Dec 222015
 

This post is just in time for all the people who will soon be flooding the gym for New Year’s Resolutions! And a good reminder for us old folks that have been going a long time (and probably picking up some bad habits along the way).  It’s easy to get into a rut and hopefully this post reminds all of us (me included) to break some of those bad habits. I recognize a few of these in me.

Just Doing Cardio

I used to be a cardio junkie. I hated weight lifting. I would force myself once in awhile to do a quick circuit around the weight machines and it would be boring, I’d feel like it was a waste of my time and I’d never see any changes in my body or strength.

After a few different injuries kind of forced me to take it easy on the cardio, I had to find something else to do so I could still work out. I started lifting weights on a consistent, serious basis and I finally “got it.” I started to LIKE lifting weights. It wasn’t just a boring slog. Seeing a difference made me realize if I stuck with it, I COULD see a change and it wasn’t a waste of my time.

I liked feeling stronger. I liked that I could lift things easily in my day to day life simply because I was lifting weights on a regular basis. It was empowering! Check out this old post that is still a great one: Reshaping Your Body with Weight Lifting.

So if you want to see some CHANGE in your body, mix it up. Get off that elliptical and try doing some body weight exercises or add some free weights into your routine.

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Unrealistic Expectations

You have to start somewhere. If that’s walking/jogging in intervals before you can RUN, that’s ok. If it’s lifting 15 pounds to start with, while the muscles guys in the gym are lifting 100 pounds next to you, who cares? You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Having expectations that are unrealistic will just cause disappointment and probably injury!

 

Phoning It In

GET OFF THE PHONE! Get off the phone! SERIOUSLY PEOPLE get off your phone and work out! I see this in my gym ALL THE TIME and it makes me crazy. People doing nothing and fucking off with their phones. Sitting on weight machines, not lifting weights, but playing with their phones. Taking up equipment and space goofing off.

A tip for this: make a playlist ahead of time and stop messing with your phone. You don’t need to be on Facebook or texting or whatever else. Focus on the task at hand: getting FIT.

Another tip: write out your workout routine for the day and follow that. I have a little notebook that I take to the gym with my weight lifting routine already mapped out for me. I have 5-8 different routines and I mix them up and sometimes I change things around once I get to the gym, but overall I follow it. It keeps me focused and keeps me from wandering around the gym aimlessly.

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Overtraining/Not Resting

I can tell when I’m starting to get into the over-training territory. I feel tired, run-down, burned out and I often end up getting sick. That’s a clear sign it’s time to rest.

When I was going to the Warrior Room, I went 2-3x a week for over a year. It was great and I loved it and I loved the progress I was seeing. But last December I decided to take a month off. I was starting to have some aches and pains, mostly in my joints. I wanted to avoid an overuse injury and I felt like I might be on the way to tendinitis in my elbows or something. I decided to take a month off and do something different, then go back.

It was a good idea and in theory it should have worked. After a month I still didn’t feel quite ready to go back. I had managed to avoid overuse injuries but I was still mentally not ready to get back into something so rigorous or intense. I decided to give it a few more weeks–then I got sick, then I had some back issues…then I got pregnant. So…I haven’t been back since. But in theory that break would have worked (as it had in the past) if those extenuating circumstances hadn’t popped up.

Check out some posts on the topic:

Why Recover?

Addicted to Exercise

Are You Overtraining?

Improper Fueling

Not drinking enough water before, during and after a workout is bad bad bad. Take a water bottle with you and drink it all!

Drinking sugary “sports” drinks when it’s not necessary. I see this one in my gym all the time, too. Except it’s usually big guys lifting weights carrying around a GALLON jug of some kind of juice drink. I have no idea what it is or how many calories are in it, but think long and hard about your Gatorade sports drink…are you burning 400 calories in the gym but then drinking 150 calories worth of sugar?? What’s the point??

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The Long And Slow

I am so guilty of this at times! When I was a cardio junkie I’d go to the gym and spend the entire time doing a long and slow cardio workout like the elliptical or running on the treadmill or the stairmaster. Just slogging along, no variation, my heart rate staying pretty steady in the same range.

Mix in some HIIT-type workouts instead. You can still do the elliptical but mix it up with the different programs the machine has. Hill climbs, hard resistance, etc. If you are doing the spin bike, add in intervals of really hard standing climbs to get your heart rate up instead of the steady same old same old.

 

Doing The Same Exact Thing

What I miss most about going to the Warrior Room (besides the people and the fun classes, of course) was the variety of the workouts. It was a mixture of weight lifting with kettle bells and intense HIIT cardio. I loved the fact that it was different every single time I was there. I was able to see progress in my strength after each week of going to classes because my body was adapting and getting stronger doing different things.

When I am Married to My Workout I don’t see progress like I should. I feel stagnant and stuck and wonder why the scale isn’t budging or why I’m still doing the same thing every time. It’s also boring! Variety is key.

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Not Planning Ahead/Being Inconsistent

I schedule my workouts on my Google calendar like I do appointments. Sure, I can be flexible sometimes and move things around if needed, but for the most part I stick to that schedule. It makes it harder for me to skip a workout. It’s on my calendar, after all.

In a similar vein, a bad workout habit is being inconsistent with your workouts. I think variety in fitness is CRUCIAL. Crucial for your body to avoid overuse injuries and burnout; crucial for your mind to avoid boredom; crucial for your body to not get used to doing the same exact workout every time (see above). But at the same time, not having a consistent schedule/routine with your workout can mean no progress.

An example of this is weight lifting. If you only lift weights once a week, you aren’t going to see any differences. You won’t see progress in your body shape or strength. And it will feel like you’re wasting your time. But having a routine that steadily increases the reps and weights you are lifting shows you are making progress. When I was consistently lifting weights 3x a week I had a different weight lifting routine each time, but I was working the same muscles (just in different ways) and I could SEE and feel the progress I was making. Doing kettlebell swings with the same 25 pound bell each time, I realized it was too easy. So I went up in weight. Then after awhile 30 pounds was too easy. I would switch around doing MORE REPS with 30 pounds, or I’d do less reps at 35 pounds. I could see and feel a difference.

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What are some bad fitness habits you want to break?

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Dec 152015
 

I’ve been dreading this since getting pregnant and finally had to do it. The gestational diabetes test. Yuck. This has been on the back of my mind even before getting pregnant. I wanted to lose those 10 pounds I gained, thinking it might help my odds against getting GD when I did finally get pregnant. It was definitely a concern because of my history. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to lose that 10 pounds first, so it kind of made me worried.

My doctor said to take it between weeks 24 and 28. I had the option to take the 1 hour test (non-fasting) or the 2 hour fasting test. At first the 1 hour test sounded like the better option but she kind of talked me out of it and said if I failed that one I’d immediately have to take the 3 hour test.

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I didn’t want to take any more time off work because as it is my sick time has been sucked up with OB appointments and most recently, multiple dental appointments. Saturday I set my alarm, skipped breakfast and then went to the doctor to take the test.

I was glad I asked her what to expect at my last appointment because she said I wasn’t allowed to leave. I had stupidly hoped I could go, start the testing, then run errands or something waiting out the time. Nope, they want you to stay at the doctor the entire time. I packed my Kindle with a bunch of books, my phone charger and took my phone to watch Netflix while I waited. I recently started watching “Madame Secretary” and it’s REALLY good! It’s funny and smart and I love the casting. I’m about half way through the first season.

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I got there early and despite having to fast, being hungry and not getting to have my coffee, it wasn’t as bad as I had been anticipating. I did my initial blood draw (later results showed the first fasting blood draw was 84, which was a good number). Then they had me drink the drink. The lady said that it can sometimes make people feel sick and she said if I threw up, I’d have to come back another day to take the test again. UGH! PRESSURE!

She suggested I don’t chug it but that I had to drink the whole thing within 5 minutes. I sat there and took big gulps. It was nasty. It tasted like super duper sweet flat Mountain Dew. I finished the drink, felt nauseated and gross, and then sat in the lobby for an hour watching Netflix while I waited for the next blood draw.

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I had the next blood draw and then I had another hour to wait for the last one. As I was leaving the lab I ran into a friend who was there to get some lab work done, too! So after she was done she hung out with me for the last hour, which was really nice. We chatted and that helped pass the time. I wasn’t feeling quite as nauseous as I had been during the first hour and then it was time for my last draw.

It was nearly noon by this time. I’d missed breakfast so I stopped at Subway and got Michael and I a sandwich for lunch. I wasn’t feeling great and it took a few hours after eating to finally feel better.

I made the mistake of looking up how many calories was in that glucose drink. 300!!! NOT COOL. 300 wasted calories for something that was gross, made me feel sick and didn’t satisfy my hunger. Major fail. I want a refund on those calories.

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After lunch I went to the gym. The only upside? The gym wasn’t crowded by the time I got there! I wasn’t feeling my best and so I totally phoned-in my workout, but I did something so that’s good. I warmed up and then did the weight machines and finished up with 2 miles on the elliptical. My ankle is much better than it was last week but I’m still taking it easy (no jumping jacks, nothing too aggravating for my ankle, taking it easy on the cardio machines, etc.).

I did realize at the gym this weekend that I can no longer do planks (even side planks) and push-ups are soon to be a no-go, too. It’s become too difficult and with the planks I was feeling strained. So I think it’s time to quit those.

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Test Results

From The Mayo Clinic: Gestational diabetes: If you’re being tested for gestational diabetes, your doctor will consider the results of each blood glucose test. At Mayo Clinic, if your blood glucose level is higher than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) after the one-hour test, your doctor will recommend the three-hour test. If your blood glucose level is higher than 190 mg/dL (10.6 mmol/L) after the one-hour test, you’ll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

For the three-hour test:

A normal fasting blood glucose level is lower than 95 mg/dL (5.3 mmol/L).

One hour after drinking the glucose solution, a normal blood glucose level is lower than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L).

Two hours after drinking the glucose solution, a normal blood glucose level is lower than 155 mg/dL (8.6 mmol/L).

Three hours after drinking the glucose solution, a normal blood glucose level is lower than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L).

I got my results that evening. The numbers LOOKED okay but I wasn’t positive and wanted to hear from my doctor for sure.

Pre-drink:

Component Your Value Standard Range
Glucose Fasting, for Prenatal 75g/2hr GTT 84 mg/dL <=91 mg/dL

After 1 hour:

Component Your Value Standard Range
Glucose 1 hr, for Prenatal 75g/2hr GTT 106 mg/dL <=179 mg/dL

After 2 hours:

Component Your Value Standard Range
Glucose 120 Min CHR 75 mg/dL <=152 mg/dL

My doctor confirmed that I passed the test! WOOHOO!! Such a big relief. I really felt so much better about it. I know, I know, I worried about it for nothing. But it was a legitimate concern for me because of previously being pre-diabetic, so it was a giant weight off my shoulders. The blood tests also came back to say I am still anemic, despite adding an iron supplement to my vitamins over a month ago. So we’ll see what happens with that.

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