How do you eat an elephant?

This weekend I participated in the Chartiers-Houston Relay for Life. The 24-hour event was incredibly moving, memorable and truly an experience I will never forget. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.

At Relay this weekend, I met a member of my husband’s extended family – a cousin who has run marathons; Iron Mans and insert every other kind of crazy fitness activity imaginable. I was very excited to meet him when he drove down from Rochester, NY after his black belt test just to walk all night for our Relay Team – yes that was the only reason.

Naturally, as a new lover of running and walking, I simply had to meet him. I wanted to pick his brain about what I could do better. We have conversed several times on Facebook over the past week or so about different things. I told him about my journey and he gave me some very (strange) great advice.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time! How do you run a marathon? One step at a time.”

This really hit home for me this weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come with losing weight. While I’ve hit a plateau – mostly due to an incredibly insane home life at the moment –  but I’ve never gave up on my journey. I’m still taking it one day at a time.

There are no secrets to weight loss or running marathons – it’s simply one step at a time. Take one step today that will change the rest of your journey – be it quitting smoking, giving up soda for water, taking the dog for a three block walk with the dog – just take one step to change your life and you won’t regret it.

This weekend, I watched people take thousands of steps in their journey. People logged their “feet” for every seven laps (one mile) during the 24 hour event. I heard people revel in their 16 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles and more. Necklaces with small feet were everywhere around Allison Park Elementary School with smiles on their face.

These people weren’t marathon runners? Some walked with canes and crutches – but they still walked. It’s not about how fast you finished your laps or how much weight you’ve lost – every journey starts with a single step and you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.  

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How do you eat an elephant?

This weekend I participated in the Chartiers-Houston Relay for Life. The 24-hour event was incredibly moving, memorable and truly an experience I will never forget. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.

At Relay this weekend, I met a member of my husband’s extended family – a cousin who has run marathons; Iron Mans and insert every other kind of crazy fitness activity imaginable. I was very excited to meet him when he drove down from Rochester, NY after his black belt test just to walk all night for our Relay Team – yes that was the only reason.

Naturally, as a new lover of running and walking, I simply had to meet him. I wanted to pick his brain about what I could do better. We have conversed several times on Facebook over the past week or so about different things. I told him about my journey and he gave me some very (strange) great advice.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time! How do you run a marathon? One step at a time.”

This really hit home for me this weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come with losing weight. While I’ve hit a plateau – mostly due to an incredibly insane home life at the moment –  but I’ve never gave up on my journey. I’m still taking it one day at a time.

There are no secrets to weight loss or running marathons – it’s simply one step at a time. Take one step today that will change the rest of your journey – be it quitting smoking, giving up soda for water, taking the dog for a three block walk with the dog – just take one step to change your life and you won’t regret it.

This weekend, I watched people take thousands of steps in their journey. People logged their “feet” for every seven laps (one mile) during the 24 hour event. I heard people revel in their 16 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles and more. Necklaces with small feet were everywhere around Allison Park Elementary School with smiles on their face.

These people weren’t marathon runners? Some walked with canes and crutches – but they still walked. It’s not about how fast you finished your laps or how much weight you’ve lost – every journey starts with a single step and you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.  

The Biggest Winner Day 15: Oh so many push-ups

The theme of today was push ups and OMG there were sooooooo many of them.

Let’s start at the beginning though. I walked out of the house late, which means I didn’t get to the gym early to warm up. I was kinda bummed. But life goes on.

We started out doing a short circuit. I started on the treadmill for about 5 minutes walking at 3.0 with a 7% incline and holding a kettle bell.

Next I went to the TRX ropes to do one leg lunges (I don’t know what they’re actually called). Another five minutes.

Finally, it was five minutes on the rope pull alternating every 30 seconds with step ups.

Whew! That was quite the warm up.

Next we headed to the studio for a circuit. This was truly a cardio insanity workout. I can’t even list everything we did because I don’t think I remember it all. I just remember a lot of push ups. At least 5 sets of them … oh so many push ups.

Also in the mix somewhere were jumping jacks, burpees, squats, high knees, kicks and planks.

This went on for what felt like hours, but really it was more like 30 minutes. Drenched, we finished out in the gym with another circuit. I started on the rowing machine with sprints, then we moved to the nu step using only the arms and the last machine was the arc trainer but I never got there before we ran out of time.

I went back to the gym tonight to do Zumba. I’m not sure why, but I just wasn’t into it tonight. I think I’m really that exhausted or just … I don’t know.

Tomorrow is our last day of the week. I’m sure Jackson will push us harder than ever. I think we’re going to be taking the weekend to rest. I know I need it!

In other news, tomorrow I’m going shopping with some friends to find the perfect finale outfit. I’m shooting for a dress, but open to other options. We’ll just see where the wind blows me.

90 minute challenge

Yesterday Jackson challenged us to do 90 minutes of cardio today on our off day from the training program. Now some2967_521985621177322_1319337831_n of you probably are thinking – that’s nothing! Your right … unless you’re still over 250 pounds, having your ass kicked 4 days a week and pretty much feel like jello 24/7. But I’m doing it anyways!

Some of you may have seen my post last night as I pondered how to do 90 minutes of cardio. I’m a big fan of variety so I figured I’d switch machines every 15 – 20 minutes.

When I got to the gym, I planned to start with my least favorite piece of equipment – the treadmill (you were waiting to see the spin bike weren’t you?). From there it was all PROGRESS!

Here’s how my morning went –

  • 20 Minutes on the treadmill walking at 3.5 – 5.0 with varying inclines.
  • 10 minutes on the arc trainer with varying incline and resistance.
  • 25 minutes on the bike (NOT AN EVIL SPIN BIKE) with random hills at level 4 keeping RPMs above 100 as much as possible.
  • 25 minutes on the elliptical on variety (various inclines / resistance)

Per that data … I would have 80 minutes of activity. However, my Body Media Band says a little differently. One of the reasons I love my band is that I can truly see what I’m doing. For example, here’s what data I collected after my workout.

Workout Burn
1,104 Calories Burned just during the workout.

Burn for the day so far
2,009

Remaining Burn to Target
759 (I’ll have that before the end of the day at work).

Steps During Workout
8,051

Total Step Count for the day so far
 10,762 (Oh I’m so crushing my personal best of 14,000 today!) – Over 2,762 from my target SO FAR! 

Workout Activity Levels
60 minutes moderate activity
30 minutes of vigorous activity
*it counts the time between machines. My 80 minutes above only counts what I did on the machines. 

Total Activity for the Day so far 
1 hour and 17 minutes of moderate activity (47 minutes over target)
30 minutes of vigorous activity (15 minutes over target) 

So if you read that… you know I kicked ass today! I’m really proud of myself. I was soaked in sweat by the end of the workout and very proud of my accomplishments. It’s a good day and I’m very happy with myself.

The Biggest Winner Day 14: No more excuses

Today I continued focusing on what I could do instead of what I can’t do and once again I surprised myself (and no I still complaining caloriesdon’t like spin).

I got to the gym extra early today and had a nice warm up on the arc trainer. I’m starting to fall in love with this machine more and more every day when I use to hate it!

After my nice warm up and stretch, Jackson took us up to the track area. That could only mean we were doing some laps. Right I was too!

We started with laps around the track – one jogging and one half sprinting. I pushed myself as hard as I could … I really tried. I’m getting better at jogging for a distance. It’s coming along but I’m still not where I want to be. It bugs me that I can’t run faster. It’s the impact on my knee that bugs me.

After the joy of laps, we returned to the mezzanine area for kettle bell fun! We started with squats presses, then it was deadlifts with a row. Next was a squat curl and then triceps (That one hurt). Next was Jacks. We repeated this sequence but changed out the jacks for another move that is totally escaping my brain right now. The third time around we did a swing. Sorry… brain fart for the night.

After the Kettle Bells, we headed down to my least favorite room in the gym – the SPIN room. UGH! Just the thought of sitting on that seat makes me cringe. I wasn’t going to whine about it though. Actually, I received great comments from Jackson for killing it on the bike today.

I’m trying hard. With the finale of the contest nearing every day, I’m making a real effort to reach my goals. I know Jackson will get me there. It’s just a matter of time.

The Biggest Winner Day 10: I still hate spin

Yes, it’s true! I still hate spin! Thankfully, I only endured about 15 minutes of torture on that awful seat!

For me, today was all about believing in myself. We started with 8 minutes on the arc trainer at a level 50 resistance and 4 incline. Oh that was rough!

Next we headed to the gym where we did a circuit. It started with three laps around the gym, then a circuit of jumps on the latter (in and out), jumping over a bar, squats and throwing a medicine ball up against a wall, Squats while pushing out with the medicine ball (x5) then 5 ball slams, and finally push ups. All timed. We repeated this three times and then finished with two laps around the gym before heading to the (shudder) spin room.

Just the word makes me cringe. I truly hate that seat. I don’t mind the biking but that seat, no matter how much I try will not be comfortable for me. If anything, it just painful. Today it was sprints on the bikes but thankfully for only about 15 minutes.

Afterward we did stretches and called it a day. Boy what a day.

So back to the original theme of the day, believing in myself. Even though I’ve changed so much there’s still points that I don’t believe in myself. Jackson never lets me quit. While I was doing push ups today, he knelt down right next to me and never let me stop, even for a moment. Keep pushing through the pain and the burn and I did it.

I need to truly stop cutting myself short. I can do this! I can do anything I put my mind to… and then I did something totally insane – I signed up to train for the Tough Mudder!

So one of the trainers at the gym is offering a training program for the Tough Mudder – 13 mile obstacle course that’s truly insane. Now, I don’t know that I actually plan on running in the race, mostly because it’s nearly $200 to register, but the training certainly can’t hurt and it’ll be a nice variety from the standard exercise.

I think one day I’d like to do the tough mudder, or a similar race. In June there’s a Dirty Girl Mud Run that’s a lot less expensive. I think I’ll start there and see what happens! Thanks for listening!

The Biggest Winner Day 9: Where’d my team go?

So seriously…. where’d my team go? Today there were only three of us in attendance. Did they get shy about the weigh in? We believe one became extremely I’ll and we know she loves the gym so hopefully that’s all it was, but the other two are MIA.

It was a good day for me today. I lost and I lost BIG compared to last week. For those following, I gained 4 pounds last week. I was PISSED. My nutritionist helped me understand that it was hopefully the result of a massive schedule change. Jackson told me to focus on two week results, not one week. I put the blinders on for the rest of the week and POOF! Big time loss!

If you count the four pounds I gained last week… I lost 10 pounds this week. Taking those out of the mix, I lost 6 per the starting weight of the competition.

BOOM! That’s how it’s done!

Six pounds! I feel incredible. If there was something to motivate me even more than usual, I busted my ass in the gym today. I want another result like that!

Since there was only three of us today, the pressure was on! We started on the stairwell where we did flights of stairs and laps on the track.

Round 1 – 4 flights (up and down) of stairs and then one jogging lap on the track.

Round 2 – 3 flights of stairs and one jogging lap on the track.

Round 3 – 2 flights of stairs and one jogging lap on the track.

Round 4  – 1 flight of stairs and one jogging lap on the track.

We finished with another lap on the track as a cool down and then … off to kettle bells.

One lap around the track with timed intervals. We’d do lunges with the kettle bells. Stop and do a timed push ups with the kettle bells. Then more lunges. Then bicep curls. Then lunges… and you get the picture. All the way around the track. I never realized just how long the track was!

From here we went back downstairs to the weight machines and did a one-round circuit on the leg press, leg extension and leg curl. Then it was off to the TRX bands for some pull ups and bicep curls before concluding the workout with a brief cardio stint for 10 minutes on the arc trainers.

Whew! I made it! I’m motivated. I feel incredible after the weight loss. I can’t go back to the gym after work because my husbands working overtime so I think I’ll let my kid play trainer again tonight and give me another workout. It’s fun spending time with my daughter and getting a workout. She really likes helping mom so it’s a win-win!