Tag Archives: fitness

Tortuous Tabata

18 Mar

So apparently in recent times a Japanese scientist named Tabata came up with a high intensity circuit workout program made to take half the time and burn twice the calories of a regular workout. It’s a fairly new trend that is making the rounds in the fitness circles.

Basically each “tabata” is a four minute workout where you’re on 20 seconds and have 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 rounds. Then you rest about 3 minutes until the next one. The entire workout is roughly 30 minutes and incorporates weigh training and cardio exercises.

I’ve done tabata workouts before but my new trainer took them to a whole new wicked level today. I really thought I was going to die. I almost barfed halfway through, but I held out and completed the program.

This a very intense program. Do not attempt unless you’re already in great shape and definitely consult a doctor or certified trainer first.

–plank to push-up: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–squat to shoulder press: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–squat to standing row: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–med ball slams: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–squat to med ball toss: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes
–treadmill runs at 6mph: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, repeat 8 sets
Rest 3 minutes

Plugging Away

27 Feb

It has been a busy few weeks. I finally have gotten back on track with regular exercise and eating properly again. After 8 months of being depressed and stressed, I’m now just stressed. Well, that’s one down anyway.

I gained 10 pounds during my boyfriend’s deployment. He’s still gone but hopefully will be home in 6 weeks or less. In the meantime I’m trying to get back on track. I’ve started working out regularly with a trainer and keeping my food journal.

After a tough start, I lost a pound and shaved 5 minutes off of my last 5K time. Each week my trainer increases my weights, reps and times and I’ve been showing strength and speed improvements. I ran my 5K section of my half marathon race in 47:02 and last weekend I finished my training run in 42:01.

I feel my confidence returning. After being in a terrible fog for so long, I feel like the pink ninja again. It’s been hard adjusting to fewer calories each day and squeezing in workouts was a challenge at first but it feels great.

Anyone can get back on the wagon, no matter how hard it seems. Just make up your mind to start and don’t make anymore excuses. Any day can be your start day and only worry about that day. Don’t think about the pounds ahead or trying to conquer endless miles. Just meet your goal that day and worry about the rest tomorrow.

The Comeback Kid

26 Jan

Dear readers,

After an extremely long hiatus of nearly 8 months, the Skinny Pink Ninja has returned. It’s been a super rough time on my end, and I have to admit I just shut down for a while. The love of my life is James Bond. No really, he is. He has a secret government job that sends him away on long assignments with very little to no contact with me. 

I’ve always considered myself fiercely strong and able to overcome just about anything, but my guy is my Kryptonite, my Achilles heel. Living without him and only getting a 3 line email every 2 months was agony. I tried to keep going, but I was definitely in a depressed funk. My fitness level dropped tremendously during that time and I was just focusing on getting out of bed and trying to live my life. I also got mono during that time and was sick for about 2.5 months. Then there was family drama with my dad having emergency back surgery and some other health issues. 

So between all of that, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I gained almost 10 pounds and was barely keeping my toes in the water at the gym. I still ran and worked out, but it was only about 2 days a week instead of my former 4 – 5. I didn’t really care about keeping track of my food intake or anything, because that was my comfort during a hard time. I was mad at myself for giving into the sadness, but I just couldn’t help it. Worrying about someone you love, who is halfway around the world and in extreme danger is a full time job. 

He was supposed to be home permanently this month, but sadly the government took him from him again for another 2 – 3 months. Luckily he came back for a visit last week and we had a great talk that helped alleviate some of my fears and neuroses. The bad news is he’s got to do this another few months and then he has to move to Washington, DC. The good news is his contract is up in December and he is quitting. He is done and tired of being James Bond. He plans to move to Colorado after his contract is up so we can attempt a normal life. So in the meantime, once he’s back from other continents, we have to travel back and forth to see each other, but after all we’ve been through that seems so easy. 

I felt better after our talk and have decided to pick myself back up again. I can’t let the PInk Ninja get down. I’ve gone back to writing down my food and making smarter choices about what I eat. I started a new workout regiment this week with a new trainer and actually got 3 solid days in. I’m going to start distance running again tomorrow. I’m signing up for the Denver Colfax Half Marathon in May. 

I did manage to complete my third half marathon two weeks ago. When my guy left in May, I signed up for the Disney World Full Marathon. Unfortunately, thanks to mono taking me out for about 3 months, I had to downgrade my registration to a half marathon. I had a lot of trouble training due to the fatigue that held on from mono and my overall depression. Nevertheless, I finished the race. The conditions were fierce—85 degrees and 75% humidity. It was brutal and I barely finished in a tragic 3:40:43. But, in all honesty, I was most proud of finishing this race than my other halves. It took everything I had to overcome the heat, the mono, the sadness, the stress in my life and pull out that finish. 

Completing the race helped me a lot. I feel like my fighting self again. I know I’ll get the 10 pounds off and I know I can finish my next half marathon. Not only is my goal to finish, but I want to PR and finish under 2:57:03, which is my best finishing time. I’m still scared to death about my love’s safety and it’s going to be a long 2 – 3 months waiting for him. But we’ve overcome the worst and have made it through. Now it’s up to me to pick myself back up again and return to my former self. 

It’s a long road to the next finish line, but I have done much harder before, I know I can do this. 

The Running Cure

23 May

My boyfriend was deployed this past Saturday for 8 months. Needless to say it’s been horribly painful. Although the half marathon on Sunday helped quite a bit, each day apart has felt worse, not better. I was originally planning to take a week off from running following the race. I figured I needed the rest especially since I ran a long distance without training.

I decided to hit the gym today and just do some upper body weights and maybe a little bit of light walking or bike. I did my weights and headed to the treadmill for a slow walk. I was feeling especially bad emotionally today. This is the longest we’ve gone without connecting with each other and it’s likely to be another few weeks before I first hear from him. It was hitting me hard, and I really felt discouraged.

I walked slowly for about a quarter mile. The emotions started tugging harder and harder at my heart, and I found myself upping the speed on the treadmill. At first I just thought I’d do a light jog, but I found the faster I went, the better I felt. I ended up doing four quarter mile sprints in a row at 6.0 – 6.5mph. It was such an incredible release. I was fighting back the tears as I ran, but it felt so good.

I could only do four sprints as my legs were still pretty tired from Sunday’s race, but it was an incredible cure for today’s serious emotional blues. I felt such a high and sense of release when I was done. I felt hopeful about my relationship and getting through the next 8 months.

I think running is going to be my salvation during his deployment. So far, in the past five days, it has been my only true source of happiness and relief from this agonizing separation. I really think it is a cure for anything, the endorphins it produces are so powerful.

If someone told me years ago I’d use running to heal emotional pain, I would have laughed and probably popped a Prozac. But now I know it will help me get through this. Although now I’m feeling sad again, I know I can just hop back on the treadmill and let it all out tomorrow. And with each passing day, the pain will get easier and then will come the joyous day that he returns. Until then, I’ll be clocking in the miles.

Going, Going…Gone

12 Mar

Following the marathon in October, I gained 3 pounds. It really didn’t start until November as a result of the holidays but mostly due to the fact I was working 70 hours a week. I wasn’t eating right and I definitely wasn’t getting my exercise in. I felt awful, but there was nothing I could do. I was so exhausted and so busy, I was just trying to keep sane. In January, things finally calmed down at my office and with my freelance work so I was able to get back into a routine.

The routine had its ups and downs. I was definitely going out to eat more to socialize with friends who I hadn’t seen during my busy time. So the 3 pounds wasn’t budging. Three pounds doesn’t sound like much, but if you let 3 slide, then it becomes 5 and then it becomes 10 and down rabbit hole you go. I was fretting about the 3 pounds, but I knew it’d come off eventually.

One of the hardest thing was getting a regular workout schedule going again at work. With a new promotion came new responsibilities and less time. However, my workouts are important not only for weight maintenance, but they help me greatly with stress. So I started marking them on my email calendar as a meeting so people wouldn’t schedule things at the office during this time. It really worked! I was able to leave and get my workout in. The interesting thing is that my work still got done. So it was okay to take some time for myself.

I cut back drastically on eating out. For one thing, I was tired of it. It doesn’t taste as good as homemade food and it was no longer a special treat I enjoyed. I made sure I allotted time to cook my meals and take my lunch. I got back to recording my calorie intake regularly as I had sometimes let it lapse.

Today, the 3 pounds is officially gone. It’s not much, but I can tell the difference in my clothes. I feel better too. Mostly I just feel good that I caught it before it turned into a serious number. That’s the key. If you put on a few pounds from the holidays or a vacation, it’s okay. It happens. Just make sure to get on top of it before it gets out of control. Put workout appointments on your phone or email calendar to make sure you get them in. Take time to record your food. These are all simple steps to success.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Running Trail

1 Mar

Before I delve into my post, I have returned. I’ve been so insanely busy, I had to take a break from blogging. Work, social life will do that to you I guess. I apologize for being MIA for so long. Even my exercise wasn’t very consistent, which was annoying. I feel much more back on track now and spring is around the corner, which always helps. I think I’m one of those seasonal affective disorder people as I tend to hibernate more in the winter.

Anyhow, I’ve been running for almost a year and a half now. I was never very good at it, but I liked it. It was a hard pill to swallow to not be good at it, but I kept at it. Since completing the marathon, I’ve found a new love for running. All the pressure of the race is gone, and I actually truly love it now. I run just to feel good and enjoy myself. I don’t look at my Garmin to constantly check pace. I just run and go with it. At the gym at work, I do speed training like I always have. I noticed some improvement, but nothing major. Still a slow penguin.

Last weekend, I went running with a friend who is getting ready to do her first half marathon. We decided to do a 6 mile run together, which was her first time going that distance. She led on pace, which was definitely harder than what I was used to. However, I was able to keep up surprisingly. After we turned around (we did an out and back of 3 miles each way), I got a second wind and was actually doing really well. I was even able to charge up some hills, which was a first.

I couldn’t believe it! Normally I end up walking the hills as my legs cramp up, but this was no biggie. We kept going until we finished our 6 miles. I finally checked the Garmin and we completed 6.03 miles in 1:17:21. I thought that seemed like a pretty fast time, but I wasn’t sure. When I got home and checked my running diary, my previous PR for 6 miles was 1:29:50. I had shaved 12 minutes off of my time! I wasn’t even trying! It just came naturally. I was so excited.

I finally, finally was getting to be a better runner. Maybe not great and never going to be fast, but this was a respectable time. So when I finally gave up trying to get faster and worrying about getting faster, I actually got faster!

The Obesity Stigma Continues…

10 Feb

This week in the news, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, made headlines for calling superstar singer Adele fat. Although this isn’t the first time the designer has commented on others’ weight, for some reason, this one seemed especially cruel. Adele is recovering from vocal chord surgery, overcame a bad break-up (hence the reason her album is so successful) and is right now enjoying some much deserved praise as she sails into the Grammys with 6 nominations.

Adele is an amazingly talented singer. She is probably one of the best voices to come along in decades. Yet, rather than praising her Lagerfeld points out her weight. Typical in the society we currently live in. Demi Moore and Lindsay Lohan get more sympathy for their drug problems than the overweight do. Bridesmaids actress Melissa McCarthy is up for an Oscar, but it seems like every time she is mentioned, somehow her size is worked into the article. Whether it’s something along the lines of a plus sized actress getting a nomination or who thought she’d make it in Hollywood with her size.

Also, the majority of the comments out there are directed towards women. Overweight men never come under the same scrutiny. Being overweight is the ultimate sin in our society right now. It’s sad, because overeating is a legitimate problem just like alcohol and drug addiction, but it is still being ostracized.

Adele has repeatedly said over and over that she is comfortable in her own skin and represents the vast majority of the women in the world as more are closer to her size than a supermodel’s. I commend her for taking that stand, but I’m sure somewhere, deep down it does hurt to hear those things.

Obviously being overweight can be unhealthy and dangerous, and it is good to slim down a bit in order to prevent diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart problems. But, people can weigh more than the “norm” and be considered fit and healthy if they exercise and take care of themselves.

Instead of criticizing these women for their struggles and flaws, we need to praise them for their accomplishments with no strings attached. Adele is a great singer, period. Melissa McCarthy is a talented comedian. That’s all that needs to be said.