Exercise Habits – I See Patterns

Making exercise a habit, something you do as part of your every day lifestyle, is a very good thing.

But when I look back over the last several years of participating in races, I have noticed something in my exercise habits that aren’t really good.

When I sign up for a race, I am always super excited to get into a structured training program. It keeps me accountable and I can notice my fitness improving weekly.

However, I have also noticed something else….

Most programs have a cycle of 3 weeks building fitness, and then 1 week of easier workouts to give your body a bit of a break.

But I am finding about 6-8 weeks into my program, there always seems to be things that start to get in the way of my exercise. Either work or family things or housework, etc. The list is long.

I am actually OK with taking a week off exercise if I feel I need it. Sometimes I feel like I have taken on too much in life and just need to take a week to re-group.

But getting back into the routine of daily exercise is a whole other story. Usually at this half-way point is when my training unravels all the way until race day. And on race day I am kicking myself for my lack of training….again.

The advantage I have this time is I really see what I have done in the past…. and I am changing it.

Last week I had some fantastic workouts. Not all the ones I had planned, but the ones I did were really good!! I still hate the treadmill, but on one run last week, I actually thought I liked running! Lol. It was one of those workouts that I got off the treadmill smiling:)

If every workout was like that I don’t think anyone would ever have a problem working out!

I had a couple of good bike rides too, but the funnest work out of the week was snowshoeing.

A few other families and us had planned to go snowshoeing in Waterton on Friday. But that lovely Alberta wind kicked up, and we decided that trying to snow shoe in Waterton in 100km/h winds might not be a lot of fun.

It is really hard to reschedule when it is a bigger group so we decided to go to Indian Battle Park in Lethbridge.

On the drive there I thought we were nuts… It was SO windy!!

But once we were in between the trees in the river bottom it was calm and beautiful.

I still want to go snow shoeing in Waterton sometime, but the river bottom was a good substitute! And considering the highways around here were horrible later in the afternoon, I am sure glad we stuck closer to home!

This week, weather permitting, we plan to go snow boarding for a day. And I think I am going to try that stair climber at the gym. It looks really hard, but I have been told it is a fantastic workout!

I am also getting back in the pool this week. Last week we went for a fun family swim, but because of weather and work, I have neglected fitness swimming. Time to get back at it!

The rest of my workouts are the same old thing… but I really hope to get outside Saturday afternoon to get a 7 miler in!!

The Big Surprise

I weighed myself Friday and I was still 161lbs, and I was OK with that because I really do feel good. I want my weight to go down, but if I am doing everything right and its not going down, so be it.

So imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scaled this morning, and it was 159lbs….. a 2lb weight loss over the weekend!

I have no idea why. I had a couple glasses of wine on Saturday night. I didn’t snack a lot on Sunday so maybe that helped… I don’t know. I just hope it doesn’t hop back on next week, because now that I am finally back in the 150’s, I want to stay there!!

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Living Minimalist Lifestyle – Possible for Triathletes?

Hey, hope you all had a great Family Day yesterday!! I did almost everything I planned to do so I am happy with that. I biked, got my counters clean (which lasted about 10 full minutes), made a Keto friendly lime cheesecake (without the crust because I was short on time…but it was delicious!), and went swimming with the kids.

We lasted about 40 minutes swimming at the pool before we bailed…

…it was very, very peoply in there!

Anyways, I will let you in on my past week before I tell you what brought me to wanting to write about living a minimalist lifestyle (I don’t right now).

A Write Off

Last week was a complete and total write off. I did nothing.

I worked Monday, and though it’s always hard to get a workout in on days I work, I can usually make it to the gym to do some kind of workout.

Tuesday I was beyond exhausted. Don’t have a clue why, but I was tired enough to have a nap in the afternoon, and simply couldn’t find the energy to workout. I haven’t felt like that since before I started Keto.

I have been letting my eating habits slip here and there, so maybe that is why!

Wednesday was the start of the snowstorm….shoulda warmed up on the bike….but I didn’t. No reason why not, just didn’t.

Thursday I worked, and due to the really bad roads, we were short-staffed, so I didn’t get to the gym.

Friday I had a work course in the morning and the older kids had exams in Lethbridge in the afternoon.

Saturday is best described as LAZY. We watched Netflix, and would go out every so often to shovel the sidewalks.

Netflix

We like to watch documentary style movies or travel videos on Netflix. Our favourite is Departures, which I think we have seen every episode of all three seasons!

Anyways, we watched a show on living a minimalist lifestyle. As we watched, I looked around my cluttered, messy house, (which I should have been cleaning instead of watching Netflix), at all the stuff we really don’t need.

I think there are extremes people take to live minimalist, but I know we could definitely do with a lot less “stuff”.

But yesterday morning, while I was on the bike looking around at my basement, which is also cluttered, it got me thinking…

Is it Possible for a Triathlete to Live a Minimalist Lifestyle?

When you are doing triathlons, there is definitely some gear you can’t get by without. Especially when you are doing longer distance.

I’ll start with the swim. A cold, open water swim requires a good wet suit. One you can move in and that fits well. But wet suits tend to chafe at the back of the neck while you are swimming, so you need some Bodyglide.

You also need a good set of goggles…maybe two. One that is clear for while you are practicing in the pool, and a tinted one in case you are swimming in sunny conditions on race day.  John and I both like the Aqua Sphere swim masks as they are much more comfortable!

Another good thing to have is Ear Plugs. I have swum without these, but I get vertigo when coming out of the water, whereas if I have ear plugs in, it is not as bad.

In the rules of most races, it states that public nudity is not allowed. So a Tri Suit, or SOMETHING to wear under your wet suit that doesn’t bunch up, is a MUST! Lol, the people pulling off wet suits as you exit the water will thank you for that.

Which brings me to the bike.

Well, you need a bike. That’s a given.

If you live in Canada, you need a bike trainer. I use CYCLEOPS Fluid 2 Indoor trainer…good trainer for a decent price.

And probably a block for your front wheel to level the bike….though we have used books in the past. They aren’t as stable.

Most likely you will have Cycling Shoes, bike shoes that clip into the pedals. This isn’t necessary as you could have regular pedals and wear the same runners as you will be running in, but it is easier to go faster when you can pull up and push the pedals as you can with the pedals and shoes that “clip” on.

And then there are spare tubes, pump or C02 cartridges, tires, water bottles, gels or bars, helmet, sunglasses (My favourite are Rudy Project), sunscreen (though some races provide this).

And then there is the run. You need runners, obviously. (I run in Altra ….why? That will be another post 😉 Also, I put a link in so you could see what they look like, but the sizing can feel a little different, so if you are interested in them, go to Runners Sould and try some on!)

And socks…if you wear them.

A hat or visor to keep the sun off your face.

If you want to know your pace or how long you have been racing, you will want a Garmin or other sport watch.

I use an older Garmin 910 and have the attachments so I can have it clipped to my bike, but when I start my run, I can take it off my bike and attach it to the wristband.

Now, there are newer, nicer looking Garmin Forerunner , so check them out!

A Running Belt that holds water bottle and food type stuff for the run. Though in Ironman racing there is usually an aid station every mile….so if you are comfortable with what they are serving, you may not need to carry anything. Just check ahead of time to make sure your stomach can handle the options they have!

That’s for the race, but also there are things you need to have handy for while training!

Such as tools to change your chain rings if you need to.

Chain cleaner stuff. Chain oil for once its clean. Alan keys for making adjustments to handlebars or saddle.

I personally don’t use a lot of the maintenance items, as John does all the maintenance on my bike. And you could bring your bike in to a reputable bike shop to get serviced. But if you can do it yourself its cheaper.

So…

It really depends on what your version of minimalism would look like. Most of these things I mentioned for triathlon are necessary.

Minimalism is having only the things you deem necessary.

So I think you can be a triathlete and a minimalist! Just don’t buy all the extras that you don’t need!

This Week

The past week I have also let my eating habits deteriorate. I didn’t go crazy, but I was eating popcorn, blue corn chips and had some french bread with a couple of my meals.

This isn’t necessarily detrimental, but it would be enough to kick me out of fat burning and back to using carbs or sugar for energy.

I didn’t weigh myself yesterday, and won’t at all this week, because it would be pointless. While following the Keto lifestyle, you will retain water when you re-introduce carbs. Which means weight gain on the scale. And even though I know its just water, I don’t want to see it.

I had a good bike ride yesterday, and will be getting to the gym to run as soon as I am done writing this.

Back on Track!!

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Hot Yoga Workout – A New Adenture!

It is really good to get outside of my comfort zone once in a while. This applies to different areas in everyones lives, but when we challenge ourselves in different ways than what we are comfortable with, that is when we can have the most “growth” personally.

A group of friends and I used to plan fun things once in a while for a “moms night out”. We would usually plan something that involved physical exercise like skiing, or wall climbing, and then go out for something to eat.

Its been quite a while since we have done anything, letting our busy lives get in the way. But finally, last week, some of our schedules lined up and we decided to take a Hot Yoga class and go out for lunch.

I have never done any kind of yoga, but I figured it would be really good for me to get some gentle, deep stretching in.

With all the biking and running I have been doing, I have been getting some tight muscles, especially in the hamstrings. It can be hard to get these big muscles stretched and feeling lose again!

Anyways, I have never thought of Yoga as a workout, just stretching and I guess for some people, it’s meditative.

I worked Tuesday night, so didn’t get a chance to sleep before leaving for Yoga, but imagined an hour and a half in child pose, or something laying down….no one would ever know I fell asleep in a nice, warm, 40 degree Celsius room….

I generally don’t like being really warm. Some friends who had done Hot Yoga in the past, described how sweaty a person gets in there. I wasn’t sure I would love it, but chalked it up to something I would probably only do once.

We started out laying on our backs, in a very dim room, with typical, gentle music playing in the back ground. The room wasn’t super warm at this point and I was loving it. I could totally do this for 90 minutes….

But then it started.

First were some cleansing breaths. I am a little familiar with breathing techniques since I have read a lot about how in general, we are not using enough of our lungs. I try to remember during the day to do a few exercises of breathing in until I can’t breathe in anymore, and then forcefully exhaling until my lungs are empty.

This is supposed to be very good for your lungs and your entire body.

Anyways, we weren’t allowed to talk in the room, and I assume that includes laughing as well.

When these regular yogis breathed in and out, it was an out loud, exaggerated sort of sound. The breathing out was a “Haaaaaaaah” sound with a squeak at the end when the air ran out.

I didn’t want to be rude and disrespectful, but it just shocked me and I was having trouble not laughing!

The one we did was 26 & 2… so in the 90 minutes, there were 26 positions and each one was done twice.

The temperature was slowly turned up to 40 degrees.

I was sweating, my legs were shaking with effort of the positions, and I couldn’t hold my arms up for the amount of time we were supposed to.

We got to lay on our mat for 20 seconds between positions. But the positions didn’t flow into each other like I have seen on TV. (Apparently there are different types of yoga). So it was a lot of up and down and a lot of balance involved.

By the time we were done, I felt like I had a good workout….totally not what I was expecting!!

After Yoga, we went out to the Mango Tree for some Indian food….very delicious! (Even though I passed on the naan bread…which is my favourite ;'( . The coconut chicken was more than enough to fill me up anyways!

The next day I was shocked at how sore I was….my poor hamstrings and shoulders!! Again, I was not expecting this. I quickly texted my friends to see if they were in the same predicament as I was…

Most of them were.

This motivated me to plan to go to Hot Yoga again this week. (Weather permitting….these roads, eh?) I figure if it can work those stabilizing muscles in my legs that obviously aren’t getting worked by my regular exercise routine, then it must be good for me!

The only thing I am planning different for after Yoga this week, is to go for a massage 😉

Bikram Hot Yoga Lethbridge has an intro package for those new to their facility… for $40 you get a month of unlimited classes, and mat and towel service (they give you a yoga mat and a towel to use for the class, and wash it afterward)

The drop in fee is $20, so it made total sense to go for the $40 first month deal, as it would be paid for in 2 visits, plus I can try a bunch of different classes if I would like too!

The Rest of My Week

I didn’t get out for a swim last week because of the roads. It is a little frustrating, because I actually miss it and feel like I was gaining strength in the water.

I am really hoping the roads are OK this week so I can get to the pool a few times!!

I had a few good bike rides, and Saturday I did 6 miles on the treadmill!! This is a major victory for me, because I have such a hard time on the treadmill, but the weather and slippery roads have made outdoor running a little treacherous.

Anyways, I did a 5-minute walking warm up and then did 5x 10 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. This brought me to 5.9 miles and then I did a 5 minutes walk to cool down, for a total of 6.15 miles.

I was super happy with this! I signed up to run the 10km Moonlight Run in March, and I would love to finish in an hour.

The Numbers

The scale went down 1 lb this week… I am 161 lbs, for a total loss of 15 lbs in 3 months. It feels a little lame. I totally expected to be in the 150’s by now, especially since I have not had junk food since our Christmas getaway.

I didn’t measure myself when I first started working out consistently and eating a Keto diet.

But last year when I was doing Crossfit, I did measure every month. So I took out my book to do some comparison.

I have lost 7 inches total since last February.

Again, it really isn’t much but if it keeps going down slow I will just have to be OK with that. Its much better than the alternative!

Dairy?

For quite a while I have been reading articles on how people without a gallbladder do well without dairy. I have dismissed this as hogwash, since dairy is such a huge part of my diet!!

I can leave the milk alone no problem, but it’s the cheese and cream and sour cream, and dips and sauces….

I had my gallbladder removed when I was in my early 20’s. I have never had stomach issues because of dairy, but I have read that when the gallbladder is removed, the body has a harder time processing dairy.

And I have read that dairy can cause some people to plateau when trying to lose weight….

I am very resistant to trying dairy free diet, but I might have to, to start dropping these stubborn pounds.

Does anyone have suggestions or comments about a dairy free diet?

 

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How to Stay Focused on the Big Picture – Staying Fit and Healthy

Today I had to really sit back for a bit and remind myself that I need to stay focused on the big picture. It is easy to stay positive and motivated when things are going well, but it is so important to have a “big picture” reason for staying on track when things don’t seem to progress.

My Big Picture

Right now, my “big picture” is making sure I am well-trained for Ironman 70.3 St. George. Ideally I will lose some more weight before St. George in May.

Workouts

Last week was not a great week for me for workouts.

I didn’t end up doing a bike on Monday. I worked Sunday night, slept for a few hours Monday morning, and spent the rest of the day trying to clean the house and get the kids caught up on school work.

I simply didn’t have the energy.

Tuesday I worked, but ran on the treadmill on my supper break. It wasn’t my best run, but I got 3 miles in and was happy with that.

Wednesday I did another FTP test on the bike. I feel like I have been gaining strength on the bike and was pretty excited to do this test, because I was sure it was going to go up by a lot!

The FTP (Functional Threshold Power) is the power you can sustain for approximately 1 hour. The FTP test that I did is biking for 20 minutes as hard as I could sustain for the full 20 minutes. Then Trainer Road multiplies this number by .95.  It went really well and I had sweat pouring off me….to me, a sure sign I had put in a great effort.

I was excited to see the number…

But it was only 1 watt higher than my previous FTP that I did months ago. What a let down after the high of a great workout!!!

I was almost in tears and really frustrated. I have been working hard on the bike and I expected better.

Oh well. Moving on. It is what it is and I will do another one at the beginning of March.

Thursday Becky and I were going to run hills, but both chickened out because it was too cold.

So I found an interval workout on Pinterest and took it to the gym. It looked like this….

5 minute warm up

Incline 30 seconds @ 4%, 30 seconds @5%, 30 seconds @6%,

1 minute flat, then repeat the inclines higher than before if able.

1 minute recovery

Speed at 7mph – 30 seconds, 7.5 -30 seconds, 8- 30 seconds.

1 minute recovery and then repeat faster if possible.

1 minute recovery and do these sets all over again!

 

In the end I did 3.5 miles and it felt like a good hard workout so happy with that one.

Friday….

I slept 5 hours Friday morning after working Thursday night, but it just didn’t seem enough. I went on the bike at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, planning for a 1.5 hour bike ride.

I quit 40 minutes into it.

Now I was literally in tears. I was completely spent, not 1 ounce of energy….and I didn’t know why.

Thankfully John was home, as he can always calm me down quickly.

After talking about it, we decided it was a combination of only 5 hours of sleep in the previous 37 hours, and lack of enough food in that time.

I ate OK on Thursday, but I was running a little late for work Thursday night so just grabbed some veggies and cheese, but it was only about a snack size, not enough for a meal.

I HATE quitting a workout. It just doesn’t sit well, and it bothered me.

I believe the bike training is the most important of the 3 disciplines….probably because John always tells me that 😉

So Saturday I got back on the bike and had a great 1.5 hour ride. I felt good about getting it done!

However, I did not get a long run in, and no swims at all.

This morning was supposed to be a swim, but it snowed all night and I am a too chicken to drive on the highways after it has snowed a lot.

And Then There Is That Stupid Scale

My eating has continued to be good….no sugar, no carbs, high fat etc.

And yet, during the week I did not feel I was losing any pounds. My clothes still fit great, but not getting any looser.

I didn’t weigh myself at all during the week because I just didn’t want to deal with the negativity that comes with that. I knew I was doing what I needed to do, and that was good enough for me.

So when I stepped on the scale this morning, I wasn’t expecting much.

And I didn’t get much.

Number is still stuck at 162lbs.

2 weeks at that number.

But again, as I look at the big picture, I am doing OK. My first weigh in was 12 weeks ago at 176lbs. I didn’t get very far the first 4 weeks, so I started the Ketogenic Diet 8 weeks ago and that’s when I started losing more weight.

So I have lost 14 lbs in the last 2-3 months. Not a big number for that amount of time, but it is still a loss.

I feel great. I have pretty steady energy, and I love the food I am eating. I don’t crave fries or chips or pasta or bread, and those were my biggest downfalls before starting this way of eating.

Even if I don’t lose another pound (that better not happen) I would still eat this way because it makes my mind and body feel good.

My Plans For This Week

Ideally I (and everyone who has every tried to lose weight) would like to see the number on the scale go down every single week.

And when researching the Keto diet, it sounded like the weight would fall of really fast. For John, it did.

But obviously for some people it doesn’t.

There are a few things I have been doing that are not recommended by Keto people….things that could possibly be stalling my progress.

#1 is alcohol.

I really enjoy having a Vodka and Diet Root Beer with John in the evening about 4-5 times a week. Though this is technically not sugar, alcohol can affect different functions in the body to make the body not run as smoothly as it could.

And we all know Aspartame in diet pop is horrible for the body and can confuse it because it thinks its getting sugar.

So my goal this week is to not have any alcohol and no diet pop. If that doesn’t help me on the scale, I may have to look at cutting back on my dairy…..which would be horrible!

I love all cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, feta cheese, and I add cream to all sauces I make and to scrambled eggs….it would really suck to cut back on these fats, but there is a real possibility that I may be over eating on these things…LOL!

So I would rather try cutting out the alcohol first.

What We Eat For Supper

When I make supper, I only make carb free suppers so we are all eating the same thing. We were never big potato eaters, so the kids haven’t missed that much, though they do miss pizza and fries and perogies.

Some examples of what we ate for suppers this week:

  • Steak seasoned with Montreal Steak spice and fried in butter, and a salad with olive oil dressing or ranch
  • Pork chops breaded with crushed pork rinds and Parmesan cheese, fried in butter and olive oil, and a side of steamed broccoli with cheese sauce (cheese sauce is made of cream, butter, cream cheese and cheddar cheese)
  • Slow cooked roast wrapped in bacon, with cauliflower mashed “potatoes”. John makes this mashed cauliflower so much better than I ever do! It is mixed with cream, butter, sometimes french onion dip, salt and pepper, cheddar cheese, etc. Then we pour the left over juice from the roast for gravy. So delicious!
  • Cheeseburger casserole – fried hamburger seasoned and mixed with a little cream cheese, put in the bottom of a casserole. Mix up some eggs and cream and cheddar cheese and pour that over the hamburger. Sprinkle chopped pickles next and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake until done and serve with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, mustard and ketchup….this is for sure a winner with the kids! They don’t even care that they don’t have a bun with it.

If anyone has any other tips on getting over this weight loss plateau, feel free to leave them in the comments!

This week is going to be a GREAT week! 😀

 

 

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