My Recomp.

I have experimented with all types of exercise and I have had all kinds of eating habits, both good and bad. I started with doing group classes like zumba, kickboxing, and yoga, then I started adding in some weights but mostly doing isolation workouts with lighter loads. I really enjoyed the group classes and it was a great way for me to be introduced to world of fitness. The deal I got on the classes came to an end and it ultimately was not a sustainable routine for me. It was too expensive and the class schedule eventually didn’t match my life’s schedule. I tried running. I hated it. But I thought that was what was needed to be fit, and what I “should” be doing. Again, not sustainable solely because I hated it yet…and yes, I stuck with it for many weeks, even months, because people told me I would learn to like it. Wrong.

Then I found heavy weightlifting, which evolved into powerlifting. The Artist and I do it together, so it is fun, supportive, and something we are able to share together. I couldn’t even lift the bar alone let alone add any weights to it. Now I am strong and have developed muscles that have explosive strength. We are able to do this at a “regular” gym that is very affordable, but we hope to join a powerlifting gym one day. During my experimenting days, missing a workout or spending the weekend visiting family stressed me out big time. I was so afraid of gaining weight or losing stamina or something. But now, I can be busy, sick, etc. and miss a whole week, and nothing changes. I change my routine as my goals change. Finally, I have found what I truly like, that fits my life, and that is sustainable for the long term.

I am currently trying to “recomp”. I want to change my body composition by losing fat and building muscle mass. I know many argue that you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat and a surplus to build muscle, so this goal of mine will not be possible without bulking and cutting cycles. But I beg to differ. I am not trying to enter a competition or anything of that nature, at least not at this point in my life. I just want to go to about life and add working out into the mix. I want to be able to treat myself, and have a semi-relaxed diet and workout regimen. I knew progress would be slow, but that’s ok. I am in it for the long haul. I am gluten-intolerant, which has led to me minimizing my overall grain intake, which I seem to respond well to. I focus on eating a diet that is high in protein, healthy fats, fibre, fruits, and vegetables, eating a bit more carbs on heavy lifting days and a bit less on the other days. I don’t count calories, I don’t weigh my food, it is all just best guess. I treat myself once in awhile. I workout as often as possible while commuting for full time grad school, working, completing a student placement, and having a life. Right now, I aim to lift heavy doing the main powerlifting lifts twice per week, and hopefully be able work in 2 days of medium-heavy accessory work. But again, I keep it semi-relaxed to allow for a good balance of a fun, life, school, work, and working out.

Here is my recomp progress after 1 year and 11 months. I really wanted to improve my upper body strength, and seeing these photos makes me so proud! My back rolls and love handles are shrinking, the cellulite on my legs (photo of me standing to the side) is smoothing out, and I am growing traps!

And I know I am making good recomp progress because my weight is the same throughout- floating around 180lbs ūüėÄ

  

 

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No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are ūüôā

The 27 year old undergrad.

It has been a busy, stressful summer. ¬†I started classes the day after moving into our new apartment and we still aren’t completely unpacked and set up. ¬†We have been frequently thrift shops looking for furniture, but haven’t had any luck. ¬†Things are slowly coming together back up in the great white north!

My summer semester was definitely hard, it is such a shock going from the working world back into school full time. ¬†But I made it, and with decent grades. ¬†The biggest shock of all, however, was the fact that I am at a completely different life stage them most of my classmates. ¬†Being a 27 year old in undergrad classes, I am 8 years older then some of my peers. ¬†Although that really isn’t much when you consider one’s lifespan, it is quite a difference in what “phase” of life is happening.

I am 27, will be celebrating my 6th wedding anniversary with the Artist at the end of this month, I have lived on my own and with the Artist for many years and in turn have many bills to pay, and my favourite pass times include reading, watching films, listening to CBC radio, cooking (well, I am the assistant- the Artist is the actual cook!), relaxing while listening to our record collection, getting crafty, and powerlifting. ¬†Through conversation with other students around campus, it seems, as it should when you are 19, that going to bars and hanging out with friends are what the kids are doing these days. ¬†I wish I was saying that I was declining invitations to go out to the bar because I just wanted to go home and relax, but it must be obvious that I am an old lady. ¬†Either that, or I come across as an unapproachable person. ¬†Its probably both. ¬†Chandler from Friends articulates it perfectly…

Chandler Bing

I also feel like I am one of the last people to be fit the “starving student” archetype. ¬†I feel like I am surrounded by people who can afford all kinds of travelling and vacations, Mac laptops to bring to class for note taking, take-out food whenever they want, and no problems paying tuition or rent. ¬†Meanwhile, I am doing my laundry in my bathtub, using the campus food bank, sharing a laptop with the Artist (we need a computer equally for our own livelihoods) as well as a cell phone, and taking notes in class with a notebook that my parents bought for me and a pen I took from their ¬†house. ¬†I filled that notebook completely, so lets hope they buy me a new one for the upcoming term, LOL. ¬†I also have no idea how I will be paying my tuition that is due at then end of this month, not to mention bills, and I continuously sew together the same few clothing items that keep gaining new holes or tears.

It is all very weird, being in undergrad classes at 27.  When I was 19, I thought for sure that at 27 I would have the best job that ever existed and been done school with a prestigious degree(s) and have my dream home and life all figured out.  Well, I have come to the conclusion that you never really figure life out.  It is an ongoing journey with changing goals and aspirations along the way- so you might as well enjoy things, one day at a time.

Today I enjoyed bacon, egg and veggie scramble, and hash browns for lunch.  I enjoyed grocery shopping and still having about $10 left over for any other food needs that might arise this week.  I am going to workout later with the Artist, and despite my current sciatic pain, I will enjoy that too.  I will enjoy watching the Olympics tonight snuggled up with my love, and I will enjoy how beautifully gloomy and rainy it is this afternoon.

To see more photos of me enjoying the simple things in life, check me out on instagram @capitaineflash

As much as I would LOVE to travel and take a vacation, not have to worry about how I will pay tuition, or go shopping for new clothes and shoes whenever I feel like, I am sharing my life with someone who makes me smile and laugh every day, who shows me unconditional love, supports me, and inspires me….and that is more important than anything.

Suddenly, the mangled and torn insoles of my shoes seem so insignificant ‚̧

What if I don’t want razor abs or a “thigh gap”?

As a woman, I feel like we are expected to strive for flat stomachs, thigh gaps, and a sleek physique. ¬†I have always hated my love handles and “muffin top”, something that I have struggled with my entire life.¬† I have always felt like I jiggled a little too much in too many places, and yearned for that flat stomach.¬† I thought that eating less food, and taking up jogging/running was the answer.¬† But my problem was, I thought that was the only answer. ¬†And I thought that this was the only body that was “acceptable” and that this is what I should be striving for. ¬†So when I would try running, and hated it, I felt doomed to ever feel good about myself, because no matter what routine, style, etc. that I tried, I hated it.¬† I didn’t realize that there are many types of people and many types of bodies.¬† I also have Hashimoto’s Disease.¬† I have been living with it for over a decade, and although it presents challenges, I don’t want to use it as a crutch.

I have been feeling displeased with my body, and one day, out of the blue, thought “well, what if I don’t want a six pack?!”.¬† And I got to thinking…….What if I don’t want a perfectly sculpted body?¬† What if I don’t mind if my thighs touch, or my stomach jiggles a little?¬† What if I don’t want to be a runner?! ¬†Now, I am not suggesting unhealthy lifestyles, but rather, the expectations I had been carrying around for myself were unrealistic, and not very well thought out. ¬†I didn’t ever truly think about what I ACTUALLY wanted for myself, I just thought about what I felt I SHOULD be wanting. ¬†I just assumed that is what I should look like,¬†and being a runner with razor abs is what I should be striving for.¬† It was like a switch flipped in my brain.¬† After some reflecting and long conversations with the Artist, my goals and aspirations became more clear….

I want to…

  • exercise regularly doing a variety of activities, and lift even heavier weights then I already do
  • improve my yoga practice
  • get a minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep every night, 9 is actually my preferred amount for me to feel well rested
  • eat a clean, whole foods diet

I DO NOT want to…

  • rely on meal replacements or other “diet” products
  • be a runner/jogger, because that is not me or where my interests are, nor do I not enjoy it…kudos to all you runners out there!¬† Doing what you love is the most important thing!
  • wake up at 4am every morning to work out
  • want to work out in my living room (I know this works well for others, and that is awesome, but this is not for me.¬† My living room is my special relaxing space, where I read, listen to music and spend time with my Artist, and I do not want it associated with working out.)

I want to aim to incorporate exercise and fitness into my life, and NOT the reverse- trying to fit some “life” into my exercise schedule. ¬†But mainly, I want to feel healthy, energetic, and most importantly: STRONG.¬† As I said above, there are different types of people and different types of bodies- we are all different! ¬†And if we are all different we should have a variety of goals, and I should not be comparing myself or my goals to others. ¬†I consider myself as “thick” and “dense”, and for the first time, I am perfectly ok with that.

The Artist and I are 2 months into our new workout routine. ¬†To simplify, our routine goes as follows: lift often (3 times a week for us), and left heavy. ¬†That is all (with the occasional walk or bike ride thrown in there). ¬†When I started dabbling in weight lifting about 3 years ago, I didn’t really know what I doing, and I was more experimenting to find what kinds of exercise I enjoyed. ¬†I wasn’t really lifting anything heavy, I wast just trying to figure myself out. ¬†I thought it would be pretty cool, if one day, I could put 25lb plates on the squat bar (95lbs total) and do all of my sets that way. ¬†This was my “dream goal” that I 100% thought I might never actually achieve.

Here I am, 2 months into our “lift often, and lift heavy” regimen, squatting 25lb and 10lb weights on the bar, for a total of 115lbs, above and beyond what I thought I might never be able to do!

DSCN7326

And I also wanted to share a video of me doing deadlifts. ¬†My “dream goal” on this was 45lb plates on the bar (135lbs total), and again, I 100% thought I would NEVER be able to do this. ¬†I could barely do a 40lb barbell 2 months ago, so I am really proud of myself on this one ūüôā

When watching these videos and viewing these photos of myself, I was kind of disappointed at first. ¬†I don’t look nearly as strong or good as I feel, but then I realized that is the most important thing right?- how I FEEL! ¬†So although I am still working on changes and improvements, and as I feel discouraged when things aren’t happening “fast enough”, I just remember that me going to the gym, or taking that bike ride, or going on that walk, is better then me sitting on the couch. ¬†Everyone knows that famous quote, that every journey starts with a single step, and it is very true. ¬†I am just trying to make healthy choices for myself, one day at a time.

Workout

I consider myself to be reasonably healthy and fit. ¬†I consider myself one who works out fairly often. ¬†I consider myself as being reasonably strong. ¬†I ride my bicycle to and from each workout. ¬†I enjoy challenging exercises and pushing myself hard. ¬†I enjoy that “high” after a good workout.

This however, was so out of league.  Did I miss the memo that this cardio class is for hard core athletes only?  What you are about to read is the honest truth of my experience.

I have been to lots of cardio classes, zumba, kickboxing, and general cardio that involved aerobics, steps, etc. and enjoy them all.  I started out in pretty rough shape, but I have improved a lot since.  I needed some cardio, so I tried this new class being offered right before the yoga class I normally go to.  these classes are drop-in style.  Only 6 of us were at the class, and the other 5 girls were insanely fit, muscular, and had been involved in athletics at least in high school (not sure if they are still doing it now in university or not).

As most of you know, I have been struggling in the intense heat that has been in St. Louis all summer. ¬†So the first sign that this class may not be for me was that we were starting outside. ¬†It was a sunny, hot day. ¬†Yes, the crazy hot days are getting less and less frequent, but this day was quite warm and the sun was blazing. ¬†No one grabbed water bottles or anything, and since I was new, I followed suit. ¬†So we started running around this little path of sidewalk at the campus (I workout on the campus where the Artist goes to school). ¬†I definitely should have brought my sunglasses out. ¬†And my water. ¬†And a towel. ¬†I kept up with group for the first lap, and we had to go again. ¬†Then backwards. ¬†Then backwards again. ¬†Try running backwards with my crazy flat arches and feet that don’t bend properly, and you get shin splints. ¬†I get shin splints often because of this, but running backwards does it in about 2 minutes. ¬†And yes, there were ledges to the sidewalk and I tripped. ¬†I didn’t wipe out though, phew. ¬†Eventually I had to take walking breaks, I am not a runner, I don’t know how to run properly, I look insane when I run, and I just overall suck at it, along with having no interest in it. ¬†So everyone laps me, and finishes, and starts doing walking lunges around this little loop. ¬†Again, I am last. ¬†And so far behind the rest they are all waiting for me at the end. ¬†So girls, if you by chance stumble upon this- I swear, I was trying my very best to keep up!

Then we go inside. FInally, air conditioning and some fans. ¬†My water bottle, and a towel to wipe my sweaty, bright red face. ¬†When I hear that that was the warm up, I think my eyes widened quite noticeably. ¬†We did burpies, planks, lunges with weights, jumping lunges, side lunges with weights, squats, sit ups with a partner passing a pilates ball, and lots more that I can’t remember. ¬†My lungs were burning for air, I couldn’t ever seem to catch a minute to catch my breath, no matter how much water I drank I felt like my throat was so dry it was going to crack. ¬†Finally, a 2 minute break. ¬†Time for water, yay! ¬†And I find my towel because I am soaked in sweat.

Back outside. ¬†Oh gosh. ¬†Running. ¬†Again. ¬†Then we did Indian running where you jog in single file and the person at the back sprints to the front. ¬†When we were told to do another lap, I couldn’t. ¬†I had to stop. ¬†It was either be embarrassed and stop, or faint. ¬†Even then I couldn’t catch my breathe before we were back inside doing all the same lovely things. ¬†I had to modify some of the moves to fit my abilities and needs. ¬†Obviously I was the only one to do this.

Crap, I ran out of water.  Ugh, and I need a new towel, this one is saturated.  Good thing they had a fresh stack.

As we put our weights and balls away I could feel my muscles quivering. ¬†As I put the equipment on the shelf, not only could I feel my muscles quivering, I could see them. ¬†My arms were shaking as I placed the ball on the shelf. ¬†I couldn’t make it to the floor to sit down for yoga, which was right after, and found myself “plopping” down on my mat. ¬†Thankfully, this yoga class is a regular I have been going to, and there was no way I could ride my bike home at this point, and at least the deep stretching this particular class offers might help my muscles.

I needed a bathroom break from all the water I drank.  As I got up, there was a perfect butt imprint formed by sweat on my mat.  You could even see the creases from my pants.  Good thing they were black.  As I went into the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  Ew.  There are not enough words to describe my sweaty, red, face.  You know when you are swimming, and hop out to use the bathroom, that feeling of pulling your bottoms down and then back up again?  All wet and yucky?  That is what it felt like.  That is how much I was sweating.  How could one even produce that much liquid?  While sitting on the toilet, I noticed sweat running down my shins.  Yes, my shins.  As I was washing my hands, I noticed in the mirror the huge rings of sweat around my armpits, and on my back.  The collar of my t-shirt was drenched.

I headed back to my yoga mat, and realized I had to take my shoes off. ¬†Uh-oh. ¬†My feet probably smell really bad. ¬†So I leave my socks on for a bit so I can cool off and stop sweating a little first. ¬†Someone asked me if I worked out before the yoga class. ¬†Ha. ¬†What gave it away? ¬†I am surprised there weren’t crunchy white salt stains on my clothes. ¬†So I responded by saying yes, I did the class before yoga, and that if anyone smells something strange, it because I have been pouring with sweat for the last hour, and I apologize. ¬†Looking back, I was in a state of delirium. ¬†Especially based on what happens next.

This yoga class focuses on deep stretches and lots of floor poses. ¬†I have been going regularly for awhile now. ¬†But my muscles are so weak and tired and shaky, I was having trouble holding the poses for a long time, and was toppling over often. ¬†Then the giggles started, and for no particular reason. ¬†Probably because I was also getting hungry for dinner. ¬†It wasn’t long before my stomach was rumbling too. ¬†My giggling was getting out of control, and others started giggling too. ¬†I am going to pretend they were giggling with me, and not at me, haha. ¬†Luckily, the teacher likes to encourage us to smile and laugh his jokes while practising, but also having a time and place for meditation and concentration. ¬†So at least he got a chuckle out it. ¬†Normally, I am not so disruptive. ¬†But, when you try not to laugh, it makes it worse and you laugh harder. ¬†I had tears coming out of my eyes I was so out of control delirious. ¬†At this point, delirious from the previous class, but now from hunger too.

I come home and flop down on the bed. ¬†Exhaustion hits even harder. ¬†Taking a shower is a necessity, but feels like too much work at this point. ¬†And remember I had to ride my bike home. ¬†After I eat and shower, you would think I went straight to sleep. ¬†But I winded down with watch DVDs of Arrested Development and calling my mom. ¬†I told my mom this story and she is like, “what if you were filmed and put on the internet?”….no, they would need our permission first. ¬†And she says, “no like someone walking, like a pedestrian, used their phone when you were outside and filmed the crazy girl lagging behind the group, and they put it on YouTube?”

Oh crap.  I feel like that is a realistic possibility.  The Artist said the based on my recap, I will end up on the Ellen Show if someone posted it on YouTube.  Ha.

Then I proceeded to watch Arrested Development and after we turned the TV off, I got the giggles again.  The Artist and I laid in bed quoting Buster and giggling until like 2am.  And I had to get up early.

And the worst part is, like I said at the beginning, I consider myself a reasonably fit, strong person.

The next morning, my quads were so sore, I could hardly walk. ¬†And I had to get up early, and my day went several hours longer then it was scheduled to. ¬†And since I normally don’t bring a lunch because I get home around lunch time, I was famished. ¬†What a day.

But oh well.  That class, was definitely not for me.

I feel like I am prone to awkward, embarrassing, crazy situations.

Lets see what today brings! ūüėČ