Pre-Plexus & Day 1

birthday

The Season Before: Spring 2017
I was on track in the spring with working out 4x a week, then fell off the bandwagon. It was a busy season: I bought a house, got engaged, got a puppy, was working on home improvement projects, taking summer courses, and so many more excuses. Rob was astounded at how much I slept on the regular. I just love sleep so much…and I did not have the energy or willpower to work out aside from taking the dogs for walks.

I have always been a huge water drinker. It’s rare to see me without a 32oz water bottle in hand. In a normal day, I drink 3 of these (96oz of water a day). On days I’m more active, it’s not unusual for me to drink 4 or 5 bottles. I have a history of vasovagal syncope, and hydration has always been key to keeping that at bay. Drinking so much water helps me not overeat as I’m fully hydrated. (You’ll see why I brought this up later.)

The Week Before: June 13
I started my workouts again and have tracked them daily. I also put my Fitbit back to work. I was 130lbs. I don’t have a goal weight, per say, but I have a goal of being toned and strong.

Day 1 of Plexus: June 20
I weighed in at 133lbs this morning. I binged the night before when I ate out for my brother’s birthday (Brazilian rodizio – so good!) and I had just begun working out again, so a lot of these few extra lbs are likely water.

First Drink: 8:30am
Morning Mix Thoughts:
How much of this supplement’s success is due to people simply hydrating more during the day? People are forced to drink 2 12-20oz bottles of water with the mix, 30 minutes before a meal. This might make them feel fuller and eat less. Also, if they simply don’t drink water, being hydrated in itself could be the reason for weight loss success and feeling energized. Will keep an eye on how hungry I am compared to pre-plexus. Being a consistently hydrated person, I don’t think drinking 2 extra bottles a day with the pink drink (or replacing 2 bottles with pink drink) will affect any weight loss for me.

First Drink:
This stuff tastes pretty good. But I still prefer water. *Chugs an extra bottle of water with the pink drink*

1 Hour Later…
Ate leftover pasta and chicken for breakfast (1 cup).
2 Hours Later…
Absolutely ravenous. Finish leftovers (2 cups).

Second Drink: 3:30pm
Afternoon Mix Thoughts:
Now the nutritionist in me is nervous. I didn’t do enough research before putting this in my body. I discuss my concerns with my fiancé, who agrees with my points about hydration possibly being the reason for peoples’ issues clearing up (relieving migraines, boosting focus, aiding in weight loss, providing clearer skin, etc).

I look more into the ingredients but the amount of each ingredient is a Plexus proprietary secret, which is a red flag in my mind. I like to know exactly what’s going in my body. I can research each ingredient. All seem safe enough on their own in certain doses. But how much am I ingesting of each? Who even knows the long term affects of taking this product for years on end? The only similar clinical trials I have found research on end the trials at 16 weeks or a few months, claiming no adverse affects. But what about longer use of the product? I’m not sure.

Hoping for the best and praying I’m not doing my kidneys or liver in for overtime, I finish my drink.

Workout: At 9pm I did a full body cardio circuit for 30 minutes.

 

Running Shape

I guess I took for granted how easy it is to maintain endurance when you’re fit. I could run just fine in the heat. I could run after taking two weeks off, come back to running, and my lungs still felt good.

They do not feel good right now.

I’ve been jogging more and more now that I’m cleared from PT and have proven that my knee could literally take a pounding again (9 mile run in June – even if it was quite a slow pace…). But man is it HARD.

As a teenagerimg_0215 in high school, I can remember grueling track meets where I got PR’s in the mile… And that’s how difficult my run felt yesterday.

Except I definitely didn’t PR in the mile. I barely kept a 10 minute pace and I was hurting.

Just two years ago I was running sub-7 mile repeats for 5+ miles like it was no problem. Just last year I was doing sprinting workouts and my lungs could handle it like a champ while I Aqua-ran or did bike workouts.

But I fell out of my routine when my appendix came out, and by the time I was well enough to exercise I had knee surgery. And let’s just say it was really easy to follow the whole “rest and recover” instructionsI got complacent with my easy PT exercises after surgery and now my lungs and my muscles are out of shape.

It sucks to train from ground 0. I’m still doing my PT exercises to keep my VMO, hamstrings, hip flexors and quads strong. I’ve finally felt comfortable enough to include more intense exercises to my routine like reverse lunges on a physio ball, wallsits and short sprints in my routine again.

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I’m feeling a little sore today – but in a good way! It’s going to be an uphill battle but I know if I can push through the next couple of weeks my body will adapt and I will be SO happy when it does!

 

The Perks of Setting Up A Home Gym

My boyfriend’s house has a great outdoor garage space that we’ve converted into a gym. Aside from a little more cleaning to be done, and needing to use a space heater to warm it up on chilly days, it’s pretty awesome for a home gym!

There’s a mat floor, a bench, a rack for weights, barbells, plates, and a dumbbell set. We also have resistance bands, a physio ball, a weighted jumprope, and foam rollers.

We’ve both been capitalizing off of this space. It’s a great investment for so many reasons!

  • I love that it’s two steps from the house. How can you make an excuse over that commute?! 😉
  • I love that I never have to wait for someone to finish using the weights or equipment I need.
  • I don’t feel self conscious when trying new exercises or when sprawling on the floor to stretch.
  • I don’t feel people staring, as often happens in a crowded gym. Right ladies?
  • I love that I can blast my music over the speakers without anyone changing the tunes. 
  • I love that I can dance and sing along between sets and generally just have fun in this private space.
  • And I love that I really do get a complete workout in this home gym.

Not too shabby! Plus I’m saving $35 a month on a gym membership! Even though we had to buy some of the stuff, we found amazing prices on the floor mats, resistance bands, jumprope and physio ball online at Amazon & Walmart. So, what we spent there will pay for itself in just a couple of months now that we aren’t paying for a membership elsewhere.

The bench and racks were basically given to us when someone we know was going to toss them. They just needed a good cleaning and they get the job done just fine!

The best part of all is the accountability that comes along with this. When I pay for things myself, I tend to value it more. Having all this equipment is so exciting to me because it’s mine! Additionally, there is literally no excuse to skip the gym. The commute can’t stink since it’s in the backyard. It will never be crowded. It will never be closed for holiday hours. Etc, etc, etc.!

I’m extremely happy about this space as you can see …

  
 

Dear Coach: Setbacks & Surgeries

My last blog post was months ago and I blamed it on a busy schedule. But I can happily report that after that, I started jumping in on work outs with my athletes (fun & hard!) and going straight to the gym after work so I couldn’t change my mind. I also made use of all my personal equipment and did a lot of quick workouts in my room at home when I couldn’t get to the gym. I mainly used my resistance bands to perform various arm exercises, did body weight exercises for my legs, and used my physio ball to target my back and core. I even jump roped for cardio in my driveway…  Which is WAY harder to do for 10 minutes than I remember it being as a child. 

However, late October and November have been a ride. I’ve recently had a few health setbacks that have forced me to scale way back on my workouts.

I had a stomach bug that sapped me of all energy for a week, then just a couple weeks later when I was finally back in my groove, I had to have my appendix removed unexpectedly. (I hope you enjoy the photo I provided! I’ve never had surgery and the pain medicine I was given was quite a trip! LOL) This surgery has proven to be a lot more of a pain than I thought! Even though the appendectomy is done laparoscopically and is minimally invasive, ten days later I am still getting winded, still have tenderness in my belly, and still can’t cough or sneeze without wanting to cry. I’m not supposed to be exercising for at least another two to three weeks and when I start again, I’ll have to start at half the weight I was using. This is to ensure my abdomen muscles heal fully and I don’t give myself a hernia.
Between my knee issues (fun fact: I also have an upcoming surgery in February to remove an irritated plicae and clean up the scar tissue around my meniscus…) and my appendix, this has not been the comeback year I was hoping for after that stress fracture I had last year!

I’ve lost over five pounds of muscle and while I’m pretty lean, I’d much rather be strong. I’m itching to get back to exercising and put some weight back on. I am both cursed that I slim down quickly and lucky that my body tones quickly. For me, given my smaller stature to begin with and the fact that I’ve lost some weight rather quickly, it’s so important that I strengthen and build some muscle back before I start doing any running. I certainly don’t want to re-fracture because of these unplanned recent events!

Everyone has setbacks, gets sick, suffers an injury or has to have an emergency surgery some time! It definitely is frustrating. It’s exhausting to start all over again and lose gains and progress. But we’ll get back and hopefully exceed our goals! Just remember all the reasons why pushing on is important to you and tap into that motivation when you’re healed. 💪🏼🏆

Home Workout 4

Here’s another home workout you can do sans equipment! Just you and the comfort of your own home. No excuses! If you have questions on the exercises, leave a comment!

Perform each exercise for 12 reps or 40s where indicated*, straight through the set.
Rest as needed, or 2 min at end.
Repeat for 3 sets.

  • Single leg step ups (12 on each side) – use a chair or sturdy chest.
  • Inchworm – keep feet planted, walk hands out to straight arm plank, hold, walk feet back in towards hands and repeat.
  • Jumping jacks*
  • Forward lunges w arms up (12 on each side)
  • Push ups
  • Forearm plank

Good luck!

Dear Coach: Losing Weight

Clients: You’re lucky you’re so skinny/toned/small/etc/etc/etc……..
Me: It’s not luck!!!


As a personal trainer, I think it’s really important to be able to relate to my clients when it comes to fitness goals. Most of my clients assume I’m just one of those special, lucky people who are naturally thin and fit without even trying – one of those extremely blessed people who can eat literally anything they want, as much of it as they want, and not gain a pound. But that isn’t me. While my weight loss total wasn’t over the top or as significant as most, it still counts and it certainly gave me insight on how difficult it is to lose weight!

When I was a senior in high school, I gained about ten pounds. Part of this was travelling abroad and experiencing Spain’s diverse foods to the fullest and part of it was not continuing to exercise when my team sports seasons ended. A big part of this was being social all summer with my friends, going out for ice cream every chance we got before jetting off to college.

My freshman year of college at UMass Amherst, I gained even more weight. The “Freshman Fifteen” is real people – especially at a school like UMass where the dining is delicious and all you can eat. Not to mention that if you want it to be, the drinking scene can be heavy.

By the time I was heading into sophomore year of college (I transferred to Gordon at this time), I was over 135 pounds. I had never weighed more than 120 in my life. I’m not extremely tall, about 5’6″, so 135 is on the upper end of an average weight. But I was clearly not muscular, not toned, and definitely not fitting into my old jeans.

That spring, I really took to the gym and started eating healthier. I lost about 5 pounds over break and came back feeling awesome about it. So that summer, I decided to forego all ice cream excursions and dedicate myself to getting my cardio in every week. It wasn’t just one thing I changed, but my whole lifestyle. I slowly cut out junk food to the point where I didn’t even crave it anymore. The gym became a haven where I could de-stress and love the work my body could do. The roads of my town became my treadmill and I revelled in making it farther and farther on each run.

By the time I went back for my junior year, I lost all the weight I had put on and then some. I fluctuated between 115-120, but continued my healthy eating habits and exercise routines. Maybe losing 15-20 pounds doesn’t sound like much. But it was a lot to me! I could see the difference and feel the difference physically, emotionally, and mentally. I had more energy, was happier and more focused, and I felt more confident and motivated in other aspects of my life.

Photo Jun 20, 6 52 52 AM Photo Jun 20, 6 53 52 AM

[After freshman year of college (2011) I was at my heaviest (left photos). Most notable is the weight in my face (chubby cheeks!) and arms. Right photos are 2014 and 2012 respectively.]

Photo Jun 20, 6 55 34 AM Photo Jun 20, 6 57 34 AM

[Again, left photos are all 2010-2011. Right photos are 2012 and 2014. Again, the weight in my cheeks and arms is most notable, but I also lost quite a few inches around my waist and stomach.]

No matter what your fitness goal is, it’s important to do it for YOU and only you. Be determined and love yourself. Give yourself the credit you deserve when you get closer to your goal. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen over night. Surround yourself with people who understand what it’s like – what it’s like to strive toward your goal, what it’s like to slip up and fall off track, what it’s like to lose motivation and get down on yourself, what it’s like to crave dessert, what it’s like to feel your body burn during your workout, what it’s like to achieve that goal.

I always tell my clients that I certainly did NOT always look the way I do now. And I still have fitness goals I want to achieve. There is a reason I always refer to your fitness journey as a journey, and it’s because you’ll never be “done”. Even when you achieve your goal, there’s always another one to strive for, or at least maintain.

I was really discouraged when I finally realized I had put on 20 pounds and could barely do a push up or run a decent mile. But I’m glad I went through that journey because it’s allowed me to relate to all my clients who have weight loss goals and struggles. I can get personal and honestly say, “I’ve been there, I GET IT.” It’s hard, and it takes time and dedication, but it’s a day to day process. We’ll get there.

  

 [Present. 2015]

-Coach A