Thursday, April 19, 2012

Biggest Loser 2012

From January through March, I participated in UGA's Biggest Loser program, through the UGA Fitness & Wellness Program at the Ramsey Student Center.  I was SOOO excited (read: terrified) to begin this program, but I just knew that I was going to show up, and it was going to be a whole bunch of teeny-tiny undergrads, prancing and dancing, while my big ol' butt fell with every attempt to do something.  How pleasantly surprised I was to show up and see that there was about 50 people, in various levels of fitness, all with the same worries as me (and funny enough, the few teeny-tiny undergrads that DID show up?  They dropped out within a week or so, saying it was too hard).

The first evening, we sat through a presentation on how the program was going to work, and then did our initial fitness assessment.

My weight: yeah, right
body fat: much higher than it should be, but not any higher than I expected
pushups: 0
crunches: 41 (woo-hoo!)
flexibility: non-existent

My goals for the program:
weight loss: 10lbs
body fat: lose 1-2%
pushups: 2
crunches: 60
flexibility: to exist

I didn't want my goals to be unachievable.  I also didn't want them to be too easy.  I thought they were reasonable, but would take work.

The first official workout (the circuit challenge) went something like this:
25 crunches
25 pushups (remember, I couldn't do a single pushup just a few days earlier)
25 squats
25 lunges (per leg - total of 50)
25 burpees (evil, evil, torture personified)
1 mile run/walk
All to be done in less than 45 minutes.

I did the crunches, modified pushups (against the wall), the squats, half the lunges, and modified burpees, followed by the mile, in just under 35 minutes.

This workout would be repeated at the 5-week mark, and then again in the final week of the program.

A week later, I came down with an intestinal virus (just FYI, the virus stuck around for the duration of the program.  It took me over two months to completely rid my body of the illness) and missed a workout. 
Two weeks later, I fell at my house, and tore cartilage in my back.
Just as my back was healing, my brother-in-law was in a severe motorcycle accident, attempted to break almost every bone in his upper body, and spent 2 weeks in the hospital.  Therefore, I spent a large portion of my non-work, non-sleep hours at the hospital.
The next weekend, I twisted wrong, and reinjured my back.
Just as that began to heal, and I was cleared to work out again, my brother decided to make a trip to the ER with a suspected heart attack (turned out to be an attack of pleurisy, on top of some severe stress).

To make a long story short, I missed over half the workouts in the 9-week program.  However, I made every class (two fitness, one nutrition and one maintenance class), I got to know the personal trainers at Ramsey quite well, and was able to get advice on training for a 5K (yes, I still want to do a runDisney race).  I made some good friends, one especially, and we are all trying to work out our schedules so that we can continue to workout together and encourage one another.

As for my goals, they didn't pan out as I'd hoped.  I was (almost) able to do one pushup, and about 50 crunches.  I didn't lose any weight or body fat %, but I did notice that my pants were fitting a little looser.  I can walk a mile a bit faster.  My form when I workout is much better, and I've learned how to listen to my body, and get the most out of what I'm doing.  I can do some killer lunges and squats, which I never thought I'd be able to do!

I will be keeping my membership to the Ramsey Center, and since my office is only about a mile away, on the very same road, I'm starting to use half of each lunch hour to go walk the indoor track.  I also just bought a Bowflex.  It is currently still in pieces, spread out on my livingroom floor, but ask me again after this weekend, and I should be able to say that I'm officially doing strength training.  I'm very excited about this!  During the few years I worked at a fitness center, I remember really enjoying strength training.  And I've wanted a Bowflex for years!  I think this is going to be good for me.

Oh, and before I forget:
I did get to do one repeat of the initial circuit challenge.  I did all the crunches, modified pushups (on a table this time, not a wall), all the squats, ALL the lunges, modified burpees, and the mile: in 31 minutes.  GO ME!

The journey of 100lbs begins with a single step.  I'd like to think I've walked a few steps at this point.  Send good thoughts my way...I want to keep stepping!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Bug Goes to the Zoo

(simultaneously posted on Cocktails and Dreams)

Just three weeks after FINALLY having custom orthotics made, I decided to give them a true road test.  On October 15, Bug and Peanut brought their parents down for a trip to Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia Aquarium.  They picked me up early in the morning, and we made the trek to Grant Park, home of the zoo.  It was their first visit.  It was my first visit since 1991.  I don't know who was more excited.  They were all excited about seeing the animals, I was excited to watch Bug as he saw the animals.

As we're walking through the entrance, the conversation went something like this:
Me: "Bug, what animal do you want to see today?"
Bug: "Giraffelephant."  Yes, that is one word.
Me, laughing: "The giraffelephant, huh?  Well, what about brother?  What animal does he want to see?"
You must remember that Peanut, at this point, is only 9 months old, and doesn't really grasp what animals are.
Bug: "He wants to see the pig."  Matter-of-fact.  Peanut wants to see the pig.  I love this kid!

One of the first exhibits had just what Bug wanted.  A giraffelephant.  Or, maybe it was an area that had BOTH a giraffe AND and an elephant together.  Either way, he was happy!  I think he would have stayed there all day long, if only we'd let him.

Along the way, there were gorillas, lions, tigers, pandas, snakes (Bug wasn't impressed with those), a naked mole rat (I don't know if he liked Rufus, but he sure liked the tunnel going in and out of the exhibit), birds, flamingos, gators, and a petting zoo.

There was also Dippin' Dots.

Peanut wanted ice cream, too, but we made him stick to banana puffs.

Later on, Bug convinved me to pose for a picture.

We ended the visit with a ride on the train and the carousel (Bug wanted nothing to do with them until we were on them, then did not want to get off.  Peanut liked them from far away, but was not so keen on the actual experience.  What can you do?), and then headed back to the parking lot for a well-deserved picnic.  After filling our bellies and resting our feet, we drove about 3 miles to another parking lot, and prepared to enter the Georgia Aquarium.

This was, as with the zoo, their first visit.  I, however, am an annual passholder.  Having experienced the aquarium before, I was able to concentrate what they wanted to see.  It is so much fun to see something through the eyes of a two-year-old!  Much like at the zoo (look, Bug, it's Timon and Pumba!  Look, Bug, it's Simba!), several animals were identified by their proper Disney name.

Much like at the zoo, Bug did not want to pet the animals.

Much like at the zoo, Bug somehow convinced me to pose for a picture.

Bug surprised us all by his reaction to the shark tunnel.  Being scared of everything else, we fully expected him to be terrified of a tunnel surrounded by sharks and other somewhat frightening marine life.  Not the case, at all.  I do believe that his favorite part of the aquarium was the tunnel.  We had to end the visit by going through the tunnel one last time.  All the way home, Bug kept pointing out tunnels (underpasses, parking garages, anything that resembled a tunnel).

It was days later that I realized: There are almost no pictures of Bug and Peanut with their parents!  There really were two other adults on this trip!  I promise, there were!!!  I guess I monopolized the kids.  Oh well, consider it preparation for a trip to Disney.  Bug's first trip to Disney World is in the planning stages!

And just in case it's slipped your notice, I am so completely in love with this kid!