Thursday, January 30, 2014

Strong is the new skinny

In the summer, when it was warm and easy to get outside and run and exercise, I wrote this post about my struggle with self doubt, unrealistic expectations and balancing mental happiness.  I was doing so well about working out during the summer, despite the heat, and then school started for Gabe.   As the cold weather set in, it got harder for me to be motivated to get outside and run.  That was the only thing I really saw results from, so I thought that's what I really needed to do.  I had been eating really well until the holidays hit and then I hit a brick wall.

What is it about that time of year that makes healthy eating and reasonable portion sizes so difficult?  

Oh yeah, the food.  

Lots of food.  Lots of sweets.  Lots of carby-breadlike food.  Not so good for you food.

At the end of November, I decided I was going to not let myself fall backwards (at least, any more than I already had).  All of the muscle definition I had at the end of the summer was slowly fading away and I could not let my body revert any further.  After searching the internet (Pinterest), I had found a lot of daily workouts but none that really seemed like it would be demanding, that it would promote the change I was looking for.  I wanted something that would give me some results and inspire me to keep going.  So I decided to start a challenge.  There are all kinds of different challenges floating around Pinterest and other social media.  

Arm Challenge
I decided on starting with squats because I have always had strong legs.  This is a part of my body where I really needed to see results, needed to be inspired, needed to feel like I wasn't just fat.  So I enlisted the help of some of my friends (I highly recommend a support system) so we could push each other and hold each other accountable.  And I started.

I started and ended up loving it.  I loved that it was 30 days and I didn't get bored.  I loved that it was three days in a row and then a rest day.  I loved that it didn't take a lot of time out of my day.  I loved that by the end of the 30 days, I was doing squats with 15 and 10 pound additional weight.  I loved that I was getting muscles in my legs that I hadn't seen before, even through running.  I loved that I was using my own body weight to get stronger.

I decided this 30 day workout was the way for me.  So I searched and searched for my next challenge to start at the beginning of the year.

My criteria - 

I needed a workout that was hard for me, to make me work for the results.  
I needed something that didn't take that long during the day.
I needed something that would give me results so I would continue wanting to work out.
I needed something that was full body - not just one part of my body for 30 days
I needed something that I could do at home.
I needed something that didn't require a lot of equipment or equipment that was too expensive.

What I found was this: 
Operation Zombie Fit Challenge
And it rocks!

I modified it based on my criteria and found that if I skipped all the cardio days (I am horrible at cardio), then I could implement the other challenge "3 workouts and 1 rest day" schedule.  So that's what I did.  

I have "liked" pages on Facebook (Spot Me, Girl Eat Clean Train Mean Live GreenBusy Mom Gets FitAwkward Gym Moments and My Coach Natalie)  and there I see pictures of women that are fit, muscular and beautiful.  There are pictures of amazing transformations.  And it is from weight training - something I hadn't really thought of before I started the Operation Zombie Fit Challenge.

I just finished yesterday and I am definitely impressed with myself.  

I can curl 15 pound free weights for 15 reps and 5 sets (75 times total).
I can squat and shoulder press 30 pounds for 15 reps and 5 sets.
I can ball pass a weighted stability ball from my hands to my feet and back 15 reps and 2 sets.
I can do abs for about an hour, want to die and move on to the next workout the next day.
I can do all these things I never thought possible, add weights and keep going.

I am completely hooked.

And I am learning a lot as I am going.  I am learning exactly what kind of work out my body needs to get the results I want.  I am learning how far I can push myself and then turn around and push harder the next day.  I am learning I am indestructible.  That I am capable of anything.

And I have never really had that feeling, definitely not about working out, about myself before.

I am learning that my body will never be the skinny super model body with the thigh gap because my body isn't built that way.  I have wide hips, I have big thighs, I have wide shoulders, I have extra skin from being pregnant.  As hard as I work at cardio and running and dieting, I probably will never get as small as I thought I wanted to be.

So I am learning to redefine beauty.

And I am inspired to embrace the body shape I have and make the best out of me.

My next challenge isn't really a challenge so much as a 12 week program.  I am excited because I think it will really test me.  It will challenge me and open my eyes to a new way of living.  

Female Fitness Bible -
I love everything about this article.  It has a work out plan for just lifting and one for adding in cardio for maximum weight loss.  It has a supplement guide to make sure you are getting enough protein and where to get it from.  It has a detailed step by step instruction guide for each move in the work out.  It has tips and advice for trouble areas on the body.  I am anxious to start this on Monday and to start seeing the results of my hard work.

PS - I am addicted to motivational memes, in case you didn't notice.

Check out my Back in Shape pinterest board for more meme's and work out ideas:

Follow Genna Brong's board Back in Shape on Pinterest.
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