Gettin’ Fit with CrossFit

Have you guys heard about Crossfit? I posted about it in my last blog and prior to this weekend, I thought it was a place where only the super athletic went to lift humvees, jump on giant boxes and discuss the newest trends in eating like a cave man. (Remember when I tried the Paleo diet? That didn’t work out so well for me, but then again, neither did anything and know we now it was my craycray hormones. Yay for lab tests!) However, FitBloggin’ did me a solid in that I finally mustered up the courage to try crossfit as I knew I’d be surrounded by crossfit pals like Steve, Alan, Martinus, Erin and Dre. I’m not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified about joining the crossfit cult, but I made it through my hazing and I may now officially be a crossfitter.

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

What happened in CrossFit surprised me, because we only did about 15 minutes of actual exercise with the warm up and actual workout. I know, weird, right?! We started off learning a little bit about how crossfit works from friendly Reebok Crossfit coaches. Crossfit is defined as constantly varied functional movement performed at a high intensity, which means that every time you see the acronym WOD it means workout of the day, and it will always be different. We started warming up with jumping jacks, and then we learned the various types of moves we’d be doing – sit ups, push ups and AIR SQUATS. Now, I can drop it like a squat with the best of ’em, ‘cuz having a big old ghetto booty works well for squat-pros like me. However, I had never done an air squat, and that’s basically where instead of squatting down half way, you kind of drop your butt cheeks all the way to the floor and squat way, way down, using your arms to propel you. HOLY QUADS. I must never work my quads because everytime I sat on the toilet after the class (TMI, but that’s how I roll), I wanted to immediately stand back up. Burning, burning quads! Thank you air squats for awakening muscles that have been sleeping for years.

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

After we learned the moves, we were ready for our WOD – just four minutes of 9 push ups, 7 sit ups and 5 squats. You basically go as fast as you can while focusing on form. I was feeling pretty good because despite my lack of weight loss, I can definitely feel that I’m more physically fit. I think I made it through about five full sets by the time our coach blew the whistle, and by then I had worked up a pretty killer sweat. I stood up, knees shaking, ready for the next part of the workout… and then the coach announced we were done. Whaaaat? The workout was high intensity which was great, but I’m not so sure a 4-minute workout is going to cut it for me. According to my polar I burned about 76 calories, which is great for four minutes, but not great considering my usual boxing or bootcamp torches between 450 to 600 on a good day. I’m trying to keep in mind that this was just an example class so it’s probably unlikely to always be only a four minute workout, but at the same time, cool – crossfit might be great for busier days when you don’t have a full hour to devote to working out.  I know Alan and I were both like “Four minutes?! I wanted more!” Change is possible, folks — the girl who dreaded parking at the edge of the grocery store lot is asking for more cardio. Amazing!

My four minute taste was enough to get me intrigued, so in a few weeks, I’m going to check out Golden State Crossfit with my local fitbloggin’ friend Paula. She lives only 15 minutes away from me! Until then, tell me — what have you heard about crossfit? Would you try it? If you have tried it, do you like it?

 

 

Weekly Weigh In #2

Hello!!! Today when I got on the scale, I was pleasantly surprised to see I was down another 1.4 pounds, meaning in 2.5 weeks, I’ve lost 6.4 pounds. Whew!

MyFitnessPal – Free Calorie Counter

Here’s what I’ve been doing differently: 1) I am starting a fun new campaign with Diet to Go, (more on that later – including your chance to win free meals from them!) so I’ve been enjoying their delicious meals, like Italian stuffed potato shells and egg broccoli breakfast pie. Having the meals ready to go is SO NICE… nothing like not having to turn on your oven or stove when it’s 85 degrees in the house! (Thanks, Los Angeles.)

2) I’ve been suuuuuper OCD about measuring and counting my calories in My Fitness Pal. Despite what my body fat test said (that I could eat 1,900 calories a day and still lose weight!), I’m taking in about 1,480-1,500 calories a day. It’s not starvation, but I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard not to snack at night when the “I’m hungry!” voice starts whining. However, as I learned when chatting with my sister April and she suggested I eat carrots… I replied back without even thinking, “I don’t want carrots!” That revealed that I’m not REALLY hungry, as if you were starvin’, anything would do.

Wacky Snacks!

Wacky Snacks!

3) Water, water, water. So much water. No more soda, either. So water and unsweetened iced tea and the occasional Perrier.

4) Exercise! I have a few dedicated gym buddies and me and my gal pal Susannah are walking around the lake tonight after work. It’s great having social time because it “tricks” me into exercising if I can have fun and yap the whole way.

So – I’m happy with this week’s progress, I just hope it keeps up. I know typically when I really “try” again for a few weeks I see a nice loss and then everything stops. However, I’m awaiting blood test results and results from an exam to check for anything else funky going on, so if something other than my eating/exercise is stalling me, I’ll know soon!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Wiping the slate clean – A whole new weekly weigh in!

I feel like there should be trumpet fanfare for this post – the penultimate post in which the wannabe weight loss blogger, but really, weight-maintenance and sometimes weight-gain blogger, reveals how much she’s lost, and how much she has to go. It’s Confession Time! Well, it’s probably nothing you don’t all know, and here it is, out in the open – I have not reached my goal weight. I am nowhere near my goal weight. Not a big surprise, right? Yeah, I figured.

Anyways, because I’m still weird about revealing the number (cuz it’s 2 much! heh!), from now on I’m going to use the number 79 pounds… which is the bare minimum amount of weight I need to lose to reach an acceptable BMI. When I first started blogging, I focused on losing fifty pounds, because I thought it was a nice, round number… and that it would somehow be less scary if I lost a big amount first, but not the “whole” amount. It’s kind of like dipping your toe into a cold pool instead of just jumping right in. I’ve basically dipped my toe in the pool of weight loss the past year, and then freaked out at the temperature, pulled my toe back and thought “I’ll just sit here in the shade and sip Diet Coke, mmk, thanks!”. But now, I’m jumping in again — and prepare to get wet.

As of last week, on Wednesday, May 22, I had 79 pounds to lose to get to a healthy range. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal diligently, and to my shock, today the scale was friendly and now I only have 74 pounds to lose. (ZOMG 74 pounds?! That’s like the weight of a small person. EEEEEEK.)

MyFitnessPal – Free Calorie Counter

Those five pounds are pretty much just water weight and my body going into shock at the STRICT  regimen of calorie counting on MyFitnessPal. However, I’ll take it. The only time I’ve ever lost five pounds in a week is when I decided to carry a fanny pack instead of my purse. Here are a couple things going on that will hopefully help keep me on track from now on:

1) As I said, I’m using MyFitnessPal. Add me as @lyssacurran. If I haven’t logged in in a few days, write me a comment, send a homing pigeon, or set off fireworks in front of my house. The accountability keeps me going.

2) On Monday, I’m having a follow up blood panel done to check some hormone levels and such with my doctor. Depending on what she thinks, I may be visiting a fancy-schmancy metabolic expert to see if there’s any underlying reason for my sluggish metabolism (PCOS? Thyroid? Tiny calorie-loving elves?).  I’ll keep ya posted!

3) Water, water, water. No eating processed crap. Very little sugar. More protein. Continuing no soda or artificial sweeteners. Trying not to eat past 7 pm. Blah, blah, blah. Oh… and exercise. I exercised tonight, at 10 pm! My husband went out for a run while I was lying on the bed all slug-like, which compelled me to get off my rump and MOVE to the Biggest Loser 30-Day-Burn DVD. Woot! Like my shirt?

 

Chillin' after some cardio.

Chillin’ after some cardio.

 

4) Because Diet to Go is awesome, they’re providing me a few weeks of meals in exchange for some blog posts and Twitter participation. I love the convenience of their yummy food, and am confident this will help me succeed. Also? Being able to microwave a freshly-made meal when I get home from a crazy 12 hour work day instead of chopping, dicing, boiling and roasting my dinner? The best.

5) FitBloggin’ is a short four weeks away! This year the event is in Portland, and it’d be great to go to a fitness conference and you know, actually feel fit. I’m hoping when I go I can describe my blog and boast that I’ve lost weight, rather than be like “Yeah, I yo-yo-ed the same weight for the past year.”

Ok, there it is. I feel like that was a bunch of confessions all at once.They weren’t really confessions, more like a “Let’s start at zero.”  This blog is no good to me if I use it as a place to only boast and brag and not be real. The blog is here for accountability and to connect with people like you, and while the freebies and perks are nice, the real reason I do it is I need that commitment of putting my challenge out to the whole world. It makes it harder to quit. It keeps me going. So yes – the bad news is I haven’t lost fifty pounds, 74 pounds, or even 24 pounds. But the good news is I’ve lost some pounds, and I’m still trying. As long as I keep trying, it might taken ten years to do this, but I’ll do it, by hook or by crook. Thank you for reading as always…. I really love seeing all of your comments and even if you don’t comment (Hi Lurkers!), I can see on my analytics that you’re popping in from all over to see what’s up in my little old world. THANK YOU. <3

Now – does anyone else have anything they’d like to confess or get out in the open? I’m here for ya.

(Here’s one more: My kitten has about 50,347,12 cat toys, and his favorite thing to play with right now is an empty Coors Light box and a tampon. (Don’t worry – it’s sealed and brand new and he got into our bathroom cabinet and made himself a little play date with all the supplies. Sigh. How’s THAT for a confession?!)

 

Hidden athleticism.

I have never been athletic.  While many of America’s youth spend their time in matching uniforms proudly running around with numbers on their back, I was never one of those children.  Well, I was once.  I think I managed a few months of soccer in kindergarten but the only thing I remember is the day I forgot to wear a different shirt for playing goalie.

I never entered onto sporting grounds again unless forced by P.E. (physical education) teacher in school.  I didn’t turn into a chunky monkey until puberty so it’s not like I could even blame my weight on why I avoided sports so much.  It just wasn’t my thing.  I was way more focused on doing extraordinary activities like choreographing dances to Jimmy Buffet’s song “Fins”. I could dance my fins to the left and to the right all night long but if I was told to run a mile in class, I could barely get around the track without wanting to drop to the ground and gasp for air like a beached sand shark.   As much as I despised any sort of sport-related physical activity, I did manage to build a firm appreciation of roller-blading.  Skating the streets of my towns helped build the awesomely firm leg muscles that I still have today.

Once I discovered my love of fitness when I lost fifty pounds and was working at a gym, I decided I should give sports another chance.  I’ve always had fast reflexes and have been pretty good at catching random objects that have been thrown at me so the logical choice was to try playing softball.  With help from one of the most influential guys in my life, my friend Aaron and I began meeting up to practice my throwing and catching.   I wasn’t great but I was determined and tried to gather a bunch of friends together to start a team.  That goal died quicker than Disney’s plan to makeover Merida from the Pixar movie, Brave.

With extra motivation from writing on this blog, I decided to enlist myself in P.E. classes at my college.   As many of our faithful readers know,  I enrolled in yoga, Pilates, and a half-semester tennis course.  I was excited to see how easily my body made progress in it’s strength and flexibility and knowing that my body can indeed be trained into athleticism has given me faith that I can do even better.

tennis

I’ve fallen in love with tennis and I’m even contemplating taking my racket with me across the Atlantic when I leave for Europe in a month.  How will I survive without the tight grip that my hands hold around the handle and the strings that bounce my affections in the form of a neon yellow ball?

I willingly played tennis four times last week and was eager to practice more in between days.  I even gathered phone numbers of my classmates to play with before I leave!  I plan on taking tennis again next semester but hopefully I’ll continue to improve over the summer.  Plus, I just love the cute skirts!

Do any of you play any sports?  If not, have you ever wanted to but found excuses of why you shouldn’t like I so often would do?

Alyssa is back from her glorious trip and will return with a blog to come!

 

 

Happy wishes for the rest of the week for you all!

 

AprilSignatur

5 Weeks of Boot Camp

Tomorrow morning is the first Monday in five weeks that I won’t force myself out of bed at 6:45 AM, hastily throw on some workout clothes, and rush to the park to sweat. I finished my five week Groupon and I’m happy to report that my boot camp was nothing but a positive experience, as it taught me several things:

  • While I am certainly not a morning person, getting a great work out before the day begins is awesome. It was done for the day and I went to work feeling nice and awake and stretched out and limber.
  • I have lazy tendencies, and need to push myself to work harder when it comes to fitness. My bootcamp instructor was great about encouraging me to do more, and it worked. Sometimes a gentle nudge is all I need.
  • Five weeks seems short, but it made A LOT of difference in my fitness regimen. How much? Let’s see!

On the first day of the class, we did baseline fitness testing where for one full minute, we counted the number of crunches, squats, sprints and “six inches” that we could do. Six Inches means you hold your feet and legs off the floor, six inches above the ground, using your core to support you.

Here’s my baseline fitness test next to my scores after five weeks:

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 9.40.07 PMI was most proud of my improvements on plank. For some reason, the plank is always the fitness move that eludes me, where I try and try to hoist my body up, teetering on my elbows like a hot dog held up by toothpicks. I’ve finally mastered it, and at the beginning of the five weeks, I thought I was going to die after 15 seconds – and now I can actually hold it up to a minute and 30 seconds. AWESOME!

As you can see above, I improved in every category except for sprints. I am tryiiiiing so hard to like running, but I think I finally hit the nail on the head for why it’s not uber enjoyable for me. It’s HARD to move this body, with an extra 70 pounds. I am agile, flexible and strong, but I am not FAST – and that’s so much of what running seems to be. However, I recognize that it’s an amazing cardio element, so I’m going to try to keep it up.

All in all, after five weeks of bootcamp, I lost 9 inches over all and greatly improved my fitness. I’m already debating signing up again because it felt so much more rewarding for me than my gym. As much as I love Zumba and boxing, this fitness regimen really got me movin’ and combined cardio and strength, and I loved being outside in the morning, watching the squirrels find their breakfast, seeing the sun rising up over the smoggy skies of Los Angeles.

As far as weight, I haven’t gotten on the scale since last week’s kerfuffle, but I’ll be back on it soon. When I’m done with school, I have an appointment with my doctor, just to double check that hormonally, everything is right. Sometimes you just have a feeling something’s wrong, and I want to just double check. In reflecting back, losing weight has been about 94% impossible for me the past year, so I just need to confirm that it’s all good in the hood and it’s likely behavior (food) and not physiology (hormones) that’s making this so challenging.

Anyhoo! So that was bootcamp! I surprisingly loved it.

I hope you have a fantastic Monday – I’ll be back tomorrow!

 

An epic run to the finish line of April’s twenties.

The end of my third decade arrives here in two days.  April 12th marks the beginning of my fourth decade, better known as the “thirties”. When I think of the thirties, I think of mother at her 30th birthday party.   I was five years old then and I just have this image in my mind of black balloons and black streamers on the banister of our old Illinois house. My mother already had all three of her children and was deep in motherhood and ready to spend the next GLORIOUS twenty five more years of parenting to bring us to where we are today.

I’ll save my honest views of this upcoming birthday for a special reflective post I’ll publish in the next few days because I have enough to say about the past thirty years of my life that this would end up being a very LONG post.

Some of you regular readers may remember a post I did a few weeks ago that discussed a list of goals I wanted to accomplish by my 30th birthday.  I was able to “pay it forward” and tonight I’ll be “starting to roller blade” as I glide my way across the polished wooden floors of the local skating rink for adult night.  The most significant achievement came in a more strenuous form that left me wanting take a little rest of the floor of my gym.

As I walked towards my gym I noticed three young women standing outside, they seemed to either be hanging out post-workout or waiting for a friend.  Since they lacked gym bags and all looked pretty cute, I quickly assumed they were not just out of the gym.  As I opened the door to go inside one of the girls remarked, “Is it wrong of us to be standing outside the gym hanging out while all these people are walking in to be active?”

I laughed and said No way, we all have our moments of not working out.”  They all smiled and immediately started praising me for making the choice to work out at 9:30 at night rather than going out.   I once again laughed and told them that these night time gym routines are still in the “honeymoon phase” so I have yet to lose the motivation.  The girls then started cheering for me as I told them good night and made my way into the gym, smiling super big from the extra perk of motivation without them even knowing the kind of big goal I was going to attempting minutes later.

As I warmed up on the elliptical and texted Alyssa about what lie in my future, I noticed the girls walking past the giant glass windows that line the front wall of the gym.  Like animals in a zoo, a passerby can hoot, holler, or throw peanuts at those of us trotting away on our choice of hamster wheel machine, eagerly prancing on for miles without actually going anywhere at all.

These girls did not throw peanuts at the window though.  The three girls are threw up their fists in pride and power and I could tell that they were cheering once more for me.  They pointed me out as they made their way past the window, smiling and throwing up their arms as if they were my best friends I hadn’t seen in months.

A few minutes after that I got off the elliptical and picked out a treadmill to attempt to cross off my next goal: To run a mile without stopping.

April's last time entering 29 year old on the treadmill.

April’s last time entering 29 year old on the treadmill.

As I entered in my workout information on the treadmill, the age/weight option flashed in it’s greenish yellow letters of doom.  I happily entered my weight as the number is progressively getting lower but then the option for AGE come on.  I paused for a moment as I realized that this would probably be the last time I entered in a “2” for the first digit on my age.  Next week, when I return to the gym after another thrilling birthday weekend, I’ll be entering in the number “3” as my first digit.  After my moment of reflection, I smiled and thought to myself what a cool coincidence it was that I would be making this big goal happen as my last time on the treadmill in my 20’s.

Twelve incredibly long minutes after that, for the first time in at least six years, I SUCCEEDED at running a complete mile without stopping.  Actually, I threw on an extra .2 to slow myself down so technically I ran 1.2 miles without stopping!   I did vary from a slow 4.5 mph jog all the way up to a 7.0 mph run but was so proud of myself when I finally finished that mile.

April after running a mile without stopping!

April after running a mile without stopping!

I snapped a picture to show you all how it is possible for me to sweat, like Alyssa claims I don’t do, and excitedly walked out into the randomly warm 65 degree Californian weather for 10pm at night.   On my way home as I blasted my air conditioning at my pink-as-my-hair face I decided to also blast a favorite song of mine from the movie Pitch Perfect.  Singing along to the song about having the “magic in me”, I felt so proud and incredibly refreshed after my work-out.  I also was stoked to get home and write a blog about this accomplishment.

I love that writing for the Double Chin Diary has done that for me!   It’s given me so much motivation and thank you all for having such positive impacts on my sister and my success with this fierce fight against flab!

I’m not going to be able to visit Disneyland or Yosemite by Friday but I will be able to cross off  “go a month without soda” on my list as it has been since March 11th since I let myself taste the sweet nectar of the Coca-Cola gods.

What kind of fitness goals have you achieved that you were so proud of?   Do you have any fitness goals set now?   I’m still working on my big fitness goal of being able to touch my “nose to my toes” and I am *SO* close!

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

PS – Thank you to Monica for helping me with my basic math.  I gotta stop writing at midnight, haha!