Tag Archives: challenge

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.

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!

Going Big During Peak Performance Week (or A Week Of PRs)

This past week was Peak Performance Week at Orangetheory and it went really well for me! Peak Performance Week is something that I do look forward to each time it happens. It’s a great way to prove to myself that I’m making progress and since I’m so competitive with myself I can get some of that energy out. My original plan was to only do 3 workouts, but I decided to go for it and do 4 workouts during the week (which meant doing 3 workouts in a row) because I really wanted to see what I could do.

Monday’s challenge was the 500 meter row challenge. I don’t have as crazy of goals with the rower as I do with the treadmill, but I still set goals for myself and want to do better than I’ve ever done. So with 500 meters, I set a goal of being able to do it in under 2 minutes. I started on the treadmill but we only warmed up while the first group was on the rowers. When they were done, it was our turn to row (this way, we weren’t too tired before doing the row). Even though 500 meters isn’t really a sprint for me, I knew that I could just go really hard and hopefully it would only be about 2 minutes of effort. So I did just that, and when I got to 500 meters, I was pretty excited to see my time!

1:55.9! Totally under my goal time and that’s all that I could have asked for! After doing the challenge, we had the rest of the workout. On the treadmill, I ended up walking for it all because I went so hard on the rower. For the longer push paces, I did my inclines between 6-8% and the shorter push paces at 10-12%. But walking was fine with me since I was tired and I knew I’d have more running during the week. And when I was on the floor, I stuck with slightly lighter weights for my lunges. We also had some strap work and ab work plus some short rows (which I took easy).

Tuesday’s workout was the one I wasn’t sure I’d be doing, but when the challenge for that workout was announced I knew I had to go. It was the 24 minute run for distance. I hadn’t done that one since I started running, so I wanted to see what I could do. I had a goal in mind to go .5 miles further this time than I did the last time but I mainly just wanted to do my intervals as long as I could. I was doing 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. I mainly ran at 5 mph and walked at 3.5 mph and was doing pretty good with that speed with my intervals. At the end, I did a few rounds of 1 minute of running/1 minute of walking and tried to bump my speed up. I really wanted to make it to the distance goal I had (which would have been 1.896 miles), and I was close but just missed it.

Even though I didn’t make that distance goal, I’m so happy that I went as far as I did and that I did so well with my intervals. I hadn’t done the 2 minutes of running intervals for that length of time before so it was really great to realize that I could do it!

After the 24 minute distance run, I had 2 blocks on the floor. Each of those block started with a 300 meter row and we did some arms and squats after that. And then after those blocks, we had a 3 minute core blast on the floor that ended with a one minute plank hold and I was able to hold it for about 45 seconds. That’s not my best plank hold, but considering all the other work that I did that day I’m very happy with it.

Wednesday’s workout was a floor rep challenge day. Since it was my 3rd workout in a row, I knew it would need to be a bit of a recovery day. I tried to run at the beginning of the workout and realized that my legs were pretty dead so it ended up being a walk day for me. We did switch between blocks and there were 4 blocks on the treadmill and 4 blocks on the floor. The treadmill was nothing spectacular for me since I was so tired, plus I knew I would be working really hard on the floor.

For the floor rep challenge, we got to do it twice and add up the reps from both attempts. We had 4 minutes and did 1 move each minute. We were doing squats, push ups, pull ups on the straps, and sit ups). I tried so hard to go each minute without stopping, but it wasn’t easy. I think for me, the easiest ones were the push ups and sit ups but none of them were too horrible for me. On my first attempt, I did 124 reps between all the moves and on the second attempt I did 110 reps. I think that that’s not too shabby considering how hard those 4 minutes were without a break. I would have loved to have done more reps the second try, but that wasn’t in the cards for me.

And Friday was the day I was stressing out about all week: the mile challenge. I think that I judge myself by the mile challenge more than I do with any other treadmill challenge. And since I recently had a major PR with my mile, I was worried that I couldn’t beat that. I know that I don’t need to PR every time I do the mile challenge, but that’s what I want to do. I knew that I went really hard with that last PR and I spent time this past week trying to figure out what I would need to do in order to PR again.

This time, I tried to stick with 2 minutes running/1 minute walking intervals. I had it figured out that I would only need to do that 4 times to get my mile done so it helped with getting my head in the right space. I started with doing as long as I could at 6 mph for my running time. I averaged going that for just over a minute and then I ran at 5.8 mph to finish out the 2 minutes. I did my walking at 3.8 mph, which is faster than I would have liked, but I knew I needed to keep my speed up. That plan worked fine for the first 3 rounds and then my stomach started to cramp up. I went back to 1 minute intervals and increased my speed even more. When I knew I had .1 miles left on my mile, I sprinted and kept increasing my speed. I knew it was going to be close to 11:48 (my previous PR) and I just wanted to get at least 1 second off of my time. And it made me feel so amazing that I did that.

It wasn’t a pretty mile for me. It was so difficult and I’ve realized that I need to figure out a new game plan for the next time I do a mile challenge since I can’t just keep increasing my speed. Hopefully I’ll have some time to figure it out before the next challenge, but for now I’m just happy that I got another PR.

We had a pretty low-key floor block while the other half of class did their mile challenge and then we all joined together to do a partner workout for the rest of class. One of us was on the floor and the other was on the rower. The rower person set the pace and had to do a 900, 600, or 300 meter row. While the partner was on the rower, the person on the floor had lunges, mountain climbers, ab work, and roll outs. We would repeat the floor work until our partner tagged us out.

I was pretty happy that we didn’t have to go back onto the treadmill. My right hip was really sore after my mile. It wasn’t my normal type of pain which is sharp and feels like an electric shock. This was more of a dull annoying pain and I didn’t want to push myself too much. I did take it easy on the floor since I wasn’t controlling the pace, but when I was on the rower I did my best to go as quickly as I could so I could tag out my partner. We each ended up doing 2 rounds on the rower so at least we were pretty equal with our work.

This Peak Performance Week was totally a win for me. While I didn’t meet every goal that I set for myself, I had a PR with everything. And those goals I set were pretty ambitious and I didn’t know if I could do every single one I set for myself. So to do 3 out of 4 isn’t too bad. Plus, I did 4 workouts in a week and 3 workouts in a row so that makes the week even more difficult! All of those things combined helped to make this week more amazing than I could have imagined!

The Artist’s Way (or Working On My Creativity)

Even though I didn’t set a specific acting related goal for this year, that doesn’t mean that I’m not working on it for the year. It’s tough for me to plan acting related things for this year since there is a lot of uncertainty with how long I’ll need to recover from liver surgery (so I don’t want to plan for any classes until that’s done) and a lot of the things I want to accomplish in acting aren’t up to me (I can’t control when I book a job or not). So finding a good way to work on my acting and creativity is a bit challenging with those restrictions in mind.

So when in the member’s only forum for the podcast I work for someone suggested working through “The Artist’s Way” together as a group, I knew this would be the perfect way to work on acting for the beginning of this year.

“The Artist’s Way” is a 12 week guided program to help artists regain their creativity and to remove roadblocks that may be in the way. This book is something that so many people have done and it’s always highly recommended. I’ve actually tried to complete the 12 weeks a few times in the past, but I’ve never been able to get through the entire thing. This is a common issue with people trying to complete the 12 weeks, so they usually suggest having a way to stay accountable. And one of the suggested ways is to work through the weeks with a group.

The group through the podcast is currently online only, but it’s doing great for keeping me accountable and making sure I do the work. There isn’t a ton of work that you have to do to complete the 12 weeks, but there is stuff to do every day and that commitment isn’t always easy to do. But knowing that people are doing this with me and we are all counting on each other is helping me not want to slack on doing the work. I also think that since I’ve been working on building habits for the past year or so, I’m better now at following through with things than I was in the past. So now seemed like the perfect time to do this.

One of the main parts of the program is doing the morning pages. Morning pages are 3 pages of writing every single morning when you wake up. They are just basically a brain dump of anything that you want to write so they don’t have to make sense. You can write in full sentences or partial sentences, grammar and spelling doesn’t matter, and my penmanship isn’t important. It’s not always easy to remember first thing in the morning to write my 3 pages, but I’ve set a reminder alarm to do it so that is helping. There are a few mornings that I’ve forgotten for maybe 10-15 minutes, but I usually remember before I’m really starting my day.

I struggled with the morning pages before, but this time they have been really great for me. I’ve been using them to vent in the mornings. I’m so grateful that I’m safe and I have a new car, but the situation still makes me mad a bit. Getting those feelings out first thing in the morning helps me to not have to carry them with me all day. I can write in them things that are scaring me or things that I’m concerned about for that day. By putting those feelings out in writing, I don’t feel the need to keep them with me as much as I would before. The feeling I get is similar to what I feel like when I post on here, but I don’t have to worry about making sense or saying things that I might regret later.

There are also weekly questions that I answer each week of the book and they do allow me to reflect quite a bit on what I’ve done so far, what I am planning on doing, and what I should be doing. I’ve been learning a lot about myself in the 2 weeks I’ve been doing this and I’ve never had that experience before in my previous attempts. Maybe I’m in a better mindset to work on this in my life. Maybe my work on my eating disorder recovery is allowing me to work on other aspects of my life in ways I haven’t been able to do before. No matter what the reason is, I’m just happy that I haven’t felt like giving up on this process yet.

Since it feels so different compared to all the other times I tried to do the 12 weeks, I have high hopes that I will be able to get through all the weeks this time. Even if I don’t get anything out of doing this other than saying that I’ve completed it, that will be a victory. I don’t want to bail on things in my life, and being able to complete this will help to prove to myself that if I stick with something that I can make it through.

New Year New Challenges (or Getting Ready For Peak Performance)

My first week of workouts for 2017 got off to a pretty great start! My first workout of the new year was on New Year’s Day and then I was ready for a regular full week of workouts. It was a 3 workout week since I had done 3 workouts over the weekend, but that worked out pretty perfectly for me. Monday and Friday were big challenge classes so it was nice to have those as my week’s bookends. Coming up this week is Peak Performance Week, so I considered these workouts my training to get ready for that.

Monday’s class was supposed to be a recovery day for me. It was my 3rd workout in a row and I knew I was exhausted. I had no expectations to do anything too crazy and was just happy that I was in class and doing something. Then I found out that we were going to have 3 distance challenges on the treadmill that day. We had 3 treadmill blocks and each was split in 2. For the first half of each block, I walked because I was still trying to take things a bit easy.

But for the second half of each block, we had a 3 minute distance challenge. I know I can run for 3 minutes at a time, but it is not easy for me. But when there is a challenge announced, I get very competitive with myself and need to push myself more than I think I can do. So for each of those challenges, I ran the entire time and I was so happy to see that I was able to increase my distance each time.

After doing all 3 of those 3 minute challenges, I was pretty tired but of course on the floor we had another challenge after that. The floor block started with a 2017 meter row (because of the new year) and that is the farthest row I’ve ever done outside of Hell Week. It wasn’t easy, but I’m very proud that I was able to do that row without having to stop for any breaks. I managed to get it done in 9:23, which is pretty good time too!

Wednesday’s workout was a power day. We had 3 treadmill blocks and all of those blocks started with a 90 second push pace which I was able to run for all the blocks. Then the first block was all 1 minute intervals, the second block was 45 second intervals, and the last block was all 30 second intervals. I ran for all the push paces and all outs and that included the back to back push to all out with the 1 minute intervals (so I ran for 2 minutes that time). And I ended my workout with doing the 30 second all out at 7mph.

Once I moved to the floor, the first block was pretty heavy with squats. We had shoulder work and burpees plus I did push ups on the straps. The second block was more core focused with plank work like mountain climbers and plank shoulder taps (I do those instead of palms to elbows because I can’t keep my hips stable enough yet). We also had to do some sprint rows in the second block and I was able to do 300 meters in 1:09 and 250 meters in :52 which are both pretty good times for me.

And the biggest challenge day ended up being on Friday which was an endurance day. I knew we had to do a 10.5 minute distance challenge because some of my friends posted about that on social media. So I was prepared to do that when I arrived at class. I started with 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking but about half way through I had to switch to 1 minute intervals. I was trying to keep my speed up, but I was dealing with being a bit congested that day so I had to try to keep things easy enough at the same time. After I completed it, I was so happy with the distance I got. And then I found out that we were doing another 10.5 minute distance challenge.

Normally when I know that we have multiple challenges in a class, I go a bit easier on the first round so I wouldn’t be too tired for the second one. But I did go all out on the first round and my second challenge suffered a bit. I did 1 minute intervals for the entire time, but I pushed my speed up a bit more for the run and the walk. And at the end I was bumping up my speed more and more hoping that I could get a better distance than the first attempt. I ended at 7mph at the end, but it wasn’t quite enough to beat my original 10.5 minute challenge.

I’m so competitive with myself and it was tough to not beat myself with back to back challenges. I almost always (or have always) beat myself when I do back to back challenges and it was not easy to accept that I couldn’t do it this time. But I also have to be really proud of the distance I went when you combine them. I did 1.618 miles in 21 minutes. That’s amazing!

After the treadmill, we headed to the floor where we had 4 short blocks. 2 of those blocks were leg and plank work. I had lunges in each of those blocks and we also had plank work like mountain climbers and Spiderman planks. But the other 2 blocks were on the rower where we had 3 minute distance challenges. This time, I was prepared to do 2 different rowing challenges so I was able to pace myself better. And I’m very happy with both of my distances, but even more happy that I was able to do better the second time!

With Peak Performance Week this week, I’m still debating which classes I want to go to. I know I’ll be there for the mile challenge, but I’m torn about adding a 4th class (which would also make it 3 classes in a row) to do the 24 minute distance challenge on the treadmill. I’d love to push myself to do it, but I also don’t want to overdo things. But no matter what, I’m so happy I had challenges last week to get me ready to have a full week of challenges this week!

My First 2017 Monthly Challenge (or Working On My Tumors)

It’s a new year and I’ve got a new year of monthly challenges! I did buy the Volt Planner for 2017 and I’m very happy that it’s a similar set up to what the 2016 planner was like. There are still the weekly and monthly goal setting pages as well as the monthly challenges. And I plan on doing a new monthly challenge each month just like I did last year!

I think that having the goals and challenges really did help to keep me accountable and focused on doing things to better myself. It’s one thing to say that I’ll be doing something, but to have a list in a planner where I can see what I set out to do is another. Having it on paper makes me want to make sure I don’t slack because I hate to see unchecked boxes on my goals and challenges pages in the planner. It’s the perfectionist in me that makes me want to get something done if I write it down in a planner.

I’ll admit that January 1st got here much quicker than expected so I didn’t have as much time dedicated to planning out my challenge for the month as I would have liked. There are some big ideas for challenges that I have for this year, but some of them involve planning or setting things in place that I didn’t have time to do for this month. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some of my big ideas later this year, but it will have to wait. But there was one thing that I started doing at the end of the year that I knew I wanted to continue to do this year and dedicate time to working on it.

While I know that I will need to have liver surgery no matter what, there are things that I can do to hope that the surgery and recovery will be easier. And one of those things is to have the tumors shrink. There is no medical way that I can do this (they aren’t cancerous tumors so I don’t need chemo or radiation to shrink them), but I can still work on doing it on my own. I’m a believer in the power of positive thinking and I’ve been trying to think that my tumors are shrinking every day.

My mom did the same thing when she had cancer, and her journey to being cancer free went much easier than most people thought it would be. She imagined her body healing every single night and I believe that doing that helped her so much. So I’m doing the same with my tumors. I had been doing this before the new year, but I still decided to make it my monthly challenge to make sure that I do this every day.

Like most of my challenges, I’m using the reminder app on my phone to alert myself every day to dedicate time to doing this. I’m not using my mediation app for this, but I’m thinking about doing that because there is a silent timed mediation option within the app. But for now, I’m just focusing on how I imagine the tumors getting smaller for a few minutes every single day.

It’s not a huge thing for me to do, but I know that doing it will only benefit me in the long run. And making sure that I do dedicate time every day for this will help me not to slack off and forget. I really do love having all the reminders in my phone going off throughout the day so I don’t zone out and then realize the entire day has gone by without me getting anything done. I feel silly that I hadn’t been taking advantage of those prior to the monthly challenges because they are so easy to set up. But at least now I have them and I am always adding more to my reminder list.

While this challenge is a smaller one, I’m really excited to have another full year of these challenges. From the ones that I set up last year, most of them are still things that I do every single day. I have slacked off on a few (mainly the yoga and mindfulness before eating ones but I’m working on that), but most of them have become habits and my day doesn’t feel complete until I accomplish them. And I know that building a few new good habits every year will add up and be something really great for me for the rest of my life.

Here’s to another year of monthly challenges and hopefully using my mind to get my tumors to shrink before my next MRI and we make my surgery plan!

New Year’s Workouts (or Ending 2016 and Starting 2017 With Orangetheory)

Happy New Year’s! I’ll be recapping my New Year’s Eve fun later this week, but as always for my Monday post I’m sharing my workouts from the past week. This past week I had my last 3 workouts of 2016 (getting me to 177 workouts for the year) and my first workout of 2017. They were all challenging workouts for their own reasons but I think that I ended one year and started the other with some really great work.

Monday’s class was an endurance day. We had 2 blocks on the treadmill back to back and I did my usual work with the push paces. I ran my 1 minute intervals for the 3 minute pushes and I ran the entire time for all pushes that were 2 minutes or under. In our second block, we had several intervals of 1 minute push paces with 30 second base paces. I ran the pushes and walked the bases and it gave me an idea of what this could be like if I did it for my next 5K intervals. I’ve been playing more with the idea of increasing my running time and not decreasing my walking time, but maybe I need to think more about it.

After the treadmill, I had my floor work which was supposed to also be rowing work. But because of how long each block took me, I never made it to the rower. The first block was squats, arm work on the straps, push-ups (I took the modification of using the straps for those because my knees were bugging me) and crunches. The second block was back and arm work mainly with some leg work at the end. I was dealing with some horrible cramps throughout the class, and while they would come and go I know that the pain was slowing me down a bit which didn’t allow me to get to the rower.

Wednesday’s class was a power day and we got to switch between blocks so it was even better! The first treadmill block was a 2 minute push pace that I was able to run and then we had some 1 minute all out intervals with walking in between. The second block was the same pattern so I did the same as I did in the first block. And our last block on the treadmill was all 30 second intervals so we did 30 second push paces, 30 second all outs, and then 30 seconds of walking. I didn’t do the last all out as a run because I was so tired, but I did run all of the rest!

When I moved to the floor, we had some rowing for each of the blocks. The first block was 150 meter rows and the second block was 200 meter rows. All of those were done pretty quickly and I was getting close to some of my best times for those distances. I also had a great moment during the first block when we had lunges with hops using the straps. I can’t do the hops yet, but I was able to do knee lifts with each lunge and I wasn’t having the usual issues with my balance. That was pretty amazing. We also had a lot of core work with 4 point planks and palms to elbows in plank.

I skipped my Friday workout (since I would be going on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) so my next workout was my New Year’s Eve workout. It was a 3G class where we had 2 rounds between all 3 sections. The first round was 8 minutes each. On the treadmill, it was supposed to be a .1 mile run at 10% followed by a 1 minute walk at 10% and then you brought the incline down 1% each time. I was able to do the first run at 10% but then my body wasn’t feeling it so I had to power walk the rest of the time. Since I still wanted to push myself, I just kept the incline at 10% the entire time and didn’t bring it down. The second block on the treadmill was 4 minutes and I stuck with walking again, keeping it at 6-10% incline.

On the floor, the first 8 minute round was split into 2 sections. First we had 4 minutes of push-ups and squats and then we had 4 minutes of lunges and plank jacks. For the 4 minute round on the floor we had pop jacks and rowing using the straps. And on the rower, the 8 minute round was also split into 2 sections. First we had 200 meter sprints with squats as our break and then we had 100 meter sprints with bicep curls as the break. Those movements didn’t really feel like breaks, but it was nice to have something different between sprints. And for the 4 minute round, we had a 4 minute row where I was able to increase my wattage on the rower each minute!

It was not an easy class (3G ones can be some of the toughest ones), but I was glad I went on New Year’s Eve so I was able to end my 2016 on a good fitness note!

And then on Sunday, I started 2017 with a 3G workout. I had some car issues getting home from the party I went to for New Year’s Eve (more on that later) so I only got a few hours sleep that night before going to work out. I think the lack of sleep mixed with some stress got to me because I was struggling on the treadmill. I started out with our 2 minute push pace as a run but I started to get a headache and had to switch to walking. I pretty much did all walking for the first block on the treadmill but during the second block we had some shorter push to all out paces and I was able to run for those. My headache wasn’t bugging me as much by the end of my time on the treadmill, but it definitely made things difficult for me.

On the floor we had 1 block that was 15 minutes long. We had several movements like squats, triceps work, lunges, and planks and each round we did fewer reps than the one before (starting with 14 and ending with 6). I ended up making it through the entire assignment so I ended my time on the floor with a 1 minute plank hold. I did have to take some breaks with my plank, but I was in really good form while I stuck it out.

I ended on the rower where we had longer rows with some work with the medicine ball. It started with a 1,000 meter row and some squats and jumping jacks with the medicine ball. Then it was 500 meters with more medicine ball work and at the end of class I was just about to finish my 250 meter row. The rowing was fine but my headache started to come back while doing the medicine ball work so I was taking things a bit slow.

After that New Year’s Day workout, I was exhausted but so happy that I didn’t let my lack of sleep and car issues stop me from getting to Orangetheory (I had to take an Uber to and from the workout since my mechanic wasn’t open on New Year’s Day to look at my car).

I’m so happy that my workouts for 2017 got off to a nice start. We’ve got Peak Performance Week coming up soon and I’m still deciding what classes I’ll be taking that week since I want to work on beating my old records again! And, coming up later in the month we have the weight loss challenge again and I think I’m going to enter. I won’t look at the numbers on their scale when I weigh in, but I like the challenges and how they hold me accountable. I think that 2017 is going to be a really great year for my fitness even with the potential setbacks I’ll have when I have surgery later this year.

12 Days Of Christmas Workouts (or This Feels A Lot Like Hell Week)

This past week of Orangetheory was the main part of the 12 Days of Workouts that they have going on. Technically last week had the beginning of it and next week will be the end of it, but the bulk of the workouts were during this past week. I managed to do 4 workouts in the week, which I thought would be fine. But I had no idea that these workouts would resemble Hell Week as much as they did!

Monday’s workout was not only super rowing focused, it was a back to back partner challenge class! I love partner classes because there is no way you can slack off in them. Your partner is waiting on you so you can switch, and I never want to let them down. I had no idea that the rest of the week was going to be as tough as it was, so I was pretty happy to go for it on Monday! I would regret that a bit later as I was exhausted at Disneyland later that day, but at the time it was awesome!

The first half of class was a challenge where the person on the rower determined the pace. I got to partner up with my friend Terry (he is one of my Monday workout friends who is pretty competitive). For this challenge, one of us was on the treadmill while the other was on the rower. The rowing segments were 1,000 meters, 750 meters, 500 meters, and 250 meters. When you were done, you switched spots (so we each had to do each of the rowing segments). I know I was slower than Terry, but he didn’t make me feel badly about it. And we actually were able to get through all of the segments before the challenge was done!

For the second half of class, it was a competitive challenge so I ended up with a different partner. I actually ended up in the only 3 partner group so things were a bit easier on us. With everyone else, there was one person on the floor (who determined the pace) and the other person was on the rower. And the challenge was to see how many meters you and your partner could get in the rest of class. With my group, we had one person on the floor, one on the treadmill, and one on the rower. And not everyone was rowing (they used the bike instead) so we didn’t get to track our distance. It was a tough challenge even with the breaks my group got on the treadmill. The floor was squats, push-ups, and ab work and it seemed like we were going at a crazy pace! But I’m proud of the work that I got done that day and that I didn’t let any of my partners down.

Wednesday’s workout was endurance focused and we had a 700 meter row challenge. Normally, I can do 700 meters on the rower in about 3:30 (sometimes 3:15). It’s a longer row challenge and sometimes I push too hard in the beginning and get burnt out before I’m done. This time, I was hoping I could do under 3 minutes and decided to try to focus on pacing myself in the beginning and then increasing my speed and power as the time went on. My focus paid off because I got an awesome row time!

That was below the time I was hoping for! For the rest of the workout, I did my usual stuff. For the 3 minute push paces I did my 1 minute intervals and for all the shorter push paces I ran for the entire time. That’s starting to become more comfortable so I’m happy with that progress. And when we got to the floor, we had a couple of types of squats and arm work.

Friday’s workout was endurance, strength, and power and it was a good one! For the endurance block on the treadmill, I had my usual intervals for the 3 minute pushes and running for the shorter ones. And during the power block, we all 90 second intervals so I could run the entire time. But where I had some great progress was during the strength block. I’ve said I needed to work on my running at inclines and this was a great workout to test it with. We had 2 different hill challenges, the first one where the incline increased and the second where it decreased. For the increasing one, I was able to run at 3% and 5% and then for the higher inclines I was walking at 10% and 12%. We had some flat road recovery between the hill challenges and when we started the declining hill challenge I was actually able to run for 30 seconds at 9% incline! It was really hard, but I made it through. I walked after that and then did the 5% incline at a run again! I’m curious with my next 5K how long I would have to run up the bigger hills. I think it might be more than 30 seconds, but it can’t be that much longer!

After the running on the inclines, I was happy that the floor work was a bit easier that day. We had rowing on each floor block (between 150-600 meters) and mainly ab work to do that day. We didn’t have to use that weights that much and being able to do ab work was a nice rest after the running. It wasn’t easy, but it was easier than having to stand and try to lift weights.

And Saturday’s workout may have been one of my favorite workouts we’ve ever had at Orangetheory! This workout was a power workout and it seemed to be custom-made for me! For the treadmill, with the exception of a 2 minute push in the beginning of the workout, it was completely 1 minute all outs with 1 minute walking recovery in between! This is exactly the intervals I’m used to doing and I took advantage of that.

I started my all outs at 5 mph and was increasing by .2 mph for the first few intervals. Then it was starting to get a bit tough running that fast and being able to recover so I was only increasing it by .1 mph. I was going a lot faster than I’m used to doing especially since when I usually do my super fast speeds it’s the very end of the treadmill time. But when we were down to the last 3 intervals I decided it was now or never to push myself. I had pushed myself the entire week with the workouts and I didn’t want to skip doing that on Saturday. So I did 6 mph for one, 6,5 mph for the second to last interval, and for the last minute on the treadmill I ran at 7 mph. I don’t know if I’ve ever run that fast in my entire life. It was incredibly difficult and I was thinking of slowing the speed down a few times during that minute, but I made it through! And even though this wasn’t the farthest I’ve done on the treadmill in class, it is the farthest I’ve gone in under 30 minutes in class. And technically this distance within this time is faster than what I was doing my last 5K at.

After that running, I wasn’t ready for the floor work that day and it wasn’t an easy one either. There was only 1 long block for the entire time. We had rowing and then we were doing various exercises in between. I’ll admit that I was taking more breaks during the floor work that I probably should have, but it was a tough day and I was having a lot of trouble catching my breath. There were a few times I was starting to feel a bit light-headed (the problem with Saturday workouts is that I usually don’t eat lunch right before going) and I wanted to take it easy on myself. But I still got a good chunk of the floor work done before time was up.

This was a pretty incredible week of workouts for me. I got to work on a lot of my rowing skills including working on my rowing endurance. And I made some amazing progress with my running in my speed and with the inclines. I said that since I wasn’t going to hit my workout goal for 2016 that I was going to focus on making each of my workouts the best one it can be. And I think I really did get that done with these 4 workouts.

December Monthly Challenge (or Wrapping Up For The Year)

It the last month for my monthly challenges for 2016! I’ve had a lot of amazing monthly challenges and they have really changed me for the better! But before I get into my December challenge, I want to do a quick recap of last month.

Last month, I set the challenge to drink more water. More specifically, I wanted to try to drink 80 oz of water a day. I picked that amount because the cup I use to drink water at home is 20 oz. So it was easy to say I wanted to drink 4 cups a day. I managed to accomplish this almost every single day last month. I was able to get the timing down to where I knew when I needed to finish each cup. The only time I really didn’t meet my goal was when I was out-of-town. This was mainly because I wasn’t focused on how much water I drank (plus I didn’t know how big the cups were at the rental house). But overall, I’d consider the challenge a big success!

I had some really big ideas for my December challenge, but after some consideration I decided to scrap that idea. I’ve already ordered a new planner for 2017, so I can do some of the big ideas next year. And there are some really big ideas (like having a month completely binge-free) that I’m very excited about. But for December, I decided that this monthly challenge is a time to do some reflection.

So I’ve decided that my December challenge is to rededicate time to the challenges I set throughout the year. Most of them have been easy for me, but I’ve totally been slacking on a couple. And being at the end of the year is the perfect time to make sure these challenges become habits and I make sure that I start 2017 in the best place possible.

The ones that I’ve been able to keep with pretty much no effort have been properly tracking my food intake (although there are some improvements I’d like to make), doing daily gratitude lists, not ordering delivery food (although I may get delivery Chinese food for my Christmas dinner), weighing myself every day I’m home, working on self-submitting for acting jobs every day, meditating every day (but there is improvement I can focus on), reading 10 pages of a recovery focused book daily, and my water intake.

While those have come easily to me, I know that I’m not doing them 100% all the time and I have taken notes on steps I want to take to make these new habits even stronger and better for me. I think those steps should be pretty easy since they are small tweaks versus starting from scratch. But I think improvement and progress with habits is a good thing so I’m happy to work on making these better.

The ones I’ve been struggling with have been practicing mindful eating, a yoga class online (or at least a yoga pose) every day, and doing a daily task sheet. The mindful eating one has been very tough. I have an alarm to remind me of it, but because my eating schedule isn’t the same day to day, sometimes the alarm is too early or too late. I need to work on a different system, but I’m not totally sure what that is yet. But I’m happy to be working on it this month. Yoga was working really great for me for a while, and then time just got away from me. It’s another thing that I have an alarm to remind me of, but I need to make it more of a priority in my life again. It was a good thing and I know I need to work on bringing it back. And while the daily task sheet was a challenge I didn’t end up liking, I know that having a daily to-do list is good and I’m seeing how that could be most productive for me.

I think spending the month working on the year’s challenges will put me in a place where I’m ready to take on 2017 head first. I know that 2017 has the potential to be a very rewarding yet very challenging year so I want to be in the best head space possible. And getting back to my challenges will be a great way to accomplish that.

My new planner should be arriving in the next week or so, and I’m so excited for it! Buying this planner really was one of the greatest things I’ve done for myself and I’m so excited to make next year’s planner even better!

And because the team at Ink+Volt know how much I have loved my planner this year, they gave me something to share with you all! This is a link to the entire 2016 planner that you can download and use! Even though 2016 is almost over, you can use the December pages to make sure you also end 2016 the best person ever! And if you love it, you can still buy the 2017 planner and hopefully get it delivered before the new year starts!

I’m really excited for this month’s challenge/reflection/rededication and seeing how I am able to solidify my challenges in my life. My next monthly challenge post will be my first challenge for 2017!