Work It Out

I mentioned in last week’s post that I’ve really been enjoying getting back into the gym recently. Of course, it helps when your gym is brand spanking new and just about all of your local friends use the same one. We are always sharing tips and stories from our experiences there and it helps motivate me to keep going back. I’ve been making it my personal goal to exercise 4 days per week, and I’m happy to report that I have either been achieving or exceeding that goal for the last 3 weeks.

When I was still writing my old blog, some of the most common questions I received revolved around my workouts. People love food posts, and people love workout posts! I totally get it though, because if I’m reading a blog or website about someone’s food or fitness habits, I definitely want the nitty gritty details. It inspire me to hear exactly what other people are doing to better themselves and their health, which leads me to today’s topic – what I’ve been doing at the gym.

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I personally find that I am most successful when I walk into the gym with a plan. The first time that I lost weight I would frequently write detailed weekly workout schedules, repeat each week four times to five times, then write a new one to keep myself from getting bored. I decided to use the same approach this time around, and so far it is working well to keep me focused and on track.

This is the workout schedule that I am currently using:

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I start each workout with a 5 minute warm up on the elliptical, then move on to one of these four routines. I do not always work out on consecutive days, but I generally follow this order. For example, if the first day I exercise in a week is on a Monday, then I’ll do Day 1 on that day. If the next day happens to be Wednesday, then I’ll complete Day 2’s routine that day. Sometimes I will mix up the days depending on how I’m feeling, but I try to complete all four of the routines every week. If I go to the gym a fifth time in a week, it’s usually with my sister and we will just do whatever we feel like doing that day. It’s typically cardio combined with the Planet Fitness 30 Minute Workout, which I will go into more detail about shortly for those that aren’t familiar with it.

With regards to my cardio, I tend to get bored easily and don’t usually spend more than 20 minutes on a single machine. My cardio preferences are the elliptical, treadmill (walking only for now), stationary bike, and most recently the step mill. I used to use the step mill all the time back when I was in good shape, but haven’t used one in years. However, I decided to bring it back into my life since I know it is a phenomenal cardio workout. I don’t last more than 10 minutes on it right now, but that’s to be expected given the fact that I have only been exercising for three weeks. This is my current favorite step mill routine that I’ve been doing:

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It may look a little confusing and hard to remember, but I promise it’s not. It’s just the same interval sequence repeated four times. The thirty seconds at level 7 really wipes me out, and then I get a break for 2 minutes before going again. I’m sure I will be coming up with something more challenging at some point, but for now this works for me.

The PF 30 Minute Workout that you see on Day 4 of my workout schedule is something that Planet Fitness offers that I have really been loving. It’s basically a designated area in the back of the gym that contains 20 stations – 10 machines and 10 steps. Each station is numbered, and the idea is to move from station to station, alternating a machine with a step, until you’ve completed all 20. There is a light in the front of the room (it looks like a traffic light) and when it turns green it means it’s time to workout, and when it turns red it means it’s time to wipe off your machine and move on to the next station. There is also a chart on the wall with ten different step exercises that you can do when you are on one of the steps.

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These photos are not from my gym, but you get the idea. (I found this picture on a Google image search and when I tried to link the original website it warned me that it could be a phishing scam, so I’m opting not to.) What I love about the 30 Minute Workout is that it keeps my heart pumping the whole time and I am constantly moving for the entire 30 minutes without ever getting bored. I remember hearing about it a long time ago on The Biggest Loser and it’s fun to finally get to try it out.

I’m looking forward to seeing how my workouts change and progress as time goes on. It is always hard to get started and can be difficult to come up with a plan, but once I get that momentum going I am constantly thinking of new ideas and ways to challenge myself with my workouts. If you’d like me to start another Exercise Log page on my blog like I did on Healthy Berg, let me know and I’d be happy to do so.

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Friday iPhone Shots

– Some snapshots from my phone over the last couple weeks –

Carrot cake ice cream from Furniture City Creamery in East Hills. There were actual chunks of carrot cake in it! ohmygodsogood.

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Some greenery for my patio, although the sunflowers didn’t last long…they’re all dead now.

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Lunch with Mom and Grandma at Marie Catrib’s!

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Marie’s Grilled Cheese – feta, goat cheese, cream cheese, olive oil, cracked red pepper, fresh basil, tomato, grilled branny oat bread

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The aftermath of an early morning spin class.

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Scenes from an evening stroll along the river.

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Mikey the explorer. Gotta get to that ceiling vent somehow.

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Mexican food with coworkers. Guys, I think I may have found a margarita that I like better than mango. Introducing the prickly pear margarita. Amazing.

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Sushi with my BFF Melissa at Sushiya in Kalamazoo.

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Dinner at Brewery Vivant. Great food and beer! I ordered the Grilled Mozzarella and Garden Vegetable Sandwich (Marinated kale, watermelon radish, golden beets, nicoise bun – served with truffle fries) and accompanied it with a Contemplation (menu description: Look for whispers of apricot and nectarine on the palate, mixed with the floral aroma of the hops grown in northern Michigan.)

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HAPPY FRIDAY!! 

Weekend Fun and Addressing the “Weight Thing”

Hello!

Man, the past couple weeks have flown by so fast. Obviously work keeps me busy during the week, but the last two weekends have been jam packed, too. Last weekend I drove up north to Traverse City and on Saturday I went to Mackinaw Island with the fam.

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It’s sort of a tradition that my family likes to do every summer. We only stay for the day, but we have our routine set: take the ferry over to the island, eat lunch (that my mom packs and brings for us), bike around the island, get ice cream, shop, and finally, eat dinner at The Pink Pony restaurant that overlooks the water/dock.

It was a beautiful day for biking.

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It’s funny because when I was younger, it seemed like it took forever to bike around the island, but now the ride flies by! I guess when you’re used to doing 20-25 miles bike rides, 8 miles is a piece of cake ;).

Selfie time:

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Our crew included myself, my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend.

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It’s always nice to spend time with my sis!

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This past weekend was the first weekend that I stayed in Grand Rapids, didn’t have to work, and didn’t have any visitors. It was nice to spend more time hanging out in my new city! During the summer they have a Movie in the Park series, where every couple weeks they play a movie in Ah-Nab-Awen Park. The park is right next to the Grand River and has beautiful views of downtown. It was quite the backdrop for our movie night.

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The movie on Friday was Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I had never seen before but had a great time listening to all of the die-hard fans participate in the “interactive” parts and quote some of the famous lines and songs. They even had a costume contest before the movie started. It was a riot.

When the movie was over, I tried to snap some photos of the city when it was dark but my iPhone didn’t even come close to capturing the phenomenal views. It was one of those things that you just have to see in person.

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Yesterday I spent the day in Holland with my friend Mel helping one of her friends out with the opening of her new salon, Bombshell Blow Dry Bar. It was sort of random because I didn’t really know anyone and had never seen the salon before, but before I knew it I was handing out door prizes, giving tours, and talking about all the different services offered to all of the ladies who stopped by. It ended up being really fun! The salon is beautiful too, so if you’re from the area and are looking for sweet new salon to try out (or want to try spray tanning!), be sure to stop by and check it out!

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When we got back to Grand Rapids last night we met up for dinner with our friend Matt. I didn’t take any pictures of my food, but it was delicious – as is all of the food I’ve had at the local restaurants so far. I think I’m going to start taking pictures at all of the restaurants I go to and eventually start a Grand Rapids Restaurant Review series of some sort. It would be a fun way to recap all of my favorite places. Thoughts?

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Okay, on a totally unrelated note, I think it’s about time I address the elephant in the room – the whole weight thing. Seeing as I used to write a blog dedicated entirely to weight loss, I feel sort of obligated to talk about it. As hard as it is, I have not shied away from posting pictures of myself on here because I’ve always been real and up front with you guys. The truth is, yes – I have put on a lot of weight. In fact, at this point, I’ve unfortunately gained back most of the weight that I lost a few years ago. Of course it’s depressing, but I try not to dwell on it because there’s no point. I hoped that I wouldn’t be one of those people, but the reality is that most people who lose a lot of weight end up gaining it back because it is SO HARD to keep it off. Once you start going backwards, it becomes ten times more difficult to start moving forward again.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m not ignoring the weight gain and am taking some steps to start getting things under control again. I don’t want it be like last time though, where weight loss was all I did and all I thought about. I need to start making small changes that will be easy to stick with in the long haul. I’m done beating myself up for minor weight fluctuations because in the long run those things don’t matter. I also don’t have someone helping me with my workouts or constantly making sure that I stick to my diet anymore – it’s all me this time.

One of the first steps I took in the right direction? I got a gym membership again. This gym is AWESOME, too. It’s huge and has every piece of workout equipment you could ever want. Plus it has a pool and lots of group classes, all of which are included in your membership. I went to a spin class on Wednesday and am going to try to make it to at least two of those a week. I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted with my workouts!

Oh, and I don’t know about you, but buying some new workout clothes always helps motivate me to get to the gym 🙂

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(The above outfit is from Kohl’s, for those of you who are curious.)

I’d love it if you guys would leave a comment about your current workout regimens! I sort of feel like I’m starting from square one and could use some ideas! Thanks 🙂