Sunday, August 29, 2010

Food Philosophy & Fitness Ponderings

This trophy goes to the 437 people who commented on my blog Flab to Fab!!!! I wish I could send each of you a goodie and respond to your remarks personally, but time does not permit that. I am busy cleaning out my email at this time! For those of you who sent me friend requests, I am honored, so honored that you would add me as a friend. I try to take the time to go to the page of someone who has friended me and get to know a little bit about them before I add them as a friend. And, again, because I have received so many requests lately, I am unable to quickly respond to them. I have said this before to some of my friends and I will say it here, now, this network of friends on Spark have been a vital part of my continued success, I consider it an honor when someone adds me as a friend. I have been so blessed by sooooo many wonderful, powerful, encouraging, supportive, inspiration and motivation people here on Spark. I wish I could give you a list of some of the most inspiring people I know, but that list would be huge. Just huge.

Some of the emails I have received have asked me about my 'diet' and my fitness routine. First, I really do not 'diet'. I believe that is why I have been successful this time. I don't believe in 'diet' foods. You know, the foods you make yourself eat even though you don't like them, just because some 'diet' said it was good for you. I don't do it. I refuse to eat foods that I don't love. I pack my cooler every day with all the good healthy foods I need to take me through 9 hours at work and a workout at the gym. I look forward to each meal that I eat and never dread HAVING to eat something. Food is delicious. A fear of food is not a healthy place to be for me. I have changed my 'eating style' along the way, to match the season and my taste.

June 16 - August 23, 2009 - The only changes I made were to cut back my portions, not get soda or fries if we stopped at a fast food restaurant.

August 24 - December 31, 2009 - I used the Flat Belly Diet by the editors of Prevention Magazine. I love the foods on this 'plan' . All my favorites and things that were in season in August especially. Lots of tomatoes, almonds, olive oil, fish, chicken breast, dark chocolate, veggies. This is still the basis of my eating. In January I had to add more calories than this plan provided. However, I stuck to the food basics of this plan.

January 1 - May 24, 2010 - I was training for a half marathon and needed more calories than I was getting and I needed to challenge myself in different ways, so I started reading Clean Eating Magazine and following some of the recipes from Tosca Reno's Recharged Clean Eating book. I love this eating style and it combines very nicely with the things I had already incorporated as 'my plan'.

At this point I had lost 88 lbs. Each time I hit a plateau I either tweaked my diet or my exercise program. I was wearing a size 14 that was just a little lose, but could not fit into a 12. I got to a point that though I was not dissatisfied with my progress, I just wanted to see what would happen if I were to really go for it. What does all out look like? What does that feel like? Is it realistic? Is is sustainable?

I was not looking for quick fixes or pie in the sky promises. I followed the blogs of a couple workout divas who had made some remarkable transformations and I thought if they can do it, I can. But, I did not trust myself at this point to tweak my diet properly and I wanted to be sure I was eating enough. I asked a friend who is a nutritionist to take a look at my food logs and my workout logs. I knew I was close to the macro nutrient breakdown I needed for my body, just missing the mark somewhere. He did take a look and did make some suggestions that ended up being very valuable to me. The nutrition skills I learned from that consultation are life long skills I will be able to use over and over again.

However, the work was mine. I believe that nutrition is 80% of the fitness equation. I need my nutrition to be appropriate for the workout load I am requiring of my body. If my nutrition is not fueling my workout properly, my workout results will suffer, my form will not be what it should be and I'm not fully in the game. This may not seem important to your workout, but to my runner friends, they know that a night of crap eating leads to a rough run which can lead to muscle strains and pains throughout the week and slow recovery time.

Once I learned to fuel my body properly, muscle mass started increasing, performance improved and my recovery time was very short. I felt like I could go forever.

Not everyone can afford or needs a nutritionist. I understand that. I didn't need one at 100 lbs. overweight. There were other things to learn at that stage of the game. I've heard a little negative vibe because I used a nutritionist. Like that somehow negates the efforts made or the validity of the results, like I somehow cheated. I'm sorry if you feel that way. There are wonderful tools available for free right here on Spark. Portion control alone no longer work for me and I need to stay away from some of my trigger foods that make me crave more of empty calorie foods.

My favorite fitness workout involves my basketball and my driveway. I take my dog for a one mile walk to warm up my legs. Then I shoot a couple lay ups and a couple foul line shoots. My driveway is long enough for two mid sized vehicles to be parked back to back. Holding the basketball in my hands, I start at one end and do long stride walking lunges with a deep dip in the center and a walk through without touching down in between strides. So, from the lunge position, I push up with the front leg, swing through the back leg without it touching and bring it into the front leg position. Oh, and as I lunge forward I twist at the waist with the ball in my hands toward the forward leg. At the end of my driveway, I reverse and do backward walking lunges. Much more difficult. These require a lot more core and glute strength to push up backwards out of a lunge. I do this set twice. Then I shoot a few more hoops. Next I do a side squat shuffle down my drive way and back, holding the basketball. I sit back into a wide squat, go up on the balls of my feet and then as quick as I can and staying as low into a squat as I can I shuffle to the end of my driveway and shuffle back. Then I shoot a few more hoops. Next I do a set of 20 squat jumps. Holding the basketball, feet out wide, I squat down touch the ball to the driveway and then spring up from the squat and jump like I'm making a basket, arms up, full thrust, immediately back into squat. Then I shoot some more hoops to bring my heart rate back down. Next up are calf muscles. Holding the ball in my hands up over my head, I go up on my tiptoes like I'm trying to touch the ball to the rim. Then I shoot some more hoops. Last up is the side squat single leg lift. I start out in a squat, holding the basketball, as I come up out of the squat I lift one leg out to the side using the abductor muscles on the outside of my hip and I lift the ball over my head at the same time. As I come back down into a squat I place that foot on the ground, do a full deep squat and as I raise up I lift the other leg. I continue alternating legs for a total of 20 reps. You will feel these. This is my favorite lower body workout. Anyone can do these and anyone can get results. Need it harder, add a weighted medicine ball. Need it easier, doing standing squats and lunges instead. These are basic moves that most anyone can do with minimal equipment.

My favorite Full body circuit and core workout also involves no equipment. I also involves quite a bit of cardio. I walk to warm up, at lease 10 minutes. Then I run the width of a basketball court. When I hit the sideline, I drop to the floor and do 10 push ups. Jump up. Run back across the court. Drop to the floor do 10 crunches. Jump up. Run back across the court. Drop to the floor do 10 burpees (or squat thrusts). Jump up. Run back across the court. Drop to the floor and hold a plank position for 1 minute. Jump up. Run back across the court. Drop to the floor and do 10 more push ups. Jump up. No time to rest. Drop to the floor. 10 mountain climbers. Jump up. Run back across the court. Drop to the floor in plank position. Do a one arm side plank. Come back into full plank. Do the other arm side plank. Jump up. Run to the other side. Drop to the floor for oblique crunches. You can do this! You are tough! Give it all you got!

There are muscle groups I feel I need to go to the gym to hit properly, since I don't have any equipment at home. I am blessed to have free access to the University gym and it's facilities. When the weather is nice the world is my gym and if I had to pay for a gym it would be a waste in the summer time. I only hit the gym twice a week. But I work out 5 - 6 days a week. When I go to the gym I love to do arms, back and shoulders. I love the wide range of weights they have and the cable cross machines. During the winter months I use the gym more.

This is me, this is my workout, this is what keeps me fired up! What lights your fire?!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you!! You are amazing... and I always love reading what you write!

    Personally, I believe we can work hard or work smart... working smart gets us a lot farther. Using a nutritionist for where you were at, was smart! There isn't any "cheating" when being smart!

    Everything has a time... our fitness, our nutrition and our thinking! If we are moving ahead, things will always be changing! That is why we need to surround ourselves with different kinds of people... there will be some that encourage, and cheer us on, there will also be some that motivate us and inspire us to keep moving, there will be those to challenge us and help us to think different and move ahead, and fortunately (I say this for a reason) there will always be those who question what we are doing! Fortunate for those because we can use them to make us stronger and move farther ahead than most others. There is one last group though, and unfortunately, we have to be selective here... they are the ones who try to "steal our dreams", or the "nay sayers". These people can also make us stronger, but in most cases, we need to be very careful and probably even remove them from having any kind of influence on us!

    I think you are amazing and have done amazingly awesome, my friend! And I feel very privileged to call you my friend! I am thankful for you! so... thanks! Keep going!