Sunday, February 22, 2015

Insanity Week 4: Getting Better. Getting Bored.

My focus this week wasn't the best.  I think I was suffering from a bad case of boredom.  I was bored with eating the same meals, doing the same workouts, and being cold all the time.  It's either boredom or burnout - and I'm really hoping it's boredom because that's a lot easier to fix than burnout.

Day 22:
The week started off with a trip to the grocery store (since we didn't make it on Sunday afternoon) and then a dose of Cardio Power and Resistance.  The scheduled workout was Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs, but we made an executive decision to flip flop Monday's and Tuesday's workouts in the interest of eating dinner before 10pm.  The workout actually felt pretty good.  I got through most of it with minimal breaks and enjoyed a nice little mood lift.  I really do love that part of working hard - I may not be in the mood to do it when I start, but I'm never unhappy once I've done it.

Day 23:
I may have escaped Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs on Monday, but I had to face it on Tuesday.  Honestly, it wasn't that bad.  Don't get me wrong - Cardio Abs was still a killer after Pure Cardio, but I was able to do a little more of it this week.  Perhaps my core is finally starting to get the message?

Day 24:
Both Mr. R&R and I were feeling completely run down, sore, and lethargic today.  After much discussion, we determined that an unscheduled rest day was in order and that Plyometric Cardio circuit was going to have to wait 24 hours.  We ate dinner at a reasonable hour, read for a while, played with the bunnies, and crashed hard by 10pm.

Day 25:
I think that yesterday's unscheduled rest day was exactly what I needed.  I woke up soreness-free and my head felt a lot less foggy.  My day at work included a meeting that had me seeing red and by the time I got home, Plyometric Cardio Circuit sounded like an absolutely fabulous idea - and it was.  I got through all 3 rounds of the warm up and the vast majority of the workout with out stopping.  It was definitely the best Plyo Cardio has ever gone for me - and I think I worked out some of my aggression along the way.

Day 26:
Wednesday's unscheduled rest day meant that Cardio Recovery was on tap for Friday night.  All those nice yoga poses and breathing exercises almost made up for the quad-burning pain of the deep squats and lunges.  All in all, I felt nice and relaxed and loose.  I was so relaxed that I even hoofed it up the street in the freezing cold (we're in the midst of an unseasonably cold deep freeze here) to have a martini with Mr. R&R and Who-Ha.

Day 27:
Responsibility is overrated sometimes.  What I should have done on Saturday: Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs, make a grocery list, do laundry, work, clean my bathroom.  What I actually did: Slept late, had lunch with my brother and sister, played with my nephew, schlepped to Trader Joe's for pizza ingredients and wine, consumed too much pizza (but a reasonable amount of wine), and had a Lazy Saturday. It was kind of glorious.  I wasn't worried about eating right, beating the hell out of my body, or anything like it.  I think it's what I needed.

Day 28:
The day in which I did some of the responsible things I didn't do yesterday: Pure Cardio, laundry, work.  I skipped Cardio Abs in favor of rushing over to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for our Oscar night tradition: homemade nachos.  Mr. R&R and I have eaten homemade nachos every Oscar night since 1998 - you can't mess with tradition!

Obviously this weekend was not the best in terms of clean eating, but I'm okay with that.  This (Insanity and my way of eating in general) is not a diet. It's a lifestyle.  And a big part of a lifestyle is life!

What did you do this weekend?  Did you watch the Oscars?  What'd you think?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Insanity Week 3: Wine and Whine

I wish I still looked that good after an Insanity workout! Three weeks in and I'm still reduced to a gelatinous, sweaty heap on the floor by the end of every workout, but it's been 110% worth it.  I'm getting some of the laser-like focus I had during my Raise The Bar challenge, feel like I'm getting stronger, and I think my inner pain junkie is back in full force.

Day 15:
Today was the second of five Fit Test days.  If you'll recall, the Fit Test includes a brief warm up and stretch, followed by the actual test: 8 moves, 1 minute each, 45 seconds of rest in between, and then a brief cool down.  The first time I did this two weeks ago, I was both ready to die afterward and really happy with the results.  How'd I do after two weeks of having my ass handed to me by Shaun T?  You be the judge.

Do NOT get me started on how mad I am about the switch kicks!  I don't know what the hell was wrong with me, but I couldn't get a good rhythm going to save my life.  I'm really happy about the rest of the numbers - particularly the push up jacks.  I've never done that many push ups on my toes in one go, much less adding in jumping jack legs. It was nice having a goal to shoot on this round.  I don't know about you, but if I know I did 45 reps last time, I will do 46 the next time or die trying!

Day 16:
Oh, Plyometric Cardio Circuit, how I both love and hate thee.  This workout never fails to beat the hell out of me, but for the first time ever, I made it through the 9 minute warmup without needing a break!  This leads me to believe that I'm making some gains in the cardiovascular fitness department. I was still quivering on the floor when it was over and my legs were on fire, I definitely felt like I was able to do more of the workout tonight.

Day 17:
Pure Cardio followed by Cardio Abs.  Nothing says half way through the week like a double shot of whoop ass.  If I thought my legs were burning last night, tonight they were incinerated.  There were switch kicks (grrrrr), push up jacks, football sprints, frog jumps, and of course the evil-as-f#*! pedal. After that it was on to Cardio Abs -  a whole bunch of really tough ab moves made even harder by the fact that you're already exhausted from Pure Cardio.  

Day 18:
Cardio Recovery, how I do love thee - especially when I don't come crawling home from work until 7:00pm.  I was physically and mentally exhausted after an 11 hour day and was incredibly relieved to find this workout on the schedule.  I was still a little miserable during the squat and lunge portions, but the yoga portions made me feel a little better.

Day 19:
I did Cardio Power and Resistance on my own tonight since Mr. R&R had a massage scheduled.  I got through the workout, but discovered that I missed having someone to suffer and commiserate with.  This struck me as a little odd because when it comes to all things swim/bike/run, I usually prefer to workout alone.

I think this guy was trying to kill me.
Day 20:
Sunday's rest day was moved to today so that Mr. R&R could fix his parents' computer and so I could have lunch with my mom.  Once we both made it back home, we hit Trader Joes' for wine and pizza ingredients and then indulged in a totally non-Insanity-compliant prosciutto and onion pizza and far too much wine.  Happy Valentine's Day!

This about sums up my Saturday.

Day 21:
I don't think I'll ever learn from my wine-related mistakes in life.  I woke up feeling terrible from last night's excesses and that feeling never went away all day.  Let's just say that Plyometric Cardio Circuit while hungover may be the cruelest self-punishment I've ever engaged in.  On a positive note: I got all of my laundry and ironing done over the weekend (my drawers and closet are now near bursting), contents of the Feed Bag are ready for the next two days, and I'm 1/3 of the way through Insanity.  I can't believe that there's only 42 days to go!

How was your week? Any fun workouts? Do you prefer to workout alone or with others?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Insanity Week 2: Let's Eat!

Think about that for a minute.  I'm guessing that if you're like most people losing weight and improving the shape of your body automatically triggers thoughts of boring, tasteless food, constant hunger, and possibly pills or shakes with an ingredient list that is not only long, but also mostly unpronounceable.  I was one of those people for a very long time. The keyword here is was.  Over the years I've learned to eat a mostly healthy mix of foods balanced with some not so healthy treats.  Let me tell you, it's been way easier sticking to this way of eating rather than trying to subsist on lettuce or shakes.

The Insanity Nutrition program is definitely not a diet.  It's a fueling system because the body is a lot like a car, it needs good fuel to run.  So, what does a typical day of fueling for Insanity look like?  I'll show you.

The Refrigerator Is Near Capacity Every Sunday Night
In the interest of saving time, money, and what's left of my sanity, I try to alternate 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 sets of snacks all week and then have a different dinner every night. I also tend to gravitate towards foods that can be made ahead of time, travel well (I keep all my food for the day in my Feed Bag, so space is an issue), and can be eaten at my desk.  The Insanity Nutrition Guide has lots of really yummy sounding food, but until my office lets me put a mini fridge in my office and installs a stove, I'll only be enjoying those on the weekends when I can make and consume them at home!  I'll talk about weekend eats in a future post.

Breakfast: I've been alternating between Proatmeal and PBJ toast with a side of cottage cheese.

Proatmeal tastes like a cross between cake batter and berry crisp, so it's almost like having dessert for breakfast.  Ingredients: 1/2 cup plain oatmeal, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup skim milk, 3/4 cup fresh berries

PBJ Toast w/ Cottage Cheese: 1 slice whole grain bread, 1 tbsp natural pb, 1/2 tbsp natural jam, 1/2 cup 1% milk fat cottage cheese - large rocket fuel optional, but highly recommended.

AM Snack: This week has been all about the Apple Walnut Yogurt Mess and the TBLT.

I was initially really skeptical about the Apple Walnut Yogurt Mess since I've never been a fan of plain yogurt, but I'm now a convert. It has a nicer sounding name in the nutrition guide, but really, let's call it what it is - a mess!  Ingredients: 3/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt (I like Chobani 0%), 1/2 an apple - diced, 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of honey.  I stir the whole thing together the night before and when I get around to eating it around 11:30, the apples are still crunchy and not even thinking about turning brown.  It's also super filling.

The Turkey Bacon Lettuce and Tomato (TBLT) is pretty standard, but still pretty good.  I microwave 3 slices of turkey bacon and pack it up along with some tomato slices and mixed greens.  Then, when it's food o'clock, I drop a couple slices of bread in the office toaster and I'm eating in under 3 minutes - as long as no one stops me on the way back to my desk!

Lunch: I don't know about you, but by the time lunch time rolls around, I'm usually elbows deep in some work-related thing and can only go about 30 seconds at a crack without someone coming into my office.  Thus, I've learned that my lunches need to be cold (or I have to make multiple irritating trips to the microwave) and easily pushed aside when necessary.  This week's lunches were a Roast Beast Pita and a Chicken Ranch Wrap.

The Roast Beast Pita is pretty basic: 1/2 whole wheat pita, 4oz lean roast beef, tomato slices, and a good handful of dark greens - shove in pita and consume along with a small piece of fruit.

I know this picture sucks, but you'll just have to take my word that the contents of the Chicken Ranch Wrap are delicious: Whole grain tortilla, 2oz grilled chicken, sliced tomato, dark greens, 1 tbsp of yogurt ranch dressing, and 2 thin slices of avocado.  I actually contemplated unwrapping this thing just to take a picture of the insides, but I was too interested in wolfing it down!

PM Snack: By the time my fourth meal of the day rolls around at about 4:30pm, I'm usually pretty damn happy to be eating.  The timing of this meal is also really important because I need to eat late enough fuel to get through my workout when I get home, but not too late or I feel like it's going to come back up during said workout!  This week's 4th Meal has been either 1/2 a pbj sandwich with cottage cheese (eaten on Proatmeal breakfast days) or grown up, homemade Lunchables.  Yes, I'm eating like a 4 year old, but sometimes I like indulging my inner child.

Same deal as the PBJ toast for breakfast - minus the toasted part!

The grown up Lunchable is just kind of fun. 100 calories worth of whole grain melba toast (my brand of choice happens to come in convenient, 5 packs that happen to contain the right number of calories), 2oz turkey, 2oz ham, and 1 ounce of swiss cheese.

Dinner:  Mr. R&R and I usually finish our workouts around 7:00-7:30pm and dinner needs to be both healthy and  quick because we still need to do dishes and food prep for the next day.  I forgot to take a picture of Monday's dinner, but here are the four other quick, healthy, and still really good tasting dinners we had over the course of the week.

Tuesday - Dinner Scramble: 1 egg, 2 egg whites, 1/2 box of spinach, 1/4 cup reduced-fat feta, and a slice of dry toast.  This is definitely the fastest and easiest of all our dinners.

Wednesday - Citrus Chicken with Honey Carrots: 5oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, 2 tbsp lemon juice, paprika, peeled and chopped carrots (Walter and Spot were thrilled to get the green leafy tops for their dinner), and a little honey.  Ready in about 25 minutes!

Thursday - Steak, Potato and Broccoli: I think this is one of my favorite meals in the book.  5oz filet (I like mine so rare it's almost moo-ing), small baked potato topped with spicy brown mustard, and steamed broccoli.

Friday - Baked Tilapia with Mixed Veggies: Tilapia Filet, 1 tsp olive oil, 2 tbsp whole grain bread crumbs, sea salt, pepper, and a bag of microwaveable mixed veggies. These tilapia filets were about 8oz each.  The nutrition guide calls for a 6oz filet, but I'm willing to take what I can get at the market. 20 minutes in the oven and we were eating.

As far as the workouts went this week, it was the same set of workouts as Week 1 with the addition of a 15 minute Cardio Abs workout after Saturday's Pure Cardio session.  The workouts felt a little more manageable this week, but I was still pouring sweat by the second round of the warm up and felt completely used up by the time I was done.  I think Plyometric Cardio Circuit kicks my ass the most, but Pure Cardio feels like the hardest workout - if that makes any sense?

Monday: Rest day due to mandatory happy hour.
Tuesday: Pure Cardio - I need pure oxygen after this one.  I actually crawled over to my water.
Wednesday: Plyometric Cardio Circuit - Level 1 drills followed by ski abs...ow!
Thursday: Cardio Recovery - Yoga, squats, and lunges.  Still hate lunges.
Friday: Cardio Power and Resistance - I made it through the walking push ups!
Saturday: Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs - What Fresh Hell Is This? I'm already dead and now there's an ab workout?  I thought I had strong abs.  WRONG!
Sunday: Rest - Time for meal planning, grocery shopping, and preparing for the week ahead.

So there you have it, Week 2 is in the bag.  Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Insanity Week 1: Descent Into Madness

A big part of any workout challenge is establishing a baseline so you can see how you're progressing. In this case, I'll be using both photos and measurements as my metrics and in the interest of full-disclosure, here are my starting photos and stats:

Starting Stats
Weight: Ideal + 7.4 lbs
Body Fat: 22.7%
Chest: 32.5"
Waist: 26.25"
Hips: 36.5"
Right/Left Thigh: 19.5"/19.5"
Right/Left Arm: 10.5"/10.5"

Day 1:
On Monday morning I rolled out of bed, packed up the obscene amount of food I'd need to get through the day, grabbed my coffee, and headed off to work.  By the time I finished eating breakfast, I was so full that I was having serious doubts about my ability to consume everything else I had in my cooler.  I made it through the morning snack, forced down lunch, and nearly cried when it was time for my late afternoon snack.  I was pretty much sick to death of eating.

When I got home, Mr. R&R and I changed into workout clothes and headed to The Cave to do our first Fit Test.  It started out with a warm up and a stretch which felt good...and then it was on to the test: 8 moves, each performed as many times as possible in 1 minute, followed by 45-ish seconds of rest, and then onto the next move.  By the time it was over I was pretty much ready to die, but I was pretty pleased with my results:

Switch Kicks: 45
Power Jacks: 30
Power Knees: 46
Power Jumps: 25
Globe Jumps: 7
Suicide Jumps: 10
Push Up Jacks: 15
Low Plank Obliques: 39

If you're going to do Insanity, I highly recommend having someone else count your reps during the Fit Test because you will lose track very quickly - you're too busy focusing on maintaining good form and digging deep for enough motivation to keep going.

Day 2:
I really expected to be a lot more sore when I woke up.  I could definitely tell I'd used my core, but my legs felt surprisingly normal.  After another day of forcing down food (it all tastes good, but there's just so much of it) it was time for the first actual workout: Plyometric Cardio Circuit (approx. 45 minutes)

I was pouring sweat by the end of the 9 minute warm up.  Seriously, even the warm up is no joke.  That was followed by some pretty good stretching and then onto the main event.  There was heismans, football sprints, level one drills (jump back to plank, 4 pushups, 8 mountain climbers, jump back in, stand up...repeat), ski abs, various types of punching, and a whole lot of other stuff.  I had to stop several times during the workout just to catch my breath - which is encouraged.  At the end, I was soaked with sweat and completely spent.  My legs even started to feel sore almost immediately afterward. At this point I'm pretty sure Insanity is going to live up to its claim of being the hardest workout ever put on DVD.

Day 3:
Once again, I wasn't sore when I woke up - until I sneezed - that's when I realized that I had definitely used my abs the night before.  As usual, I showered, packed my feed bag (my somewhat affectionate name for the my cooler), and headed to work.  I didn't have to set a timer to remind me to eat today because approximately every 2 1/2 hours, I got hungry.  Right on schedule!  Tonight's workout was Cardio Power and Resistance. It started out with a warm up that had me sweating by the end of the first 3 minutes.  From there it moved into the actual workout, which was a doozy.  Two moves from the Fit Test, Power Jumps and Globe Jumps, made an appearance in this workout along with a lot of push-up type moves like tricep dips (with one leg in the air!), V push-ups, and moving push-ups.

This workout seemed designed to target the legs, chest, and triceps.  I did the best I could, but I definitely took a lot of extra breaks.  My new goal is to make it through one round without needing an extra break, but I think it's going to be a while.  I was, predictably, drenched with sweat by the time it was over and it took everything I had just to drag myself upstairs, make dinner, and pack food for the next day before collapsing into bed and sleeping like a baby.

Day 4:
The first thought I had upon crawling out of bed was "Oh $#!%. Ow."  I. Was. Sore.  I suppose that's to be expected after mostly sitting on my tail for a month after finishing P90 Masters.  All day, I found myself inordinately excited whenever "Food O'Clock" rolled around.  This program is starting to make me hungry!  I got home and we headed down to The Cave for Cardio Recovery.

The warm up for this workout was mostly breathing exercises and stretching.  I was warm by the end, but not pouring sweat like the previous two days.  The workout itself was a lot of yoga-like stretches punctuated with squats, lunges, and balance poses.  I actually found myself enjoying most of the workout instead of just trying to survive it.  I definitely felt the benefits of my P90-induced increase in flexibility.  I still don't love lunges, but I'm starting to embrace them as a necessary evil in life - and realizing that due to the way I'm built/the way my knees react to them, that I just can't go very deep into them.  I was also really excited to eat the prescribed dinner tonight - steak! Seriously, how can you not like a nutrition guide that encourages you to eat steak?

Day 5:
I really need to learn not to schedule things after work.  By the time I made it home from running errands, changed, and made it downstairs, it had been hours since I'd eaten and that made for a really tough workout.  Tonight's challenge was Pure Cardio.  After a pretty standard, sweat-inducing warm up and stretching, Shaun T looked straight into the camera and proclaimed that he was nervous about what was to come.  Uh oh!  When the ripped-as-hell dude leading the workout claims to be nervous, it's probably a sign that you're about to get your ass kicked forty ways from Sunday.  Yeah...that happened.  The workout itself is only about 15-20 minutes long, but there. are. no. breaks.  Granted, Shaun T is constantly telling his people to "take a break and get some water", but there are no scheduled water/catch your breath/recover for a few seconds breaks in this workout.  There were, however, switch kicks, power jacks, level 2 drills (jump back to plank, 8 push ups, 8 mountain climbers, jump back in, jump up), and a form of evil known as 'pedals'.  Pedals involve sprinting in place, dropping into a lunge, hopping into a lunge on the other side, popping back up, and sprinting in place again.  I'm pretty sure these things are going to be the bane of my existence for the next few weeks.  By the time the workout was over, even Shaun T proclaimed, "This Shit is Bananas, Yo!"

I bonked pretty hard during the workout and I really didn't even want to peel myself off the basement floor.  I thought about trying to convince Mr. R&R to bring me a pillow, a blanket, and dinner right there, but eventually I hauled myself upstairs.  Valuable lesson learned: Do Not Let Too Much Time Go By Between Last Meal and Workout.

Day 6:
After 8 blissful hours of sleep I woke up to some really cranky obliques and a rumbling tummy.  Since it's the weekend, life it less structured, so breakfast became brunch, followed by couch-laying mixed with reading and blogging, and's workout: another round of Plyometric Cardio Circuit.  This $#!% was also bananas, yo!  I think I managed to do more of the workout than I did on Tuesday, but it definitely didn't feel any easier.  If anything, it felt harder because I was already sore from the four previous days.  Post-workout, I enjoyed a Vanilla Berry Protein Shake, took a shower, did some laundry (because we're going through workout clothes like crazy around here), and was very happy when I planted myself on my massage therapist's table for 80 minutes.

Day 7:
Normally Day 7 would be a rest day, but I have a breakfast meeting on Monday morning and a practically mandatory Happy Hour with the office staff after work, so I know there's no way in hell I'll be working out after even one cocktail, so that left me with two choices: A) Do Monday's workout on Sunday or B) Skip the workout.  Let's be honest, there's really only one option here, so Cardio Power and Resistance it was.  I'm pretty sure that this workout should go by its initials - C.P.R.

It's also Super Bowl Sunday.  Under normal circumstances Mr. R&R and I would be making the 45 minute trek out to Maverick and Goose's house to cheer on the Seahawks, watch commercials, drink beer, and chow down on Goose's famous Firecracker Shrimp (which he now admits to copy-catting from a restaurant, but they're still awesome).  However, the forecast called for snow beginning on Saturday evening and ending somewhere in the vicinity of 3am on Monday - with a total accumulation of 6-10 inches and seriously nasty winds leading to drifting and near white out conditions.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that being out on the roads unnecessarily in those conditions isn't a good idea, so we made the decision on Friday night that we would be staying home.  It turns out that that was a very good choice because it started snowing around 9pm on Saturday and by 9am on Sunday there was 6 inches of snow on the ground, it was still snowing, and said snow was blowing all over the place.  By 11pm, we were up to 14 inches and 3ft+ drifts.  Definitely a good call.

Although we didn't get to enjoy Goose's shrimp, we did splurge a little between rounds of shoveling with baked hot buffalo and Devil's Spit wings and garlic oven fries - still healthier than the fried variety.

Too Bad They Didn't Come With A Seahawks Win
Did you watch the Super Bowl?  Were you happy with the outcome? Have any awesome snacks?