Week 3: Workout #2 and Weigh-In

Oh man, I fell off the wagon in a big way last week.

After my disastrous workout attempt on Wednesday, I didn’t muster up the energy to go to the gym until late last night. While I was able to put in a decent session on the treadmill, I didn’t do any lifting. And I didn’t stretch beforehand (I know, I know), so my leg muscles were pretty tight and sore after I finished. At least I went, though…truth be told, I was *thisclose* to not bothering. Ugh, that needs to stop.

Anyway, here’s last night’s workout summary:

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 20 minutes on the treadmill, alternating walking and jogging
  • 5-minute cool-down walk

I also had my weekly weigh-in last night. No difference, but at least I didn’t gain weight.

Today starts a new week, and I’m hoping that I’m able to find more motivation this week. I likely won’t be able to get to the gym tonight because I have an audition after work, but hopefully I’ll be able to get my butt out of bed semi-early tomorrow morning and get my run in.

The good news is that I think I’m finally ready to progress to Week 2 of the C25K program. The Week 1 jogging segments have been easier the last couple of times I’ve been to the gym, and I’ve been able to run faster, too. So starting this week, I’ll be alternating 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes per session.

May 19, 2008 at 2:29 pm 2 comments

Week 3: Workout #1

Ugh.

Last night was probably the worst workout I’ve had since I started Beginner Fitness Junkie.

I’m almost reluctant to post about it, since I barely consider it a workout, but I promised myself that I would document every fitness-related thing I do, so here’s the recap.

I’ve discovered that I have basically three levels of energy when it comes to exercising and how I feel before and after I work out. They are:

A) I have TONS of energy that I burn off when I work out, and I feel great afterward;

B) I’m tired, but I decide to go work out rather than take a nap, and the workout re-energizes me and I feel great afterward;

C) I feel tired and gross before I start, and I never really get the energy that I need, and I finish the workout feeling even more tired and gross.

Last night was definitely a C day.

I’d had a long day at work and a hellish commute home, but I hadn’t been to the gym since Sunday so I put on my shorts, laced up my sneakers and headed out the door.

I should have known it’d be bad from the second I got to the gym. It was HOT in there. I checked the (non-adjustable) thermostat and it was set to 77 degrees. Ick. Plus, it was busier in the gym than it’s been the last couple of times I’ve gone, so there was additional body heat. Still, I hung up my bag and started up the treadmill.

I attempted the same walking/jogging segments at the same speed as I had on Sunday. I noticed almost immediately that the same level of exercise was getting my heart rate a lot higher. On Sunday, walking at 3 miles an hour and jogging at 3.5 mph got my heart rate hovering right around the 65% “fat burn” zone, so it was a comfortable workout. Last night, the same intensity resulted in my heart rate pushing the 85% “cardio” zone, which wasn’t what I wanted. I don’t know whether it was due to the heat or general tiredness or what.

I felt tired and sluggish the whole way through, and ended up stopping at the 18-minute mark. Bleccchh.

Here’s the mini-recap:

  • 5-minute warm-up walk
  • stretch
  • 18 minutes on the treadmill, alternating 90 seconds of walking and 60 seconds of jogging
  • 3 sets of 10 bicep curls
  • stretch

This was the first time a workout hasn’t rejuventated me and given me more energy. I just felt gross and tired afterward.

Let’s hope the next one goes a little better.

May 15, 2008 at 3:21 pm 2 comments

Week 2: Workout #2 and Weigh-In

I’m a little late posting this, but better late than never, right?

I only managed to squeeze in two workouts last week, the second one being last night. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I’ve been getting really sore muscles after my workouts. I figured it was probably a result of either not stretching enough or pushing myself too hard—or possibly both. So I chose to address both those issues last night.

Before I went to the gym, I went through an entire stretch routine geared specifically toward runners. Then I went to the gym and made another attempt at the Week 1 Day 1 segment of Couch to 5K. I did my walking segments on the treadmill at 3 miles an hour and only increased it slightly to 3.5 for the jogging segments. (I had been running at 5.0 earlier, which is why I was tuckered out with crazy sore calf muscles after only two or three segments.) I also stretched my calves after each running segment to keep them from tightening up on me.

I’m excited to report that not only was I able to finish the whole 30 minutes (5-minute walking warm-up; 20 minutes alternating running and jogging; and 5-minute cool-down), but I was comfortable upping my speed for the last two running segments. I did one at 4 miles an hour, and my final running spurt was at 5 miles an hour.

And you know what? I felt great afterward.

After the treadmill workout, I worked with free weights:

  • 3 sets of 10 bicep curls
  • 3 sets of 10 tricep extensions
  • 3 sets of 10 chest presses
  • 1 set of 10 squats
  • 1 set of 10 lunges on each leg
  • 1 set of 10 plies
  • 30 crunches

Then I returned to my apartment and stretched again. For the first time, I had no post-workout pain, and with the exception of a slight twinge in my right bicep and lower back, I’m pain-free today, too.

Fabulous.

I also had my weekly weigh-in yesterday. I lost the pound I gained last week and I’m back to my starting weight. Yay for small achievements!

May 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment

Week 2: Workout #1

A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded the Couch to 5K running plan. I figured, what better way to get started on an exercise program than by choosing one tailored toward beginners?

Now I’m thinking that even the C25K is too ambitious for me.

I’ve never been a runner. When I was in third grade, I spent a season playing for my community’s soccer league. I loved kicking that damn ball and bouncing it off my head, but I hated running laps. I was the slowest on my team, and my coach would usually make me do an extra lap just for trailing behind. Ass.

Now, though, I want to be a runner. Every day when I drive home from work, I see joggers out enjoying the fresh air and exercise. You know the types—they make running look fun. Every muscle works together in a fluid motion, and running almost looks musical when they do it. I want to be one of them.

The problem is, my legs don’t so much agree with me. Because I haven’t tried to run since third grade, they’re very much not up for the challenge, and even jogging in short bursts on the treadmill is hell on my knees, shins, and calves. It freaking sucks.

I know that I’m at the point where if I push myself too hard, I’m just going to give up, And I don’t want to do that. So for the next few weeks, I’m just going to focus on walking during my exercise routine. I’ll jog if I feel up to it, but I won’t seriously attempt the C25K plan again until my legs are a little more ready to take on the challenge.

That being said, here’s the recap of today’s workout:

  • 5-minute stretch
  • 3 sets of 10 bicep curls
  • 3 sets of 10 shoulder presses
  • 2 sets of 10 lunges (on each side)
  • 3 sets of 10 tricep extentions
  • 2 sets of 10 dumbbell front raises
  • 30 crunches
  • stretch

Then I walked down to the gym in my apartment community (3 minutes, mostly down a slight hill) and put in 25 minutes on the treadmill. I started off with the C25K plan and got in three 60-second jogging intervals (interspersed with 90 seconds of walking) before my lower legs threatened to quit. I compromised and did the rest of the session at a brisk walk.

Now as I sit here icing my calves, I have to wonder—how long does it take until your muscles get accustomed to exercise? Any readers who have been there and done that, please feel free to share your wisdom!

May 8, 2008 at 1:59 am 4 comments

Recipe Sharing: London Broil With Steak-Sauce Gravy

I don’t know whether it was the big-ass hill I tackled on Sunday, or all of the spring cleaning I did over the weekend, but I’ve been out of commission for a couple of days with a CRAZY sore lower back. I’m finally feeling better today, so the plan is to resume exercising after work tonight.

In the meantime, though, I’m going to share another recipe, this one courtesy of Rachael Ray (30 Minute Meals). I don’t always love her show—her personality can be grating, and a lot of times the food she cooks is either too spicy or a hot mess. Plus, “30 minutes” usually means 30 minutes of hard labor in the kitchen. I’d rather cook something that I just have to pop in the oven. It might take longer than 30 minutes, but I don’t have to spend the whole time in the kitchen.

That being said, I have gotten some really tasty recipes from her. This is one of them.

On the show, Rachael serves this dinner with sides of smashed cauliflower and Swiss chard to make it Atkins-friendly. You couldn’t pay me to try Atkins (I love my carbs too much), so I usually just whip up some mashed potatoes and a veggie of some sort. The real star here is the gravy…YUM.

Ingredients

·         2-3 pound slab of London broil

·         Worcestershire sauce

·         Salt and pepper

·         1 small shallot, finely chopped 

·         2 tbsp. butter

·         2 tbsp. flour

·         2 cups beef broth

·         ¼ cup steak sauce 

Directions

Preheat broiler. Season both sides of London broil with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Broil meat for 6 minutes; turn meat over and broil six more minutes.  

(I usually keep the oven rack in the middle position for this because I find if it’s too close to the heat, it gets all crispy. I like my meat at least medium rare, especially when you’re dealing with a tough cut of meat like London broil.) 

Meanwhile, cook shallot in 2 tbsp. melted butter until tender but not brown. Whisk in flour; allow to cook for 1 minute. Whisk in beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When gravy boils, turn the heat down and cook for one minute more. Whisk in ¼ cup steak sauce; heat through. 

Remove meat from oven; allow to rest 5 minutes. Slice meat very thinly on an angle across the grain. Top with steak-sauce gravy. (The gravy is also AWESOME on mashed potatoes.) 

Thanks, Rachael!

May 7, 2008 at 2:58 pm Leave a comment

Weekend Workout Recap and Weigh-In

I had a pretty jam-packed weekend, so I skipped out on the traditional gym workout. I did get some exercise in both days, however.

On Saturday I took the hubby up to Philadelphia for the Star Wars exhibit at the Franklin Institute. We took SEPTA into Suburban Station, walked up to the Franklin Institute, ate hot dogs in the park, spent an hour looking at Star Wars artifacts and costumes, walked down to Love Park for dinner, and then walked back to the train station. All told, I’d say we put in about 3 miles of walking yesterday.

Today was cleaning day, and I know I burned some calories scrubbing out our bathtub. Also, we were out of laundry detergent—and rather than drive three minutes to the closest drugstore, I decided to save on gas and get my workout in by just walking over there. It was about a mile and a half round trip, but there was a big-ass hill involved, so I definitely got some cardio in.

Later in the evening, I brought out the scale to see if any of my hard work this week has made a difference.

I gained a pound. Ha.

I’m not too surprised, though—in addition to the Philly hot dogs, we also had Mexican food for dinner. Enchiladas, tostadas, rice, refried beans, cheese, margaritas and tequila shots…I would have been pretty surprised if the scale had reflected any kind of weight loss after that. I haven’t been working that hard at the gym. (The food was delicious, though!)

No worries—I’m not in a big hurry to lose weight, and I’m just taking this one baby step at a time. Week 2 kicks off tomorrow, so let’s see where we go from here!

May 5, 2008 at 3:01 am 3 comments

Recipe Post: Ranch Chicken Thighs and Rice

I’m taking it easy today—no gym for me. So in today’s blog post, I’m going to do that other thing I promised: share recipes! We’ve worked hard this week; let’s celebrate with a yummy dinner.

This is a gem I found on Recipezaar.

Ranch Chicken Thighs and Rice

Ingredients

·     4 chicken thighs

·     ½ cup ranch dressing

·     ½ cup dry bread crumbs

·     ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

·     2 tbsp. cornmeal

·     1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

·     salt and pepper

·     1 cup long-grain white rice

·     1 tbsp. butter

·     2 cups chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pour ranch dressing into a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, cornmeal, and Italian seasoning.

Pull the skin off the chicken thighs. (Trust me, you won’t miss it.) Lightly sprinkle the skinless thighs with salt and pepper. Dredge each thigh through the ranch dressing and then through the breadcrumb mixture. Place in a lightly greased glass baking dish.

Bake thighs at 375 for 45 minutes. You don’t need to turn them; just let them hang out in the oven.

Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 tbsp. butter over high heat. Add 1 cup of rice and stir. Turn the heat down to low and cover. Let rice cook for 20 minutes. (Don’t lift the lid at ALL while it’s cooking.) After 20 minutes, remove lid and fluff rice with fork.

Serve chicken and rice with steamed vegetables (I personally prefer green beans, broccoli, or spinach with this meal.)

Of course, you can make this healthier by using fat-free ranch dressing and omitting the butter in the rice…but why would you want to?

May 2, 2008 at 2:42 pm 2 comments

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