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MissLex

MissLex starts again :D

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Hi there! MissLex here. I've been thinking about posting here but put it off multiple times telling myself nobody would be interested anyway, but I think the system of keeping your own thread updated adds in an accountability aspect that will hopefully help me. So, here we go.

 

I'm a female student in her early twenties(and not a native English speaker, sorry for any mistakes) and have been active at a lot of student associations during my student time. I have been slightly overweight since high school (but didn't care too much about it then), but due to the stress of keeping too many balls in the air the last two years, my eating, sleeping and general taking care of myself habits have gone off in the wrong direction. It's not a total disaster, I do shower on a regular basis and wear clean clothes, but my house is a total mess, when I do go grocery shopping I tend to forget what's in the fridge and throw half of it away after it has gone bad, laundry doesn't get folded but hangs over chairs and lines and pipes in the living room between drying and wearing, breakfast and lunch are usually something unhealthy from a to-go supermarket. It's mostly a lot of little things that make me beat up myself for not being capable of living a somewhat organized life.

 

Anyway, things changed last September, as I decided that after five years of prioritizing associations and committees for résumé building over studying it is now time to go straight towards graduation from graduate school in (hopefully) 2019. I joined the university gym with some close friends who where more or less in the same situation, and since September we have been trying to work out together 1 or 2 times per week (I didn't do any sports in the five years before that, but I did do competitive swimming and a little strength training with that during my high school years). We do mostly strength training, squats, bench presses and some dumbbell work, but lack a real...goal or something? We just do the things that are not occupied by other people at that time. A huge problem for me is being afraid to do strength training when working out alone. My brain tends to keep track of every person in the room and keeps thinking 'if I don't look like I'm a complete expert all those people are going to think I'm an idiot'-thoughts. Apart from that, the gym has some trainers walking around at most of the opening times that come in and give well-meaning advice, but some do that a little too...enthusiastic. I have some social anxiety when it comes to strangers or people that are more knowledgable than me so these things stress me out and I keep going over that while laying awake in bed at night. When I'm alone, I usually seek out a stationary bike that overlooks the entire room from a corner, or pick a treadmill facing the window in another corner and pray that nobody is going to use the treadmill next to mine. It still needs some work, I guess :P

 

To go back to more positive things, I like reading, cooking, going for walks, skiing..I'm not really used to having hobbies as most of my time went into association life, organizing activities of all sorts etc. You could call that a hobby, I guess? :P I did certainly like it like a hobby. I have found Nerd Fitness when searching the web for strength training information. I have read many articles and they have inspired me to make small life changes that I think helped me a great deal so I'm already very thankful.

 

Well, I've already been talking for too long here I guess. Working out in the second half of 2017 fluctuated with how much stress I had in my life (and I had a lot of stress in December, so barely went to the gym). I want to start again in the new year, and have formulated the following goals for this challenge:

 

- Get moving for 45 minutes a day. The last two weeks I have been in the gym 5-6 times a week, but let's be realistic, life will probably come in the way of that. However, I do regularly go for long walks around campus at night to clear my head. I want to create the habit that when going to the gym is not going to work out that day, I do get a decent amount of exercise by doing such a walk.

- Prepare breakfast and lunch beforehand for weekdays (and eat them) to prevent impulse food buys. Although I had a bit of a setback concerning exercising in December, I did get some small diet changes in since September that lasted. I've cut all liquid calories except for the occasional cappuccino(once every two weeks) and a little drip of this syrup that you can dilute with water stuff in my workout water bottle. I have been tracking my food intake for some time because one of my main problems is that I simply eat too much food (especially at dinner, and then I pass out from a food overload and lay on the couch for the rest of the night) and it is working quite well for me. Things do go wrong if I leave the house and end up in a place where there's not a lot of healthy options available, causing me to buy unhealthy things. I want to counter that by having something ready to take with me at any time. My wallet will probably thank me as well.

- Clean out one drawer of my closet each week. More of a getting organized goal than a health goal. As described earlier, my clothes go from wearing to laundry basket to machine to drying spot to wearing. As a result, my living room and kitchen are full of (drying or completely dry) clothes. Part of the problem is that my closet is full of stuff that I don't wear, so the things that I do wear don't fit in it and therefore circulate outside the closet. I've unsuccessfully tried to solve the problem by trying to gather all my clothes on the bed, but by the time I'm done with that my willpower is also done with it. So, let's try it in small steps. Three weeks left in the challenge and I have three main drawers in my closet, so that should work out perfectly.

 

I've read that I also need to include a main goal. I'm having a hard time coming up with one that's not formulated as 'look better' or 'lose 20kg of weight'. They're definitely part of the goal but feel a bit...one-sided because a more organized life is also one of the goals? Maybe my brain should think about it for a little while. I must say that I have had a problematic relationship with large goals (further in the future than changes you can make now) because they tend to overwhelm me so much that I give up before even starting. Because of that I've been trying more like a baby step approach in this getting the life I want quest.

 

Oh man, this ended up being so much text. Sorry! Do let me know if I did anything wrong :)

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Hi MissLex! I enjoyed reading your intro here - what great goals! Not easy but still achievable, with big potential to make a difference and form the basis for further progress later on.

 

I'm new to Nerd Fitness - this is actually my first post here - but very much relate to your situation of wanting to be fit but not yet having found my trajectory. That was my position a few years ago, and now I can say that fitness is a huge interest and passion for me and something I look forward to every day.

 

I wanted to tell you a couple of ideas that helped me a lot, and that might help you too. The first one, which I consider the 'goal before all goals', is to find an activity that you enjoy doing. I feel this is essential, because a basic pleasure in movement is the foundation of a positive experience with exercise. If your workout is a miserable chore, you won't be motivated to progress, and you will simply be inviting stress and frustration into your life, which is never good! I'd say that when you're first starting out, getting into a fun physical activity should even come before considerations of maximising fitness, because once you find that enthusiasm it will push your progress so much faster. If you enjoy going to the gym, then keep going, but if you're just there because you think you ought to go, consider trying something else - bootcamp classes, swimming, ballet, soccer, karate, shot-put...

 

The second is to find some guidance. It won't be safe or effective to use gym equipment without at least some knowledgeable instruction on how it works and on your form (you don't want to get injured), and you won't be confident if you have the feeling that you don't know what you're doing or how to improve. It's so much more satisfying to know you're doing the right things to go forward. I'd really recommend finding some sort of programme to follow, whether from the internet, one of the PTs at your gym or just an informed friend - having the right information will definitely smooth the path into fitness. (This does not have to be a heavy-duty plan at all - just a series of steps that build on each other and are known to be effective).

 

Good luck -  I look forward to reading about your challenge!

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Hey Marianne,

 

Thanks for your reply and helpful tips!

 

I agree with you with finding an activity I enjoy doing. When we started going to the gym with the group, everyone first started on the elliptical. I don't have something against cardio, but ellipticals and I are...simply not a great match. They just seem to tire me more than others, who plow away on resistance level 10 and talk happily about their lives, while I go half as fast on level 5 with a heart rate of 180. I do, however, like to go for walks, especially walking uphill (I don't know why, it just feels great). We don't have hills where I live so I need a treadmill for that, but that doesn't bother me at all apart from the voices in my head telling me that all people must think that I'm weird, only using the treadmill for walking. But hey, it works for me and I'm glad I've found the courage to hop onto one. It probably sounds like a stupid activity to like but walking for long times with music on while letting my brain just think its thoughts is really relaxing for me, and adjusting the gradient is a nice way to add a challenge.

 

Concerning the guidance, I have been paying attention to form as my family has a history in back pain due to bad posture. I like to read a lot online about form things, watch youtube videos about common mistakes, practice in front of the mirror when I'm home alone or ask my boyfriend or friends to check my form. Luckily the gym does have some trainers that are more subtle with their help and they have given me great tips about form that I have been working on. My friends load up their squats with higher weights than me nowadays and that sometimes bothers me, but I seem to be the only one in our group that prioritizes form over more weight. However, when I see others in the gym everyone seems doing things in a million different ways using things like lifting straps and liquid chalk, so even though I think my form is all right, I'm still scared that people will judge me (for example, 'she is overweight, why is she doing strength training, lose that fat on a treadmill first', or because I have to work hard in the last few reps with a bar and just 5kg of weight on both sides). My sister keeps telling me that working out simply isn't meant to look good and that everyone in the gym is too busy with themselves, but I always feel like everybody is watching me when I'm in one of those middle-of-the-room squat racks.

 

Finding a program to follow has been hard. I know friends who have come very far by doing the Kayla Itsines bikini body guide or BodyBoss type of things with resistance training circuits but they just don't work for me. I don't feel comfortable doing jumping jacks and mountain climbers in the gym and literally die from exhaust for 28 or 21 minutes, but those programmes usually need some equipment that I don't have at home so that's not an option either. When I'm alone, I just go to the gym and do what I like. I wanted to try the beginner bodyweight workout found here on Nerd Fitness because that is something I can do at home, and alternate that with going to the gym and pick a form of exercise that I like, or taking a walk outside. It's not really a programme, more a short term plan and I have no idea how to proceed from that. I will browse these forums for a bit, but if anyone here has any suggestions I'd love to hear them :) 

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23 hours ago, MissLex said:

Hi there! MissLex here. I've been thinking about posting here but put it off multiple times telling myself nobody would be interested anyway, but I think the system of keeping your own thread updated adds in an accountability aspect that will hopefully help me.

 

I have found it very helpful, and I hope you will, too. Welcome!

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Thank you for your response juliebarkley!

 

So, two days in and I thought I would write an update because..ahem..well, it's not going fantastic until now. I was with friends yesterday that I hadn't seen for a while and while I did go there by bike (20-25 minutes in total) it's not really what I meant with 45 minutes of exercise. Today I went to the university (means a 2.5-3 hour commute one way) and returned home at 8pm. Some people were playing with fireworks around the house so I was too scared to leave the house for the gym and it was literally pouring so I didn't go for a walk either. Because of the friend visit on Sunday I didn't have the time to prepare stuff breakfast and lunch, but I had one container of leftovers in the fridge for breakfast and also managed to pack some strawberries and a mandarin before running out of the door. So, even though that didn't go entirely according to plan, I kept the unhealthy impulse buys to a minimum and ended up eating a couple of small meatballs around lunchtime and some yoghurt and a sandwich with cooked seasoned chicken pieces (that actually resembled a chicken breast instead of the pre-cut stuff) for dinner instead of the large portion of to-go pasta with creamy sauce and extra toppings or the large Burger King menu that I would usually buy after such a long day.

 

How to turn this around? I want to am going to hit the gym tomorrow morning (it's probably empty at that time, yay!) and prepare meals after that to make sure I knock these goals out of the park for the rest of the week. I also planned the closet drawer cleanup task in my planner, to make sure it actually gets done.

 

You got this Lex, gogogogogogogogo!

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, MissLex said:

Thank you for your response juliebarkley!

 

So, two days in and I thought I would write an update because..ahem..well, it's not going fantastic until now. I was with friends yesterday that I hadn't seen for a while and while I did go there by bike (20-25 minutes in total) it's not really what I meant with 45 minutes of exercise. Today I went to the university (means a 2.5-3 hour commute one way) and returned home at 8pm. Some people were playing with fireworks around the house so I was too scared to leave the house for the gym and it was literally pouring so I didn't go for a walk either. Because of the friend visit on Sunday I didn't have the time to prepare stuff breakfast and lunch, but I had one container of leftovers in the fridge for breakfast and also managed to pack some strawberries and a mandarin before running out of the door. So, even though that didn't go entirely according to plan, I kept the unhealthy impulse buys to a minimum and ended up eating a couple of small meatballs around lunchtime and some yoghurt and a sandwich with cooked seasoned chicken pieces (that actually resembled a chicken breast instead of the pre-cut stuff) for dinner instead of the large portion of to-go pasta with creamy sauce and extra toppings or the large Burger King menu that I would usually buy after such a long day.

 

How to turn this around? I want to am going to hit the gym tomorrow morning (it's probably empty at that time, yay!) and prepare meals after that to make sure I knock these goals out of the park for the rest of the week. I also planned the closet drawer cleanup task in my planner, to make sure it actually gets done.

 

You got this Lex, gogogogogogogogo!

 

 

 

 

 

It's very cool that you're so agile with your obstacles - that seems like a crucial prerequisite for these challenges, since the interface between the plan and the practice is bound to break down at certain points along the way, and you'll have to quickly improvise a plan B... also, I suppose visits and bad weather are quite likely to recur throughout the month, so you're already a bit prepared for the type of setback that might come up again. It's like the β-testing stage of your challenge.

 

Kayla Itsines was actually the plan that got me consistently into exercise, and it's the reason I mentioned finding a programme, because I found it really confusing\overwhelming trying to figure out what type of exercise to do, how much, how often, which equipment, what increments etc etc, and BBG took away the stress of knowing I had no clue. I also had all the anxieties you mention about working out at the gym, and a home programme was basically essential for me because I couldn't deal with the social and body anxiety at the same time as doing exercise in public! The only thing I purchased was a set of dumbbells for £30, and just used home furniture for the bench etc. * I solemnly declare that I am not remunerated by the Kayla Itsines Organisation! * It was just the first step on the ladder for me.

 

Good going - keep it up!

   

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Time for another update! I went to the gym Tuesday morning as I planned (but I hated it; I much more prefer to go at night). After that, I prepared everything for a mealprep session, cleaned and put out containers, washed the kitchen stuff I needed etc. And then my eye falls on this nearly empty bottle of soy sauce, which wasn't enough for the recipe that I had in mind. I went back to my computer to check the recipe whether they had a substitution or something, but the website was offline so I didn't even know what to cook anyway :(

 

I finally prepped the stuff yesterday evening for the rest of the week, but by that time the broccoli (4 heads :( ) that I had bought had gone bad because for some reason I didn't put it in the fridge...luckily I had some frozen broccoli/cauliflower floret mix in the freezer, but I did feel bad about having to throw 4 heads of broccoli out.

 

I also went to the gym yesterday evening with friends and we did squats again after not having done them for...1.5-2 months in my case. I could walk up the stairs to my apartment (4th floor, no elevator) afterwards but had to lie on the couch for 2 hours being unable to move my left leg. Oops. It still hurts today (but like normal muscle soreness) so I don't know whether going to the gym is a good idea. Maybe just for a walk. Walking outside isn't going to happen today as it storms heavily outside.

 

Edit: I thought I posted this, but when I looked at this thread later I couldn't find my message. Wanted to type it again just a second ago and what I had typed before was magically restored. Walking has been okay today, I already got in 30mins because I was to scared to go to my study spot by bike due to the heavy winds. Unfortunately, bending my legs to sit or stand is terrible xD I won't make it to the gym today, but I have another meeting that I will go to on foot, so I will have 60mins in total today.

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Good job on the meal prep and working out. sounds like you worked out hard and had some soreness afterward, going to the gym is a good idea if it works for you. You may have overdone it, which happens. Try to lessen the workload next time or try different exercises, you obviously don't have to go to the gym if you find other activities that work for you and help you reach your goals. Good luck and keep pushing forward.

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Hey @MissLex! Welcome to the Rebellion! I read through your posts and I love your goals - fitness is hard to work into university life (I'm a grad student too, so I know!), but it does wonders to improve your mental and emotional health and help you stay balanced. And I know you'll thank yourself for establishing these habits now!

 

One bit of encouragement I would offer regarding the other people at the gym is that the vast majority of people are either totally in their "zone" and not paying attention to anyone around them, or they're feeling just as intimidated as you are. And even more important to remember: you can't tell which ones are which. Just because someone looks "fit" or "slim" or like they know what they're doing doesn't mean they don't feel like impostors and compare themselves to other people there.

 

Everyone in the gym is there for the same reasons you are: To be healthy, to feel good, and to become the best versions of themselves that they can be. We're all on the same team, even though we're all at different points of our journey!

 

I hope your leg is feeling better today!!  ;) 

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I barely recovered :P I've been quite busy lately, I made multiple attempts to type an update but each time got distracted before finishing (I have that with a lot of things). Woops. Here is a very long update about the last 1.5 week.

 

The mealprep has gone well. I'm trying out different recipes. Since that first week that got a bit out of hand with 4 heads of broccoli dying a painful death and prepping halfway through the week, I have prepped breakfast and lunch for the week on Sunday. Last week I had roasted vegetables & sweet potato with chicken, and I found out that I'm not really a fan of sweet potato. As that seems to be a staple thing in the Nerd Fitness diet to make the transition from pasta etc to no grains, I'm sort of worried. I tossed two of the four portions out at the end of the week. I did eat other healthy things instead of the meals, so technically my goal of reducing impulse buys was achieved, but I don't want to spoil so much food. I'm back to Asian recipes now (I somehow cannot come up with anything else that I like and travels well). Instead of eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch (which is what I did the first week) or frying some eggs in the morning, I made some egg cups with bacon and spinach to eat in the mornings and they are really good. I also planned out my meals and snacks this week to make shopping easier and to reduce the amount of food thrown out. It also makes my food choices much more interesting; when I have to decide on the spot what to eat for a snack it's either unhealthy or something that I always eat, but when I decide on it beforehand I have much more variety in my diet.

 

About two weeks ago I decided to buy the Nerd Fitness Academy. I must say that has really helped me in finding some structure for my workouts. After squat day with the intense muscle soreness about 1.5 week ago on a Wednesday, I walked 60 minutes on Thursday and hoped it would be better on Friday so I could get the first workout done on Friday evening or Saturday morning. It wasn't. I could barely move on Friday so I spent the day more or less dying on the couch. On Saturday it was slightly better and I went to the gym to do some light cardio work, mostly things to get my legs moving. I also did some stretches afterward that took some effort (could hardly lift my leg, let alone grab my ankle and bring it to my butt), but I think it has worked as Sunday was much better.

 

I did the first workout from the Academy on Sunday morning. It included lunges. I had never done any lunges before. I felt great the rest of the day (I'm not a morning person and the gym wasn't completely empty, so I needed some courage there and was very proud of myself afterwards), but the next morning was terrible. Could barely get out of bed. To add to that, I heard (still being in bed) that one of my coworkers family members had died and these gaps in our work schedule this week (6-7 hours daily) had to be filled up by me and my fellow student workers, starting immediately. Most of them have a heavier study load then I do and it's finals week at the university where I live (I work and live on the campus of one university, but my study programme is at another), so I was the only one that could fill in on such a short notice, causing me to go from my bed straight into a work shift of 10 hours on Monday and another 6.5 starting at 8AM on Tuesday. I work at a reception desk and most of the tasks are retrieving keys, mail and other things from cabinets in the back for people that come at the desk. It's a lot of standing up, getting something, sitting down and standing up 30 seconds later. It was terrible, haha. My wrists hurt at the end of the day because I used them so much to gently lower myself down on the office chair. Most of the pain was in my butt and the back of the upper legs (I'm not really experienced with the glutes/quads/hamstrings/whatever terminology, sorry about that :P) so sitting was a pain anyway. Due to being so busy at work and the soreness I didn't go to the gym or went for a walk those days, however, I did the second workout on Wednesday evening and went for walks on Thursday and Friday. I was at my boyfriends parents this weekend and I went for a walk on Saturday. I wanted to get in another academy workout yesterday evening but we were home late and also had to buy groceries for the next week, clean the kitchen as it would get some maintenance done today and do my mealprep. I finished meal prepping at half past twelve in the evening, so doing the workout this morning wasn't going to work either. Instead, I will do it tonight.

 

The closet cleanup thing..well, not so much. I just didn't do it. I'm more of an 'all or nothing' type of person, so instead of just cleaning out one drawer I want to put my entire wardrobe on the bed to see what I have and reorganize the entire closet. But, there are a lot of clothes on the ground or on a chair in my bedroom that need to be sorted into laundry baskets first. And then I have to do all this laundry, otherwise I'm gonna sort out clothes while I don't have everything on the bed. Before being able to do laundry, I have to get all the dry stuff of the laundry rack and so on, so on. It doesn't happen. Oh, and before I can even reach my closet I have to sort out the big pile of shoes that is on the floor in front of it. However, I want to get it done before the end of this challenge, so I will probably use the entire Saturday to do this.

 

Also, I ordered a scale and found out that I lost 6kg (that is 13,2 lb, Google tells me) since mid December, even though I spent the first week of the Christmas holidays eating schnitzels or sausages with fries and mayonaise every day! That was a huge motivational boost :D

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A little soreness is normal, sounds like you may have done a little too much judging by how much soreness you have. You can scale the workouts down instead of trying to do what is listed and then missing a day or being sore for a few days. I also understand about getting busy and not being able to do daily updates, this is your log, so you update as often as you can whether it's every other day, weekly, whatever works for you. Some weeks you may be able to post more than others. Congrats on the weight loss and the meal prep, meal prep can be time consuming, but worth it. Keep up the progress.

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Sounds like you're doing great overall, good on you! :):)

 

Well done on trying a new veggie, even if you didn't like it much. If the sweet potato just tasted a bit boring roasted, I'd recommend chopping some up into a curry or something for more flavour. But it's really not a worry if you don't like it at all! There are so many veggie options out there but they're not all tasty to everyone. I'll never be convinced that kale is delicious but it seems to be a healthy person staple these days ;)

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