Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Take on Diet...

So I get a lot of questions about my diet and I can't even remember them all right now so if you have one that I didn't answer just post it to the comments.
When I first started I wanted the weight off and I wanted it off NOW. I started out trying to lose 2lbs/wk. This made my caloric intake 1200cal/day. That is just not enough for someone who works out as much as I do. The first two weeks I was STARVING and miserable. I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was just dying of hunger. I did manage to stick with it and I did lose 2lbs/wk the first few weeks. I eventually reset MFP to lose 1.5lbs/wk, then 1lb/wk, then 0.5lbs/wk. I slowly increased my calories. With each increase I did notice a fluctuation up on the scale for a little while then the numbers dropped again fairly quickly.
I am now at 1500 calories per day + my exercise calories. I usually burn at least 500 calories each gym visit so I consume around 1900-2000 calories a day total. I DO eat back most of my exercise calories. I will let myself go under on some days because I know that I will always go over on the days I do not go to the gym. I never work out on Sundays and sometimes I miss a day during the week because of work or some other event. I just try to make sure everything evens out for the week. 
YES! I was a former sweet-a-holic and since sweets are my nemesis I stay away from them. No cookies, cake, candy brownies, etc. I know myself. I can never use moderation with those. I loooooove peanut butter and this is how I fill my sweet tooth. I eat it every day on toast with bananas. I also like the Fiber One bars, Oats and Chocolate is my favorite. The protein shakes are pretty yummy too. I do not cut carbs though. I still eat bread, pasta and rice regularly but in moderation. 
I eat the same breakfast every morning and the same snack every night.
Breakfast: 1 cup Fiber One Honey Oats, 0.5 cup Kashi Go Lean with Flax seed, 1/2 a banana, 1 cup of milk
Snack: 1 slice of toast, 4 tbsp of PB2  (mixed with almond milk instead of water), 1 tbsp of flavored peanut butter (the real stuff... right now it's cinnamon raisin swirl... mmmmm), with sliced bananas on top.
On the days I work out I usually drink a shake when I get home.
Protein shake: 3/4 scoop of Dymatize Elite powder, 1 cup almond milk, 1 scoop of PB2, 1/4-1/2 of a banana
Other regular snacks: apples, carrots, turkey breast (sandwich meat) with cheese rolled up inside, Lays light potato chips, boiled eggs, Luna bars, Fiber Bars, etc.
My diary is actually pretty boring. I eat the same stuff over and over. I have come to think of food less as something to be enjoyed and more as just fuel.
Nope. I often eat my snack at 10pm. I don't think it matters one bit. I like to eat it late so that I don't wake up during the night hungry. 

My Take on Cardio...

With cardio my goal is to burn a minimum of 500calories per workout... and to do 5-6 cardio workouts per week.
My typical cardio workouts consist of a combination of doing Zumba (because it's fun and I love it) and various cardio machines including the precor full-body trainer, the high-incline treadmill, and my personal favorite, the stepmill. For those who don't know what the step mill is... it's the machine with the rotating stairs.
The stepmill is my main source of cardio and it's the most intense cardio machine there is in my opinion. I do one of 3 types of routines... basic (just walking up the steps), HITT (intervals), and calisthenics. The basic is self-explanatory. For the intervals I alternate between fast and lightening speed... LOL... which on my machine is level 100 and level 140. For the calisthenics workout (on level 100) I start out with just walking up like normal as a warm-up, then I do 5 minutes going up sideways to the left... then 5 minutes to the right, then I walk up every-other-step for 15 minutes or more depending on how long I'm on there. I have found that this has REALLY helped my legs to trim down... especially my upper thighs. I am seriously a cardio freak... not happy unless I'm sweatin' my booty off! LOL
Monday: Zumba (1-hr class) and 20-35min of step mill calisthenics
Tuesday:  Zumba (1-hr class) and 20-35min of step mill (HITT or calisthenics)
Wednesday: Zumba (1-hr class) and 20-35min of step mill calisthenics
Thursday: 25min of step mill HITT, 35min of step mill calisthenics, high-inclined treadmill or precor (I don't have a Zumba class to go to on Thursdays)
Friday:  Zumba (1-hr class) and 20-35min of step mill (HITT or calisthenics)
Zumba (1-hr class) and 20-35min of step mill calisthenics
I can't always make it to all these Zumba classes and if I don't I just do the "Thursday cardio" workout. Also, the number of calories burned in Zumba is different every time depending on the instructor and which songs are chosen. If it's a good burn I do less step mill, if it sucks I do more... :)

My Take on Weight Training...

So I prefer weight training the old-fashion way. I work each individual muscle group at least once a week except for legs (which I break up into two separate days doing different exercises each day). I usually pick at least 3 different exercises per muscle group. I lift as heavy as I can handle. I strive for 10 reps but I'd rather do 6 reps with a heavier weight than 10 with a lighter weight. I also do my weight training as a circuit alternating exercises between the two different muscle groups I am working that day in order to save time and keep my heart-rate up. For those who aren't very familiar with weight training... the "muscle groups" I am talking about consist of chest, triceps, shoulders, biceps, back, legs, and abs.
So on Mondays I usually do chest and triceps. I pick 3 chest exercises and 3 triceps exercises to do for that day. I start with a chest exercise (say inclined bench press) and I do one set there... then I move to the cables and do a set of triceps push downs... then I go back to chest and do 25 push-ups... then I use the assisted dip machine to do a set of dips for my triceps... and so on. I take little break between exercises. I run it as a circuit. When I've done one set of each thing I start all over again. I do the entire circuit 3 times. That is a typical day of weight training.
Mondays -chest/triceps
Tuesdays -back/abs/legs (part 1)
Wednesdays -biceps/shoulders
Thursdays -abs/legs (part 2- this is the harder of the two leg days)
Fridays -whatever I feel like doing... or just cardio
Saturdays -cardio only
I have included how much weight I usually use but please remember that sometimes these machines are calibrated differently so that one feels heavier than another with the same amount of weight. Also keep in mind I've been doing this and adding weight little by little for 12 years now...
CHEST: inclined bench press machine (85-100lbs), flat bench press machine, flies on machine (50-60lbs), standard push-ups (25)
TRICEPS: cable push downs (70-75lbs) ,overhead extensions (27.5-30lb dumb bells), dips on assisted dip machine, tricep push-down machine
BACK: lat pulls -wide or narrow grip (80lbs+), pull-ups on the assisted pull-up machine. seated row machine (I usually do one arm at a time with 75lbs or so), seated rows with cables (both arms, 60lbs), lower back extensions (20 reps holding a 25lb plate and 20 reps without the plate)
BICEPS: dumb bell curls (27.5-30lb dumb bells), weighted curl bar (50lbs), cables (one arm at a time 35lbs or 21's with both arms 40-50lbs), bicep curl machine (50-60lbs)
SHOULDERS: shoulder press machine (85-100lbs), upright rows (50lb curl bar), lateral raises (17.5-20lb dumb bells or cables), shrugs (using 230lbs loaded on flat bench-press machine), one-armed shoulder press with dumb bells (25lbs)
LEGS: Please note that I lift heavy weights with less reps for my upper body and lighter weights more reps for my legs. I do this because of a medical condition I have where I'm not supposed to do exercises where I'm bearing down with a ton of weight!
     Part 1:  Quadriceps extensions (85lbs) and hamstring curls (70-85lbs)... I do drop sets with these. Glute machine (70lbs), leg press (one leg at a time 60-70lbs, both legs together 140-150lbs)
     Part 2: Squats and lunges (smith machine with 40lbs loaded on... 20lbs per side), dead lifts (70lbs), inner thighs machine (130lbs) and outer thighs (80lbs). 
ABS: I have a little routine I do that includes crunches, bicycles, tuck-n-extends, and planks. I start with 30 of each... then 25... then 20. For the planks I started out doing just 1 minute and now I'm up to 2!
This is just a repeat of the topic I posted with my story and before/after pictures. I know that will get buried so I figured I'd put it here.  
"EXERCISE ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH!" I have been weight training and doing cardio for most of my adult life but in spite of all that work... I still hated my body. I was strong and had muscle but didn't look very muscular because of all the padding I had. My diet was pretty bad. I was consuming large portions of regular foods followed by sweets after every meal... yep... I was a sweet-a-holic too. I managed to exercise consistently through two pregnancies and get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight (which was 135lbs) each time, but I was still somewhat soft and curvier than I wanted to be. I really wanted to have that athletic figure. I wanted a hard body and was doing all the right training to have it... but look at my before picture... not hard at all!

Then life got busy and I got older and what I was doing wasn't even keeping me at my "usual weight" anymore. One morning I woke up completely fed up. I got on my mom's scale... I weighed 144lbs. I was in tears. That was in January of this year. I hated my body and I felt like I deserved a better body for all the work I have invested in it. "Why am I even doing this!!!???" I asked myself, "I should just skip the gym and head for the Dairy Queen instead." I was at a crossroads and needed to make a decision. I was either going to give up all the training or I was going to have to face the other side of the fitness equation... the more important side... the diet! I did a search and found this app on my IPhone... I have been hooked ever since!!!

It didn't take long for me to lose the weight. It melted off actually. I was already in great shape cardiovascularly and I had great muscle tone I just needed to be more lean. I didn't change up my weight training any. I've always lifted heavy and I still do. The only thing I did differently from before was started counting calories and added a little extra cardio. That's it. The change in my diet made the biggest change in my body. 

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