Saturday, December 31, 2011

Is being competitive a bad thing?

Last night I posted this tweet:

So remember that blog post from yesterday reveling in how good I was this week? Kinda blew it today. #FitFluential
I got some feedback from two people on Twitter and they were both very positive and reminded me that it's just one day and you can get back to normal tomorrow (thanks @Schmiet and @LiveLoveNRun). So that's exactly what I did this morning. I got back to normal.

I slept for 10 hours last night so I was very rested. My sweet husband made me my coffee and breakfast (two whole grain waffles with peanut butter on them!) like he does most mornings. We were just going to go do 20 minutes of cardio but he said "So, are we doing a full workout today?" and I thought to myself, why not? So we get our gym clothes on and headed out. Here's the problem - I'm a bit competitive when it comes to athletic adventures. 

When David was in high school, he played football and lifted weights heavily. He managed to injure himself at some point doing something regarding weight lifting. He was all into reading Muscle & Fitness. He was very muscle-y. I mean, damn. I wish I'd known him then. Don't get me wrong, he's still got a great body, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I really enjoy muscles! But I digress. 

He has this image in his head that he should be bigger than he is. He weighed this morning and he's up to 167 (the little shit) and he's still dissatisfied. He has weighed under 170 for probably a year now and he's frustrated by it. Oh yeah, and he's 5' 9". Like I said, he wants to be bigger, but not as big as he was in high school and college (the first time around). I'm giving you this back story so that you can understand why I'm competitive with him. 

Here is my part. I've battled back and forth about whether or not I should post my weight on here because it's scary. I mean it's super scary. It's not as scary as it was last August, but it's still scary. So last August I was 279 *gasp* and I've since lost 20 - 25 pounds *wahoo!!*. When I weighed today after our workout I was 258. My weight fluctuates on a daily basis, as does everyone's (which I have to keep telling myself). Now here's the thing - when I was in high school I played soccer. I hurt myself and had to have 3 knee surgeries. I'm an athlete. I have broad shoulders, curves, and strong legs. Oli keeps saying that if you were an athlete in high school, your body somehow remembers that and you can always be athletic. I don't know if that is what he actually says, but it's something like that. He's usually talking while I'm doing some sort of strenuous activity! 

I find that most athletes can be quite competitive. I'm using that as my excuse. In our routine today, David was able to do heavier weights than me on everything, but I completed more reps than he did. Maybe he went to failure, but I still did more reps. Sure, on the pull downs he did 70/80/90/70. But I did 50/60/70/70 and did my full 15 reps on each set. He could only do 15 on his first two sets and then failed at 13. That means that I did better, right? I mean, I completed all my sets. Then the other thing was our dumbbell curls. He did 15 pound dumbbells for four sets but we both struggled through all of the 15 rep sets. I only did 12.5 dumbbells and then on my fourth set I did 10 pound weights. 

The next thing that we did that he did better on me on was stadiums. We had to run 3 sets of 5 rounds on the steps. Well, D did his full 5 each time. I did 5, 4, 3. He carries 90 pounds less than I do. But the fact of the matter is, I want to be better than him. I mean, I work my ass off when I'm at the gym. I try really hard to eat well. He can eat whatever he wants and just work out lazily (not that he does that at all) and not gain any flab. He maintains. I miss a workout or have a day or even just a meal where I don't eat well, and I'm pushed back. Maybe it's competition with myself and David is just my target, or maybe it is just all out competition against him. If there was someone who weighed something similar to me it would be easier to have a healthier competitive nature with, but I'm really not sure. 

But maybe it's not competition at all. Maybe it's me wanting to prove myself to David. Maybe it's me saying, "Hey guess what, buddy. I can do anything you can do better. I can do anything better than you." 

Does anyone else feel competitive like I do? If so, is it your spouse, your friend, or just yourself? Is there a cure? Not that I want or need one, but if there is, it'd be nice to hear about. Or, if there isn't a cure, do you think that it's healthy? Let me know in the comments below. 

Oh yeah - and I hope that everyone has a very happy and safe New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Work stress = bad eating and exercise, right?

The stress that I've been succumbing to at work is building up more than it had been before the holidays. I worked from home on Tuesday, worked at a different office on Wednesday, and was in my own office today. Tomorrow I'll probably work from my office again, but I get a lot more done when I work from home as there are many fewer distractions there than are at the office. Even though my stress has been increasing with the impending due date of a huge ass project I've been working on all year, my eating and exercising has been pretty damn good this week.

This is appropriate.
I had a few slip ups, but other than popcorn for lunch on Tuesday and a Grande White Mocha from Starbucks yesterday, I've done pretty well with my eating.

Tonight I did my second sans Oli workout and it was much less painful and draining than the workout on Monday. I may not say the same thing tomorrow morning, but for now I don't think I'll suffer as much as I did earlier this week! Last night was just cardio so I decided that instead of doing the Arc Trainer for 20 minute intervals, I would do the Step Mill for 10 minutes. Ha! What a joke. I did my first 7 minutes and had to pause in order to catch my breath. Then I finished the rest of the first 10 minutes just fine. I took about a minute and a half break and then attempted to do 5 more minutes. I thought I'd be able to finish, but boy was I wrong! I had to pause again after only 2 minutes and then I only made it another 2 minutes and 11 seconds. My calves were burning so badly. I stopped because I just didn't think I could take another step. So I foam rolled which helped some, but walking out to the truck was still a challenge. All the exercise and eating well has helped keep my stress level lower than what it would normally be if I weren't practicing those good changes.
True, true.

All in all it's been a great week. The Maintain, Don't Gain challenge at work is winding down, so hopefully I'll be able to get to my starting weight or less, but I don't know about that. I'm only 2.6 pounds over what I was when we started before Thanksgiving, so if things keep going the way they are now for the rest of the week, I should be good. I'll report back on that later.

Today's question: How has your holiday wind down/resolution gear up week been going?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Motivation/Fun Quotes

Just perusing Pinterest and came across a quote that lead me to a website featuring a lot more quotes!  These are just a sampling of what you can find at Missfit Clothing. I hope that some of these things can motivate and/or entertain you.
I never look cute after my workouts.
Five days a week.
Hopefully I'll eventually be able to use a smaller full ass to do things with!
This one is for Oli!
I hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas or whatever it is that you celebrate. I know that we had a great Christmas and are hoping to have a fantastic New Year. I'm working on a post for 2012 Resolutions which will hopefully be done by the end of the week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A couple days ago I wrote about new clothes and wondering if that would help motivate me for working out. You can see that post here. I placed a rather large order from Old Navy and ordered two things from Dick's Sporting Goods. I reference the Nike pants in the post I just linked to, and I have to say - they are the best $45 I've spent on workout clothes! Love them. And, better yet, they look good on me! So I can say that for now, that plan was a success. The cute clothes make me feel good at the gym.

I don't know if it's the holidays or the stress I'm feeling from work that is making me feel demotivated, but I'm bound and determined to nip it in the bud. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that it's the work stress that is really getting to me. I've got a big project that was supposed to be done by the end of the year that isn't going to be done. It's not really on my head that it's not done because of the other people that I'm working with, but it's still really frustrating me. I do really well with goals and timelines, and when I don't meet one of those, I have a tendency to internalize things and put more pressure on myself.

I worked from home today and had an epiphany. I need to relax! I need to destress and leave work at work. I've asked for Friday off and scheduled a massage for that morning.

Merry Christmas to me!

Oli is going to South Africa for two weeks and when I met with him tonight he had written up 5 workout plans for me to do while he's gone. I'm kind of looking forward to it because I know that they'll be challenging. I like continually proving to myself that I can do these workouts that he plans for me. I also have realized that I push myself harder when I don't workout with him. Don't get me wrong, I push myself plenty hard when he's standing right in front of me, but I don't slack as much as I could when he's not there.

After my session with him tonight I was high on the endorphins that you get from working out! If I could only remember what that feels like at the beginning of my workout sessions or when I'm not feeling motivated to go, I'd be able to kick ass all the time at the gym.

My question to you today Is this: What's your favorite thing about working out-the sweat, the endorphins, the cute clothes?! Oh yeah - I almost forgot - I'm down 1.2 pounds from last week.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Cheer with a Terminal Illness?

Yesterday my husband and I delivered gifts to our adopted ALS family. Pat, Cathey, their three kids, son-in-law, and grandson were all there. It was such a warm, rewarding experience that I hope we get to do it again next year. We spent about 45 minutes with them and they were all very thankful for the gifts that we brought them. I know that it wasn't the gifts that they were after. It was having someone who knows what ALS does to a family and knowing that at the holidays our family time is even more precious, especially when it could possibly be the last Christmas with your loved one.

In March 2010 my grandmother lost her battle with ALS. Not living in PA where she and my whole family are located was difficult for me. David and I traveled to PA a lot in 2009 and 2010. I know that sometimes people think that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but I'm so thankful that the Mulholland family wanted to be part of the holiday program. Helping them helped push me over into the holiday spirit. They are an amazing family! If you are inclined to make a difference in someone's life that might be battling a terrible disease, making a contribution to that organization is always a welcome gift. If you know someone that has been affected by ALS, please consider making a donation to the ALS Association in honor or memory of them. Their family, and mine, will be very thankful.

I'm still struggling with my holiday cheer, but when I remember the joy on Pat's face and the smiles we shared yesterday at their house, it warms my heart!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Does a compliment mean that much?

Third work out for the week done. Just two more to go and I'll have completed my first full week of being back to the gym (read: getting all of my 5 workouts in). I met Oli tonight so that I could get my measurements done. I was able to compare my stats from last August (2010) and man, seeing those pumped me up. Down 20 pounds and probably 10 inches all over. I've gained weight, but I haven't really gained any inches back, so that was really good to see.

Tonight was 20 minutes on the elliptical and then arms, back, and crunches. I killed it! David and I secured a bench and alternated using it, barbells, and dumbbells. When I was done with everything on the bench I went over to the pull down/row/pull up contraption. You know the one - where the muscle heads hang out. Like this only bigger. I had to do pull downs (I like those because, well, because I have to arch my back. Mom always said to flaunt what you've got.) and tricep push downs. When I workout I try to be stickler for form because I don't want to get hurt. So I'm doing my push downs and this random guy (not bad looking, either) complimented me on my form. He said that I have good form and that normally when he sees people (I'm assuming he meant women?) doing those, they typically have terrible form. I was thrilled! I know I have good form, but for some random person to compliment me on it makes me jump to cloud 9.

Question for tonight: Why is that when the people we care about tell us something nice it doesn't mean as much as it does when it comes from a stranger?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Clothes

Is it possible that new clothes will help my motivation? I'm beginning to think so. I had a conversation with a coworker (she used to be a personal trainer before she became a banker) and she said that it's possible that my blues could be remedied by looking cuter (or feeling like I look cuter) while I'm at the gym. I've posted before that my favorite working pants are these:
C9 by Champion Running Tights
They are sold out at Target online and aren't sold in stores. I've decided that I need to get another pair of them somehow because I love them and I know that I always feel good when I wear them. So I've decided to buy a pair of these: 
Nike Women's Plus Size Tech Run Capri
They are on sale for  $45 from Dick's online. Do they sell these in my size in the store? No. You know why? Because retailers don't like to sell fat people clothes that they actually need to wear. That is so incredibly frustrating. Why can't I walk into a sporting goods store and pick up a pair of workout pants, try them on, and buy them? Why is okay for the girl who wears a size small to large or extra large (depending on the manufacturer) to be able to buy workout clothes that fit her, but I can't because I wear one size larger than her? Anyway. I'm going to buy one pair of pants and a shirt or two so that I can feel cute when I am at the gym. Do I need to impress anyone? No. I need to feel good for myself so that I remember why I'm doing this. If I feel ugly and frumpy - why would I workout hard? Why would I want to look good for my husband and myself? The cuter I look at the gym, I figure, the cuter I feel after I keep working out, losing weight, and need to buy new workout clothes again because these don't fit! 

Here's my question to you tonight: What are your thoughts on retailers not stocking plus size workout clothes? And - one more for fun - What is your favorite workout clothing article?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Enough water...

I'm on a business trip in West TN for the rest of the week and I have the best of intentions to stick to all of my goals for the week. Now, whether or not that happens is entirely up to my motivation! It's a 5 hour drive from home to where I am and a day after doing legs, sitting for 5 hours isn't exactly what I had envisioned, but that's what had to happen. Once we got here we had about two hours before we needed to be at our meeting, so we lunched (at Chick-fil-a) and rested a bit at our hotel.

We headed over to our meeting and had a great four-hour conversation about wonderful work things! The problem with this great four-hour meeting was that we were never once offered a sip of water. In my fitbook I established a goal to drink two of my water bottles per day. Thanks to our hosts oversight in offering us sustenance, I failed to meet my goal of drinking my water. Today I was also supposed to do 20 minutes of cardio before I left K-town. But, because I didn't go to sleep until after 11p.m. and I had to leave the house at 7:30 a.m., it didn't happen. But, what did happen was this: after my delicious dinner of mussels and angel hair pasta, two glasses of wonderful red wine, and a bit of cheesecake (is all of that bad?) I did 30 minutes on the treadmill at the hotel. I did the extra ten minutes because of the cheesecake.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to do upper body and 20-minutes of cardio again. The challenge? We have an hour and a half drive in the morning and then I have 5-6 hours of training ahead of me. Hopefully I'll get it done!

Thought for the day? How do you keep to your workout schedule when you are on the road?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crazy Day

Today was super busy, not just at work, but home too. We got home at 5:30, I started laundry, prepped my green beans for dinner, did another load of wash, ate a pre-workout snack, got dressed for the gym and headed out. 

I had an appointment with Oli tonight, but he inadvertently double-booked my appointment time. Since I was at the gym, and had convinced David to come with me, I figured I might as well workout like I was planning. Besides, with the trainer there asking me if I remember the leg workout we did last week and telling me to just do that, I didn't have a whole lot of say in the matter. I'd already done my 10 minute Arc Trainer warm up and was sweaty, so why not just finish the whole workout?

When I don't eat enough or don't eat the right foods before I exert a lot of energy I get the shakes. Oli introduced me to one of my favorite new post-workout snacks: Shot Bloks, strawberry flavor. I must have pushed myself pretty hard because I was shaky tonight. So we came home, I grabbed three Bloks, had some water and OJ and felt nearly like myself again. Then I cooked dinner. Tonight was crazy, but the thing that I'm most proud of is that I stuck to it. If I'd known that Oli had double-booked me before I left the house, I may not have gone to the gym. I'm glad that I did.

Today was also the first day that I made entries into my Fitbook. I can say that I ate decently (Christmas goodies have started arriving at the office) and completed my workout. I met my daily goals! It's all about baby steps, right? So here's my question for you today: What do you do to keep yourself motivated to go to the gym when you don't want to? Answer in the comments below!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm not exactly sure of what I'll be using this blog for specifically, but I want to keep it focused on my fitness adventure! I'm also trying to determine how much information I want to divulge to my lovely readers (read: Do I want you all to know how much I weigh and what my measurements are). For now I think that I'm going to start with goals.

In yesterday's inaugural post I told you that I want to lose 5 pounds a month until May. Intermediate goals are to improve my kicking while swimming so that I can get more out of that exercise, work out 5 days a week, and to eat smaller portions for my meals. At this point, I believe that those 3 intermediate goals are sufficient.

Not only do I need to eat smaller portions, but I also need to eat better food. What is your favorite pre-workout snack or meal? What's your favorite "healthy" food? Let me know in the comments below. I need to try new things.

Fitness Survey

I saw this fitness survey over on the Let's Talk and Walk blog and I thought that since I'm doing this new fitness blogging thing, I'd try it out.

Five Fitness Things I Can’t Live Without:
My iPhone for entertainment during cardio
My trainer
My new fitbook
The gym because I don't workout at home
My C9 by Champion running tights.
Most Embarrassing Song I Listen to While Working Out:
I listen to Pandora when I work out, so I don't have control over the songs that are played.
Favorite Pre-Workout Snack or Meal:
Trail mix with berries, almonds, peppitas, and sunflower seeds.
On My Fitness Bucket List:
Do at least one pull up - not assisted
Run a 5k
Weigh less than 200 pounds
Must Have Tech Tools:
My iPhone
Top Exercise Gear:
My running tights. I also really like my sneakers, but my pants for certain. 
Motivational Mantras: (I'm borrowing these from Let's Talk and Walk because they are awesome!)

Next Big Exercise Goal:
Swimming properly
Favorite Cardio Exercise:
Arc Trainer and Swimming. Don't tell Oli this, but I kind of like running the steps, too. It's fast and effective.
Favorite Strength Moves:
Chest press
Leg press
Bicep curl with shoulder press

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A New Beginning - Rebecca's Story

Hello world! I'm Rebecca Alcorn. A  29-year old married female living in Knoxville. That's me ->

Over the course of the last year I lost 25 - 30 pounds. I got super burnt out over the summer and had a bit of a relapse of 5 - 10 pounds. It all really depends on which scale I weigh myself on. I worked out on and off over the course of the last 3 months, but didn't really change back to what my activity level was before I got burnt out. Recently at work we implemented a little challenge called 'Maintain, Don't Gain.' It is a holiday challenge to stay within +/- 3 pounds of your pre-holiday weight. We weigh in again the 2nd or 3rd of January. My goal is to be 5 pounds down from my pre-holiday weight.

I work out with a personal trainer [shout out to Oli] at a local gym. He and I met for the first time since June last week and came up with some goals for me. David and I have a trip to France planned for next May after he graduates from grad school and I'd like to be down 25 pounds by the time we leave on May 11. That means that I have to lose 5 pounds each month. When Oli and I talked about this (in between crunches and squats) he said that I need to have a punishment if I don't meet that goal. The punishment that he came up with was this: If I don't lose 5 pounds a month I have to add in a spin class on top of my other, regularly scheduled workouts until I lose the previous month's 5 pounds. So, if I only lose 3 pounds in December, that means that I have to do a spin class every weekend until I lose the extra 2 pounds in January. If I don't lose 7 pounds in January, then I have to continue that extra spin class in February. Basically, if I don't succeed in December, my butt is going to be numb in January.

So that's the story of my new beginning.