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

  

 

SaveSave

Advertisements

Life and Homemade Kettlecorn.

As adults, we have so much going on that days slip away in an instant, which turns into weeks and months. ¬†How easy is it to walk in the door after a long day and be so tired, you microwave something for dinner and watch TV until you fall asleep? ¬†How easy is it to waste precious time mindlessly browsing the internet? ¬†How easy is it to give your full self to your work, and be so busy with that you forget about other aspects of life? ¬†It is hard to find the energy to go to the gym, spend time in the kitchen doing home cooking, and and be “present” as a wife, mother, daughter, whatever your roles may be.

This is something I have been finding hard lately. ¬†The evenings are spent trying not to fall asleep before 8pm. ¬†So The Artist and I devised a plan. ¬†We decided to think about what we wanted, and what was important to us, and how we would incorporate that into our lives. ¬†It is like a vicious circle‚Ķ.you’re too tired to go to the gym or cook a meal, but if you exercise and eat well you will have more energy. ¬†One day, it was like “enough is enough”! ¬†This cycle of no exercise, bad eating, and crashing in front of the TV every night HAS to stop! ¬†Here is what we decided we want; more time together, a clean apartment, more home cooking and healthier eating, more sleep, more exercise. ¬†These are our goals to achieve them.

1. Go to the gym 2-3 times a week to lift weights together. ¬†Yoga etc. at home on the “off” days for me. ¬†Lots of exercise during weekdays, so weekends are reserved for “fun exercise” like a day walking around the zoo.

2. Home cooked meals every week night. ¬†Even if it is leftovers, it is healthy, balanced left overs. ¬†We like to make meals in bulk solely to have leftovers ūüôā ¬†Weekends are for extra special homemade meals that are more time consuming (we put on some music, pour some rum, and make a night of it!). ¬†Or the opposite: we have “cheat” meals like chicken strips or poutine.

3. We limit mindless internet browsing. ¬†We catch up on how each other’s days went, and then sometimes returning Facebook messages or reading the latest on blogs I follow is a good way to wind down. ¬†In the evening hours, we try to limit this to 15 minutes. The Artist uses the internet during the day when he has some free time, and I like to “browse” in the mornings when I first get up. ¬†So only 15 minutes in the evenings isn’t so bad because we have used our “non-together” time to complete emails and check out our favourites sites already.

4. We do one thing together every day. ¬†Whether it is cook a meal together, watch a movie together, play cards, etc. we do at least one thing together per day. ¬†This comes naturally, and isn’t really something we have to think about.

5. We do one fun outing or event together each weekend.  Sort of like a date night.  We might go to Forest Park, the zoo, thrifting, we might marathon a TV show until 3am all snuggled up on the couch, or even decorate for an upcoming holiday.  Recently, we went to a fundraiser for an organization I used to volunteer at and caught up with friends, and went to the zoo!  The sea lion loved The Artist.

DSCN4804 DSCN4818 DSCN4829

6. The Artist does day to day household chores like dishes and making the bed. ¬†We don’t have a dish washer, so they pile up on the counter quickly! ¬†I do the more weekly jobs during weekends like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or dusting. ¬†That way, our place stays clean and neat and we share the chores. ¬†For both of us, a clean and tidy place makes relaxing easy. ¬†It is hard to relax your body and mind you are surrounded by a mess.

7. We do things for ourselves, at least once a week. ¬†For example, I am taking a pottery class right now. ¬†It is something I am doing just for me, and that I have been wanting to do for awhile. ¬†Or writing a blog post on here ūüėČ ¬†And as of lately, the Artist likes to browse magazines with a coffee when I am out and about.

8. Minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night.  Minimum.  No less.  Sleep is something we value and that is important to us.  Every night, we think of what time we are getting up the next day, and count 8 hours (minimum!) backwards to get and idea of when we will go to bed.  We also leave lots of time for teeth brushing, and actually falling asleep.  So if we are getting up at 8am, by 10pm the night before we will settle down and do quieter activities, usually watching TV.  By 11pm we are getting ready for bed and brushing our teeth.  And sometime between 11pm-12am, we are asleep.  So that is 8-9hrs of glorious slumber.

Now, these things sound sort of obvious, and I get that. ¬†But as we get older and our careers and families begin to blossom, these things are easily forgettable. ¬†I know lots of couples who spend very little quality time together, and lots of people who forget about their hobbies and interests because watching TV after a long is much easier and more desirable- let alone remember to eat well and exercise. ¬†And I can especially think of many busy folks who don’t get enough sleep and are tired on a daily basis. ¬†I understand there are lots of reasons as to why, and that is fine. ¬†But at this time in our lives, we don’t have many reasons as to why we can’t get more sleep, so we are taking advantage. ¬†I am sure this will change should be we lucky enough to have children one day.

And honestly, having this conversation and making this list helped 100%. ¬†We felt like the days were slipping by and we weren’t stopping to smell the roses in life- and we were not ok with that. ¬†It brought these wants and needs to our attention, and we decided on realistic goals. ¬†From thereon out, there was a difference. ¬†We no longer feel like like life is flying past us. ¬†We have healthier bodies, more energy then before, active hobbies and interests, and we are not being lost in the dust ‚̧

During one of our stay-at-home nights together, we watched a movie late at night, when the rest of the world was quiet and peaceful. ¬†We made a “nest” of blankets and pillow on the couch and I made some homemade kettle corn. ¬†It was a fabulous night. ¬†Here is my recipe ūüôā

1/3 canola oil

1/3 white sugar

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

salt to taste

In a large pot (that has a lid), heat the oil.  I like to throw in a kernel and when it pops, the oil is hot enough.  Turn of the heat and add the sugar and stir.  Add the popcorn kernels and return to medium-high heat.  Hold the lid on the pot with oven hits on your hands on each side.  Alternate shaking the pot up and down, side to side, and in circles for a few seconds.  Place on heat for a few seconds.  Repeat back and forth, shaking, and having it sit on the burner, for a few seconds each.  Do this until it is all popped, there will be several seconds in between kernels popping.  Remove from pot immediately into a serving bowl and add salt.  Stir gently.

Notes:

– leaving the popcorn solely on the burned will burn it (badly)

– solely shaking it and not alternating having it sit on the burner will take forever for everything to pop, it just doesn’t get hot enough

– I have a gas stove, all stoves will be different and temperature will vary

– the first time or two I made this, I scorched it (like the sugar went black and it was a disaster to clean lol!) so it might take practice

– it is worth it because it is delicious ūüėČ

– when you pour the popcorn into the serving bowl, it will be sticky- don’t worry, it will cool almost instantly and be very crunchy

– it may seem like there is barely any sugar or anything on the popcorn at first, but there isn’t much colour in this, when it cools, it is the texture that you will notice, and each piece should be coated (the picture below looks like plain popcorn, but it is all shiny from the sugar!)

– when I add the salt, I gently toss/stir to avoid the popcorn sticking into a bowl-shaped chunk as it cools

DSCN4464 DSCN4465

Almost a Year With my New Lifestyle.

It has been almost a year since I made a big change in my life. ¬†About a year ago, the Artist and I were talking and we decided we wanted to get gym memberships at his school. ¬†We had been doing “home workouts” here and there, and were really excited to start working out in an actual gym again. ¬†I had been been a little displeased with my body, and found myself wondering how to maximize these workouts. ¬†The Artist is an expert in all things fitness and food, so when we were talking he was able to explain to me how the body works with regards to eating and exercise- my mind was blown. ¬†This conversation changed my life. ¬†With the incredible knowledge the Artist had, I was able to re-evaluate my lifestyle and decide what I wanted to change. ¬†We are such a good, supportive, encouraging team. ¬†The Artist was supportive of me in my goals to change my lifestyle, and I couldn’t wait to get home to tell him about my workout or how I had improved on something, and he was so happy for me every time. ¬†And I was encouraging and supportive of his workout goals too, and on the weekends we would exercise together.

So not only am I proud of my body, but I am proud of how I changed it- with a healthy lifestyle. ¬†For me, it is not about how many calories I consume or how many hours I spend exercising each day, it is about where my calories are coming from and the type and efficiency of my exercise. ¬†I eat like 5-6 times a day LOL! ¬†I treat myself about once a week, and try to do a variety of exercises including strength, cardio, core, and yoga. ¬†I also like to do fun classes like kickboxing or zumba for cardio, I am not much of a runner. ¬†Another goal I had was wanting to ride my bicycle more, so I rode it to and from each workout. ¬†Even in the winter (in St. Louis…what winter? HAHA!). ¬†It has taken a long time, weight has come off slowly, but that means it will be off forever, because I have a whole new outlook on food, exercise and being healthy. ¬†Learning about foods and exercise and how they effect my body sort of “shocked” me into change.

So all in all, I have dropped about 20 lbs. ¬†My pant size before: 14, other clothes: S-XL, weight: 170-175lbs. ¬†My pant size now: 14 (maybe a 12 if they are stretchy), other clothes: S-XL, weight: 150-155lbs. ¬†Now much change right? ¬†Well actually, there is a huge change. ¬†I have much more muscle, less fat, I am stronger, I have a lot more endurance and stamina, I am more flexible, and I have tons more energy and am often in a happy mood. ¬†My body is very different, but based on the scale and my pant size, it doesn’t look like much. ¬†Which is why I don’t pay too much attention to those, but going by how I feel- and I feel great. ¬†Yes, some of my clothes are much too big to wear now, but mostly, my clothes fit nicer, my “muffin top” has shrunk, oh it is still there for sure, but definitely smaller. and I feel more comfortable and relaxed in my clothes because I am not constantly thinking my stomach is hanging out or having my pants dig in because they are too tight.

And just to make myself a little more proud, I continue to do all this while combating a pretty hefty thyroid condition and a little genetics, none of my female relatives have small frames, we are curvy ūüėČ

I love how good I feel. ¬†I love to exercise. ¬†And I really love food. ¬†That’s right, I ate/still eat pasta, pizza, etc. on a pretty regular basis, and I did not go running/jogging every day for hours, and I still lost weight. ¬†But most of all, I love my Artist. ¬†I am so lucky to have him as a coach, and to have shown me good fitness routines and eating habits.

I feel much healthier, and have more energy. ¬†And therefore, the energy to embark on lots more fun adventures with the Artist. ¬†‚̧

I don’t have any “before” photos really, but here are some recent photos of me, down 20lbs and feeling great ūüėÄ

New Jammies :D

New Jammies ūüėÄ

Heading to the gym.

Heading to the gym.

Sewing project complete

Sewing project complete

The Zoo

The Zoo

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park