weight lifting program

Operation Glutes Follow Up

You can read the first post here

What I loved most about the plan Suzanne built for me is that pretty early on I felt STRONGER. This is the part of the post where I admit that I felt up my butt (good god, the Google searches that are going to arrive at my blog…) and found that I had muscle! My glutes FELT stronger and rock hard. It only took about 3 weeks for that to happen. While my butt didn’t look different yet, it felt different. It didn’t look like Kim Kardashian’s (maybe I just genetically have a flat butt) but it FELT stronger.

In general I just felt more muscular. In turn, I felt more confident in my body image.

Week 3 – I noticed around the 3rd week that I wasn’t sore for 1-2 days after a session like I was in the first two weeks. That first week I was sore for days and it was awesome! But that feeling quickly went away and I needed to increase the amount of weight.

For example, the first week I did the 1 arm tricep kickbacks I used an 8 lb weight and it was difficult but I could finish the 10 rep set. By the end of week 2 I increased it to 10 lbs (struggling to finish the 10 reps) and week 3 I did 12 pounds.

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I breezed through week 4 and 5. I increased the weight on a lot of the exercises I was doing because they got too easy. I barely broke a sweat or I wasn’t sore afterward. I kinda like that “I worked out really hard last night” soreness…

Week 6 – The final week came and I knew the routine well and my transitions between exercises were faster. It look less time to set up and get started, which was nice. That was my frustration in the beginning. The final week I was up to doing 17.5 pounds for the tricep kickbacks. It was a pretty awesome feeling to be able to do 3 sets of 10 at a higher weight!

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Final Results

I went into this experiment with the goal of strengthening my glutes and toning my arms. I believe I achieved both. I’m in no way “done” and still have a lot of work to do but I made progress. My physical therapist said my glutes were much stronger and that was music to my ears.

When I discussed my goals with Suzanne before starting, weight loss wasn’t even on the list. Which is strange for me–considering my background and my mindset. It just wasn’t the focus. Getting strong and healing my knees and toning my lunch lady arms was all I cared about!

I stepped on the scale for my first weigh-in since March. I hadn’t weighed myself for the 6 weeks that I was doing the program. I didn’t lose weight, in fact I gained 1 pound. But that could be inaccurate. My weight can fluctuate between 2-5 pounds depending on the day I step on the scale.

February 28th April 25th
Hips: 36 inches Hips: 35.5 inches
Waist: 33.5 inches Waist: 33 inches
Thighs: 18 inches Thighs: 18 inches

As you can see, I lost about 1/2 an inch on my hips and waist. Now for the horribly awkward “before” and “After” photos. I felt incredibly foolish posing, hence my dumbfounded look and Michael was teasing me telling me to do my Hulk Hogan pose. 😛

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Robyn's Birthday

The changes may not be totally obvious in these pictures but I can feel them on my body. My triceps, deltoids and biceps are stronger and more defined.  My thighs are a little more toned and muscular. The underarm and “side” fat (I don’t even know what to call it) is a little less. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the results. I can SEE a change. I can FEEL a change. I like it. And I’ll work on getting better pictures for the next round. 😉

Thanks for following along on my experiment. Stay tuned for Phase 2.

MRI

My body was telling me to give it a rest last week. I felt like the walking dead by the end of the week because of stress and as a result, I think it started to manifest as physical symptoms  As you saw in yesterday’s post, I’d been dealing with another knee flare-up that had me in tears most days, and last Thursday night I managed to burn the INSIDE of my arm on the cookie sheet while I was making dinner (no I wasn’t having cookies for dinner). It was extremely painful and I had a blister on it the next day. Sheesh! What a week! By Friday I was ready to throw in the towel on everything.

Instead, I skipped the pool and went to yoga instead. I thought I might be able to relax, relieve stress and maybe help my knees a bit with a yoga session. I had about 20 minutes or so before the class started so I spent that time doing my PT exercises and stretching.

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Even though I’m not really a fan of yoga, I quite enjoyed going to the class on Friday night. It really did help me relax and de-stress. I also did a lot of new poses I’ve never done before. The instructor asked at the start of class what everyone wanted to focus on. Some guy said shoulders and I said hips and knees. She worked both and I felt pretty good!

Since Michael was spending the entire weekend parked in front of his new 60″ TV watching the Masters (his old TV broke and he PANICKED that he would miss his beloved show) I made a bunch of weekend plans for myself. There was my second workout from Suzanne (finishing up week 4):

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There was a pedicure with my friend Robyn and then we went to a Vietnamese/French restaurant for some tea. Robyn got the Thai iced tea and I got regular iced tea:

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Sunday I had sushi with my cousin Anna for lunch:

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We met at Sushi Ohana–delicious! Sundays was happy hour and all plates were $1.75. I ate too much sushi and then afterward I stopped at another friend’s house to meet her new baby. He’s 11 days old and too cute for words.

And the most abnormal weekend event: I had an MRI on my knees Saturday afternoon. My sports medicine doctor decided it was time to see what was going on. The most recent flare-up prompted this. I felt both relief and anxiety with this. I wondered, would I prefer that the MRI find an injury? That means I have an ANSWER and a possible solution (i.e. most likely surgery). Or would I prefer no injury, which would be GOOD but would still leave me wondering what is wrong with me and when I’m going to get better.

Sigh.

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I’ve never had an MRI before. Everyone in my life that has had one weighed in and told me how horrible it was. I’m not really a claustrophobic person–the only time I feel like that is either on a bus or elevator that has too many people on it or if I’m underground in some way (for example, cave exploring). Even though that comic is making a joke, you really do feel like you are being buried alive in that machine.

I was hoping I could take my headphones in and listen to podcasts but that wasn’t allowed. I had to remove everything (even my earrings–thank god I didn’t see this video BEFORE my mri) and couldn’t take my phone in there. The machine was huge and while I wasn’t feeling nervous or claustrophobic, the second I SAW the MRI machine, I did. It is really scary looking. It’s the size of a small coffin. Seriously. Thankfully they were only scanning my lower body and I didn’t have to have my whole body in there because I would have freaked out!

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I was put in the machine up to my collarbone. You would think not having my head in there would be ok and not scary but it’s still scary. If my whole body had been in the machine I think there would be half an inch between my face and the top. SCARY. Too small. Too close. No thank you. Not only is it very uncomfortable, it’s extremely loud. If you want to hear what an MRI sounds like for an hour long session, check out this video. If you skip every 30-40 seconds you can hear the range of sounds. I heard all of them. For an hour.

Despite how loud and jarring it was, it wasn’t totally terrible. I had to keep absolutely still and it took about an hour to do both knees. I started to drift off into that half sleep state that I go into when I have acupuncture. But I tell you, I was glad it was over with. I felt a little shaken up afterward but I was glad I did it. I hope that I find out what’s going on. Now I just have to wait to hear from my doctor…

Monday I had a follow-up appointment with my physical therapist. It had been about a month since I saw him last. He tested my legs for their strength again and I’VE IMPROVED. I blame it entirely on Suzanne’s program. He said my glutes are much stronger and he had a hard time pressing my legs down. I’M STRONG. And despite the flare-up I’d been dealing with last week, my knees have been pretty good for a few days. Progress. Every little bit counts. Still no results from the test though. Maybe next week?

QUESTION: Have you ever had an MRI?