Category Archives: Training or Torture?

It’s the Little Things That Make the Difference

My weight loss and exercise plans continue to move forward. Slowly. I’ve been losing about a pound per week. Even this past week, I lost 0.8 pounds and that was after I pulled something in my back and couldn’t exercise. I also relaxed my diet for 3 or 4 days, instead of one day a week like I had been allowing. So since I still lost weight while not being as strict, I felt like I could be less strict again this week.

I had the afternoon off and was heading downtown to run some errands. I was going to have a late lunch and decided to go to a Greek restaurant I like. They have delicious chicken kabobs which come with pita and fries. I figured I could splurge a little and eat some fries.

As I was walking out of my apartment, I saw a guy in incredible shape walking down the other side of the street. He had shoulders out to here! (Ok. You’ll have to picture it in your mind, but they were big.) And his arms and chest were also big and very defined. He was wearing a black tank-top and black pants and was looked like he was on his way to the gym.

That’s when it struck me:

This guy doesn’t reward himself with french fries!

It’s the little things that make the difference, especially in derailing goals. I could treat myself to french fries today and I’d probably still lose weight this week. But if I treat myself today, then it’ll be easier to justify treating myself tomorrow to a dessert, or a frothy coffee drink. Or pizza! (I miss my weekly pizza.) And next thing you know I’ve gained a pound instead of losing a pound this week.

If I want to stay on target, I need to avoid the creep that can occur if I start to give myself a little leeway. So I went to Potbelly’s and had a sandwich (530 calories – right on target) and a big container of water.

Tonight it was torture!

I would have treated myself to the french fries if I had known what tonight’s workout was going to be. The last two days have had a heat index of about 105 degrees. Today it was cooler with a high of only 93, so I was already sweating by the time I got to the gym.

After a warm up of mountain climbers and planks, he had me do a circuit of six exercises:

  • Barbell squats
  • Bosu-ball pushups
  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Incline chest presses
  • Side lunges
  • Overhead pulldowns

I had to do as many reps of each exercise before moving on to the next one. And I had to keep going until I reached 400 reps total. Four hundred!! It took the entire hour. By the end, I thought I was going to pass out. That was ninety minutes ago, and I’m finally starting to feel ok. I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow though.

 

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A New Personal Record

Tonight at the trainer, I did 4 unassisted pull-ups. That’s a new personal record for me. Woo-hoo!! Last week, I did 2. Maybe it’s sad that 4 is a personal record, but I’ve never been that athletic. And I’m choosing to just focus on the positive aspects: I’m improving my strength and skills, and becoming more athletic.

About a year ago, I started working out with a trainer, again. It was the only exercise I maintained consistently while in school. Less than a half-dozen times I canceled, although I did have to reschedule quite a bit, especially around final exams. I went two to three months without swimming or riding my bike, but I kept the trainer appointments as much as possible. I’d even rush out of Criminal Law on Tuesdays, drive home, change, and run to the gym. And I got up Saturday mornings so I could eat breakfast and make it to the trainer by 10 a.m.

Over the last year, I put on 20 pounds, much of it muscle. I now have shoulders that stick out! Now that I’ve put on some muscle — and am no longer eating in the school cafeteria four times a week — I’m working on dropping some of the fat that goes along with bulking up. The goal is to drop roughly 22 pounds this summer. I started at 197 (2 pounds short of my all-time high weight). Goal is 175, although I’m not wedded to the number. It’s just a target to aim for.

I’ve been doing pretty well. The goal is 1-2 pounds a week. The second week was my med school 15 year reunion, and that week I gained 0.8 pounds (I blame the margaritas at Mad Mex, my favorite Pittsburgh restaurant.), but otherwise I have been dropping pretty consistently. This week, I’m down 1.4 pounds, for a total of 8.6 pounds.

The hardest part is the diet. It takes a lot of planning to eat healthy. You can’t just run out and grab lunch in the suburbs. And small changes in my diet have a bigger impact for me than changes in exercise. I was actually worried that I wasn’t going to do as well this week. It was Pride weekend, and I let the diet slip a little more than usual. I had pizza, a quesadilla, and key lime pie this week. Normally, I try to only have one “unhealthy” meal a week.

I’m going to the beach for a few days in two weeks, so I probably should tighten up my diet to maximize my progress before the beach.

Training or Torture?

Here’s a new feature on my blog: A segment I’ll call “Training or Torturing?”

I’ll describe an exercise my trainer made me do, and you can decide on whether it’s a legitimate exercise, or just a sadistic way to torture me.

Tonight’s “exercise”

  • Get in a push-up position. (Doesn’t sound that hard, right?)
  • Did I mention that your hands are on two different sized medicine balls? (Ok, even that’s not THAT hard.)
  • Roll one of the medicine balls forward about 6-8 inches.
  • Now, shift your weight to the ball you just rolled forward, so you can roll the second ball forward 6-8 inches, too. (You may not remember this from geometry, but a sphere rolls. And they roll even easier when you’re pushing them from the side!)
  • Now, pick yourself back up off the floor, since you fell off the rolling ball. Try again. If you get past this stage, you get to:
  • Slide your feet forward so you’re back in a push-up position with the medicine balls directly under your shoulders.
  • Repeat the whole process 6 to 8 more times. And then two more sets.
So, Training? or Torture?