The Road to a Healthy Life

My path from unhealthy to healthy... for your entertainment

Back to your regularly scheduled program - review of Workplace Warrior Challenge

This past Wednesday, we had the award ceremony for Healthworks Workplace Warrior Challenge.

I just realized also, that I didn’t update my numbers.

Weight - stayed the same

Body fat - down 1%

Muscle Mass - up 1%

So, nothing too crazy happened number wise for me. A couple members on the team ended up losing 4lbs! I need to find out their secret!!

Well, all in all, we didn’t win the challenge.

Honestly, I don’t know who actually won the challenge, because they didn’t announce it at the “award” ceremony - which, was probably the most lackluster thing that I’ve experienced at Healthworks. I get that the Porter Square club didn’t have the winning team, but we were still ready to get a good workout and celebrate. The workout ended up being a Tabata, but the instructor didn’t quite instruct - but was really being lead by a tape. It was a little too reminiscent of a middle school gym class. After the workout, they quickly brought in some apples, bananas and coconut water, and told us that none of us won the grand prize, and the other official team at the club won the club competition, for having lost the most weight.

But, even though we didn’t win the super awesome prize, I still feel like we are a whole bunch of winners. Why? I made a bunch of friends with some coworkers who I normally wouldn’t have interacted with, without Workplace Warrior Challenge. Also, I learned how to incorporate some amazing classes into my marathon training, in order to add more cross training.

So, yes, I have a membership, and I’m figuring out how to work everything together. I plan on taking two classes regularly, and have Friday be a “swing” cross training day - and maybe taking an after work class then.

My first marathon is coming up in just ONE month.

AH.

Cue freakout now.

It’s 8:30PM on a Friday, and I’m here writing, watching Who’s Line is it Anyways and making sure that I get to bed around 9ish, so I can get up at 5:30 to run 18 miles.

The life of someone training for a marathon.

My Right to Health, Freedom of Speech and my gyno appointment

So, this blog has mainly been around running, working out and my journey to adopting a healthier lifestyle. What is normally left out of most healthy lifestyle blogs is a large issue - women’s health.

This is not me getting on my soap box and telling you that you need to be either pro-life or pro-choice. This is me getting on my soap box, writing about the jarring and scary experience I just had walking into my annual gyno appointment. This is going to be long - so feel free to skip this post if you want!

The gyno that I know and trust is a physician at Planned Parenthood in Boston. I’ve been going to her since I left Boston University - the first time because I was uninsured, and have continued going back because I believe in the organization. I believe in giving EVERYONE the right to be healthy, have access to a clean and safe health facility, and the right to be seen by a doctor. 

Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down the barrier law - which required protesters to stand 35 feet away from the entrances of Planned Parenthood facilities. Mind you, this was due to physical violence that had taken place around the entrances of these facilities, including a few deaths.

No one should be worried about being shot or accosted while on their way to put their feet in stirrups and have someone peer inside their nether regions.

My appointment was this morning. I had read on the news that this was a win for “Freedom of Speech” and made a mental note to prepare myself for something I hadn’t really dealt with before.

In my mind, I talked a big game - I would snap pictures, take video, talk back to anyone who started getting sassy.

That all changed. 

On my way in, I got out of the taxi a block away from the entrance of the facility. I stopped, to take a picture of the small crowd of protesters. image

There were 7 people outside this facility at 8:45am… defiantly standing inside the yellow line. I thought I would walk in there with my head held high, sashay a little and head right on in.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

When I started crossing the crosswalk, they all started to turn around and look at me. They first started walking towards me slowly, and then when they realized that I was planning on going in the doors, things escalated.

They started getting close to me, and making their way to the doorway.

The lady in pink yelled, “You don’t have to go in there.”

The man in the plaid said “The devil lives in there.”

The main in the center of the photo said “There are other ways. We can offer you freedom of consciousness, happiness and a healing.”

I couldn’t open the door fast enough. It wasn’t until I was going through the standard Planned Parenthood metal detector, that I noticed I was shaking.

The security guard noticed I was a little shaken up. He said that they had been out there since 6am, and also had bothered staff members. 

Here’s the thing about this - everyone has the right to freedom of speech, but that doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole and expect to come out of it with no consequences.

These people are BULLIES. I have the right to see my doctor. I have the right to go and get my lady parts checked out, without some old man telling me I’m going to go to hell. I don’t stand outside their doctors office and bother them when they are getting their annual check up. 

You have the right to your opinion, and I have the right to keep my body healthy. We all should have the right to live in peace without being harassed. 

When I left, I actually hesitated before I opened the door to go back outside. I peered out the small window in the door, and noticed these two gentleman (in the bottom half of this picture).

image

The guy with the fetus sign started yelling. There was a woman who was crossing the same crosswalk I had earlier in the morning. From the door, this was all I could see.

When I opened the door, these two guys started shouting at me: “The Devil is in you now” (um creepy much?), and as I turned to make a left, there were about 10 other protesters, now flanked by reporters, 3 Boston policemen and a lady with a vest on. She must have seen my shock, and told me that she was the “escort” - and she walked me past the protesters and said good bye.

My head was down, shoulders up, sunglasses on.

Then I got angry.

How dare these people make me feel bad about myself. How dare they make me feel uncomfortable going to a damned doctors. You do not have the right to yell at me for not doing anything to you.

You have freedom of speech, not the freedom to be an asshole without consequence. 

The Devil does not live inside me - for right now, nothing actually lives inside of me except some natural occurring bacteria.

For the most part, I’m a pretty decent human being, and I try to live by the “Golden Rule” that you all seem to have forgotten:

"Do to others what you would want them to do to you"

I hope that no one - pro life or pro choice - has to go through what I went through. You have the right to your opinion, not the right to bully. 

So here I am, standing up for what I believe in… and standing up for those who have been accosted, shamed and bullied for simply going to a doctor. 

Long Runs, Cross Training and Summertime…

Let me tell you something about marathon training… you are forced to come head to head with many things.

First off, the actual physical discomfort of running for 3 hours straight is something that you need to come to terms with pretty fast. I would be lying if I said my last 16 miler was truly fun. I work up at 5:30AM on a Sunday, was out on the road by 6AM, and spent almost 3 hours running in circles around Lake Q. Now, it’s a gorgeous loop, and my marathon is 8 loops around the lake, so running the loops makes me very familiar with where the uneven sidewalks and the potholes are. It’s nice to know that there is a water fountain just 1.5 miles away.

But the bigger thing I’ve had to come head to head with, are my thoughts. Even while listening to some upbeat pop songs for a good chunk of my run, my mind swiftly wanders from what I wanted to eat right after, to what I want to do for the rest of the day, to what went wrong in my last relationship.

The last one came out of the blue. All of a sudden “Part of Me” by Katy Perry (go ahead. Judge. Pandora totally knows when I’m on my long runs and it’s fantastic), and I remember the day when my ex started packing up his things and moved to NYC. He dumped me on the phone two days later, after 5 years of dating. Virtually all my friends from college swiftly disappeared from my life. 

Also, this thought process happened at like mile 12. Along with a massive blister that was forming right on my arch. 

I didn’t want to relive it. But, suddenly, I found myself at ease. Thinking about all the awesome thing that have happened in my life since then. I made tons of new friends, experienced the city and what New England has to offer, and I managed to turn my life from a six-pack-a-day to a 60 minute workout a day. I’ve met some of the most incredible people, including my boyfriend and his son. 

At mile 14, I have no idea what it was, but I almost started to cry. Let’s call it a mix of leg cramps, exhaustion and self realization.

At mile 16, I was at my front door. Smiling ear to ear. I was also wondering how the heck I was going to manage to walk up the flight of stairs into my apartment.

Other than that emotional breakthrough, I have truly realized the importance of cross training. I can tell that the harder I work in my run, and in a spin class or strength class, the better and more efficient I can move. I’m glad I got the membership, and I can’t wait to start balancing everything out.

Blake and I have been coming home from work and either playing catch or soccer, which has been a nice change from coming home and plopping down on the couch. Summertime really is my favorite time of year. Even if we don’t have air conditioning.

This weekend I run in my 3rd BAA 10K! Goal? Under 56 Minutes.

Holy Tabata…

Today, I decided to make a last minute decision and head to the gym by myself. I had thought about it yesterday (as you can see from my recap post below), but before bed I decided I really needed to sleep.

The alarm went off, and I changed my mind.

So off I went to Healthworks, to get a run in and try this “Tabata Core” class. I figured it was just 15 minutes, so it wouldn’t be too crazy.

Boy… was I wrong.

So I waltzed in, and we were asked to grab a mat and a pilates ball (I grabbed a 4lb ball).

We quickly started a 2 minute warm up of crunches. Then we head into full on tabata mode.

For those who have never done tabata before - the basis is simple: 20 seconds of hard work, 10 second rest. 

We did the workout in sets:

Set 1 (repeat 4 times):

  •  Reverse crunch (on your back, legs in table top with ball in between your legs, lift butt and chest to make a crunch) 20 seconds
  • 10 second rest
  • Weighted toe touches with 4lb ball - 20 seconds
  • 10 second rest

Set 2 (repeat 4 times)

  • Full body extension sit up with 4lb ball - 20 seconds
  • 10 second rest
  • This next one was something of a mix between a crunch and a bicycle kick. Take the weighted ball and start with your hands extended behind your head. With your legs in table top, extend one leg out, while crunching up with the ball. Bring your leg back into table top, while lowering yourself to the ground - 20 seconds
  • 10 second rest

Set 3 (repeat 4 times)

  • Side crunches - 20 seconds
  • 10 second straight crunch pulse (no resting time in this one0
  • Step out plank with legs - 20 seconds
  • 10 second hold plank
  • Step out plank with arms - 20 seconds
  • 10 second hold plank

So it doesn’t look like it would knock you on your butt… but it definitely did. It was quick, but it was hard work for every single second.

Will I take this class again? Heck yes. 

#WorkplaceWarriorChallenge Week 4… The Final Team Workout

Holy smokes, I can’t believe it’s already been 4 weeks!

Today’s team workout with Kayla was all about fat burn and strength. We did a few things…

Circuit 1 (repeated 2x’s - do each exercise for 45 seconds)

  • Sideways Walking Plank
  • Scissor Kicks
  • Reverse Fly’s (20lbs)
  • Weighted Toe Touches (7lbs)
  • Overhead Weighted Lunges (12 lbs)
  • Plank Jumps (I don’t know what this is called, but we were in plank, and then jumped up to the left , back to center, and then up to the right)
  • Squat Jumps
  • Burpees

Weighted V-Sit Team Challenge!

We did a relay styled team challenge. We all sat in a row, and one of us started doing V-sits with 10 lb weight. We each did a set of 10 and passed it along. We tried to get the most V-sits done in 3 minutes… and after 3 minutes, the 5 of us did 150 V-sits as a team! Woot!

Circuit 2 (repeated 2x’s - do each for 30 seconds)

  • "Around the World" Jumps (Make a really big square with jumps)
  •  Basketball Jumps (similar to squat jumps)
  • Side Shuffles

Circuit 3 (repeated 2x’s - do each for 30 seconds)

  • Lateral Lunge Jumps
  • High Knees with raised arms
  • Sprints 

I really can’t believe that a whole 4 weeks has passed! I’m going to try to go to a few more classes before my final weigh-in/ InBody Assessment on Friday.

I also did my first 15 mile run this past Sunday - and it was brutal. I started at 6:30am and it was 55F. When I ended 2 hours and 48 minutes later, it was 81F. I filled up my water bottle 3 times over those 15 miles, and I ate a whole pack of SNAP Candy, plus 4 honey stinger chews. Looks like I need to start getting my long runs in at like 4am. 

This is what my week looks like:

  • Monday: REST
  • Tuesday: Workplace Warrior Workout
  • Wednesday: 5 miles & Tabata Core class
  • Thursday: Bootcamp for Runners
  • Friday: Spinning
  • Saturday or Sunday: 16 miles (oh boy)

#WorkPlaceWarriorChallenge - Week 3

We’re more than half way through the challenge and I absolutely love every minute of working out with friends at Healthworks. 

That’s why for the first time in like 4 years, I actually joined a gym! I’m super pumped about being an office member of Healthworks gym!

Here was the workout we did today:

-Warmup

Partner Circuit 1 (repeated 2x’s):

  • 1 minute of pushups w/ highfive/clap with partner (you go down on a pushup, and when you come back up, you hold out one arm and smack your hands together)
  • 12 weighted lunges (15lbs)  while partner “swims” 

Cardio:

  • 1 minute Fast Feet
  • High Knees with Hands in the Air

Partner Circuit 2 (repeated 3x’s):

  • 1 minute back-to-back weighted Russian Twists
  • 1 minute plank while partner did footwork over and between partners planked legs (think of it like doing the vine over mini hurdles)
  • 1 minute weighted sit-ups with passing of weight to partner

Partner Circuit 3 (repeated 3x’s):

  • -One partner holds a wall sit, while the other partner does 4 wall to wall sprints. Once the sprints are done, tag out and hold a wall sit

Oh the core work… my core is going to be so so so sore tomorrow.

This is how week 3 looks for me:

  • Monday: 6:30am Did some work on the bike and checked out the sauna as recovery from my Sunday long run
  • Tuesday: 7am HW workplace warrior challenge workout
  • Weds: 6:15am Cardio Bosu (no idea what it entails, but I’m pumped)
  • Thurs: 7am HW BURN - Total Body
  • Friday: 6am Spin!
  • Saturday: 15 miles (may move to Sunday depending on how my body feels)
  • Sunday: Rest

Next week is the last week of the challenge! I don’t know if I can say that I’ve lost any weight, but I have noticed that my arms no longer look like noodles… so PROGRESS!

#WorkplaceWarrior Challenge - Week 2

Week 2 is half way through and it is NOT disappointing right now.

Yesterday we had our second AKAMighty team workout… and it was a mix of HIIT/Tabata/pain. We did 4 circuits - 3 times each:

Circuit 1 (x3):

  1. 30 second Heismans
  2. 30 second Burpees
  3. 30 second 

Circuit 2 (x3): 

  1. 15 rep Deadlifts (20 lbs)
  2. 15 rep fly’s (15 lbs)
  3. 15 rep chest presses (15 lbs)

Circuit 3 (x3):

  1. 30 second high knees
  2. 30 second 180 jumps
  3. 30 second bicycle crunches

Circuit 4 (x3):

  1. 15 side lunges (20lbs)
  2. 15 standing presses (15 lbs)
  3. 15 Russian Twists

It was the most intense, sweat filled hour and best way to start off the short week ever.

Since it is a short week, I’m cramming as many workouts as I can in, while still trying to manage some marathon training.

Here is what this week is planned out:

Monday: (was supposed to be 3 miles, but after 10 miles Sunday, and spending all night trying to get rid of a bat, it was an impromptu rest day)

Tuesday: AKAMighty team workout (Healthworks)

Wednesday: 45 Minute Spin Class and 60 Minute Barre Class - both at Healthworks (MY FIRST BARRE CLASS EVER - I’ll let you know how it goes!)

Thursday: 7am BURN Total Body workout (Healthworks)

Friday: 6am spinning class, 7am HW HIIT class (Healthworks)

Saturday: 12 mile run

Sunday: SLEEP FOREVER

So, maybe the Healthworks challenge just really woke up my competitive spirit… but I kinda love every single minute that I’m there, so, don’t judge. Yes, I know I have to get my miles in, but I’m also having a blast taking these classes. My 10 mile run on Sunday was a freaking dream, and part of me suspects that the cross training is really already working it’s magic.

I won’t do another weigh in until after the challenge is over, but I’m having a great time either way, and isn’t that really what it’s all about?!