Tag Archives: working out

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

Niner, Niner

10 Mar

I was out of town last week or I would have pointed this sooner. Last Monday I did a 4 mile training run. It was snowing outside so I just ran it on the treadmill. Nothing extraordinary…except that it was. I ran the 4 miles in 50:27. I beat my best ever four mile run by NINE MINUTES!!!!!

What was a boring training run, became the best ever time for me at that distance. I almost started crying. I’ve been working hard with my trainer to whittle away at my time so I could PR at my half marathon this coming May. Never did I think I could achieve such an improvement in only a month of work.

I’ve always been a super slow runner, and I’m okay with that. I do have a bad foot and it’s a miracle I’m running at all, so I’m grateful to just be doing it. But, for the first time, I believed that I really could get faster and keep a pace I could say out loud to other runners instead of whispering it with embarrassment.

That nine minutes meant the world to me. It has given me confidence to keep chipping away at my time and pursue setting a PR. I actually believe I can do it now.

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. 

Colfax Half Marathon: Just Wing It

22 May

Image

After a long hiatus from running, I finally returned to the race circuit on Sunday. I decided to run the Colfax Half Marathon again in Denver after having done it for the first time last year. A family friend wanted to do the race, so I told her I’d do it with her since it was her first half. I had good intentions to train hard and set a PR, but alas the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

I didn’t anticipate I was going to fall deeply in love nor did I anticipate I was going to get extremely sick with a severe upper respiratory infection that nearly had me hospitalized. I fell in love with a handsome foreigner who has a dangerous job with the military/CIA and was facing an 8-month deployment this month. So, instead of training, I chose to spend all of my time with him, making the most of what we had together. I was also out of commission nearly a month with my illness. So I didn’t train.

In fact I hadn’t run 10 miles since January. When I was in Las Vegas in March, I did a 7 miler on the Strip at sea level, which was wonderful. Then around the start of April, I did a 6 miler with my handsome foreigner, but other than that, I had mostly just been doing short distance speed work on the treadmill and strength training during the week. The half marathon was in the back of my head, but at the same time, I had other priorities.

My handsome foreigner was deployed on Saturday, the day before the race. It was devastating to have to say goodbye, but we are in a good place in our relationship, and I know when he returns in 8 months, we’ll be stronger than ever. Nevertheless, it was extremely difficult to say goodbye. After he left, I immediately went up to Denver with my friend to pick up my race packet and get checked into the hotel for the night.

The race honestly could not have come at a better time. I needed a release from the stress and tension I was feeling over my man’s departure. I knew that running those 13.1 mile was going to help cleanse me and start to heal. I also figured if I could “wing” a half marathon, then I could definitely get through his 8 month deployment.

I had offered to run the race with my friend if she needed the support, but also told her she was free to run it on her own if she wanted. She chose the latter, and I was relieved. I wanted the alone time to clear my head. Unlike last year when I was a complete nervous wreck, ready to barf and crying from being so scared, this year I was very calm. I was looking forward to the run even.

I ate a good breakfast and marched over to the starting area like a seasoned pro. There were no butterflies in my stomach, no tears and no nerves. Instead of a frightening obstacle, I saw this race as my salvation during a dark time. We marched up from our corral and started the race.

I started it off by listening to “Run” by Matt Nathanson and Jennifer Nettles, which is a beautiful love song that reminds me of my relationship. It brought tears to my eyes, but calmed me down and allowed me to get into the groove of this race.

The miles kept coming, surprisingly very easily. I was shocked. Last year I had trained and trained and I thought every mile was hard. This year, after running a full marathon, this seemed so easy. I kept going, each mile peeling off a layer of sadness and giving me a glimmer of hope that I will get through the next 8 months.

Around mile 8, my foot started to hurt per usual and I was feeling the lactic acid build up. I knew I’d make it through, but I was starting to think maybe I should have trained. I figured though if I could make it to mile 10, I was going to be just fine. Once mile 10 came around, I knew I was in the home stretch. Last year, I saw mile 10 as an obstacle—I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the next 3 miles and was terrified. This year, it was welcomed. I knew once I saw it that a 5K was nothing, and I’d be done in about 40 minutes.

The last 3 miles were hard, no question. The lactic acid had built up, and my legs were becoming very stiff. But I knew I’d get through it. I remember thinking last year that mile 12 seemed to last forever. This year,  it seemed like nothing. I began to wonder if I’d get the same rush crossing the finish line this year as I did for my first.

As I came around the corner and saw the finish line, I felt my stone legs begin to loosen and I picked up the pace. I was sprinting home, finishing strong. A huge grin spread across my face and my eyes began to water. I didn’t have a downpour of tears like last year, but I felt such extreme joy again. I sailed down the last 0.1 mile and through the finish line knowing somehow everything was going to be okay. I crossed under the archway listening to Kelly Clarkson’s hit “Stronger” knowing that I was stronger at that moment.

A year ago, I was barely finishing the race and a terrified, unconfident mess. This year, I completely winged a half marathon, finishing it only 8 minutes slower than last year for 3:05:23. What a difference a year makes! I felt so confident and happy like this was something I did everyday.

Finishing the race was a very cathartic experience. I knew as I crossed the line that everything with my relationship was going to be okay. Not to say that the next 8 months aren’t going to be extremely tough and sad for a while, but I know we’ll be okay, and I know I’m strong enough to get through it.

I’ve decided I need a project to keep me busy. I’m doing what I said I’d never do again. I’ve signed up for the Walt Disney World Full Marathon in January 2013. That is the month my man is due home, and training for that race will keep me occupied until his return. I’m too strong to fold under these difficult times. I’m going to do what the Pink Ninja does best: fight through the tough times. So, in two weeks, I’ll be starting my training for the race. I may be a ninja, but I can’t wing 26.2 miles.  

Ninja Niblets: December 14

14 Dec

I apologize for the sporadic postings, but work and my freelance business have been absolutely INSANE. I hope to post regularly again after the new year once these projects die down. In the meantime, here are some ninja niblets to get you through the week.

Current Workout Songs

Good Feeling by Flo Rida

Super Bass by Nicki Minaj

Good Life by OneRepublic

Shape Magazine: Top Diet Trends of 2011

An interesting post of the top 10 diet fads and trends for 2011. The majority of them are ridiculous, some are dangerous (hello HCB diet) and almost none of them seem successful. If you want to lose weight, start exercising regularly and keep a food journal. Cut calories gradually with your journal and you will see results that will last more the than the lifetime of these fads.

Fitness Magazine: 7 Soup Recipes

It’s freezing cold outside and you long for comfort food to warm you up. Soups are a great way to get warm and the majority of them are healthy or with a few substitutions can be made healthy. Try these from Fitness Magazine and eat them with a warm roll or half of a grilled cheese sandwich and you can have a fairly healthy, but very filling meal.

Self Magazine: 100 Calorie Snacks

T’is the season for tons of goodies showing up in work break rooms, mom over baking and cookies on every corner. Try some of these goodies from Self Magazine’s 100 Calorie Snacks and save your waistline during the holidays.

Recover From Holiday Food: Cardio Weight Circuit

1 Dec

Disclaimer: This is a circuit I developed for myself and my fitness level. If you are not in shape or have not be evaluated by a physician, do not attempt it. Clear all exercise routines with your doctor or licensed trainer. If you feel dizzy, stop exercising and rest.

So it’s that time of year. The time when eggnog and peppermint flavored drinks and ice cream are readily available. Cookies are abundant and work break rooms are filled with baked goods and gift baskets of food. It’s also the time people tend to pile on weight before they start crowding the gyms January 1. Stay ahead of the holiday weight gain with this cardio weight circuit. It burns calories and builds muscle. It’s very tough, so really accurately assess your fitness level before attempting. Each exercise is linked to a demonstration video so you can learn the accurate, safe form.

Run: .25 mile at high speed (I normally run around 4.6mph, but I ran at 5.7mph)

1 set x 5 reps Barbell Squat

1 set x 5 reps Bicep Curl

1 set x 5 reps Chest Press

Run: 30 seconds at higher speed (here I did 5.8mph. I ended up running 40 secs because it took about 10 secs to get the treadmill to the speed).

Repeat weight sets.

Rest 1 min 30 sec

Run: .25 mile at high speed

1 set x 5 reps Barbell Squat

1 set x 5 reps Shoulder Press

1 set x 5 reps Tricep Dip

Run: 30 seconds at higher speed

Repeat weight sets.

Rest 1 min 30 sec

Run: .25 mile at high speed

1 set x 6 reps Scissor Jumps   (I do 6 reps so it’s even at 3 on each leg)

1 set x 6 reps Front and Lateral Raises (I lift both dumbbells at the same time, not alternating. Do 3 fronts and 3 laterals)

1 x 5 reps Push-Ups

Run: 30 seconds at higher speed

Repeat weight set

Rest: 1 min 30 sec

Run: .25 mile at high speed

1 x 6 reps Box Jumps (Start low and see how you do. If you pick too high of a box, you’ll hit your shins which is not fun!)

1 x 5 reps Seated Row

1 x 5 reps Lat Pull

Run: 30 sec

Repeat weight sets

Rest 1 min 30 secs

Done! Good luck and don’t hurt yourself. Even if you just do one set on the weights and don’t repeat, it’s still a great workout. Remember to get evaluated by a doctor and/or a licensed trainer before starting any exercise program.