Good morning, everyone! Sorry I was MIA yesterday, my hometown is in a very dire situation and I have been very distracted. More on that later…
Instead of a regular Two-fer Tuesday post, I am instead going to talk about some things I wanted to talk about yesterday, as well as talk about what it’s like being displaced from your home.
I’ll start with the fun stuff. So, starting on Sunday, June 26, I realized that in a month I would be doing this:
Lying on the beach in Hawaii for 2 weeks!
So, I was thinking about how long a month is, and how much I could potentially improve my fitness in that month, to both feel better staying active while in Hawaii (swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking), and, obviously to feel the most confident possible in a bikini.
My first thought was to “just eat less.” Well, that thought only took a few minutes to sink in before I realized “eating less” is not really the best idea for me yet. Probably won’t be for a while, since eating less to me still is too easy to equate with restrictive eating, which inevitably leads to a binge.
So, on to the next plan. Workout more! This one is easy for me because I love to workout and it’s always been easy for me to do, since it is something I enjoy.
Conveniently, yesterday was also the first day of my “summer month schedule” at work, meaning a lot less hours for me. Admittedly the money will now be a lot tighter for me, but it is enough to get by, and at this point I honestly value my time more. I will now hopefully be able to put the energy and time I want into my bloggie, my health counseling, and working out.
You see, all winter, when it was so dark and so cold, I was lucky if I could drag myself to the gym for a half-hearted, easy 30 minutes on the elliptical. But, during all of that time, I could not ever get to a normal eating pattern, so I feel like even that measly effort was negated.
Then, for the last two months, the eating has improved significantly, but because of balancing work, blogging, school work, and now trying to organize how to get clients for school, (oh yeah, and sleeping), I was still only able to work out between 35-45 minutes most days. While, if it’s good quality exercise during that time, 35, and especially 45, minutes of exercise will suffice for any person to maintain their cardiovascular health and their weight (when eating healthy), it’s not really enough to improve fitness significantly. In order to make leaps and bounds in fitness, both health and weight-wise, you really should aim for 60 minutes at least 5 days a week (this is the amount most often agreed upon by exercise physiologists and other professionals in the field).*
Well, now I finally have time to do that!
So, yesterday I tried a new class. I am so excited because there a ton of classes at my gym between 11 AM and 2 PM and I never get to make them because of work, but this summer I can!
Anyway, the class was Power Cardio Sculpt: A high intensity body sculpting class with cardiovascular exercises to keep heart rate up while improving strength, coordination, and balance.
Well, the first thing I noticed when I got there was that it was all women much older than me, who didn’t really look like the *most fit* people. I couldn’t help but wonder: “Hmmm, just how high intensity is this class?” Turns out, not much. The class was from 12:00-12:45 PM and in those 45 minutes I honestly hardly broke a sweat or got my heart rate up. The most beneficial thing I got was a number of push-ups out of it. The exercises could have been beneficial, but I felt like we did a single exercise for such a short amount of time that it didn’t even do anything for me. For example, most exercises were 7 reps. On my own I usually do multiple sets of reps, that depending on the weight and muscle group, can be anything from 8 reps (with a heavy weight) to 50 (when doing squats); and I always repeat the number of reps for 3-4 sets. So, this class was not the best workout for me.
I had already planned on doing extra cardio after the class, since I was hoping the class would be a really good strength workout (like a Body Pump class), but I was more than ready to get my sweat on after this class.
You see, the only way to really tighten your physique and for your muscles to even be seen, is to lose body fat, and the best way to do this is cardio. I am a huge advocate of strength training, and think it’s necessary and will obviously help you tone up, but there is no debate amongst fitness experts that in order to improve fitness the most efficiently, you have to get in your cardio.*
So, after class, I cranked out 35 minutes of cardio at a high resistance, to get the most effective workout in in the smallest amount of time. During that 35 minutes I got on the elliptical for 15 minutes and the treadmill for 20 minutes (I kept it at an incline of 4.0% and a speed of 6.8 and boy did that get the sweat flowing).
After that cardio burst, I did 8 minutes of walking lunges.
Finally, I closed with another 15 minutes on the elliptical, trying to maintain a steady speed at resistance 13.
After that hour on my own, I definitely felt like I had gotten in a great workout.
In addition to working out, I am also trying to “clean up” my eats, rather than eating less.
- Focus more on quality protein (chicken breast, eggs/egg whites, beans and other legumes, fish)
- Eat only one serving of cashew, almond, sunflower butter per day
- Eat more veggies
- Eat less carb heavy, sweet breakfast foods for lunch and dinner-plan ahead more now that I will be home for dinners with my new work schedule (I tend to eat cereal, more toast with nut butter etc. for lunch and dinner way more than I should because it’s quick, easy, and I love these foods).
So, as you can see, these are easy, small adjustments. I am not taking anything out or lessening the amount of food, which will make it so I do not feel deprived.
That said, both breakfast and lunch yesterday were fabulous!
Breakfast was my usual: flax waffles, SunButter, chia, raspberries.
Lunch was a corn tortilla topped with a half-cup of black beans, a fried egg, green chile powder, and a big dollop of leftover guac.
Check out the nutritional stats on black beans!
I also had some salad and fruit with lunch since I was craving cool foods after my workout.
Why My Focus is Different This Week
So, as many of you may know, my hometown was evacuated yesterday because of a fire that started on Sunday. My parents and both sisters (Karen just home from Australia! ), dog, and rabbit, are all safe, as are Jamie’s parents and brother. But everyone is understandably stressed.
Between Sunday night and Monday morning, the fire grew from 6,000 acres to 43,000 acres. Now, this morning, the fire marshall says that it likely doubled or even tripled in size again overnight. The fire is now within half a mile of the nearest home.
We went through this in 2000 with the Cerro Grande Fire and many homes did burn (over 400). We were all out of our homes for 2 weeks, and many didn’t have homes to come back to. Also, obviously, is the worry about Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is the livelihood of essentially all of the residents in Los Alamos, and one of the best-funded, most advanced, top national -security laboratories in the country. If the Lab were to burn down, we cannot even fathom what would become of the place we call home.
So, as I was getting ready for the gym yesterday, all my motivation that I had on Sunday morning (before the fire started) was gone. I couldn’t help but worry about how different life could be in a month, depending on the fire. I was stressed, sick to my stomach, and just waiting to hear from my family that they were finally forced to evacuate, which, of course they were yesterday afternoon (in the morning they were still in town, packed and ready to go, just waiting for the command).
I couldn’t help but think: “What’s the point? If the fire goes through town Hawaii won’t even happen.” We have been planning this trip for 3 years and it’s Maria’s graduation trip, but obviously if our house burns down, I can’t see us still going. This negativity is also why I didn’t blog yesterday. When I was not at work or the gym, I was glued to the news online, or on the phone with my family, trying to figure out what was going on.
I finally mustered up the drive to hit the gym, knowing an endorphin trip was needed.
Felt a million times better after my long time spent at the gym:
But, this is my home, we’re talking about. Karen, Maria, and I grew up in the same house my mom and her siblings grew up in. For any of you that have been reading for a while, and read about my trip home to Los Alamos, it was probably pretty obvious that the Rockies are where my heart lies. In addition, our house is filled with antique furniture that has been in the family for literally hundreds of years, and carries a large amount of sentimental value. Of course, we couldn’t get this out.
For the second time in just over a decade my parents asked me what essentials I should take (obviously this time they wanted to know what they could grab for me). If you’ve never been asked to grab the few things that matter most to you as you see the fire coming your way, it’s really an experience one can’t imagine. I told them “just you guys.” Because, really, that’s all that matters. But as time went on, I started to get really upset thinking about all the sentimental things, and all the memories of our house and garden that my parents have put hours and hours into. What if I can’t go home at Christmas? These kinds of thoughts cross my mind and I am terrified. I have always been a very sentimental person, and I have always been the type of person that gets attached to places and people easily, and once I’m attached, I will be for life. So the possibility of, once again, losing what has always been home to me, is sad. And frightening.
I’m sorry for such a long post, and for such a downer post. This blog is supposed to be positive and all about me moving forward, but it also is about my life. This fire right now is a huge part of my life, even though I am 2,000 miles away. It’s on my mind and until there’s a conclusion, it’s going to be on my mind.
I am going to keep going with my 1 Month to Hawaii countdown plan, and eating healthy, but for the next…(?), I will probably also undoubtedly discuss the fire in my hometown. I hope I can show you all how I am working hard to stay on track with my workouts and eats while the place I call home is threatened. Sorry for the veering off of the strictly healthy living for a bit, guys. Bear with me.
I hope everyone has a great day. Los Alamos readers, I am thinking of you and your families and praying you are all okay.
*Disclaimer: I am NOT an exercise physiologist or certified personal trainer. I am simply discussing everything I have read, learned through being a competitive athlete and working with conditioning coaches and trainers through that, and my own personal experience. Please do not drastically change your exercise regime or eating patterns without first consulting a professional. I am NOT a fitness professional.