Sunday, February 28, 2010

Old Dogs CAN Learn New Tricks

I'm on a quest. A quest to be a part of an elite group:

Chicks With Guns
But achieving that dream has been like shooting fish in a barrel. I need to lose weight so I should cut a lot of calories and train twice a day 8 days a week, right? Do endless crunches for those abs and bicep curls for those "guns", right? I should eat about 1200 calories per day and try to burn close to 3000 calories, right? I should use the weight machines at the Y to get a bodybuilder physique, right?

Things I've learned from asking people "in the know" and reading countless magazine articles, books, and tea leaves.
  1. You must rest. You would think that working out every day would be a good thing but it's not. Muscle fibers tear when you work them hard and they need time to repair. You actually build muscle on your rest days.
  2. You must eat enough calories to lose weight. This was the hardest piece of news for me to "digest." I have to eat more calories in order to lose weight? YES! If you are really pushing it and working hard your body needs those extra calories for fuel to do what you're asking it to do. Some books and web sites even suggest not cutting your calories at all if you are going to strength train to gain muscle and lose fat. If you eat a diet too low in calories but expend a lot through exercise, you will begin to get headaches, feel light headed, tired all of the time, and plateau in weight loss. Your body will go into a sort of starvation mode to try to conserve every single calorie because it "knows" it's going to need it for all of the strenuous exercise. I was told by a personal trainer that for my average calorie expenditure (which is approx. 2400-2600 per day) that I should be eating between 1400-1700 calories per day to lose weight. Some people suggest even more. I'm going to keep it in that range for a while and see what happens.
  3. Endless endurance cardio is not the most effective for burning up fat and calories. Something that is very popular and effective (or so I've heard several times but have not tried just yet) is called HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. The idea is that you take whatever cardio you are doing (bike, running, or even walking!) and after a warm up you go all out (bike hard, sprint, etc) for 30 seconds and then bring it down for 90 seconds and repeat. At first repeat for 6-8 reps and then move it to a few more minutes. Eventually you move up to 60 second sprints and 120 second rests. When I say rest I mean just bringing it down a few notches, not just stopping. Then there is Tabata discovered by Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. You can google it to find out the thought behind it but I'll give you the "recipe": push hard for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat for 4 minutes. Go all out for those 20 seconds. It will be the longest 4 minutes of your life and people swear that it's the most effective cardio you can do. Either way, tough bodybuilders are pinky swearing that HIIT is the way to go for cardio and fat burning. Get more done in less time.
  4. Weight machines are good for beginners but if you want to really see results you need to hit the free weights and the scary weight room. This is what I've been told. I'm way too new at all of this to give you an opinion but I have heard this advice more than once.
  5. Don't do endless crunches thinking you are going to get a stomach that you can wash laundry on. Spot reduction doesn't work and many trainers say that crunches are the worst thing to do for a nice belly anyway. And instead of just doing a bicep curl, do exercise that use your entire body like pull ups and squats and pushups. Again, these are things I've been told but have not put into practice yet. I'm getting ready to put everything into practice.
  6. I do not need to hire a personal trainer to show me how to use a machine in the weight room or use proper form. That's what the personnel is there for. Hire a personal trainer to create an exercise program just for me. If I already have a program in mind all I need to do is ask for free help from the staff if I have a question.
  7. Make sure you take in enough protein to build those muscles. The goal being about 1g of protein per pound of body weight. OK, that's about impossible for me. But I am trying to reach over 100g per day. I was also told not to worry about it too much at first. Just try to make sure you have protein with every meal and snack. Good protein, not hot dogs!
  8. Lift heavy. Don't be afraid that you are going to look like Arnold. It won't happen. You don't have the testosterone for that. You will build muscle while losing fat and get a lean look and your clothes will fit differently quickly.
  9. If you lose weight without strength training you will be losing a considerable amount of muscle too. The result is that in the end you will be at your goal weight but you will still be flabby. You may even still be considered "fat" because of you fat/muscle percentages!

Again, I'd like to say that this is advice I have received from people or books or magazines or web sites.

There's still so much to learn but I'll share what I learn along the way.

Eats and Treats

Breakfast started out with a protein waffle. I've been making the pancakes but Lori's waffles always look so good on her blog. Both of the kids did not know that we even had a waffle iron! LOL Rachel and I did Turbo Jam Cardio Party 1. I actually enjoyed this! Sweat was literally flying but we were laughing and having a lot of fun. The 45 minutes went by pretty fast and we burned a lot of calories.

snack: Chobani strawberry yogurt

Lunch: spicy black bean patty on a sandwich tin with mustard and cheese; basil vegetable medley and 1/2 of a large apple

Chuck had a shooting competition this morning and afterwards we were to go to the rodeo. SO he gets cleaned up and out the door we go. On the way I had a protein shake with almond milk). The traffic around the Astrodome was friggin' crazy!! We were in traffic forever. All of the parking areas were full and we were going to have to park miles away. Eventually we just gave up and decided to go get barbecue at Spring Creek.

While driving to the restaurant, Chuck and I took some goofy pictures: Stop to put some gas in my smoking hot minivan with the cool blue glowing lights:
mmmmmm barbecue! I had a portion of the smoked turkey on my plate, about 3/4 of mac n cheese, 2 rolls and the corn. So good!!!
That night Charlie and I played the old Super Mario. I mean really really old version. The one from the early 90s or late 80s. He was so impressed that I was good at it and knew shortcuts. It's cool to be a kids hero even if it is for playing vintage video games. To hear "you are so awesome!" from your 9 year old son is, well, pretty awesome.

He also asked me to put my hands on my hips and said, "Wow! You've really lost weight." Ah, my day was blissful. :)

Calories Burned: 2557

Calorie intake: approx. 1660

Deficit: -897


  1. You ARE awesome.
    And damn good lookin'.

    Keep up the hard work.


  2. Wish I would have read this post a long time ago. I've been doing so much wrong when it comes to the gym. Thanks for making it all painfully clear!

  3. I agree with Chuck!

    You're absolutely beautiful and I really liked this post. I learned something!-Thank you! I've been cutting calories like crazy. I think I barely made it to a thousand most days. I better re-think this plan.

    Your food looks so yummy. (I haven't posted any pics :( )

    I'm so glad I found your blog. You're truly inspiring.

  4. Thanks for all the wonderful tips! I definitely learned a lot. I love the heart shaped waffles. How cute is that!

  5. Kelly, you are dead on correct on everything you posted...this list should be in your FAQs or somewhere important. Seriously, I wish I'd have seen it a year ago!

    That last picture of you is gorgeous!!! And the ones of you and Chuck goofing around are so funny because I can see Charlie in the back seat totally ignoring you two, which must mean this happens a lot, lol! Can't wait to meet you two funny people!

  6. Kelly - you are very pretty - all those months of hiding behind that park bench - I never knew!
    Knock-out profile pic!
    You and those guns.
    Go for it!

  7. You need to post that list on your sidebar for people to read....and heart-shaped waffles? You rock. :)

    I wasted 3 months in my first gym on those stupid weight I'm doing free weights and just a couple of machines with the trainer. And lifting heavier is key. My trainer keeps trying to see how far he can push me, and he's constantly amazed when I can actually lift how much he tells me too, lol.

  8. Yup, you've done an excellent job with your research! All spot on.

    I do a protein snack after a workout. I usually have some cottage cheese. I should go a bit higher, but I don't want more calories. Thinking of trying an anabolic shake sometime.

    I've been upping my fat and protein--and I'm finding it very difficult to get in more protein--it's doable but certainly not automatic for me. My goal is 114 grams/day.

    Great photos!

  9. You are killing me with that extra-crispy-looking waffle, homes. I think in all my twenty-something years living in Houston, I never once went to the rodeo because it always seemed like a gigantic pain. Too crowded and expensive for this girl. Even if you can see George Strait for like ten bucks...


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