Here’s a bit of a summary of how I’ve made my transformation since November 2008. This is by no means meant to be a guide for you, as everyone’s needs are different, but I hope you find it helpful in deciding how to best approach your fitness goals.
That’s right, and I ain’t talking about demons 👿
I’ m having a hard time remembering exactly what duration/quantity/quality of exercise I was doing during the winter… I think I aimed to visit the gym 3-4 times per week, do cardio at least half of those times, and attend yoga and pilates classes for variety. I was often frustrated that I wasn’t seeing results sooner, or in a more significant way, and then I read about how doing at least 45 minutes of cardio 4 days per week really ignites the fat burning.
In February I started doing at least 45 minutes of cardio 4 days per week, and I began to see the fat melt off faster. I think that is what really helped me reach my weight loss goal of 20 pounds by mid-March; prior to this I was doing only 30-40 minutes on average, with some days reaching 45 minutes. I really enjoy the StairMaster Stair Mills at 24 Hour Fitness, as I feel it gives me the best workout of all the machines (I’m not a runner). I had better be careful, though, or else I may get overuse injuries related to it… gotta switch it up!
In November and December I didn’t keep track of my training as much as I have this year, but I know I did weights at least two days per week in 2008 and in early 2009, and I kicked it up to 4 days per week in February or so. While I have a decent knowledge of weight training and rather like it, I often didn’t feel like doing it, so I would skip out on a really important part of my workouts. I like muscles, I want definition, and I don’t mind having a higher metabolism b/c of the added muscle mass 🙂 My typical weight workouts went something like this:
Upper body: standing or sitting dumbbell curls, cable pulldowns, flat or incline dumbbell chest press, cable pushdowns, hyperextensions, abdominal crunches, leg raises, and maybe some shoulder presses for shits and giggles. I only did one exercise per muscle group typically, and I didn’t push myself to exhaustion or even full exertion most times.
Lower body: leg press, leg extension (suck! I hate those!), leg curls, machine hip ad- and abduction, seated calf raises, straight leg barbell dead lifts, and maybe some obliques (not lower body, but in an effort to get in more abs). I would push myself a little more on lower body perhaps, but I didn’t really try new things or deviate from this routine for like 4 months.
Erin introduced me to www.bodybuilding.com recently, and it was there that I searched and found an intermediate split weight workout that I’m diggin’ now.
Two days per week, three sets of each
- Incline bench presses 10-12 reps
- Flat flyes 10-12 reps
- Bent over rows 10-12 reps
- Pulldowns 10-12 reps
- Preacher curls 10-12 reps
- Standing dumbbell curls 10-12 reps
- Crunches 20-30 reps (I do more like 180 going between core and obliques on the Abench)
- Leg raises 15-20 reps
Two days per week, three sets of each
- Hack squats 12-15 reps
- Leg presses 12-15 reps
- Lying leg curls 12-15 reps
- Leg-press toe raises 15-20 reps
- Seated calf raises 15-20 reps
- Front military presses 12-15 reps
- Bent over lateral raises 12-15 reps
- Barbell shrugs 12-15 reps
- Lying triceps extensions 10-12 reps
- Dumbell extensions 10-12 reps
And there ya have it!
You see almost everything I eat on a daily basis. I’d like to think that I have a healthy diet, but “healthy” is a rather subjective term these days. One major thing I’ve found is how much better I feel eating healthy food, and how unhealthy food makes me feel sluggish and icky. Eating a well-balanced diet has all but killed my sweet/chocolate cravings, but I still enjoy a good dessert here and there. I’ve aimed to eat around 1,400 calories per day for quite sometime, but that varies on the upper end. Now I think I’ve relaxed a bit since I am very close to my fitness and weight goals, but I still keep an eye on the intake.
To help me with tracking, I’ve used a pocket sized day planner to record my calories and physical activity. I think this step has been really helpful, and pretty easy.
I use a kitchen scale to measure out some eats, depending on what it is/just how much I care. I’ve found it quite enlightening to learn just how big a 44g serving of oatmeal is, or that one serving of meat really is about a palm-sized portion. This has helped me learn to eyeball servings better when out and about, rather than guessing (mostly conservatively). I also like the scale for cooking and baking measures, as it is much more accurate than volume measurements, esp. for baking. Not that I’ve been baking much…
I’d like to know what questions you have about my diet and exercise, and I can be sure to include the details for you here or in my daily blog. Thanks for reading!