Saturday, 3 May 2014

Fitness frustrations

You guys, I am in serious danger of falling off the fitness wagon.  

As you may recall, during my first year dealing with infertility, I kind of let everything slide.  I was depressed, I ate, I stopped working out, and I consequently put on about 10 pounds and generally felt like shit.  Then, I smartened up a little and started using fitness as an outlet to deal with infertility issues.  We signed up for a fruit and vegetable delivery service and started eating better.  I didn't join a gym, but I started doing various workout DVD programs (Chalene Johnson's TurboFire and Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30) about 5 days a week in our basement.  I gradually dropped the extra poundage and started feeling good about myself again.


Then, in January, I decided to mix things up a little.  I'd been pretty heavily into cardio, and though the Jillian Michaels programs in particular had a bit of light strength work in them, I'd been reading a lot about how lifting heavier weights can be really beneficial for women.  I decided to cut back on the sweat sessions and focus more on muscle building, so I asked M to get me the ChaLean Extreme program (also by Chalene Johnson) for Christmas.  It's a DVD program that mixes three days of heavy lifting per week with two days of abs, cardio interval training and a little yoga for stretching.  

At first I loved the new program, and quickly realized that I could lift a lot more weight than I initially expected.  The scale started going up a little bit, but I knew I was putting on muscle so I wasn't worried about it.   The program is split into three one-month phases and online reviews pretty universally said that after gaining a little muscle weight in the first two months, in the third month I could expect a significant fat loss due to my newly increased metabolism and muscle mass.  While I'm at a pretty healthy weight already and had no illusions about getting shredded, I thought I might at least finally get rid of my stubborn belly pooch and start seeing some nice definition in my arms.  

Instead...I hit a plateau.  Not only did I not lose any fat, but I stopped making any strength progress.  I was supposed to be hitting muscle failure between 10 and 12 reps.  For instance, once I could consistently do 12 reps of bicep curls with 15-pound weights, I decided to add the next weight increment (which, on my dumbbell set, is 2.5 pounds).  The number of bicep curls I could complete at 17.5 pounds?  A pathetic four.  I ended up having to increase only one side of the dumbbell (leaving me with an off-kilter 16.25 pounds) which got me back up to 10 reps.  But I've been stuck here for weeks.  Seriously, it seems like 1.25 pounds should be nothing, but to my biceps it's a mountain they just can't climb.  

I started maxing out on a bunch of other exercises too, so I decided to do some reading online and discovered that maybe I should be adding more protein to my diet.  Unfortunately, this meant that I had to start tracking my food intake again, which I absolutely hate because it makes me obsessive and irritable.  Also, unless you like snacking on canned tuna at 10:30am, getting enough protein in your diet is HARD.  I spent way too much time on MyFitnessPal being told that I couldn't have an apple for a snack unless I was wrapping it in meat. 

C'mon, it's even funnier because this is an infertility blog.  IRONY!

At the end of the third month, I was completely frustrated.  Which is probably stupid, because I still made some pretty good strength gains at the beginning of the program.  Unfortunately, being frustrated means that I'm now also totally demotivated.  I've stopped working out as regularly (I'm down to about 3 times per week) and I've been eating a ton more crap than usual.  I know myself well enough to know that this is the danger zone where I either need to get back on track or else risk fucking off from a healthy lifestyle entirely, until I gain weight and the whole cycle starts again.  The problem is I don't know how to find my motivation!  I had thought about starting P90X next, but even watching the first video made me want to vomit and I just don't know if I can find the time commitment since most of the workouts are so much longer than what I've been doing (between 60 to 90 minutes, 6 days per week).

I need your help, internets.  How do I kick my own ass into gear before I lose all the progress I've made? 

16 comments:

  1. Do you like protein shakes? I know I don't get enough protein in my diet and I feel guilty about that. I'm not big on shakes but when I am on a fitness kick I just force myself to drink them and I add as little water as possible so I can gulp them down in a few chugs. And of course there are always vegetarian sources of protein which are great because they are often lower in fat.

    Don't get down on yourself. If you are still working out 3 times a week, that's' great! That's all I've been doing for the past few years. As long as you are active and focusing on eating healthy, you can be fit. I always say "abs are made in the kitchen!" Maybe change up your routine, join a class or something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Protein shakes were the only thing that got me enough protein! I hate mixing them with water, though. I usually make it more of a snack-smoothie with a frozen banana and a little milk. Like a creamy protein-y milkshake! I'm taking your advice and cleaning up my diet a bit before making any drastic workout changes. Lots of kale, fish and other veggies in my diet today.

      Delete
  2. Working out three times a week sounds great to me!!! What about adding in a different type of workout during the other days?? Just a thought- sadly I'm no help because I've been off the workout boat for a while now :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been thinking about picking up running again. I used to do it a lot and haven't in a while, except for if I'm on vacation and don't have access to my weights. It's starting to be good weather around here, so maybe I should take advantage and get some sunshine while I'm at it!

      Delete
  3. Do you participate with Groupon? I've done some classes with some local gyms and it's a nice no long term committment offier ($25 dollars for 4 weeks of kickboxing) I like it because it allows me to check out some new gyms and exercise groups, I've found I do better in a group setting as I like to 'compete' with others in the class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will definitely check into this. My MIL sent me an email today with a $5 barre fitness class at the National Ballet. I've always wanted to try one, but they're crazy expensive. As intimidating as it would be to do a class at the National Ballet, being around skinny ballerinas could be the motivation I need!

      Delete
  4. Maybe training for a specific event could help... Like a century or marathon or something. That's what my husband is doing and so far it seems to be keeping him on the wagon so far. Staying on the health and fitness path has always been hard for me but now that my job is counseling others I feel obligated to set an example, so far its working...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought about training for the Spartan again this year, but I honestly feel like if I do another one of those I want to do it with a group or partner instead of by myself. There were so many groups running it, it felt kind of lonely on my own. Perhaps a 10k or something to get me started. I did a half marathon once and found it to be a bit too long a distance for me to really enjoy.

      Delete
  5. I picked up boxing in college. A friend showed me the basics and I bought a heavy bag and gloves. The cardio is great and it always makes my arms look awesome. I don't do it a lot anymore (only a few times a month), but I've found when I plateau on my weightlifting (can't move up to heavier weights or fatiguing early) that if I start boxing again I gain quite a bit of muscle quickly. It's also pretty fun and a GREAT way to get out some frustration. It's also the only thing that has given my triceps really nice definition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done a lot of cardio kickboxing but never anything where I'm actually HITTING something. Well, tae kwon do about 15 years ago but that was kicking stuff, not punching it. I should look into what's around my area. I definitely think it would be fun, plus the bonus of working off stupid work stress.

      Delete
  6. I have heard about the long hours with PX90, so maybe try Insanity? I think it is supposedly similar, but with shorter workouts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did Insanity about 2 years ago, and it is...you guessed it...insane! The thought of doing it again makes me want to cry. Aislinn's suggestion below of T25 might be a good compromise though, it's another Shaun T workout (the guy behind Insanity) but packed into an even shorter period.

      Delete
  7. I've heard of another workout program called T-25 (I think) which is similar to Insanity/P90X, but for only 25 minutes. Maybe your body just needs a wake up call and a new type of workout is what you need! Don't kick yourself too much, working out 3 times per week is still awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I've heard of this too, and I like the shorter workout idea. I do love me some Shaun T, he kicked my ass with Insanity a few years ago!

      Delete
  8. Burpies for babies. I got that from you and that's what I tell myself. I'm not as fit as you, but I find myself in a bit of a rut. I did Jillian Michael's 90 day body revolution and I'm just kind of over it. But, I do like to think of her mantra of if you know the why, the how is easy. New music can get me moving with a little more pep. What about a boot camp? Maybe using a Groupon like Jane suggested. Now that it's spring, maybe just being outside will make working out more enjoyable (and aren't boot camps usually outside somewhere).

    ReplyDelete
  9. If you find some motivation, can you tell me where I can get some? I am so tired and out of shape. I know exercise would make me feel a hundred times better, but I just can't motivate myself to do it. Of course, since I feel bad about not exercising, I also am eating like crap. I bought Ripped in 30 since they are short workouts and I didn't make it past week 2. Sigh.
    I agree with some of the suggestions above about a group class of some sort. I have always done much better with some instruction. I loved boot camp and really saw progress and actually liked going to class, but it doesn't fit into my schedule right now, unfortunately. I might start biking to work this summer.
    P.S I cannot believe how far behind I am on blog reading. So here is a random comment on a really old post. haha.

    ReplyDelete

I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!