The Balancing Act

First off, apologies for missing Thursday’s ab post. I barely squeezed in my workout after visiting a friend in hospital and picking up other friends from the airport. That means today is a double post.

Thursday’s Pinterest workout was:


At first I had intended to do this workout as a circuit, but I was low on time. To make the workout a little more rounded, I started and ended with about 10 minutes of Zumba. The only new exercise to this routine was the seated leg scissors – which were much more challenging than I had imagined. I have found that for me the two most effective exercises are the butt lifts and the side v crunch. I felt them working straight away. Cheek-to-cheek planks were also pretty great. I used to be able to do them no problem – and I’m looking forward to getting back to that. This routine is definitely one I’d like to keep in my arsenal. It can be done quickly once through or used as a circuit. As for the original site this came from, Pinterest blocked it when I tried to click through, saying it may lead to spam. Sorry.

And then there was today – which brings us back to the title. I am always trying to balance getting in what I consider a good workout with not passing out while working out. As I mentioned last week, leg day is always cardio. Big muscles work hard and take up a lot of energy. But I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish a workout. Today, however, I didn’t finish. Here’s the workout:

leg toner.jpg

From the beginning, I was huffing and puffing. Those frog jumps are super effective. My quads were burning right away. I’m still a little shaky on my side planks, so I modified them by staying on my lower knee but lifting my bottom hip off the ground. As my abs and shoulders get stronger, it will get easier. The split squats were so-so. At this point, I prefer a regular lunge. Lateral single leg raises (or fire hydrants) were great. I kept my knee bent, but the effect was the same. Sumo squat jumps – felt the cardio, felt the burn. One legged rows were shaky – literally. After I caught my breath, I focused on keeping my core tight, and I stopped falling over. Love, love, love plié squat calf raises. For the bench glute raises I modified by laying face down with my pelvic bone to the floor, and squeezed my heels together. Love that one! Wall sit squats were a little odd. I think I’d rather do wall sits or regular squats. And I was just not coordinated enough for the lateral lunges. That’ll take some practice.

After pushing myself through the first set of 15 reps for the exercises, I felt beat. Thanks to the article 5 Ways to Tame Toxic Thinking and Negative Self-Talk from MyFitnessPal, I kept trying to positively motivate myself. I kept saying, “I can do this. I’m strong. I have what it takes.” But as each exercise progressed, I got dizzier and more lightheaded. When I stood up, I had to give myself a while to get my head back. Then I negotiated with myself. “Second time through, sets of 12, then sets of 10 for the third time.” Then I told myself, “Let’s break it up to mini circuits. Just get through frog jumps and side plank leg raises.” And I did. 12 frog jumps. 12 leg raises (each side). Then 10 frog jumps. 10 leg raises. And then a long break. I did the same with the lunges (because I had given up on split squats) and fire hydrants. But at that point I knew I needed to listen to my body. It was time to stop and let my brain get the blood and oxygen it was craving.

My latest theory is low blood pressure. The last trip to the dentist required a blood pressure check. My numbers were within “normal”, but on the lower end of normal. After reading a few different articles, it seems like a logical answer to my workout-induced nausea and lightheadedness. Most experts recommend slow transitions, especially when it comes to posture. The exercises I was doing today had me kneeling, standing, jumping, all in succession. My body didn’t know what to do. I’ll keep monitoring this and adjust as need be. It is always a balancing act.

Well, that’s it for today. Headed downstairs to bake some chicken and chop some veg. I’ll be back Monday with another upper body workout.



Push-ups Are Not My Strength…Yet

Sunday was busy. But it ended with good friends, good food, and good beer. That’s right beer. While getting in shape, being healthy, and losing weight are important to me, so is enjoying life and the abundant pleasures food and drink have to offer – but in moderation. Last night’s dinner composed of gyoza as appetizers, Waterfall Pork and sticky rice, and six ounces of a dark German lager. Yum!

Today was less busy. Chores around the house, FaceTime with family, and a friend stopped by from out of town. I was still rather unmotivated for today’s workout. One reason, of many, was trying to figure out how I would modify the exercises. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I don’t have much equipment, including dumbbells – which was required for each exercise. So I tried using my resistance bands. This was only partially effective. Well, take a look at the exercise, and then I’ll explain.

Tank Top Arms

Superset 1: First of all, I cannot do a full push-up yet. I can do a few on my knees,  but I couldn’t do 15 of them well. So, by step one, we were already off to a rough start. I did end up doing all 45, on my knees, without great form. As for the second half of this set, I held my resistance band down with my front foot so I could attempt the lawnmowers. It went so-so.

Superset 2: This set went more smoothly. Using my bands with handles I was able to do both exercises with relative ease. It still would have been easier with dumbbells.

Superset 3: See problem number one. By this point my arms were jello. I couldn’t even lift myself off the ground. I tried just doing a plank and using the resistance band to do rows. By set three I had given up and just did an extra set of bent-over rows.

Superset 4: And then there were more bicep curls. I did another set of 45, and just skipped the last exercise, which was just more curls.

Overall, I was underwhelmed with this workout. For my fitness level, there were too many push-ups. And I just don’t have the right equipment for it. But I will say, I can barely hold my arms up to type this post, so it wasn’t all for nought. I might try and come back to this workout someday, but not in the very near future. But I may go back and check out more of the workouts on the site In Fitness and In Health.

Check back Thursday to see what ab workout I put myself through!

Bum + Leg

I thought I was going to die! Not really, but almost. Have I mentioned I’m out of shape?? But the good news is, I finished the workout. Here’s what I did:

Leg + Bum

When I chose this workout I looked at each set and thought, “I can do that!” It was just that doing them in succession was a bit more than my brain had planned for. My muscles kept up with the exercises, but the real struggle was the nauseated, dizzy feeling I get when pushing myself to a new cardio level. Working my lower body is always cardio for me. Back in the olden days of working with my trainer, we never quite figured out what my nausea trigger was. I ate before my workout and to gave myself enough time after eating. I was hydrated and in a cool room. I personally thing it’s just my body adjusting to a new set of circumstances. We will see how leg day goes next time.

Instead of just doing three sets in a row of each exercise, I did one set each, all the way through the workout, then started again from the top. The first two sets took me about twenty minutes. The last set took me another thirty because I had to pause so long in between exercises. I opted to slowly complete the whole workout instead of just giving up because I couldn’t do it quickly. And for that, I am proud.

This workout came from WorkoutLabs. I hadn’t heard of it before.  Non-members can only access three workouts per month. The service is $12.95/month. Since I’m doing this on the cheap, I won’t signing up and paying for any workouts. Several of the plans also require full gym equipment. If you’re looking for a digital trainer, I think this site is great. The features they advertise are: workout plans for every fitness level, a workout calendar you can access from all you devices or print and take with you, and customized workouts. There are also detailed instructions for each workout that highlight which muscles you’ll be working. There are definitely a lot of perks that come with  WorkoutLabs. However, if you just want to workout at home, or you don’t want to pay a monthly fee, there are many other free sources out there. It will just take a little more work and planning on your part.

Well, that’s today’s summary. As soon as the water comes back on in our house, I will be taking a shower because, to be honest, I now smell disgusting. It’s the badge of a good workout.

Check back in on Monday when we tackle arms!

The Experiment

Pinterest. Where we spend countless hours pinning projects we’ll never finish, recipes we’ll never cook, and workouts we’ll never do. Until now. If you’re anything like me, you have some sort of fitness or health board on Pinterest. At last count I have 782 pins on my board. I’ve probably only ever done one of them. To be fair, many of these are motivational quotes (we see how well they’re working). But the movie Julie & Julia gave me an idea (and it wasn’t just about using copious amounts of butter in my cooking). I’m going to systematically go through all of the workouts that I have pinned one by one and try them out and then report how it went.

As one of my many pins says, “If you spent as much time working out as you did pinning workouts, you’d be in shape by now.” (It’s not verbatim) Now, let’s put it to the test. Somethings will have to be modified. I don’t have much equipment – just a few resistance bands and some jugs of water. I’ve been using 6L bottles of water with handles to do  weight lifting. We’ll see what we can do with what we’ve got. Also, I won’t be doing any running. Reasons: (1) It’s very hot and humid here (2) I don’t have a treadmill to run indoors with my air-con on and (3) I don’t particularly enjoy it. So all of those interval treadmill exercises are off the table. And as for 30 day butt/ab/etc… challenges, they will be postponed until another experiment. Everything else I will make work as I go.

Scheduling. I’m starting at the top. I’ve created a second board for all of my completed exercises. As I finish one, I will move it from the old board to the new one. At the moment, my goal is still to workout Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Anything else is bonus. After I feel comfortable in this routine, I’d like to add another day to the mix. Gotta stick to realistic goals right now.

Motivation. The last couple of days I’ve felt less than excited about sticking to these changes. I’ve got to give a shout out to @getfitwjessica on Instagram. I’ve found her journey super motivating and looking through a few posts today helped re-energize me for my upcoming workouts. So many times I’ve given up quickly after not seeing immediate results and ended up right back at the beginning. Her story has been inspirational because she has persevered and has seen the fruits of her labor.

So, today being Thursday, our workout is:

Abs, Obliques & Transverse Slim Waist Summer Workout for Women  Slim Waist

First and foremost, I was very impressed with Spotebi. When I followed the link through to the website I found more than just an infographic. After the visual, there were written instructions for each exercise. And then, best of all, they had it all set up. Push play and the timer counts runs automatically, each exercise is announced, and I didn’t have to think. Having to time circuit workouts is one of my biggest deterrents to doing them. Spotebi made it super easy. Thanks!! I will be returning to them in the future for more workouts. They even had a playlist from Spotify ready to go. Unfortunately,  Spotify hasn’t launched yet in Thailand. I can deal with that.

When it came to the actual workout, I survived. I’m still at the beginning of this process, so some modifications were made. For the ‘toe touch’ my legs just couldn’t make it to 90°. Not yet, anyways. I took more breathers than were probably intended, but kept up pretty well. I keep reminding myself  that the mind is the master of the body. If I tell myself I can do it, I can. And I did.

One Pin down, countless to go. Check back Saturday for Leg + Bum day.