Tag Archives: OrangeTheory

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!

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 2017 Goals (or I Know This Year Will Be Amazing!)

It’s the beginning of 2017 and I’m ready to make this year so amazing! I have a lot of things happening this year and while they are not all great things I know that I can do incredible things even with the struggles I know the year will bring. As always, I don’t set resolutions because I don’t feel like those have a long-term feeling. I like to set goals for what I can get done in the year and I’m ready to share my 2017 goals with you all.

My first goal is a fitness related one. I didn’t quite make my fitness goal for 2016, but I’m still trying to do better than that goal. This year, I want to do 181 workouts at Orangetheory. This is going to be a huge challenge for me. First, I only did 177 workouts last year so this is 4 more than what I did before. But also, with my liver surgery, I may need to take several weeks off of working out. Because of that, I will have to do more 4 workout weeks before surgery and after I recover. But I’d love to make 4 workout weeks more of the norm so setting a goal of 181 workouts is a great way to push myself to do that.

My next goal is to get through my liver surgery as easily as possible. I know that this will be hard to do since I have no clue how my body will react to surgery and recovery. But I am a big believer in the power of positive thought and that’s what I’ll be doing. When I had my hip surgery, I was in the gym the next day on the recumbent bike working out because I was told that moving would be good for me. So my plan is to think that I will be able to get through surgery with few problems. I will have to spend some time at the hospital after surgery, but with positive thinking I’m hoping the time will be as limited as it can be. I know this will be a painful process, but I still want to focus on the positives and hoping that the pain will be manageable and that I will have a fast recovery.

The next goal is to continue on my journey through recovery and to reduce my binge episodes even more. I know that setting a goal to eliminate binges is setting myself up for failure, but to even reduce the average to be one fewer a week would be awesome! I want to continue to reading my recovery books to be inspired and get my brain in a place where recovery is possible. This isn’t an easy goal, but I’m excited to see what progress I can make this year.

Next are money related goals. I have a number that I want to get my debt below this year. I’m not sharing that publicly because that won’t mean much to everyone else, but it will be a reduction of about 25% of the debt I currently have. I would love it to be lower, but because I am not making a ton of money right now I know that I must have slightly realistic goals. And along with that, I would not only like to pay down my debt but I would also like to have some savings as well. I don’t want to have to use my credit card for unexpected expenses like car problems or wanting to buy things like my Disneyland pass. If I had savings, I could use that for those expenses while still being able to pay down debt.

I also have a goal of hopefully setting a PR again in my 5K race time. I have 2 races planned for this year so hopefully I can PR at one or both of them! I plan on increasing how long my running intervals are so that should hopefully help to make getting a PR easier for me. I’m not as focused on increasing my speed right now, but maybe that will be something I work on toward the end of the year for future PRs.

And my last goal (which I seem to set each year) is to have more fun. I’m even trying to make my liver surgery fun by telling my friends that they will have to come and visit me in the hospital so I can have a good time there. I plan on continuing my adventures to Disneyland and Universal Studios and hopefully having more fun random outings. There is so much stuff in LA that I haven’t done yet even though I’ve lived here for almost 16 years and I want to have more fun in the city I call home.

So that’s it for my goals for 2017. I think I’ve set some really good ones and I’m excited to do my best to accomplish them all! And I hope that at the end of December, I look back at this post and am proud of what I got done. But for now, I’m just happy to start working on all of these and checking things off throughout the year!

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.

Holiday Workouts (or Hills, Hills, and More Hills)

This past week of workouts were really great for me. I had some pain issues, but I was able to push through them most of the time and make the most of each workout. I knew going into this week that I was recovering from a week (and weekend) where I had gone out for a lot of dinners that were splurges. And I knew that on Christmas I’d be getting Chinese food and I wanted to work out in preparation for that.

Monday’s workout was a strength day where we switched between blocks. I knew that I would be doing a lot of walking that day, but I also made it my intention to try to push myself on my inclines and walking speed. And I had extra motivation to do so because JZ, who used to be my Wednesday coach, was on the treadmill next to me! I did run when we had flat road push and all out paces (where were all a minute or under). But when the pushes were on inclines I stuck with walking. I did bump up my walking speed a little bit and my inclines were between 6-10%. I think I might have been able to do a bit better, but for some reason I held back.

For our floor blocks, we did have some rowing. It was a 200 meter row, which is a sprint, and I was able to get those done pretty quickly. We also had some squats and back work that involved weights plus some rowing moves on the straps. We finished that workout with a 5 minute core blast and I thought I’d be fine doing them. But once we started, my stomach started cramping a bit. The sit-ups were tough but I was able to modify things and just do crunches when I couldn’t do what we were supposed to do. And when we had the 1 minute plank hold, I tried to stay up as long as possible, but only made it about 30 seconds before I had to take a break.

Wednesday’s workout was endurance, strength, and power and it was also a run/row. This was a pretty fun run/row for me. The first round was .5 miles if you were a runner and .25 if you were a power walker, so I did .375 with 2 minutes of running and a walking break. Then I had a 100 meter row which was nice and fast. Then it was a .35 mile run at 3% incline and I did .25 miles at that incline with 1 minute interval. Then it was a 250 meter row. Then the incline got tough and I did a .15 mile run at 5% incline. I wanted to do the entire thing as a run, but I was too tired so I did my 1 minute intervals instead. Then a 400 meter row on the rower. I finished the run/row with a .15 mile run at 3% with 1 minute intervals. It was a tough run/row, but it felt really awesome when I finished it!

On the floor, we had a good mix of upper and lower body work. We had some squats with weights and I was able to use 20lbs for those. Then for the shoulder work, I was using 15lbs. The rest of the floor work wasn’t with weights. We had ab work, bicep curls on the straps (I feel like it has been a while since I’ve had to do those!), rowing on the straps, and plank jacks. It was a really good workout and I was pretty happy with all the work I did that day especially since on Monday I didn’t run for any of the incline work.

Friday was another strength day. I’m not sure how I got so many days with inclines on the treadmill but I did. I’m not a huge fan of running on inclines, but I took this as a sign that I was meant to work on them. We had some push paces at 2 and 4% and I ran all of those. When we had higher inclines, I walked for those. We had 2 sets of 3 minute hill climbs and I walked those entire climbs at 6, 8, and 10% inclines. And all of our all out paces were at 2% inclines and I did run for all of those, but I did it at a slightly slower speed than normal. Overall, I was totally happy with my running at inclines that day.

For the floor work that day, I did struggle. My right arm was bugging me (I think I might have slept on it funny) so I had to use lighter weights than I would have liked to. The weights felt too easy, but when I used the heavier ones I could barely lift them. It was a weird feeling, but I just had to go with the lighter weights and be ok with them. The very last floor block was actually a rowing block for 6 minutes. My stomach was having some really bad cramps while on the rower so I was taking breaks pretty often.

Even though my Friday class ended on a slightly negative note because of the rowing, I still had a smile on my face during class. That’s because my Friday coach, Bruce, was wearing the Santa hat I got him 2 years prior. He’s worn that for the workout or two before Christmas each year and it does make me really happy that he does that.

And since I wanted to get ready for my Chinese food on Christmas, I did a workout on Christmas Eve as well! This workout was a 3G workout and it was the workout where you pull assignments out of stockings to find out what you have to do on the treadmill, rower, and floor.

I started on the treadmill for that workout. My first card said I had to do a 45 second push pace at 4% incline followed by a 30 second all out pace at a flat road for 4 rounds. I was able to run for all of it and did a walking recovery between each round. The next card I pulled was to do .24 miles, 1 minute of walking, and then another .24 miles. I did it as 1 minute intervals and I didn’t get through all of that but I got through most of it with my intervals.

Next, I was on the rower and I pulled a card that said do to 240 meters, a 20 second recovery, and then another 120 meters. That was for 3 rounds and it went pretty well considering how much I struggled with my rowing the day before. The next card I pulled was to do a 2400 meter row. I knew that there was no way I could get that done in the time that I had left, so I just focused on rowing for the rest of the block the best that I could.

My last block was on the floor and for that we either were going to pull a card that said we had to do the coal moves (which were the tough ones) or the present moves (which were still hard but easier). I ended up pulling the present card, but I had to do 24 reps of each move which made it seem harder than the coal ones would have been! The moves I had to do were single arm snatches (I did that with a 20lb weight), full squat shoulder presses (15lb weights for that), squats, tricep push-ups, and full sit ups. I just made it to the end of my second round when time was called. We finished with a 3 minute core blast and while there are still some ab moves that are very tough on me, I managed to do most of it without modifications.

Like I said before, since I know I’m not going to make it to my workout goal for 2016, I’m focusing on the intensity of each workout I have left this year. Even though some things weren’t as tough as I know I could have done, I think I did a pretty good job with my 4 workouts this week! I’ve only got 3 more workouts left in 2016 before I start my 2017 workouts. I know that I’m going to push myself as much as I can this week to end on the best note possible!

Hitting A New PR (or Forgetting To Take Things Easy)

I wasn’t sure how this past week of workouts would go. I knew that Monday would be fine, but since I was getting my IUD in on Tuesday I thought there would be a chance that was going to be my only workout. I was hopeful that I would be able to do my 3 workouts, but I was also realistic. So I figured even if I only did my Monday workout or only made it through 10 minutes of the other workouts that it would be good enough. But because I’m stubborn, of course I didn’t take it easy.

Monday’s workout was the last challenge for the 12 days of fitness. And for day 12 we had a 12 minute distance challenge. Since I knew my mile PR was 13:39, I just wanted to be as close to a mile as possible. Some of my friends were telling me that I could probably do a mile in 12 minutes, but I didn’t believe them. But then I realized I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

For the 12 minutes I did 1 minute of running at 6 mph, 1 minute of running at 5.5 mph, and 1 minute of walking at 3.5 mph. While I’ve done 2 minutes of running with my intervals before, it has never been that fast. There were plenty of times that I thought that I couldn’t do it and by some change I realized I had made it to my walking minute. I was so tired and so out of breath, but when I saw the 1 mile come up on the treadmill screen at 11:48, I’m so glad I did it! Taking 2 minutes off of my mile is massive progress and I shocked myself so much! But since it was a 12 minute challenge, I couldn’t stop the treadmill then so my picture is of my 12 minutes being a little more than a mile.

After that challenge, we switched to the floor (so the other group could do their 12 minute challenge) and it was a very intense floor plan. We had burpees, abs, lunges, squats, and shoulder work and all of them were between 10-60 reps. I made it through most of the floor work and then it was time to get back to the treadmill. I wanted to run on the treadmill, but I was so tired from the challenge so I did walking for all of the segments.

That would have been enough for a workout, but it wasn’t done. After that last treadmill time, we had to do a 1200 meter row. That is such a long row, and it was even harder considering all the other work I had already done. I wanted to be able to do it in under 6 minutes, and I’m happy to have done it in 5:57.

Wednesday’s class was the one I was most nervous for. I wasn’t in too much pain, but my stomach was dealing with some dull cramps and things were feeling a bit off. I figured I’d do the best I could and that would be that. It was an endurance class where we switched between blocks and I think that switching helped make things easier on me. I was able to do my regular 1 minute intervals for the long 3 minute push paces. And while I tried to run the entire 2 minute and 90 second push paces, my body just couldn’t do it. I had to cut them short, but I did run for the majority of the time.

I stuck with slower running speeds for everything that day. Even my all out paces were at a speed that sometimes is more of a push pace for me. It wasn’t that I was in pain, but things were feeling weird and I think I was psyching myself out and afraid that I was going to hurt myself somehow. There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy, but I was caught in-between feeling fine and wanting to do things like normal and being scared that I was somehow ignoring my body and going to hurt myself.

On the floor work, we had rowing each block. The first block was 300 meters (I did them in 1:20 and 1:14) and the second block was 600 meters (I did that in 2:42). All of those row times are pretty awesome for me, but rowing was tough. There was something about sitting and bending that way that made my stomach cramp up more. The pain was never that bad (it felt more like a strong pressure in my stomach), so I figured it wasn’t bad to push myself. I did have a tough time with the squats and ab work, so I did modified stuff for those. But considering that this workout was the one that I was going to take it easy or skip, I clearly didn’t follow that plan.

Friday was a power day with a run/row. I was still feeling  some cramps and uncomfortableness, but still nothing that bad. I was still taking Motrin for the pain, but Friday I probably could have skipped it (I just didn’t want to risk hurting a lot during the workout). For the run/row, we had 3 row segments for each distance. For the first distance, we had to do .2 miles 3 times with different rows in between (200, 150, and 100 meters).

I was able to run the full .2 miles each time. I was a pretty long run for me (close to 3 minutes) and it wasn’t easy. I still had that odd feeling happening but I wanted to push through it. I think the exercise helped the pain go away faster so I wanted to keep going. I took the rows easy because it was still hurting a bit to sit down and row. I didn’t pay attention to how long it took me to do each of them because it didn’t really matter to me at that point. I did make it to the .15 miles block (there was also a .1 miles block) and got 2 sets of that done before it was time to switch to the floor.

The floor work was focused on arm work which was good for me. I wasn’t dealing with any weird pain while doing the arm work so I was able to life 20 pound weights for all of the work. We did also have some plank work which was a bit tougher. I was having some weird knee pain so I had to do my planks on my toes and that made things even tougher. I know my plank form was sloppy, but again I just focused on making it through and getting it done.

Overall, I would consider my workout week a huge success. It would be a success even if I didn’t have my IUD to deal with so that makes things even better! I know that my stubbornness can be bad at times, but having it to push me through any uncomfortableness to keep going with my workouts is a good thing. I needed the workouts since my food hasn’t been great and I’m glad that even while one thing is not going so great that the other is going even better!

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.

A Not-So-Easy Easy Week (Making Sure I Challenge Myself)

After a week of tough workouts the week before, I figured I go a bit easier on myself. That did happen in the sense that I only did 3 workouts this week, but each of those workouts were ones where I pushed myself to go more than before so I guess I still couldn’t let myself off the hook.

Monday’s workout had endurance, strength, and power in it and we didn’t switch between blocks. During endurance on the treadmill, I did my 1 minute intervals during the 3 minute push. But for the 2 minute and 90 second pushes, I ran for the entire time. I’m getting more comfortable again with running those longer times and I’m working on figuring out what types of intervals I’d like to set as a goal for my next 5k race. I’m still testing things out, but I’m feeling like I can do better than 1 minute intervals.

I was thinking about my next 5k race while doing the strength work on the treadmill as well. I know that my next race will have hills in it and I really need to start training for running on hills. While I did walk for the higher inclines between 6-9%, I did do a 1 minute run at 2% incline. I know that’s not a lot, but it’s a start. For the power block, we had 1 minute pushes followed by 1 minute at base, so that’s pretty easy for me to do with my intervals. And we finished with a 1 minute all out pace where I pushed it and ran at 6.5 mph. That was not easy to maintain for a minute, but I enjoyed doing it.

For our floor work that day, we had a lot of focus on arm work. I ended up using some lighter weights than I would have liked to, but for some reason my body wasn’t feeling it with the weight work. We also had some single leg squats using the straps. Since I was able to do the single leg deadlifts while holding on the week before, I really thought I could do the single leg squats too. I really tried, but I had to stop and just do regular squats instead. I don’t know if single leg squats will ever be possible for me, but I do need to keep testing myself to see if that day is the day I can do them.

Wednesday was a strength day and I took that as a sign that it was meant for me to keep testing out running on inclines again. I was able to run for all the pushes between 2-4% incline. I’m not sure what the hills are in the 5k race, but I know they are more than 4%. I’m hoping to find out what the inclines are so I can use that as a guide to keep training with my running up inclines. I want to set up that race to be my best one on that course. Even though most of the running was at an incline (and I walked anything higher than 4%), there were some flat road moments too. I was able to run for a minute at 5.5 mph and for 30 seconds at 6.5 mph.

Floor work that day had each block starting with a 400 meter row. I ended up getting faster each time I did it which is pretty crazy. But all of my times were fast to me (the slowest was 1:48) and I felt pretty exhausted going into the rest of the floor work. The rest of the floor was more focus on arms (shoulder presses, tricep work, strap work) and that was good since my legs were tired from rowing.

Friday’s class threw me for a loop. It is normally a regular 2 group class, but for some reason this day it ended up being a 3 group class (like I had on Thanksgiving). It was an endurance day and I started on the treadmill. We had an 8.5 minute distance challenge. I thought for some reason we were doing it twice, so while I did push myself on it I knew I could have done better. My intervals were 2 minutes of running and then 1 minute of walking. I ended it with a 2.5 minute run. I am happy with my distance, but I’m so curious how much farther I could have gone if I really went crazy with my speeds.

treadmill-work

Next I was on the rower. To start, we did 100 meter sprints and the goal was to do it in as few strokes as possible. I did manage to get my stroke count down from 16 to 13, but I could never do better than 13. Next on the rower was a 800 meter distance challenge. I went a lot faster than I thought I could so I ended up needing some time to catch my breath. We had to hold a squat after that row and then try to do 800 meters again (I only made it about 300 meters the second time).

Finally on the floor, we had a ton of plank work. We had plank punches and plank leg lifts which were both challenging and I ended up having to do some modifications. We also had some lunges and sit-ups to round out things.

I’m glad that even when I’m not challenging myself with how many workouts I’m doing in a week, I’m still able to challenge myself in each class. I’m no longer trying to hit my workout goal for the year (it’s not going to happen and I’m ok with that now), but I’m still trying to find things that make me feel like I’m ending this year so much stronger than I was when I set that workout goal. If my workouts were easy, it probably would have been easy to hit that goal. Since I’m not doing that, I do need my rest days.

Only a few more weeks of workouts for 2016 to go!