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.

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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.

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.

Getting fit…getting my butt off the couch

Growing up, I have always been the girly girl type. I stayed at home most of the time, playing with Barbie dolls. Then as I grew older, I spent a lot of my time sitting in front of the TV or laying in bed, reading books for days at a time. My parents didn’t really push me to go outside, or to engage in more physical activities, so I grew up to be one of the most uncoordinated kids out there ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I grew up not knowing how to ride a bike, and to this day, I still don’t know how to, though I’ve tried multiple times to learn as an adult. I also grew up scared of balls flying at me, so that eliminates quite a few careers for me. I’m sad to say that I will never be a pro basketball player, or a baseball player for that matter 😛

My couch potato days carried through high school and university. I never had any weight problems before, so I was content to just keep living the way I’ve been living. Then about a year ago, I went back to the Philippines for 4 months – a long overdue visit if you ask me (I hadn’t been back in the 9 years since my family moved to Canada). Anyway, while I was in there, I literally didn’t have to do anything. I was waited on hand and foot. Everything that I needed (e.g., food, clean clothes, etc.) was handed to me. In the first 3 months of my visit, the most strenuous activity that I engaged in was probably walking from my room to the kitchen whenever I wanted food. I would love to say that I’m only exaggerating for comedic purposes, but sadly, it isn’t so. I am quite serious…and embarrassed to I say that I did nothing productive during that period :\

At around the 3-month mark of my visit, I started noticing more pronounced changes in my body. My waist started thickening, and my thighs would rub ever so slightly when I walked to and from the kitchen 😛 I don’t know about other people, but for me, that whole thigh-rubbing thing was not comfortable at all. I’ve always been used to having a small gap between my thighs, so when I gained a bit of weight during that trip, I suddenly had to adjust to this new feeling of my thighs rubbing together as I moved. It’s like I had to relearn how to walk, because walking normally didn’t feel so normal anymore.

Try Hard Face

That was when I decided to make a lifestyle change. I started joining my brother in his workouts. At the time, he was doing P90X3, which was really nice, because it was only 30 minutes each day. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants get into working out.

Prior to my trip, I was about 110 lbs, then within 3 months of doing nothing but eat, I weighed in at 125 lbs! That was the biggest that I have ever been in my life. I’m only 5’3″ with a very slim build, so that 15-lb weight gain made a huge difference in what my body looked like. While I wasn’t actually overweight, I had quite a bit of excess fat that I could stand to lose.

To be perfectly honest, my motivation for exercising at the time was mostly based on aesthetics. I had a beach vacation planned in April 2014 (about a month before I started working out), and so I just wanted to look good in a bikini. Let me just say that I didn’t do anything crazy to lose weight. I didn’t cut back on food. I merely added more physical activity into my daily routine.

About 3 weeks into the P90X3 program, I discovered that I could finally do a full push-up! Before P90X3, I pretty much thought that push-ups were out of the question for me. I thought they were too difficult as I could only do knee push-ups before, so when I finally got that first real push-up down, I was ecstatic beyond imagination. That triggered a change in my motivation. While I do still want to look good in a bikini, building strength has also become a big part of what I want to now accomplish. It’s empowering to feel like you can do things that you previously thought were impossible, and honestly, I’ve gotten a little bit competitive in the knowledge that some of the stuff that I can do now are things that other females (or even a few males) can’t even do.

After getting my push-ups down, I challenged myself to be able to do a chin-up, and when I finally achieved that after about 3 months of P90X3, I challenged myself again to be able to do a pull-up. Now, I can comfortably do 20 or so push-ups, and maybe 10 chin-ups (I haven’t done push-ups and chin-ups to exhaustion in a while, so I’m not sure about my numbers here). I am still working on my pull-ups though. I can do quite a few of them, but I’m really working on perfecting my form (chest out, no kipping, fully extended arms, etc.). Strictly speaking, if I count how many wide pull-ups I can do without kipping and before I start hunching my shoulders, I will probably only get up to 4 reps. There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement there, but that’s how it is. You just have to keep working at it, and setting new goals for yourself.

My advice to females out there is to not be scared of lifting weights. I know a lot of women are scared of bulking up and looking like a man, but if you don’t specifically train for that, you’re not going to gain that much muscle. Lifting weights will just do wonders to toning your body up and making you stronger.