health and fitness

Livestrong STRONGER Eight-Week Program

Usually, I am not the person who does exercise programs.  I hate them.  They fall into one of two categories for me: I either feel like I’m watching Richard Simmons, or that I’m watching Jillian Michaels and she actually just wants to kill me.

Also, why is everyone always smiling?  I have never met someone who smiles that much during any workout, ever.  Hell, I don’t think I could smile that much while working out, and I like to think I’m fit enough to fake a grin while working up a sweat.  Its not the exercise that would tire me out, its the Giada-smiles.

I get emails from Livestrong with health and fitness tips and articles, though, and this past week the headline “10 Free Workouts to Get You Fitter and Leaner in 2014” caught my attention.  I’m thinking, excellent!  New moves to slip into my roster to change things up and kick off the year on a better fitness foot.

STRONGER Wk 1 - starting pointsYeah, I was wrong.  (It happens.  Don’t you judge me with your judgey eyes.)  They actually meant “10 free workout videos for you to do over the next eight weeks to get you fitter and stronger”, but apparently that was too long to be catchy and the smart folks at Livestrong didn’t account for people like me who don’t..really think these things through before they click links.

Once I was there, though, I figured I’d have a look around…and it turns out, I’m intrigued.  So for the next eight weeks (okay, so I started Monday, but Monday already had a post queued) I’ll be adding the STRONGER workouts to my usual combo of cardio, usual training, and yoga on rest days.  We’re still in the very early days/working out the kinks, but hopefully I’ll get into the swing before the end of the week.  I’ll be putting progress pics up on the ‘Gram (because #gpoy) so you can follow along (because #gpoy).

Want to play along?  Head on over to MyPlate, get real bummed for a second about the fact that the app sucks, and sign up for your own STRONGER training program!  Its free, so you’re not out much if you wuss out (yes, I am trying to shame you into fitness) or if it doesn’t work out for you.

Now, go work out.  God.  Why are you still sitting here reading?  I did mine for the day, y’all get on that shit.

Possibly Veg Runner Problems? Iron? Protein? Halp.

Okay, so normally a week in my veg-happy life has me feeling like I can pretty much conquer the universe by SHEER FORCE OF WILL.  GR.

I really hope someone gets this reference.

I really hope someone gets this reference.  But seriously: best fuel.

One of the reasons I went veg in the first place is because I quite honestly wasn’t really doing the “food” thing in any sort of healthy way, i.e. I wasn’t eating anywhere near what I needed to actually live/have energy.  Opting for just veg meant I could eat more volume and get more nutrients without completely overloading myself on calories (all you people who have kicked EDs, y’all know what I’m talking about– it’s so hard to break the mindset).  In turn that meant I gained weight back, yes, but I was also able to kick the exercise thing into higher gear– running, for example, took way off once I switched to full veg.

That was the biggest thing: once I went veg I actually had energy, so feeling lightheaded (which was an all-too-frequent thing and it was incredibly unhealthy and a little bit scary sometimes) became a thing of the past, which was great.  I can’t even remember the last time I was doing something and had to stop because my head felt like a balloon–

— oh wait, it was this morning at the gym.

Since it was a time-crunch day I was only planning on doing 3 miles, but once I hit about 2.5 I got hit with a wave and I felt like I was going to go down like a tree in the woods.  And it got a little better as the morning went on– by eight I was pretty okay, because I’d shoveled in some nuts and a little fruit– but the wooze was back again by nine and so far has kept on in and out.

I’m at a loss as to why, though.  I had my usual (filling) pre-gym breakfast, so I’m eliminating a blood sugar issue; I’ve been eating my leafy greens and my grains and my alternative proteins and filling out my macronutrient profiles like a champ.  No loss in volume, and no considerable increase in exertion.

Huh?  Any runners or veg folks out there who have experienced something similar have any advice to share?  

Winter Workout Slump

Ugh.  Is anyone else sick of January?  I mean, it doesn’t help that I live in New England and the weather here can’t ever make up its damn mind, but it just such a drag to try and haul myself out of bed every morning to get out of the house on time and get to the gym, let alone early enough to do my morning pre-cardio combo of squats/lunges/light lifting and then get out of the house on time to get to the gym.

CIrca 5AM EST.  Notice how thrilled I am to be at the gym.

CIrca 5AM EST. Notice how thrilled I am to be at the gym.

Ugh.

I really shouldn’t be complaining.  Every day when my alarm goes off I have the conscious thought that yes, I’m going to get out of bed and eat my power breakfast and then when I’m done with all my early crap, that’s when I get to run— and that running will make the rest of the day not suck quite so bad, no matter what actually happens.  But I just basically have this mental block that the cold air outside of my cozy blanket kingdom will give me leprosy.  Or necrotizing fasciitis.

That shit scares me.  Google it if you don’t believe m– actually, don’t.  I don’t want you to be scarred, too.

But the fact is, I need to get all that in.  I have a stupid goal for the year (run a half marathon; what was I thinking) and to make that happen, I need to be the girl who gets out of bed and works out and trains on weekends (and gets to eat all the bread at dinner for a few months).  And even if I didn’t need to, I know that it’s January now but in a few months it’ll be summer and I want to feel comfy in my short shorts and ‘Murica bikini top*.

(*not that one must be thin and toned to feel comfy in their short shorts and ‘Murica bikini tops.  More power to you if you’re the girl who can rock that look without sitting there thinking “ohmygodohmygod there is a rogue squishy spot there where did that come from” because you are obviously more confident and assured about your body than I am.  Major kudos, sweetpeas.)

And this is where apps come to the rescue.

I love apps.  I hate to admit it but I am an app junkie.  I have apps on my iPod Touch, I have apps on my phone.  I have apps everywhere.  Hell, I even have apps on my Touch that I also have on my phone, because what if I have one but not the other?  What if I don’t have wifi, but can use the 4G on my phone?

(I hate myself for everything I just wrote in that last sentence.  Moving right along.)

There are three apps currently championing my rising out of bed every morning: Fitocracy, Zombies, Run! and Nexercise.  And on the off chance you’ve heard of none of them, allow me to introduce you.

Both Fitocracy and Nexercise are based on the accumulation of points for completing exercises.  And while Fitocracy is just encouraging based on the fact that other users prop you and tell you you’ve done a good job (basically its an internet cheer squad of people you have never/probably will never meet and if you want you can be my friend and I will cheer you on whenever you do a single thing), Nexercise gives you mPoints for your achievements.  That means you can eventually turn your workouts into Stuff.

Yay!  Stuff!  We all like stuff.  Personally I’m saving for the Kindle Fire, but I am veeery far away from the 400K points needed to get it.

(See?  Motivator.)

Those two are the only ones that motivate me to do the boring, non-run parts of my daily workout, so I could really just shut this post down right here and you’d know everything I wanted to tell you (that goals are good and you should set some, but the encouragement of strangers is better for getting you out of bed in the morning (?))–

–but if you run and you don’t already use Zombies!, you need to start immediately.  Interactive game where you play a runner (genius!) on a team who run scouting and scavenging missions.  What caused the outbreak?  What will the fate of the other survivors be?  Does Runner 8 have the virus??  You have to run more chapters to find out.  

Oh, and you also get a zombie base to repopulate with all the materials (I swear I only collect underwear and trousers) you pick up on your runs.

My Zombie Link hasn't updated in a while.  I swear my base looks more fortified than this.

My Zombie Link hasn’t updated in a while. I swear my base looks more fortified than this.

Second bonus: if you’re like me and actually run better to music, don’t worry– the app works existing playlists into the story pieces.  Because who doesn’t want to be listening to groaning zombs one minute, only to be interrupted by “Go the Distance” the next?  Exactly.

..this has been me revealing how much of a nerd, fitness and otherwise, I truly am.  You are now free to carry out your Wednesday.

What’s your best workout motivator for stupid-cold or stupid-sluggish days?