Category Archives: Cardio

Not Really Sure What I’m Doing

Yesterday was a fun day for me. Cal came over late afternoon, and he accompanied me to the gym before heading back to my place to help me make dinner.  He grilled steak for fajitas and I chopped and sauteed vegetables.  And we even made salsa with my KitchenAid blender.  Have I ever mentioned that I love fresh cilantro?  It’s true.  Our dinner was amazing, and I was so ready to eat it that I forgot to take a picture…Can you believe that? 😉

After dinner we watched the Presidential debate on Bloomberg (which is so much fun when I can watch with someone who understands what’s going on in my head!) But I have to admit that I was pretty self-conscious before that  (when we arrived at the gym.)   He’s never really seen me sweat (apart from a slight glisten when we took a walk near the Mississippi River) until yesterday, but it’s a big part of who I am so I didn’t hold back.  I tore up the elliptical for a few minutes before working my upper body, and I felt great at the end.

My workouts have been pretty solid since I joined Anytime Fitness.  And while I know I’ll experience a gain on the scale this week (after how I ate last week when Uncle W was in the hospital,)  I’m still pleased with the direction I’m moving in now.  And I know that the scale will start reflecting my efforts soon.  I’ve been killing it at the gym this week, but I worry that I may not be making the most of my time at the gym. I did managed to climb the height of the Empire State Building 2.89 times before hitting the weights.  (Thanks for calculating it Ron and for pointing it out, Anne!)

On the elliptical....

I’m trying to get comfortable with the weight machines at my new gym, and while I have pretty good form, I am trying to utilize machines that I haven’t used up this point.  And now that I’m comfortable with how, I really need to know how much.  I’d like to hire a trainer soon, but I’m not sure where to start with that so I’ve been taking notes and using google to figure out what I should be doing.  I’ve also been keeping a journal of my workouts.  (Yes, I carry a little notebook to the gym so I can remember what I did.)  I write in it after every set.  But there’s no rhyme or reason to my weight training, and I need to change that.  I’ve been feeling sore over the last few days, but not overly sore so I wonder if I’m doing too much or not enough.  I really don’t know.  If you click on the picture below, you’ll see that I’m putting in effort.  But you’ll also see that I’m making it up as I go along.

There's a bicycle on the front of my book, and it says "Life's a Journey." Just saying...


Richard Simmons, while famous for his cardio workouts, teaches the importance of weight training in his classes.  Did you know that he makes toning videos too?   He ends every class with weight training and floor exercises,  And though I’m not at Slimmons every week anymore, I strive to do the kind of workouts that would make Richard proud.  And it’s important to me to make the most out of the time I spend at the gym so it’s my goal to make a better plan.

Uh, for the record, I'm not usually looking up and smiling while I do leg curls.

I’m doing my best right now, but if anyone has advice to offer, I’m willing to listen.  Until then, I’ll just keep doing what I think is right and hoping that I can start seeing the reflection of my efforts on the scale and in the mirror.  Is weight training part of your routine?  Are you nervous to try it because you’re not sure where to start?  Do you have any advice to offer yours truly? 🙂

I Think I Need To State My Goals

For more than a year, I have attempted to complete at least 1,000 minutes of cardio or more per month, and I’ve been successful since 2012 began.  I’m happy about that, but I think it’s time to change my focus a little so here are my goals for the month of May:

  •  Complete at least 1,000 minutes of cardio – a piece of cake when I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing…
  • Complete at least 10 5k’s – I’m pretty sure I did this in March and maybe other months, but now I plan to document it.  I completed my first one today.  Only 9 more to go!
  • Lose at least 8 pounds – I can and should be losing at least 8 pounds per month…period.
  • Do 101 crunches everyday – I’m going to start again after falling out of my groove.

These goals are attainable, but I noticed something last week that has made me keenly aware of what I need to succeed.  As I approached the end of the month, I noticed that my cardio goal was in jeopardy.  And I knew that because I skimped on workouts while I was in Colorado that I might have trouble reaching my 1,000 for the fourth consecutive month, and I felt like throwing in the towel.  The difference in my performance came from knowing that I’d post those numbers on my blog, and I wanted to post my achievements – not my failures so I succeeded.  I reached my cardio goal only moments before midnight on April 30.

The point is that posting my cardio goal – and even my goal for daily crunches (which has been a #fail lately) gives me the extra push that I need to do what I know I should be doing.  If you have a blog, you may already be aware of the power it yields in keeping you accountable.  At least, it does for me.

Announcing my monthly goals is (mostly) new to me, but I know from the sidebar on my blog that it works.  Do you have monthly goals?  Do you post them?  Does it work for you?

Workout Ramblings

After a weekend without formal workouts, it felt really good to sweat again.  I still don’t feel 100%, but I feel great about getting it done.  And I was reminded how much my body craves purposeful movement.  I was active over the weekend, but I didn’t exercise the way I usually do.  I did, however, do crunches. I’m a few weeks into my goal of doing 101 crunches for 100 days, and I’m pretty pleased with myself.  😉

This weekend, I’m planning on rocking a couple of workouts with friends which is different for me.  I’m thinking we’ll jog across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Brooklyn for a bit, and we also plan to do a 5k or 10k in Central Park with additional friends.  I hope the weather cooperates because I’m really looking forward to it. 

And next week, I’m flying out to see my family in Colorado which means we’ll enjoy longs walks through scenic spots in the mountains, jogging at the Garden of the Gods and days at the park.  I’d like to rent a bike for the afternoon as well so I can soak up the nature. There’s just so much beauty to take in there.

Working out has been a regular part of my life for a couple of years now, but it feels good to recognize the changes that have occurred in me since beginning my journey.  I remember how much I hated sweating and moving excessively, and I remember how hard it was to walk up a flight of stairs or around the block.

Life is different now, and I’m utterly thankful for that.

Power Songs: What’s On Your Playlist?

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s a fun topic to mention from time to time.  My favorite songs change frequently so it’s fun to look back and see what I loved before and to hear about your favorites.

My taste in music runs the gamut, but when it comes to working out some songs never leave the rotation.  When I want to sweat with maximum effort, I can always count on songs from Nickelback’s Dark Horse album to get me going.

I use Nike+, a chip inside my sneaker that keeps track of time, distance, calories burned and some other really cool stuff.  The information is transmitted between my shoe and my iPhone (which is awesome.)  And it allows me to create workout playlists and to choose a “power song.”  My current choice is Vertigo by U2.  If I feel a lull during my workout, I tap the “power song” button which usually puts my head back in the game.

 I love walking and jogging outside because it’s easy to find myself lost in good music.  And before I know it, I’ve completed more than the 5k that I had planned.  Here’s a sample of my current workout jams:

  • Something In Your Mouth – Nickelback (Hey, I didn’t say they were tasteful…I said they get me moving.)
  • Makes Me Wonder – Maroon 5
  • Mr. Brownstone – Guns N’ Roses
  • Shakin’ Hands – Nickelback
  • I Don’t Wanna Be – Gavin DeGraw (This song rocks my world on so many levels.)
  • Supersonic – Pearl Jam 
  • Gonna See My Friend – Pearl Jam
  • All Night – Pearl Jam
  • Sucker Train Blues – Velvet Revolver
  • Rusty Halo – The Script
  • S.E.X. – Nickelback (What can I say? Dark Horse is one of my favorite albums. It’s definitely not for everyone, but nothing works to get me moving more than the songs from this album.)
  • Mine – Taylor Swift
  • Vertigo – U2
  • Cowboy Cassanova – Carrie Underwood
  • P.I.M.P. – 50 Cent (great for warm-ups and cool-downs) 
  • Rich Girl – Gwen Stefanie
  • For Your Entertainment – Adam Lambert
  • Get Up Offa That Thing – James Brown
  • Sparks Fly – Taylor Swift 
  • Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz
  • Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

What’s your power song?  Does the music you’re listening to help you push through tough workouts? Are there “must have” songs missing on my playlist?  If so, what are they?

I Want To Soar

I want to run so badly!  My brain is craving it, but my body doesn’t appear to be ready yet.  Today was going to be a rest day, but my quad feels better so I couldn’t think of a reason to resist the urge to head to the track.  It’s cold outside, but I warmed up pretty quickly.  And it felt amazing.

After several months of not giving this 100%, I’m reminded that I feel so much better when I’m giving it my all.  And I put it all out there on the track today.  I walked then jogged then walked then jogged for a couple of miles.  And I was surprised to see that I can jog almost all the way around the track without stopping.  I realize that it’s not far, but it will be an accomplishment for me when I can do it. 

I pushed myself today, and I feel good about it.  I feel like the happy girl who loves to eat cucumbers, every kind of squash and lean meats while rambling about how good it feels to workout is back.  She was always here, but she’s making herself visible again.  And it feels so good.

A Little of This, A Little of That

After doing 70 minutes of circuit training and cardio Monday, I didn’t stretch properly.  And I definitely paid for it yesterday!  But I completed a workout, and I plan to make today a rest day.  I’m sure my leg will feel better if I cool it for at least 24 hours. 

Mom is doing so well with calorie counting so far!  She’s aware of everything she’s eating, and she’s making good choices.  She even mentioned that she plans to exercise this week too.  How awesome is that? 

And I’m so excited about many of you joining the FFGF Challenge next week!  If you want to sign up or want to know more, click here for details.  It’s going to be awesome.  I can’t wait to announce the prize for week one!  You’ll love it.

How’s everyone else doing this week?  Did anyone watch Biggest Loser or the new show on A&E, Heavy?  If so, what are your thoughts?

Every Day (More Than Just Reflection)

It’s a new year filled with opportunities to make it better than the last, and I am going to do my best to fully embrace that in the coming months. Looking in the mirror and in photos, I see a bloated, not-so-motivated Kenz who needs to look ahead not back.

I’ve made a list of things I can do in order to be successful in the coming year.  It’s not a list of resolutions nor is it rocket science.  It’s just a reminder of the little things I can do to create big success.  If you have something to add to the list, feel free to share it.

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.  I’m pretty comfortable with this  already because I drink more than that most days, but it makes an incredible difference.  It’s important because I feel fuller and more satisfied when I do this. 
  • Track my food intake daily.  I did this when I started Weight Watchers, and nothing keeps me as honest about what’s going into my mouth.  Some people don’t do it, but it has been such a big part of my success.  And doing it over the last week has made me acutely aware of just how much I’m consuming.
  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.  This is something I did the first year. Actually, I ate more like 8 to 9 servings per day, and I’m not sure why I’ve let it slip.  I’m not sure why I’ve let any of my habits slip.  Sure, I could provide some pretty solid excuses, but this journey isn’t about that.  It’s about making today better so today I will eat fruits and veggies.  I was craving a banana at lunch so I ate one.  I also love spaghetti squash, apples, sweet potatoes and a variety of other healthy foods so I’ll stock up on those today. 
  • Look in the mirror and take lots of photos.  No one ever has to tell me to take pictures. Ha..I’m pretty obsessed with my camera regardless of what I’m doing.  But over the weekend, I saw myself in photos, and I saw someone who is struggling to keep the weight off.  I looked bloated (which is no surprise since I inhaled about 5,500 mg of sodium more than one or two days in a row.) 
  • Exercise!  Working out has made such a substantial difference in the way I move, the way I feel and the way I look.  I absolutely believe that cardio and strength training has been my best friend along this journey.  So why have I allowed myself to regress?  Asking myself these questions is important, but not as important as doing it anyway.  When I was the healthiest version of myself I exercised even when I didn’t want to, and I often found that I enjoyed it.  I know it may take time to get on fire again, but I’ve said it so many times.  The days that I don’t feel like working out are the most important days to workout.
  • Stay positive.  Losing weight requires a positive attitude.  I’m happy to say that I haven’t lost that, but it’s very important to remember to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made.  And I’ve made many. We all make mistakes – big ones even, but we can learn from them and do better. And concentrating on those mistakes will not make the future any better.
  • Be honest with myself and others.  Okay, here it goes.  I’m struggling with weight-loss big time, and it’s not easy to admit that to myself or anyone.  But last night, my mom called me on it.  She lovingly expressed that I’m not doing what made me so successful before, and she’s right.  So there it is.  I’m struggling, but I’m taking baby steps forward.  And I will not quit.

I’m sure I could add many things to this list, but these things will lead healthier, more successful year for me.  There’s a long road ahead, but I’ve experienced enough success to know how great I feel when I’m doing my best. I’m going to remind myself of that everyday if I have to because at this time next year, I want to be much closer to my ultimate goal. 

Day 3

I like to track my food intake. That’s one of the reasons (though not the biggest) that I enjoy Weight Watchers. I still need them for meetings, but if you read my blog you already know that I’m not happy with PointsPlus.

I’ve gone back and forth with whether or not it’s a good idea to count calories, but I don’t think that counting calories alone is a formula (personally) for lasting success. I want to do more than just lose weight. I want to live a healthy, balanced life that includes a healthy relationship with food. And there are many facets to healthy eating so I’m concentrating on eating filling foods and following health guidelines that Weight Watchers brought to my attention a year and a half ago.

And because I’m not happy with the new Weight Watchers plan – at least not at this point in my life, I’ve continued my search for tools that will guide me in a healthy direction. And I believe I may have found that tool.

Over they last few days I’ve been tracking my caloric intake at The Daily Plate. I’ve used the app on my iPhone for over a year to search nutrition facts, and they have almost everything I’ve ever tried to find. But now I’m taking it a step further by logging my food through their site. I log exercise and water consumption as well, and each day I can see a breakdown of fat, calories, carbs, protein, etc. Seeing the breakdown is new for me, but I like it.

It is so important to me to continue figuring out what works for me. And while I will continue to attend Weight Watchers meetings (for recorded weigh-ins and support) I look forward to the fun I’ll have with The Daily Plate by Livestrong.

I needed something to get excited about. I needed to feel refreshed after several months of intense physical and emotional struggles, and I’ve found some excitement. I truly believe I have found what works, and I can’t wait to see that reflected on the scale in the coming weeks.

At this point, I don’t need to step on the scale to know if I’m progressing or not. The truth is, the scale is important, but I know my body. And while I need to see it in black and white, I know when I’m losing weight. And I’m confident that I’m headed in the right direction again.

What Motivates You Today?

I am rarely motivated to eat well or exercise by negativity. Okay, I’m never motivated by negativity. But there are days in which I don’t feel like working out. On those days, I have to look at where I’ve come from to remind myself where I want to go, and that is what I did today.

After looking at a few “before” photos there was no question that I needed to walk to the gym so I did. Never again do I want to be the girl who hides behind the table in the hopes that I won’t look so huge.

Nor do I want to be the girl who is satisfied wearing pants that are too long with a sweater that doesn’t fully cover my abdomen.
I know now that it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve proven it to myself! And I’m going to continue to do what it takes to be a healthier version of me.

Is my “no going back” approach negative? What motivates you to do what you need to do when you don’t feel like doing it?

New Month, New Goals

I started tracking cardio in June of last year, and my goal was to complete 1,000 minutes per month. I have done it a few times, but it’s been a couple of months since I hit 1,000 minutes. And it seems that exercise is a big part of my weight-loss success and slow down. So this month, my goal is to workout for at least 1,000 minutes. If I work out 50 minutes per day with a day off per week, I can easily exceed this goal. Working out makes me feel good. I was reminded of that last week so I’m going to do my best to make this a successful workout month.

Last week, I was unable to weigh-in, but I look forward to seeing progress next time I step on the scale. Until then, how’s everyone? What are your exercise goals for the week?