Winter Blues

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The funny thing about being on a journey is that it never really ends. There honestly is no finish line to this…every day you just get stronger and continue to grow from your experiences.

I’ve been put to the test lately, as I’ve been suffering with some PCOS issues as well as a very bad flareup for my IBS. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also battling with a freezing cold northeast winter. Now, I don’t know about you but I’m very susceptible to getting sick. So, in an attempt to not get myself deathly ill, my workout routine has been completely thrown off. All of this has given me a terrible case of the winter blues and I’ve spent most of this week feeling good and sorry for myself.

I don’t remember the last time that I had a hard workout. Sure, I’ve been keeping up with my strength training…but cardio has become like a foreign word to me. With my non-existent metabolism if I don’t workout, I will get fat. It’s a proven fact that regardless of my diet, without cardio I will gain weight. Being super paranoid about getting sick has led me to scale back my workouts…which means little to no cardio and big issues for my mental state.

Now, I know that cold weather is (sadly) part of life. I can’t spend the rest of winter being so bitter and miserable. I’ve worked way too hard and come to far for that. Besides, why be so miserable about something I can’t even control? That being said, I’ve come up with a preliminary winterized routine to keep myself in-check and keep me from going batty.

Beginning tomorrow, I will be doing hardcore cardio on weekends. This is because I can get to the gym during the day when it is typically (slightly) warmer. Since I work all day during the week, those days will be reserved for strength training. I will utilize DVDs and workout videos on days where it (God forbid) snows. If it happens to be warmer on any given weekday, I will take advantage and do a harder workout.

I’ve also decided to get my diet in check. I said I wanted to begin the IIFYM stuff but I need to get things working right again. My IBS has been horrible lately so I really want to get that under control and the best way I know how is to eat super clean and strict again. Trainer Bob (Harper) from Biggest Loser has been posting about a 30-day diet that he’s currently following. I looked into it and it seems like what I did last spring, just a little more strict. It’s the Whole30 diet and I will be starting that in a couple of weeks (beginning of February.)

With a bad stomach and a ruined routine, I’ve really been tested. This has all really done a number on me mentally. It’s really hard to see the “new you” when you are all swollen and aren’t working out. Hopefully with the new diet and a new workout plan, I can start feeling more like myself again.

It can be really hard to see the light at the end of tunnel when there’s so much darkness in front of you. This journey never ends and things happen in life that can’t be controlled but if there’s anything I’ve learned over the last two years it’s this: the bigger the obstacle, the sweeter the reward once it’s overcome. Always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong and stay in the fight!

-Gina
thefight2befit@gmail.com

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Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Happy new year…and happy one year anniversary to this little blog of mine! My weight loss journey began two years ago when I weighed 210 pounds, wore a size 12/14, and was completely miserable with mostly every aspect of my life. I worked hard to not only lose over 70 lbs but I completely gained my life back. A year ago today, I began this blog with a mission to share my journey in the hopes of inspiring and motivating others who may have similar struggles. This was my first time having a blog and it was definitely a learning experience. So, with that, comes a bit of a slow start. However, I have some big plans in the works for 2015! 🙂

NYE through the years

New Year’s Eve transformation

I always try to make resolutions and set big goals for the new year. In the past, my only resolution would be to lose weight. The plan would last all of a month and that would be that…and by summertime I would have some serious regrets. Last year, my resolution was not to break my resolution….or the promises to myself. So, I decided to start setting small, attainable goals that would help me throughout the year. The ultimate goals last year were to trim down to a size 2/build muscle and to run my first timed race. I accomplished both and I also accomplished something that I’ve been working towards for years: happiness. For the first time in my life, I feel truly content with everything and everyone in my life. I can’t even explain the freedom you feel when you get to this place…but it’s incredible.

This year I have new goals set for myself. A few months ago I ran a 5k and so this year, I would like to challenge myself to run a 10k. I also plan to continue my muscle building and work towards leaning out more. A personal goal that I have is to stop being so overcritical of myself. I really am my harshest critic….and that tends to make things harder than they need to be. My ultimate goal for this year though will be to get my career on a better path and work towards getting myself certified so that I can coach people professionally! It is my ultimate dream to one day have my own business where I help guide people on the path to healthier lifestyles. I’m pretty far from that so for now I will focus on getting myself into the fitness industry and really educating myself. I have learned so much this past year and I can’t wait to get my hands on more.

As far as this blog goes, there are some things coming down the pipeline. I will be posting any new tips and advice that I have based on my learnings as well as my normal posts (which I promise will be more consistent!) I will also be launching some fitness challenges to get everyone beach body ready within the next few months…so stay tuned!! 🙂

2014 was definitely an amazing year! I got into the best shape of my life and started a relationship with an amazing man…who has become my best friend. I am truly the happiest and healthiest I have ever been….and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings! Thanks for sticking with me – I promise to make the second year of this blog even better!

Stay strong and stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Race Day Review

I did it! I ran my very first timed race! It was no marathon but it was the start of something pretty great for me.

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After suffering numerous setbacks over the summer, I worked really hard and trained my body back into running shape. Mother Nature had other ideas. It rained most of the day prior to the race…and the day of wasn’t much better. While it wasn’t raining, it was super windy and cold. This only added to my nerves. I pushed forward anyway and made the drive to Six Flags Great Adventure.

Once I got there, the nerves disappeared. The race was a Biggest Loser RunWalk and they are the best races to do. They have a community vibe and are very unintimidating. Past contestants from the show are usually on-hand for each race. Dan and Jackie Evans from season 5 host each RunWalk but other contestants usually make special appearances to run and/or cheer everyone on.

The race went through the theme park and looped around…into part of the Safari! At one point, I looked to my right and saw a bunch of Chimps all in a line watching us all run. It was a pretty awesome backdrop to run my first real race on: roller coasters, the Halloween-inspired red fountain, and then the safari.

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Course map

I ran the WHOLE time…pausing briefly once for the pit-stop of water that they had at the 2-mile mark. As I ran, the cold no longer bothered me and the wind wasn’t in front of me so that wasn’t much of a factor either. The terrain was a bit muddy at times from the rain the night before but I pushed through. As I said the BLRWs are a community—and everyone supports one another and cheers each other on throughout the race.

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My goal was to finish in under 30 minutes. I knew with the weather I wasn’t going to hit a PR but as long as it was under that time I would be happy. As I approached the finish line, Pam Geil (from season 14—aka the season that inspired this journey) called my name and cheered me on. Apparently she remembered meeting me at the off-road challenge we did last year!

DAMN GIRL! Hanging out with one of my season 14 inspirations, Pam :)

DAMN GIRL! Hanging out with one of my Season 14 inspirations, Pam!

I took notice of the clock as I crossed the finish line – it said 30:24. I got instantly upset with myself but let it go, knowing that I had completed the race. What I didn’t realize was there was a delay –I didn’t start the race with the first group (when the clock actually started.) I started about a minute and half after the clock did, meaning my time was actually 28:47….which put me in first place in my age group! I never came in first at anything…ever…

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Crossing the finish line!

It’s been a few days now but I’m still in shock when I think about it.  This race was an amazing experience and through training and finishing, I learned an important lesson. Seems every time I doubt myself or have to dig deeper for motivation, greatness happens…which is proof that when you lose the excuses, you find results.

It’s hard to describe how amazing it feels to accomplish the goals you set. I’ve pushed through a lot of adversity during this journey but I have managed to succeed in ways I never thought possible. To-date I have lost over 70lbs, went from a size 14 to a size 2, gained confidence that I never had, and gotten my body in the best shape that its ever been. A year ago I could barely run a mile without stopping and now I’ve completed a timed 5K, finishing only four minutes behind the girl who was first overall.

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BLRW 2013 vs. BLRW 2014

This whole experience was truly incredible. There’s something to be said about facing your fears head-on and using it as motivation to achieving your goal.  I don’t know that I will ever run a marathon but I will definitely strive to training my body for longer distances. One day I would love to run the Disney Half—I figure if I’m running that far I may as well do it with a tiara or character ears on my head 🙂

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Posing with my first place ribbon!

I want to thank the people at The Biggest Loser RunWalk . I was generously granted complimentary access to run and to the VIP area, which had plenty of food and drinks (and some much needed heaters!)

The pictures that I’ve included were taken by my amazing, supportive boyfriend who braved the cold just to cheer me on. Professional photographers were on-hand and took pictures throughout the course–those should be posted on the website soon and (since they are free) I will most definitely be sharing them once they are available! 🙂

This was something that I will never forget and I can’t wait to sign up for my next (hopefully longer) race! Remember if you believe it, you WILL achieve it. I suffered several setbacks and continue to face various challenges but crossing that finish line was proof that hard work does pay off. No matter how much you may struggle, always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

5K Training: Weekend Edition

I apologize for not posting this earlier. Sometimes I feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day. Seriously…where does the time go?!

With that being said, weekends are always the toughest time to train. We want to be able to sleep later, go out to enjoy free time, or do anything but spend time exercising. However, I find that on a weekend I am less rushed and I can dedicate myself to a much harder workout. For me, it’s actually my favorite time to workout and de-stress from the long week. I decided that this past weekend I would use the extra time to my advantage and attempt to run longer distances so as to be ready for Sunday’s race.

Saturday went well. Though I did have some errands to run and things to do, I still made sure to get a longer run in. I went to the track near my house and ran two miles. The time wasn’t amazing but it was my first two mile run in a while. Plus, it was outside in cooler temperatures…and I didn’t feel overly tired or winded after. So it was a success in my book.

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Since I had spent the weekend with my boyfriend, part of our plans included running a 5K to prep for Sunday’s race. Something about working out together makes it more fun so the added bonus this weekend was knowing I would get that chance. However, I woke up yesterday with the worst migraine that I’ve had in a very long time. This didn’t stop me. I knew I was one week out and I wanted to try anyway. So after resting most of the day I took some Advil, drank a cup of a coffee, and made my attempt.

As I started running, my headache seemed to dissipate. I kept going but I began to fight a losing battle with my breathing. Seems an inhaler is no match for strong winds. I pushed through anyway and managed to finish one mile. I paused my app and stopped to catch my breath. I probably should’ve started running again but after what happened back in July, I still get scared when I feel like I can’t breathe. So I just stop…and that’s just what I did yesterday.

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As I walked the rest of the way to get off the track, I couldn’t believe that I was allowing this fear to take over. Sure it was super windy outside but I didn’t have to stop. I could’ve paused my app, drank a little water, and kept going…but I didn’t. It was even more upsetting to think that the same thing could potentially happen on race day. This has been my goal all year–to cross the finish line of a 5K race. If I can’t complete this race on Sunday, I will be devastated. Before the summer I was running that distance in well under 30 minutes…and now I struggle to even finish it. It’s really done a number on me mentally but luckily I’ve had some amazing support this year, keeping me focused and making sure that I don’t give up.

After failing myself miserably for the goal that I had set for myself yesterday, I was a wreck. Rather than dismiss it, my boyfriend listened and talked me through it. He made sure to point out that I have never run in colder temperatures or on windy days…so to do one mile is more than I have ever done in that weather…and it was better than doing nothing. He always reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished.  I can’t speak enough about how important having a support system is tot he success on this journey. Words can’t really describe how amazing it’s been having this guy by my side this year.

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In retrospect, while I could’ve pushed myself it was probably wiser that I stopped. I always say go hard or go home, but I need to be smart about how far to push myself and really listen to my body. If I had kept going yesterday, it likely would not have ended well for me.

As far as today goes, I had full intention on going to the gym after work to run and lift for arm-day…but the day got away from me and it never happened. So I guess my body gets an unplanned (and much hated) rest day. Tomorrow I’m planning a double workout after work to make up for it–a nice, long run outside followed by lifting at the gym. I will shoot for a 3-miler tomorrow but will have to see how my stomach feels and how the day goes. No matter what, it will happen…no nonsense.

Each day brings new challenges but sometimes you have to push through the hard times to get to the good. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

5K Training: Days 3 & 4

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I know I promised to post last night but, once again, I ended up doing a really late workout (thank God for Planet Fitness…) When I finally got myself showered and settled it was after midnight and I was exhausted. However, I will combine forces today and give you both yesterday and today’s training plan.

As I said, I ended up going to the gym later than I had originally planned…after The Biggest Loser (and their commercial challenges) to be exact. I didn’t get to the gym until 9:45p and despite being EXTREMELY sore and tired, I powered through my run and my leg-workout. In fact,  I ended up running a mile in under 9 minutes! It’s been a while since I was able to do that comfortably so I was quite pleased with myself. That run gave me the adrenaline boost that I needed to push through my leg-workout.

Since I had to be up and out early this morning to move my car, I decided to get my run in. My legs felt like jello but I still managed to complete the mile…just not as fast as last night.

My plan is to hit the gym again at lunch to complete my arm workout for the day. This weekend, I intend on increasing the distance that I am running so I can be prepared for next Sunday’s race.

Below, I’ve broken down my workouts from last night and today. I will be sure to update this post after my arm-workout later this afternoon. Have a great day everyone! 🙂

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com
5K Training – Day 3:
Biggest Loser commercial challenges:
15 push-ups
Jumping jacks (entire commercial break; I didn’t count…I just did them until the show came back on)
Squats (entire break; these I counted…150!)
1-min wall sit
Crunches (entire break; I did 6 sets of 25 targeting various abdominal muscles)
Cardio – 1 mile run, 8:48
Leg-day:
Hip Abduction – 25 x 4 (150lbs)
Hip Adduction – 25 x 4 (alternating between 125lbs and 150lbs)
Seated Calf raises – 25 x 2 (75lbs)
Seated leg curl – 25 x 2 (50lbs)
Seated leg extension – 25 x 2 (75lbs)
Leg press – 25 x 4 (100lbs)
Weighted squats (squat rack) 10 x 5 (2 – 10lb plates)
5K Training – Day 4
Fasted cardio – 1 mile run, 9:06
Arm-day**:

Lat pull-down (40lbs) 25 x 2 (front and back)
Seated row (30lbs) 10 x 5
Tricep push-down (50lbs) 25 x 2
Shoulder press (25lbs) 10 x 2, 5 x 2
Tricep extension (40lbs) 25 x 2
Fixed pulldown (40lbs) 25 x 2
25 push-ups

**The shoulder that I injured back in June started hurting again today. I felt it pulling while using the shoulder press (which is why the pattern is off) but it seemed okay so I continued with my routine. I didn’t intend on stopping with push-ups (nor only doing 25) but my shoulder started hurting really bad. I actually used the same pattern with the push-up as with the shoulder press but it’s still in bad shape. Guess I overdid it but I will be sure to ice and rest it this weekend, as the next arm-day I have planned isn’t until Monday.

…And so it begins…

My goal this year was to run a 5K. What better way than with the show that started this journey of mine, The Biggest Loser. I will be competing in the Biggest Loser RunWalk on November 2 at Six Flags Great Adventure. After suffering a number of setbacks over the summer, my mental strength was tested and my workouts suffered. Starting this week, I am planning double workouts in order to get my body back into the shape it was in prior to the summer and get it back to comfortably running 5k-distances.

The original plan was to begin yesterday however with a serious IBS flare up (which has been going on for over a week) I was forced to stop home first. I let some time pass and by the time I got to the gym, it was late and there was no parking. So I opted to just go home and get to bed early so as to run this morning. I prefer running early in the morning anyway so this ended up working out in my favor.

I woke up today and decided I would begin training by running one mile. I did just that, finishing one mile in exactly nine minutes. I know this was not a great time but I’m happy that I was able to complete the mile with minimal struggle. My fastest time to-date for a full 5K was 28:37 back in June (I had a faster run-time for 3 miles at 25:25 back in May.) So the ultimate goal is not just to run the 3.1 miles but to set a PR for myself (or at least meet my prior PR from the summer.) I began today with the one mile and as my body builds its endurance back up, I will gradually increase the mileage and then (hopefully) work on my speed.

Running is no easy feat for me, due to breathing troubles. Usually with my inhaler I am able to run with minimal struggle (as was the case today.) However, after the run I noticed that I had a slight cough with phlegm. My back has also been bothering me as I breathe ever since I ran. I’m sure the more I train my lungs with running over these next two weeks, the better I will feel come race-day and beyond.

My second workout of the day was a lunchtime leg-day workout. I will be alternating my arm & leg days in conjunction with running. Normally, I don’t like to run on leg-days, as the weights I use are quite heavy and it negatively impacts my running. However with the race so close, I will push through so as to train my body.

I also will be getting back into the super strict diet that I followed back in May. My stomach hasn’t been right all summer and it  has been particularly bad over the last month. I can’t go on like this – it’s not just uncomfortable but it’s also bad mentally. I still don’t know the exact trigger. So until someone can figure out what causes these flare-ups I have no choice but to treat myself and do what makes me feel better…and that would be following that super strict diet again. While it may not be the most enjoyable diet to follow, feeling sick is even worse so I will just have to adapt.

I will be posting my training each day, to keep me accountable and to help anyone who may also be facing similar struggles. This journey is definitely not easy and just when you think you have it all figured out, life decides to throw you a curve ball. Always remember: nothing worth having comes easy!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

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5K Training – Day One:

Fasted Cardio (treadmill) – 1 mile (alternating speed of 6.5-7.0, no incline), 9 minutes flat, 115 calories burned

Leg-Day workout:

Seated leg press (100 lbs) 25 x 4

Seated leg extension (50 lbs) 25 x 2

Seated leg curl (50 lbs) 25 x 2

Seated calf raise (50 lbs) 25 x 2

Hip adduction (125 lbs) 25 x 4

Hip abduction (150 lbs) 25 x 4

Squats (at-home, non-weighted) 100

MaliBooty workout (at-home; see image below)

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“Tell your mind to get out of your body’s way!”

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No matter how motivated and dedicated you are, nothing knocks you off track faster than getting hurt or sick. You take the time to rest your body and in the process your diet (and exercise) routines get destroyed.

I am currently trying to get over this. I spent a week fighting a nasty head cold, which came after a week of a stomach flare-up. The stomach flare-ups keep happening and it looks like that my mostly clean eating diet is going to have to get a lot more strict. I’m also noticing that my energy levels aren’t what they should be lately, especially after a long day at work. Truth be told though, while I have worked out throughout the summer, my workouts haven’t been as hard or consistent since I hurt my shoulder back in June.

I’ve gotten to the point where if I take more than one day off at the gym, I don’t know what to do with myself. The issue that I face is with my own mindset–I take the motto “go hard or go home” very seriously and if I can’t give 100% I feel like there’s no point. I know I shouldn’t think that way and that any workout beats doing nothing…but I feel like it’s a waste of energy and time to half-ass it. Unfortunately sometimes as much as you want to push yourself, you have to also know your limits. I’m learning lessons the hard way.

I’ve tried more than once to jump back into my exercise regimen but my shoulders want no part of the arms-day that I’m used to. As a result, I either do half the workout that I’m used to or else push it to the point where I’m out of commission for a week or more. I’m losing muscle mass and I don’t like it – but as of right now there’s not too much I can do about it. My running has also suffered as a result of my inconsistency. I went from easily running a 5K to struggling with one mile. Ever since I had my fainting episode over the summer, I’ve been scared to really try. I’m always worried it may happen again and so I don’t push it anymore.

Some days I really want to workout–and then my body gives out. More often than not, I realize I am standing in my own way. That seems so silly after all I’ve gone through to get here–why stop now? Why let this small setback debilitate my progress and cause a bigger setback? I don’t know the answer to this…yet. The mind really is the most powerful tool in this process–and once you stop letting negativity and self-doubt rule your life, sky’s the limit.

I’ve decided enough is enough. I feel gross and not myself…and I don’t like it. I may not be able to give it 100% but I can give it my all. I’ve been to the gym several times over the last couple of weeks but I’m not consistent and that needs to stop. I know part of my happiness comes from how I feel after a good workout. I vow to get myself back on track…no matter what.

The first step to getting me back on track is training for my very first timed 5K! I signed up for the Biggest Loser RunWalk, which takes place November 2 at 6 Flags. One of my goals this year was to run my first real race so I know being able to finish that 5K will definitely put me back on track…and keep me there for the long, cold winter months to come. I can’t really speak enough about how The Biggest Loser has really changed my life and inspired me on this journey so I am really excited to have my first race be with them. After several months of inconsistency I will have to work to get my lungs back in shape. I will be documenting my training, beginning on Monday, so as to keep me accountable and maybe help some of you who have aspirations of running but may also have similar struggles.

Life is full of obstacles but it’s how we face them that shapes who we are. Dolvett Quince, trainer on the Biggest Loser, said it best when he told his team “tell your mind to get out of your body’s way!” Deep down I know that I am much happier when I work out and I feel better overall. While I may have let a lot of obstacles get in my head and stand in my way, I don’t want all of my hard work to go to waste. I know that I’m not the same girl that I was when I began this journey and I’m much stronger than I’ve ever been. I will conquer these issues and I will set a PR at this upcoming race.

We are own worst enemy sometimes but as crazy as life gets or as many challenges as you may face, always remember that nothing worth having comes easy.

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Stay strong & stay in the fight!
-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com