Week 1 Review – I’m not as strong as I used to be, But I am stronger than I thought I was

As previously mentioned, I have decided that I really need to kick start my fitness and get back into shape. I decided after reading this workout plan on Buzzfeed that I would complete and review it.

As a quick recap, this program has you complete 30 minute circuits using only bodweight or dumbbells on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays with a Cardio workout (of your choice) on Saturday. For the full workout and descriptions, you’ll want to check it out on Buzzfeed.

Here’s my review after 1 week

Starting on Monday with the workout I wasn’t sure where to start with my weights. The article says that you have the amount of weight correct when you feel like you can lift the required sets with perfect form and maybe perform 1 or 2 more. Having not done much lifting in the last 2 years (other than an increasingly heavier child) I started out lighter and very quickly realized that it wasn’t enough weight.

You can see from the charts below that some of the exercises in the first Circuit I was increasing the weight almost every set. By Circuit B I had a better idea of what I could handle so I didn’t end up having to increase on the second and third sets.

However, for some reason even though this wasn’t a “Leg” day my legs were killing me Tuesday and Wednesday after this workout. Wednesday is the second day of this program and my thought was “OH my gosh, I don’t want to do this today!”

We had tickets to see a pre-show of Jurassic World (side note – AWESOME AND FUN MOVIE) and it started at 7pm. I really didn’t want to flake out on the program after 1 day. My legs were killing me though and I was struggling going up stairs which made thinking about the workout even more painful. I forced myself to work early so I could leave around 4:00pm and got a workout in before the movie. Luckily, my husband and sister arrived there before me and saved me a seat.

As much as I didn’t want to do it, I felt awesome about myself when I got to the gym and even more awesome when I was done. While I was there that day, I saw a dog in the corner. It was a guide dog and there was a blind woman doing a circuit using the weight machines. It looked as though she had an audio program guiding her through her sets and reps. She also navigated around the room with her cane so she could find the correct machine. In the end, it fondly reminded me of my grandfather who passed away last year. He was blind his whole life but accomplished amazing things. It also really made me think about the excuses I make for myself to skip a workout and realized that they are usually quite ridiculous.

I did a much better job at selecting the correct weight from the beginning during Wednesday’s workouts as you can see from the chart. I increased a couple of times but there wasn’t any increasing on every set like on Monday. Though I could definitely handle more weight next week on the Walking Lunge, and Glute Bridge.

For Circuit “B” I realize that I forgot the reps go up to 10-12 so on the first 2 exercises I only got 8 reps.

I also have to think the designer of the women’s section at my gym was a teenage boy who wants to see women take their shirts off! For some reason there are no fans running and it was so hot in there. But when I left and walked through the main gym it was totally cool and comfortable. So lesson learned not to use the women’s section at that location during the day when it is really hot.

Beyond that the workout went well though BUT I have to say WTF to the clamshell. I feel as though it is maybe a moderately useful exercise and you look like a real idiot doing it. It’s like here, allow me to lay down in the middle of the floor and while I air out my lady bits! That’s seriously how I felt – I may save that one for home for future weeks. Though, I think my husband will mock me doing it, whereas at the gym strangers just give you weird looks…which is better?

Friday I always knew was going to be tough to get the workout in. I had to work and then go to a bridal shower afterwards. I also hadn’t seen my son much that week so the free time I had before and after the shower I wanted to spend with C. This meant I didn’t get it completed on Friday. Friday became a rest day for me which I didn’t feel too bad about because I hadn’t had a rest day yet that week. I figured I would get the workout done on the weekend.

Saturday is supposed to be Cardio day but I still hadn’t done Friday’s workout. However, we had our first Dragon Boat Regatta Race day of the season. So I ended up going to that as it is an all day thing. I raced 3 races with my team, and jumped into another boat and raced with another team who was short paddlers. Between the 4 races which were 500 metre lengths where we paddle very hard for about 2.5 minutes and the warm up paddling out to the starting line I had a good work out. Husband and baby came to watch last race and we also decided to walk to the parking instead of waiting for shuttle bus which took about 30 minutes. What this means is that I technically didn’t get in the Interval cardio training that is recommended in this program for week 1, even though, I did have a very active day on Saturday.

On Sunday morning I got up and did Friday’s weight workout at home. I have less dumbbells at home so some of the weights I used were too light in some cases but I just went with it as I found they were only slightly light and it was still a good workout. Circuit “B” is all core work and it was harder than I thought. It really makes me realize the toll childbirth had on my core strength as this Circuit is something I could have easily done 2 years ago.

Overall, I am happy with week 1. The fact that I was adding weight on many exercises means I haven’t lost as much strength as I thought

The scale says I have lost 1 lb but given how weight fluctuates I don’t really hold much stock in that. I am more impressed that I was still able to lift 20 and 25 lbs dumbbells and get through all the sets fully. I also noticed a touch more definition in my upper arms this week, which is probably also partially attributed to the paddling.

Looking to Week 2:
Overall, I feel good about this program as a way to ease myself back into lifting. I think that it would get boring to do for longer than 4 weeks. I doesn’t have any barbell work and I really miss that which is another reason I probably wouldn’t do this plan for more than 4 weeks.

Stats and Results from Week 1:

week 1 review buzzfeed_Page_1

week 1 review buzzfeed_Page_2

week 1 review buzzfeed_Page_3

I’m putting Buzzfeed’s “Only Summer Workout You Need” to the test!

Guess what! Having a baby really changes your body. I know Captain Obvious here is not telling you anything you don’t know. But guess what, losing baby weight is super hard! At least for me. Whoever these magical people are that said Breastfeeding will make you lose the baby weight easily are full or sh*t because it did not help me. Maybe you burned 10,000 calories a day breastfeeding and see the weight melt off you like butter in the hot sun, but for me I have to work hard to lose weight and then I have to work hard to maintain it.

The last time I got fit and lost quite of bit of weight took about a year. People were telling me that weight was melting off me and it seemed so easy. Actually I would spend upwards of 7-10 hours a week working out and meticulously monitored everything I ate. It was not “Melting off me” I was working my butt off to get into shape.

I gained 50 lbs in my pregnancy. I know a lot of people do and it doesn’t really bother me because I was growing a person. But in the few months before I got pregnancy I gained about 20 lbs so in my mind I was up 70 lbs! Which was almost HALF my body weight. Of course, the first few weeks after baby it was great. I was losing like 5 lbs every day.

Walk up the stairs – boom – 10 lbs gone! Awesome. Only that doesn’t last.

Here’s where I am now:
I am still carry 10 lbs of baby weight, plus the 20 lbs I gained before I got pregnant, so really about 30 lbs that I don’t want to be carry. And yes I know that it’s not really about the weight or number on the scale but this goes beyond that. I am definitely not as fit as I once was. I can’t run as well and I definitely have lost strength. I use to pride myself on fitness. When I would spent 7-10 hours a week in the gym it was because I really wanted to be there! I loved watching my gains each week as I was able to load more and more weight onto the barbell. I loved seeing the improvements in my cardio performance. I took pride in the fact that I had a resting hard rate around 55 bpm because my heart was that freakin’ healthy!

So I have decided that it is time to kick it up a notch and really work on fitness. So when I stumbled upon this Buzzfeed article and read the work out plan I thought that it would fit with my current lifestyle and would be perfect way to jump start my new fitness journey.

I would commit to completing this 4 week program.

This article tells me that this is the “only summer plan I need” so I am going to give it a go and review it here. Keeping in mind that although it says it’s the only thing I need this summer, I am also part of a dragon boat club so in addition to these workouts I’ll also be paddling in 1 day of races over this 4 week period as well as practicing up to 3 times a week. As well. husband and I do regularly go for hour long walks with baby so I think that there will be times when I do more than just this program.

Here’s what I like about it:
Dumbbells – the only equipment is dumbbells. This means I can do it at home or work.
Exercises – the exercises are all ones that I am already familiar with. No learning new form for me.
Cardio-Flexibility – Cardio is anything you want to do on Saturdays only
Simplicity – the routines are the same each week. The reps and sets don’t change. The only change would be the amount of weight you are using.

Here’s what I don’t love about it but am willing to look beyond: 
Over simple: Since it is “dumbbells only” some of the exercises aren’t how I would like them. For example, on Monday Dumbbell Floor Press, I would much rather lay on a bench and do this as opposed to the floor.  Or Wednesday’s Glute Bridge I would prefer a Barbell instead of a dumbbell. So I will likely be adjusting the workouts while staying true to the spirit of the move. Also for a lot of the floor work you probably would want an exercise mat depending on the floor you are using but in trying to create a simple routine with minimal equipment that isn’t really mentioned.
Cardio is Interval: All the cardio is interval which isn’t my favourite thing in the world but mostly that is because I hate paying attention to a timer. I think I’ll download an app for that and just set it to buzz every 60 seconds.

I plan to complete this over the month of June (and first week of July) and blog about results.

Now, here comes the part that I really don’t want to do this but I figured it would be helpful in my journey so here are my BEFORE STATS and pictures. These were taken Monday June 8th before the first workout in the gym. I didn’t have anyone to take the photo so I did an “In the mirror selfie” and I think I lost a little bit of self-respect for myself in doing it.

The second photo is my "I can't believe I am taking a selfie in the mirror, I hope no one sees this. Is it lined up? Oh ya it is. Snap picture and be done with this" face
The second photo is my “I can’t believe I am taking a selfie in the mirror, I hope no one sees this. Is it lined up? Oh ya it is. Snap picture and be done with this” face

***Mental Note** When this is all over find someone to take the after photos of me so I never have to sneakily take my picture in the gym mirror again**

Now. Compare that to this photo of me from 2012. It was around my 1 year anniversary and I was about to run the Warrior Dash-because yes, that is what I wanted to do for my anniversary. Run an obstacle course. This was not the skinniest I have been as an adult but I would say it is the fittest I have ever been as an adult. So There’s the goal. To get back to that fitness level.  I may not have that same body but I want to be that fit again.

warrior dash
My motivation photo! Me when I was the fittest I have ever been! Let’s get back there!

That year I completed the Warrior Dash in just over an hour. Literally seconds over an hour.

Up next…a review of the first week of exercises and how I am feeling about it.