Set-Backs and Moving Forward

So I’m pretty frustrated. I mentioned that I exacerbated my injury (torn plantaris muscle) by pushing too hard, too fast on Friday. So now it looks like there will be no walking for me for 2 weeks, and no running for at least 6 weeks. This means that I need to completely re-think my entire fitness program for the time being. I can still work on upper body and core strength, but I need to take it easy on my leg, so my lower body strength will be limited. My cross-training tends to be DVDs (kickboxing, aerobics, dance, etc. ), Zumba, or dancing; so all of those are out right now as well. Someone mentioned that the recumbent bike at the gym might be pretty low impact on my leg, so I might try that, but I really don’t want to set myself back any further than I am now. This pretty much leaves the pool… swimming, water jogging or water aerobics.

I’ve been checking out the pool options in my area. There’s a community pool about a half mile from me. Its $55/ month for a swim pass and there are designated times when the pool is open for adult swim or lap swimming. The pool is closed for refurbishment right now until the 17th. The other option is the pool at my gym, which is included in my membership. The biggest drawback here is that its only a 2-lane pool so it can get kind of crowded at times. The other big issue is that my swimsuit is way too big for me now, so I definitely need a new one (and its the completely wrong season!). I’m going to see if there might be some clearance ones still available this week, because I think my best bet to stay on track is to get in the pool until I can walk/ run/ dance again.

Through all of this, my biggest fear is that I will fall back into my old habits, gain back the weight I’ve lost and be right back where I started. I am nervous that if I take too much time off exercising that I’ll never get back to it. I know that I have mentioned this before, but its the biggest obstacle in my mind right now. I am trying to remain positive and focused on what I can do rather than dwelling on what I can’t do, but there are days that I just want to push myself and ignore the pain, but I know that is not the solution and will only make things worse in the long run.

So now I am working on a new plan and putting together some new goals. I have also picked out some rewards to help me through this down time and keep me focused. As I finalize the new plan, I’ll post it for everyone here. Plus I’ll be starting to prepare for my personal trainer certification as soon as my materials arrive (should be next week!), so I’m hoping that will help to keep me on track as well.

In the meantime I am using the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method and riding the bus. I’m on my feet all day at work, but am trying to be mindful of my injury and not put too much pressure on the injured muscle, or flex my foot in a way that pulls on it. Stairs are a little tricky right now, but thankfully there aren’t very many of  them that I have to deal with and if I lead with my right (uninjured) leg, then I can avoid pain… I just have to remember that when I hit stairs (I don’t always). A few people have recommended foam rolling to me as well, so I am going to give that a try to see if it will help as well.

Do you have any suggestions for fun workouts that won’t stress my injury?

Advertisements

Weekly Recap 9/8/12

This week the plan was to keep my workouts nice and easy to allow for me to heal from my injury. I started off still resting, then eased into my daily walks. Unfortunately I pushed a little too hard and ended up with a flare up of pain towards the end of my walk yesterday. My calf is still tender today and when I walk quickly I still feel pain. I will be moderating my workouts again next week and have to acknowledge that I will have to wait at least another week before I can really get my running program started.

In the past, I would have taken this injury as a sign that I shouldn’t be running and that I should just accept the status quo and live with it. Now however, I see it as a test of my determination. Do I really want to reach my goals or am I going to cave at the first sign of adversity? And I know that I really want to reach my goals. It may take a little longer to get where I want to be, but I will still get there… with or without this injury!

So here is my training for this week:

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest/ 15 minute stretch
Tuesday: 2.25 mile walk
Wednesday: 2.25 mile walk
Thursday: 5 mile walk
Friday: 4.5 mile walk
Saturday: Rest

 

Fitness Recap

This week’s workouts were cut a little short due to my injury, but here you go:

Sunday: 4.5 mile walk

Monday: 2.25 mile walk

Tuesday: C25K W1 D1; 45 minute full body strength; 30 min dancing

Wednesday: 2.25 mile walk

Thursday: 2.75 mile walk

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

I am off cardio for at least the next 2 days, but will try to get some upper body and/or core work in. Depending on how things go with my leg, I have a backup plan in place if I’m not able to at least start walking again next week.

Disabled List

Yes, unfortunately, I am on the disabled list. While walking home on Sunday night I experienced a sharp and lingering pain in my left calf muscle. I was only about halfway home, but continued the rest of the way, figuring it would work itself out. I was a little sore the rest of the day, but nothing too bad. On Monday, I walked to work and had a few twinges of pain, but nothing too bad. That evening I had some soreness, but again nothing too bad. Tuesday included a run, after which I was very sore. At this point I figured I was just experiencing some muscle soreness and that it would work itself out.

I walked to work again on Wednesday and again had some twinges of pain, plus experienced soreness throughout the day at work. After I arrived home Wednesday night, my calf was extremely painful and I tried heat and massage to work out the muscle. This morning (Thursday), I again walked to work. I was in so much pain I had to admit that the issue with my calf was more that just simple muscle soreness and that I indeed have an injury. I experienced minor pain in my calf all day while working and extreme pain when I walked to the bank after work. Needless to say, I took the bus home this evening rather than try to walk the 2 miles.

While I am disappointed that I am going to need to ease off my workouts for a while, I do not want to injure myself seriously, so I know that I need to give myself some time to heal from whatever is going on. I am hoping that this is simple a muscle strain or pinched nerve and not something worse. At this point my calf is painful when my foot is flexed and when walking normally. It is tender and sore to the touch as well on the inner portion of my upper calf.

Tomorrow I will be doing no lower body work or cardio to give my leg a chance to rest. I am off work tomorrow (Friday), Sunday and Monday, so will be able to completely rest my leg on those days. While I work on Saturday and will be on my feet all day, I will be taking the bus to and from work so that I am not stressing my leg any more. I will reassess on Tuesday to see if there is any improvement. If there is, I will resume my walking program and look at reintroducing running. If there is no improvement, I will be making an appointment with my doctor to see if there is a more serious underlying issue. I am obviously hoping that things will be better by Tuesday.

I have been pushing really hard the last couple of weeks because I really want to break this plateau I am on and reach my next goal by the time I go home for a visit (8 weeks & 10 lbs), so its really hard for me to step back, but I know that my overall health is more important than this short-term goal, so giving myself a chance to heal is the right decision.

How do you respond when you have an injury?

This Week’s Workouts {8/25/12}

This week I shifted around my workouts a bit and didn’t get in as much cardio as I wanted, but still knocked out my strength training. Here’s a breakdown of the week:

Sunday: Walk 4.5 miles

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Cardio DVD 45 mins; Dance 30 mins; Strength (Full Body) 45 minutes

Wednesday: Walk 4.5 miles

Thursday: Walk 4.5 miles

Friday: Walk .5 miles; Strength (Full Body) 45 minutes

Saturday: Walk 2.25 miles

While I only did 2 strength training sessions this week, I still did the same amount of time and exercises as last week, I just combined them together.

Here is a sample of some of the exercises I completed for strength training:

Lower Body:
Forward Lunges
Wide leg Squats
Calf Raises
Lying Adduction
Lying Abduction
Bridges

Upper Body:
Biceps Curls
Triceps Extensions
Bench Push-ups
Chest Flies
Weighted Jabs & Crosses
Bent-over Rows

Core:
Planks
Bicycles
Crunches
Oblique Crunches
Superman
Reverse Crunches

I definitely prefer body weight exercises over machines, though I do use hand weights and resistance bands as well.

Do you prefer body weight exercises or machines for strength training?

Training Topic~ Running Plan

Now that I have my running shoes and am ready to get back to a running program, I need to decide which program I am going to use. I have been looking at a variety of different beginning running programs and have come up with 4 viable options which I will list here with pros and cons. The other consideration is whether or not to run outside or on the treadmill at the gym.

The first program is from Runner’s World Magazine. It’s an 8 week beginner’s running program that starts off slow but rapidly increases running time after the first week. I like that the early runs are short with longer walking times in between. I also like that it builds up the run timing to 30 minutes by the end of the 8 weeks. I am a little intimidated by the thought of increasing the running times so quickly after the first week and by the 4 running days each week.

Next on the list is the Couch to 5k (C25K) program. This one is designed for the beginner as well and also starts slow. The primary differences between this program and the Runner’s World program is that this program gradually increases run time over a 9 week period and has runs three days a week. You have the option to run a specific distance or a specific time. This program is downloadable to your I-pod or I-phone and has downloadable podcasts as well. I again like that this program starts slower, I also like that it has 3 days of running vs. 4. I would prefer an 8 week program rather than a 9 week program, but overall think this program is good.

The third program is the 5k Your Way Rookie Running Program from Sparkpeople.com. To follow this program, you would need to be a member of Sparkpeople, which I am. This program is also 8 weeks, starts slow and builds gradually. The downfall of this program is that it only takes you as far as 4 minutes continuous running with a 1 minute walk between, whereas the other programs take you up to 30 minutes of continuous running. This one is definitely less intimidating that the others and does offer the added bonus of a team of supporters on Sparkpeople.com to cheer you on.

The final program is from the National Institute for Fitness and Sport (NIFS) which I found in the book The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Half-marathon Training by Heather Hedrick. There are a few levels to choose from, though the “run/walk” program would be the closest to the other programs, you can then choose a training plan based on distance varying from 8 weeks (5k) to 15 weeks (half-marathon). In this program the run time is always the same (3 minute run/ 1 minute walk) and you increase the distance each week. The advantages to this one is the varied training levels and 3 days of running this week. A disadvantage is that the actual run time itself starts a little high (for me) and never increases even though the distance increases.

For me, I feel the C25K program is probably the best bet to meet my goals. It has what I need in a slower start, but builds up into longer continuous runs. While the fact that it’s a 9 week program means that I will be finishing it up the week that I am home for a visit, it also means that I should be able to time the final training run with my goal of running the boardwalk at Mission Beach, so it’s a win-win.

To look at the other consideration of where to run, I definitely prefer outdoor running (and walking) to the treadmill. While the treadmill has the advantage of being indoors in the event of rain, I feel confined on the treadmill.

What training program would you choose? Do you prefer treadmill or outdoor running?

Workouts of the Week

This is the final new feature that I am trying out for the blog… a weekly recap of my workouts. This week was a little tough since TOM made an appearance, but I still did pretty well…

Sunday: 25 min cardio dvd/ 30 minute core strength

Monday: 2.25 mile walk/ 25 min cardio dvd/ 30 min lower body strength

Tuesday 4.5 mile walk/ 30 min upper body strength

Wednesday 4.5 mile walk/ 25 min cardio dvd/ 30 min core strength

Thursday 2 mile walk/ 30 minute lower body strength

Friday 2.25 mile walk/ 30 minute upper body strength

Saturday 2.25 mile walk

I had planned 2 more cardio dvd sessions, a longer walk today and another core session today, but TOM has wiped me out and made me incredibly irritable since Wednesday. Hopefully next week will be a bit better… and I’ll break down some of the exercises I use in my strength routines in the weeks ahead.

Challenge Update

Needless to say with the way my month has gone so far, I am not as far as I was expecting to be in my June Challenge. The good news though is that there is still time to pull things out and make some real progress working towards my goals.

Here is where things currently stand:

Blogging 7/30= 23%

Breakfast 14/30= 47%

Mileage 30.5/100= 30%

Squats 290/1000= 29%

Crunches 250/1000= 25%

Pushups 210/1000= 21%

Gym classes 0/5= 0%

So on the whole, even though we are halfway through the month, I am only 25% of the way to my goal. I really need to turn things up over the next 2 weeks in order to hit at least 80%!

Visualization

For the last couple of weeks my iPod hasn’t been working, so I am walking to (and from) work without music. This allows my mind to really wander and I end up in some pretty crazy places. But more often than not lately, I find myself visualizing the effect that my walks are having on my body.

As I was walking home from work today, I noticed how my pants are fitting loosely around the thighs. Once upon a time they were rather tight in the thigh area. So I started picturing my thighs getting smaller with each step I took. I also kind of visualized what would happen if my pants fell down, because honestly I really need to get a belt (I mean I have lost 18.5 inches in addition to the 41 lbs).

Last week one of my walks took me to a lot of hills. Each time I headed up one of the steep hills, what kept me moving was visualizing my butt looking awesome. Right now I really don’t have a butt. My back kind of slopes out a bit so it looks like I have some junk in the trunk, but really there’s not a whole lot there (I inherited this from my dad). I am hoping hill walking and stairs might help me to develop a bit of a backside!

In addition to the visualizations about my body, I also visualize my blog posts. I tend to write them in my head at times while I’m walking, though by the time they actually hit the computer screen they are vastly different. I also have conversations with myself about issues at work or elsewhere in my life and sometimes am able to come to a resolution somewhere along the 2.25 mile route. So now my walks are performing triple duty~ transportation, workout & therapy!

What do you think about/ visualize during your workouts??

Progress Pics

Ok, I promised that I would share a before and current photo of my progress when I hit 175 lbs. Since I am currently at 174 as of my last weigh in, I owe you those photos!

Before:

This was taken Thanksgiving of 2010 when I was at my highest weight, 215 lbs. I am the one in the black (the rest of the people in the photo are my parents, brother & sister-in law)

Current:

This one was taken last night.

Its a little hard to compare because I am seated in one and standing in the other, but you can really see the difference in my face! A friend of mine the other day told me (in a good way) that my chin was gone. Its true, my chin is definitely gone!

I still have a long way to go, but I have made some amazing progress so far and I am really looking forward to even more progress in the future.

Starting weight 215 lbs
Current weight 174 lbs
Total lost 41 lbs, 19% of body weight.

Wow, feels pretty good!