Motivation–I Need Some

Posted by Jen | Exercise | Wednesday 18 January 2012 8:14 pm
Commercial elliptical trainer (rear drive version)

Image via Wikipedia

Okay, so I am sitting here, watching The Office reruns and mentally coming up with excuses as to why I many not choose to workout at 8:30.  My initial workout time was 6.  Then it was 7:30.  Now it’s 8:30 and I am getting more and more tired and less likely to get up and go. 

I need motivation.  I am going to spend the next 10 minutes coming up with reasons to workout.  I will post my results here. *sets the timer*



  1. I am a member of HealthMonth and I have this very competitive streak in me.  If I don’t stick with my weekly goal of working out 5 times a week, I lose a point.  I don’t like losing.  I like seeing the progress graph go up and up.
  2. I am pretty sure I am only 5 pounds away from the next size down in jeans.  My jeans right now are slightly loose.  The next size is slightly snug.  I’m almost there. 
  3. In an hour, I will be finished and any food cravings I have will be diminished.  (Exercise always helps with that.)  I won’t have to fight against eating the wrong thing for the rest of the night.
  4. We just purchased a $450 elliptical machine.  It needs to be put to use.
  5. My friend has a pass to the YMCA with an indoor pool.  If I want to take advantage of it before winter ends, I better get into shape.
  6. I am actually in a fairly decent weight loss mode right now.  I haven’t stalled, I’m not on a plateau.  This is a great time to take advantage of that.

Okay.  I think I have convinced myself.  I will be working out in 20 minutes.  I will not stop until at least 45 minutes have passed.

Go me!

Maintenance Continues

Posted by Jen | Exercise,Journal | Wednesday 26 August 2009 11:23 pm

Well, it’s been a while since I posted here.  I kind of had a feeling that would happen.  I’m known for jumping around from project to project.

In any case, this is how things are faring for me these days.  Due to the injured foot, I never quite made it back to running…or any type of exercise…since last September.  My diet has remained the same as it was last spring/summer.  I was able to maintain my weight for about 6 months after ceasing my exercise routine.  It was at that point (in March 2009) that I contracted mono, which then seemed to trigger my panic disorder, causing a world of havoc for my poor body.  For anyone who has battled anxiety and panic, I assume you can relate my telling you that is was a long, scary battle to fight.  After being place on anxiety medication about a month ago, I lost another 5 pounds and I am now maintaining my weight at 117 pounds.  My anxiety is under control again and my energy levels are back to what they were before the mono.  What is interesting to note is that even though my diet is nearly flawless – all good fats, low-glycemic, whole grains, fruits, veggies (sometimes) – my cholesterol has gone up again.

This surprised me. 

I lost 45 pounds last year and I have kept my diet as healthy as it was last spring.  I was certain that this be enough to keep my cholesterol at the same levels. After consulting with a nutritionist, we determined that it is most likely due to 2 possible factors: lack of exercise and/or genetics.

Since my diet can’t really get much better than it already is…aside from possibly needing a few more veggies and a little more fiber…the only change from last spring is the amount of exercise I am getting (or not getting, actually.)  It sure does seem as though continuous exercise is going to be a necessity for me in order to keep my cholesterol low.  I am so used to seeing exercise as a means to lose weight that I forgot that it provides other benefits as well.  Additionally, it would also help keep my anxiety disorder under control.

So, all in all, I have to figure out a way to add exercise back into my life. Forever.  My food intake is enough to keep the weight loss where it is, but total health requires more than just a low number on the scale.  Staying active seems to provide the body with a boost that we can’t get anywhere else.  I am excited to see how much a change those cholesterol numbers show after 6 months of sticking to an exercise routine.  I’ll keep you posted!

WiiFit : A Workout That Works

Posted by Jen | Exercise | Friday 4 July 2008 3:15 pm

Okay, I’ve had some really awesome results with the WiiFit. Specifically, the Aerobics portion of WiiFit.

To give you a general idea of calories burned, I record all my WiiFit Aerobics sessions with my HRM (Polar 6 Heart Rate Monitor) and I currently seem to be burning about 4-7 calories per minute on average. I am getting better at burning more calories, too. I am adding bigger movements and more enthusiastic motion to each of the activities and I have seen an increase in my calories burned as the weeks have passed. I try to ignore the stares of my family as I wildly swing my hula-hooping hips or punch my imaginary punching bag.

As for which exercises are most effective, I definitely burn the most with the Hula Hooping and the Running. With the running, I actually run around a little and not stay in one place. I take a nice tour around my living room and sometimes travel into the dining room and kitchen, too.
The Advanced Step Aerobics gives me a moderate burn (but it’s so much fun, so I do that one a lot.)
Boxing provides me with the lowest burn rate, so I save that one for last as sort of a cool-down activity. I’m working on ways to increasing the burn, but for now, it remains the least effective.
As a side note, I like the Free Step, too. I modify my step to include semi-lunges and that has been bringing my heart rate WAY up (about 75-80% of my maximum heart rate.)

Here are some examples of my burned calories for the past few weeks to give you an idea. I’m female, 33 years old and 127 pounds…so it will definitely be different depending on each person’s stats. I have been exercising regularly for the past 6 months, so I am in decent shape, too.

These are all for aerobic-only activity sessions.

53 minutes = 202 calories burned
43 minutes = 223 calories
97 minutes = 390 calories
70 minutes = 356 calories
23 minutes = 171 calories
80 minutes = 489 calories
67 minutes = 407 calories
and…for a strength-only session…30 minutes = 70 calories.

All in all, I am very pleased with my WiiFit. I have continued to lose weight even after I substituted a few of my outdoor running days with my WiiFit workouts.

I really really wish they had a way, though, to string strength training and yoga exercises together instead of having to click through a bunch of menus to get to each one. That really breaks the entire flow of the workout. For that reason alone, I usually just stick with aerobics and just ignore the rest of the program.

I just found out that Wii Sports can give a pretty good workout, too. So, I think I’ll have to try that on my next rainy day. After this, I have one more ‘game’ to buy – Yourself Fitness. It’s for the PS2 or XBOX and it received pretty good ratings. I need all the variety I can get. I never want to get bored with exercise.

Fueling My Body

Posted by Jen | Exercise,Journal | Tuesday 17 June 2008 4:13 pm

I’ve been reading up the past few days on glycogen stores and how to ensure we have enough fuel to do a proper workout. The reason for this is that I was noticing a huge amount of fatigue during my daily run.

When I began to assess what might be causing this problem, I realized that my calorie intake has been decreasing a little lately. I was also doing double workouts on some days…running and then a round of WiiFit in the evening. Overall, I think my poor body just wasn’t keeping up.

From what I have read, when we eat carbohydrates our body uses what it can at the moment and then stores the rest away. It converts the food into glycogen and packs that glycogen away in our liver and muscles for later use. Our body can hold about a half a day’s worth of glycogen at one time.

Eating small, frequent carbohydrate meals will give your body a nice constant supply of glycogen for you to use throughout the day. You don’t want to eat too many carbs at one sitting because whatever can’t be stored as glycogen is then stored as fat. Don’t restrict, but don’t overdo. Low carb dieters tend to complain of fatigue. This is because they aren’t filling their reserves. What is worse is that they will then try to exercise, too, which will very quickly deplete what is left of their glycogen stores. This is partially good because the body will then turn to their fat stores for energy, but the body will also start converting protein for energy, which can have an adverse affect on our muscles.

So, what I decided to do was take a few days off from exercise and just recharge myself a little. By the end of two days, I was able to run a good 4.5 miles…and still feel like I could run some more. I am now making sure I feed myself after I run, too. This has given me the energy I need to recover for my next workout. More energy also means a better, longer, and more effective workout. The duration of a workout really is key when it comes to weight loss. I feel like I finally have the energy to make each of my workouts really count.


Posted by Jen | Exercise,Journal | Saturday 24 May 2008 10:08 pm

Well, we got the WiiFit this week and I am loving it. The running and the hula hooping actually raise my heart rate into my aerobic zone – about 145-155 beats per minute. That’s about the same as when I go for a light jog. The step aerobics brings me into what some call the ‘fat-burning zone’…about 125-135 beats per minute.
That is more than enough to keep me happy when the weather it bad outside.

My calves are seriously…seriously…sore. I am shuffling as I walk. I also did some of the WiiFit strength exercises and my arms are sore. This is after I have been doing strength training with dumbbells for months. Obviously the WiiFit is hitting muscles I haven’t used before…or is working them harder.

The balance exercises…eh. I stink at those. But, I have dropped another pound this week. I used the WiiFit for about 3 and a half hours in two days and burned about 600-700 calories (according to my heart rate monitor.) That makes me happy. Especially since is was so rainy in PA this week.

The yoga? I haven’t really tried that part yet. I was more interested in the ones that keep my heart rate up. I like the running a lot. I think that is what killed my calves. I am definitely going to invest in a step and get a good step aerobics tape. I forgot how much I like that kind of workout.

So, my weight today? I saw 131. Very very nice. I am 4 pounds away from officially losing 20 pounds since January. That’s about a pound a week. Slow and steady wins the race. :)

Hitting the Calculator Again

Posted by Jen | Exercise,Journal | Wednesday 14 May 2008 10:42 am

I’m back up to 134.5 today.
So, water weight? Maybe. I have been drinking a lot (which is supposed to help) so that I can avoid water weight fluctuations and get a good picture of whether my new techniques are breaking me out of my 18 day stall. If it isn’t water weight, then it means I might be missing something.

Time to look at the numbers.

Let’s start with March and go all the way to May.
My weight is the weight at the END of that week. That makes more sense because it reflects how my Total and Net calories affected that weight for that week.

3/2/08: 142lbs. Total: 9808 (1400/day) Net Cals: 1269/day.
3/9/08: 141lbs. Total: 9702 (1375/day) Net Cals: 1278/day.
3/16/08: 140lbs. Total: 9464 (1350/day) Net Cals: 1276/day.
Average Exercise for three weeks: 736 calories per week.

3/23/08: 139 lbs. Total: 10500 (1500/day) Net Cals: 1390/day.
3/30/08: 140 lbs. Total: 10567 (1509/day) Net Cals: 1396/day.
4/6/08: 138 lbs. Total: 10971 (1567/day) Net Cals: 1380/day.
Average Exercise for three weeks: 957calories per week.

4/13/08: 136 lbs. Total: 10115 (1445/day) Net Cals: 1250/day.
4/20/08: 134.5 lbs Total: 10210 (1458/day) Net Cals: 1250/day.
4/27/08: 134 lbs. Total: 10078 (1440/day) Net Cals: 1220/day.
Average Exercise for three weeks: 1450 calories per week.

5/4/08: 133 lbs. Total: 10746 (1535/day) Net Cals: 1369/day.

That May 4th weight of 133 was only seen once – on that day only (so I don’t know what happened to it. I’m blaming my cheap scale on that one.)
Today is May 14th and I am back at 134.5.
I have been seeing 134 and 134.5 since April 20th. Almost 4 weeks at the same weight. That’s about as plateaued as I can get. I think.

Granted, I have changed how I track my exercise, so my Eat Back weeks may be a problem now. The accuracy of calories burned may be under/over estimated and pushing my body closer to my maintenance or closer to “starvation mode” (if I want to subscribe to that particular viewpoint. The jury is still out on that one.)

How has my exercise tracking changed? Well, I don’t count all my exercise calories and I don’t count all exercise the same way.

Old Way # 1

All exercise counts – cardio, yoga, weights, etc.
I tracked only 90% of any of those calories burned.

Old Way #2

All exercise counts.
If my average BPM (beats per minute) at the end of any exercise was:

  1. above 140, I ate back 90%
  2. between 112 and 139, I ate back 85%
  3. anything below 112 was not counted.

Current Way

Exercise has to last longer than 20 minutes.
Any cardio over 129BPM: I subtract 1 calorie per 1 minute of exercise to account for my RMR.
All cardio between 120 and 129BPM: I count only 50% of those calories.
Any cardio under 120: not counted.
All non-cardio (such as weight training) over 125 BPM: I count 70%.
Any non-cardio under 125: not counted.

Am I underestimating?
Should I be counting any and all activity? Is my NET actually lower because I am really burning off significantly more than I am tracking?


I seriously like my ‘eat back’ weeks. I start each day with the calorie intake for someone who is lightly active (which describes my life apart from exercise.) I then track all my exercise and eat back those calories. This has worked for me for quite a while, so I have no idea what is going wrong now.
Okay, before I panic. I am still in the middle of my Plateau Busting Plan. So, I will give myself to Sunday until I begin to really worry.

In any case – I had a really good workout today. Almost 5 miles. I was exhausted! Rain is coming on Friday, so I’m going to try to head out tomorrow and give myself Friday off.