Back on the wall!

After an incredibly long 3-month hiatus from climbing, I finally feel well enough to get back on the wall, and climb my little heart out 🙂 As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve recently started weight training again. My elbow seems to be supporting my weight pretty well given the circumstances.

So this past Friday, I went bouldering for the first time in 3 months, and I can’t tell you how great it feels to be climbing again. It’s not without its challenges though. After months of not being able to exercise my upper body, I’ve lost quite a bit of strength, and also confidence in my ability to climb. I was struggling quite a bit on the wall. Sadly, I couldn’t even finish a lot of the problems that I climbed. For a lot of them, I’d get pretty close to topping, but then fear would eat at me, making me not want to make the next move in the sequence. I do think that it’s something that I’d be able to work on as I get back into climbing regularly again.

Grip strength is another thing that I really need to work on. Mine isn’t as strong as it was before my little climbing accident. I also need to start building callouses on my palms again, as weird as that sounds lol. Callouses are actually really good for climbing. They toughen up your skin, which makes climbing easier. It’s a good thing my climbing gym put in this new training area for their members. I had a lot of fun playing around with the hangboards, and the cannon ball holds. They were actually easier to pull up on than expected. I’d love to have a set-up like this at home, but it’ll probably cost several hundred dollars to put together. Maybe in a few years…A girl can only dream 🙂

Hub Training Area

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Fitness Update: Getting back into strength training

It’s been about two and a half months since my little climbing accident, and I’ve only just started getting back into strength training. I’ve been doing a lot of wide grip push-ups this past week. I tend to favor those, because they’re a lot easier than the other types of push-ups (e.g., military, diamond, etc.). I’m still a bit wary of hurting my elbow, so I want to take a bit slow, and just see how far I can push myself.

After two months of not being able to work out my upper body, I can see just how much progress I’ve lost, and to tell you the truth, it’s really discouraging. My body looks pretty much the same as it did before the accident, which is a good thing. I haven’t lost too much muscle mass from the looks of things, BUT there’s a huge difference in my upper body strength.

Just the other day, I did about a total of 30 push-ups, and I ended up so incredibly sore for the next two days. Whereas before, I could probably do 3 sets of 30 pretty easily.

I whipped out my pull-up bar today as well. I wanted to see if I could manage even just a single pull-up…I am so very disappointed to say that I couldn’t do it. I did manage to do two chin-ups though, but that was it 😦

Prior to my accident, I was able to do about five strict wide-grip pull-ups, and now, I can’t even pull myself up for just one! I guess this means I have a lot of work to do if I want to get back to where I was before I injured my arm.

I’m so tempted to put running off now that I can get back into strength training. If you’ve read one of my previous blog posts, you’d know that I only took up running because I couldn’t lift weights after my climbing accident. I know that I really should keep it up though. I’ve been making good progress with running, but if I’m being completely honest, cardio was never my favorite…and it still isn’t. I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m already thinking about all the excuses I can use to justify not going for a run today lol.

How I work on my flexibility

The other day, I read a blog post about yoga from a blogger who just started getting into it, and it got me thinking about my own experiences with flexibility training.

As a child, I was pretty bendy. I was able to do the splits fairly easily, BUT as I grew older and lazier, I started spending more time sitting in front the TV, and less time being physically active. It got the point where I couldn’t even touch my toes.

This is where yoga comes in…

Yoga


I was first introduced to yoga back in 2013, and it was an absolutely terrible experience. Back then, I was trying to follow the P90x workouts, which didn’t really end up working well for me, given how extremely difficult the program was. The P90x yoga video was about 92 minutes long! It was honestly pure torture getting through that entire routine. At the time, I couldn’t understand why so many people were going crazy over it.

It wasn’t until last year that I decided to give yoga another try. At the time, I had just started the P90x3 program. Not to be confused with the P90x videos, the P90x3 workout program is the 3rd instalment of the franchise, which is actually a lot easier than its predecessor. All of the workouts in P90x3 are only 30 minutes long, which made it a lot more convenient, and easier to complete.

That’s really when I started to appreciate yoga more. The 30 minute yoga video from P90x3 was more suited to my level of flexibility and strength. They run through the poses fairly quickly, which means your legs won’t be buckling from the stress of holding the poses for too long.

I guess the real moral of the story here is to not give up so easily, especially with new experiences. I have since learned that there are so many different types of yoga that you really should try several of them before you give up, and say that it’s just not for you.

A few months into the P90x3 program, I was finally able to touch my toes in a forward bend. Then, a few more months after that, I was able to rest my whole palm on the ground, slowly getting more flexible as time went on.

Around that time, I also started bouldering, which actually requires quite a bit of flexibility as you climb harder problems. That was when I decided to push my flexibility even further.

I’ve always wanted to be able to do splits again, so I looked up instructional videos on youtube, and I found this really great one ↓

After about two weeks of following the video, I was able to finally stick my splits! I still like to do this particular stretching routine once or twice a week just to make sure that I don’t lose my newfound flexibility 🙂 I highly recommend it to everyone!

How I carry my phone on runs

Ever since I started running a few weeks ago, there’s been one question on my mind… Where the hell do I put my phone? Leaving it at home is not really an option. I have to have it with me for two reasons: 1) I like to listen to music while I sweat my butt off; and 2) I like to use the C25K app to help me keep time.

DIY Sock Armband

DIY Sock Armband

So, I tried making my own DIY armband out of a sock after I saw a couple of people posting about it. I even sewed on a little pocket to make it a little bit more secure, but alas, it was a big epic fail. I went out on my first run and my phone was just bouncing around way too much. It did not feel secure at all, so I just started running with my phone in my hand.

Then last week, I finally gave in and bought myself a “fanny pack.” I first saw one of these low-profile waistpacks on a fitness youtuber, and I thought it was a genius idea. It’s convenient. It’s practical…and best of all, it wasn’t hideous or dorky-looking lol. SPIbelt

I actually wasn’t looking for a specific brand when I went to the mall last week. I was pretty much going to buy whatever brand was available as long as the price is within reason. So that’s how I ended up with the SPIbelt. It was the only one that was available when I made my purchase. And I couldn’t be happier with it.

It feels so great to not have to hold on to my phone the entire time that I’m running. The SPIbelt is completely secure. It doesn’t bounce around at all. I actually forgot that I even had it on a couple of minutes into the run.The expandable pocket fits my Samsung Galaxy S3 with room to spare for other items. I highly recommend it.

If you are looking to shop around, there are a few other options out there, like the Nike Expandable Running Lean Waistpack, the Victoria’s Secret Stretch Hip Pack, and the Flipbelt. I’ve heard fairly good things about the Nike waistpack and the Flipbelt, so check those out if you’re in the market for a sleek, low-profile fanny pack.

DIY Running BeltYou could also try making your own if you’re crafty. Check out this adorable DIY running belt from the Sewing Rabbit. I would absolutely love to make this if I was actually capable of sewing on a straight line…Unfortunately for me, I’m completely hopeless in the sewing department, so I’m going to have to skip this particular DIY lol.

Fitness Update: Won’t be needing surgery!

I met with my surgeon today…and I have some pretty great news! 🙂 After examining my arm, he decided that surgery won’t be necessary given the fact that my elbow is already looking like it’s healing up nicely on its own. He even said that with time, I’d be able to go climbing, and lift weights again. The only thing is, I might not be able to regain full range of motion in my arm. He thinks physical therapy might help with the problem, but it’s not a guaranteed solution…Even so, it’s something that I seriously need to consider. If I’m going back to bouldering, I have to be able to really reach out my arms. The longer the wingspan, the better!

Anyway, I just wanted to update you all on what’s happening. Hopefully, my elbow heals nicely without any complications.

Fat Burning Properties of Green Tea?

For the past few days I’ve been drinking one to two cups of green tea a day, and I’ve been noticing quite a bit of a difference in my body. According to several articles that I’ve been reading about the health benefits of green tea, the EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) found in it is apparently really good at burning fat, and boosting metabolism, especially when combined with physical exercise. I’m not exactly sure of how true this claim is. There’s always conflicting viewpoints on what’s healthy and what’s not. It’s definitely a difficult topic to get into, but I thought I’d share my thoughts/experience on the subject anyway.

Green Tea

Ever since my little climbing accident, I haven’t been able to really work out. For about 3 weeks after my fall, I was just sitting at home, doing nothing, so when I finally decided to get off my butt, I noticed that I gained about an inch of fat around my waist. I know that doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but I really wanted to stay fit, and more or less maintain my weight…Actually, I wouldn’t mind putting on a few more pounds as long as it’s mostly muscle mass 😀 but if it’s just extra fat? No thanks!

Anyway, after noticing the slight thickening of my waist, I decided to start drinking green tea to see if it’ll help burn off fat as some studies claim. Sure enough, after just a few days, I felt and looked much less bloated than before. I’ve even managed to shave off that extra inch from my waist. I also lost a pound or two in the process. It’s astounding how 2 lbs can make so much of a difference in how my body looks. I’ve come to realize just how delicate the balance is between being too skinny and being a little chunky, especially with the body type that I have. On my 5 ft 3 inch-frame, a couple of pounds less can make me look much too thin, like a stick figure. On the other hand, a couple of pounds more, and I end up looking a little pudgy. It’s really a bit of a struggle to find just the right balance.

Note: I did not change my eating habits during all this. The only thing that’s changed is the fact that I’ve started running 3x a week for about half an hour each time.

For that reason, I can’t exactly pinpoint how much of the weight loss is the result of drinking green tea vs running. I’m leaving it to you to decide if there’s actually any correlation between green tea and weight loss. I would recommend trying it out and seeing for yourself 🙂

C25K: Week 1 Day 1

The other day, I posted about my arm injury, and I mentioned in that blog post that I was thinking about running in an effort to stay in shape. Given the fact that I probably won’t be able to lift weights for a while, I thought doing a bit of cardio might do me well, as much as I hate it…

With that thought in mind, I started the C25K program. By the way, thanks Amber for the recommendation!

C25K Schedule

Note: This schedule was based on the Zen Labs C25k app.

Truth be told, I sort of underestimated the whole thing. I thought for sure that I’d be able to finish day 1 without any problem. On paper, it sounded easy enough, alternating between running for 1 minute and walking for 90 seconds, but I was seriously considering cutting my run short around the halfway mark. I had to force myself to keep going. This just goes to show how out of shape I am when it comes to cardio. It was a good thing that I downloaded the C25K app right before I left the house. It really helped in keeping me motivated to finish my run. I probably wouldn’t have done the whole 30 minute workout if I didn’t have the UI guiding me, so I definitely recommend the app to anyone who’s interested in following the program.

In addition to the C25K program, I’m also thinking about doing a bit of plyometrics and agility training to build muscle, strength, balance, etc. I will update you all if I’m successful in keeping all this up. Starting is always the hardest. I know that once I get into the groove of things, my body will automatically crave physical activity, so it shouldn’t feel like too much of a chore then.