean to be an excellent introductory program to P90X.  I think it could really help people get ready to complete P90X successfully.  If you’re worried P90X is too extreme, ChaLean is a great thing to try, because it really offers many modifications (more modifications than P90X).  Additionally, ChaLean is shorter (avg. 40 minutes a day vs. 75 minutes a day).  If you’re not used to working out daily, adding just 40 minutes a day is more doable than the full 75 of P90X.  So if you’ve been wanting to give lifting a go – give P90X a try (I’m thinking of you Lucy!!).

That being said – coming from P90X to ChaLean hasn’t seemed like a huge step-down for me.  Sure it’s shorter and not as intense (time wise and variety of movements), but I think it’s been a needed break and variety while still pushing myself.  Honestly I recommend it either way.

I’m still struggling with the eating program.  It is not as structured as P90X, so I’m having a hard time sticking to it.  I’m doing sort of a hybrid of P90X/lower calorie thing.  It’s been semi-successful, but mainly I’m just trying to eat clean, healthy food.  Which I find difficult if I’m not structured, a struggle for me.  I’m not really doing ChaLean for weight loss (though I wouldn’t hate losing a pound or two) – so I haven’t stressed too much about staying to the recommended 1300 calories.  I will say – I would probably have better results if I followed that, but that’s just common sense!  Not practical for me at this point though.  But please note – your results will differ largely from mine if you do incorporate the eating program.

Knees

Yeah it stinks and still hurts and I still can’t do anything about it.  I try to run every couple weeks just “to check” to see if it’s better.  I ran yesterday to wake up to excruciating knee pain today.  I don’t have anything nice to say about it so I won’t say anything at all.

I’ve decided to abandon running to protect my knees for all the DANCING I’m doing.  I’m rehearsing choreography often and I feel like that’s enough strain on my knees.

Post-wedding I’m planning to get more serious as far as doctors, tests, solutions to my knees.  At this point I’ll just settle with being happy I can dance and do my lifting programs.  I don’t want to inflame them to the point I can’t work out at all.  Smart?  Yes I do agree.  So much for my “running” blog.  Yeah.  Poor me.  Hahah.  I think I’ll survive.

I think that’s enough for now.  Happy almost-Friday!

Kelly

When You Get Off Track…

11 Sep

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Maybe if I had an alarm clock like this I could get up…

Hi folks!  Happy Wednesday!  This week has been an awesome one and will continue to bring more excitement (eek!).  With a visit to Nashville on Monday/Tuesday (sigh, 3 weeks is too long without seeing Adam), and a wedding down in South Carolina on Friday and the rest of the weekend-  it’s completely full of awesomeness!  It’s during times of awesomeness (or complete crazy unpleasant stress) that I find it hardest to get my workout in.What to do when things are all out of sorts!?

Last night I got in super late from Nashville and this morning I. Could. Not. Get. Up.  My alarm rang and rang and I just kept pressing ignore (I have a bad habit of not being fully aware of this).  Suddenly I have 15 minutes until I have to leave, let alone workout!  I scrambled around, managed to get clothes on and throw together a lunch (I call that success).  Yet I sit here now kind of disappointed I didn’t get my workout in (that feeling always happens!).  There are several options when you skip a workout (if you have a set weekly schedule).

1. Push the workout back.  I could continue about my day as if it were a rest day.  Tomorrow I’ll do what I planned to do today.

2. Do the workout in the evening or afternoon.  I’m a morning worker outer (note, not a morning person), so the afternoon is always a great back-up.  And I would…but I have 2 hours of dance rehearsal tonight.  I won’t get home until 8:30 and likely won’t be in any physical shape to lift.  But… I could make it happen. No excuses right? Chooo Choo… do you hear the excuse train??

3. Skip the workout.  Come on Kelly, live a little!  Just skip the workout and tomorrow start “Thursday’s” workout.

Honestly I’ve done all three, and they all work.  :)  My favorite tends to be 2, as normally I can find a way to squeeze it in.  But what’s better on your body?  Switching up the routine?  Keeping at it?  Here are some thoughts on each of the options.

When to Push it Back:

If you have built in rest days and pushing back the workout by one day will not ‘mess up’ the next week, go for pushing it back.  This keeps your week on schedule, but just slides things back a bit.  Generally if I’m out of rest days and pushing back means I spill over into the next week I’ll stay away from doing this.  It’s okay to slide, but I hate getting that out of routine.  Getting so out of sorts makes it SO easy to skip more workouts.  Other times I won’t push back?  If I’ve already skipped a workout in the week.  One change up is great, two… is a slippery slope.  (I’m naturally so lazy, I gotta watch myself! One minute I’m working out and the next I’m laying on my couch pinning and eating white cheddar cheezits, yikes ;))

When to Do it No Matter What!

Some days if I sleep over my workout, I just have to make it happen no matter what.  If I have a free or ‘freeish’ evening I generally try to make this happen.  Also, if I’ve skipped workouts previously in the week, or had a pretty treat filled weekend (a la Labor Day) I will make the workout happen!  Generally I decide in the morning what option I’m going with.  This helps me mentally plan and prep for an evening workout.  I’m a huge expectations person, so talking myself into the workout nice and early is helpful!

When to skip the workout

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can’t make it work!  Times when I’m okay skipping?  If I’m sick or completely exhausted (like crazy-land exhausted, not just ‘meh I’m tired and don’t want to workout’ <– duh, that’s everyday).  I’ll also skip if somehow in my day I replaced the workout – i.e. went on a run at work, or a 2 hour dance rehearsal.  And finally, I’ll skip if I’m out of rest days and my day is so jam packed that I can’t do anything else.  Even if I’m disappointed in myself for not getting my rear in gear, I have to ‘forgive’ myself and move on!  Tomorrow is a new day – channel that energy to make tomorrow the best workout ever!!  Or just working out, I’ll settle for that too ;)

A fourth option – swap the workout.  If you don’t have time for a full workout but can get in something shorter, say yoga?  Do it!  I’ll do this option if I just ‘want to get something in’.  Something is better than nothing!

So what am I going to do today?  Honestly I’m not sure!  I’m hoping that I can talk myself into lifting after my dance rehearsal.  This is one of those situations where I won’t really be able to push back with the destination wedding this weekend.  Fingers crossed I’m not dead after my dance rehearsal!

Speaking of which… the first dance rehearsal for White Christmas was on Saturday!  I danced for 8 hours.  There was a dance workshop for 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours of learning the choreography to “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing.”  (Swoon!)  I felt like I had signed up for Dancing with the Stars. Seriously – imagine beautiful waltz, fabulous dress, spinning, lifting, dancing!  Oh dear goodness, excited and nervous!

Though…I am still sore (yeah, it’s Wednesday, that was Saturday).  I think that rehearsal was more difficult than most of my races – half or full! (except for that one marathon I didn’t really train for, yeah that sucked).  My knees gave me a bit of trouble so I’ve cut back on running – I may even have to kiss my November half-marathon goodbye (tear).  But I really feel like I have the responsibility to take care of my body with all of this dancing.  And if running is a known irritant… it just makes sense to lay off it for awhile.  It’s still a bummer to me that I can’t run normally without pain, but that’s another sob post. There are FIVE lifts in this ONE dance number, just to give you an idea of the physicality required.  I may spend my time doing abs and planks instead of running (cuz lordy, I’m gonna need it!).  I’m SO excited for the show – it should be amazing.

And because it’s Wednesday: here’s a wedding craft for you to enjoy.  Adam is a whiz and put these together for our tables – me on one side and him on the other.  Yay!

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Kelly 02Adam 02

Have a great rest of the week! :)

-Kelly

Edit: Also totally spaced that today is 9/11.  We must never forget!  (clearly I’m talking to myself).

How do you handle missed workouts?  Do you do option 1, 2, or 3… or another way of dealing? Any tips or advice when you get off schedule?

ChaLean Extreme: 30 Day Results!

27 Aug

Howdy folks!  Happy Tuesday to all!  This weekend was another busy one full of pine cone collecting (I now have 481!  HOW did that happen???  Maybe I can sell my extras ;)), gown fittings (for my bridesmaid and wedding dress), and wedding crafting (making myself some sparkly sticks for decorations).  Yes, life has been crazy.  But all this craziness has made me SO excited for the next few months.  I’m trying to front load my work as much as possible to just coast and enjoy almost-wedded bliss. (Or at least that’s my valiant plan ;))  Sounds perfect, right??

With things so busy I’ve had to make some decisions blogging wise and have settled on a new goal of blogging once a week.  It makes me sad to reduce (and hopefully you too?!), but I think it’s the best move to both enjoy blogging and keep my sanity.  But the good news is less spam for email followers.  SWEET!  :)

Up this week: ChaLean Results!  Woot!

For the last 30 days I have been thoroughly enjoying the ChaLean Extreme Burn Phase.  It’s actually incredibly hard to believe it has already been 30 days.  This has been a great reminder to me that time passes quickly whether you want it to or not, so may as well make good use of the time.  My time with Chalene has definitely been the definition of time well spent.  I feel stronger, more toned, and happier to be back following a routine.  I can’t say enough positive things about this program.

Because I started out from a place of pretty good fitness (Just finished 1.5ish rounds of P90X and 2 half-marathons), I DID NOT expect big changes, if any at all.  This does not mean that you can’t get big results from this program.  Personally I don’t have the high numbers to drop huge numbers (like I did when I started P90X) – I’m fairly close the smallest I could be naturally (and healthily and/or not hiring a personal chef/trainer).  Keep this in mind when looking at the results.  Additionally, I measured myself.  I feel I am not as accurate as when Adam did my P90X measurements.  He is a meticulous measurer :)

These results are based on the following:

  • Completing every ChaLean Extreme Workout
  • Switching one of the cardio videos for my long run in the last week (I plan to do this moving forward).
  • Increasing the Ab video from once (as directed) to 3 times a week (more similar to P90X).
  • Running 3 times a week (starting on week 2).
  • Aiming for around 1500 or 1600 calories per day.  There were 5-6 cheat meals throughout the month and overall I was not as disciplined as during P90X.  I have found it easier to remain disciplined during the week and relax a bit on the weekends.  This has proved to be a healthy balance for me.  But also has affected my results.  If you are looking to lose big time you’d have to be more strict.  My balance has been working great personally.
  • I am NOT following the ChaLean Diet Guide – mainly because I can’t cook (oops) and there are not many vegetarian options (I don’t eat several types of meat).  Also I’m a picky eater.  Haha. :)

Tape Measure Results:

Waist:   0

Chest:  -.5

Hips:   0

Thigh:   0

Bicep:   +.5   (interestingly, -.5 in the left…hmm, user error?)

Weight:

– 2 lbs.  I was pretty surprised and happy with this.  I feel like these 30 days took off the little extra fluff I gained during my running/P90X vacation :)

Muscle Definition:

This one is a tough thing to measure, but I feel like I look more defined.  Two people have commented that my body looks more toned (unsolicited, I swear!).  My abs seem to be popping out a tiny bit more (I still need to lose a few more pounds to uncover them completely ;)) and my shoulders seem tighter.  Overall I feel I am looking more lean.  It’s kind of fun to be a strong girl!!

Body Fat %:

-.5%  This one was REALLY tricky to measure on myself.  I can’t say I’m 100% confident in my measurement, okay let’s face it… not that confident at all!  But I believe there was a slight decrease down.  Either way – I’m feeling more toned which is the whole point anyway! :)

Wedding Dress:

Hah!  Don’t you love that there is a category for this??  One of my biggest “signs of success” with the program: my bridal fittings.  When I went in to get my dress hemmed I had to try it on again.  It fit and it looked great. (PHEW!)  I’m really pleased with how my arms and back are toning up.  I took a few pictures and actually was a little surprised at how much I liked it.  I tend to be somewhat critical of myself (um, like every girl), and I was excited that I what I saw on the camera phone.  SWEET.

Up Next:

I have now moved into the “Push” phase and I’m excited to keep moving with the program!    So far so good.  I haven’t noticed “bulking up” at all.  Overall I feel the muscle gain has been very lean and slimming.  Can’t wait to see what Phase 2 brings!!  At this point I would recommend this program to anyone!  I’ll wait until I’m completely finished before making any large declarations though.  :)

Also – I would post my pictures, but my self timed pictures are seriously horrendous.  In what is visible, I was happy with the slight changes.  Hopefully next month I can get someone to take some actual pics.  It’s tough to do on your own!

Have a great Tuesday!

-Kelly