insanity diaries – day 13

I’ve got the best news I’ve heard in a while….

I MADE IT THROUGH WEEK 2!! And I haven’t had one single tortilla chip since I started.

Thank you, thank you, please hold the applause.

I don’t think I’ve shared yet officially, here I am pre-program in January, looking over my favorite city in New England…Providence! I do have official ‘before’ mug shots but I will be keeping those to myself.

Overall, I’m feeling great and settled right into the Insanity lifestyle.  The workouts are still killer but my eating goals have been going great and easier than I thought to manage. Let’s talk about food first.

So, this past workweek was a 4-dayer (love it) and each one of my days looked a bit like this:

7:30am: 1 egg/1 egg white omlette w/mushrooms, spinach, avacado. A bit of cheese, 80-100 calorie whole wheat bread, splash of ketchup.

10am: Serving of plain 0% Greek Yogurt with almond butter & strawberries. Some days just a full serving of the yogurt and fruit.

12pm: An apple & whole wheat pasta, chicken, veggies, EVOO, garlic. Other days Chicken Chili with White Beans & Chipoltes with a whole wheat pita

3pm: 1 pouch organic flax oatmeal (or any all natural, low sodium/sugar alternative) with walnut pieces

6pm: No salt added lentil soup with roasted veggies

8pm:  A serving of dark chocolate

Not bad, right? Now that I’m  used to this eating plan, I find occasionally only feeling extra hungry about an hour or so after dinner. In this case, I’ll usually have a piece of wheat bread with peanut or almond butter. It’s probably not the best thing to have shortly before bed, but I take the hunger to indicate that I’m a bit low on calories for the day and what always makes me feel super full is any combo of a good fat, protein, and carb. Plus this is usually the only food combo we have on hand that I haven’t already eaten in the day since we’re trying to buy only what we plan to eat each week (no snacky stuff!).

It’s Sunday night and I had another weekend of reasonable eating. Like I mentioned before, I’m trying to go from ‘cheat weekend’ to ‘cheat meal’ or ‘meals’ in an effort to fight weekend overeating. This weekend, my cheat meal was breakfast this morning at this fantastic place called Sound Bites in Somerville. Making the trek up there, especially this morning in the snow, is always worth it because they have breakfast picks to die for. Nothing is too greesy and you can tell that all their ingredients are extra fresh – how can they not be when the lines are usually down the street? So, I had the ‘Green Omlette’ with peppers, broccoli, onions & spinach with egg whites and no cheese. Wheat bread dry. And I barely touched the cinder block grilled garlic mashed potatoes they give you on the side.  That’s an ‘A’ in my book, however, the man and I couldn’t resist ordering Filled French Toast with Mango, Strawberries & Cream Cheese to share. Mmm mmm mm!! I’m always a sucker for a cheat that’s worth it 🙂

However, there will be no cheating allowed with the workout schedule. I have followed my plan to a ‘Shaun-T’ and even added Insane Abs a week early at the end of my Cardio Recovery Friday. I’ve done better ab moves (Jillian Michael’s 6 Week 6 Pack) but I was slightly sore the next day so he really works you because I can usually endure a lot of core.

I’d like to write a bit about my concern about the pace/intensity of these workouts. Yes, I love it and overall feel like I’m keeping up better that the average participant in Week 2. However, there are points where I feel like I’m going to die, even sometimes in the warm-up! So during these times, I am certain that my form is compromised. Big time. ST would throw me off the floor if he was here. But I’m a huge believer that if you don’t push through, you won’t improve as fast.

An example: Hit the Floors. These ALWAYS get me! I cannot tell you why, maybe it’s the timing in the video, maybe it’s because you jump up and reach up your arms then lunge down, touch the floor, whatever it is they have become my arch nemesis plyo move. Suicides I can do, they’re very similiar (touch the floor side to side) so apprently the combo of touching the floor AND jumping & reaching up just annihiliates me. Anyway, what I’m most likely doing during Hit the Floors is attempting the actual move 4 times or so and doing some sort of modification that probably looks like Suicides for the rest of the time. Is that ok? I guess it will have to be!

So if anyone is reading this because they’re considering starting the program, the workouts are a mixture of highs, lows, accomplishments, frustration and a whole lotta hard work. There are times where my body just doesn’t agree with what I want it to do. If you want more detail on each of the workouts this site really breaks it down and helped me prepare for just what I was getting into.

My second Fit Test is coming up in 2 days. I’m nervous but anxious to see if I’ve made an improvement. I don’t think I’ve shared before, so here are my results from the first round on Day 4:

Switch Kicks: 115

Power Jacks: 44

Power Knees: 94

Globe Jumps (1=4 total jumps): 9

Suicide Kicks: 17

Push Up Jacks: 15 (Admitting it’s almost impossible to do one with perfect form)

Low Plank Oblique: 68

I keep my schedule and results tracked on one big sheet. While I was putting it together, I found the first and last results of Tanya and the other guy who does the Fit Test with ST. Based on that, I estimated where my goal should be by checking out where Tanya was, so I prefilled my Final Goal before I had even taken the test. The good news is that I beat 2 of my final goals in the first round… Switch Kicks and Low Plank Obliques. Had to readjust!

I am off to Week 3. Jumping (literally) right back into it with Pure Cardio tomorrow morning!

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help! my wardrobe is bigger than my ego

I have way too many clothes. Well, maybe not according to most people’s standards, but certainly mine. And I keep getting more. It’s like when I’m out shopping I black out and forget my huge, overflowing closet back home.

I used to think the more stuff the better, but now the sum of it irks me. What Not to Wear shed new light on what a complete wardrobe means to me. First off, this show is great. They give fashionably challenged trainwrecks a complete style makeover and it changes lives. They throw out every piece of clothing and pair of shoes they own. It’s addicting, and inspiring and I’m stuck to the couch anytime there’s a marathon. But at the end, they give you a look at their new wardrobe and it’s made up of like  5 tops, 2 pants, 1 pair of jeans, and a dress. Maybe I exaggerate but it doesn’t look like much! So the point is to mix and match – 20 items of clothing = 100 outfits. But wouldn’t people at work notice you wearing the same dress 3 different ways every week?

Anyway, this does make me realize that each and every one of us are clothes hoarders. The thought of having a million things in your closet can be blissful, but also backfire. Here’s why:

1. It’s overwhelming. When you look in your closet to pick something out you have no idea where to start.

2. Think about it. You only wear 20% of what you own. This morning, I am about to put on a shirt that I think I wore last weekend, when I have a million other tops that I haven’t seen daylight in months. I have at least 15 pairs of jeans but currently rotate 3 or 4.

3. Your closet gives you anxiety. It’s messy. It’s unkempt. It’s down right overwhelming to look at. Who needs closet stress on top of all the other things we deal with?

So what do we do? Set aside a cold or rainy afternoon on a weekend to go through EVERYTHING. Take everything out of that closet and dresser, put it on the floor in the living room and sort into 3 piles: Keep, Donate, Consign. Don’t spend more than 10 seconds deciding on any item. If you find pieces you’re unsure of, put them aside and go back to them later. You’ll be surprised at how your attitude can change as you go through the process.

All of the things you have with stains, holes, rips, or that are just plain wornout should be donated. Find one of those donation bins on the side of the road. It will feel invigorating and I promise you won’t even remember those things you weren’t quite sure about tossing. Think about all that new room in your life!

You should only keep items that really get you excited. I mean the tops that you wear all the time, jeans that make you feel amazing, work clothes that you find yourself rotating every week, etc. Everything else that’s not being donated you should consider consigning. Consignment is the easiest way to make a couple hundred extra bucks a year. Google your local consignment store, they are usually all over the place and cover every budget point. If you have designer items in great condition, find a shop that specializes in selling high end, gently used clothing. If your wardrobe is a bit all over the place like mine (from H&M to Ann Taylor to BCBG and everything in between), consider selling at an average shop. They will love you for your higher-end picks and also be willing to get rid of that basic Gap tee that you can’t get yourself to donate.

Finally, you’re left with a wardrobe filled with only the items that make you feel glorious. And stuff you actually love to look at! Sort of like Forbes 100 of your closet.

I like to do this at least once a year. I still have problems with clothes hoarding but this is the only way to address it. My consignment shop starts taking Spring items soon so I better go get started!


create your own dream job from Zen Habits

Read it Here: Can’t Find Your Dream Job? Create Your Own

I’m loving his specific examples and practical, step-by-step advice in this article. Here are my thoughts:

All of us go through similar stages in life. Some stages may take longer or be more difficult for some than for others, but the ideas of growing up, becoming independent, and making a life of your own are familiar to most everyone.

I’m currently in a phase where now that I have an established post-college life and source of income, I’m itching for what’s next. How can I live my life to the fullest and maximize my strengths in order to live the life that was meant for me? Where I’m fulfilled and balanced as possible? I’m obsessed with the idea of all the possibilities the internet and this age of technology can offer, and I’m inspired by those who have taken what would normally be considered a hobby or pastime and translated it into a successful living. I don’t loathe my job, but I almost sure I’m not fully utilizing my innate strengths in the best way possible. And I lack passion. Why settle?

One of the places I’ve found tremendous inspiration is Zen Habits. I would like to share 90% of the posts on this site but that is for another day. Tonight I found the fantastic read above about how it’s possible to live, breathe, and work your passion. It’s such a simple concept – living what you love, and loving what you live. Most of us are quick to overlook or don’t consider this idea because we’re brought up to believe that making a living almost always involves doing something you hate. We end up working to live. As it turns out, when you pursue a lifestyle based on your passions and leverage the strengths you were born with, you can create your own dream job. I bet this feels pretty darn great, and of course comes with a lot of hard work. But it’s up to you to own it! Never count on anyone else to do it for you.


insanity diaries – day 5

Just completed my FIFTH official day of Insanity workouts!! Woohoo. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1. P90X Plyo (I cheated) 2. Cardio Power & Resist 3. Plyo Cardio Circuit 4. Cardio Recovery & Fit Test 5. Pure Cardio

Today (Pure Cardio) was by far the most insane of them all. As I mentioned before, once you get through with the warm-up (cardio & stretching) you only have 20 minutes left on the clock so you’re thinking, no sweat! The actual workout in Pure Cardio is just over 15 minutes long but it is straight out 1-minute cardio intervals. Anyone familiar with interval training like myself will tell you that 30-second intervals can actually be breezy (Jillian Michael’s typically uses these, especially in her new videos). 45-second intervals are a bit more challenging, and it really depends on how what intensity of exercise you’re doing.

1-minute intervals are down right brutal. Especially after a warm-up that includes moves like ‘Heismans’ and ‘Mummy Kicks.’

Unlike the other videos I’ve tried so far from the Insanity line-up, none of the moves in Pure Cardio are repeated. 15 minutes straight of intervals may not be that bad however he starts you off with Switch Kicks and Suicides and brings you home with Suicide Jumps and Push Up Jacks. Woof.

But I’m alive! And loving it. If I wasn’t a seasoned vet in terms of plyo stuff and interval training I can confidently say I would never make it through these. I’m not sure this program is designed for people who are moderately to significantly overweight or who haven’t seen a gym in years. Most of the moves are ultra advanced and you’re pressured to move FAST. Often times I find myself wondering if I compromise form or speed in order to see the most improvement. This feels more like what can we do to kick the TRAINERS ass? Sounds like some of the  participants in the video are trainers or spin instructors. And they are dying.

So how am I feeling so far? For the most part great. Other than feeling a bit under the weather for two days, I felt like I was coming down or fighting a bug. It did cross my mind that it may be my body adjusting to a shift in workout intensity and also eating patterns but I had that throaty/achy feeling that’s unmistakable for a virus of some sort. Feeling a bit better today and I’ve been determined to not miss a workout.

More than anything, I’m focused on eating right – planning ahead and not deviating from a set schedule. Insanity comes with an eating guide, I’m not following that exactly but the idea I’m going for is to have 300-400 calories every 2-3 hours. My diet each day has looked something like this:

7am: 1 egg/2 egg white omlette w/mushrooms, spinach, avacado. A bit of cheese, 80-100 calorie whole wheat bread, splash of ketchup.

10am: Serving of plain 0% Greek Yogurt with almond butter & strawberries

12pm: Hearty serving of homemade Turkey Chili with a slide of whole wheat bread, 1 medium apple

3pm: 1 pouch organic flax oatmeal (or any all natural, low sodium/sugar alternative) with walnut pieces

6pm: Tufu, veggies with whole wheat pasta seasoned with salt-free Mrs Dash (Fiesta Lime is the shiz)

8pm: 1 VitaMuffin Top – soo good!

Not sure how many calories but since I’m not new to controlling a diet, I’m trying to listen to my body and eat when it’s hungry. We’ve all read about the idea that when your body isn’t getting enough calories it can go to a semi or full-on starvation mode which is actually even worse than eating too much since everything you eat will be stored as fat. No fun! The Insanity workouts are fairly quick, only 40 mins or so in the first 4 weeks of the program so I’m not sure how many calories you’re burning but what I do know is jump-training ignites metabolism. I’m certainly more hungry than usual, so over the next week or so I plan to tweak my diet until I find the perfect balance.

In terms of body composition, I am feeling quite lean. Perhaps because this past week was my ‘lady week’ and I always feel extra fresh after going through that, but I do feel strong and lean. My body hasn’t been too sore, except for my calves. They have felt like knots each morning, but not so bad this morning. Other than that, I do feel a bit worn down but not sore in any other area. I’m not sure that I’m expecting to be ripped since there’s no strength training involved but with lots of lower-body explosive movements I’m anxious to see how I can transform those problem areas.

Although the Fit Test doesn’t ask you to take measurements, I’ve added a few to my Insanity calendar that I will track each day I do the Fit Test. Here’s where I am as of Day 4:

Bust: 33 1/4″ Waist: 27″ Hips: 38 1/4″ Upper Arm: 11″ Mid Thigh: 20 3/4″

Upper arms and hips are probably where I’m looking to change the most.

Tomorrow is my first rest day I’m pumped!