Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This is gonna be TOUGH.

A lot of the satisfaction I get from my eating habits and my exercise regimen is mental. I like to know that I can check things off my "list," so to speak. Doing the amount of exercise that I do makes me feel good physically, but a lot of it is also mental. The adverse is true as well. I feel like if I don't get in that hour plus of cardio every day and I happen to walk past a cookie while catching a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye I will gain 5 pounds.

It sound ridiculous. I know.

Nonetheless. It's who I am. It is who I have created myself to be. Having been in the fitness industry there is a definite pressure to look and act a certain way. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that I only do what I do because of my job, I'd say the opposite in fact. I like to do what I do, and that is why the job I have is perfect for me.

I like working out everyday. It is a stress reliever for me, BUT I do NOT like feeling like if I don't work out I'm going to digress in a big way or gain extreme amounts of weight. I want to be in a healthy place where I workout a good amount. I think that is possible. Let me rephrase that...I want to think that is possible.

Today as I was at the gym doing my cardio, one of my good friends came to say hello. He and I have the same gym schedule for the most part, and we have for what seems like a long time. He's always up for talking fitness, health, and nutrition with me, and today we had a very interesting conversation.

Now, let me interject here by saying people LOVE to give me their fitness advice. 98 percent of the time it makes me laugh because people will recite what they just read out of Fitness Magazine, or what they saw on the Today Show and call it credible. There probably is some truth to a lot of the things we hear, but I am not one who is so quick to jump on the latest tv segment's suggestions and call it good. I am open to new ideas, of course, but I like to research what I hear and decide if the information is legit or not.

Now back to my convo with gym friend. I trust his opinion. He does a LOT of research. Real research, not just googling and reading the top search result. He is legit, and he knows how hard I work to accomplish my hard to take random advice from just anyone.

We talked about some of the issues I'm fed up with, and what has worked and what hasn't and he suggested a few things to me that I'm going to try REALLY hard to incorporate. I'm going to tell you now, this is going to be really, really, REALLY hard for me.

I am going to...
1. Lift three times a week. Heavy weight, high quality lifting.
2. Cardio 3 times a week on my off days of lifting... 25-30 mins of intervals. *OH MY GOSH...scary. Do you realize this is like 1/4th of the cardio I've been doing??
3. Increase the fat content in my diet.
4. Stop looking at exact calories. Look at quality of food and the way it increases my blood sugar, and cravings.

I am looking to increase my metabolism by increasing my lean muscle mass. Increase my energy levels by increasing recovery time and decreasing cardiovascular exercise. Maximize the time I am doing cardio by incorporating intervals. Control my blood sugar levels with meals that don't spike my blood sugar...more on this as I incorporate these principles...and try to get myself away form obsessing over calorie count. I am still going to journal my food because I want to see what works what doesn't, and which foods cause sugar cravings as opposed to the ones that keep me satiated. Still avoiding sugar and refined white flour, as well as a lower intake of whole grains.

A lot of these principles fall in line with what I incorporated last July when I was studying up on hormones and how our diets can effect them. I know that it's going to be difficult. The reduced cardio may kill me mentally...we'll see though. I'm going to do my best to stick this out to see how the effects really come into play for better or for worse. I will definitely keep you updated along the way. This is a good time for me to focus on something else being as how my running has been lessened with all of the injuries here and there. We'll see what happens! wish me luck :)

Are my goals similar to any of your current habits? How often do you do cardio? Lift weights? Any thoughts on how this may pan out for me? I'm still researching and studying out what I think can happen if I stick to it. Let's hope it is a good thing and that my experimenting can benefit you all in the future!


Unknown said...

hey sweet friend. Just letting you know I've been in the SAME boat and I've been a trainer for almost 8 years. EEK! Its hard to break that norm but I think it worth the shot. And your body will respond quick. Keep me posted! <3

Jody @ Raising Fin and Fish said...

This sounds like an interesting experiment! I look forward to the results. I have also been reading a lot of research on the benefits of high intensity cardio intervals vs. long duration steady state cardio. I've incorporated two sets of intervals each week and it is truly helping!!! Best wishes :)

CB said...

These are awesome goals--I'm excited to follow you through them.

As for your opening statement, you're not ridiculous. I completely empathize!

heather said...

I am anxious to hear how it goes! I am 8 months pregnant but I understand your fear of cutting cardio time. Pre-pregnancy I HAD to have at least an hour of cardio, and see my calories burned on my HRM or else I just knew my jeans would be tighter all of a sudden! And I religiously kept track of my calories consumed. I seriously daydream about being able to get that cardio high again, oh how I miss it! But, I know once the baby comes, I won't have the luxury of working out for as long as I want so this plan sounds more doable. Good luck! Isn't it funny that it's going to be harder (mentally) to do less?

Rachelle Wardle said...

Good luck Megan this plan sounds great and very similar to what a lot of serious body builders would use. Just curious what your goals are and why you are switching things up? Are you hoping to lose weight, gain more muscle, or both?

Lisa said...

I used to be the same way. The only thing I'd do when I went to the gym was run for 45 minutes to an hour. Then I started adding weight training. After about 6 months of doing both, the cardio slowly went down. After about a year and a half, I still do cardio, but only 20-30 minutes 4 days a week. 90% of the time it'll be HIIT too. I'm a runner at heart but I've taken to weight lifting and absolutely love it. I think you'll do great and you'll be surprised at how good you feel!!

Brittany@ A Spoonful of Peanut Butter said...

This is interesting, and I can totally relate! I sometimes feel like I have to work up a really good sweat or I'll gain weight (doesn't happen often now, but it did a few months ago. drove me nuts!) and I used to think that I couldn't eat cheese because I'd gain weight, or if I didn't drink enough water I wouldn't lose's such a vicious cycle. Good luck with this! Keep us posted on how it goes:)

Mrs. JM said...

this will be a challenge but it's always good to mix things up, right? i read this post and was nodding my head in agreement the entire time. i know exactly how you feel. i've made a lot of changes to my routine the last few months and am currently really into circuit training. the dedicated heavy lifting days doesn't not work for me. my body responds really well to high intensity circuit training which i do twice a week, yoga once a week and running 3 times a week (25 miles total). the fad advice you speak of drives me crazy too. mostly because not all people are created equal. you're smart to search for your magic plan through a trial and error process. counting calories sucks but the truth is, it works. i get why it's frowned upon and i get tired of thinking about calories so obsessively but, i have to be so careful. i don't count every calorie, every day. only when i feel like i'm getting complacent or too lenient than i tighten the reigns for awhile. what i don't do is weigh myself. hardly ever. i can't stand how it makes me feel every time i step on the scale -- like i'm waiting for my score. so i pay attention to how i feel and how my clothes fit and then visit the scale every other month or so.

wow, sorry to ramble! i really wish you the best of luck with this.

kara t. said...

I think a lot like you, but have had a lot of new ideas put into my head as of late. While I do a lot of cardio to train for races, I have been spending a lot less time doing "chronic cardio" which I realize just makes me hungrier and doesn't really give me the results I want. Here's an article (of course it touts crossfit and paleo, but it seems like that's more of the direction your headed) that talks about why it's important for women to lift heavy:

Trisha said...

These are such great goals to work toward!

I know they'll be tough, especially at first, but I know you will be able to achieve them.

I feel like I could have written this same post about a year ago. Since then I have focused more on weight training, eating healthy fats and not obsessing over calories, but rather whole foods. It's still a struggle and probably always will be, but it's such a less stressful life to lead when you're not obsessing over 50 calories over/under for the day.

Best of luck!

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