This will be a much more challenging, yet at the same time, rewarding, goal for 2012: getting into a dedicated and regular work-out schedule.
For the past year and a half, I’ve been more active than I have been since doing gymnastics in grade school, but I haven’t had any concrete or written plans. Sure, I wanted to become “more fit” (which did include not having stick-figure legs). Yesterday on Skype, The Warrior was very adamant about me having a specific, written plan of what physical goals I want to accomplish. “If you don’t do that, you’ll eventually get lazy and bored and stop going to the gym.” He is a gym addict (in a good way!) and for the first time in my life, I have been pushed to my physical limit while working out with him. (I’m serious…I almost felt like throwing up once at the gym…and it was on my birthday! He was like, “Good, good. That means you’re working hard.”) But for the past couple months, even he wasn’t asking me if I was working out. Deployment was foremost in our minds, I think. So…I’ll admit it…I got lazy. I ran a 5K (my first one!) with my aunt in October, and then (gulp) didn’t work out for nearly an entire month. No excuses, I shouldn’t have done that.
But after The Warrior got settled in “over there,” he periodically began asking me, “So have you gone to the gym this week?” and I’d be kind of non-committal in my answers. “Welllll, yeah I’m going more regularly now….I can do 2 unassisted pull-ups in a row….I went a few times last week….”
But yesterday, he got more serious with me, and so I decided to get serious with myself. (After all, I’ve got to look awesome for our honeymoon, right?? ;) ) My mom got out a book she’s had called Body for Life by Bill Phillips. I looked through the book last night and was like, “Wow, this is pretty intense, but sounds like an amazing program.” Basically it consists of a 12-week “Training-for-Life” schedule, 6 days a week with Sundays as the day of rest. It alternates between weight training one day and his “20-Minute Aerobics Solution” the next. So for example, Week One is this:
Monday: Upper Body Weight Training
Tuesday: 20-Minute Aerobics Solution
Wednesday: Lower Body Weight Training
Thursday: 20-Minute Aerobics Solution
Friday: Upper Body Weight Training
Saturday: 20-Minute Aerobics Solution
Sunday: Free Day
The second week, you start with Lower Body Weight Training, and so on. This program is supposed to work whether you are trying to lose weight and get in basic shape, or if you are already looking decent but want to build muscle and improve tone. The latter is my goal.
He also stresses eating correctly for this kind of intense working out, and he highly advises having 6 small meals a day instead of 3 big ones. However, for many of us with full-time work schedules, this isn’t always possible. He is the creator of the EAS and Myoplex sports nutrition, and of course touts using these protein shakes as meal supplements if you can’t work in 6 food meals a day. I will have to check out how much these things cost (probably would have to buy online) and see how I can work that into my financial budget. (But that’s a whole ‘nother topic!)
So today, January 2, I started Week 1 with Upper Body Weight Training. I should’ve timed myself (I forgot), but it took me less than an hour. I printed off an EAS Daily Fitness Assessment sheet (with Upper Body Exercises) and on the way to the gym (my mom was driving) I planned out what I was going to do. You work out the 5 areas: chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Ideally, he says that this should not take more than 46 minutes, and in his book he has pictures and explanations on how to do each exercise. For example, for the chest category, I chose the “Barbell Bench Press” as the main exercise. The BFL program says to choose a light weight for 12 reps, then move up to the next weight for 10 reps, next weight for 8, next weight for 6. Then you go back to the weight you chose for the 8 reps and do that one 12 times. Then you choose another chest exercise (I picked Dumbbell Flyes) and do that 12 times at the weight you were just using. Then you move on to the back category with the same system. As you progress in the program, you start with heavier and heavier weights. On the Fitness Assessment sheet, there are spaces to write down what weights you lifted and notes for each category, so everything is very detailed. I armed myself with the BFL book, this sheet, and a pencil stuck into my ponytail as I made myself at home in the free weights section, surrounded by body-building men. (I felt a bit out of place.) But as I got down to the second to last category, biceps, and was doing Alternate Dumbbell Curls, I watched myself in the mirror and felt like pretty hot stuff! My arms were shaky and weak afterwards, but The Warrior would say, “That’s a sign you were working hard!” It was even hard to grip my pencil right after finishing. I made sure to drink a protein shake before working out and immediately after, and ate a dinner that included good servings of meat, carbs, and fresh veggies. I’m also getting in the habit of carrying a water bottle with me and drinking more water. (BFL recommends drinking 2 cups immediately upon waking up, especially if you work out in the morning.)
Tomorrow after work, I’ll do the 20-Minute Aerobics Solution. At first, I felt overwhelmed looking at the 12-week plan and thought, “Well how the heck can I do that? What if I miss a day? Then I’ll feel like a failure…and I don’t want to do something that I’ll fail at.” That’s the perfectionist’s mindset…when you set a goal, you immediately feel like you’re failing because you haven’t reached it….or if you make one little mistake, you’re a failure. Unrealistic, I know, but those of you who are also perfectionists will understand what I mean. Now that I’ve actually started and feel awesome after finishing the first day successfully, I’m more motivated. The first step is the hardest. With me, I just have to “do it.” I have to throw myself all in (kind of feels like being pushed into a pool). I have to GET MAD and then I get motivated. It’s the same with money. I look at my list of student loans and I get ANGRY at them…I want to kill them off with a vengeance…and then I start doing something about it. My dad said that he doesn’t like seeing me motivated by anger, but in my mind, it’s a healthy type of anger. Sometimes I need bricks thrown at me in order to move (The Warrior is very good at that).
I probably won’t get time to blog about this every day, but I need some type of written accountability. I’m going to keep a file of all my Daily Fitness Assessments so I can look back and see where I have improved.
Here’s to the New Year filled with success and fitness!!