Sunday, March 22, 2015

Insanity Week 7.2: Do It Better The Second Time Around

Week 7.1 was, for all intents and purposes, a train wreck.  I was lazy. I made stupid choices.  Time to fix it.  I knew going into this week that there were going to be 3 challenging meals (1 breakfast meeting, 1 dinner out with a vendor, and an epic German feast to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday) and 1 night where working out was not going to be possible (vendor dinner and event) because I wasn't going to be home at a reasonable hour.  I was bound and determined not to let these things completely derail my do over week.

Day 43.2:
My do-over week started with a breakfast meeting.  There was no way to get out of it, so I settled for making the best choices I could under the circumstances (2 eggs and dry wheat toast).  The food didn't sit well (that restaurant's food never does sit well with me), but by 1:30pm I managed to down my chicken avocado wrap and then proceeded to get so wrapped up in work that I forgot about my apple walnut yogurt mess until about 6pm.  By then it was too close to my workout to eat, so I chalked it up as "one less thing to prep for tomorrow".  Tonight's workout was Max Cardio Conditioning and I could definitely feel that I'd taken a few too many days off in a row.  It was a good wake up call and by the time it was over, I was actually hungry for dinner (chicken, baked potato w/ spicy brown mustard, and asparagus).  Nothing gets the appetite going like an ass-beating of a workout!

Day 44.2:
Today was much better on the food front. I got to eat all my own food and my body definitely thanked me for it.  My rematch with Max Cardio Intervals went well enough and I slept like a baby.

Day 45.2:
What is it with me and Wednesdays?  Last week it was a trip to Dr. Beast and Mexican food.  This week it was a vendor dinner and event.  My boss and I met the vendors for dinner immediately after work.  I did the best I could with the available menu (light beer, plain grilled chicken sandwich, side of fruit) and then proceeded to spend the rest of the evening attempting to be sociable. I was fading fast and did my best to hide it (it's really hard to stifle yawns!), got home as soon as possible, and crashed hard.

Day 46.2:
I could definitely tell that I was out too late last night.  I was slow and sluggish all day long, but I knocked a couple of annoying items off my to do list and headed home for Max Interval Plyo.  I still think it should be called Max Pushups.  My arms and chest were screaming by the time I was finished, but I pulled off 15 of the 16 pushups in the first round of Level 3 drills, so I was a little proud of myself.

Day 47.2:
What I should have done after work: Max Recovery.  What I actually did: Ordered dinner from Mekong Cafe,  a Thai/Laotian/Cambodian restaurant, after one of my coworkers raved about it and watched Iron Man and Iron Man 2 with Mr. R&R and the bunnies.

We ordered a bunch of different things and basically had a tasting menu for dinner.  First up was an assortment of appetizers.

We sampled (clockwise from the top): crab rangoon, temple tofu, a crispy spring roll, and chicken satay.  The chicken satay was the unanimous favorite and the crab rangoon was really good too.  The crispy spring roll was good, but nothing special.  Neither of us cared for the temple tofu.  It was just a lump of fried tofu - and the thing that makes tofu awesome is seasoning since it acts like a sponge for all the flavors around it.  This lacked any sort of seasoning so the two bites I took were akin to chewing on a fried kitchen sponge.

We also tried the fresh spring roll.  It was absolutely beautiful to look at and came accompanied by three different dipping sauces (peanut, sweet sour, and rice vinegar).  It was good, but it wasn't any different than other spring rolls I've had.  The peanut sauce, however, was awesome and we practically licked the little container clean!

Our next course was Pork Pho.  Both Mr. R&R and I are huge fans of Anthony Bourdain and have been dying to try pho since we re-watched the Vietnam episode of Parts Unknown.  The soup came with a variety of add-ins like lettuce, bean sprouts, holy basil, and rice noodles and we loaded up our bowls.  It was really pretty to look at, but the broth was a little on the bland side and from what Bourdain has described, the soup should have been bursting with flavors.  I think we're going to have to try pho from some other local establishments before passing final judgement on the dish.

Our final course was a spicy red chicken curry.  It was really good, but it didn't photograph well at all (kind of resembled cat sick on the plate)!  The curry was a fantastic mixture of sweet from the coconut milk base and heat from an array of chilis.  I would definitely order it again.

Day 48.2:
We slept late, got a bunch of stuff done around the house, and meant to squeeze in Max Cardio Conditioning and Cardio Abs before my dad's birthday dinner.  Well...all of a sudden it was 5:30pm and we needed to leave the house in 20 minutes!  I dove into the shower, wielded a blowdryer in one hand while slapping on some makeup with the other, threw on a dress and some cute boots, and hauled ass downtown (20 minutes away) to meet the family.  We made it with less than a minute to spare!  For the first time in a long time, I didn't think about what the "healthiest/least unhealthy" option was. I ordered one of my favorites and another glass of cabernet.  The food was good and my dad definitely seemed to enjoy himself, so I'd deem the evening a success.

Day 49.2:
Damn you wine...3 glasses and I end up sleeping until 10am!  Mr. R&R and I enjoyed a leisurely morning complete with a late brunch (eggs, southwest roasted potatoes, and fresh fruit) and watching Ironman 3 before doing battle with Fit Test #4.

I kind of expected to have a poor showing on this one because the last two weeks haven't been the best in the food and fitness departments.  I ended up surprising myself - and feeling like I was going to puke.

I think I may have expended a little too much energy on the early moves (particularly the Switch Kicks) because by the time I got to Low Plank Obliques I was totally gassed out.  If I'd had any energy left, I probably would have had a minor tantrum, but instead I was laying facedown on the basement floor and gasping for air.  I guess you can't win 'em all.

There are two weeks left in my Insanity Workout Challenge and I'm starting to look forward to wrapping it up.

How was your week?  Any favorite asian dishes to recommend?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Insanity Week 7: Too Much Crap. Not Enough Exercise.

This week started off really well - and then it all kind of went to crap.

Day 43:
I actually got home from work at a somewhat reasonable hour and went another round with Max Cardio Conditioning.  I still couldn't do everything, but there was definite improvement over last week and I was excited to make it through the full minute of plank punches.

Day 44:
Getting out of bed hurt, but in a good way.  I got a lot done at the office and felt ready to take on Max Cardio Intervals when I got home.  I still hate the Pedal, but I kicked the crap out of the full body drills.  I did all of them - without stopping - even when sweat started running in my eyes.

Day 45:
I may have felt good yesterday, but today hurt.  I was in a fog and sore as hell all day and to top it all off, Walter and Spot had their annual appointment with Dr. Beast.  I left work early, Mr. R&R and I loaded them into their carrier, and we headed out into rush hour traffic.  We were at Dr. Beast's office for almost 2 hours, but both bunnies are the picture of good health, so it was worth it.

Plus Walter got to spend some quality time with his favorite vet tech getting the wax cores removed from his ears, his nails clipped, and his tummy cleaned up.  Seriously, you should see him when she walks into the room - he gets all excited and practically jumps into her arms!  Spot, on the other hand,  hates going to the vet.  Maybe he's jealous of all the attention Walter gets?

By the time we made it home, we gave up on squeezing in a workout and walked over to a local Mexican joint.  Big mistake.  I'm so used to eating multiple small meals that one large meal sat like a rock in my stomach and made me nauseous all night.  Lesson learned.

Day 46:
Due to a new office policy, it looks like I'll be working very late every third Thursday from now on.  I barely managed to eat breakfast and lunch, ended up skipping both of my snacks, and didn't come crawling home until after 7pm.  To top it all off, I was super stressed about a work issue that absolutely had to be resolved before morning - even though it looked almost impossible.  I took another shot at resolving it when I got home and then dragged myself down to The Cave to do battle with the Max Interval Plyo workout I should have done yesterday.  I was really distracted through most of the warm up and stretch, but managed to forget my work issues during the intervals themselves.  Unfortunately, it came crashing back during every 30 second break.  Not cool.

I made one more last ditch effort to resolve the problem when I got back upstairs and then spent the rest of the night waking up every 30 minutes or so, freaking out.  Needless to say, I was a zombie by Friday morning.

Day 47:

I walked into work on Friday morning fully prepared to have my ass chewed (or possibly worse) if my last ditch effort didn't work.  Good news: it worked!  Bad news: By the time I got home, I was pretty much running on fumes and the only things in the world I felt physically, mentally, or emotionally capable of doing were laying on the couch, eating pizza, and drinking a bunch of wine; so that's exactly what I did.  I had no regrets.

Day 48:
I woke up after 9+ hours of sleep feeling much better on all fronts.  Mr. R&R and I headed out to do some shopping and by the time we got back, we were both so hungry that we schlepped up the street to a new-ish bar/restaurant and over-indulged in greasy goodness and a couple of beers.  Apparently I didn't learn my lesson on Wednesday night, because I felt icky all night and the workout did not happen.

Somewhat Over Indulgent
Day 49:
After much discussion, Mr. R&R and I decided that Week 7 was pretty much a food and workout fail and that our best bet was to repeat Week 7's workouts.  We spent the day getting ourselves back in order, reading, and hanging out with Walter and Spot.  Week 7.2 (as I'll be calling it) is going to have its own unique set of challenges (2 work events that require going out to eat and a milestone birthday dinner for my dad on Saturday), but I think with some careful planning and smart decision-making, it'll still be better than Week 7.1.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Insanity Week 6: I'm Pretty Sure He's Trying To Kill Me

I finished Week 5 feeling good and ready to take on the final phase of Insanity.  As it turns out, I felt like a complete novice all week.  The workouts didn't just ramp up in time, but in intensity as well.  In fact, they ramped up so much that I was reduced back to the 'quivering on the floor and trying not to die' experience of the first week. Long story short: I'm pretty convinced that Shaun T was trying to kill me.

The combination of workouts that left me more sore than running 20 miles with a harsh week at work and generally feeling beaten down from every direction made me consider throwing in the towel on the whole thing - more than once.  However, I've come this far and I want to see how it ends, so I kept going.

Day 36:
The first workout of Month 2 was Max Interval Circuit.  Right from the warm up I could tell I was in for a beating.  The jogging, straight arm jacks, and 1-2-3 heismans were all familiar from Month 1, but then came a side-to-side jump roping move, high knees, switch kicks and a little something called side-to-side floor hops (SS Floor Hops).  This basically involved starting in high plank, but with your butt in the air and then using your abs to hop your legs from side to side.   This warm up sequence was repeated 3x, with each time being more intense than the last.  By the time we got to stretching, I'd already shed my shirt and was using it to mop the sweat off my face.  The actual workout was brutal.  It started with my nemesis, The Pedal, and then added things like a combination of ski abs/push up jacks/in and out abs/ oblique push ups.  The second circuit was a lot of jumping and punching followed by floor switch kicks - think doing switch kicks while in a crab-walk position.  The third circuit was, far and away, the worst.  There were full body drills (drop down, float your legs back to plank, floor sprint for a count of 8, 4 moving push ups, wide floor sprint for a count of 8, float legs in, return to standing, rinse, repeat) and plank punches (holding high plank while alternating punching one arm into the air without rocking back and forth too much).  I was already sore by the time I made it out of The Cave.

Day 37:
If I thought I was hurting when I went to bed on Monday, Tuesday came as a really rude awakening and was followed by the second workout of Month 2 - Max Interval Plyo.   A more accurate name for would be 'Max Pushups with Some Other Stuff Thrown In For Max Pain'.  It was the standard warm up and then $#!% got real: switch jumps, squat push ups, in and out abs, power jumps, one-legged v push ups, level 3 drills, diamond jumps, balance push ups - you get the idea.  My upper body and abs were pissed off by the time it was over.  The jumping was manageable.  The first few types of push ups were tolerable.  Then it went off the rails.  Mr. R&R and I agreed that the workout demanded lots of upper body strength and that was definitely not something that was developed in Month 1.  Hopefully by the end of Month 2, the requisite upper body strength will come.

Day 38:
Everything I did today hurt.  Getting out of bed = pain.  Washing/styling my hair = worse.  Sneezing = unbearable.  My arms and abs hurt like a mother and Max Cardio Conditioning was on the calendar when I got home.  I was hoping for something a little less painful, but you know what they say about holding hope in one hand...   The warmup wasn't bad.  The actual workout was a nonstop cardio sufferfest of squats, jumps, push ups, and ab work.  I spent the first 15 seconds of each 30 second break laying on the floor, letting the cold concrete chill my burning muscles.  I was so gross and sweaty that I literally had a river of sweat running down my spine and into my capris!

Day 39:
I woke up hurting worse than I had all week.  Usually the soreness is worse in the morning and then lets up a little during the day.  Not this time. Moving hurt.  Laying down hurt.  And on top of it, I was pretty much ready to cry and couldn't wrap my head around my crappy performances over the previous 3 days.  Mr. R&R wasn't faring much better. After some discussion, we realized that the pain , lethargy, and general malaise was our bodies' way of SCREAMING for rest.  We gave in and couched ourselves for the night, went to bed early, and hoped to feel better the next day.

Day 40:
Max Recovery my ass. I liked Cardio Recovery in Month 1.  This freaking sucked.  I was still so sore that my legs started cramping up during the warmup.  From there is was lunges, hip openers, plank work, oblique work, and oh yeah...more f-ing push ups.  It was not Mr. R&R's or my idea of recovery.  We were so burnt out and in so much pain that we could barely get through it.  It left us both cursing Insanity and ready to quit. There was some serious rage in the Rabbits&Runs house that night. Neither of us are strangers to working out hard, hurting a little, and pushing the limit, but this was just ridiculous.  I think from here on, we'll be waging war on our minds as well as our bodies.

Day 41:
Saturday brought another round of Max Interval Circuit.  I don't know if it was having a better idea of how to pace myself or a stubborn refusal not to quit, but Max Interval Circuit went better this time.  I was still a sore, disgustingly sweaty mess, but I got through it better this time.  There were fewer unscheduled rests to gulp water and I actually found myself laughing when Mr. R&R started chanting "F**k you, Shaun T" during the floor switch kicks.  Word of advice: Laughing and Floor Switch Kicks don't really go well together.  I ended up falling on my ass because I was laughing so hard!

We also watched the 2015 Live Action Oscar short films (2014 was much better) and Whiplash.  All I can say is "wow".  J.K. Simmons definitely earned his Oscar this year.

Day 42:
We probably should have done Max Plyo Circuit since we took Thursday as a rest day, but neither of us could work up the urge, so we spent the day catching up on laundry, general house cleaning, and some reading.  I finished my 16th book of 2015 (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn)!

Have you ever found yourself angry at a workout?  What did you do about it? Read or watched anything good lately?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Insanity Week 5: Recovery Week & 30 Day Progress

The exact same workout six days in a row?  Don't mind if I do!  Yes, I know that in my last post I was bitching about being bored with doing the same handful of workouts, but this week has been different.  It's recovery week which means that although I'm doing the same workout (Core Cardio and Balance) over and over again, and while it's still challenging, it's much less intense than the workouts I've been rotating through for the last month.  Lower intensity means a chance for my body to recover and heal a little before the final push in Month 2 - and from what I can tell, I'm going to need all the recovery I can get to make it to the end.  It also couldn't have come at a better time because this week had a few more of those bumps in the road that are generally referred to as "life".

Day 29:
I think I just met my favorite Insanity workout thus far.  Core Cardio and Balance was definitely not easy, but it was much less intense and I actually thought it was kind of fun.  My favorite move tonight was the Jab Switch Jump Squats - shadow boxing for a count of 8 then springing into the air and turning 180 degrees - rinse repeat for a minute.  I was definitely thanking Tony Horton and P90 Masters for that one since the 180 degree spin squats were a prominent feature in that workout.  My least favorite was the Switch Kick Hop Squat combo - 8 switch kicks followed by 8 hop squats - repeated for 1 minute.  That's probably because I. Hate. Switch. Kicks.  At any rate, I felt good after the workout instead of like I'd just gotten my ass handed to me.

Day 30:
30 days in...time for a progress update and pictures.  The Day 0 pictures can be found here.

I'm annoyed that the numbers aren't better because I've been working my ass off for the last 30 days and I expected better results.  However, a little internet research leads me to believe that I'm not the only person to experience this lack of numeric improvement in the first 30 days of Insanity.  From my reading, men lose weight and shed body fat like crazy all the way through and women tend to see very little weight and fat loss until sometime in Month 2.  I can vouch for the claims that guys lose weight and fat like crazy from the get go.  Mr. R&R is actually struggling to keep his weight from dipping too low - and I'm sitting here turning pea green with envy.  Hopefully I'll experience the Month 2 weight and fat shed that other women have experienced - if not, thankfully there are other metrics out there.  For example, even if though the scale and fat monitor aren't moving much, I've lost  inches.  This is also why I'm a huge fan of progress pictures, so without further ado...

I like this picture.  At first glance, there's not a whole lot of change from Day 0, but upon closer inspection, I could see that my butt has moved upward quite a bit and it's no longer pancake flat.  All those squats and jumps have given me the beginning of a bubble and my thigh cellulite has diminished considerably (or at least it's had the decency to move to where my shorts can cover it).

This one made me happy too.  My back muscles are more defined (thank you Moving Plank Walks and Level 1 Drills) and I can tell that the muffin top that was peeking over my shorts on Day 0 has shrunk considerably.  I think I need to find an excuse to wear a backless dress soon!

Finally, there's my absolute favorite photo.  This one told me, without a doubt, that despite my lack of weight/fat loss I'm definitely making progress.

I Have Abs!!!!
Day 31:
I took an unscheduled rest day as a birthday present to myself.  Yep, I turned 35 today.  Mr. R&R and I celebrated by eating totally naughty Qdoba burritos (neither of us felt like cooking), laying on the couch, and petting Walter and Spot.  I couldn't have asked for a better birthday.

Day 32:
The unscheduled rest day was great.  I woke up feeling refreshed, focused, and ready to attack my workout - and I did.  I got through the entire workout without any extra breaks!  I was particularly thrilled by my performance on the Level 1 Drills.  I could tell I was using my abs to 'float' my legs in and out rather than just powering from my quads - and I did all my pushups in each set!

Day 33:
You've gotta love when a cross-town meeting and driving home through Friday rush hour traffic means that you get home an hour earlier than you normally would - or at least I do!  I even managed to stop at Trader Joe's to stock up on ingredients for pizza to go with the bottle of wine Mr. R&R got me for my birthday.  While Mr. R&R was having happy hour beers with Yada Yada (since he crammed in his workout over lunch), I hit The Cave for Core Cardio and Balance.  I was still riding the high from the previous day's performance and once again I wasn't disappointed even though I was cursing Shaun T's existence during the Shoulder Burners in Plie.  My arms were torched and so were my legs - and it felt so good.

Day 34:
I'm pretty sure that four little letters can be used to describe Saturday's workout: B-O-N-K.  I got through it, but there were far too many extra breaks and absolutely no enthusiasm involved.  Upon reflection, Mr. R&R and I both concluded that we were under-fueled for the workout since we were sort of hoarding calories in anticipation of our evening plans for pizza and wine.  Guess what mistake we won't be making again?

On a positive note, the pizza and wine were fabulous and we enjoyed them while watching the five live action short films that had been nominated for an Oscar in 2014 and then we watched one of this year's Best Picture nominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel.   The shorts were a mix of humorous, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking and The Grand Budapest Hotel was absolutely hilarious. I highly recommend it - especially if you like the Monty Python movies.  As for the short films, I'm kicking myself that I've never made the effort to see these before.  We're already planning on watching the 2015 nominees next weekend.

Day 35:
Today should have been a full out Rest Day, but after realizing that Monday would involve both a Fit Test and the first of the hour-long Month 2 workouts, we decided to move Fit Test #3 to today.  The Fit Test, while short, is an ass-kicker because you're going full out on everything and you end up feeling completely used up, which is not how either of us wanted to feel going into that first big workout.

As expected, the Fit Test beat the crap out of me - to the point that I actually cried at the end!  I'm not 100% sure why I cried, but I think it had something to do with pushing myself so damned hard even though I was completely exhausted - sort of like why I've cried after a few races.  Tears and exhaustion aside, it was a damned good test!

Take THAT Switch Kicks!
35 days down...28 to go.  Bring it!

Have you ever watched any of the Oscar-nominated shorts?  Cried after a workout?  Thoughts on The Grand Budapest Hotel if you've seen it?