The Top 9 Pieces of Equipment for the Home Gym

Got a basement? Or a garage? Or some space that you want to fill with cool stuff?  If you want to look buff by Christmas you’re probably dreaming. But, if you want to get fit for life, you’ll need more than just a mat and a ball. Get with the times and get a few good pieces of equipment. Here are my top picks:

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1. Sandbag – My most favorite piece of equipment, ever. I purchased one a few years ago and what’s so awesome is that you can choose how heavy you want to make it. You purchase the bag, but you get the sand from a home improvement store. Of course, if you’re handy, you can just make your own bag I guess. There are tons of exercises you can do with this and it MIGHT be a good idea to get two so you can have a super heavy one and a lighter one for different exercises.

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2. Suspension Trainer – (also known as TRX) – TRX is the original creator of this mechanism and plenty of people have gotten on board, especially athletes like Drew Brees and a bunch of Mixed Martial Arts competitors. What’s so special about it? It uses your own bodyweight as resistance and you can manipulate every exercise to make it easier or more challenging. The foot cradles double as handles and plus…it just LOOKS badass when you’re training with it. The most advantageous part of it for you is that it’s extremely easy to use (takes about 10 seconds to hang it from a beam in your house or a doorway. Not to mention it’s lightweight and portable, which makes it perfect for people who travel and want to use it in their hotel rooms.

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3. Pull up Bar / Dip Stand – I bought this ages ago and continue to use it. I put these in one category although they are two different things. The pull up bar is easily installed in a doorway. The dip stand doubles as a pull up bar but moreso as a body row (pictured). You can also use the dip stand to do some hanging leg raises.  Although it’s not as portable as I would like, nothing beats a pull up as one of the most challenging upper body moves and you can get a great workout on these two.

exercise-balls

4. Stability Ball – I consider these the grandfather of all exercise equipment. Because probably everyone and your grandpa has one. Or knows someone who does. The reason? Stabilization is something everyone must work on. Plus, it’s completely versatile. You can sit on it, you can toss it, you can lean on it, you can lift it, you can lay on it. Just make sure you keep it pumped up air because once these things lose their air, they become UNstable.

kettlebells

5. Kettlebell – It might look strange but it’s more than just a weird looking weight. This thing can be used to do anything a dumbbell can do but because of the handle, you can do more. You can swing it as I demonstrate here. You can raise it. You can hold it up and lower your body down to the ground. All kinds of torturous things! 🙂

 

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6. Medicine Ball – This is a ball that has weight. So as the stability ball is large and full of air, the medicine ball is small and full of…something. Sand? Whatever it is, it works like a charm, especially the ones with handles. Some of them are anti-bounce balls meaning they are used for more power moves. Others that are of the weight specified can be use to press, pull, twist, raise, and bounce for a variety of exercises.

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7. Powerblocks – I admit I have yet to purchase these but they are on my Christmas list. Why? I know they look strange but that multicolored block is the answer to just one set of weights that every home gym needs. In case you haven’t noticed, dumbbells are usually priced by the pound. So you can spend quite a bit of money on just one set of 5, 10, 12, and 15lb weights. Well, how about getting just two? That’s the magic behind the Poweblock. It’s an adjustable “block.” I also just noticed they make barbells and kettlebells. My Christmas list just got real big…

bosuball

8. Bosu Ball – This flying saucer, crazy blue half ball looking thing is awesome. It’s called a BOSU ball because BOth Sides are Utilized. You can balance on the blue side or the black side. You can put your hands on either side, your feet on either side, you can stand on it, sit on it, jump on it, lift it up, twist it across, anything and everything.

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9. A Timer and a Tracker – Not what you’d expect out of all this equipment on this list right? But when you workout you need a way to track and log your workouts. You could also use a really good timer when doing timed metabolic workouts. I recommend anything FREE because I’m cheap so I use the timer called Tabata Stopwatch Pro – Interval Timer. It allows you to choose different sounds for when you need to start and stop your exercises. This way, you’re not constantly looking at a clock or your watch or iPhone. As for logging your workouts, you can just use a document and save it online but I prefer the old fashioned pen and paper. I use a logbook I found on Amazon.com but you can just use a good old steno notebook. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

 

I hope you find this list useful for building your own home gym. Keep this Wish List handy for the holidays and birthdays or after you reach a certain goal, perhaps you purchase a new piece of equipment for yourself!

 

 

 

Change Your Plate: How to Balance Your Meals Without Worry

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Are your meals balanced?  Today, with all the nutrition information out there, it’s very easy to over think how to eat healthy and balanced.  Everyone seems to have  their own definition of eating “clean” and their own opinion on how to everyone else should be eating too.

The best advice I give my clients is this:   The best “diet” or meal plan is the one that works for you and you can live with.  Once you figure out that balance, it’s easy.  But figuring out what that is for you can be a very long and tedious process.  But if you strive to have balanced meals, you’re off to a great start.  Here are some basic steps you can take to get started.

First off, let’s define what balanced means.  For me, and for most people, balance means all macronutrients are present and accounted for – Fats, Protein, and Carbohydrates.

Some people really aren’t aware of what is considered a protein, a fat, or a carb so here are some examples in case you’re a little behind in Nutrition 101.

Fats – olive oil, nuts, avocado, nut butters, coconut oil, butter

Protein – fish, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, eggs

Carbs – fruits, veggies, breads, cereals, grains, oats, rice, pasta

How much of each is going to depend on your goals. But here are some general guidelines I try to follow:

  • Protein should be the size of your palm – this is a very generic rule but it’s universally accepted as the norm.  Take a look at your protein on your plate and compare it to your palm.  Is it close?  Is it way off?  Make adjustments and dig in!
  • Carbs should be in the form of veggies/greens – This is usually a salad or a piece of fruit.  Are you getting the recommended daily intake of 7-9 servings of fruit and veggies?  Most people don’t.  Just remember, no  one ever overdosed on veggies.
  • Fats are usually used as the cooking oils or dressings so they shouldn’t take up too much of your plate – Fats don’t make us fat.  They help make us feel full and we need those good healthy fats that contain omega-3’s.  Don’t ever be afraid of fat!
  • Your greens/veggies should take up a large portion of your plate.  Think of them as filler, literally filling up on veggies before you even stick a fork and knife in your protein
  • Your protein should take up the rest of the plate living very little room for “extras.”  I go over what those Extras are below.
  • Ask yourself if all macronutrients are accounted for.  What are you missing?  How can you replace something that’s missing?
  • If you’re already eating balanced, it might be a good idea to weigh and measure you food.  Many people use the “eye-ball” approach a bit too much and could be consuming more (or in some cases LESS) than what they think they’re eating.  Invest in a food scale and start measuring out your portions.  It’s an excellent way to review what you’ve been taking in and a small way to hold yourself accountable to sticking with your plan.

Eliminate the Extras

Think of “extras” as those foods that have little to no nutritional value.  Almost like decorations on a plate.  If you don’t care about having much balance on your plate, then go ahead and eat these.  But if you really want to strive for 90% balance, it might help to cut back or completely eliminate these “special occasion” foods.

  • Rolls, biscuits, breadsticks, muffins, etc.  You usually find these on the dinner table at restaurants before you even order your entree.  Not necessary to fill up on these!
  • Alcohol, sugary sodas, diet pop, juices.  You really want to think of these as “once-in-a-while” treats and never your beverage of choice.
  • Sauces, syrups, creamy dressings.  Find healthy alternatives or make your own.
  • 100 Calorie Snack packs.  Why are these considered extras?  Because I’d be willing to bet you’ve had more than 1 of these snacks in a given day.  They don’t fill you up because they contain little nutritional value and usually no protein.  Protein will help you stay fuller longer, whereas pre-packaged snacks leave you wanting more.

And don’t forget….

  • Where’s your water? Hydration should be a staple in your daily routine
  • Don’t scarf down your food.  Eat slowly and enjoy the meals that you make.  If you must, set a timer for 20 minutes and force yourself to eat slower.  You’ll be glad you did!
  • Think of each meal as a food opportunity.  Will your next opportunity get you one step closer to your goals?  Or will it deter from your goals?  Think and choose wisely.
  • How big is your plate?  If you’re eating your meals on a huge plate, chances are you try to fill that plate with food leaving no spaces in between.  Consider eating off of a smaller plate.  It can be a visual game changer!

A couple examples of balanced meals would be:

  • Grilled chicken breast on a bed of greens and a side of brown rice.  The salad is dressed with an oil based dressing.  The chicken is the protein, your salad/greens as well as the brown rice are your carbs and your salad dressing is the fat.
  • Egg white and Whole Egg omelet with spinach and sauteed in coconut oil with a side of oatmeal.  Your eggs and egg whites are your protein, your fat is the coconut oil and your carb is the oatmeal and the spinach.
  •  Even snacks can easily be balanced – Yogurt with some nut butter mixed in and a piece of fruit.  Yogurt is your protein, nut butter is your fat and the fruit is your carb.

Take these simple steps and make your meals balanced every time.  Once you get some practice preparing and logging your meals, it will become second nature.  Remember, eating should be a stress-free part of your day.  If you get off-balance, no need to worry.  Make your next meal as balanced as you can, and get back on track.  Print this post out and put it on your fridge.  Keep it with you or save it to your phone and refer to it the next time you’re trying to stay balanced.

Need help finding out how much you should be eating for your goals? I offer online coaching to assist you with this. Check out my package offerings to see which might work best for you!

The More You Know, the More it Sucks

So I kinda figured out this whole fat loss/dieting thing. I actually figured it out a long time ago, but unfortunately, it just took me until NOW to realize how much it really sucks.

See, there’s really no big secret to losing fat and keeping it off. We all know it’s basically being in a caloric deficit. And yes it requires hard work and patience and time and effort of course.

But to finally finally FINALLY understand that you cannot possibly see good results without adhering to your diet at least at an 85-90% compliance rate 100% of the time?  Well, that’s the part that really sucks.

Here comes the whining (I’m really good at complaining, so brace yourself).

So now I gotta get back to being the tupperware queen again. Now I have to resist the urge to eat something I’m not really supposed to. Now I have to toss the peanut butter that calls my name when I’m not even hungry at night. Now I have to suck it up and just deal with hunger sometimes. (Not starvation, let’s be clear).

I finally understand how most of my clients feel MOST of the time. I’m struggling like they do. I’m frustrated like they are. I’m cheating as many times if not more than they are on the weekends.

And here we go again on Monday morning, starting over. This time we will be 100%. This time we won’t cheat. This time we will prep our foods. This time we’ll get our workouts in. This time we’ll try really really hard and we will not fail.

But a few days or maybe if I’m lucky, a few weeks might pass and I’ll be back here again, repeating the same thing.

So goes this whole dieting thing.

And there’s really no other words of wisdom to share with this. There’s no big revelation. There’s nothing more to say other than THIS. SUCKS.

 

Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

 Did I really try my hardest today?

Maybe it’s the cold weather causing me to hibernate more than I’d like.  Maybe it’s seeing too many people on social media doing more than myself, who knows.  But I thought, in order to hold myself accountable, why not finish the day with a question?  I try to start my day with a statement such as,  I WILL do __________.  I AM going to ____________.  I CAN ____________.   It seems appropriate to end the day with a question – almost like a Review of Your Day.

Sidenote:  Although I’m speaking from a fitness perspective, this can still be applied to career or relationship or pretty much any goal you have.  Especially those New Year Resolutions.

Looking back at the past week, asking myself this questions, I was ON point with my meal plan from my coach.  I didn’t miss any workouts either.  So how can I repeat this?  How can anyone keep this train moving in the right direction?  I suppose it’s a combination of motivation and willpower and accountability from others.  But above all, it started with a plan.

I hear from many of my clients that although they have every intention of doing A, B and C in a given day, there are diversions and things that just get in the way and before you know it, they didn’t accomplish A B or C.  They haven’t even gotten the train out of the station and it’s already derailed.  And now they feel like crap and feel guilty and feel like giving up.

Here are some examples:

A meeting at work that went long, there goes your workout for the day!

Your car needs to be fixed so there goes your money that you wanted to spend on the new gym membership!

You oversleep so now you have to stop by the drive-thru or the cafeteria at work, there goes having a good home cooked meal!

Noticing a common theme in the above examples?  They all could have been prevented with a PLAN.  If you have a plan, you’re so much more likely to succeed.

Here’s some ideas on how to implement one:

  • How do we solve the meeting problem? How can we know when our boss wants us to stay late and work? We don’t.  So we have a plan to workout at a time when your boss has no control of your schedule – usually first thing in the morning.  Or a weekend.  There’s got to be some ME time in your life.  Several of my clients insert “Meeting with Jim” into their work calendar so they don’t miss a workout.  (Jim, like gym…get it?)  Even if you have to work late 5 days a week, if you have a plan to workout at a different time, it’s already done and you won’t feel rushed to squeeze it in.  Even if you only workout one day in a week, that’s something.  That’s an accomplishment.
  • How can you prevent a car that breaks down?  Or your child falls down and gets injured? (Think BIG expenses). Usually not preventable.  But your plan for this is your budget.   I’m a firm believer everyone/family needs a health budget.  This would be different or in addition to a savings account.  Coming from someone who knows what it’s like to scrape by, I know this is easier said than done.  The number one declaration I hear from ALL of my clients is “I wish I would have started this sooner.”  It starts with a health budget.  Save those dollars!  Saving up for a treadmill or a trainer or a good pair of running shoes or gym membership is a good first step.
  • What’s the plan for accidentally oversleeping?  This is probably the easiest one to do but also the one I hear the MOST excuses for:  Prep your food.  Prep your food.  Prep your food.  Prep your DAMN FOOD!!!!

🙂

Can you tell I’m slightly irritated passionate about this one?  It’s seriously the easiest thing to do EVER.  What’s the most common objection to it?

I know what to eat, I just don’t have time to make it.

Nope, not good enough.  You do have the time, you just don’t make it a priority in your life.  Goes back to the health budget.  If it’s a priority, you make the effort to get it done.

Stick “Food prep” in your calendar.  Literally write it down for a block of time for about 2 hours.

Go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier and get it done in that time frame if you want.

Get off Facebook.  Take a social media BREAK.  Like a legit day or two break.

Make it a family affair and have the kids help out in the kitchen.  They’re going to eat the food anyways, right? Might as well start them young and get them learning some basic cooking skills like just chopping up veggies. If they are too young for that, how about mixing or just throwing stuff in a crock pot?  Or if you have OCD kids that love to be organized, how about getting them to weigh and measure out the food into zip lock baggies?  Seems like a mundane task but most kids I know are entertained by the smallest things.  Turn it into a lesson.  Teach them math or something, I don’t know.   Tell them:  “I need 6 ounces of chicken, in each of these bags.  If I need 6 ounces for everyday this week, how many ounces is that?”

Okay so I’m clearly not a parent nor a teacher but, I think you get my point.

If you have family that doesn’t eat the same foods you then yes, this will require some extra effort.   In my opinion, the easier option is just making stuff that everyone can enjoy, just decreasing/increasing the portions for them.

Picky eaters?  Try the “just try a bite” method.  Worked for me for about 15 some years since I was the pickiest child ever.  PB and J was the only thing I really ate but I would always have “at least a bite” of greens and meats that Mom made for me.  I got wise around age 25 by cooking food, the same time that I invested in a Personal Trainer I might add.

One of my clients recommended a couple books for those picky eaters so I’m passing on the information to my Mommy readers:  Bringing up Bebe:  One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

I just love this review of the book: “Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.”

Another one is called: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five

Check them out and let me know what you think – and if you’ve read them let us know so my readers/followers can hear what you think too!

Speaking of babies, this all comes back to baby steps – small steps to accomplish a large goal.  One day at a time was made for goals such as these.  They can seem overwhelming, they can seem like you’re starting at square one but with just some effort, you can get there.  It might even take months or even years before your PLAN is in full effect.

But before you know it, you’ll get into that rhythm.  You’ll be THAT person that’s always prepared.  THAT person that always seems to have his/her stuff together.  THAT person that you look at or read about and think “Oh I’m sure that would never work for ME.”  Guess what?  It can.

You will be that person that ends your day with “Did I try my hardest today?  HELL YES!” 

And it will show!  You’ll be happier because you’ll be closer to your goals; you’ll be calmer because your stress will be lowered due to all the workouts you’re doing and all the good food you’ve been eating;  you’ll be happier because you’ve been spending your money from your health budget; you’ll be more confident because you put your health first.

As always, if you have any other ideas or suggestions for my readers who struggle with this same problem, feel free to comment and share this post with others who could use the boost!

Holiday Treats Healthified & Survival Guide

During my nutrition lecture I hosted yesterday, I baked a few recipes for my clients to try and these were all big hits.  I literally just searched for these on Pinterest.

Interesting things to note:

  • I made my own almond flour in my Vitamix blender by putting a little over a cup of almonds in there.  Just had to be careful to make sure I didn’t put it up too high or else turn it into almond butter. 🙂
  • I purchased coconut flour ages ago and finally found recipes to try them out on.
  • This was the first time I purchased and used coconut sugar – I will definitely be using it again.
  • The roasted banana and sweet potato mash tastes better the day after and tastes good cold OR steamy hot.  I spoke to someone who said they used orange peel and orange juice instead of the banana to make “mashed” sweet potatoes.

All the attendants of the nutritional lecture walked away with a “Survival Guide” for the day before, day of, and day after a holiday celebration.  It’s a great way to be held accountable, you can even email me afterwards to let me know how you did!  If you’d like to purchase this 3 -day plan you may email me at FromFitToFigure@gmail.com for a price for this download.  I’m always happy to share the knowledge!

In the meantime – enjoy these recipes!

Roasted Banana and Sweet Potato Mash – SkinnyMom.com

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Ingredients

  • • 3 medium sweet potatoes – cooked and peeled
  • • 2 large bananas, ripe
  • • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Roast bananas for 10 minutes–then let cool.
  3. Mix together the potatoes, bananas, spices, coconut milk and mash until desired consistency.
  4. Serve immediately. (This is also great for baby food!)

Apple Coconut CrispDeliciousByDre.com

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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of apples (i used 2 honeycrisps–yep, one pound each…now that’s a real apple!)
  • 1/2 cup (56 grams) organic coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour (make your own!)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats (*paleo substitution* use 1/2 c chopped pecans or slivered almonds)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup organic coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp organic flax seed
  • 2 tbsp egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp agave (optional)

Instructions

  1. preheat oven to 375
  2. core and slice apples (i used an apple corer, peeler, slicer i found for 10 bucks!)
  3. toss apples with a light sprinkle of cinnamon before placing in 8×11 (ish) glass dish
  4. optional lightly drizzle 1 tbsp organic agave over the apples in the dish (gives a more caramelized taste/effect without using brown sugar!)
  5. separately, mix the egg whites and the flax seed together and let sit until needed
  6. add all remaining dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix up with a fork
  7. next add melted coconut oil and vanilla along with the egg white & flax mixture
  8. mix together with fork until it creates a nice crumble
  9. spread evenly across the apples in the dish until completely covered and put in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
  10. once finished, let cool for at least another 30 minutes or so.

Notes

**i recommend covering this dish lightly and storing in the refrigerator (if there’s any left over!) sealing it tightly will cause the crumble to absorb the moisture of the apples and it will no longer be crispy!

The World’s Healthiest Cookie – FoodieFiasco.com

These are bite sized! Teeny tiny bites!
These are bite sized! Teeny tiny bites!

Nutritional Info

*Update: There has been some question about the nutritional info, and for clarification, these having only 6 calories each is based upon a bite-sized cookie. If you only make 8 cookies out of this recipe to make them more traditional sized, they will have about 15 calories each.

Per bite based on 16 bites

Calories: 6 (about 8 or 9 with chocolate chips)

Fat: <0.5 grams

Ingredients

2 Tablespoon coconut flour

2 Tablespoon mashed banana or applesauce (I prefer banana. Personally, I think applesauce gives them too much of an apple-y taste. That’s just me.)

pinch salt

stevia or other sweetener, to taste

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

3 Tablespoon almond milk, or milk of choice

chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, mix coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in masked banana or applesauce and stir. Add in almond milk, one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by tablespoon or teaspoon, depending on how big you want them, on a parchment lined baking sheet.  I used a silicone mat. Flatten the dough into cookie shapes.Bake in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes. Let cool before scarfing them all down.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie – Food.com

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Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin or 1 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree
    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking ( see NOTE)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves or 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream or 3/4 cup light cream

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Pour into a well sprayed pie pan.
  3. Bake at 350′ for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. NOTE: DO NOT use Splenda packets

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies – DitchtheWheat.com

Banana-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-1

Yield: Makes 18 medium sized cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh ripe large banana, (200 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, (slightly warmed for easier mixing. Room temperature)
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 -1/4 cup of chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mixing machine combine the banana and the egg. Slowly add the coconut oil (coconut oil must not be hot or it will cook the egg. You just need to the coconut oil slightly warmed enough to mix smoothly). Add the coconut flour, vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda and sea salt. Mix until smooth. Lastly add the chocolate chips.
  3. Using a spoon, drop 1 inch balls of batter onto the baking tray leaving space between each cookie. Use the back of the spoon to smooth the cookies to a flat cookie shape. *The cookies will not naturally flatten, you must do this manually.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.

 

Get in the Zone

This says: "You're kicking a$$!"

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A few days ago I went to LifeTime Fitness where I used to work as a Personal Trainer and got my heart rate zones re-assessed.  If I was computer savvy enough I would post my old testing results here but just to put these two pics up here was tedious enough (You have to click on them to enlarge them so you can actually read them).

I was really excited to see these zones because they have changed dramatically from where I used to be.

To summarize for those who are not familiar with heart rate training, the above results show what my heart rate in beats per minute is in each Zone.  There are 5 Zones.  You will see that I didn’t reach a Zone 5 because…well, why would I prolong the torture? Not only that, but the point was to get to my Zone 4,  which is the threshold – the point where someone stops burning a significant amount of fat and starts burning a significant amount of carbohydrates.  See that shaded area in the top pic?? That’s fat being burned off.

Nine or 10 months ago I was nowhere near 175 beats per minute in my Zone 4.  I was closer to 156.  A huge leap!  Makes sense since I wasn’t doing much in the way of high intensity a year ago.  Actually I was in crutches a year ago so I wasn’t doing much of anything at that time.  I had just done some recumbent/stationary bike as my main form of cardio after getting off the crutches.  It was killing me not to be able to do any running of any kind.

Nowadays, my cardio workouts are much SMARTER.  I was told by my test administrator Amanda that I would be wise to implement some recovery training once in a while (staying below that Zone 1) to give my system a break.  I like to describe it as keeping your foot on a gas pedal – you might be going FAST but are you really doing your body any favors by constantly “running” it into the ground?  You gotta take your foot off the gas and hit the brakes.  I was really fearful of over-training at this point in the game so I’m happy to see that I am NOT…..yet.  Had I not gotten tested I probably would just continue to hit it hard without getting in any recovery time.

The second pic shows the Zones and how many calories are being burned per minute as well as my Volume of Oxygen.  To make a long story short: the higher the Volume of Oxygen is, the better.  Again, I was nowhere in the 40’s prior to this test so yet another milestone conquered.

Of course it’s not all about the numbers.  As with any goal, the hard data is great to have but it’s also important to note the other Non-Number Related Victories:

  • Getting above 7mph on the treadmill during this test without passing out.  Granted it wasn’t for a long period of time but I’m amazed at how FAST I’m able to go, even for brief intervals, on the treadmill.  One of my first posts on this blog was about my experience at A.S.A.P. Fitness where I participated in my friend Gerred’s R.E.A.L. Training class.  I know for a fact he had me on the treadmill to “run for 3 minutes” and I can still see myself hanging on the treadmill for fear I was going to fly off….at 5mph.  Ha!  In my defense that was the first time I was “running” on a treadmill in over a year so, it was probably to be expected.  But now, I can sprint at 8mph for about minute, and then I am wiped out collapse on the floor.
  • Taking progress pics more frequently now, every week.  It seems like everyday I’m noticing something small yet significant related to some muscle growth going on.  I would emphasize to ANYONE on a weight loss journey or just a body transformation quest to take pictures.  You might be the only one looking at them but you will REGRET it when you make some progress if you don’t have that “before” pic to show everyone how far you have come.
  • My lower abs lower abdominal region is trying to sneak its way out of the fat and show itself. 🙂  I’m coaxing these muscles as much as possible to show themselves – no doubt due to the Hanging Leg Raises and Hanging Knee Raises I try to do every other day at home from my Pull-up bar. (The nutrition helps of course too!)  Thanks again to my sister for getting that for me and my brother for hooking it up.
  • Speaking of pull ups, I completed 3 chin ups – unassisted this morning. Woohoo! I still have yet to do one complete unassisted Pull up but I’m getting there!

On that happy note, Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Random Tweet of the Day courtesy of @PenniesAndGum: “It’s best mixture. One bag microwave popcorn, 1/3 big box Duds. They melt in the hot popcorn, and the whole thing is fantastic.”

All I can think of is: This is going to be what I’m going to eat as soon as I’m done with my competition. HA!