Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hard to Believe . . .

That my March blog "get in shape" challenge is almost over. I am so tired. This has been one crazy month! However, it is nice to see how often staying active is a normal part of my routine, even when it's not scheduled in the form of traditional exercise. I had a lot of that going on in this past week.
Here's my recap:
Day 21 - I did 45 minutes of strength training here at home.
Day 22 - I took a 10-minute walk with my dog, and then, on the spur of the moment, decided to hop on the bike I got last August for my birthday and ride around my neighborhood after lunch. Not only was it a great way to burn calories, it was also relaxing to be out in the sunshine, even if I did work some muscles in my legs that needed to be worked. The hill coming up my street gave me a nice burn.
Day 23 - I did 45 minutes of strength training at home and then took a 20-minute walk with my kids and the dog after they came home from school.
Day 24 - I had honestly intended for this to be a day off from working out. But I signed up to work at a consignment sale at my church on this day, and for two hours in the morning, I actually ended up running sale items to their designated locations (all over the church) with pretty much no stopping. I'd say I burned a few calories that day.
Day 25 - I did a take a true day off, but I played Wii Sports with my son in the afternoon, which was a fun way to get moving around. Tennis rocks.
Day 26 - I did 45-minutes of strength training here at home.
Day 27 - I also took another day off from the gym, but we ended up going to an outlet mall this afternoon and two hours of walking later, I certainly don't feel like I took a day off!

P.S. The photo above is from a camping trip we took at the Virginia Creeper Trail last June, where I reconnected with my love of biking. That bike was a rental, but my kids hounded my husband to get me a bike of my very own just a few months later. It's pink and beautiful. I love taking it out for a spin.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Almost There!

Thursday of last week (Day 17) I broke up my exercise into different segments. I took my usual walk around our block with the dog, lifted weights while catching up on one of my beloved crime shows for 30 minutes, and later went for a 30-minute walk after dinner. Whew! Friday (Day 18), I joined a friend and we hit the exercise bike for 30 minutes, then hopped on treadmills for 30 more minutes of rigorous cardio (I even jogged for more than half a mile)! I took a much needed rest on Saturday (Day 19). Yesterday, I started to head to the gym, but my husband started cleaning the house and my conscience wouldn't let him tackle this beast alone. I knew I could burn some calories vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms for an hour, so I counted that as my workout, plus one walk with the dog. Later, we even strolled around Lowe's to get ideas for spring planting/painting/redecorating ideas for an hour. I was tired last night!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Take That, Rain

After working out all weekend to stay caught up on this blog challenge, I took Day 14 off, minus the 10-15 walk I took the Superdog (our nickname for Sonic) on . Yesterday, Day 15 was a rainy, dreary day, but I did not let it get me down. I got into my car last night after dinner, drove to the gym and lifted weights for an hour. I felt so much better after I left! I met a friend who is determined to drop a few pounds at the gym this morning, Day 16. We challenged ourselves to burn at least 450 calories during our workout and succeeded! I even spotted a flyer announcing an event on my way out the door and thought it might make a great article idea. Back at home, I quickly composed an e-mail to the editor at the local newspaper with the idea and fired it off. Within an hour, I had the assignment. Sometimes it pays to be high on endorphins!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Update on the Challenge

I'm not going to lie. Trying to keep up with this fitness challenge this month has been pretty difficult. Last week, I did not meet my goal of exercising five days a week. There were several different reasons why. First, I worked as a preschool substitute three days last week at my son's school. While that was only in the mornings, it was followed by the usual picking up my daughter and transporting her after school, as well as driving to my son's speech therapy one of those days. Plus, it rained two days which is always depressing! Then, my husband was scheduled to have outpatient surgery on Wednesday, which was cancelled at the last minute because his doctor became ill. Anyway, last week was so exhausting that I honestly wanted to throw in the towel on this project, but I've decided to keep going. So here's last week's recap:
Day 7 - I worked out at the gym for an hour and took the dog for a 10-minute walk earlier in the day.
Day 8 - Nothing
Day 9 - Nothing besides a 10-minute walk with the dog.
Day 10 - Nothing besides a 10-minute walk with the dog.
Day 11 - A 45-minute workout at the gym and 10-minute walk later.
Day 12 - A 30-minute walk at the local park, and 20-minute walk with the dog.
Day 13 - Strength and core training for 40 minutes and a 10-minute walk in the afternoon.

So I worked out four days of last week, which is still reasonable. If nothing else, my dog should be happy! I'm hoping to get back on the wagon this week, and try to eat a little better. I've stocked my refrigerator with plenty of fruits and vegetables this week, so here we go!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 7

Today was a busy day, with a lot of time this afternoon spent in the car. Not good for the waistline. The weather also turned cold and a little chilly, which is usually the kiss of death for me as far as exercise. But I'm happy to report that I stuck to my guns. I dragged myself to the gym tonight, worked out on the elliptical for 45 minutes and then did about 10 minutes of core exercises. And I also walked the dog for 10 minutes this afternoon. I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Days 4, 5 and 6

No, I didn't fall off the physical challenge wagon, although I have been mysteriously absent from the blog this weekend. It's just been a very busy last few days!
Anyway, Day 4, Friday, just flat out sucked. I was busy trying to finish up a few deadlines, had a performance at my daughter's school to attend, carpool duties, and my son was with me all day. Besides finally venturing out to take the dog for a 15-minute walk around 5:30 p.m., the extent of my physical activity that day was typing on the computer. I don't quite think that counts. And boy, you could tell I had a sedentary day! I was grouchy, crabby and depressed. And I craved carbs.
Saturday, Day 5, I went to the gym with my family and had a much-needed 60-minute workout. The kids had fun at Childwatch, and the husband and I lifted weights. All before 11 a.m. I felt great the rest of the day.
Today, Day 6, consisted of a different sort of workout. We have an extremely busy week planned around here, including me working as a substitute at my son's preschool three days this week, so I wanted to make sure the house was in good working order before tomorrow. I spent a good two hours scrubbing toilets, sweeping, mopping and dusting. I'll count that as today's calories burned.
So to recap, I met my goal of getting at least 45 minutes of physical activity a day, five days a week. I'm betting it will be a little tougher to accomplish this week, but we'll see how it goes!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 3

Today has been a much better day than yesterday, mostly because it didn't include a milkshake! Instead, I consumed 40 ounces of water instead.
Our lucky dog got two 10-minute walks through the neighborhood today, and I dare say the extra exercise is wearing him out. That's a good thing!
This evening I did 30 minutes of strength training and core, for a total of 50 minutes worth of exercise for day three. I will be spending the evening in front of the computer working on an article that is due tomorrow, but I think things will flow a lot smoother now that I have my exercise goal out of the way. I've been sleeping really soundly the past few days, too.
Hopefully tomorrow if the weather allows, I'll go on a bike ride around the neighborhood with my son. I got a new bike back in August for my birthday and love taking it for a spin whenever I get the chance.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 2

I met my goal of exercising today. I actually took my dog for a walk this morning (working from home has its perks!) and the kids and I took him again this afternoon. They rode their bikes and scooters. Sonic is the rescue dog we adopted a few months after we lost our old friend and Chihuahua extraordinaire, Odie. We're not quite sure what he is exactly (my daughter calls him a Chiweenie) but he definitely has some Chihuahua and maybe Daschund in him. There's a reason he has the name Sonic. We're guessing he's about 4 years old and he has the energy to match. I swear, sometimes I think if he had a bigger mouth he would bring me the leash himself!
Full disclosure here. There are no secrets in "The Healthier Writer Challenge." I took the kids to McDonald's today for an impromptu ice cream trip, fully planning on getting an iced latte for myself. One small chocolate milkshake later, I'm still feeling the guilt. Why did I do that? Plus, milkshakes are always a little rough on my stomach, so while it tastes good at the time, what's the point?
I tried to make up for it by having a healthy dinner of vegetarian lentil soup and a baked potato with Smart Balance. Then I hit the stairclimber at the gym for 45 minutes and did some core exercises after that. Besides the milkshake, I did manage to eat pretty well today, so I'm proud of myself for that. No sense in beating myself up for it. Tomorrow's a new day!
I guess in all I worked out about 1 hour and 20 minutes today. I have two articles to work on tomorrow so it will be interesting to see how I manage to squeeze a workout in there, but I'm determined.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Big Idea: A Healthier Writer

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

During a discussion with my husband this past weekend, something dawned on me. Every spring, typically in March or April, I attempt some Herculean feat. For example, one year I decided I was going to get off my duff, hire a personal trainer, and lose 15 pounds, which I did. Another year I completed a half-marathon. Ouch! Last year I produced more than 60,000 pages of blood, sweat and tears (some might call it my first novel) during the month of March. Apparently my husband tries to mentally prepare himself for whatever big idea I have every year, and I am just now realizing that I've been doing this since before we got married 10 years ago. He was shocked that I hadn't come to this conclusion sooner.
Having put that out there, I am now feeling self-imposed pressure to come up with a good project again this year.
I know I must suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, because boy, do I get sad and slovenly during the winter months. And it's not like we live in Antarctica or anything. I just hate the shorter days and cold weather, and pretty much all I want to do is sit around in my velour pants, drink coffee, and sometimes attempt to pound away on my keyboard.
Today is March 1, and I'm feeling motivated. I definitely have about 10 pounds of winter weight I need to get rid of. And I have a strapless, form-fitting bridemaid's dress to squeeze into at the beginning of June so there's no time like the present. I decided that this month, I am going to attempt a blog challenge. Writers are notoriously known for being unhealthy, due to the pressure of deadlines, sitting in front of keyboards, and often reaching for one too many cups of coffee and muffins. I write a lot of fitness, health and nutrition articles which makes my situation all the more ironic.
So this month, I will be documenting my attempt to lose at least five pounds. I am challenging myself to exercise for at least 45 minutes a day, five days a week.
Anyone want to join me? I will be posting my results here each day that I exercise to hold myself accountable. I already took a break this morning and went on a 10-minute walk with my dog. Let's go!

Edited to add that I also did 40 minutes of core/strength training last night. Check!