Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Michi's Ladder

Do a quick Google search on Michi's Ladder and you'll find that everyone has slight differences. For example, I found one that placed buffalo in Tier 1, whereas this one puts it in Tier 4! I've seen others with peas in Tier 3, yet in this one they're in Tier 1. My goal for breakfast/lunch eating is to be eating only from the Tiers 1 & 2. It will be awhile because I just bought 10 packages of English muffins this morning (that's 50 sandwiches!) Overall though, I don't think my one English muffin a day is going to throw this all out of whack. It's a guideline, after all.
On a side note, I was very surprised to see shrimp listed in Tier 4! I'm not sure why it's there.

I'm generally following the Tiers from the Beachbody website and it's posted below.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Checked out

After my workout on Friday evening, my shin was bothering me. Saturday morning there was still a slight pain. I'm in no hurry to repeat the pain I was experiencing at the point when I went to the doctor last time. So I took time off. I'm planning to return to a full schedule on Wednesday, and really focusing on warm-ups/stretches of the shin when I do. I had slacked off of those extras when it wasn't bothering me. Now I know I can't do that.

We left for a mini-vacation Saturday afternoon and from that point until today (Tuesday), I completely checked out of the health kick mindset. We had Cracker Barrel for lunch and I did not order a salad, lol. We went to a dinner theater for dinner where they served potato soup, baked potatoes, creamed chicken and veggies. I did eat all the veggies & the extras that no one else at the table wanted. Aaaand...half a bottle of wine.

We were staying at a bed & breakfast. Each breakfast consisted of coffee, a cantaloupe wedge, grapes, a cheese omelet, farm fresh bacon, and various pastries.

Sunday we skipped lunch and bummed around the house. I grazed on sweet pastries all day. We each had half of a Snickers protein meal bar just before 3. For dinner we went to a diner. I had a roasted veggie pita bread sandwich. This probably wouldn't have been too bad except I'm sure the veggies were browned on a butter soaked grill, not to mention the herb mayo that accompanied them. It was SO tasty though! I also had a small order of onion rings with the sandwich (about 5 rings). We stopped at Schnuks on the way back to our room and picked up some more wine. Another half a bottle for each :-)

Monday we had some beer at the Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour, followed with pizza & garlic cheese Italian bread at a local place in Columbia. It was delicious. I don't recall eating dinner though. I do remember Ashley giving me 2 pecans while I was studying, lol. I guess I had 2 pecans for dinner.

Today I started back to 'normal'. I checked back in. Egg white sandwich for breakfast. Lunch is supposed to be shrimp & veggies but it's after 2pm and I still haven't made it yet. I have class tonight so I'll have a container of Greek-style yogurt before I go and the other half of a protein bar if I get hungry during class. I know it's not much but I'm not exercising at all today so I don't really need much to go on anyway.

Friday, January 21, 2011

LOL - I can't believe I'm admitting this

Last night's workout was Cardio Recovery. This is all balance and muscle control. I'd guess about 80% of it is some version of slow squats and squat holds, then the rest is plank work and stretching. It hurts. Always. The burn! It's like my legs are on FIRE with those holds!
It helps a LOT to see someone as fit as ISeeFitPeople struggling with these holds!

Now, on to the embarrassing admission. There is no running or jumping in this. No cardio. There is no need for my heart rate monitor or even the fancy boob squasher bra. I usually do this in my normal workout clothes with a regular bra on. Last night though, I didn't see the sense in dirtying up a set of clothes. I was in the privacy of my own home damnit. I could wear whatever I wanted (or didn't want)! So, my workout "outfit" consisted of:
Socks, shoes, underwear, ball cap

I'm sure I looked ridiculous. Every time I heard Ashley get up and move around, I panicked that she'd look in the room and see all my bits hanging in weird directions. Imagine my freak-out when she moved during THIS pose!

Plie Yoga Stretch
Or THIS one:

Hip Flexor Yoga Stretch

Yeah, luckily she never looked! 

And I probably won't be doing that again. Sometimes, the dangly bits were just in the way and distracting. At the very least, I'll wear shorts and a tshirt. Now I know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Back in the groove!

Yesterday, after work, I went directly home and started preparing for the Plyometric Cardio Circuit workout. I may need to work on creating a new routine for my evening workouts. I use up so much time preparing and that time will soon be needed for studying.

Typically, I come home and eat something small to get me through the workout. Last night it was 1/2 cup of Kashi GoLean. I've found my stomach gets less upset when I wait about 30 minutes after that small meal before starting the workout. So assuming I don't dilly dally, I'm already looking at 30 minutes passing, then another hour for the workout, and then showering and eating before I start studying. If I were to eat my light meal before leaving work, I'd have the 30 minute drive home and could start as soon as I changed clothes. So that's what I'll try tonight.

I had fun with the Plyometric workout last night. I had adjusted the heart rate monitor up since I'd been working through the beeps anyway. Basically, because this is anaerobic (30sec - 1min intervals) training, my range just needs to be okay before starting the next interval. What occurred to me last night (during the workout) was that while each interval is 30-60 seconds, there isn't a rest between each interval unless I take it myself. There was one time during basketball drills that I got a little dizzy and I was like, whoa - that's not supposed to happen. I checked my watch and I was at 175, which is within my okay range. My guess is that it was higher prior to that. So tonight I'll set it back to 180 and at least then I'll know if I'm working past my range and should rest.

Back to the 'fun' part.

Jogging, jumping jacks, Heisman, 1-2-3 Heisman, butt kicks, high knees, mummy kicks
I made it through most of the warm-up without stopping AND actually going faster each time! My shins still get a little irritated when I do the high knees as a run, so I'm still doing those as more a speed walking pace. Keep in mind my goal by the end of this 60 days is to be able to complete a warm-up without my heart rate necessitating me to stop. It looks like I'm getting close to that goal!

Main Part 1
Suicide drills, power squats, mountain climbers, ski downs
I freaking rocked the drills and the ski downs, even when they hurt. The climbers were irritating my shins so I slowed those down, which seems to hurt MORE by the way (in a good way of course). I was pretty consistent in getting about 10 Power squats in before puttering out.
I could only do a few scissor runs - more due to lack of muscle power than cardio though. Football sprints are always fun for me. I feel so silly and I think that goofiness gives my brain a break from the intensity going on through the other drills.

Main Part 2
Basketball drills, level 1 drills (4 pushups, 8 plank runs, jump up, repeat), ski abs, in & out abs
Rocked the basketball drills. I really got in the groove of jumping from the bottom which made it easier than ever. Consistently pushed out 2 reps of level 1 drills before losing muscle power. Ski abs and in & outs always make me want to scream. My arms, legs, and core are just quivering at the end of every set.

"Bonus" at end
Jabs, cross jacks, uppercuts, attack
Oh jeez. You know when you've gone full out for so long that your muscles are actually shaking? That was me at the end of this. But I did it. All of it.

Cool down
During the hamstring stretches, I actually had to put a hand on my leg because it was shaking so bad. Wow. As always, felt EXCELLENT when the cool down was over. Drenched in sweat, body quivering and shaking, still a little winded even, but oh so wonderful.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Breakfast Option

This morning's breakfast was simply aaah-MAZING!

‎3oz (baked) egg white infused with jalapeño pepper sauce, 1/2 oz pepper jack cheese, green pepper, tomato, toasted on an English muffin

Make it:

  • Separate egg whites (3 oz is *almost* 3 large eggs, I use a food scale. At the time of this post, it was cheaper to buy a dozen eggs and separate than it was to buy the container of egg whites. I cooked up the yolks and froze them for use at some other time. 1 Tbsp of cooked yolk is about the equivalent of one egg yolk)
  • Spray ramekin (or other small oven-safe dish) with olive oil or whatever nonstick substance you prefer
  • Pour egg white into ramekin
  • Drizzle about half a cereal spoon of jalapeño pepper sauce over the egg white
  • Pour water into another ramekin (or other small oven-safe dish) (keeps it from getting dried out on top)
  • Place both dishes in oven and bake at 375 until done. I checked it at 12 minutes, and kept cooking an additional 2 minutes until it didn't look watery anymore. I also made 5 at one time so my cook time would be longer than if you're just making one.
  • I refrigerated all 5 of my egg white pucks and sliced the pepper jack cheese to 1/4 oz slices so when I'm ready for a sandwich, I just assemble it and stick it in the toaster oven for a quick melt and warm-through. 
For those calorie counting, here are those figures (from
Calories: 263
Carbs: 32
Fat: 4
Protein: 21
Sodium: 466
Cholesterol: 15
Fiber: 3

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's about the "ups" AND the "downs" - and this is a down

Sunday's workout would have been Plyometric Cardio Circuit but I felt really bad. Ashley said I felt like I had a low fever, which is a no-no for workouts so I thought I'd play it safe and hang on to the couch for the day. Didn't eat much at all, which isn't good. For the entire day, I had 16oz of coffee, 8oz of water, 1 cup of cottage cheese and then 1 cup of a sort-of-soup I made. The soup was a Wild Rice box mix, with 1 can of black beans, 1 small can of mushrooms, and almost 2 cups of low sodium chicken stock. I rarely use canned foods in my meals because the sodium content is so high (not to mention their typical lack of flavor), but I didn't feel like cooking and it was easier to dump and boil. I was basically just looking around for stuff I could throw in with the leftover chicken stock I had.

I woke up late this morning still feeling cruddy but not nearly as bad as I had felt on Sunday. I had a container of A&E Greek Style Clementine yogurt for breakfast with 16oz of coffee. Around 10am, my body decided to notify me as to why I felt so crappy. This is my weakest point of all. I can't recall ever having been able to resist the crap cravings I get on this kind of day. It's like I find out I'm not really sick, but I still feel like crap, so I'm just going to justify my physical feelings with like-minded food choices.

Today was no different so far. For lunch, I went to Quick Trip. I had a bratwurst with dijon mustard and also had 2 pepper jack cheese taquitos.

Since I've introduced crap to my body, what do you think I'm still craving? Of course - crap, crap, and more crap. The Plyometric Cardio Circuit is going to kick my ass to next week tonight because that's just what seems to happen when I don't eat clean with this workout. My body is symbiotic like that. If I don't take care of my body, it's not going to take care of me.

This is going to be a rough week.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thank you REST day!

Friday's Insanity workout was the Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs. Pure Cardio kicked my butt, as usual. It seemed to be kicking harder than usual though. Or maybe I'm just plowing through harder and therefore getting maxed out faster? I dunno, but my beeper was going off pretty consistently throughout. I wish I'd have sprung for the kind that tracks my average heart rate so I could plug that in on some fancy online calculator and see how many calories I'm burning. I get so focused on how many breaks I'm having to take, and get really down about how crappy my cardio must be, that I think it would be helpful to see that number - and know then how hard I am (or am not) working! The 'meat' of Pure Cardio is 15 moves, each move for 1 minute. Suffice to say, I would do one minute, then spend the next minute waiting for the beeping to stop. Repeating over and over. Maybe next time I should try to slow it down a bit and see if I can do every move. I'll have that opportunity on Monday!

So I finished the cool down on Pure Cardio and was like "Whew! Glad that's over!", and then I was like, "AAAGH! It's NOT over! I still have Cardio Abs!" And I'm pretty sure I even said that all out loud.

Cardio Abs hurts. Alot. You KNOW it's working. My mid section is a quivering mess when I'm done and it's just a shade over 10 minutes of actual exercising. Not a single sit up in the enter workout, which is excellent and TORTURE at the same time, LOL

But my belly is gonna look goooood. So that keeps me going :-)

Saturday was a rest day. And I spent it as such. I slept till noon, then laid in bed for about 3 or 4 hours just absorbing the sounds of the house. I mostly listened to Ashley talk on the phone, and I'm pretty sure I took a few naps here and there. I had a ginormous headache since I hadn't had any coffee yet and too much sleep. So around 4 I got up and showered, then headed to eat at a local chili diner with some friends. We got Orange Leaf froyo for dessert and then I stopped and got some vanilla cream stout to take home. Pretty sure I stepped off the health train today! Woowoo! I did at least eat my pound of veggies still. And controlled my portions pretty well at both the diner and the froyo.

Sunday's workout is Plyometric Cardio Circuit. I'll need to eat very clean to keep up with that one so I'm back on track first thing tomorrow (or when I wake up, since it's technically tomorrow right now).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Food Should Taste Good

If you're going to have chips anyway, they may as well be chips that are good and better for you than others. Food Should Taste Good is a brand of snack 'chips'. I've previously had the Sweet Potato flavor and they were delicious! I just had a serving of the Jalapeño flavored thanks to a friend that had a bag. SO good!

And how often are ingredients within a familiar territory of our vocabulary?

The ingredients:
Stone Ground Corn
High Oleic Sunflower Oil (and/or Safflower Oil)
Jalapeño Peppers
Corn Bran
Beet Powder
Sea Salt
Crushed Red Peppers


Last night I did Cardio Power & Resistance (Robert Harden has already done  pretty thorough review on all of these workouts so I'm just going to link to his write-ups.)

I got through 2 of the 3 rounds in the warm-up without stopping. This is an accomplishment! This is progress! The third round had my heart rate monitor beeping anytime I did anything with momentum to it.

Cool Down & Stretch
In previous weeks, the cool down and stretch brings my heart rate to around 150-160. Last night it got low enough to beep at me, around 140. This made me very happy.

Main part 1
Again, I was pretty impressed with my progress so far. When I started out in October, I couldn't do more than 3 power jumps. I'm up to ten or so on each round now. I don't worry so much about the beeping toward the last 5 seconds or so because it regulates back to 170's during the Belt Kicks. Back to beeping toward the end of Hit the Floor, then regulating again during V Push Ups.
"Bonus" Tricep Dips saw an increase from 2-5 to around 10 AND I was able to do the leg lifts!

Same as with the warm-up, I was able to do 2 of the 3 rounds for part 1, then my beeper kept shouting at me during the 3rd round.

Main part 2
I've never had a problem with Hurdle Jumps in the past but last night these were hard! I'm thinking it's because I've always been resting from the beeper and wasn't able to push hard enough to have muscle exhaustion by this point. Well last night, there was definitely muscle exhaustion.
You would think then, that Globe Jumps would have been equally exhausting. Quite the opposite was happening though. I was attacking these! I got 4 reps in Round 1, 3 in Round 2, and 2 reps in Round 3.
By the time my beeper calmed itself, I had missed about half of the time alloted for Moving Pushups, so I'm still only getting about 5 or so of those in each round.
Seriously thought I was going to puke a few times on the Floor Sprints though. Pushed through them if my beeper wasn't going, but my tummy was getting pretty pissed about my determination!

Final Round
8 hop squats, 8 push ups. I've never been able to do a full rep of these. NEVER. Last night - I somehow pulled 2 reps out. Then I rested on the floor while the screen prompt flashed "Never Stop Moving", LOL
By the time I had recovered, it was time for the 30-second water break. Since Cool Down was next, I went ahead and plowed out one more rep. So that's THREE total reps! I was pretty stoked.

Cool Down & Stretch
There's a part during this when Shawn T asks, "How's everyone feeling?" at which point my girlfriend (cooking dinner in the next room over) replies "Horrible!", LOL. I must say though, by this point in the workout I'm usually feeling the best I've felt all day. It's like all tension in my body is released, every muscle is fatigued and my mind is clear. "How am I feeling?" I'm feeling AMAZING!


My breakfast generally consists of a container of A&E Greek Style Yogurt or 3/4 cup of the Kashi GoLean original cereal. I recently discovered the wonderful world of Subway's breakfast menu and I've fallen in 'like' with the egg white & cheese on an English muffin. Yesterday, I bought the supplies to make my own so that can be added to the breakfast option list as well. 
Subway's Nutrition Info page lists the Egg (White) & Cheese as 140 calories, 3.5 fat, 490 sodium, 5 fiber, & 12 protein. This is actually a pretty decent comparison to my other breakfast choices. If it weren't for the $4/day price tag (I get milk too) I would just continue to get it from them. However, I can definitely make it cheaper at home and better yet, everything can be prepared ahead of time and assembled whenever I want one (just like at Subway!)

Early Morning Snack
On days that I workout after breakfast, I have my 2 servings of fruit within an hour following in order to get my sugars back up. 

Late Morning Snack
Sometimes I get hungry again around 11. On those days, I open my bag of frozen veggies and pour 1/2 into a bowl with some pepper sauce or Penzy's Mural of Flavors spice (both have ZERO sodium!) and it satisfies me well into 1 or 2 when I normally eat lunch.

Lunch is generally a HUGE salad or the bag of frozen veggies (or 1/2 if I ate earlier) with 3oz of boiled chicken, shrimp, or (rarely) leftover steak - and pepper sauce, vinaigrette, or spice. I made potato soup last week and felt pretty lousy all week. Simply put, there were too many carbs, not enough protein. With all those carbs, I was left craving more food. My belly was SO full yet all I could think of was eating! NOT going to make that mistake again. Last week was horrible as far as feeling restricted and giving in to cravings and feeling guilty. 

Afternoon Snack
Lunch wears off earlier on some days. If I have fruit or veggies available, I'll go ahead and munch on more of those. A favorite quote I've heard is, "No one is here from eating too many fruits & vegetables!" - from a friend sharing a story from her WW meeting.
The days I don't have extra fruits/veggies laying about are the days I typically give in to carb loading on pretzels, popcorn & candy - basically whatever's laying about the office. I always physically feel 'down' about an hour after. You would think I'd know this was coming and that would be enough to resist the temptations but alas, sometimes it's not.

Late Afternoon Snack
If I didn't workout in the morning, I'll need to eat a snack before working out in the evening. This is usually something small & quick - and usually the same as the breakfast options.

I am in a relationship with the most wonderful woman who happens to cook very well and enjoys doing so. We came to an agreement that I could change my diet however I wanted as long as I would still eat what she made at home. For the most part, as long as I control the portions of what is on my dinner plate, the dishes she makes are not terribly unhealthy. The worst is 85% lean beef and cream-based sauces which really, in minimal amounts, aren't that bad for me. 

I find the easiest way to keep eating healthy is to find a way that works so that I'm not focusing on everything I eat. I am not the person who can write everything I ate in a journal and track all the calories, fat, and fiber for each food. The more I obsess over the details of my food, the more I stress over what I can and *can't* have. This stressing leads to impulse eating, which spirals out of control so fast. It's worked out so much better for me to ease these diet changes into my routine. Now it's so normal that I don't even have to think about how much I need to eat to keep energy for the workout. The bags of frozen veggies have helped tremendously as now I do not have to prep & weigh out each day's worth of food. 

Getting Started

I will post my most recent cholesterol levels and blood pressure readings later, since I have to dig around and find them first. I'll request another when I go to my annual checkup in April.

I will also post the body measurements I took when I started the Beachbody Insanity program (the first time, lol)

Around August or September of 2010, I stopped drinking soda. This decision was initially based on a tight feeling in my chest that I felt pretty consistently within an hour of finishing a can of Pepsi. Once I felt better, I started drinking it again but then consistently had issues with my gut so I cut it out again. Amazing how much better I can feel if I just listen to my body!

In October, I started working out with my friend Josh to the 60-day Insanity program on DVD offered by Beachbody (same company that put out P90X). I got through week 3 before I went to the doctor for extreme shin pains. He put me on a 2-wk mandatory rest. He didn't even want me walking when it wasn't necessary. So, after two weeks I didn't feel like working out anymore. Luckily for me (and everyone around me), Josh wanted to start up again so we did. We started over at the beginning and got about 9 days in when the holidays hit. So many conflicts in scheduling and we eventually just weren't doing it anymore. We officially started over again on January 1st. This time though, if there is a scheduling conflict, I'm doing it alone at home. Since I started January 1st, it's easy to figure out how many days I've completed so far!

As of November 2010, I started incorporating a pound of vegetables into my daily diet. In December I started eating at least 2 servings of fruit as well.

So that's the history leading up to today.