Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My Real Age

I took the Real Age quiz. My chronological age is 48.4 years. According to the results of the quiz, my real age is 41.5.

Even better, two people recently have guessed my age at 35 and 38 respectively. (A wonderful fact that I would make into a button and wear on my clothing if I could....talk about flair!)

If I only could remember to floss every day. I bet that quiz would have come up with 38 too.

And, if I could stand fish, I might end up knocking so many years off that I could end up living to be 116, like the oldest woman in the world, who died just today, a month shy of her 117th year.

116 would be cool. As long as you can function, of course.

Omega 3 supplements, here I come.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Book recommendation

For all this talk about small waists, I need to clarify that my real goal is getting fit. I am about as shallow as the next woman, which is to say, a little, but not very. I do think about my appearance, but I'm not obessesed. Having been plain most of my life helps me keep my priorities straight. I can't imagine what a woman who was a beauty must be going through as they age. We all know that many of them turn into plastic surgery freak shows, but they are concentrating on the wrong thing. Aging naturally, with health as the focus, is more attractive than tightly stretched skin and oddly upturned eyes.

I am aging. I know I cannot prevent it. It scares me sometimes, as I have no role model for healthy, active aging.

Vain or not, I know that eventually my skin will look like drapery. Underneath those drapes though, I want muscles that will take me places and a brain that will still be interested in the world around me.

I am 48, halfway to 49. I still have 30+ years to live, maybe 40. Maybe more, if I'm lucky. I can take the path of most Americans - sedentary life, poor eating habits which inevitably leads to a long, slow decline in health. First come the creaky joints and aches and pains for no reason that are considered a normal part of aging. I'll be unable to open jars, will have to rock to get in an out of a chair or push myself out of it with my arms.....as years go and weakness deepens and I won't be able to carry my groceries or my grandchildren. My posture will slouch, I will become more isolated, my brain will atrophy to the point where I only talk about the good old days...eventually I may end up in a wheelchair, old...whithered....put in a nursing home for the purpose of waiting to die.

Exercise can change all of that. Eating right can change all of that.

You know it's true.

We have seen those 60 year old dudes riding their bikes in their spandex and they look great. We've seen the 70 year old who can still run a marathon. We see the 80 year old who still skis, and we see the 90 year old who enjoys dancing night after night and who drives all her less active friends around.

They aren't freaks of nature.

They are normal. The freaks of nature are the 80 year olds who can't cross the street before the light turns green.

The trick to getting across that street is vigorous exercise.

The trick to vigorous exercise is staying motivated, and remembering why you are doing it.

A great reminder is this book. Read it and see what you think. Oh, there is a version for men too - in fact, the woman's copy I linked to was a rewrite of the men's version - a bestseller. It's written by a guy in his 70s who changed his life by exercising, and also by a doctor who is a gerontologist and has researched the subject.

It's a very motivational book, not to mention written in a very accessable style. I highly recommend it, and if you are a friend or relative, you'll likely be getting it for your next birthday.

I'd lost motivation. In part because of that custodian (more on that later) and in part because it's so hard with my busy life as a mother to find the time. But, I have been lifting weights 30 minutes a day each morning, and walking the dog 30 minutes each night. I am going to notify the family that they need to pull together to help me find a little time for myself so I can be more active.

I'm thinking of doing this: http://www.dropandgiveme20.com/

It sounds like fun. I have signed up for a test class. The only problem is that it is a crushing 10 mile drive in rush hour traffic to get there - it'll probably take me 40 minutes to get there. That means my husband has to leave work early on the nights my older one can't watch the younger - and it means they'll eat dinner on their own. Plus, I'm afraid the rise in blood pressure from the horrendous traffic getting to and from the base will negate any positive effects I'll get. But, we'll see, and I'm going to try.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lack of planning is key?

I've been thinking. While quitting beer likely contributed to my loss of inches around the waist, that isn't all I've been doing. I've also been eating healthy. And, I've been lifting weights at home.

But here's the thing. I've not written it down, blogged about it, planned it, or kept track of it in any way. I just kind of do it when I feel like it, which is mostly every day, but not always.

So, in my mind, without the books and details....it kind of doesn't count.

But, the results do.

I have been working on upper body mostly. I have medicine balls and dumbells at home, and each morning I just do a few minutes of lifting. I typically do two sets of 12 of whatever, unless I feel like more. Mostly bicep curls, rows, and several different triceps exercises. I also add on lunges now and again or do combination exercises. I do crunches with a 6 pound medicine ball too.

I walk with my dogs for at least 30 minutes a day. Depending on which dog I walk, I am sometimes trotting - my greyhound can go at a clip when he sees my other dog out ahead, and I let him catch up. Sometimes it's a quiet stroll. But, it is every day. Dogs are good for not letting you get away with retiring to the couch when they think it's time for a walk.

My typical diet is: breakfast of half a whole grain English muffin with peanut butter and some fruit. Snack is a yogurt. Lunch is a salad with chicken. Snack is more fruit. Dinner is for the family, so it's typically chicken or beef, vegetables, starch. Tonight we are having babyback ribs, beans and salad. I drink lots of water and iced tea.

I'm not trying to eat in any particular way - I'm just eating what I like. (Did I mention my scoop of Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar crunch each night?)

So, this unplanned, unintended healthier lifestyle has contributed to my slightly flatter stomach as well. And, while a flat stomach is a goal, it's not THE goal.

A healthy middle-age is, and that is the point. I'm just figuring out how to get there.

Maybe that's the secret for me. Just do it, don't talk about it. :)

Here is a site I found that has some fabulous information on nutrition and some excellent recipes:


Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Health

I have lost almost two inches around my waist and an inch on my belly, without even trying.

How?

No more beer.

I had gotten into a daily beer habit without even thinking about it. For the past couple of years, my husband would get home from work and we'd crack a beer together and chat while I fixed dinner. Then, after dinner, and after walking the dog, we'd have another, and then one more after the kidlet was bed and we'd settle down to watch TV. It became a daily ritual.

Let me back track and say that I come from a drinking background - both my parents are alcoholics. Serious ones, although they will never realize it. In their minds, if you had a house and a job, you couldn't be an alcoholic, no matter how much you drank.

Their drinking hurt us all as children, with both physical and emotional abuse. It's disgusting to see them continuing now, in their 70s. They can do nothing without alcohol. Everything in their lives revolves around drinking. Having people over means a reason to drink. Hell, having the sun rise means a reason to drink. All birthdays/anniversaries/happy occasions must be celebrated with booze. A sad day means it's time to get drunk. We see them once a year, bringing the grandchildren. They crack the scotch bottle by noon.

I've seen my overweight friends do this too. A birthday means cake. A child's good grade means cookies. A bumped toe means candy. Everything must be celebrated or consoled with food. My parents did this, only with alcohol. They gave me vermouth as a very young child to calm me when I got upset. When I was 10, they bought me a kalua and cream drink in a restaurant on my birthday. When I graduated from high school, they made me late because I had to wait for them to finish their second round of cocktails. Yes, they had to drink before my HS graduation in a church.

The worst name my dad can call you is "teetotaler."

They will not participate in activities that don't involved booze. This is nothing new - back when I was a teenager I remember my mother throwing a temper tantrum because her annual trip to Ashland, Oregon to see the Shakespeare Festival might not involve alcohol.

Seriously.

That year the plan had been changed, and she was scheduled to attend with a non-drinker, and I clearly remember her screaming at my Dad about how she wasn't going to have fun if she couldn't drink the way she wanted.

Screaming. She threatened to back out of the trip - because somebody else might not drink with her.

Amazing.

I think that was the first time I realized these people were alcoholics and not just the "social drinkers" they protrayed themselves to be. I remember thinking with disgust that the point of the festival to watch Shakespeare, not drink.

Still, I drank a lot when I moved out, mainly because I didn't know what else to do. It was what had been modeled for me, and what I knew. When I had my son though, I realized that I didn't want to raise my child the way I had been raised, so essentially I stopped drinking. I became a true social drinker - only at parties, only at a restaurant. And only beer, because I drink it so slowly it doesn't make me tipsy.

But, lately, the daily habit has crept into my life, and I didn't even realize it. You get older, you get into habits, into a rut. I still don't get drunk drinking a few beers a night, and I don't believe it affected me negatively. I'm not sure what normal drinking is, but I figure a couple of beers is probably normal. Plus, if I didn't have any in the fridge, oh well, I had water. It's not like I would go crazy if I didn't have any, or get upset or run out to the store.

Seeing my parents again a few weeks ago put alcohol back in the spotlight of my life. Their health isn't good, and alcohol plays a role in that, although they are in denial and don't see it. They aren't going to their oldest grandchild's wedding, because of "health" reasons. (My father very likely has alcohol-related neuropathy.)

This time I turned that spotlight on myself. Even if don't drink hard liquor, even though I don't get tipsy, and even if I don't think I'm overdoing it and I know I'm not an alcoholic - what is the point of drinking beer instead of water?

There isn't one.

So, I stopped. About a month ago. It wasn't a plan. I didn't sit down and say, "I'm drinking too much, I might end up like my parents, I need to quit." Basically, we didn't have any beer at home and I didn't get any more. That's it. I didn't even think about it. My husband brought some home a few days later, but I didn't feel like it. And, I still don't.

I'm not quitting, but I'm not drinking either. I just don't want any.

So, I was surprised when I noticed my stomach seemed to be flatter. I guess the 450 calories or so that I was getting daily from my beer intake made a big difference. I've lost a lot of my belly and my waist has shrunk, without my doing anything. It's great! I'm inspired again, so I am now back to crunches at home and lifting weights at home daily, and when I go back to work in three weeks, I'll fit the gym back into my schedule. I think that maybe a woman my age CAN have a flat belly if she tries.

I'm going to try. I want flat, toned abs by my 50th birthday, so I can wear that bikini on the beach in Hawaii.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Long time

Yes, it has been a while since I posted. Or, worked out. I am doing some minor weightlifting at home, but I haven't been to the gym. Frankly, that custodian is a problem, and I avoided the gym because of him. But, I also got out of the habit - I worked so much at the end of the school year, plus my son had little league every night, that time ran out. It became difficult to get to the gym, and stressful having to worry about who would be there when I did go. So, I gave it up.

This summer, I had hoped to get back as I knew this custodian was going out of town for July, but unfortunately, I was busy doing other things. My house is very clean for the first time in a while, which is a good thing. My son is taking swimming and piano, and I am having my niece and nephew visit with me for the next two weeks, so my days are full. I have 8 pound dumbbells I'm using each morning to keep some semblance of exercise going, and I will, once again, return to the gym after school when I start back to working.

But, I will essentially be starting over.

If I do not go within a month, I will give up the gym membership as I can't afford to keep it up if I'm not using it.

My sister's fiance pointed out that it is very difficult to accomplish something like this when you are at the mercy of somebody else's schedule - such as when you have children and their activities. However, the point for me was to overcome all of these obstacles rather than give in to them, so in a sense, I have failed.

But, my desire is still there, and I intend to try again.

As for my migraines, the botox helped again. I had been having daily bouts of vertigo, which was new. I'd always had the dizzy spells, but they were rare......once every few months, once a month at the most. Sometimes I could go a year without having one. However, the past year I'd been getting them daily. And, once it happened when I was driving, which scared me. I realized that while having vertigo on my couch while watching TV is not dangerous to my health, having dizzy spells while driving certainly is. I was resolved to discuss it at my next doctor's appointment, and also request a neurologist visit as the attacks had escalated.

The botox, however, completely cured me of the vertigo. I've not had one attack since I got the shot. I don't understand the mechanism that allowed this to happen, but I'm grateful for it.

The botox did not, this time, prevent any migraines, but it did lesson the chronic daily headache that I experience and that is a relief.

The sad part is the botox is already wearing off, and it's only been 3 months. Many people get 4-6 months out of it, but I'm not one of those people, sadly. At least there is one place on my body my muscles are powerful!

This week alone, I have had two disasterously painful migraines. Frighteningly, my Imitrex didn't work to control either of them, and I was right back where I was before Imitrex came on the market. I spent hours in bed, vomiting, in agony, in pain, light stabbing my eyes, smells unbearable, knives jammed into my skull. I can only hope that it was an anomoly, or that I got some old Imitrex or something. I can't go back to living like that again.

I will schedule another botox shot for the first week of August. I go back to work in early August so I will eventually be able to pay for it. I'm beginning to think it's a necessity for me, but how I am to come up with an extra $500.00 every three to four months, I don't know.

I guess I'll have to get creative. Maybe it's time to revive my ebay business.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I did it.

Thursday, I got a botox shot. I opened a CareMark Medical credit account to pay for it - no interest if I pay it off in 18 months. I hate using credit, but I hate the headaches more.

I went to a real doctor this time instead of a salon. Botox still makes me look a bit odd, but I don't look as odd as I did last time, and I may not have to cut bangs. That extremely deep line in the center of my forehead between my eyes is gone, which is a nice bonus. I wouldn't pay $450 to remove that line, but it's still nice that it's not there. I don't look angry now.

I would (and did) pay $450 to get rid of a migraine - yet I still have a headache. I don't remember how long it took to work last time I did it, which, by the way, was in 2004 and not 2005. I think a week, so I am not giving up hope. My forehead is still in the process of freezing up, so the botox has not completely paralyzed everything yet. Almost though.

Last time I still had pretty full range of movement - this time, not so much. I can't even give the "mom" look, except with the intensity of my eyes.

My eyes can get pretty intense, eyebrow furrows or no.

My doctor told me that he was not treating me for migraines, only wrinkles. :) I understand that, as he said he would need to do a full work-up with CT scans, etc., to treat a migraine. So, officially, I'm a vain woman who hates her wrinkles. (I like my wrinkles, really.)

He did tell me that he believed botox would eventually be the standard of care for migraine sufferers, and his patients had all reported success. He asked me how I knew about it for migraine and I told him I'd been following the clinical trials and decided to try it. He said that was unusual; nobody had done it the way I had in his practice.

Back to getting fit. I've not exercised in so long I think I'm officially starting over. I'll take new pictures and everything. I was complaining about the lack of exercise the other day, and my elder son told me my arms still had muscles, but I don't know.

Tomorrow, I get off work at 3:30 and Son #2 has a dentist appointment at 4:00 and a Little League game at 5:00, so I won't even try. Maybe Tuesday, as I think there are no plans. Wednesday is my last day of articulation, and so that will be a non-workout day too.

I've kind of lost my motivation, which means I HAVE to do it.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

It is what it is.

I am on week three of a migraine. I am controlling it with Imitrex and large doses of painkillers. The number of painkillers this 100 pound lady has taken the past two weeks would probably kill a regular person like you. But, me? It just gets me to normal, baby.

Unfortunately, a person with a migraine, even one under the influence of drugs, absolutely cannot exercise. The under-control pain would become excruciating - quickly.

Last week, Monday and Wednesday, I had 12 hour days at work. It's "articulation" at my school (articulation is eduspeak for registration for next year's students) and I am working it. I go to work at 9:30 a.m. and leave at 9:30 p.m., so no time for exercise, even if my head wasn't pounding. That also means I've had my fill of Starbucks and fast food.

Damn, I love me some Jimboy's beef tacos with a double tall mocha.

We have another articulation night Monday, and again next Monday, and then I am done with late nights for a month, until the end of school where I will be handing out certificates to the graduates.

On stage.

In front of thousands of people.

I need to get rid of this belly.

In the meantime, my son broke his twin block mouth appliance, the thing that is keeping me from my own dental improvements, so we have had two dental appointments in between my working hours, and of course, he has baseball twice a week.

Whew.

Needless to say, I've not been to the gym. I am rather upset, and feel like I've lost any gains I may have made. I did walk the dog three times, thanks to Cesar Millan, but that is all the exercise I got.

I could go on a rant about migraines and being a chronic pain sufferer, but there really would be no point.

It is what it is.

My very favorite saying.

I have been looking for a clinical trial for botulism toxin for migraine. I know it's in Phase III, but apparently not in my area.

In March, 2005, after hearing about successful phase II clinical trials for migraine sufferers, I paid for a botox shot, just to see. I really didn't believe it would work - I have a particularly intractible type of headache that only 1% of migraine sufferers have. Yet, it did work. It didn't get rid of them entirely, but I had one or two in three months, rather than five or six in one week. Plus, miraculously, I didn't have the chronic, low-level headache I have always had, my whole life. It felt quite odd, to tell you the truth, not to have a headache. But, at $400, it was a one time treat.

(For those interested, I did not look younger or more attractive. I looked like Gloria Swanson, and if you don't know who that is, it's worth a google.)

Recently, I saw an ad in the newspaper for a botox shot for new customers for $159.00 and after this long period of pain, I'm considering doing it again. We don't have the money this month unless I can really get creative with our food choices and take it out of that budget.

I'm starting to think it's a necessity though. It would also be interesting to see if this shot would help with some of the other, newer and more intense migraine symptems I'm experiencing, such as vertigo and aphasia.

Back to Ann Getting Fit. It's bikini season, and I'm no better off than I was a month ago. I had hoped to be able to wear a bathing suit comfortably by now, but I've still got work ahead of me.

Ah well, all we can do is our best. It is what it is. This headache will end, and I will try again.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Warm weather

We are having a warm spell. Finally - we are months overdue for it. There are suddenly a lot of people in the gym.

Now, I would have thought that I'd be seeing people who were a little flabby or whatever suddenly realizing that summer is coming and they might have to wear a bathing suit.

But, I'm seeing very toned young men and women all of a sudden.

Does the warm weather bring them to the gym? What are they doing when it rains?

(Don't answer that.)

Bottom half today, but I had to cut my workout short, as I thought my eldest son was going to work. He wasn't. :(

Baseball tomorrow, but I'll still get some time in.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm back

I didn't work out the entire week I was off.

I am a creature of habit, and my schedule changed, and I couldn't handle it. Stuff kept coming up, and my plan got lost. So, I need to prepare for when summer break comes, so this doesn't happen then.

I planned to go yesterday, but my oldest son broke his finger, so I had to take him to the doctor. I went today though.

I had to drop some of the weights back a little. That is sad, that I lost some strength and momentum in only a week.

I weighed myself on their scale, and it said 108!!! That can't be right. I don't think I've lost any weight, and I have been hungrier than normal, and maybe ate a bit more than typical over the holiday week.....but no way could I have gained that much weight. It better be muscle, and bloating, or both.

The last time I weighed 108, I was five months pregnant.

More salads, starting tomorrow.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

IKEA workout

Today is the fourth day in a row I haven't worked out.

The kids and I are off for Easter Break, and my oldest son was in Disneyland for a few days. He normally does babysitting duties while I run errands/workout/etc. He wasn't here, so I was trapped at home. By the time he got back, unexpected company had invited themselves over, so I had to shop, clean and cook. Today I'd promised to take him to IKEA to get some bookshelves, and we got back too late.

Or, was it too late?

So, this is day four. I'm afraid I'm going to give up my gains.

Excuses aside, I also have trapped my mind into thinking I can only go after 2:00. For two reasons: the first is that that talkative custodian starts work at 2:00, so I know I'm okay going after then. The second reason is I expect it's a lot less crowded then.

I feel guilty. I think a really dedicated person wouldn't have let errands get in the way. I feel like I should have scheduled my kids and chores around my workout, rather than the other way around. And, if I could have gone in the morning yesterday and today, maybe I would have.

Tomorrow, I will try another club to avoid the custodian problem. One in the chain is female only. But, they don't have tanning.

IKEA was interesting though. First time I have been - it's new in my city. Its kind of like a casino. You lose all sense of time in there - it's unbelievably huge. The lighting section alone is about the size of a football field.

In fact, I walked for three hours, so while my heartrate never got up (except when I got frustrated trying to find bulbs for the lamps I bought) I was on my feet, at least.

I feel a little better now.

Monday, April 10, 2006

As promised...

Here I am before going out to dinner on my 48th birthday.



I changed my hair the other day though - I now have added some big bronze streaks in the front and cut bangs. Fun! My camera sucks though, and none of the pictures turned out. I had to really play with this one to make it come out visible - my camera only takes shadows.

No workout today as it stopped raining and it looks like my youngest will be playing baseball.

My typical workout now looks like this:

Upper body
Chest presses, 40 pounds, 2 sets of 12, 30 pounds 2 sets of 12.
Seated Rows, 40 pounds, 2 sets of 12, 30 pounds, 2 sets of 12.
Overhead Press, 10 pounds, 2 sets of 12. (Weak on this one)
Lat Pull down, 37.5 pounds, 3 sets of 12.
Triceps push down, 40 pounds, 3 sets of 12.
Bicep curls, 10 pounds, 3 sets of 12.
Triceps overhead, 12 pounds, 3 sets of 12.

Lower Body
Leg extensions, 40 pounds, 2 sets of 12, 30 pounds, 1 set 12.
Leg press, 90 pounds, 3 sets of 12
Leg curl 40 pounds, 2 sets of 12, 30 pounds, 1 set 12.
Thigh Abductor, 40 pounds, 3 sets of 12
Thigh Adductor, 40 pounds, 3 sets of 12
Standing Calf Raises, 40 pounds, 3 sets of 12
Kickbacks, 30 pounds, 3 sets of 12.

60 crunches with 2 pound medicine ball
60 twist crunches with 2 pound medicine ball.

I do those on alternate days, with the exception of the crunches, which I do daily.

So, I've made some progress with increasing weights.

I am seeing muscles in my biceps and thighs, but no changes in my stomach.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I'm 48 now!

It looks nice from up here. I got a pretty pink sapphire ring for my birthday.

I took a 48th birthday photo before we went out to eat, and as promised, I'll post it later on. Didn't work out today, my youngest had a dentist appointment.

Went horribly off my eating plan today, due to baby showers in the office. Cake. Cookies. Punch. Arg.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Grouchy

My 48th birthday is Wednesday.

I'm not grouchy about that though.

It's the constant rain - 20 days of rain in March and 100% of days in April.

Back to my birthday. Today, I got this card in the mail from my mom.

It says, on the outside: "You're so special."

On the inside: "How often I think of you and smile!"

Her handwritten note underneath says: "Well, maybe not every time but most times. But, you're always special."

WTF?

Did she insult me?

Is the "but" in the second sentence a giveaway? What does 'not every time' mean, anyway?

Hard to know. I'm grouchy, but still not grouchy enough to remind her she shouldn't smile too much anyway for fear her dentures will fall out.

The way I see it, if I'm keeping her from smiling, keeping her teeth in her mouth, that means I'm a good daughter.

Maybe that's what she meant too.

Anyway, I'm grouchy because of the a) everlasting rain, but also because b) I am PMSing and yes, assholes, we two-days-away from 48 year old women still do that.

How attractive. Wrinkles, saggy butts, nightsweats, along with zits and premenstrual bitchiness.

No wonder so many middle-aged men buy red sports cars.

I'd speed away from me in a car that could get me thrown in jail too, if I could.

I'm also grouchy because c) I didn't work out today. I had to come home and start dinner, as it was a three hour simmer meal. Then I had to take some broken earrings back - earrings I never even got a chance to wear. (Don't get me started on the quality of the stuff we buy these days or that might count as grouch factor d).

So, I had to walk through Macy's to do my return, and of course, had to hit the 80% off rack. I found two tops, $20.00. (Hey, it's my birthday treat for myself.) Then, I took the earrings back and wow......time change madness! It's already 6:00, I have to go home and stir the food.

I actually had planned to skip today anyway, as my arms are still a bit sore from my previous upper body workout. Muscles grow while they are healing, not while they are working out, so I gave them some California healing time.

I'm going to baby them, and might even file a harrassment lawsuit if they don't feel centered enough soon.

This week, I'm deliberately planning an a three day upper/lower split, then next week, back to every day.

I'm going to post a picture of myself on my 48th birthday, and post a poll where my readers guess my age. Anybody who guessed 45 and above gets IP blocked from my site.

Yeah, I'm a grouch.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It's new!

I'm sitting on the couch, watching TV. I rubbed my arm. I don't know why, maybe it itched, maybe it is sore, more likely because I'm a fidgety person. And, I feel a bump.

What is that?

A muscle.

In a place I didn't know a muscle was.

I suppose I should read up on muscle names. I know tricep and I know bicep, but it's not one of those. It's kind of on the outside side of my arm, kinda between the bicep and tricep.

It's definitely new.

Okay, I know I've had it all along, but I can feel it now. I can feel it when I'm relaxed, and even more so when I make a fist.

I have been lifting weights an hour a day for exactly 16 days. I have taken three days off in those 16 days, but until now, I did arms daily.

So in 13 days, I can feel a definite muscle that I couldn't feel before?

Is that possible?

Either I am getting stronger fast, or I'm so focused on what I'm doing that I'm noticing muscles that were always there, that I never noticed before.

The placebo effect?

I prefer to think it's the former.

If I was delusional, then wouldn't I imagine my belly getting smaller and my butt getting tighter too? Those are more important. Sadly, I don't see that.

I just felt it again. It's real. There is a muscle there where there wasn't before. And, it's harder on the right side than the left.

This weightlifting thing might work on an old lady, after all.

I'm so good

Today, I spent the morning preparing meals to take to work with me.

I made a big salad with iceburg lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, red pepper, tomato and green onion, and I divided it into two cup containers. I added some sliced chicken breast with a side of zero-fat Italian dressing, and now I have my mid-morning snack. I also am putting together sandwiches for lunch - two pieces of whole grain bread, three slices of peppered deli turkey, mustard greens and spinach, and low-fat spreadable swiss cheese, and I have a delicious sandwich. I've sliced mangos, bananas and two kinds of grapes and packaged them up too, in case the sandwich isn't enough.

And, I found a delicious whey protein drink right in my grocery store.



It's really, really good. I drink a cup of this right before leaving for my work out, mixed with a little creatine, and I'm ready to go.

All it takes is a little planning, and now I know I won't get stuck without any food and have to order Jimboy's tacos this week.

I'm still a bit fuzzy on nutrition. I know what to eat, but not exactly how much. I know I need to eat six meals a day, and it should be clean food, and that is not a big problem for me. Breakfast is typically one Omega 3 whole egg with 1/2 cup egg beaters, and 1/2 cup of oatmeal. Meal two and three is as described above. After my workout, I slam two scoops of whey protein powder in a glass of OJ, and if it's early enough, I eat a banana. (Sometimes, I get home right before I have to cook dinner, and then I skip the fruit.) Dinner (Meal 5) is the hardest because I'm feeding the whole family and they will certainly get tired of chicken and vegetables, but so far, so good. Tonight, we are having pork tenderloin with sweet potato, so that's okay. I don't typically eat a meal six - sometimes I'll have some fruit but we eat dinner between 7:00 and 7:30 and it's too late for me to eat anything after that.

Sometimes I have a beer or two though, I suppose that can be considered meal six.

I've not lost weight, and I seem to be starting to build muscle, although it's early yet, so we'll see how it goes.

One thing I can tell you. I'm a lot hungrier than I used to be.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Crushing weights

You know you had a good upper body workout when turning the steering wheel on your car seems difficult. I did a lot of triceps work today, and can really feel it.

I am branching out now, and trying new machines. I'm watching other people and seeing what they do, and am trying that. Saturday after 4:00 is a good time to go and experiment, because the gym is almost empty.

I wish I knew more free weight exercises. I get one more personal training session, and I will concentrate on free weights at that time. I want to do a squat and I want to use a barbell.

I've completely lost my fear of the gym.

I have gained a new fear though.

A new custodian started at the school where I work. He works from 2:00 p.m. to I don't know when. He is extraordinarily friendly and outgoing. He's like this with everybody, but he seems to have fixated on me.

At first, I just thought it was his gregarious personality that made him come and talk to me before starting work everyday, but now I think it's something a little more than that. He won't start his day until he comes by to talk with me, and he wants to make sure he cleans my area right. He walked me to the car one day and gave me a hug, and he has to give me a "high five" several times each day - but it's not a slapping, jovial high five, but a palm-to-palm touch. He tells me at least three times each conversation how much he likes me, and he even tells my student Office Assistants the same.

Yesterday, he brought me candy. Not expensive candy or anything, but a big bag of Reeses Peanut Butter cups.

The thing is, he didn't give anything to the two ladies who are in the same office I am in. He doesn't stop by their desks to talk to them.

So, I'm not sure I can put this in the category of only "friendly" anymore.

He doesn't pick up social cues well. Several times, I was very busy counting money - and we are talking tens of thousands - and I barely acknowledged him. Yet, he kept persisting, and no amount of ignoring him, looks of concentration, emphasizing the counting or anything made him go away. He had to have his conversation with me.

He knows I'm married, and he is married too. I have pictures of my kids on my desk. So, I have no idea what he thinks might happen or what he's hoping for, but whatever it is, it ain't gonna.

I'm a big girl and I can handle a guy with a crush or lust in his heart or whatever, and I'm not going to file any sexual harrassment lawsuits. But, it is unwanted attention that, even if it has no ulterior motives (and that's possible,) it is behavior beyond my comfort level.

So, what's the problem? What does this have to do with Ann Getting Fit?

He belongs to the same gym I do. And, he constantly, and I mean every day, talks about working out, and when I go, and when we can workout together.

I suspect it's because he wants to put his hands on me to "help" me with a weight.

So far, I've not seen him at the gym. I go after work when he is still working. And, weekends I've been lucky. But, I just know that some day he is going to be there, and I'm going to have a problem.

The thing is, even his flirtation (if that's what you call it) aside, when I work out, I want to concentrate. And, this man cannot be quiet.

He is very muscular though, and he looks like he lifts heavy. He might actually be able to show me something.

But, I don't think it will be what he wants to show me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quick note

I haven't posted in a couple days, but I have done my workouts. I've increased my sets/reps on the upper body to three x 12. I can't finish all 12 on the last set, so I'll keep the weights the same until I can, then I up them.

I couldn't go today, sadly. And, tomorrow I can't either because I have a work-related party I must attend. (I got the cutest dress at Bebe for it!)

According to everything I read, I should be resting more than I do anyway, but I don't want to lose momentum.

There is no question now that my biceps are a bit rounder than they used to be. It's not the kind of thing that would be obvious to anybody but me, and my husband, but it's true.

I have lost a 3/4 inch on my waist! Nothing on the belly though, which is what I'm bothered by.

More later....

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Unbelievable transformations

I still haven't gotten the book, Body for Life, in the mail yet.

I've been checking out the online Body for Life Transformations, for inspiration. I even read the application form and am considering taking the challenge myself. Not all women started out overweight - some started out like me, aging, a bit soft, and they ended up really muscular.

But, some of it.....well, I think they are flat out lies.

Like this guy:

Supposedly, this man was 60 in the picture on the far left. The middle picture of him is three months later.

WTF?

Do you really think a 60 year old man could do that in three months?

I don't.

I'm not even sure it could be done in three months with steroids. Or surgery. In three years, yeah, I might believe it, and it would still be remarkable due to his age. Three months? He either looked like that before, and used tricks of lighting and a stuck-out stomach in his before picture, or it's a plain lie.

Currently, he's pretty hot for his mid-60s though, I have to say.

I'd do him.

Anyway, looking at that guy, I think the Body for Life Challenge is a semi-scam. I say semi, because I'm sure the plan works, but to enter the contest, you are required to take their supplements. That is the first clue. Unbelievable results like the man above are the second.

I'm not saying that some people don't make remarkable progress, and I'm not saying that all of those before/after pictures are fake - probably most of them are not. But, a few of them clearly are so far out of the norm that I think they fall into the realm of impossibility. I believe the diet and exercise advice in the book is probably sound, but good results can be achieved without using any supplements. The fact that you must use them to enter their contest is a classic example of hucksterism.

So, I probably won't enter.

Good workout again today. I did upper body. Chest push, 30 pounds, 2 sets of 12 reps. Chest pull/seated row, 1 set of forty pounds, 10 reps, one set of 30 pounds, 10 reps. Overhead press, 10 pounds, 1 set of 10, 1 set of 5 (I'm weak on this one). Bicep curls, 8 pounds, 2 sets 15, overhead triceps, 2 sets of 12, 12 pounds. Tomorrow will be leg again, and then I am on enforced rest for a day.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I want to be a morning person

Another good workout.

I am starting to imagine that I can see little muscles showing, in my upper thigh and my biceps. Yes, I know it's only been 10 days, but leave me to my delusions, please.

It's going to be a tough week for me. My youngest son has a baseball game Tuesday after I get off, so working out is not going to happen that day. And, my older son goes to work at 5:00 Wednesday and Thursday, and can't watch my younger son while I workout. I get off at 3:30, but it'll be struggle to get home by 4:45 so he can leave.

I'm going to try though.

If I was only a morning person. I don't have to be at work until 9:30 a.m., and just about any other human being in the world would find that plenty of time to get up, workout and go to work. Not me though. I get up at 7:30, drive my younger son to school (in my pajamas) and drop him off at 7:50, and somehow I struggle to get to work by 9:30. Mornings just aren't happening for me, and never will, so I have to do it after work.

And, sometimes other people's schedules get in my way. I'll figure it out, especially now that I see tiny little muscles trying to peek through my skin.

My latest workout
Today, I did lower body: Leg Press, 50 pounds, 2 reps of 10. Leg push, 80 pounds, 2 reps of 15. Leg curl, 40 pounds, 2 reps of 10. Inner thigh, 40 pounds, 2 reps of 15. Outer thigh, 40 pounds, 2 reps of 15.

Core is daily, so: Trunk extension, 120 pounds, 2 reps 15. Situps with 2 pound medicine ball, 30. Bicycle situps with medicine ball, 2 sets of 20.

And, I am doing bicep curls and tricep overheads daily too. Bicep curls, 8 pounds, 2 reps of 15, Triceps, 12 pounds, 2 reps of 12.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fatigue

Today, I wasn't sore, which was kind of a disappointment. I could feel that I had used my muscles, but there was no pain or anything. I don't know what that means - I thought it was supposed to hurt.

Unfortunately, I was extremely fatigued all day today. Tired isn't the word, because I wasn't sleepy. Just body-tired, I guess.

I went to the gym anyway, and did my upper body and abs and 20 minutes of cardio. I accidentially did 50 pounds on the overhead lats instead of 40, and managed to do it without problem. I lowered it to 40 for the second set, but maybe I'll do 50/40 for a week or so. So, that was good.

But, it was exhausting, and I didn't get that good feeling from it today.

Tomorrow, my youngest son gets home from a field trip, and I likely will not be able to go to the gym, as he will arrive right after I get off work. Tomorrow will have to be my rest day for the week.

I think I'll go take a nap.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Callus

I have a callus on my hand, under my ring finger.

I have arrived.

My workout today was great. I worked with Alyce again, but it was night and day from last time. She seemed to get that I was serious about this, and she had noticed I'd had come in every day since last week. She gave me a lot more exercises to do, and we upped my weights and reps.

I felt the burn, and I feel sore now. It's such a good feeling, this muscle soreness.

What's not a good feeling is the sports bra I have on. I bought some off of ebay and they were way too small. One of the too small ones is identical to one I already owned - one that actually fits me. I was in a rush, and grabbed one out of the drawer, and put the small one on by mistake.

Not only do I have uniboob, I have unishoulder.

From now on, I will be doing lower half one day, upper half another, abs and biceps/triceps daily. Twenty minutes of cardo before weight training, and one day a week with an hour of cardio only. One day a week off. I think that is much better, and I am excited to start seeing results.

I will see results, won't I?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

French women don't get fat

I watched Oprah while doing cardio. I hadn't seen Oprah in a long time - she's looking pretty good for 50-something.

Inspiration is everywhere.

Anyway, the show was about how French women don't get fat. According to the French author who was on the show, they don't get fat because they enjoy their food and eat all day.

Color me confused.

Oprah surprised me, because when she was lamenting that almost 70% of Americans were fat (her word, my politically correct friends, not mine), she advised us - just in case we didn't believe her shocking news - to go to any mall and just watch the fat people walk by.

Yes, she really said that. She sounded so astonished. Stunned, really, that there were lots of fat people in malls.

Advice to Oprah: Don't go to Wal-Mart.

Anyway, I'm peddling hard on my exercise bike, watching this French woman talk about how enjoying your food is going to keep you thin, and I'm wondering if a French woman ever gets on an exercise bike?

Because, if she did, she'd know those metal seats are pretty damn uncomfortable for those without much junk in the trunk, and I was thinking maybe eating a few extra croissants isn't always such a bad idea after all.

Anyway, my workout was good. 30 minutes and 4 plus miles on the bike, upped it to level 2, whatever that means. I did my machines and I doubled my reps, and I feel much better. I could feel my muscles working this time. I don't think I'm going to have much soreness again, but tomorrow I meet with the trainer and she can give me some better workouts.

My tan is coming along nicely too.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fear

No workout, it's my "rest day."

Rest? Rest from what? I'm not even sore.

I'm still flirting with the idea of posting my "before" picture, but I'm afraid it'll end up on Fark. So, I probably won't. At least, until I have an after picture and won't care anymore.

The process of body changing is interesting to me, and it's too bad I'm too chicken to show the beginning.

Personally, I like the challenge. I like learning about nutrition, and I like imagining what I can accomplish. I like the thought that I can see/feel results in a few short months.

I like the exercise part. I like the cardio and the way I feel afterwards. I like the way my muscles feel after resistance training, and I even like the soreness later.

My big fear has always been that feeling of incompetence at doing something physical. Incompetence is not a normal feeling for me, but here it is. It's particularly strong when lifting free weights in the center of a gym surrounded by big men and mirrors. I know they aren't looking at me, and I know they don't care what I do, as long as I'm not in their way, but I still have that internal freezing, and that illogical fear inside that people are judging me - and finding me lacking.

I even know where that fear comes from - it's ancient, leftover fear from being the short, skinny, blind girl always picked last for teams in school. I don't like people watching me do anything athletic, and I'm sure it's due to being that kid who everybody knew would screw up - and who did.

It's one of those challenges I have to overcome. It's going to be the hardest.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Today's workout

I did 20 minutes of cardio, and did my strength training.

Let me just say that the chest pull is the mammogram of exercise machines. There are going to be a few days a month I can't do that one!

I don't think the weights are hard enough, or giving me enough of a workout. And, being such a small person, I don't feel like I'm getting a good fit on those darn machines. Even when I adjust the seats all the way up and pull everything forward, I still have to really strain to reach some of the handles.

My back hurts a teeny bit, and I think it might be from the chest pull - and not from doing the actual pulls, but from how far I had to reach to get to it and pull the handle to starting position.

I also have a hard time with the leg press (or curl, the one you sit on a seat and straighten your legs with a weight on your ankle.) I don't think there is a good way to adjust that for me, or if there is, I couldn't find it. The weight was below my ankle, on my foot, which put a strain on my knee.

I have a hitch in my lower back, and a hitch in my knee, and no soreness otherwise. That's not right, I don't think.

I do think free weights are the way to go for me, but it's kind of scary doing that in front of everybody, using my little pink weights when everybody else is using huge silver black things that look like tires. All they need is spinners to be totally intimidating.

Maybe I should have started at the all female gym - I bet there are a lot more pink weights.

Or maybe not. Maybe they have spinners AND a 1200 watt bass system on their weights.

Aside from that, I felt like I could have done two sets of everything, and I think I will when I go back on Tuesday.

Alyce was there today, cleaning machines. The gym was almost empty today, and she walked by me several times, but gave me no advice as I tried to figure out what we did last time. I know she saw me struggling, and I would have thought she might have shown me how to do it, but instead, she just continued spraying and wiping. She's either so reserved she doesn't know how (or want) to start a conversation, or so uninterested in being a personal trainer that she doesn't care if I do it wrong and hurt myself. Or, maybe she's a clean freak. My gut feeling is she is uninterested, but it is, of course, only my interpretation. People as quiet as she is are hard to read.

Of course, I'm sure I could have asked her for help, but I am still a bit intimidated by being in a gym, and feel awkward enough without having to interrupt somebody who is clearly working and doesn't want to be bothered.

These complaints are in no way to be construed as my losing interest. I'm not at all. I have a picture in my mind of what I want to accomplish, and I intend to accomplish it. I'm in a foreign land, and it'll take some time to learn the language, that's all.

I've not changed my eating much yet - one thing I did was make a whey protein smoothy with banana and strawberries after my workout. Eating protein is what your body needs to repair the muscles and have them grow...so I did it. The whey smoothy wasn't bad at all, I could do that every day.

I'm still reading about nutrition and exercise, so I ordered Body for Life from an Amazon seller - got for six bucks, shipped! People on bodybuilder.com recommend it for newbies, so I figured, why not? I know it's focused mainly on weight loss, but it apparently has a good nutritional plan. I like the fact that I get one free day a week to eat anything I want.

I work at a middle school, and there is a lot of junk food there. Parents are always bringing in donuts, cakes, and treats for the office staff. And, the school secretary buys food often, and very little of it is healthy. I've never eaten so much fast food in my entire life than in the six months I've worked there. That is not an exaggeration - I've never been a fast food eater. It's a very rare treat in my household, but it's so convenient there that I have fallen into that trap, and eat it at least two or three times a week. No more! Except on my cheat day, as I've grown fond of Jimboy's beef tacos.

I realize this is tedious reading. Maybe tomorrow, I'll post my "before" picture and gross everybody out. A few people are reading this, but not nearly as many as the counter shows. I don't seem to be able to block my own views from showing up in the counter, so I would say 50% of the numbers are me.

I don't know who the other 50% are, but I'm not sure I want to show my picture to you. :)

Monday is my rest day, so no exercise. Tuesday, I am back to weights and cardio.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

On the way

Despite the urinary discussions of the elderly men next to me, I did enjoy my workout.

I did 25 minutes on the bike, "went" 3.75 miles at something like 65 rpms. (I need to pay closer attention in the future - I have no idea how many calories I've burned.)

It wasn't hard - I could have done it for an hour. It turned off at 25 minutes though. I input my age and my weight and then it decided what I should do, and I changed nothing. My heart rate never got higher than 91, which maybe is too low - dunno. But, you really can't surf the net and push the exercise, so I probably will stick with TV most of the time.

Unless the people around me are talking about something I need to share, of course.

Here is my workout plan for the first week. I did the strength training part yesterday and am not experiencing much soreness, so I probably need to increase reps or weights or something, but I'll stick with it until I meet with Alyce again:

Sunday, Wednesday, Friday

Chest Press - 15 reps @ 30 pounds, 1 set
Seated Row - 15 reps @ 30 pounds, 1 set
Leg press - 15 reps @ 30 pounds, 1 set
Leg curl - 15 reps @ 30 pounds, 1 set
Trunk Flexion - 15 reps @ 35 pounds, 1 or 2 sets
Bicep curls - 15 reps @ 8 pounds, 2 sets
Tricep overhead - 10 reps @ 10 pounds, 1 set.

Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday
Cardio, minimum of 20 minutes

Monday off.

I took a before picture on the way to the gym...still deciding whether I should post it as my "before" picture. It's rather horrendous.

After my workout I walked around the club a bit. They advertise a juice bar, but I didn't see anything that looked like a juice bar. (Again, whatever that is.) I went outside and checked out the pool, which was lovely. It's still cold here, but I was warm from my bike riding, so I sat by the pool for 15 minutes or so. It was sheltered and lovely and peaceful, and it smelled wonderful, like chlorine and sunshine. I know I'll enjoy being there with my youngest son this summer.

I tanned for 15 minutes, and then went home, feeling pretty good.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow.



Weight: 101 pounds

Measurements:
Chest: 36
Waist: 27 1/2 (ouch)
Belly: 32 (this HAS to go)
Hip: 33 1/2
Thigh: 18
Bicep: 9 inches (I don't know how to take this measurement so I just did it like I was posing)

Today's Food Intake:

Meal 1:
2 cups of coffee with 1 tablespoon milk.
1/2 cup of oatmeal, with a pat of butter

Snack:
Blueberry yogurt

Meal 2:
2 eggs, fried (in 1/4 T of butter)
2 T salsa
grapes (10 maybe)

Meal 3:
Lean Cuisine Pannini

Meal 4:
Mexican Corn Turkey Soup (made with tomatoes, chicken broth, chilis, corn and leftover turkey)

8 ounces of water x 7
1 Sam Adams Beer, will probably have another too.

I need to up the vegetables, big time and not down the beer, big time.

hard

I'm on the bike. The men next to me are talking about how much they pee each day.

Friday, March 17, 2006

My first appointment

Today, I met with Alyce, who will be my personal trainer for three sessions. She was a young woman, not very outgoing, but nice enough. I googled her, and she as a B.S. in kinesthesiology, whatever that is.

All she really did was show me the exercises that everybody who starts there does - no discussion of nutrition, no weighing or measuring or anything like that. She didn't ask me much about myself - just what exercises I'd done before. I told her watching TV, which generated a weak smile. Guess she'd heard that one before.

I did tell her my goal was to get muscles and asked if it was possible at my age, and she said it was possible at any age. I can't tell if that was a real answer or not - somehow, I don't see 80 year old Aunt Millie suddenly getting the bodybuilding bug and showing off her big biceps, but what do I know?

Of course, I asked the question that everybody asks her, "How long until I see results?" And, I got the answer that she and every personal trainer in the history of personal training gives, "4-6 weeks, but you will feel better quickly." She warned me of the two month slump, when not much has happened and I start to get bored, but as you all know - I have my plan for that.

Anyway, about the exercises: they have a little plan for newbies called the "Fit Track," which is mostly all machines. I'll be doing an upright row, a trunk flexion for abs, a leg curl, a leg press and a few others I don't remember. I do those three to four times in a week, see her again. She'll make adjustments and talk about some other stuff with me (what?) and do it again. One more week, one more appointment, one group class, and I get a free tee shirt.

She wrote the exercises on a card for me, but I am supposed to keep the card there. I'll write them down in my own book tomorrow so I can share exactly what they are. I told her I'm mostly interested in free weights and she said she'd show me some next time as I got used to what I was doing.

Being as elderly as I am and all, we have to start out with the basics - the machines that hold you in position.

I don't think any weight I lifted was more than 35 pounds, and I lift those 15 times each, but you gotta start somewhere. And, hey, I only weigh 100 myself, so that can't be too bad - right?

I did feel a little bit funny lifting the free weights to do some bicep curls with 10 pound weights next to the buff 20 year olds who were lifting 50 pound ones (or whatever) but my dumbell was a pretty color. So there.

One very interesting thing I didn't know about - some of the cardio machines have the Internet! I was going to do the treadmill, because most everybody can walk - even me - and I knew they had TVs. Woohoo, Oprah and walking! But, when she told me the bikes have the Internet, I changed my mind immediately!

I checked some websites as I biked, which was very cool. What was not so cool was that I could only pedal for five minutes. :( Okay, I might have been able to do it for longer than five minutes; she told me to stop after five minutes.... but I was pretty tired after five minutes. Okay, I was REALLY tired after five minutes. Not ME, really, just my legs. Okay, I was breathing heavy too. My heart rate never got above 70, which for some reason seemed to amaze her. But, I had a LOT of trouble walking after getting off the bike, because of the burn in my thigh muscles. It was like they were frozen or dead meat or something.

I got off the machine and I had to try and walk with dead meat thighs and she asked me a question and I was out of breath and couldn't talk - but at least my heart was "resting."

She told me if you don't do cardio for 20 minutes you might as well not do it at all, but I really don't know if I can stay on that bike for 20 minutes - even with the Internet.

I might have to choose TV over the internet for my exercise. Bummer.

Anyway, today I did only five minutes of cardio, but all the weight exercises, and now I'm feeling a bit sore. I'm odd, in that I really like that feeling.

There are a lot of people in a gym, with all sorts of different shapes of bodies. How come the one you notice, out of all of them, is the only one in perfect shape? Not the one in worse shape than you are, oh no, we focus on that gorgeous woman who has defined muscles, a flat stomach and a perfect butt, and compare ourselves to her. It's almost like we try to make ourselves uncomfortable. Well, I will try and use her as my role model, even if I have 20 years on her. I can't see myself so I'll just pretend I'm 30.

Okay, it was fun. Now I'll have to go back and see if I can do it without any guidance. I'm supposed to wait a day to do any resistance training to let my muscles rest, so tomorrow will be just cardio.

I'll post from the bike.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Disappointment

My personal training appointment was switched to tomorrow, at 5:00.

They wanted to switch it to next Thursday, but I explained that I'd already been a member of this fitness club for a week and was unable to use the facilities because I didn't know how to use any of the equipment. Fortunately, the person I spoke to on the phone understood, and got me in sooner.

Sigh.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Itching to get started

I'm really ready to get started, and Thursday's appointment seems a long ways away.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll go tan, and see if I can figure out how to use one of those new, fancy treadmills, just to do something. Those treadmills even have TVs attached to them, so I can walk and watch Oprah or something. I'll have to watch a commercial though, something I haven't done in 6 years. Maybe I'll run during the commercials. If I can still run.

All of these plans are predicated on being able to figure out how to turn one on. Last time I used a treadmill, TV hadn't been invented yet.

Okay, I lie. TV had been invented, it was just in black and white. And, women weren't in gyms.

I'm very eager to start my transformation. I don't like waiting.

Oh well, at least this gives me time to finish off what's left of the girl scout cookies. As the bodybuilders say, I will soon start to eat "clean." Or, try to. I can tell you one thing - I'm never eating fat-free sour cream! What's the point? I'd rather just not eat it at all. Considering I am trying to avoid losing weight, I'm not sure I should cut out all fats anyway, but we'll see what the trainer says. I presume I'll be getting diet advice, as well as learning how to use the machines and getting personlized workout plan.

Somebody recommended the book "Body for Life" to me, and maybe I'll go pick it up. I've spent enough money this month though; probably I shouldn't. Or, maybe I'll go to a used bookstore - seems like the kind of book that would be in one of those. I think though, it's mostly geared towards people who want to lose weight. But, I'm not sure.

I've been reading the female Body for Life transformation stories on Bodybuilding.com. Some of them are truly remarkable, and so many had so much weight to lose - and did. It's amazing what they have done in as few as three months. In three months, it will be June - bikini season will be well underway.

I hope to be in one. The club I joined does have a pool, after all.

This woman started out pretty thin, so she reminds me a bit of me. She started at 20 pounds heavier than I am now, so I'm not going to follow her program exactly as I can't lose weight, but it looks like one I could do.

One thing I noticed - none of them seem to have started at almost 50.

Maybe I'll send my own transformation story in.

We'll see what the trainer says.

Yes, I'm antsy to begin.




Today I ate like crap:

8:00 a.m. Breakfast:
1 piece of whole wheat toast
1 pat butter
1 fried egg
10 grapes

11:00 a.m. "Snack"
One Lean Cuisine Pannini (Spinach, mushroom, red pepper.)
(I love those things!)

1:30 p.m. "Lunch"
1 Jimboys Beef Taco with hot sauce

4:00 p.m "snack"
1 ounce peppered beef jerky
handful of sunflower seeds (I love salt)

Haven't made dinner yet, but it'll be:

Sloppy Joes (got a good deal on burger and a kid with new braces on a soft diet, what can I say?)
Salad with blue cheese dressing.

And, there are six beers left in the fridge, and I won't be buying more, so I'll probably drink one or two - or three - just to get them out of the fridge.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Motivational Tools

48 years of laziness is bound to be hard to overcome. I've no doubt that after a month of muscle aches without looking any different, I'll say to myself, "why am I doing this again?" and decide to skip the workout - just this once. And, we all know that "just this once" never turns out to be, well, just once.

Making a plan for these times is important. Many motivational speakers state that a written plan is the difference between success and failure.

So, here is my "staying motivated" plan:

First, I've done the obvious - I joined a gym. I did a lot of research on gyms, and found one that is family-friendly and accessable. It is also affordable. I can go to any in their chain, one of which is a woman's only gym. If I feel uncomfortable lifting free weights next to hard body 22 year old men, I can easily switch. There are three clubs within two miles of my home, so I will never have to go far.

A key ingredient for me? Tanning. I've tanned all my life, and this gym I joined has tanning beds. That will absolutely get me in the door - even on days I don't want to go. I always seem to make it to the tanning salon, and now, my tan will be the daily reward for showing up at the gym. And, since I have to go to the gym to tan......once there, I should be able to get a workout in even if I didn't feel like it before.

This blog is also part of my motivation kit. I have now expressed my goals to the world, and have pointed it out to online friends on several forums as well as family members. Hopefully the world can kick me in my fanny if I give up.

I have also joined a forum dedicated to "over 35" fitness and bodybuilding, and posted my goals there as well. They are a nice supportive group, and I think I'll get some useful information.

I have purchased a 60 day fitness journal. Starting Thursday, I will begin to log all of the food that I've eaten and all of the exercise I've done. I promise to do this for the entire 60 days, no matter what I eat or do.

I've taken a before picture, in a bathing suit. When I get discouraged or bored, I'll look at it and be reminded of what I want to change. I'll take another each month, and hopefully I will see progress in the pictures, even if I don't in the mirror. I'm thinking I'll take a couple more; in clothes that I think don't fit right anymore - to show what I'm trying to fix. Maybe when I'm tired I won't think it's important, but I do right now. Maybe I'll even post one or two. Maybe not. :)

As another motivational tool, I am looking for pictures and stories of older women who have begun exercise programs late in life and been successful. I found one in AARP magazine, that I stuck on my fridge, and I can use her as an example of determination. Her challenge was losing weight AND building muscle - and I only have the muscle building. She started in her mid-40s, and she is 65 and looks 45 and extremely fit, and I admire her. There is a woman runner in my town, who is 80. She looks 60. She wins all kinds of senior running competitions. I can't run to the corner, yet this 80 year old can do a marathon. I admire her, and want to be like her.

I am doing visualization. I am visualizing what I will look like in a year. In five years. I am visualizing being 60 and picking my grandchildren up without problems. I'm visualizing hiking in the Arizona desert, feeling strong. I'm visualizing fit and active senior years. And, I'm picturing myself in a bikini, on the beaches of Maui, on my 50th birthday, getting that Hawaiian tan I've always dreamed about.

Good enough to start.

Thursday, I have a 4:00 appointment with a personal trainer, and then I begin. I will post my diet and exercise plan at that time.




In the meantime, I'll include today's food intake, just to get into the habit. I am not on any diet and I know I will have to eat much more, and much better than this:

Breakfast
1 hardboiled egg.
1 piece of whole grain toast
1 pat of butter

Lunch
3 slices deli turkey, peppered
1 slice provolone cheese
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
2 slices whole grain bread
dijon mustard

Dinner
Sweet potato with butter
Two slices pork tenderloin
salad with blue cheese dressing

Snacks
1 oz beef jerky
1 piece Godiva chocolate

Beverages
2 cups coffee
2 beer
water

Friday, March 10, 2006

At the crossroads

There are only a few times in a person's life when they are at a crossroads - and know it.

This is one of those times for me.

I'll 48 years old in less than a month. Always been thin and fit looking. My idea of exercise is to lie on the beach and get a tan. I'm a happy couch potato. I had a baby at 28, and another at 39. Miraculously, I still looked fine - nary a stretch mark or a pound gained. Doctors, who should know better, have asked me what my workout routine is. (I didn't tell them lifting beers.) I was able to chase a baby at 40 as easily as I could at 28.

That is now changing.

My bones are getting brittle: according to a bone density test I took, I'm in pre-osteoporosis stage. My once firm body is starting to slide down where it shouldn't be sliding. For the first time, I can't wear a belly shirt or a bikini. Recently, I painted a room, pulled up carpet and moved furniture - and I got much more achy and tired than I did a year ago doing the same thing.

It is inevitable that looks will go. Skin will wrinkle, hair will gray. But, do muscles need to whither? Must waists get wider, butts lower? Am I destined for the rocking chair, with my boobs resting on my lap?

Aging is hard for a woman to face; we don't do it nearly as well as men - and I'm not ready yet. I don't want to get old, dammit.

But, there is more to this journal than vanity.

As I look to my future, I see the fork in the road. I can take the road of fitness and age with energy and grace, or I can take the road of sloth and slowly deteriorate. In the process of choosing my path, I can demonstrate character and willingness to do the hard thing.

And that is something I've not really done. I'm a smart woman. I've been blessed genetically. Most everything comes easy to me, and the things that haven't? I've shrugged off as not important. College? Nah, not for me. Takes too long and is too boring. Don't get me wrong, I am a very hard worker - I always rise to the very top of my professions.

But, that "s" should tell you something.

This is not only a journal of one woman's quest to get her body in shape. It's also a journal about making a decision to do something difficult, and foreign - and sticking with it.

I have good reasons for choosing the goal of fitness and bodybuilding, as opposed to going to college, or learning to paint, or even building a house for Habitat for Humanity. I am a family woman, and I have to be fit for my youngest child, who didn't choose to be born to a mom almost 40 and a dad almost 50. I need to be there for his school activities and eventually his children, my grandchildren. I need to have energy in my older years, and I need to stave off preventable illnesses. My husband is 11 years older than I am, and not in great shape. I will need to be strong for him too. It's not about shallowness, or vanity. It's about taking care of myself first, so I can continue to take care of loved ones. Only when a woman takes care of herself, can she build a house for others.

Most of all, I need to prove to myself that I can set a goal - a hard goal - one I've failed at before - and stick with it. Despite my fears and despite any setbacks sure to come my way.

This is Ann's Road to Fitness. At this crossroads in my life - I choose the path to health.