Saturday, May 18, 2013

Week 18 - Exercise Impovements (but you won't get a picture)

After last week’s three pound gain I was definitely in a bit of a panic.  My coach had to talk me off the ledge a bit saying it was probably just water weight.  She was mostly right.  I have lost two of the three pounds I gained last week.  I really hope to lose more this week even though I'm holding a big birthday party for my mother tomorrow and the food will be an all-out fat and carb fest.

She also had to talk me off the ledge about my San Francisco trip, which is coming up next week.  My hotel has a gym, so I hope to have all of my weight workouts in the week.  As for the other days, time will tell.  San Francisco is a good walking city and those hills should give me a good workout.  We are going on a couple of day-long bus tours though.   Both tours will feature some boots-on-the-ground time in both Muir Woods and Yosemite, but I will also be on my butt in a van a lot and I don’t know how much control I will have over my food choices.  Since San Francisco is a big foodie city, the foodie in me really wants to try some of the better restaurants.  In some ways I was lucky that places like Quince and Nopa were booked solid for weeks at a time.  I did manage to book two other high-end restaurants.  Coach reminds me to just follow the 80% rule and try to make the best choices possible. 
I finished Phase 4 of the workout this week.  I really liked this phase.  There were plenty of challenging moves and I felt very powerful doing them.  I’m excited to see what challenges the next phase will bring.  This month I saw some strength improvements.  I still grunt a bit when I do the diagonal lifts with the 25 pound plate, but the first few reps feel much better.  Initially I could not comfortably hoist a barbell against my arms for the front squat and had to use a body bar.  My legs are strong enough to support the weight, but my arms couldn’t handle it for the first two weeks.  At the end of last week I was able to get in the cage and use an actual barbell (no plates) and do the front squat comfortably.  The unweighted barbell is still almost twice as heavy as the heaviest body bar, so I think that’s tremendous.
I have definitely been letting my cardio slack off since I started the program.  I don’t believe cardio should be the be-all and end-all to a fat loss program, but some good interval work can certainly help.  On Lean Eating we are told to do one “active recovery” workout along with two interval workouts each week.  I consider dance class to be my active recovery and my other two workouts are Zumba and the prescribed intervals (20-30 seconds at moderate effort and 30 seconds at full effort) on a stationary bike (treadmill is really hard on my knees and ankles).   Riding is just a bonus. 
Wednesday night my train home ran late and I missed Zumba. At first I thought I would just head to the gym and do some work on the hamster wheels or pop in a DVD at home or play with my neglected Kinect.  Intead  I decided to improvise an outdoor interval workout.  I went to Harbor Island and started walking.  Then I sprinted as hard as I could until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  Then I walked until I caught my breath.  I did another walk/sprint combo and then did things like suicide sprints using two trees as markers, burpees with pushups, and that exercise where you put your hands behind you on the floor and alternately kick your legs in the air.  I did this around the perimeter of the harbor and back. 
I was totally winded from this workout.  It’s true that if you always do the same cardio your body adapts and the workouts are less effective.  I can get through Zumba class and barely feel winded.  I thought I would lose a lung when I was doing those sprint intervals.  Once dance class ends for the season in the beginning of June I hope to start doing this workout once a week (with Zumba as my active rest).   I look forward to seeing improvements like longer sprints and shorter walks and increased number of suicides (I make myself do 5 right now, but I’m feeling dead at 4).  

Since we finished another workout phase, I had to take photos.  I'm not posting them here yet.  I think next month when I hit the 6 month mark in the program and end Phase 5 of the workout, I will post my photo on the blog.  I seem to have a following on this blog for the Lean Eating posts, so I might as well share progress with you.  I feel like I owe my "fans" that much.  

I have one big challenge this week, which is Mom's birthday party.  I don't think between my brother and me that we are making anything nutritious or low calorie.  I'll have to remember the 80% rule and be extra careful all week.  Maybe I'll lose something by Saturday - then I leave for San Francisco the next day.  Yikes!

I decided to try a different protein powder for my morning smoothies.  I am trying hemp now.  Oh the potential for jokes here is endless!  The problem with protein powder is that I really want to keep things natural and protein powder is not the most natural product.   I was using plain, unsweetened, unflavored whey, but I started thinking about how much  processing goes on between the cow and the jar with whey.  I'm not going to use pea protein (yuck).  Brown rice protein powder isn't all that high in protein.  Soy protein is heavily processed and I don't eat soy anyway.  Hemp is about 50% protein, is a sustainable crop, and doesn't seem as heavily processed as some powders.  We'll see how it tastes in my shakes.  It's perishable.  I have to keep it refrigerated.  That does make it seem like it's a bit more like a fresh product than a processed one.

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