Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Random Thoughts

Kickboxing (aerobics)

So for the summer term I've decided to take a kickboxing class. Except I've learned, from telling this to multiple people, that there's a distinct difference between kickboxing and kickboxing aerobics. As in, when I say kickboxing, people will automatically think of big gloves, target sand bags, and some sort of anger release. But the funny thing is, when I think about kickboxing I just think of rhythmic movements with kicking and punch motions while loud music is playing in the background, which, luckily, is what the class I signed up for entailed (thus the name of the course is kickboxing aerobics, I guess).

I had my first class on Monday. There were 5 people but the instructor said there will be more people in the coming weeks. I knew one of the girls so that was fun. The music was indeed very loud, too loud, in fact, that we couldn't really hear the instructor half of the time. Not that she was doing a very good job instructing to begin with.  I was tempted to drop the class because of that. She was a real nice girl, but she wasn't really good at explaining things, and insisted to do everything with her back to us to better demonstrate the moves, which makes sense except that it just made it harder for her to be heard. And she doesn't really do a lot of prompting before we change moves, so every time we had to do something different she would just do it and we would awkwardly follow.

But in the end I decided to stay. Mostly because it's Wednesday and my legs and back are still hurting like crazy. We did so many push ups, jump squats, and kicks, that my muscles were aching almost right after class ended.  It was alarming at first, because while I wasn't worried about my leg muscles or glutes, my back was hurting very intensely that I had to stop by the indoor track area to do more stretching.  I now realize that I didn't really hurt my back in a bad way, but my back muscles (quadratus lumborum and latissimus dorsi, to be exact) just got a very intense workout. I guess when we were kicking (<100 total) I didn't use my ab muscles enough and relied mostly on my back to get my torso staying straight and stable.

So I've decided to take the class this term.  Not because I love it, but because it's making me doing things I've never done before and doing it harder than I would on my own.

Weight loss

Since using the Lose It! app I've lost about 7 lbs. Which is really good since I know the weight I lost is real. My stomach area is slimmer, my pants are looser, and I could wear some of the T-shirts that were previously too tight for me, which is nice since I had to throw out almost half a dozen T-shirts in the past two weeks because they are falling apart. Now that I can wear some of the smaller shirts again it's like I got a new wardrobe without having to spend any money. And for the 7 lbs I lost I kept it off; I've maintained the same weight for almost 2 weeks.  Which brings me to the more frustrating part: I've not lost any weight for almost 2 weeks.  The whole weight loss plan was sort of put on hold when I got my period and was craving meat and chocolate like crazy, and was so tired that I just couldn't go to the gym.  When I felt better the lazy streak continued and while I didn't really gain any weight because of it, I'm having trouble losing more as well.  I've realized that I just cannot maintain a 1550 daily calorie intake that the app is making me do.  I've been able to keep under the limit before because I was working out almost every day, and when I wasn't I was walking a lot to compensate for it. Now that I stopped moving so much I keep going over my calorie limit and it's gotten to a point where I just don't care anymore. Going home for the holidays next week so things will be wacky again but I swear when I come back I have to bring my daily habit to weight loss mode again.


Recently I read a review on the Sketcher Ultra 3 GoTrail shoes, which is one of those extra cushioned  types like the Hoka One One. Except it was a raving review written by someone who usually wear more minimalistic shoes.  And the review was so positive that it made me want to get a pair right away. Not that I need a new pair of running shoes, or new shoes in general, but I just had to.  And although I didn't end up buying that exact model (don't really need trail shoes), I got a similar pair that was designed for road running, and it was less than $50 on amazon, which was the real reason why I got it. I bought the Saucony Kinvara 5 because of the reviewer and they are my favorite shoes ever at the moment, so I can't help but trust the guy. The shoes are supposed to arrive today but I'm not so confident. I will have to throw away a pair just so my shoe collection doesn't get too big. But we'll make it work.  Hey, maybe I won't like them and will return them and this episode of my running shoes obsession would never happen.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Time to get creative

I've decided that I will not run for the next week.

For the past 22 days I've been consistently and almost religiously using the Lose It! app to log all my caloric intakes, and with the help of my Fitbit, track how many calories I burn. The result has been spectacular: I lost almost 7 pounds in the past 2 weeks, and if I keep watching my intake and make sure I at least walk around a bit every day it would not fluctuate that wildly (like my weight does in the past).

Not that I've reached my goal weight yet, not by a long shot.  I'm projected to lose a total of 20 pounds by the end of August, and after that I plan to lose another 20 pounds or so before focusing more on muscle building than a number weight.  But that's way too far ahead and in the main time I need to focus on the smaller goals.

Because of the way Fitbit tracts my activities the most effective way of burning calories that I can mostly closely account for is by running.  So for the past 3 weeks I've been running almost daily, each time for about 2 miles, or at least 30 minutes.  But despite my getting stronger with my HIIT classes, and that I've recently been more courageous with experimenting with dumbbells and abs exercise, all this running has taken its toll.  My plantar fasciitis has come back with full force, not quite crippling me but I can now feel it constantly when I'm just walking. My right ankle also feels funny; I now often get this sharp acute pain surging on the inside of my ankle, and I hope it will not develop into a stress fracture or something.  I may also be developing shin splint on my left leg, which is never a good sign.

So I took a day off yesterday from gym (didn't gain or lose any weight when I measured this morning), and now I'm rethinking about my exercise regimen.  I knew it was only a matter of time before I have to stop running every day.  I tried doing elliptical the other day and for some reason it was way harder than I thought and not quite as comfortable.  Also it didn't really do anything to relieve the stress I think I'm putting on my feet and ankle.  I've since signed up for a kickboxing class for the summer to spice up my aerobics, but the class doesn't really start until the end of June.  I think in the main time I will try the exercise bikes in the gym.  I did take a spinning class last summer so I'm no longer a stranger to these machines. I will probably get a more localized workout to some of my leg muscles that way but I wouldn't be surprised if I don't use these muscles when I run. I've also been more rigorous with my post-aerobic exercises.  Previously I just stretched after running and sometimes add a few abs moves like doing a quick minute of plank or some crunches.  But now I'm trying to work in at least 5 minutes of Abs workout, doing a certain number of reps for any moves I can tolerate (the leg raises, for example, that works on you lower ab, I've since scratched because it hurts my back more than working on my lower abs). Hopefully whether my Fitbit will record my effort or not I'll still be burning calories and every time I get on the scale my weight will keep dropping.