Tag Archives: challenge

Another Weird Workout Week (or Dealing With A Different Type Of Nausea)

I wrote recently about having to go to the doctor and get on antibiotics for an infection. Doing that kind of messed with my workouts this past week. I thought I was going to have a week with nausea only at the beginning of the week, and it ended up being a week that was full of feeling off.

Monday’s workout was the last day of my mileage challenge and I knew based on how I was feeling that I would need to be on the bike for the workout. I was a little bit disappointed I wasn’t ending the challenge on the treadmill, but I already knew I passed the half marathon mark on the treadmills so I was excited to see what distance I could get for the month for the bike. It was a strength based workout, which means inclines on the treadmill, so I wasn’t too sad to miss inclines since they aren’t my favorite.

It was a 3 group workout so we were at each station for about 15 minutes. On the treadmill/bike, we had 2 blocks. Each block had a 2 minute hill and a 1 minute hill. I tried to add extra resistance to the bike for the hills, but I ended up mainly sticking with the resistance levels I use for my push or all out paces. I know I wasn’t working that hard (my lack of sweat was a sign of that) but I was doing what I could do considering how I was feeling. I tried to limit my breaks and managed to do better with that than expected, but I also know that I would have liked to have even fewer breaks.

I was on the rower next where we had one long block. It was decreasing rows starting at 500 meters and between each round of rowing we had shoulder work using the mini-bands. I wasn’t too worried about my rowing times so I just focused on my form. And the shoulder work wasn’t easy but it was a nice break from the rowing. I was able to get down to the 100 meter row before time was called and was pretty happy that I didn’t have to take any mid-row breaks. And I finished on the floor where we had 1 long block with rows with weights, strap tricep work, chest fly using weight, bicep curls with weights, sumo squats with weights, and sit-ups. I was a bit worried about how I would feel with everything, but it was awesome to not need any modifications and was able to use the heavier weights for almost all the weighted work.

I was hopeful going into Wednesday’s workout because on Tuesday I wasn’t feeling nauseous anymore, but then the antibiotics I took was starting to make me feel off. But even with that, I was determined to get back onto the treadmill for the workout. When I found out it was a strength day with inclines on the treadmill, I was a bit nervous about that. But I decided that I just needed to see what I could do. Fortunately we did switch between the blocks so I wasn’t on the treadmill for more than about 7 minute at a time.

On the treadmill, we had a 2 minute hill in each block. For the runners, the first minute was running at incline and the second minute was power walking at a very high incline. I tried to do a similar thing with walking at my normal speed for the first minute and then going to the very high incline but slowing down my speed for the second minute. I definitely had to take more breaks than I would have liked because of how I was feeling on the antibiotics. I also was feeling really out of breath which might have been due to not being on the treadmill for a while or the antibiotics. I’m not totally sure which one it was but it didn’t really matter to me. I just knew that when I was feeling really off that I needed to take a break and get some water.

When we were on the floor, every block started with a 300 meter row. I really wasn’t paying too much attention to my row times but I do know that I got slower with each block. After the row, we had 2 exercises each block. We had goblet squats, hammer curls, front squats, reverse flys, single leg squats using the straps, and sit-ups. I usually don’t do single leg squats but decided since the first round was doing 6 on each side I could try them. It took me forever to do them, but I managed to get it done! I know my form wasn’t the best, but just being able to do single leg squats when I was so sure I couldn’t do them really helped to make me feel better when I was looking for victories in the workout.

After feeling off on Wednesday, I was hopeful that things might be better on Friday. Things really weren’t, but the workout was something that ended up being easier on my body. It was a run/row workout but we switched every 4.5 minutes so I was never doing treadmill work for very long.

The idea of the run/row was that it was a 400 meter row and a .25 mile run (.13 mile walk for me). Some blocks would start with the row and some blocks would start with the run. The idea was to get back to whatever thing you started on before time was called for the block. So if you started with the row, the goal was to do the row, do the run, and get back to the rower. For all of the blocks, I never made it back to what I started on. I wasn’t that surprised that I couldn’t do that since my rowing was pretty slow. I was doing ok on the treadmill considering how I was feeling but that was because I was usually only on it for a few minutes at a time.

And on the floor we had something interesting. We had 5 moves for each block and they were always the same. We had lateral lunges with weights, ground to press with weights, pull-ups on the straps, shoulder presses, and crunches. Everything was timed so we did 45 seconds of each exercise except the crunches which was 30 seconds. Even though they were the same 5 things each block, they were done in a different order each time. We always ended with crunches, but the other 4 moves switched around from block to block. Since things switched up each block, it never felt repetitive. But I was feeling a bit sore in a good way after the workout was done.

And on Saturday, I finally was starting to feel almost totally better. I still was dealing with a bit of nausea, but it was so little compared to how the previous few weeks were that I wasn’t going to let it get me down too much. And I was able to prove it to myself in the workout.

The treadmill portion had 3 blocks but the first 2 were the same. It was supposed to be a 5.5 minute run for distance with intervals alternating push pace and base pace. But since as a walker that just means adjusting the incline, I decided to go for the entire 5.5 minutes at my push incline of 6%. I can’t remember the last time I was at that incline for that long, but I’m so glad that I push myself to do it. I did have to take a few breaks to let the nausea pass and drink some water, but it was much better than I expected to do. And for the last block, it was 5 all out pace intervals with 3 of them being a minute, 1 being 45 seconds, and the last one being 30 seconds. I was pretty happy with how I did in the treadmill blocks, especially since it was for about 25 minutes when you add it all up.

On the floor, we had 1 long block with rowing and 7 different exercises. It was a bit of a complicated format to try to explain on here, but basically we had 3 mini-blocks within the big block. Each mini block started with a 250 meter row and plank jacks. Then we had 5 rounds of 5 reps of 2 different exercises. The exercises included dumbbell swings, burpees, chest presses with weights, low rows with weights, shoulder presses with weights, and pop jacks. With having to do 5 rounds of 5 reps, I knew we had 25 reps in the mini block. I didn’t want to have to switch every 5 reps so I split it into 2 rounds doing 15 in one round and 10 in another. I know I probably should have split it up into the rounds of 5, but I just didn’t want to have to keep switching because I didn’t want to have to think. But even with my modification I know I still had an amazing workout!

Considering what I had to deal with this past week of workouts, I’m pretty happy with how things turned out. I’m hoping this week will go better because I finally finished my antibiotics yesterday and I shouldn’t be dealing with hormonal nausea for another week or so. And I’m even more motivated to keep pushing myself because I am trying to keep doing my mileage challenge and seeing how many miles I can get done in May!

Mileage And Motivation (or Another New Challenge)

Yet again, the beginning of a month bring the end of one monthly challenge and the beginning of another. I have struggled in the past with coming up with some ideas for these challenges, but fortunately I found a good list online that I’ve been using for some inspiration, So hopefully my challenges keep being interesting (at least to me).

In April, my monthly challenge was doing a version of what Orangetheory was doing as a challenge. Orangetheory was doing a marathon challenge where they had different distances for what you should strive for based on if you are a power walker, running, biker, or strider. I knew I couldn’t really do the challenge officially since I would be using both the treadmill and bike, but I decided to track my mileage on my own.

For some classes, it was super easy to track. If we were on the treadmill (or bike) for half the class and then switched, I could just take one photo at the end of the cardio time and when I got home I put it in my planner. But if we were bouncing around a lot of had a run/row, things were a bit more complicated. There were plenty of times that I would come home and have 7 or 8 photos of distances that I would need to add up to figure out how much I did. I was worried that there may be times I would forget to take a photo, but that never happened. It was probably because I was too terrified to forget so every time I went to a workout I kept saying to myself over and over again “don’t forget to track the mileage”.

I felt pretty confident that even with having to switch between the treadmill and the bike that I could do the half marathon challenge on the treadmill. Over the month, I ended up doing 15.929 miles in the workouts I had using the treadmill. I was happy that I went beyond the half marathon and didn’t really have a goal to hit once I got past that. And on the bike, I did 30.1 miles. The bike challenge was to do 105 miles, but that was based on the idea of only using the bike during the month. Out of the 17 workouts I did last month, I did 4.5 workouts on the bike (the half one was when I did a warmup and the start of one block on the treadmill before switching to the bike for the rest of the workout). Considering how few workouts were on the bike, I was pretty happy with the distance I did!

Overall in April, I did 46.029 miles in my workouts. Since this was the first time I tracked mileage in workouts, I don’t have anything to judge this against. But I am thinking about maybe making this a regular thing so I can see how one month compares to another. I’m not totally sure that I’ll keep this up, but it’s an idea I’ve been playing with and I’m going to see how things work out for me.

After a good physical monthly challenge, I wanted to do another mental one for May. While I’m not very new-agey with many things, I do have affirmations I read every day. I mainly use an affirmation app that gives me a new affirmation each day and I like having that as a focus for the day. It’s good motivation for me especially when it’s exactly what I need to hear that day. I’ve been using this app for years and it works for me, but I want to take things a bit further this month.

I’m not sure if I’m considering these more affirmations or maybe they are intentions for the day, but my challenge is to write down what I want to focus on each morning. I want it to be my motivation for what I want to do and what I want my attitude to be about. It may be that I write down that I want to focus more, or to organize my space, or just to relax. I’m a bit open-ended with how this will be because I’m not exactly sure what will resonant the most with me. But I want to do this each morning to set some sort of focus before I get too distracted with the craziness of the day.

I’m planning on using the weekly pages in my planner to write these in. I currently use the evening section of the weekly page to write my gratitude list each evening, so I feel like it will be nice bookends for my day to write my intention/affirmation in the morning section and my gratitude list in the evening section.

I’m excited to have another challenge that should help me focus and remain positive. I’ve had a few things challenge me lately that have brought down my mood. And while I’m not expecting to be positive all the time, it will be nice to have something that at least puts a little bit of my focus on something positive in the morning while I get ready for my day.

A Badass Workout Week (or Better Than Expected)

This past week of workouts had the potential to not be as great as I would like. Because I know when I typically will be nauseous, I was worried that 2 of my workouts would be affected by that since going by a typical schedule I should have started to feel nauseous mid-week. But my body decided to go easy on me (maybe my body was also celebrating my Medical Miracle Anniversary too!) and I had a much better workout week that I was expecting!

Monday’s workout was a 3 group switch workout. It’s funny how normally I love these types of workouts but when I’m trying to get a lot of treadmill mileage for my challenge they are my least favorites. But I was just happy to have a workout that I was excited about even if it meant I wouldn’t be spending a lot of time on the treadmill. Essentially, we had 3 rounds around the room and each block was 4 minutes each, but we also had 1 round that was a little bit different.

For the treadmill, the first and last round was a 4 minute distance challenge. I knew I couldn’t run this even though I really wanted to, so the first time I did it I just did my normal speed with my push pace incline. But when I got back to the treadmill for the last time, I really wanted to do a little bit better so I increased my speed by .1 for the first 3 minutes and then bumped it up again for the last minute. Power walking that fast was a bit tough and I don’t think I could do it for a longer block, but it did make me think that maybe I could work on testing my walking speeds a bit more. And on the rower, the first and last round were 4 minute distance rows. I got over 800 meters both times and did better when I did it the second time which is always something that makes me happy.

But for the second round around the room, the treadmill and row was almost more of like a run/row format. The block was split into 2 and we had 90 seconds on each side. I did it twice since we had one run/row when I started on the treadmill and another run/row when I started on the rower. This was when I really started to test my speed on the treadmill for power walking. I kept my incline at my base pace incline but worked on increasing the speed. I got it up to .3 faster than I normally walk but that was almost too fast for me. I managed to keep it up for the 90 seconds I had to do it, but I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t do much longer than that.

And on the floor, each of the 3 blocks started with lunges and then we had 2 different exercises to finish out the 4 minutes. The first block was full thrusters with weights and high rows with the straps. The second block was squat low rows with weights and bicep curls on the straps. And the last block was pull ups with the straps and seated torso rotations. I was using lighter weights than I have in the past because I was getting really tired on the floor. I worked really hard on the treadmill and rower and I know my floor work suffered a bit because of that. I also was using the floor time as almost a bit of a rest time since we were going so much with very little rest time between rotations. I know the idea is to keep working because when you work through you build up endurance. But I’ve also learned from all my coaches that it’s so important to listen to your body and my body was saying I needed to take things a bit easy on the floor.

Wednesday’s workout was a strength day which meant inclines on the treadmill. I was a bit worried about the workout because I really didn’t sleep the night before. I tried to sleep, but even though I was in bed for 7 hours I only got about 90 minutes of sleep. That’s not the best way to sleep before a morning workout but I was determined to see what I could do. We had 3 blocks on the treadmill and they all followed the same pattern: 90 second push pace at an incline, 45 second base pace at no incline, repeat, and then end with 90 second push pace at incline followed by 30 second all out pace.

The first block I did the inclines at 8%, the second block I did at 7%, and the last block I did at 6%. Those inclines were a bit lower than power walkers were supposed to do, but they were pretty good for me. And with the final push to all out pace, I just kept my incline the same so I basically ended each block with a 2 minute push pace. The first block at 8% was really tough for me because that is usually the incline I use for all out paces and those aren’t more than a minute. So to do it for 90 seconds and 2 minutes was not easy. I did have to take some breaks during the inclines, but I did much better than I expected. I kept my normal speed for all 3 blocks and got a decent amount of distance on the treadmill by the time we switched to the floor.

The floor also had 3 blocks. Each of the blocks had a 300 meter row if you got done with the floor work, but I never made it to the rower. The first block used the mini-bands for 2 exercises. I’m used to using the bands on my legs, but this time we used them on our arms. We had walkouts with the bands which made the walkouts so tough! My shoulders and arms were really feeling it but it was good because walk outs are typically pretty easy for me. We also had lunges with arm rotations with the bands on our arms. Again, that made me feel it in my shoulders so much. The second block was bench burpees and lateral lunges. And the last block was lunges and crunches. For the weighted work I used my normal weights, but I also added a dumbbell to my crunches which isn’t something I always do. It definitely made them harder to do, but I think I needed to push myself a bit when I know that crunches can be pretty easy for me.

Friday’s workout was on my Medical Miracle anniversary, so I was excited to work out. Marking 1 year since not needing surgery was a big deal and I was happy to celebrate it by sweating hard! This workout was endurance, strength, and power based and I started on the treadmill.

We had 5 blocks and they all were themed to one type of workout. When we had power blocks, they were short and either short push to all out paces or just an all out pace. For the endurance block, we had a longer push pace, a base pace, a shorter push pace, a base pace, and an all out pace. And with the strength block, we had incline work with the inclines going up every minute. For most of the blocks, I did my usual inclines and speed. For the strength block, I wasn’t able to get the inclines up as high as I should have but I still tried to increase my incline each minute. I was having some minor nausea issues that morning so I did need to take some breaks to let that pass, but it wasn’t that bad compared to what I usually experience.

The floor was also 5 blocks and it was very focused on core work and lunges. We had a block with ab dolly knee tucks and ab dolly roll outs. A block with clean to presses with weights, lunges with shoulder presses, and then rowing for distance until time was called on the block. Another block with ab dolly knee tucks and ab dolly roll outs. A block with lunges to shoulder presses, bicycle curls, and rowing for distance until time was called. And we ended with a block of ab dolly knee tucks. I usually love ab dolly work, but it was a bit tough with the nausea. I just worked on taking breaks and getting upright when I needed to and was able to get through it pretty easily.

Saturday’s workout was a signature workout for Orangetheory. This was the Orange Inferno and it was a workout I had done before so I wasn’t too stressed about it. My main fear was that I was going to be super nauseous during the workout, but before going in I was still feeling pretty decent so I was optimistic that I’d do ok in the workout.

The Inferno was during the cardio which was a run/row. We had rounds of .25 mile runs (.13 miles for me since I was walking) and 200 meter rows. The goal was to do 5-8 rounds in 23 minutes. Run/row days are some of my favorites, but I also knew that I’d have to work extra hard because a run/row meant I wouldn’t get as much time on the treadmill. I think I might have to keep doing mileage challenges because they really are motivating me on the treadmill! After my warmup, I had a goal in my head that I wanted to at least complete the 6th round on the treadmill. Because of the distance in my warmup, that would get me to 1 mile for the class which is a good goal to have.

The first time I was on the treadmill, I did my usual speed and at 6% incline which is what we were supposed to be at. But after that, I realized that I would have to kick things up a bit to get all the rounds I wanted to get in. The next 2 rounds I increased it by .1mph and it didn’t feel too bad. At the end I had to get to the max I can do as a walk in order to make sure I finished and that was pretty tough. I probably could increase my walking speed a bit, but I totally went too hard at the end. And with all the 200 meter rows, I had to look at those as almost my recovery time since I didn’t want to waste time doing nothing. But even considering those as recovery I always got them done in under a minute. Once we were done with the 23 minutes, I hit my goal and actually went a little bit further. I didn’t switch over to the rower at the end, but I did .15 miles in that last round which brought me to be just above a mile for the entire block.

Once I was on the floor, I was exhausted. My legs were so tired, but fortunately the floor work focused on upper body and arms. The first block had push ups, chest flys with weights, tricep work with weights, and crunches. The second block was plank low rows with weights, low rows on the straps, hammer curls, and sit ups. And the last block was a core blast with leg raises and sit ups. I didn’t go too heavy with the weights I was using because I was feeling tired and I knew my form was a bit sloppier than I would have liked. Heavy weights would have just made my form worse. But even with the lighter weights I still felt it and was ready to take a nap when class was done!

I’m so happy with how this past week of workouts went for me. I really was expecting it to be so much worse than what it ended up like. I am still worried about when my nausea may hit me, but I’m trying to stay optimistic that maybe this month I won’t have to deal with it or I’ll only have it for a week instead of 2 weeks. I’ve only got about 5 more workouts in my mileage challenge and I’ve already hit the first goal I had in mind. But I’m only halfway to the next goal I had and I don’t think that I’ll be able to make it to that one. But I’m definitely debating doing these mileage challenges on my own each month so I’m just looking at this as my starting point. I know that I can do better in the future!

A Fun And Unique Workout Week (or Not Letting Setbacks Set Me Back)

This past week of workouts could have been pretty bad for me, but I was able to stay positive and it ended up not being so bad. I really have learned how to manage my setbacks recently and not let them control my workouts. I do have to be careful with myself and not push myself too hard, but I also know that being super easy on myself isn’t always the best thing either.

Monday’s workout was a bit of a weird day. On Sunday evening, while I was getting out of the shower, I felt a very sharp tinge in my calf muscle. I pretty quickly recognized it as the start of a tear in the muscle (something that I’m sadly familiar with). I took it easy on Sunday night, but on Monday my calf was still feeling a bit tender so I knew I would need to be taking it easy in the workout. Fortunately, it was a 3 group workout so I knew that I wouldn’t be at any part of the room for too long.

I started on the rower where we had one long block. We started with a 600 meter row followed by squat front raises. Then the row went down 200 meters and we continued that pattern going down and back up until time was done. Because of how I bandaged my calf, I wasn’t able to row that hard. I knew my rowing times would be on the slower side and I didn’t concern myself too much about how long each row too. I was on the floor next where we had one long block that was split into 3 segments. The first segment was doing pull overs on the BOSU followed by hammer curls. The second segment was hop overs on the BOSU and then knee tucks on the BOSU. And the last segment was running man and then BOSU burpees. Because of my calf I had to do some modifications such as lunges instead of hop overs, skipping the knee tucks, and limiting how much I did with the burpees.

I ended the workout with cardio. Between the calf issue, knowing I’d be at Disneyland later, and doing cardio at the end; I knew I’d have to use the bike. There really wasn’t an option for me if I wanted to be able to do stuff after my workout. There were 2 blocks and they had decreasing push paces. I worked on getting the watts and cadence on the bike up during all the push paces even if I was using the same resistance. I think I did a pretty good job at doing that and I was feeling like I was working hard. I wished I could have used the treadmill since I have been tracking my miles in my workouts, but I am glad I went with the bike because it was a good break for my body while still allowing myself to feel a bit challenged.

Fortunately my calf was doing much better by Wednesday. Even though I did a lot of walking on Monday, I think the compression bandage along with resting on Tuesday helped so that I was feeling almost completely better by my Wednesday workout. And that workout ended up being a strength day with another benchmark challenge. This time, the benchmark was the 500 meter row.

I looked at my past 500 meter row challenges and knew that there was no way I would do a new PR. My best one was about 15 seconds faster than I thought I could do it this time. It was nice to have that pressure off of me since I knew my calf was almost better but not totally better. Instead, I just decided to set a new idea of what time I would like to be under. The goal for everyone in class was to be under 2:30 (my PR is about 1:45), so I decided that I wanted to be under 2:15. And I accomplished that with some time to spare so I was very happy with my 500 meter row attempt. Eventually I’ll get back to where I can PR again and it will be awesome when I can beat my best time. But I’m glad I just beat the mini-goal that I had set for myself.

The treadmill work was 2 blocks and I did go with the treadmill. The workout was a strength workout which means inclines, but I just kept my inclines to my normal ones I use for push and all out paces. The first block was decreasing push paces and the second block was increasing push paces. Considering how I was feeling on Monday, I was just glad that I wasn’t feeling really any pain in my calf. I occasionally had a little soreness, but I also wondered if that pain could be do to me always putting a little bit more on my left side since it is my right hip that hurts. I took breaks when I needed to, but it wasn’t anything worse than what I normally do.

The floor was one long block with 5 different exercises and a row. We had deadlifts, low rows on the straps, goblet lateral lunges, plank crunches, and bicycle crunches. For the deadlifts and lunges I went with heavier weights than I normally do. I figured it was a strength day and I should be working on going heavier. It was a bit tough for the lunges, but for the deadlifts it didn’t feel that different from what I usually feel with the weights I usually use. I do need to work on using the heavier weights more often and I’m glad that I did it this time. After the exercises we had a 250 meter row. I was a bit lazy with the row each time I did it and I was a bit slower than we were supposed to be doing the row in. But I figured that was my rest time during the floor block and once I was done with the row I tried to jump right back into the exercises instead of taking a quick break then.

Friday’s workout was an endurance, strength, and power day and it was also a Capture The Flag workout. The first half of class was a regular class with the treadmill work and floor work. On the treadmill it was push paces followed by base paces and in the end there was a push to all out pace. I was at my normal treadmill speed and inclines because my calf was feeling pretty much completely healed that morning! I was struggling a bit with hip issues and I didn’t sleep enough the night before, but I would rather have those problems since I’m used to them than the calf issue.

For the Capture The Flag workout, we were all in teams of 2. I started on the floor/treadmill work which included squat twists with a medicine ball, double crunches, and push ups. And then there was a sprint on the treadmill. Then I tagged my partner and she did the floor/treadmill work while I just focused on rowing for distance. The goal was to get the rower distance as high as possible and I really wanted to make sure I was being an equal teammate and doing at least my share of the rowing work. Fortunately, we were pretty equal as far as rowing ability and the time it took us to complete the floor/treadmill work. And when we were done with Capture The Flag, I think we had a pretty good distance on the rower! I would have loved to be at 5,000 meters, but in my head my goal was to just be at least at 4,500 meters which we did!

Saturday was a Tornado workout. I’m used to these for my 3 group workouts, but to have one for a 2 group workout was fun. It was the first Tornado at the Culver City location so they were trying to keep things a bit simple. We had 5 rounds around the room. The first round was 1 minute, the second round 2 minutes, the third round 4 minutes, the fourth round 2 minutes, and the last round was 1 minute. On the treadmill, things were pretty much the same for every round with a push to all out pace. I stuck with walking and had my normal speed and inclines.

On the rowers, we just did timed rows for each block. The 4 minute timed row was really tough and that surprised me since I know I’ve done longer rows than 4 minutes. But it might have been the combination of the longish row plus all the other work I had done before that. And on the floor, we had all Bosu work. Most of the rounds were timed Bosu work like doing burpees, plank jacks to pop jacks, and plank work. It wasn’t that easy to do a lot of the exercises on the Bosu and I ended up doing many of them on the floor instead. But to me it’s more important to just keep working than to give up because I found things too hard.

Overall, I’m pretty proud of myself for this past week of workouts. I had a lot of times where I could have just not tried as hard because I felt not 100%. But I was so motivated to keep going and I’m glad that I did. The only thing that wasn’t super great this past week was the mileage I got in each class. When we had Capture the Flag and the Tornado workout, I wasn’t on the treadmill for as long as I usually am in class. It’s not horrible that I didn’t get as much mileage in each workout because that just meant I was on the rower more, but considering this is a monthly challenge for me I really was hoping to have a ton of treadmill miles. But hopefully this week will make up for it!

Getting Back Into The Groove (or Rediscovering My Strength)

I feel like for so long I’ve been saying I’ve been in a bit of a slump with my workouts. I had a couple of different setbacks that I just couldn’t seem to get over (both physically and mentally). But more recently it seems like things have been getting better and better. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting better or my workout schedule is better for me, but whatever is causing it I’m just glad that I now feel so much more like myself.

Monday’s workout was at the Brentwood studio. I’m finding it so weird that it’s starting to feel less familiar to me even though I’ve been going there for almost 4 years! But no matter what, I’m comfortable there and I was happy to be back there for a workout. But the funny thing was that one of my Culver City studio coaches was subbing there so it was a mix of being at Brentwood and being at Culver City.

It was a 3 group class and it was power and strength based so we had shorter work but inclines on the treadmills. And I did go on the treadmill again. I did notice that the treadmill felt different from the treadmill at the other studio, but that’s just a quirk I’ll need to get use to. We had 2 blocks on the treadmill and the first block was all 75 second intervals and the second block was all 45 second intervals. We had push paces at inclines followed by base paces. I kept my inclines at 6% for all the push paces even though we were supposed to be increasing them because I was dealing with a little bit of hip pain, but just being on the treadmill to me felt like a win. Both blocks ended with a 30 second push pace to a 30 second all out pace and I did 8% as my all out incline.

Next I was on the rower where we had one block that started with a 600 meter row. Then we had squats and arm raises with a medicine ball before going back to the rower. We decreased the row and increased the medicine ball work each round. I was rowing pretty decently but I think I picked too heavy of a medicine ball because I was struggling with that work. But I got through 3 rounds before that block was over and I was over to the floor. The first block on the floor was lateral lunges with weights, pull overs, and weighted toe reaches. And the second block was lunges with weights, single arm clean to press with weights, and bench plank single arm low row with weights. For all my floor work I was using pretty heavy weights. I debated about going down to a slightly lower weight, but I decided it would be better for me if I took breaks and finished using the heavier weights than to have no breaks and use lighter weights. I definitely felt it after class in my arms (it was tough to blow dry my hair when I was home!).

Wednesday was a power workout and it was also a benchmark workout. We had the 200 meter row benchmark and it was the first benchmark workout at the Culver City studio. I’ve done the 200 meter row benchmark a few times but I was excited to get it done again to see if I could beat my previous record. The row was at the beginning of the workout so we would all be fresh and not tired while doing it and I felt like I was rowing harder than I ever had before! I was working so hard that my water bottle fell off the rower and I could feel the rower jumping as I was pushing off with my feet. Unfortunately, I missed my record by about 2 seconds, but I still felt pretty great about my 200 meter row.

After the benchmark workout, it was back to the treadmill where we had 3 blocks that were all pretty similar. We had a 2 minute push pace, a base pace, a push to all out pace, and then after a quick walking recovery one more all out pace. I started to have a little headache while on the treadmill and took some breaks because it was getting to me. I have no clue what brought on the headache and it ended up lasting the entire workout and the rest of that day. But I still worked hard on the treadmill and was doing my normal speed and inclines the entire time.

After the treadmill it was over to the floor where we had 3 blocks. We had upright rows using weights, front raises using weights, roll outs on the straps, lunges with the straps, running man, and hop overs. We also had a 45 second sprint row during the first block but I wasn’t going that hard on the rower because of my headache. But for the weight work I was using my heavy weights even as the reps increased during the block. And with my hop overs I was getting a bit more height while hopping which is tough for me to do with my hip issues.

Friday’s workout was an endurance day and I was a bit nervous about it. I feel like I’ve been starting over with the treadmill lately and I know endurance days are the toughest ones for me. But I was going to stick it out with the treadmill and just do my best. We had 3 blocks on the treadmill and they all had a pretty similar format with a 1 minute push pace, a 2 minute push pace, and a 1 minute all out. I kept my speed my regular speed and my inclines the regular inclines I use. And from time to time I did have to take breaks, but I worked through it. Toward the end of the longer push paces I sometimes had to go down to a slow walk (or jump onto the rails to drink some water), but to me that was still pretty good considering how nervous I was about having an endurance day. Toward the end of the treadmill time, I thought about trying to run again during the last all out pace. I knew it would be a minute long and would be my last thing on the treadmill for that workout, but right before that I was getting really tired and decided against it. My form would have been sloppy and I know that running when sloppy wouldn’t be the best way to get back into running.

On the floor we had 1 long floor block. We had hop overs, bench tap squats, plank punches, sit ups, and knee tucks. After going all of the floor exercises we had rowing. I was struggling a bit with the hop overs but I just broke it down and took breaks during that. And for the knee tucks we were supposed to be using the straps but I know I can’t really do those so I was using the ab dolly. After the first round it was a 600 meter row and my time was a bit slower than it should have been. But after the second round we had a 500 meter row and it was under the time we were supposed to be under which made me happy. I was getting through the exercises for the third round on the floor when class was done. I really thought I’d only make it through 2 rounds so to be onto the third boosted my confidence a bit.

Saturday’s workout was an endurance/strength day and it was the OTF Everest workout. While I had been doing great all week with my treadmill work, this workout scared me because I had not been bringing my inclines up that high. But I was determined to do my best and see what would happen.

I started the workout at my normal speed at 2% incline (which is what we all were supposed to start at). That felt pretty great since it’s lower than the inclines I’m used to using. I had it set in my mind that I didn’t want to lower my speed until I was at least at 10% since that is what I used to use as my all out incline. Every minute we went up 1% on the treadmill and until we were at 9% I was feeling pretty good. 10% was tough because it was an incline I don’t use that often, but I made it through that at my normal speed.

I did drop my speed down at 11% and again at 14%, but I was only .2mph slower than my normal speed which was much faster than I thought I could do at that high of an incline. It made me realize that maybe I needed to push myself a bit more on my inclines again. When we were starting to bring the inclines back down I bumped the speed up again at 13% and 10% and went back down at my normal speed from 10% on. And when we had our last 2 minutes, we were supposed to have a push pace and an all out pace. I didn’t think I could get my inclines up that high (my legs were feeling dead!), so I did 6% and 8% but got my speed up .2mph higher than I normally do for my power walking.

I didn’t quite hit my goal distance for the Everest challenge (I wanted to be at 1.4 miles), but considering that I did all the inclines and didn’t reduce my speed as much as I expected I was so happy! I also was thrilled I was able to bump up my speed at the end and it gave me some hope that maybe running can happen again soon.

When I was on the floor, I was so glad it was mainly upper body work since my legs were done after the Everest workout! We had 2 blocks on the floor and the first block was chest presses, hammer curls, and squats to shoulder presses. All of those were exercises with weights and I was using the heavier weights that I go with in my workouts. I had a bit of a tough time with the squats because of how my legs were feeling, but I took my time with those to make sure I didn’t have bad form. After those exercises we had a 250 meter row. My first attempt at the row wasn’t that great. But when I got back to the rower I tried to be steady with my speed and was able to do the row in 1:00.2. I have a goal of being under 1 minute but at least I was close. The second block on the floor was plank low rows with weights, triceps with weights, and leg lifts (the leg lifts were a killer after all the inclines on the treadmill!).

Obviously there are things I could have improved on with this past week of workouts, but I really am just so happy with how it went. I felt so strong after each of these workouts and I was sweatier than ever (and I see being sweaty as a good thing). I don’t know why I was finally able to push through but it was nice to not have so many doubts and excuses in my mind. I don’t know if this momentum will continue, but I really hope it will because these workouts gave me such a high!

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It’s Not Really A Transformation Challenge Fail (or Trying To Be Less Competitive With Myself)

I wrote previously about how I had signed up for the Transformation Challenge at Orangetheory but how I was debating about continuing it. I was at a pretty low point with my weight loss journey where I had been taking on lots of water weight and my body was puffing up. I was thinking about going to get some blood work done to see if it was my thyroid, but many of the symptoms I experienced (feeling cold, more hair loss than normal, the water weight gain) finally started to go away so I’ve postponed going to the doctor.

But because I was dealing with those medical issues, I pretty much gave up on the transformation challenge. I was feeling a bit depressed about how high the number on the scale was even though I knew that it wasn’t all “real” weight. But when you are a part of a transformation challenge that is based on weight loss, there’s no way to determine what weight I might have lost when the scale is actually higher than where I started.

I’m so competitive with myself and I thought it would be difficult to give up on this challenge. But the timing worked out well for me because the last part of the challenge was when I already started working out at the Culver City studio. And that studio wasn’t doing the challenge (new studios don’t do challenges right away) so I wasn’t facing it all the time and that helped keep it out of my mind. In fact, when the final weigh-ins happened for this challenge, I wasn’t at the Brentwood studio any of those days. I could have gone in just to weigh in, but I didn’t worry about it. And the staff there understood my reason and nobody there made me feel bad about it.

Of course, even though others didn’t make me feel bad about it, I still did. I know that I didn’t do anything wrong necessarily, but I still blame myself a little bit. And I would have loved to have won or placed in the challenge because I could always use that boost of confidence. But this time just wasn’t my time and I am working on understanding that. My stubbornness and competitiveness can be good things, but they can also cause me to be upset when there is no reason for me to feel that way.

So while I am feeling a bit down about not completing (or kicking butt in) a challenge, I am trying to think about what various therapists have said to me and focus on the positives. I knew that I wasn’t in the best place mentally or physically and made the smart decision to not continue the challenge. I think that if I did continue the stress may have made a lot of the symptoms I was experiencing worse. I also didn’t use the setback as an excuse to not work as hard. In fact, I think I was working harder to prove to myself that I wasn’t giving up in general but just giving up on this temporary challenge.

Being kind and gentle to myself isn’t something that comes naturally to me. It’s a skill that I’ve been working on for so long and it may be a struggle the rest of my life. Whenever something doesn’t go my way or the way I hoped, I automatically assume it is my fault or I was not worthy of something. It’s rarely the case that it is and I want to try to work on not having the negative reaction as my default. I’ve had enough good stuff happen to me that I should believe that I deserve good and I don’t deserve the bad, but as I’ve said before I think some of the things I heard as a child are just stuck in my mind and will always be demons I need to fight.

But for now, I’m not mad at myself for not completing the challenge. And for me, not being mad is a pretty big victory. And I am choosing to focus on that victory as the big win I had for this transformation challenge.

Monthly Challenge Check-In (or Doing My Own Version Of An OTF Challenge This Month)

It’s time for me to end one monthly challenge and start another one! I’ll admit that last month’s challenge didn’t go the way I expected it to go at all, but I’m really excited about this month’s challenge.

Last month, I challenged myself to work on daily stretching. I knew I need to work on doing more stretching because my flexibility was getting worse lately. Also, I’m stuck sitting at a computer for so many hours a day and I need to make sure that doing that doesn’t start to affect my body. And there are so many different resources out there to help get more stretching into your life. So I figured this would be the perfect challenge for me.

Well, it really wasn’t. At least not in the way I really hoped it would. I had looked at several different guided stretching apps and picked out the one that seemed best for me and had the stretches I would want to work on. And I did that for the first few days of the month and it just wasn’t working for me. Some of the stretches were hurting me more than I thought and the flow of it just seemed off. There was nothing wrong with the app, it just wasn’t for me.

I tried looking at a few other apps and other guides online, but I never found anything else during the month that seemed to be what I needed or wanted. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t work on stretching all month. I did work on it, but I never found a good practice for me that I could keep going. I haven’t given up yet, but it’s something that I haven’t been able to successfully build into a habit that I have been able to do with so many other monthly challenges.

After having a not-so-great challenge last month, I wanted to do something that I was excited about this month. At Orangetheory, they are doing a marathon challenge for the month of April. The basic idea is to track your mileage during all your classes in the month and there are different distances you can try to get based on if you are a power walker, jogger, runner, biker, or strider.

I thought about doing this challenge officially through Orangetheory but realized that it probably wouldn’t be right for me. It should have been fine going to different studios since we are responsible for tracking our own mileage. But since I know that when I’m nauseous I don’t want to be walking on the treadmill I would be split between the power walker and bike marathon challenges and might not be able to accomplish either on its own. Also, I’m thinking about trying to do some minimal running again if my body feels up for it so I didn’t know how that would affect doing the power walker (13.1 miles) challenge.

So I’ve decided for my monthly challenge this month I will be doing my own marathon challenge and tracking. One of my blogger friends, David, does this every month on his blog so I’m kind of taking the idea from him too. I have no clue if I will get to 13.1 miles power walking and I’m pretty certain that I won’t be at 105 miles on the bike unless I only do the bike the entire month (which I am not planning on doing). But it will be interesting to see how many miles I do accomplish between the treadmill and bike this month.

I’ve set up my Ink+Volt monthly calendar for this month with tracking stickers. I put stickers for each day that I’m planning on working out so I can fill in what distance I get in class.

I’m going to be taking photos of the treadmill and bike during each class so I have it to fill in later. The only time I’m a little concerned is if we have a run/row day since I will need to remember to take a photo every time I switch over to the rower. But I think that should be easy enough to do and the worst case would be needing to ask the coach after class if I could look at the workout plan so I could see what distances I was supposed to do during the run/row to figure out how many rounds I did. But that’s not that bad of a worse case scenario.

I think this is going to be a fun challenge for me. I really don’t know how many miles I’ll get. I have an idea of what I can do based on past workouts and how many workouts I have this month, but I don’t know how many days will get up being bike days. And there are always other factors that come in to make my distances on the treadmill longer or shorter. No matter what, it will be interesting to see what the totals are at the end of the month.

While it would have been fun to do this officially at the studios I go to, I think doing it on my own is a good substitute considering my circumstances. And maybe this will help me stay more motivated when I’m on the bike because I will want to be getting as much distance as possible to make sure my total at the end of the month is impressive!

Getting Back To Stretching (or My Body Is Telling Me What Monthly Challenge To Do)

The first two months of 2018, I had some abstract monthly challenges. I’m so glad that I did those challenges because they have been so beneficial for me. But I’m getting back to more concrete challenges now. But first, a quick recap on last month’s challenge.

In February, I challenged myself to work on not saying “sorry” as often, especially when there is usually a better and more appropriate thing to say since I don’t need to apologize. I normally say sorry instead of excuse me, like when I’m trying to get past someone at a store or when I am trying to get someone’s attention. It’s a habit that I have been wanting to break but it’s difficult because I’ve been doing it for so long.

I don’t know if I haven’t had as many opportunities when I usually would say sorry or if I haven’t been saying it as much for a while, but I was surprised when I noticed how easily this change was. I wasn’t finding myself saying sorry and then thinking I should have said something else that often. Mainly, I thought about it at stores trying to get past someone and I was very conscious of trying to say excuse me instead.

I’m sure that this will be something I need to think about a lot in the future to make sure I don’t slip into the habit again. But it just surprised me that I didn’t really have that many times that I said sorry in the past month. It was weird. But I also thought that it could have to do with my challenge from January when I worked on being a bit selfish. I’ve been putting myself first when I can and I think that has just given me more confidence. So maybe having that confidence stopped my habit of saying sorry earlier than I thought.

Since I have been focused on mental and abstract challenges, I really wanted to get back to a physical one for March. There were a few ideas that I was thinking about, but one thing was sticking out for me. I’ve always been a very flexible person, but I’ve noticed that my flexibility has been getting worse lately. I’m still more flexible than many people, but there is a noticeable difference. Also, I’ve been waking up with more muscle pain than I’m used to.

This could be attributed to a few things. I have been working out a lot and haven’t been doing the yoga that I was doing previously. Or it could be due to me getting older and needing to take more care of my body. Either way, I want to gain flexibility back and to help keep my body healthy.

I thought of a few things of what I could do to help gain my flexibility. I debated about doing another yoga challenge but that didn’t feel right to me. And I looked at a few different fitness related challenges but those didn’t seem to be what I needed. And finally, I found the idea of doing a stretching challenge and that seemed perfect to me! Stretching would be a good thing for me to do no matter what as it can help get my body moving throughout the day. I don’t move a ton while I’m working (I walk from my bed to my desk and then I’m sitting down) so getting in a stretch either before or after I’m done working would really help.

I looked into a few stretching ideas, and I found an app that I’m going to try out. It has 9 different stretches that it guides you through and each stretch lasts 30 seconds. So it will only take about 5 minutes for me to do the full circuit and that’s not too bad. And if that app doesn’t seem to be right, there are a ton of other options for me to find stretching routines to use. No matter what, I want to get stretching into my daily routine because I know my body needs it.

I’m not expecting this stretching to necessarily get my flexibility back. There are some specific things with flexibility that I know I want to work on and I will be working on those separately. I used to be able to do the splits easily. I can still do them, but I have to work much harder at it. I also can still reach my toes when I stretch, but in the past I could get my hands beyond my feet. That would be nice to be able to do again too. But for this month, I really want to work on general flexibility first and then start looking into more specific things. And even if I don’t regain all my flexibility back, I know that I will be helping my body and it will be good to have a little extra movement in my day when I know that it’s lacking.

Is This A Rut? (or Trying To Not Feel Stuck)

For so long, my workout weeks were super exciting to me. I was constantly discovering new amazing exercises and I was surprising myself in what I was able to do. I never knew I could lift as heavy of weights as I did or that I could run. It seemed like each week there was something that seemed spectacular and it was so motivating. But lately, I’ve been struggling a bit to make sure that I don’t feel stuck. So this past week of workouts was another week where I really tried to find where I could improve so I could feel great about things again.

Monday’s workout was a tough morning for me. I had a lot of things working against me including a lack of sleep, having some back pain (I tweaked my back on Saturday), and my medications elevating my heart rate; but I was still in my positive mindset that I would be doing the best that I could and not thinking about what I should be doing better. It was a 3 group workout that morning and it was also a rowing benchmark class. And since I started on the rower that ended up being better than I expected.

The rowing benchmark was done in the first block where we had a 4 minute distance row. I knew what my PR was for it previously and I knew that I would not be hitting that in this class. But I did decide to set a goal to row for the entire 4 minutes without stopping. That’s not the biggest victory for me, but when I was having so many issues I knew it would be a big accomplishment. And I’m so happy that I was able to row those 4 minutes without stopping! Each of our row blocks had a timed distance row and the goal was to get at least half the distance of the previous distance row. And I did manage to do that! I did more than half of my 4 minute row in my 2 minute row and more than half of my 2 minute row in my 1 minute row. While none of these rows were PRs for me, I felt amazing for doing what I was able to do.

The treadmill work was a bit of a struggle and I thought about going onto the bike, but it felt good to walk and stretch my legs a bit after each of the row blocks. I stuck with my normal speed and for the first 2 blocks I did my normal inclines as well. But for the last block, I keep my push and all out pace inclines the same because I was getting tired. Each of the treadmill blocks was a pretty standard pattern and I’m so glad that they were shorter blocks because it did allow me to get through the treadmill time and I wasn’t struggling as much as I would have if it was a long block.

And the floor work was not my best time this workout. Of course on a day that I was having back pain the floor worked seemed to be very back heavy. The first block had good mornings to tricep presses, pullovers with weights, and knee tucks. This was my best block because I didn’t really feel any pain with any of the moves. I did end up doing sit-ups instead of knee tucks, but that was more due to knee tucks feeling super awkward for me and I just wanted to do something instead of struggling through one exercise. The second block was single arm presses with weights which were tough on my back but with a lower weight it was not too bad and I felt good. But the other move was pop jacks and my back was just not having those. The plank was hurting me and I ended up only doing the arm work that block. And the final block was lateral lunges with the BOSU which was fine but then we also had Y moves on the strap which again was back work that hurt. I ended up doing those by being far from the anchor point of the strap (the further you are the easier the move is) but I think it ended up being more of a stretch type move than an exercise. But since I knew I’d be making modifications to anything that involved my back, I was pretty happy I figured out a solution for the problems I was having.

Wednesday was a strength day and I was a bit worried going into the workout. I knew I wasn’t feeling totally great, but I was hoping a workout would make me feel a bit better. The treadmill was split into 3 blocks and each block had a similar format. When we had push paces, half of the time was a regular push pace and the other half was at an incline. For power walking, that meant that you increased from your push pace incline to one higher. So for each push pace I did the first half as my regular push pace incline and the second half at my all out pace incline. It wasn’t easy because the incline felt so much higher than normal, but I did my best to make it through. When we had the all out paces at the end of each block, I just stuck with my normal all out pace instead of trying to go a bit higher. Even though I had to take several breaks in the middle of each of the treadmill blocks, I felt much closer to normal than I had in a while. My heart rate wasn’t spiking as often and when it did the spikes weren’t as crazy as they have been. It was such a nice change from having crazy heart rate issues.

The floor work was one long block that had both rowing and work with weights. We started with a 500 meter row. Since I was still recovering from the treadmill, I didn’t really focus too much on what my time was for the row. It was probably close to what I normally do, but I’m not too sure. Then it was on to the weight work which was seated shoulder press to stands with weights, skier swings with weights, single arm rows with weights, plank work, and toe touches. Then it was back to the rower. We were decreasing the rows by 100 meters each time, but my coach wanted me to do things a bit differently. She wanted me to set my rower for a minute and 40 seconds to see how far I could get in that. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do 400 meters and told her that. But she wanted me to see what I would do.

I am so glad she set my rower that way because I ended up surprising myself! I was at 395 meters when the timer stopped and I honestly thought it would take me 2 minutes to do 400 meters! Then it was back to the floor and then back to the rower again. My coach had me do a 70 second row instead of 300 meters and this time I was at 298 meters. While it would have been nice to reach my rowing target in that time, I was more proud of myself for getting so close when I thought there was no way I could do that! The goal was to do enough rounds to get down to a 100 meter row, but I was only on the floor work after the 300 meter row when class ended.

After having an easier time on Wednesday, I was hoping that Friday would be the same. But of course nothing is predictable and I ended up having a bit of a rough day. It was a combination of my heart rate issues and some nausea that started right when I got to class. I started on the treadmill but after noticing during the warmup that I wasn’t feeling ok I moved over to the bike. The class was an endurance, strength, and power class and I decided to take the cardio blocks as seriously as I could on the bike.

During the endurance block, I was using the resistance on the bike that I had done the week before and I was paying much more attention to my cadence so I could make sure that I was doing more during the push and all out paces. I was definitely sweating a lot during this block and it wasn’t just because I wasn’t feeling ok. During the strength block I did work on increasing the resistance a bit more to replicate hills, but I wasn’t doing the resistance as high as I had before as I was focused on my speed. And during the power block I just focused on going as quick as I could to replicate doing an all out pace on the treadmill.

The floor work had 2 regular floor blocks and a row block. In the floor blocks we had single arm rows on the straps, upright rows with weights, side plank pendulums, deadlifts, low rows on the straps, and burpees. When we were supposed to be doing the burpees my nausea was kicking in a bit more so I ended up doing squats with calf raises instead. I didn’t love having to do something instead of burpees, but I knew it was necessary with how I was feeling. And for the row block, we were on the same pattern as the treadmill. Essentially it ended up being a 1 minute row, 90 second row, and 2 minute row. The goal was to be able to do at least 100 meters more each time and I was able to do just a bit better than that.

After the difficulty on Friday, I think I was much more mentally prepared for Saturday. I knew I’d be going on the bike again and I was excited to see how I could improve. The class was a power day and we did have some switching around. We only spent about 6 minutes at a time in one section of the room and we did 2 laps around. On the bike, I really was focused on my cadence and making sure I was getting it up higher for the push and all out paces. This class was the first one where I think I was above 100 RPM for all of the all out paces. It was tough, but it felt really great after because it finally gave me the sense of accomplishment that I think I needed. I’m still figuring how what distance I can do on the bike and how to improve on that, but I know that I’ve been getting slightly faster over the past few weeks.

On the rower, we kind of repeated things for the 2 times we were there. We started with a 90 second push pace and a 30 second all out pace on the rower. Then we had sprint distance rows with some rowing recovery in between. I wasn’t rowing as fast I could, but I was under all the times I usually try to be under so that was good. And on the floor, each time we were there we started with 30 second rounds of squats and plank work. Then we had other things like sit ups to squats on the bench, knee tucks, chest flys, and lunges. And by the time I was done with class, I was exhausted but in the best way.

Considering that going into this past week of workouts I was hoping to find some sense of accomplishment again, I think I’m finally getting closer to being there. I know there will still be struggles (although I’m hoping this will be ending sooner rather than later), but knowing that I can hit some new goals is encouraging me.

It’s Giveaway Time! (or I Want You To Have An Amazing 2018!)

If you’re been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love my planner from Ink+Volt! This is the 3rd year I’ve used a Volt Planner and I find it really helps me with my goal setting on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. I have accomplished more in the past few years than I ever had and I know that it’s all because of the planner. I love setting aside time to work on my goals and reflecting on where I succeeded and failed because it allows me to keep working toward what I want and I am able to process it and move on. I don’t necessarily dwell on when I don’t accomplish something because I know there is another week to set that goal and hopefully I will be able to reach it then.

Well, all my posting about the planner got the attention of the team at Ink+Volt and I’m so excited to share with you all that they let me know they found an extra 2018 planner that I get to give to one lucky reader!

I am so excited that one of you will get to use a planner to make your 2018 as incredible as it can be! I have seen the proof of what can be done by following this planner and I’m always looking at more ways that I can maximize what I do with it. For some inspiration, Ink+Volt has some great guides on their website. They also have a blog and one of my favorite posts on it is all about ideas for the monthly challenges. I have that page saved because I know that from time to time I need inspiration on what I want my challenge to be (I’m already working on ideas for my challenges for the rest of the year). I really view the monthly challenges as the bonus challenges for me because they are separate from the goals I set each month and week. So I stretch myself with these challenges and I am always surprising myself in what I am able to do and what habits I can create just from doing one month of a challenge.

And while this planner is dated for 2018, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are missing out. Every week there are prompts to help inspire, encourage, and challenge you. You will have all the weekly prompts for the entire year and you can use them as soon as you win the giveaway! I bet working on one extra prompt a week would be amazing for self-discovery and reflection on the year so far!

There are so many things you can do with this planner. You can use it like a normal planner and use it for your appointments. You can just do the goal setting sections and leave the calendar blank or for drawing random doodles. You can turn the weekly calendar into something unique for yourself (I use mine for my daily gratitude lists). The possibilities are endless and I love that this planner allows you the freedom to decide what the best way for you to use it will be! And I’m always trying new things out and seeing what connects with me at that time. My planner changes throughout the year because my needs and wants change and this accommodates that so nicely!

This giveaway is open to readers in the US only (sorry international readers!). There a lots of entry options, but there are 3 that you are required to do in order to be in the giveaway. You must comment on this post, you must follow me on Instagram, and you must follow Ink+Volt on Instagram. You also have options for extra entries by tweeting about it each day! The giveaway ends on the 28th and I will be using random.org to select a winner from the qualified entries. I will be emailing the winner within 48 hours of the giveaway ending to get your address and I will mail your planner to you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I cannot wait for one of you to win this! I’m not exaggerating when I say this planner changed my life! I have become so much better in realizing what I am able to do and I have achieved so much just by making a plan for my goals and taking the steps needed to get there.