Exercisangles – 100 push ups challenge

29 03 2010

Supposedly it’s spring. Haven’t really felt it yet, but maybe this week. My workouts have slowed down a bit recently because there are about 11 more days of school left!!!!!

Ahhh! Of course, that means it’s a stressful time of year with all my major projects and papers due pretty much at the same time. Made worse by the fact that they are all group efforts. Luckily, the knowledge that I am soooo close to finally finishing my undergrad is buoying me through it. I’m still stressed as hell, but I’m getting by. (I’ve been doing some research on cortisol and weight gain. Look out for a post on that issue soon.)

Anyways, school stress = no gym visits. So I’ve been trying to supplement my swims and runs with strength workouts at home. In the last 2 weeks that has mean participating in some one week challenges. At this new blog I’ve been following (Half of Jess), Jess comes up with these weekly challenges for herself (and anyone else who wants to join in, like me). Two weeks ago it was a week of squats, 5 sets of 25. Last week it was planks, 3 sets of 1 min regular and side planks. Jess is doing them for 6 out of 7 days, but I only managed to do 5 out of 7 days.

What I loved about these challenges was that they were simple moves that didn’t take up too much of my time, but they were effective. I could only do 5 days because I was SORE. And I haven’t been treating my body right nutritionally or with sleep, so I didn’t want to push it. Last thing I need right now is to get sick!

Well, Jess is having another challenge and I’ll probably participate in it too, but I’ve been seeing talk of this 100 push ups training program (saw it on Shedding It and Your Nutritionista) and thought I’d give it a try. I would love to have toned arms and shoulders, not to mention bragging rights for being able to do 100 push ups! It requires a 3 times a week commitment of 5 sets of push ups (of varying numbers). There’s even a handy website that can be used for logging the workouts.

Let me know if you join the challenge, too. I’d love a buddy!

Because the blog’s been lacking in food pics lately, I’ll leave you with this colourful one of a recent lunch feast courtesy of the Whole Foods salad bar:



Exercisangles – The first cut is the deepest

8 03 2010

Baby I know…

There’s a concept floating around the blog world right now about how a little bit can go a long way. In particular, I was reading a recent post on Shedding It & Getting It where Rachel talked about how “just a bit can get you fit.” I totally believe in that concept, because I experience it on a regular basis. If you’ve read my blog you’ll know that Consistency and I haven’t become friends yet, but I do go through cycles of routine behaviour…until I fall off the wagon.

After about 2 months of not running, I finally got out there the other night and the runner’s high I got really motivated me to get out there again soon. I went out on Thursday night on a whim. I was feeling restless and wanted to clear my head. I hear about runners who say running helps them clear their heads and gives them time to think. Well, I’m not at that point yet. All I can think about is not giving in to my gasping breath and pounding heart and pushing myself to run one more minute before taking a walking break. But I like the idea of being a zen runner. (I do my clear headed thinking in the pool.) In any case, I managed to get myself out the door, which is usually 3/4 of the battle for me.

Once out there, I struggled through a run/walk workout (the cold night air was quite a shock to my system) and when I got home and gmapped my route, I found I’d done 5k! It took me 40 mins to do it, not the best time, but I figure I’ve got over 2 months before the Toronto Women’s Run 5K race May 30 to improve it.

The main thing was that the route I chose was doable and I never would have guessed it was 5k. Struggling through that first jog was exactly what I needed to spur me on. This week I’m planning on following the 8 week training plan from the race website. For the first time, I feel like I can actually do it.

And to use the analogy of the first cut being the deepest, getting through the challenge of that first run motivated me to go to the gym for the first time since December. I had actually planned to use the pool since I was going to be missing my usual swim, but the school gym’s pool was closed when I got there, so I decided to do a strength workout instead. I haven’t done one of those since I hurt my back, but it’s feeling almost normal so I went for it.

I ended up doing a total body workout:
-Squats with a weighted bar on a bosu (3 sets of 12-15)
-Lunges with biceps curls (1 set of 20 on each leg with 10 lb. weights)
-Ab curls on a stability ball (1 set of 25)
-Ab pull-up and push up on stability ball (2 sets of 15)
-Glute exercises – kick back, fire hydrant, wrap around tree (20 of each on each leg)
-Leg lifts on a stability ball for outer thigh (60 on each leg)
-Biceps curls (3 sets of 6 with 10 lbs.)
-Chest press (2 sets of 12 with 10 lbs.)
-12 lb. medicine ball biceps curl, shoulder press, triceps extension (2 sets of 20)
-20 push ups (10 elbows wide for chest, 10 elbows back for triceps)
-Stability ball inner thigh squeeze with triceps push back (2 sets of 10 with 10 lbs.)
-Standing dumbbell row (12 wide elbows, 12 elbows close to body)

I think those were all the exercises I did. I was only planning on doing 30 mins, but once I started, I ended up doing a full hour and got a lot done. It’s been so long since I’ve done weights, I’ve forgotten that sore muscle feeling. Nowadays, I only experience slight soreness, but after that workout, I’m feeling the pain. Particularly in my arms and chest. It really hurts to straighten my arms!!

So, although that first cut is the deepest, I’m glad I got it over with, because I know the more I go the less pain I’ll feel. And the sense of accomplishment is sooo worth it! I can’t wait to go back 🙂

Entertangles – Disastrous First Dates

2 03 2010

Well, I haven’t been able to post in the last two weeks because I’ve been a busy busy girl really taking my new year’s resolutions to heart (ha! I think there’s an unintentional pun in there 🙂 ).  So here’s a recap of how I spent my reading week. Hopefully it will be more entertaining for you than it was for me.

To set this story up a little, let me provide some background info: I’ve been single for two years now. In that time I haven’t really met anyone I was blown away by and with my recent hectic schedule, I haven’t met anyone new lately at all. After having my heart broken, I’ve been content working on myself, dealing with my issues, getting through school, etc.  I haven’t been actively looking for a relationship. However, most of my girlfriends are now in serious long-term relationships and it kinda sucks being one of the few single girls in my group of friends.

Motivated by that fact and a friend’s encouragement to try online dating, I got the hell outta my comfort zone and set up a profile on the free dating website Plenty of Fish.  I’d actually been hearing good things about the site from people, so I told myself I’d give it a month. Despite having a blog, I feel very uncomfortable putting my picture on a dating website. I still feel the stigma attached to it, I guess.

The nice thing about a dating website is you know the people on there are single and looking. Plus you can usually see what they look like, which helps weed out the guys you don’t find attractive. Now, I’ve been accused of being kind of “shallow” or “superficial” because I’ve refused to be set up with certain friends of friends, but I prefer to think of it as picky (and okay, maybe I am guilty…but just a little!). Anywho, point is I was challenged to be less superficial more…open-minded, and I accepted.

I replied to every guy who sent me an intelligent message. Some of them progressed to longer e-mail conversations, others didn’t. After about 2 weeks, I decided to be bold and suggest meeting a few of the guys I’d been chatting with since my reading week was coming up and I had some free time. I ended up scheduling 5 dates in 3 days.

The Dates:

Tuesday – My first coffee date. I’d been texting back and forth with the guy all day Monday and we talked on the phone briefly. He seemed like a nice guy. With my whole non-superficial mentality, I didn’t really look at his stats. The picture he had on his profile was blurry, but from what I could see, he was cute. Right before we were to meet, he told me to look out for a hot, short Indian guy with curly hair. Boy was I in for a shock when said guy came walking towards me!

When he’d said short, I thought maybe 5’6″ or something. Turns out he was my height!! (I’m 5’2″!) I was wearing my fave Frye boots that have a thick sole and slight heel (maybe 1″), but I was taller than the dude. Plus he looked very different from his picture. I mean, he wasn’t my type anyway, but the truth is, the height thing seriously turned me off. The conversation was decent, no awkwardness, but completely forgettable. I felt bad for truly being so superficial, but he helped me out by incessantly texting me a couple hours later while I was at work. Luckily, he seemed to get the hint when I hadn’t answered his messages by the next day.

Wednesday – I set up 2 dates back-to-back in the evening. One for coffee, the other for drinks. I told each I had promised a friend I’d go to a yoga class with her before or after the scheduled date (sneaky, sneaky!).

The coffee date was painful! The guy was cute, again not my type, but I could have overlooked that if he hadn’t been trying so hard. Our senses of humours did not mesh at all and the trying too hard thing was very unattractive. On top of that, it was only our first date and he was saying things like he didn’t like the idea that I was going on dates with other guys too…I dunno, I was just getting bad vibes from the whole thing, but I thought I’d give him another chance because he said he was really nervous.  However, after talking to my girlfriends they all agreed I should trust my instincts and not feel obligated to go out with him again. I took their advice and cancelled the second date.

The guy I met for drinks was pretty cool. We had a good conversation (aided by the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol) only problem was that he reminded me too much of my best guy friend who passed away last year in a motorcycle accident. I’m still trying to work through that loss, last thing I need is a constant reminder.

Thursday – Another day of back-to-back dates. First was another coffee date at a cool little cafe in the Annex called Aroma Espresso Bar. They give you a little chocolate with your tea/coffee :). Sadly, that was the highlight of the date.

The guy was the type of person who tells a story and makes sure to include every little insignificant, boring detail. I learned quite a lot about his life. Not sure if he even knows what I’m studying in school. After sitting through two hours of that (why can’t I channel that endurance into my runs?!), I claimed I had a “family” dinner to go to and was on my way to my dinner date.

My dinner date was a bit of a disappointment on the physical attribute scale. He looked nothing like his profile picture and I failed to see that he was 3 years younger than me. I don’t adhere to most of the cultural norms my parents would like me to follow, and maybe I would consider dating a guy a year younger, but 3 years is a bit much at this point in time. He claimed that he was mature for his age (ha! What guy ever is?).  He put up a good front, I’ll give him that, but come on, I’m 23, I’m done with dating boys, I want to date a man! However, he had a really great personality. We had similar senses of humour and just got along really well.

I’m not in the least bit attracted to him and there were little things about him that bothered me (He was jokingly bragging about how well off he is (kind of endearing as well as annoying, and no I’m not a gold digger!) and then (I’m pretty sure) he didn’t leave a tip when he paid the bill – very unattractive), but I feel like we could be good friends. So we’re gonna hit up the movies. I’ll find out then if his annoying traits are deal breakers or just one-time blips.

Overall, it was a very discouraging disheartening (hehe :p) experience. The month is up and I’m done with the online dating scene. It’s just not my thing. I don’t like communicating via e-mail/MSN, I’m more of a face-to-face person. But this little ‘experiment’ helped me out in two major ways:
1) It seriously got me outta my comfort zone. It gave me a huge confidence boost that I really needed.
2) I’ve come to realize I don’t have the time right now to start a relationship. I had absolutely no ‘me’ time that week and got no school work done. Everyone keeps telling me that when I meet the right person, I’ll find the time to get to know them, and I’m sure they’re right, but I’m not going to actively look for them. The whole experience actually made me appreciate being single.

I’ve still got one more first date from that week that had to be rescheduled. Stay tuned for any developments!