Category Archives: Fitness

Great Days And Not-So-Great Days (or Overcoming Workout Struggles)

This past week of workouts was a series of ups and downs. I’ve been working on doing more 4 workout weeks lately because I know I will be taking a break when I have surgery (and I don’t want that to affect how many workouts I do this year), but I’ll admit that this week I was really debating cancelling my 4th workout in the week. I’m glad I stuck with it, but it was really testing myself if I could do it.

Monday was probably the best and easiest workout I had. It was a power day and we were switching between each block which always makes things a bit easier for me. There were 2 main blocks on the treadmill, 2 main blocks on the floor, and then a partner challenge to end out the class. On the treadmill, the first block started with 30 second intervals and I ran everything even the base paces! I’ve never done that before and I felt on top of the world! The second half of the first block was 45 second intervals but I wasn’t able to run everything so I did my usual plan of walking all the base paces. The second treadmill block was 6 minutes long with 1 minute intervals and I walked the base paces again.

On the floor, the first block was sprint rows with squats and arm work. And the second block was timed work like burpees, medicine ball jacks, and ab work. But then we got to spend the last 12 minutes of class partnered up and that was awesome! We were rowing for distance as a team and we rotated between the floor and rower. The person on the floor had arm work and plank jacks and controlled the pace of the switching. It was a long 12 minutes but I knew my partner was counting on me so I worked really hard. And after 12 minutes, we got pretty far on the rower!

I’m not sure I did my fair share on the rowing distance, but my partner didn’t seem to mind and we were both very proud of what we were able to accomplish together.

Wednesday’s workout was just bad for me. It started out fine but then at the beginning of the class my hip popped out (like it does all the time) but I couldn’t get it to go back. It was causing me some very intense pain and I didn’t want to step out of class to take a painkiller since it usually takes time for them to kick in. So I just did what I could and sucked it up. On the treadmill, I walked everything. It was a strength day so I was able to work on walking hills, but I really was upset that I couldn’t do any running. I’m so stubborn so it’s tough to let myself take it easy when I know I could do better. But my body just wasn’t having it so I had to go with the flow.

The floor work that day was one long block where we did a lot of arm work. I was pretty grateful for that since I could do my usual stuff even with my hip hurting. The arm work was one sided work so that added some extra difficulty in things. But I think that I was still able to keep good form with the heavier weights I was using that day. We also had some spring rows that were 200 meters each. I really wanted to get it under 40 seconds but I did them in 41 and 40 seconds. That’s still pretty fast for me, but again it’s tough when I have a goal and I just fall short of it.

Friday’s workout was much better than Wednesday’s. I wasn’t really hurting that much that day so I was able to do running. I did take it easy because I didn’t want to overdo it, so all my push paces were at 4.5 mph and all my all out paces were at 5 mph. We were switching between blocks but all the treadmill blocks were all the same with intervals starting at 1 minute, then going to 45 seconds, and ending at 30 seconds. It was good to be able to run again and even though it wasn’t my hardest running it was still better than not running at all.

The floor that day had blocks that were all pretty similar. Each block at 3 moves in it and they were all mixed up between arms, lower body, and core work. The only bad thing was that because I was still feeling a bit low from my workout on Wednesday, I might have overdone it a bit with the weights because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

And since I overdid it a bit on Friday, when I went on Saturday I was a bit sore. It was mainly in my hamstrings, so that was a nice change from being sore in my hips. And it was a 3G class so I knew I wasn’t going to spend that much time in any part of the room. But I didn’t get to Orangetheory as early as I normally do so I had to start on the rower instead of the treadmill. The rowing started with rowing plus medicine ball jacks. And the second half was rowing sprints with recovery in between.

Next I went to the floor where the beginning of the floor work was all straps. We did triceps, shoulders, and squats on the straps and that wasn’t too bad. But the second half of the floor was timed work and that was crazy. Everything was in 45 second intervals and we rotated between chest presses, shoulder presses, and crunches. We did that rotation 3 times without any breaks and it was so much tougher than I expected. I was pretty tired after that but I still had the treadmill to do.

The beginning of the treadmill was pretty easy for me with 45 second intervals all on 1% incline. I did my usual with walking the base paces but running everything else. Then for the second half of the treadmill time (which was the last 7 minutes of class) we did incline work. We did push to all out paces at 5% and 4% and I did manage to run those. Running at 5% feels so tough, but it’s not feeling impossible like it did before so I know there is improvement. We ended with 2 all out paces, one at 3% and one at 2% which pretty much felt like a flat incline to me after the higher inclines. I really hate doing my treadmill work last because I feel like I’m so tired, but it’s also good to mix things up from time to time.

There were some totally amazing moments in my workouts this past week and some seriously depressing ones. It’s so easy for me to work out when everything is going great, but it’s good to have a challenge to get through to know that I can push through it and still get it done. I’m continuing to do a mental countdown of how many workouts I can do before surgery. The number is getting smaller and smaller so I’m starting to feel like surgery will be here before I know it. But I’m also now trying to think of surgery as just another challenge for me to get through.

Hills, Switching, and Working Hard (or A Crazy Week At Orangetheory)

This past week at Orangetheory was a pretty amazing and intense week for me. It was a a tough week because it was a 4 workout week, but I also think the workouts this week were exceptionally good and they were different compared to what I’m used to. Having things be different is good since I know you need to mix things up. And having things mixed up in class led to some great opportunities for me to test myself on a bunch of different things and I think in the end I really benefitted from that.

Monday’s class was a 3 group class because of the holiday (they tend to only have morning classes on holidays so they are all 3 group classes) and it was a strength day. But instead of the standard 3G classes that we have, this was very different and I really had to work hard on focusing what to do. With 3G classes you have a group on the treadmill, a group on the rower, and a group on the floor. And we technically did have that, but we didn’t stay that way. We had 6 blocks in the workout and they were all 6 minutes each. We all started on one part of the room, but as we did the workout we moved from station to station within the block. We didn’t have to stick with the same number on the floor, rower, and treadmill. We just had to go over to any place that was free.

It was tough with us all moving around all the time, but I think we managed ok as a class. On the treadmill, it was the same thing each time. It was supposed to be a .25 miles run, but if you run under 5mph you were supposed to do half the distance and at 4% incline (because you needed to be done with the treadmill fast enough to make it to all 3 stations). So each of the 6 treadmill times for me, I was doing .125 miles at 4% incline and I ran all of it. Running at 4% incline is tougher than a flat treadmill, but 4% is something I’m slightly more comfortable with. It was a good challenge to do, and since it was done pretty quickly it wasn’t too overwhelming. On the rower, we always had a 400 meter row. And on the floor, it was mixed up but we always had 2 different things to do.

We were supposed to see if we could complete and entire lap around the room plus possibly more. I struggled to make it through all the stations for many of the blocks. But somehow with the blocks were I started on the floor I was able to get through it all, so I did make the entire lap twice in class. But even though I didn’t do everything every single round, I know I got an incredible workout done and felt amazing for knowing I pushed myself and succeeded.

Wednesday’s workout was a strength day that was also a run/row, so I was pretty excited for that. But it was a run/row like we’ve never had before. Usually with run/row days, we don’t switch between blocks and we work on the run/row for about 20 minutes before moving on to the floor. I’m used to that and comfortable with that. But this time, there were 4 run/row blocks and 4 floor blocks and we switched each time. The blocks were all about 4.5 minutes long so we were switching a lot and often. The run/row was between .25-.1 miles at 3% to start. 3% feels pretty comfortable with me, but doing .25 miles at that incline felt so long and much steeper than it was. After doing the run, we did 100-250 meters of rowing and then went back to the treadmill to do the same distance again but at 6%. I only completed the second round on the 4th block (when the treadmill and rower distance was the shortest), but I was usually able to make it back to the treadmill each block.

On the floor, we had 3 blocks that each had 2 things. It was good that we only had 2 things to do each block because 4.5 minutes goes by pretty quickly. We had a lot of variety in the floor work with lunges, bicep curls, front raises, and mountain climbers. And with our 4th block, we had timed work (usually for 30 seconds) that was mainly on the straps. When we have timed work, I try to not take breaks. But sometimes 30 seconds straight doing something feels so difficult and you just have to rest.

This workout was one of the harder ones I think I’ve done. It was a combination of how fast we were switching, the running on inclines, and the feeling like I wanted to get through everything so I was rushing a bit. I was so tired after this workout (and not necessarily in the good tired way), but even though I was exhausted I was proud of myself for getting through the workout. On tough days like this one, I have to think back to where I was when I started. My very first Orangetheory workout was so tough that I was struggling to walk the next day. This workout would have killed me back then. I know that I’m so much stronger than I was before and knowing that helps me get through days that get to me.

After that crazy workout on Wednesday, I’m glad that Friday’s workout was a bit easier. It was a power day and we switched between blocks. I was grateful that we wouldn’t have hills during the workout and I was excited to get to focus on my running a bit more. Our blocks were between 5-7 minutes and since I knew we’d be switching I did push myself a bit more on the treadmill than I would have if we weren’t going to switch. Each of the treadmill blocks started with a 90 second push and then we had a bunch of push to all out paces (with walking recovery between one all out to another). A lot of the push to all outs were pretty fast, but we did have one that was 2 1/2 minutes total. Running faster than normal for that long is tough, but since I’ve been working hard on my endurance it was nice to get to work on my speed. My only regret with the treadmill time on this workout is that now that I know my endurance is pretty decent I want to start doing a bit of running during the base paces. This workout could have been ideal to test that out, but I didn’t do it.

Between each of the treadmill blocks, we had floor and rowing work. All of the rows were timed rows, which were a nice change from distance rows. We had 30 second, 45 second, and 1 minute rows and I was pushing myself like crazy for each of them. It’s a bit easier for me to push myself on a timed row because I can count down how much longer I have to work (unlike distance rows where I’m not totally sure how long it will take me). I think that my wattage on each row was higher than I ever had thanks to some work I’ve been doing on my rowing technique. I’m going a bit slower with my pulls on the rower, but I can get my wattage up higher when I have a good rhythm. After the timed rows, we had floor work which included weighted squats, plank work, and burpees.

And I got my 4th workout in this week (no blackout to deal with this time!) on Saturday. I’ve switched the time I go on Saturdays recently because I realized that I can go to a class a bit earlier than I thought I could after work. And now that I’m going a bit earlier, I’m usually in a 3G workout on Saturdays. And this Saturday was no different. I like the 3G format because it gives me time to work on my rowing (which isn’t in every workout) plus it’s a bit less treadmill time which is a nice break. I don’t care as much about having less treadmill time now that I’m working on running (somehow running on the treadmill is less stressful on my hips than walking), but I’m still happy to have a change from the norm.

This class was a switch day and also a strength day. So more hills for me on the treadmill and I knew it would be a tough day with hills. On the first block, I did most of the hills running. I was able to do a minute at 3%, a minute at 5%, and about 30 seconds at 7%. I couldn’t do more than that at 7% so I did some walking after that. We also had shorter bursts on the hills that I was able to do as a run as well. But when I got back to the treadmill for the second block, I just couldn’t run anymore. I really wanted to try, but I also knew that I had a big week of workouts and it was ok to take it a bit easy at the end.

When I was on the rower, the first block was rowing plus lunges and the second block was rowing plus squats. My rowing wasn’t as strong as it was earlier in the week, but again I took into consideration that I was probably a bit tired from all my workouts. And on the floor, we had a pretty good all over workout with arms, back, and core work. The floor was probably my strongest part of the workout because there were a couple of things that were either laying on the weight bench or laying on the floor to do core work. That felt like a nice break.

I’m really trying to do more 4 workout weeks now. I know that I have a workout goal for the year, and since I will need to take time off after surgery I want to get in extra workouts while I can. Doing that will help to keep my total number of workouts for the year near where it should be. I’m hoping I’ll only need a few weeks off from working out, but I also know there is a chance I might need a few months off (I’m really hoping that won’t happen). I’m also looking at right now as my time to train for surgery, so all the workouts I can do are working toward that goal. This week was only a 4 workout week, but with all the work I did it felt a lot tougher than that!

Hills And Power Outages (or Not My Usual Workout Week)

This past week of workouts was not how I had planned things to be. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I know I’m very set in my ways and that having something change up is good for me. But fortunately, even with things not going as planned, I still had a good week of workouts.

Monday was a no switch day and we did endurance, strength, and power work. The treadmill was one long block without much of a break between things. We started by doing a 3 minute push at 2% incline, 2 minute push at 3% incline, 1 minute push at 4% incline, 45 second push at 5% incline, and then finally an all out on a flat incline. We did have base paces between everything (which I walked), but I ran everything else. Inclines are interesting for me since I’m used to working at 4% so that doesn’t feel too bad for me. But the higher inclines are tough and I’m proud of myself to trying them out.

The second half of the treadmill block was push to all out paces at 4%, 3%, and then 2% inclines. It was nice getting the inclines to go down and since they were lower inclines they weren’t as bad as the first half of the treadmill block. I’m curious what the inclines will be on my next 5K because I would love to try to train a bit more for those specific hills.

On the floor, we had 3 blocks that each had 2 moves and then a rowing segment. The rowing was 300 meters, 150 meters, and 600 meters which aren’t horrible but felt long after doing the treadmill and floor work. On the floor we had a mix of upper and lower body work with hip swings, shoulder work with the straps, and hammer curls. But my best thing was when we were supposed to do pikes on the ab dolly. Normally, I would just do knee tucks since pikes are very difficult for me and I don’t do ab dolly work on my toes. But I decided to keep testing out doing ab dolly work and was pleasantly surprised to see that I could do the pikes! They were mini-pikes, but they were more than I had done before!

Wednesday’s workout was a power day which was a nice break from doing treadmill inclines. A lot of the work was 90 second push paces and push to all outs. I ran for all the push and all outs (I say that pretty much all the time now, don’t I?) and was happy that my endurance is really improving. And since it was a power day, I wanted to do one really awesome speed segment. So I did the last 45 second all out pace at 6.5 mph. Between all that work I did and the awesome speeds, I managed to do more than 2 miles on the treadmill during class!

The floor was a tough day. We had 2 blocks that both started with a similar patterned. We had a 250 meter row, a lower body move, a 150 meter row, a lower body move, and then arm focused floor work. The first block was squats between the rowing and then tricep work with the straps and tricep push ups. The second block was lunges between the rowing and the bicep work with the straps, weights, and push ups. I thought it was very tough to have all the tricep work in one block and bicep in the other (instead of mixing them up), but I think it was designed to be tough that way.

I was booked for Friday’s workout, but in case you aren’t in LA and didn’t hear, we had a huge storm that day. Before my Friday workout, the power went out in the building where Orangetheory is located. So classes were canceled since there was no estimate for when the power would be back plus it was starting to get a bit dangerous to drive. I guess it was good that it happened because right when I would have been in class, my power went out. If I had been in class, I would have gotten home to a totally dark house, needing to search for my flashlights, and would have to take a cold shower in a very dark bathroom. But I was very glad I was already booked for Saturday’s class so I could still get 3 workouts in for the week.

Saturday’s class was a bit odd since my body was feeling weird from the power outage. When it got dark, my body felt like it was time for bed even though it was only 6pm. So I slept pretty weird the night before and was still feeling that when I got to my workout. But I perked up pretty quickly because in the lobby was Whitney, who used to be one of my regular coaches but hadn’t seen in over a year! Whitney was teaching at another studio for a while and when she came back to my studio, she was always teaching when I was working so I hadn’t seen her. But to see her again was amazing and I was instantly in a good mood!

It was a 3G style class so I wasn’t stuck on anything for longer than about 15 minutes. But since it was an endurance, strength, and power day those 15 minutes felt like 30! I started on the treadmill and we had 2 small blocks on the treadmill. The first block was like a normal strength block so we had inclines. We had pushes at lower inclines and finished with an all out at 6% incline. I ran for all of those inclines, but I kept my pace slow with the all out since the incline was so high. The second half was more like a power day with push to all outs. The combined time ranged from 2 1/2 minutes to 1 minute and I was able to run for all of them. I increased my speed each time the combined time was slower and ended with 30 seconds at 6.5 mph. And even though we had a shorter treadmill block than I’m used to, I got a lot of distance done. When I started at Orangetheory, it could take me 20 minutes to do a mile. Now I can do 1 1/3 miles in that time!

The rowing block was probably the toughest for me. We had rowing plus squats for 15 minutes without a break. The rowing was 700, 500, and 250 meters and by the end the 250 meters felt like 700. The squats between the rowing was tough too. My legs were feeling a bit shaky so I had to take my time doing everything and took breaks in the middle of each set. But even with my slow work and breaks, I managed to get all the rowing done and got into the bonus round (which was just repeating the final round again).

And when I finally got to the floor, I was so glad there was a lot of work that was on the mat or on the Bosu so I could rest a bit. We used the Bosu to do chest presses (using the Bosu as a rest for our heads) and to kneel on for tricep work. We also had plank work where we were supposed to reach our hips to the other side, but I wasn’t quite able to do that so I did something more like mountain climbers. We also had shoulder strap work and abs (which was done laying on the floor so I took advantage of that to catch my breath). When class was done, it felt so long but I was so glad I had signed up for it. I would have been sad if I only got 2 classes done because of the storm.

Even though I set out to do a 4 workout week, I’m glad I still got my 3 classes in and that I pushed myself hard in each of those classes. I’m slowly seeming more and more progress in class and that helps to keep pushing me along. I’ve got 2 months to go before surgery and I’m considering this training to get ready for it!

Walking And Running (Mixing Up My Workouts)

I was on such a high from my previous week of workouts that I didn’t know if I could do anything close to it last week. I tried to keep my expectations low going in to this past week because I didn’t want to burn out. But I also was feeling so great from all that I did that I didn’t want to lose the momentum. So I decided to try to alternate going crazy and having recovery days and see what happened.

Monday was technically an endurance, strength, and power day but to me it really felt like an endurance day. We had a crazy plan for the treadmill and I really pushed myself on it. The pattern started with a 3 minute push pace, 2 minute push pace, 1 minute push pace, and 1 minute all out pace. There was base pace in between each but it was still a lot. And the second half of the pattern was a 1 minute push pace, 2 minute push pace, 3 minute push pace, and 1 minute all out with the base pace in between. I managed to run all of the push and all out paces and in 23 minutes I did 1.55 miles which is half of a 5K.

On the floor that day, we had a 400 rep challenge. For some locations, this was a timed challenge, but it wasn’t for us. That was for the better since if it was timed I know my form would have suffered because I would have sped through things. We had 2 rounds of 25 squats, 25 hip bridges, 25 push ups, 25 rows on the straps, 50 hop overs, and 50 mountain climbers. It was very intense and tiring but I made it through. After completing my 400 reps, I had dumbbell swings and tricep work plus a 200 meter row. It was a lot, but I felt so accomplished after finishing the workout.

Wednesday was a strength day and we didn’t switch between blocks. I decided to do only walking on the treadmill that day and I’m glad that I did that. It was a nice change of pace from all the running I had done. We had ascending and descending hills with the inclines at 7, 9, and 11%. I also had 1 minute intervals at 8% with my speed at 3.8 mph which is pretty fast for my walking. And I was able to do my all out paces at 12% which is pretty steep for me.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks which each started with 400 meter rows. I was able to get those done in 1:31 and 1:28 which even surprised my coach! We also had regular and lateral lunges and lateral arm work. And I used the ab roller for knee tucks and push ups. But what went best for me was the ab work that day. We had abs with scissor kicks and crossovers. Normally those are really difficult for me because of my hips. But I was able to do them without modifications and I could really feel my abs working!

Friday was another epic day for me and I surprised myself again. We had a 23 minute challenge and I didn’t focus on distance but endurance. The idea of the challenge was to run for .25 miles and then recover with walking for a minute. And we repeated that as many times as we could. Obviously, the faster you run the more times you could repeat it. But for me, I wanted to prove to myself that I could run .25 miles over and over again. This was a test for me to see what I could really do with intervals because I am planning for my next 5K. So I ran every time I did the .25 miles at 4.5 mph which is becoming a very comfortable pace for me. I did increase my speed a bit for the end to see how far I could go, but I like that I found a good speed for me. And I’m so happy that I was able to keep up my running every time and I didn’t feel too tired during it. This wasn’t my best distance, but like I said that isn’t what I’m focusing on right now. I’m really proud of myself and I feel more confident than ever that I can have an awesome 5K in April.

After that long run, I was tired but I was ready to get to the floor block. It was a long floor block so we didn’t get much of a break in things. We had rowing between 100-200 meters, squats, lunges, burpees, froggers, palms to elbows (but I did plank shoulder taps instead), and pull ups. My form wasn’t great on the floor, but it wasn’t too bad compared to other days when I was tired.

Saturday’s workout was another recovery workout for me. It was a strength day and I made the decision to walk the entire time on the treadmill again. I needed the break and it was nice again to mix things up. The inclines were pretty intense and a lot of times I was at 12 or 15% incline which I don’t do that often. I can’t remember the last time I did 15% incline. Fortunately, since that workout was a 3G day I only had to do 2 rounds on the treadmill.

For the rower segment, the first time we had to see how fast we could do 300 meters and then recover for 20 seconds before doing it again. I think I got 3 or 4 attempts at the row before we switched and I was pretty consistent with the time. The second time on the rower, we had a challenge I hadn’t done before. We were supposed to count how many times we pulled the rower handle and to try to get 300 meters in 30 pulls or less. My first attempt wasn’t that close but I was determined to make it happen. I took super long pulls and leaned really far back to make it as long as possible. It was weird to have my form like that, but it paid off because both of my next attempts made it to 300 meters in under 30 pulls.

And for my 2 floor segments, there was quite a bit of arms work. We had rows in plank and standing up plus shoulder presses. We also had ab work with plank jack push ups and crunches. I like 3G workouts since we change between sections a lot, but it also means that I feel really tired and sometimes the workout feels a bit long. But this time the fun in changing it up was more than the tiredness I felt.

Even though I did 2 days of walking out of my 4 workouts, this is another success week of workouts in my mind!

Building Up Endurance (or Shocking Myself)

This week of workouts started out pretty normally, but it ended with an accomplishment that shocked me so much that I’m still not totally believing it. But I know that the accomplishment was all because of the hard work that I’ve been doing over the past few months.

My Monday workout was an endurance day where we didn’t switch between blocks. There were 3 blocks on the treadmill and each block started with a 3 minute push pace. I know I can run for 3 minutes, but since I didn’t want to overdo things I did my 1 minute intervals for all of them. I’m not sure why I’m so scared to run for 3 minutes at a time when I have done it before, but I’m sure it has to do with the lack of confidence I have in myself while running. I’ve been running since the end of May last year, but I still don’t feel like a runner. I’m hoping that I can build confidence running soon, but I know I also have to be patient with myself. With the rest of those 3 treadmill blocks, I did 1 minute intervals for the 2 minute push paces and I ran all of the all out paces.

On the floor for that workout, I did some squats with arm rows using 15 pounds (which is pretty heavy for me). I also did some plank work on my toes which is still a newish thing for me. My right knee has been bugging me so being on my toes is a necessity. But it’s not easy to do plank work on your toes after doing them on my knees for so long. I also used 20 pounds weights for my standing tricep work (again, heavy weights for me). And we had 300 meter sprint rows to end the workout. I did those in 1:07 and 1:04 which isn’t too bad for me considering this was at the end of the workout.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and we didn’t switch between blocks. It was technically a run/row, but it wasn’t a run/row in a traditional sense. We had 5 different blocks that were guided by the coach and we transitioned between the treadmill and the rower for each one (3 run blocks and 2 row blocks). All of the run segments were short and I ran for all the push and all out paces. I was still walking during my base, but now looking back at it I might have been able to run the entire time. And for the rower, we had 100, 150, and 200 meter sprints with jump squats between each sprint.

On the floor, we didn’t really focus on one specific area and did more of an all over workout. We had arms, legs, squats, abs, and the ab roller. I tried to do heavier weights for most of the work but I wasn’t able to lift the heavier ones like I had the day before. And we ended the floor work with a 3 minute row (while the cardio side was in their last treadmill block). Also, on Wednesday’s workout I had a friend in class with me for her first class! It’s been a while since I had a friend with me who had never been to Orangetheory before, and I was trying to help her out with following the pattern of class. It wasn’t the easiest first class to go to, but she did amazing!

Friday’s workout was an endurance day. And this was the workout that shocked the hell out of me! We didn’t switch between blocks because it was a distance challenge day. It was a 10.5 minute challenge which we had done about a month ago. The month before, I pretty much did 1 minute intervals and I think I did amazing with my distance. But instead of focusing on distance like I normally do (and try to beat my previous distance), I decided to see how long I could run for.

Since I started running back in May last year, I’ve been trying to build up my running endurance. But I’ve been struggling with it lately and I’ve been scared that I hit a wall in my progress. I haven’t really run for more than 3.5 minutes before (basically when I run for .25 miles), so this was a perfect chance to test things. Going into the challenge, I thought maybe I could run for 5 minutes and then take a little walking break before running again. But I also am stubborn as can be and I thought that maybe I could run for the entire thing.

Despite this being 3 times longer than the longest time I’ve ever run, I wasn’t going to hold back in this attempt. I knew that I’d have a second 10.5 minute distance challenge after this one, but I focused on the first one when I was the most prepared and least tired. And there were plenty of times during those 10.5 minutes that I thought that maybe I should stop and go back to my intervals. But all of that talk was mental and not physical. I was surprised that my body wasn’t hurting more, but I was also keeping my speed pretty slow at 4.5mph. And in the end, I ran for 10.5 minutes without taking a walking break, jumping the rails, or stopping in any way.

Even typing that I ran for that entire time, I still can’t believe that I did it. I thought that I was so stuck at running for 3 minutes or under, but all that talk was in my head and I really was able to overcome that and prove to myself that I could do it. This wasn’t my furthest distance and it is tough to be ok with that since I am competitive with myself. But focusing on endurance is different from speed and it’s time for me to do endurance.

In the second attempt, I tried to run for the entire 10.5 minutes again but I was pretty tired. I had to take a couple of breaks where I jumped the rails to catch my breath or pop my hip. And because I’m stubborn and competitive for the last 30 seconds of the second attempt I increased the speed a lot just so I could beat my original distance.

After doing those runs, I was pretty tired but also so energized by the fact that I did something that I didn’t believe I could do. I was on cloud nine during the floor and didn’t focus too much and didn’t get as many rounds done as I would have liked. We focused a lot on arms so I was using slightly lighter weights. In the second floor block, we had a 500 meter row (which I did in 2:12 and I’m very happy about that) and ab work. But to me, the highlight of that workout was the running.

Now that I know I have much more endurance than I knew, I’m thinking hard about how I want to do my cardio in the workouts now. I know I probably can’t run for the entire cardio time (which can be up to 30 minutes), but maybe I can start with running for my base pace and then going down to walking when I need to. During the next mile challenge, I don’t want to go for a PR anymore but instead want to see if I can run a mile without walking. I haven’t done that since I was a kid.

I didn’t consider myself a runner when I started this past week of workouts, but I have to say that by the end of the week I think I finally am starting to think of myself as a runner and someone who can just be a runner (instead of a run/walker) one day. I don’t know if I will ever run an entire 5K race, but then again a week ago I didn’t think I could run for .5 miles and I did that on Friday. This past week has given me a lot to think about and reevaluate and I am hopeful that my progress will continue, just not in the way I imagined it would.

Lots Of Running and Rowing (or Proof Of My Progress)

For a while, I was making such great progress in my workouts. But I think from the past few weekly updates it’s becoming clear that I’ve been getting a bit stuck. I’ve been doing little improvements here and there, but in general I’m at the same level that I was a few months back. I’m not using heavier weights, I’m rowing at about the same wattage as I was before, and my running is still at the same speeds and lengths of time. I know I need to work on this, but it’s been tough. So this past week of workouts, I did my best with trying to see where I could make improvements.

Monday’s class was a strength focus but it was a run/row day. The run segments were .3 miles on a flat incline and .15 miles at 7-3% incline. For the flat incline part, I ran for 90 seconds and then walked for a minute and repeated that until I got to .25 miles (power walkers do half the distance so since I run/walk I try to split the difference). I was tempted to see if I could run .3 miles without stopping, but I was scared to test myself. And for the incline runs, I ran for 45 seconds and walked for a minute until I got to .15 miles (since that was a shorter distance I didn’t split the difference between runners and walkers). It wasn’t easy to run on an incline, but I was grateful I challenged myself to do it. For the rowing, we had 150 and 300 meter rows and those were nice quick sprints for me.

On the floor, we had really short blocks and we focused on upper body and abs mainly. I did have some small improvements in my floor work including doing my plank work on my toes instead of my knees. I also used some of the heavier weights for my deadlifts and rows. For my ab work, I did have to use more modifications than I would like but I was still doing the work and I felt it in my core later that day and the next morning!

Wednesday was an interesting day. We started with a 10 minute block on the treadmill and a 10 minute block on the floor. On the treadmill, we had pretty long push paces (90 seconds to 2 minutes) followed by 1 minute at base pace. I did all the pushes as a run and walked during the base. On the floor, we had chest presses, squats and sit-ups. Then we came together to do the rest of the class as a partner workout.

This was a rowing partner workout. The person on the rower would row for distance while the other person did floor and treadmill work. On the floor we had jumping jacks with a medicine ball, push ups, and plank leg lifts. Then the floor person would go onto the treadmill to run. We had .2, .15. and .1 miles to do on the treadmill and I decided to run for the entire time. The .2 miles part was tough, but running the entire thing was a nice boost to my ego since I thought I’d struggle more with it. After the run, we would tag out the rowing person so they could do the floor and treadmill work.

The time on the rower averaged about 3-5 minutes and it wasn’t easy to row after  doing the running. But there were goals set for how much distance we could do as a team during the workout so I rowed pretty hard. Each time on the rower, I was pretty close to 900 meters. In the 23 minutes that we worked, we each did the treadmill and rower 3 times (so 6 total switches) and between me and my partner we got 5130 meters on the rower. That’s not too bad considering how much other work we were doing in the workout!

Friday was a strength day and for some reason I was having a pretty bad day with my hips. I was hurting really badly and I couldn’t make the pain go away. I still went to the workout, but I knew it wouldn’t be a really great one for me. We didn’t switch between blocks and we started with a 2 minute push pace on a flat road. I did run for that, but that was the only running that I did. Since it was a strength day, which means hills, I didn’t mind too much that I was walking. I did my inclines between 6-10% and sometimes I increased my speed a little bit as well. It wasn’t my best workout, but I tried to take it as a recovery day and be ok with that.

When I switched to the floor, we focused a lot on arm and chest work. It was fine with me until for some reason my right shoulder was starting to hurt (I think I might have slept on it funny). Once I started to hurt, I used some lighter weights but kept going. And we did have 2 rows that were 250 meters each. The first time I did it in 1:01.2 and the second time I did it in 55.5 which made me pretty happy. It’s nice when even during a tough workout I have something I can be proud of.

I also did a Saturday workout. I debated cancelling it and for a while I was only on the waitlist which seemed like an easy way to not go. But I just told myself that I needed to do it and it ended up being the perfect workout to end my week on when I was struggling with progress. This workout was a run/row but it was not the standard format. This time, we had running with weights that we did 3 times and then we moved to rowing with weights 3 times. For the running, we had to do .25 miles each time. I’ve run .25 miles before, but it was a struggle and I wanted to see what would happen this time. It wasn’t easy to run the entire thing, but I did it. And I did it all 3 times! I did have a break between each .25 miles when I had to do weights, but technically I ran .75 miles in that workout! The rowing was 150 meters so that was fast and the weight work that we had to do between everything were shoulder and arm focused. But the sense of accomplishment I had each time I did my run made everything amazing in that workout.

On the floor, we had a lot of squats and ab work. I was using lower weights than I know I could have used but I also was very tired after doing my running. I was doing plank work on my toes again (which is pretty tough with my hips not being as great as they could be) and I was doing speed skater lunges without having to put my toe down which has been something that I’ve been working toward for a while. It seemed like this workout, which I questioned if I wanted to do, ended up being the workout that proved to me that even when it doesn’t feel like I’m getting stronger I really am.

I keep trying to tell myself that progress is slow and that I have to be patient with myself. And as long as I keep going that I will see progress in the long run. But it’s tough when you feel like you are stuck in a plateau to convince yourself that you are doing the right thing. So having a positive workout week like I did this past week helps to keep me motivated and feeling like I am on the right path.

Ending My Challenge Early (or I Guess I Made A Mistake)

I just posted about how I was doing the new weight loss challenge at Orangetheory. And as of yesterday, I’m not doing the challenge any more. It’s due to a mistake that I made. I thought I had done everything that I needed to do for the challenge. I signed up and filled out the forms, paid the entry fee, and weighed in at the kick off party. I assumed that the weigh in at the party was enough since it did measure our weight and fat percentage, but I missed the instructions that I still need to do an official weigh in when Nutrishop was at Orangetheory or to go to Nutrishop myself.

I guess I wasn’t paying attention because I never did the second weigh in. I thought I was good to go and spent the past week and a half working hard in my workouts and trying to work on my food as much as I could. And then I got a text from the manager at Orangetheory asking if I weighed in with Nurtrishop because they weren’t able to locate the body scan I did with them. I could have gone to do it on my own, but by the time I would have had time to go it would already be 2 weeks into the challenge. And since it’s a 6 week challenge, I don’t feel like I want to pay to compete for only 4 weeks. Even though it isn’t about the money to enter (it’s only $25) or winning a prize, it just doesn’t feel right to do it anymore.

It’s weird to give up on a challenge that I started. That’s not who I am. But in this case, I would feel shorted if I did it. If I was close to placing in the top 3, I would be mad because I would think that if I had the full 6 weeks that I could have done it. I know how frustrated I would be with not doing the full challenge, and I think for me it will be easier to give up part way through instead of only doing 2/3rds of the challenge.

Giving up on the weight loss challenge isn’t really going to change much for me. I’m still on my own journey to lose weight and I am just as motivated not doing the challenge as I am doing the challenge since I have the goal of losing weight by my surgery date. That is the biggest motivation that I can have. I know that I need to do this to make my recovery from surgery easier. And the easier my recovery is, the quicker I can get back to life (and my workouts) after surgery. So that is a huge motivator for me. I just like doing fun challenges and since this one had some good prizes I was excited to see if I’d win.

Of course, I’m still going to do the required number of workouts that the weight loss challenge had (it was only 3 per week which is my normal). I’m going to track things the same way I did before (I might even still use the tracking chart on the window of the studio if they let me), and I will continue to support my friends who are in the challenge right now. Nothing is really changing outside of me not tracking my weight and fat loss through the studio and that I can’t win any prizes.

It’s a new feeling to give up on this challenge since I don’t usually let myself do that, but at the same time I almost feel a sense of relief. I can focus on my personal goals and weight loss patterns instead of trying to do what it takes to try to win. And yes, I know that I said that I wasn’t going to try to work hard to win this time, but that wasn’t happening. I wanted to see if I could win again and while I wasn’t doing anything crazy to do it, it was becoming a focus. Now, that competitiveness with others is gone and I can just be competitive with myself.

When the challenge ends, I’m going to weigh myself in at home and see if I hit my personal goal for the challenge. It won’t be easy (I’ve had a couple of not-so-great food days lately), but it will be a nice sense of accomplishment if I can do it without the challenge being my focus.

Yoga With The Balanced Blonde (or A Real Yoga Class)

I’ve already written about my workouts last week, but technically there was one that I skipped even though it happened at Orangetheory. For a while, my Orangetheory location has been doing yoga and wine nights on Friday nights. I never can make those because I have to be up early on Saturdays for work and the timing just doesn’t work out. So when they asked if any of us would be interested in a yoga class on a Sunday, I told them that it would be amazing if they could do that! So this past Sunday, I went over to Orangetheory without my heart rate monitor or workout gloves, but with my yoga mat.

The class was being taught by Jordan Younger who blogs at The Balanced Blonde and who I’ve gotten to know from being in Orangetheory classes together. She’s been working really hard at getting her yoga teacher certification and I was really excited to take a class with her! Plus, since she’s been so busy with her yoga training lately I haven’t had a chance to see her at a workout in a while.

I felt like I had gotten to the class early, but I ended up being the last person to arrive! I set up my yoga mat at the back of the room, but the room was small enough that it was fine. Plus, since I have to do a lot of modifications I prefer to be in the back. That way, my modifications aren’t too distracting to anyone else around me.

I’ve been doing yoga at home for a while now. This has pretty much been done exclusively on my iPad and most of the time I’m doing shorter classes. I usually do ones that are 10-15 minutes and that is the perfect length for me. But this class was going to be an hour which I knew would be a challenge. And it has been several years since I had taken a yoga class that was actually a class. So being in a real class is a challenge too.

I’m happy that this class went so much better than the last in person class that I took. A lot of the moves that we did are things that I’m used to and comfortable with from doing the iPad yoga. I was excited to know what Jordan was talking about just by the name of the pose and not stressing out to watch what everyone else is doing around me. And for the first half or so of class, I didn’t need any modifications which was unexpected.

But during the second half, my hips were ready to be done. There were a few moves that I knew my body would not want to do and I didn’t push myself too hard because I knew that pushing through this time would not be the best thing for me. So I used the modifications that I’m used to doing from yoga at home and I took little breaks when I needed to stretch out my hips.

Overall, the class was a bit more advanced than I’m used to, but not so that it was overwhelming or that I felt I wasn’t ready to take the class. I had to push myself from time to time, but it also felt familiar. I think this was the first time I felt comfortable being in class and not feeling like I am taking the wrong level or at the wrong studio. It was a nice feeling and I’m glad that I’ve learned that yoga isn’t something that intimidates me the way it used to.

Taking a yoga class for an hour is a bit too long for me, but I also think that it’s time for me to test myself with longer classes at home (and maybe also trying some classes at studios). I think for me right now, classes that are 30-45 minutes would be perfect to push me more than I’m doing with the 15 minute classes I’m doing now but also are short enough not to stress my hips.

After the class was done, there were some amazing salads from Sweetgreen in the lobby. I’ve been wanting to try their salads for a while since all of my Orangetheory friends rave about them (they don’t have a location in my neighborhood and I usually don’t stick around Brentwood after my workout is done). They had a bunch of different options so I know I’ll have to go there sometime to try the rest, but the guacamole greens salad I grabbed was so good!

I’ve got a lot of thinking to do about how I want to continue doing yoga but I know it will continue to be something I do for a while. I’ve noticed a lot of difference in my flexibility and I feel stronger when I’m working out at Orangetheory. I also feel calmer on days that I do yoga and feel like I can fall asleep easier. It’s been such a great addition to my life and I know I want to continue doing it. But I also know that I’ve been pretty set in my ways for a while and this was just the boost I needed to reevaluate and look to challenge myself.

Getting Back To Normal Workouts (or Balancing Hard Work And Taking It Easy)

After Peak Performance Week, I was pretty tired from all the hard work. I knew I’d still be doing my 3 workouts for the week, but I didn’t feel like I needed to push myself as hard as I had the week before. Having a recovery day (or a recovery week) is a totally normal thing to do. But I usually am so competitive with myself that I don’t want to do that. But this week, I knew that I needed to. So I tried to find a good balance between working really hard and taking the recovery I needed.

Monday was a power day that didn’t switch between blocks. But even though we didn’t switch between blocks it almost flew like we did because the first 3 blocks were only 4 minutes each. For those short blocks, I was able to run all the pushes that were 2 minutes or under and all of the all out paces. We had a 3 minute push pace followed by a 1 minute all out. I did run for 2 minutes and then took a quick 1 minute walk break before running my all out. The last block on the treadmill was 7 minutes which was a mix of push and all out paces. I tried to follow the paces perfectly (only walking during walking or base paces). And by doing that, I ended up doing 3 minutes of running at the end which felt pretty good for me!

The floor work that day was a similar pattern with 3 short blocks and 1 long one. Each of the short blocks was 2 different things we had to do and I was able to get through 2 rounds most of the time. And for the longer block, we mainly did squats followed by rowing. I didn’t take it too easy while on the floor since the blocks were so short. I was using 20 pound weights for my squats and 25 pounds for the deadlifts we had to do. Even in my recovery weeks, I’m finding that sometimes I can use heavier weights (especially doing lower body work), so I’m glad I still did that.

Wednesday was an endurance day, but fortunately we did switch between blocks. For the treadmill blocks, on the first one I ran for 2 minutes, walked for 1, and ran for 2 again. I was really happy to see that I felt fine doing that but then after that first block my body decided that it was done. I was feeling pretty light-headed (I didn’t have the best food day before my workout) and was dealing with a bit of pain all over. So for all the other blocks, I ended up walking even during the all out paces. I ended up keeping my speeds and inclines lower than I normally do on a walking day because of all the issues I was having. But I was trying to keep focusing on remembering that this was now a recovery day and that was ok.

On the floor, I used some medium to heavy weights when we had our squat work. In the last floor block, we also had a 400 meter row which I did get done in under 2 minutes. But the light-headedness and pain were affecting me on the floor too and I was taking quite a few breaks. I thought that the toughness of the workout was just because of my personal issues, but after class everyone else seemed to agree that for some reason it was an exceptionally hard class. That did make me feel a bit better about all the struggles I was having in class.

Friday’s class was a power day without switching. I was still dealing with a bit of pain (all the rain we’ve been getting in LA makes my hips hurt so much), but fortunately my workout didn’t suffer too much from the pain. All of the blocks we had were 5 minutes or under and that was helpful. We had a lot of all out paces (I think it might have been 8 or 9 of them, but I lost count). We had 1 minute pushes to all outs, 90 second pushes to all outs, and 2 minute pushes to all outs. And I managed to run all of it. I did walk during the base paces and walking recoveries, but it felt really good to run as much as I did. I still want to push my running more, and I feel like this workout was a good way to do it.

The floor was similar with the short blocks. We had a lot of squat work, a lot of ab work with the ab roller, and I even attempted doing knee tucks on the ab roller on my toes instead of my knees for the first time (that only lasted for 2 knee tucks, but it was the first time I ever did that!). But one of the floor blocks was all rowing for 5 minutes. We had base, push, and all out paces on the rower; but basically it was rowing constantly for 5 minutes. I know I could have done better than I did, but I think I didn’t do too shabby.

For this being a bit of a recovery week and a bit of a challenge week, I think I found a great mix. I listened to my body when I needed to and adjusted when necessary instead of trying to overcome the issues. Hopefully this will be a pattern that I’ll be able to continue doing for a long time!

Weight Loss Challenge Time (or Not Worrying About Winning)

This week, a new weight loss challenge started at Orangetheory. I’ve done the challenge a couple of times before and it’s always been a pretty fun time for me. I’ve done well with it in the past and have even placed in the challenge. This time, the winner gets a cash prize and second and third place get free membership months. And even though I could totally use the cash, I’m not doing anything too extreme to try to win.

I am working on losing weight because of my upcoming surgery and hopefully whatever weight I lose from working on that will help me place. But to do anything that cannot be managed after the 6 weeks of the challenge ends isn’t something I’m interested in. I have about 3 months until my surgery and whatever weight loss plan I use for the next 6 weeks should be what I can do for the 3 months.

But having the weight loss challenge is extra motivation for me. I’m competitive and would love to place in any spot for the top 3. I like having a requirement to how many workouts I need to do (it’s only 3 per week so it’s what I’m used to) and having other people in the challenge holding me accountable for my actions. Plus, it’s a fun way to be involved at Orangetheory and that’s something that I love.

There was a kick off party for the challenge this past weekend. It felt so weird to go to the studio in my normal clothes (a lot of people who work there have never seen me with my hair down since I wear it in a top knot for my workouts) and it was nice to see my workout friends when we weren’t busy on the treadmills. They had the scale to do the weigh in so I got that done pretty quickly. But they also had some vendors there that could help us in the challenge. One of them was Tender Greens, which is discounting food for challenge participants for the next 6 weeks (sadly, the location by my house isn’t doing the discount).

They also had a food delivery service with samples there, massage therapists doing chair massages (that was pretty awesome), and SaunaBar which is giving us all discounts on services for the next 6 weeks. I’m thinking I should check out SaunaBar because it seems cool and something that could be nice along with the hard work that I’ll be doing. Plus, it seems like it would be a nice treat to do as a reward that doesn’t involve food or other things that could be bad for me.

I spent a while at the kickoff party (I was procrastinating on getting work done at my house), but it was really nice to get to hang out with people who I don’t often get to see outside of workouts. It was a fun change of pace for me and I’m glad that I went to the party instead of just doing my weigh in after a workout like I normally do. And getting to see my workout coaches outside of workouts is fun too. I do get to socialize with them a bit during class, but it’s pretty limited. So getting to have the time to talk and just have fun was good.

While I’m not planning on doing anything extreme over the next 6 weeks, I do hope that I am able to lose weight at a regular pace and that it helps to get me down to the weight that I am hoping to be at by my surgery. I don’t have a specific diet plan that I’m following (restricting myself seems to lead to more issues down the line), but I’m trying to just live a regular healthy lifestyle and hopefully that will help bring the weight down. I know that there is still a chance that I will have binge episodes, but hopefully the balance between those and the healthy eating will still result in some weight loss.

And who knows? Maybe in 6 weeks whatever I have been able to do will be enough to win! This challenge is based on fat percentage loss and not weight, so even if the scale doesn’t go down I still could do well in the challenge. I almost would prefer it to be based on weight so I could have an idea of how I’m doing (my scale doesn’t do fat percentage), but it might be better for me not to worry about my progress in the challenge but only in my progress toward my personal goals.

Either way, I’m hoping the next 6 weeks go well for me and when the challenge is done that I can be excited with what happens!