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.  

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 8: Fun Fridays

Today was probably my favorite day of training with “The Biggest Winner” program (so far) because it was actually a lot of FUN!

We started off on the treadmill again for a brisk warm up. It lasted about 15 minutes at a comfortable walking pace of 3.0 – 3.5 while we increased the incline with each minute to 15. It doesn’t sound like much but when you hit 10, 11, 12 and up – it really starts to hurt and you feel like you’re going to go tumbling off the treadmill.

After our “warm up,” we headed up stairs to the track and mezzanine for a fun little circuit. Now, as many of you know – I just love the “anger management” style exercises so when I saw boxing gloves I really got excited!

Today’s circuit consisted of partners in three locations… with a fun little twist!

Station 1 – hand weights. We did 25 upper cuts, 10 jacks and 25 jabs and repeated until time was up.

Station 2 – Bicycle kicks and twists – 25 of each repeating until time was up.

Station 3 – One person was doing jabs with Jackson while the other did a lap on the track. There was a punching bag halfway around where we had to stop and do 30 punches before coming back.

And then the fun little twist… the “timing” of this exercise was based on the two people boxing. When one returned the other ran. When both returned time was up … so who knows how long we were doing these but boy did it make you encourage the runner!

We did this circuit twice, which took about a half hour and a puddle of sweat from everyone. I actually really enjoyed this. I loved the boxing – I hope we do that more often. However, one of the things that astonished me today was doing the bicycle kicks and twists.

Normally, I can barely do 2 of the kicks before my legs hate me. Today I was blowing through at least 15-20 before having to pause. I also was popping right up for the twists – something that surprised even me and Jackson. He kept praising me for going from one to the other without stopping.

Six months ago I could barely do a sit up and now I’m popping up and down between these two exercises. I’m so proud of myself today. I also ran the whole lap both times on the track – again an accomplishment in itself. It’s little wins like this that make me so incredibly happy to be going through this process.

So after the circuit, we headed down to the gym for what Jackson said would be …. “a little fun.” He was actually right! We had a lot of fun in the last 20 minutes of our session. First we started with a little basketball competition where we paired off trying to out shoot our partner. Shawn won against me because I suck at Basketball but I had a lot of fun trying!

Next the real fun came where in the last 12-15 minutes we played a little 3 on 3. Jackson paired myself, Tianda and John against Shawn, Debbie and Steve. What a trip! We were having a blast chasing each other across the court. I suck at basketball so I tried to just get the ball and give it to my teammates who were much better at shooting than I was.

We were out of breath… beating each other up (friendly) over the ball and really having a great time. I loved every minute of it and my calorie burn was awesome today so I know I had a great workout!

Now that I’m losing the weight, I’m really excited to possibly try sports again. I believe in the past the gym has offered volleyball leagues / games at some point. I hope that comes back soon because I’d love to try. That was one of my favorite sports next to Softball. I’d say I’ll find a pick up softball league but I don’t think my schedule has that kind of time committment, especially if my daughter plays this year.

I’m really looking forward to practicing softball with Bella this summer. I think she’s going to love it. She likes watching her Aunt Sunni play, and Matthew and I both played ball in high school. She must have it in her blood!

Well, our instructions were cardio on the weekend and back on Monday morning. I haven’t figured out when or what I’ll do this weekend for cardio. Since it’ll be frigid cold there’s no going outside so maybe a swim in the pool during Family Time on Saturday or just some quality time on the machines at the gym. Either way, I’ll be burning because Monday is another weight in and I’ve promised myself that I will not gain weight!