Update

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Just a couple of things:

1.) I am going to post progress blogs and pictures every two weeks from now on. ¬†Doing it every week seems a little redundant and boring, but if something really interesting happens, I will write a post. ūüėõ

2.) I was only able to get through half of Kayla’s workouts this week. ¬†I had my wisdom tooth removed yesterday (I only have one, lucky for me I guess) and since I am older than most people usually are when they have them removed, it was more of a process. ¬†The root extended all the way to my jaw bone, so the removal was extra deep and painful. ¬†I am currently recovering and am on some pretty hefty (and awesome) pain-killers. ¬†Although I am still doing short runs, I was unable to complete the last workout without feeling very ill. ¬†If I cannot get through the workouts this week, I will start over with Week 6 on Monday.

That’s all folks!

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Kayla Itsines Weeks 3 and 4

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I know, I know….I didn’t update last week….so sue me……… XP

The Seahawks lost, and I had a bunch of personal business to attend to, but just because I did not submit anything doesn’t mean that I haven’t done anything! ¬†I have been staying true to the fitness routine and meal plans, I just forgot to take pictures last week, and got so caught up with other aspect in my life that I didn’t have time to write a post. ¬†To be honest, I don’t have too much¬†to report. ¬†The workouts are still hard and the food is still good. :3

Like is said earlier, I didn’t take any photos for week 3….but, I did take some to show my week 4 results! ¬†Here they are, I have to say, I’m pretty proud:

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The progress is pretty clear in the front and side pictures, but not so much in the back.  I actually have abs and arm muscles now, my legs are slimming down a bit, and there is certainly some lifting and toning going on in the derriere region.  Yay!

I’m not getting as sore after the workouts, but¬†I am certainly still feeling it. ¬†My family signed up for membership at the local YMCA, so I have started swimming and taking Zumba classes, as well as doing most of my workouts at the gym. ¬†This has pros and cons, since everyone in the gym sees what you are doing, how hard you are riding the struggle bus, and how disgusting you can get within 30 minutes, BUT it makes you push yourself harder than when you have eyes on you…at least if you are super competitive like I am. ¬†I am still doing my running outside, since I hate dreadmills.

As far as the food goes, I am just repeating the recipes that I liked and coming up with some of my own. ¬†It is all about portion control, and making sure that you are aware of what you are putting into your body. ¬†ūüôā

So, I am now 1/3rd of the way through the program and still going strong.  I have looked ahead at the workout plans to come, and they look like they get progressively harder and harder, which I am really excited for.

Stay classy my friends.

Until next week. ūüôā

Kayla Itsines Week 2

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Hello all, this will be a much shorter update because everything followed the same format as last week.  Here are my progress pictures.  They look pretty similar to the ones that I posted previously, but I can honestly say that I am really beginning to feel my body change, and I love it!

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I am gaining muscle definition, and I am starting to have more energy. ¬†Now it’s time to break it down:

The workouts: ¬†The exercise routines follow the same format that I described last week, but they were quite a bit different from the previous week. ¬†There was a lot more jumping involved, which brought me pretty close to death. ¬†Jump squats, jump lunges, jumping rope. ¬†I am pretty fortunate as the ceiling in our house is pretty high and I have quite a bit of space to move around so I can jump rope and perform all the other exercises with no problems. ¬†I could see this as being an obstacle for someone in a small apartment or house. ¬†The leg day on Monday and full body day were harder this week, however the arm and ab day seemed easier. The most difficult ones in this set were the 15 reps of 4 mountain climbers, followed by a pushup, and the commandos (the hardest part of this was trying not sliding around in my own sweat, which is pretty disgusting). ¬†Now don’t get me wrong, when I say easier, I don’t mean easy. ¬†My arms were shaking at the end and I was had been diminished to a puddle on the ground, but I was able to complete the sets more times than the previous week, and I was not quite as sore as I was after arm day in week 1. ¬†I do have to say, I have never appreciated stretching as much as I do now! ¬†I have continued my running when I can, but the weather has been pretty nasty, and I have not been able to get out as much. ¬†I did not do any HIIT this week, as the icy conditions made it nearly impossible to jog, let alone sprint! ¬†I have already started week 3 (I’m a bit late posting this), and it looks to be very similar to week 1, so it will be interesting to see if I can complete more reps this week and I wonder if I will get as sore as I did during my first week.

The food: ¬†The portions are still huge, and everything is pretty tasty. ¬†I am continuing adding hot sauce to a lot of things because it adds more flavor. ¬†I am still skipping most of the snacks, as I am just not hungry enough to eat them after my main meals, and I have continued to cut certain portions in half. ¬†For example the “protein mousse”*** is made with 200g of yogurt, 1 scoop of whey protein, and a 1/2 cup of muesli. ¬†That is A LOT of food! ¬†I couldn’t even come close to finishing it the first time I made it, so I now cut everything in this recipe by at least half. ¬†I have started to develop favorites and have discovered ones that I am not a huge fan of. ¬†I will often substitute a breakfast or lunch for another because, well, what’s the point of eating something you don’t like when there are plenty of other delicious options? ¬†The best and most surprising part of these meals have been the smoothies. ¬†I have never been a huge fan, especially when they start straying away from fruits and veggies, but I have tried almost all of her recipes and I have really liked all of them, even the chocolate, banana, peanut butter one with oats. ¬†I still have yet to try a few of them, but so far there is a tie for my favorite. ¬†These are the “Tropic Thunder”***: 1 medium banana, 1 mango (flesh only), 1 cup of coconut water, a small handful of kale, a small handful of spinach, and 10g of chia seeds and the “Melon Berry”***: 100g of watermelon, 60g of strawberries, 3-4 mint leaves. ¬†To give you an idea of how much these make, I use an Imperial pint glass when drinking them, and I always have some left over in the blender!

***Obvious Disclaimer: ¬†THESE ARE NOT MY RECIPES! ¬†THEY ARE FROM KAYLA’S H.E.L.P GUIDE. ¬†I AM NOT CLAIMING THESE AS MY OWN!

This concludes yet another week of the guide, and I have to say that I am very happy with the results so far! ¬†I’ll update again next week! ¬†See ya on the upside. ūüôā

Kayla Itsines Workout Week 1: Results and Review

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Hello all!

I hope that everyone had a great week! ¬†I am happy to report that I have successfully completed the first week of Kayla’s workout routine/meal plan! ¬†I will break down my experience so you guys can get a good idea of everything that went on this last week.

As I said in my last post, Kayla encourages you to take pictures of yourself from the front, side, and back to help you monitor your results. ¬†It is recommended that you take these pictures at least every 4 weeks, but taking them on the same day around the same time every week really shows you the transformation. ¬†Even if you don’t feel that you have made much progress, the pictures can really show you otherwise. ¬†This is the case for me, seeing how I didn’t really feel that I had achieved too much, but looking at these pictures shows me that changes are being made! ¬†A disclaimer: I am not a selfie taker by trade, so my pictures are a little meh.

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I can honestly hardly believe the photos! ¬†Although the changes aren’t drastic, they are there, and after only one week! ¬†Less bloating and a slightly more defined abdominal area are a few of the things that I can see. ¬†I have also notices a little less bra “hang over” and some muffin-top reduction! ¬†Here’s to hoping that the results continue at this rate!

Without further adieu, I will summarize my experience with the fitness routine and meal plan.

Workouts:  These were BRUTAL!  There are three workouts a week and they go in the same order: legs (Monday), upper body and abs (Wednesday), and full body (Friday).   There are two sets consisting of four exercises with a varying number of repetitions (ie. 10 burpees, 24 knee ups, etc).  Each workout follows the same format:

  1. Warmup
  2. 7 minutes to go through circuit 1 as many times as possible
  3. 30 seconds of rest
  4. 7 minutes to go through circuit 2 as many times as possible
  5. 30 seconds of rest
  6. 7 minutes to go through circuit 1 as many times as possible
  7. 30 seconds of rest
  8. 7 minutes to go through circuit 2 as many times as possible
  9. Cool down and stretch

I was able to get through each of these circuits about two times each session. ¬†At first, 28 minutes of working out sounds like nothing, but let me tell you, it feels at least twice as long and 30 seconds of resting has never felt shorter! ¬†Without fail, I was reduced to a sweating, shaking puddle of sweat by the end of the workout! ¬†When a workout day was upon me, I would sit in fear, trying to think of something else to do instead -__-. ¬†If you think that is the worst part, you are wrong. ¬†The muscle soreness is quite intense and it sticks with you for days after the workout. ¬†I am not trying to turn anyone off from this plan, but rather warn them that it is NOT easy and it is NOT what one might call fun. ¬†This is not a workout routine that is for the weak of heart or for people that don’t like to commit to something, especially since the routines only get harder and more advanced as the weeks go on. ¬†It is, however, effective, and you are left with a sense of accomplishment when you are done. ¬†You can feel the workouts doing their work both during and after these circuits, but this feeling isn’t necessarily a nice one. ¬†Stretching is IMPERATIVE when it comes to this routine! ¬†If you do not do this. ¬†You will DIE! ¬†I am the kind of person that revels in this kind of activity, and muscle pain is an indicator of success to me. ¬†Again, this is not a workout for everyone and I strongly discourage you from purchasing this plan if you are easily discouraged, or lack drive and motivation.¬† It sounds harsh, but I’m just trying to save you time and money! ūüôā

This is a good time to bring up the important correlation between working out and pain. ¬†I am not going to go into the scientific details of this as I don’t want to bore anyone, and it is not the primary focus of the post. ¬†I just want to state that you need to know your body well if you are going to do this plan. ¬†You need to be able to discern between different kinds of pain. ¬†There is discomfort, which many people mistake for pain and use it as an excuse to stop. ¬†Discomfort can seem pretty painful, but you should keep in mind that it is usually just your body trying to tell you that it is not used to doing what you are making it do. ¬†No one was created to do jump squats or burpees, but we make ourselves do new things to improve ourselves. ¬†There is. however, a point where discomfort becomes legitimate pain. ¬†It is at this point that you should stop, as you can cause injury to yourself, and ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat, especially if you do something that will put you out of commission for a long time, if not forever. ¬†Tearing, piercing pain, dull and throbbing pain, blinding pain, swelling. ¬†These are a few examples of pain that indicate that there is something wrong and that you should stop and take a break. ¬†Everyone is different and that is why it is so important to know yourself and your body. ¬†Push yourself, but don’t kill yourself!

On the days that there are no workouts (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday), Kayla recommends doing LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) exercises.  An example of this is a brisk 30-45 minute walk.  I did this with my family on Tuesday and Saturday of this week, and I also had an intimate date with my foam roller on Saturday.  I ran on Monday (6 miles), Wednesday (11 miles), Thursday (about 4.5 miles), and Friday (6 miles), and had my 10 mile race on Sunday.  This is different from what Kayla recommends, but as I stated in my first post, I am going to continue with my running.  I have noticed that I have a little more energy when I run, which could be explained by the diet or the stretching.  I did HIIT on Thursday, which involved me jogging 1.5 miles to a track and then alternating between 30 seconds of sprinting and 30 seconds of walking for 15 reps, then jogging back home for another 1.5 miles.  This was pretty rough!  She does not have you doing HIIT until later weeks in the routine, but I am utilizing this to help me train for future races.  I made sure that I always stretched my whole body on these off days, using her suggested stretches as well as some of my own, and I feel like my body really thanked me for this!

Meal plan: I followed this pretty closely. ¬†Again, as I stated in my first post, I am not following the dinner plan, but my family did take steps towards healthier eating habits. ¬†Let me first say this: the portions are HUGE! ¬†I actually ended up cutting a lot of the recipes in half (especially the breakfasts), as I couldn’t handle that much food. ¬†I also, rarely ate the snacks, since I was almost never hungry between meals. ¬†The food was tasty and hearty, but I have to admit that I found it to be a little bland. ¬†I am always craving spicy foods, so i usually added hot pepper flakes and hot sauce to everything. ¬†I made sure that any additions were low cal and non fat. ¬†I have dropped about 5-7 pounds in the last week, and I am sure that this equally attributed to the diet change and the exercise. ¬†I had one cheat day (yesterday) where I had a beer after my race, along with a tiny breakfast burrito on a white wrap.

All-in-all, I’m very pleased with this guide so far and I can’t wait to see how this next week goes!

That is all I have to report this time around, I’ll be sure to check in again after next week. :3

Kayla Itsines Workout Week 0

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I am in a rut, but what better way to get out of that rut than to get in shape?  I have nothing better to do and working out has always been something that I have turned to when nothing seems to be going my way.  I recently joined Instagram and joined the masses of girls drawn to the mind-blowing before and after pictures that Autralian based trainer Kayla Itsines has on her page: http://instagram.com/kayla_itsines/.

I do not live a sedentary lifestyle, even if it might sound like I do. ¬†I run almost every day for a minimum of 3 miles, and I have a goal of participating in at least 4 or 5 races a year. ¬†I am not a fast runner, but I do pride myself in being able to run long distances. ¬†Last year I ran the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon, the BIG 10k, the Chicago Triathlon, and the Chicago Marathon. ¬†I actually have a 10 mile race rapidly approaching on the 11th of this month that I have been training for! ¬†I used to be a gym rat as well as a runner, and I am always happiest when my whole body is in shape, not just my legs. ¬†Despite this fact, after moving to Chicago and getting too comfortable with life, I fell out of the habit, and now that I moved yet again, I’m without a gym membership, and am looking for something that I can do at home that will be rewarding and fun.

Kayla’s programs are all in ebook form, which is nice for someone that has WAY too many books already (although I find myself printing a lot of the pages out so I don’t have to fiddle around with my computer while trying to work out). ¬†She has a 0-12 week program for those starting out, and then an additional workout book for anyone that wants to expand on the program to week 24 after they complete their first session.

What drew me to this guide more than any other workout was the fact that the results were geared more towards a strong body than a skinny one. ¬†Although it is titled “Bikini Body Workout”, from what I can tell, you will look good in everything, not just a swimsuit, if you make it to the end. ¬†Yes, some of the girls on the site lost large amounts of body fat, but many of the “beginning” photos featured ladies that were already thin, or in shape, but were looking to tone their whole body. I was pleased to see that none of the results showed girls with¬†the scrawny, sickly¬†look that a lot of exercise plans claim that you will be able to achieve, all of the girls shown gained large amounts of lean muscle and looked really happy. ¬†As someone who is highly competitive, and already reasonably fit, I was not looking for the exercise routine with the most extreme results, but rather one that would provide me with a chance to tone my whole body, to gain confidence, and to find a routine that I can stick with. ¬†I know i am probably not going to look like half of the girls that she posts on her website, but again, that is not my ultimate goal.

The first guide that I obtained is the one that contains the workouts, stretches, and detailed exercise information for weeks 0-12.  The exercises that she provides are infamous for being extremely difficult, but the results make the pain worth it.  The guide itself is almost 200 pages long!  It contains all of the workouts, as well as detailed information things on how to do each move correctly, what equipment you need, stretching guides, and a HUGE amount of supplemental information.

She also offers a meal guide for your first 14 days. ¬†At first glance, you think, “Man, there is no way I will be able to do this.” because you see a lot of “whole wheat”, veggies, and fruit with seemingly small portion sizes next to them. ¬†After looking over the meals for a little longer, you begin to notice some surprising things, such as cheddar and parmesan cheese, coffee with a whole cup of milk in it, and beef, which you NEVER see in other “diets”. ¬†As she explains in the guide, this plan is not meant to be a diet so much as a lifestyle change. ¬†It is there to show you the food groups that you should be focusing on, such as whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables, and cutting back on most starches, dairy, and sugars. ¬†It is not surprising that processed foods, sugar (except natural sugar found in fruit), and other junk food are cut out of the equation. ¬†The guide is also to be used to help you visualize the portion sizes you should be considering for each food group. ¬†You would be shocked to see how huge some of these portions can be! ¬†I have already eaten the breakfast and lunch for day 2 (I am doing day 1 tomorrow, long story….), and I couldn’t even get through the breakfast and have not even been close to hungry all day!

This plan was pricy, at about $120 for the exercise book and the food book (it was a Christmas gift), but as long as I get results, I feel like it is worth it (I like to think of it like a gym membership).  I will be doing updates about this plan at the end of each week.  One thing that Kayla strongly suggests is to take photos of yourself from the front, side, and back every week, starting with today so you can see you results.  I have taken my first picture and I am excited to see what I can achieve!

There are a few alterations that I am making for this routine:

  1. There are days that you have to run¬†in this plan, all of the sessions are HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which involve sprinting for 30 seconds and then walking for 30 seconds (then repeat for 15-20 minutes). ¬†This is great training for runners and I plan on doing this on the days that it is scheduled. ¬†Kayla doesn’t say not to run, but seeing as how you are not supposed to do HIIT on the same days as her exercises, I am assuming that she probably doesn’t recommend running (if anyone knows anything different, let me know). ¬†With this assumption in mind,¬†I am not going to stop running, and I do not plan to cut down on my mileage or the frequency of my runs. ¬†We shall see what this does to my results.
  2. I am going to follow the meal plan as closely as I can.  Since I live with my parents at the moment and my mother is the most amazing cook in the world, I refuse to skip the home cooked dinners that she makes, as that would be inconsiderate, rude, and honestly, a waste.  My family is aware of my fitness goals and I have shared my schedule and suggested meal plan with my mother.  She is interested in having our family eat healthier so she is going to take steps towards cooking meals similar to the ones in my book.  In other words, my breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be by the book, but my dinners will not.  Am I expecting the same results that I would get if I did everything by the book?  No.  Absolutely not, and neither should you.

I feel like I have explained everything that I will be doing pretty well, so if you will excuse me, it is time to go do my first workout! ¬†Wish me luck! ūüėÄ

Introduction and Disclaimer

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Greetings everyone.  I am here to make my contribution to vast and somewhat pungent sea that is the internet.  Although this blog is but a drop in the ocean, I hope to use this blog to post constructive, thoughtful, and entertaining content (at least for me).

A bit of a back story:

My name is Laura and I am currently whirling around in the same tornado of emotions, self-doubt, hope, dreams, and helplessness that many people my age are going through; also known as a quarter life crisis.  After graduating from college with a B.S. in Horticulture, I went out into the world and took the first job I could find.  And was miserable.  So I left.  And then took the first job I could find.  And was miserable.  So I left.  Later.  Rinse.  Repeat.

My love life has been in a similar state recently.  Having dated the same guy for two years, I moved back to the midwest to work and live with my boyfriend, but after one year he broke it off for a variety of reasons that were quite painful to hear, but were unfortunately true.  I was unmotivated, I did not have a real job, I was being lazy, and quite frankly, I had gained some weight.  Being unable to support myself with the job I had in the city (and not really wanting to remain in the midwest), I plunged into the situation that no one my age ever wants to be in: living at home with my parents, unemployed, fruitlessly looking for work, not knowing what I really want to do.  Moving from a huge city like Chicago, back to the small Mid-Atlantic city that I had spent most of my adolescent and teen years in can pretty much only be described as reverse culture shock.  With nothing to do but apply for (and not hear back from) jobs, watch Netflix, eat, and workout, I can honestly say, that I have hit a rut.  Now, in a desperate attempt to find something to do, I have started this blog.

Most of my posts will probably be reviews of things that I am doing/watching/trying, and opinions and rants about whatever tickles my fancy at the time.  This brings me to my disclaimer:

In this day and age, it seems that having the internet is¬†equivalent to having a degree or expertise in whatever you feel like¬†talking about. Trolls are going to troll. ¬†Attention mongers are going to be annoying. ¬†Jerks are going to be jerks. ¬†Idiots are going to be idiots. ¬†There is nothing any of us can do about this. ¬†There are few things more depressing in this world than seeing comments underneath Instagram photos, youtube videos, blog posts, etc. ¬†No matter how hard someone has worked on something, how long they spent refining it, and how much of their heart and soul they have put into it, there is always some ungrateful, attention whoring, piece of sniveling trash that takes a big ol’ steaming dump on it. ¬†There can be a thousand kind or thoughtful comments about something, but it just takes that one imbecile saying something hurtful and ignorant to really get under your skin. ¬†It is usually a 13 year-old boy with too many internet privileges looking to rile people up and test out the new curse words that he learned from his friends at school today. ¬†Regardless of this fact, it makes others angry. ¬†Before you know it, you have a flame war between a 30 year-old Harvard professor and a 15 year-old Minecraft expert that thinks everything “is gay” underneath a picture of the pyramids on NatGeo’s Instagram. ¬†Yes, this is a extreme (and fake) example, but I feel it brings me to my next point:

Disclaimer:

*I can already guarantee that I will not be a certificate carrying expert on everything that I post.  This being said, I will try to do research on anything that I feel needs it so that any claims that I make will not be completely wrong and unfounded.  If you have polite input or suggestions, I am all ears.

*Everyone has the right to his or her own opinion and to say pretty much anything they want. ¬†That being said: I have the right to my opinions. ¬†You have the right to your opinions. ¬†However, this is MY¬†blog where I am posting what I want to talk about. ¬†If anyone actually reads these posts and takes the time to comment, I will take the time to read them¬†and try to respond. ¬†You have the right to disagree with me and to form your own opinions about me. ¬†I am not going to censor comments with opposing views as long as they are not rude, hurtful, and unfounded. ¬†I will not tolerate flame wars and I will not hesitate to delete any comments that are offensive to me or other readers. ¬†These can even include people that are “trying to be nice” or “trying to defend me”. ¬†In other words, if you can’t act like a decent human being, don’t bother posting anything on this blog, I will not give any respect to those who have none. ¬†IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I POST, DON’T READ MY BLOG! ¬†Seriously, it is that simple. ¬†Why waste your time reading something you don’t like?! ¬†I have never understood that…

So, now that is out of the way….my blog!