Monday, November 28, 2022

September: Back To Gym Routines

by Cristina

Doesn’t September always feel like a new year? After a summer of slow paced routine-less days, it always feels so good to get to September and re establish old September gym routines, good habits and self-care. This was an especially chaotic summer for me so I have eagerly embraced the ‘back to school, back to gym’ craziness post labour day. I’m still not quite settled as we are living amongst boxes and packing until we move to our new home later this month, but I feel a little more myself already.

You may remember my post about restarting the  IIFYM Diet and know that I struggled with a bit of weight gain over the summer. So far the diet is very manageable despite a few days of feeling really very hungry (with plenty of calories consumed). I took that as a sign that my metabolism was revving up, but so far the weight isn’t just melting off as I’d hoped despite being very strict. Perhaps it’s just the first few weeks of IIFYM that require adjusting of water balance, so I’m not going to freak out too much just yet. I wish it was easier but it only gets harder the older you get.

My gym routine is ticking along but I’m facing what happens when you take a few months off of regular cardio. I had a really hard time with one particular workout this week and it was so frustrating.  My strength has pretty much come back immediately (but with extra achiness the next day), but the lactic acid burn with cardio workouts is horrible, and it’s scaring me off slightly from the more cardio intense workouts. I’ve decided not to even look at what the workout is before I leave in the mornings because if I see running, or burpees I will talk myself out of going.

Almost halfway through the month and I’ll say that my efforts aren’t showing yet in either workouts or weight loss and I don’t fully have my groove back yet but I think I’m off to a good start and I’m putting in the work consistently. I did actually get a PR last night in Olympic Lifting and I’m really excited about that. It wasn’t quite a PR since we haven’t maxed out yet in front squats, but it was a PR so far and a great starting point for the rest of the year with goal setting in my weight lifting.

How have your September wellness/self-care/fitness routines been shaping up? I’d love to know how your September is going so we can motivate each other.

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Megan Zernicke September 14, 2017 - 3:30 am

Go mama! It’s definitely NOT easier as we get older (37, 3 babies) but you’ll get back to where you were in no time. Ignore that scale and focus on the amazing fact that you got your strength back quickly – that means something!

Gail September 14, 2017 - 6:40 am

I’m with you–I hate running in the summer so I usually just skip it, and unless I’m training for some athletic thing I get very lazy. Sometimes I do yoga in front of the AC. I’m 50, and it does suck sometimes, trying to lose weight. But good job sticking with your diet and getting back to your cardio–those pounds will come off! And AWESOME on your PR in OL! You’re a rock star!

Christina September 14, 2017 - 7:08 am

I will say for me doing IIFYM, when I wasn’t seeing results despite what I thought was following things very closely is I was doing a few key things wrong in my measurements. Specifically, I was using volume vs. weight measurements (measuring cup/spoons vs. scale) and for meats, taking measurements after it was cooked. Those two things make a big difference in the actual calories, and I didn’t realize that initially. Passing on in case it’s helpful for you! Good luck!

Cristina September 14, 2017 - 7:15 am

Thanks! Would you do the same for toast (weigh after, or before toasted)? I notice a difference of up to 5gm before and after.
I am weighing everything on a digital scale, including prepackaged/portioned items. I’m noticing the nutrition info on the packaging is approximate.

Christina September 14, 2017 - 10:41 am

I don’t think toast would matter that much. It’s a bigger deal with the meat as you cook off some water content, it becomes more dense. Hence if you don’t weigh it before, you may be eating more calories per oz than you planned!

Lisa September 14, 2017 - 11:47 am

stuff that small (toast) should not matter too much. just be consistent! What i do is usually weigh it cooked (bc i hate handing raw meats more than i have to) and then i find an entry in myfitnesspal that matches the state that its in when i am weighing it. ex: “cooked skinless boneless chicken thighs” make sure it says cooked. you can even often find entries for “blanched, grilled, boiled, baked”, etc.

Christina September 15, 2017 - 12:41 pm

I started doing this too – especially when making big batches of meat – how am I going to remember which weight what?

Lisa September 14, 2017 - 11:27 am

I am also doing IIFYM 🙂

make sure you stick with it–i’ve been really strict for the past 2 months and ive only seen the scale move down about 7 lbs…. actually 7 is pretty good now that im typing it out.

I have an app on my phone called “happy scale” and i wish i could show you the graph. It goes DOWN and then up.. like way up.. almost up to where i was when i started. and then it goes back down. and back up. and back down. but the app has a feature that shows your “moving average” which keeps it from messing with your head when you see weigh-ins doing weird things.

I highly recommend that app. Especially if youre anthing like me where you already hop on the scale frequently.

Cristina September 14, 2017 - 11:47 am

Thank you so much for the suggestion. I just checked it out and downloaded it and will be using it for sure. That up/down daily on the scale is super frustrating and discouraging. I’m sticking with it. I think the scale should start moving in a few days. I forgot that I’d been told to expect fluctuations, either way, the first 2-3 weeks and it’s been 14 days.

Mrs. O September 14, 2017 - 12:25 pm

Congratulations on sticking to your fitness/self care goals. That’s the hardest part of the struggle. Then the frustration of not seeing changes quickly. As I’ve gotten older, it takes so much longer for me to see any difference. In college, I only needed to think about losing weight and cut out one bowl of rice, and the weight melted off. Now, I have to track everything and workout twice as hard to hardly see any changes in the first 6-8 weeks.

Might I suggest you take before and after pictures on a monthly basis, including measurements of key areas, like hips, thighs, arms, chest and waist? I tend not to look at the scale very often. You’ll be surprised that you’ll notice visual changes before weight changes. Also, as women, our weight fluctuates constantly because of our monthly cycle. It truly is hard to gauge where we are in weight, which is why I weigh myself infrequently. Maybe you should weigh yourself once a week or every other week on the same day and at the same time. I actually only weigh myself on a monthly basis, if that. Usually, just at the gym when my trainer checks every 3 months or doctor’s appointments.

It takes awhile for your body to “re-set” itself to a weight loss state and to re-calibrate what your “ideal” weight should be. It learned to add the pounds so it wants to hold on to it. But once your body accepts that it needs to work harder and burn calories more efficiently, it will let go and re-set to your lower weight range. The fact that your strength came back so quickly is a testament to your consistent and diligent fitness lifestyle over many, many years.

Over the past 4 months, I’ve only lost 5 pounds but so many inches. For me, inches and fitness level is most important rather than weight. Who cares how much I weigh if I think I look good and feel good?

I’m with you, I really dislike cardio but I can lift all day. This is why I do HIIT cardio (and mix it into strength training) to get it out of the way. If I had my way, I’d never do cardio.

CT September 15, 2017 - 7:51 am

First off Cristina I love the s/s blue Swiftly you are wearing in the above pics, did you buy that one at Sea Wheeze? Congrats on your PR in OL. It sounds as though you are on the right track and I agree with @Megan to ignore the scale and @Mrs. O’s advice regarding visual changes vs weight changes. I rarely get on a scale because I know just from looking at myself or how my cloths fit as to how I am doing weight wise. I know that stepping on a scale can give us that immediate confirmation that what we are doing to lose weight is actually working but on the down side it can throw us off balance if the number isn’t what we hoped for. I just know that being active leads to a healthier me and I try not to rely on numbers to make me feel better. I have a small frame and weight gain shows fairly quickly especially in the mid section and like @Gail I have to work harder at my age to get it off. I don’t do specific diets I just cut back on unhealthy snacking and concentrate more on staying on track with healthy meals. About 10 or so years ago I made a lot of changes that were easy to do. For example, I cut out a lot of white flour, processed foods, no eating after 7:00pm, stopped drinking soft drinks even though it was diet pop I wanted to restrict the amount of aspartame I was consuming, cut back on red meat, I actually didn’t eat red meat for over a dozen years but introduced it back into my diet maybe 2 times a week. Individually none of these would make a big difference but together they have made a big difference in maintaining a healthy weight along with exercise. Although I enjoy a good meal at a restaurant I mostly cook my own food at home where I can control what goes into it. I can’t remember the last time I ate at a fast food restaurant. My major weakness is unhealthy snacking especially when I am stressed but more so now I find myself snacking when I read and I am an avid reader and I have noticed the weight gain. Starting a week ago I stopped the unhealthy snacking and already can see a change in my waistline so I know I am on the right track. Now I reach for healthier snacks and I drink a glass of sparkling water (zero sugar zero calories) with lemon or lime that gives me a feeling of being full due to the carbonation and it works!

I guess my best advice would be to focus on how good you feel mentally and physically after a good work and not so much on numbers because bottom line there is no doubt you are getting healthier.

Mrs. O September 15, 2017 - 10:56 am

@CT, I really took to heart your best advice. When I start to feel hard on myself, I will hear your voice and remind myself how good I feel when I’m working out, how accomplished I feel after working out (especially those days when I force myself to do it) and how the endorphins lift my spirit to give me the mental boost to continue living a healthy lifestyle.

CT September 16, 2017 - 7:51 am

That natural high is pretty hard to beat. On those days when you have to force yourself to do it you should feel extra good about it. I got myself into a routine where I was running 10k every time I went for a run. I found though on days where I didn’t think I had it in me to do 10k I wouldn’t go at all. That was really stupid thinking and I finally smartened up and told myself that doing something was better than doing nothing. Now I am happy no matter what the intensity or length of work out I do, I am happy that I chose to move! So I think Cristina is very wise not to get a heads up what that day’s work out is going to be until she gets there.

Mrs. O September 16, 2017 - 1:01 pm

Sometimes when I think about going to spin, I think I won’t be able to get through the class. So, I tell myself, just go and you can adjust to the way your body feels and not push to hard. But then, it never fails, while I’m in class I realize that I am strong enough and I can give it my all. Whenever I get back into the habit of exercising regularly, I always think “why did I stop?” So, now that I’m older and wiser, like you, I just do something rather than nothing at all. And after I finish, I feel so great!

allie September 16, 2017 - 11:33 am

Hi! Have you looked at RP? I know so many people who have had a ton of success using their program. I haven’t done it yet (just too much on the go right now), but I’ve incorporated some of their philosophy into my diet and really liked it. I agree that it gets a lot harder the older a person gets. Weigh everything, document EVERY bite you eat (I pay for upgraded My Fitness Pal), and stick with it for 12 weeks. (Not that my ratios will work for you, but I exercise 4-5x/week (mostly crossfit), I weigh 125#, and I found the weight really came off at 115g protein/88g carbs, 55g fat)

And also totally OT- I ordered the new Everlux Lulu crops, and they came yesterday. They are EXACTLY like Athleta Powervita. I’m kind of shocked that no one has called that out yet (that I have read, anyway.)
Also, what’s with the mesh lining at the calf in these? Anyone know?
Thanks 🙂

Mrs. O September 16, 2017 - 12:58 pm

@Allie, I didn’t think to compare Everlux with Powervita. I should wear my Everlux and then go to Athleta and check out the Powervita again to do a side by side comparison. Have you been able to do it? Can you feel a difference? I’d be curious to know.

With Powervita, I felt it had less “slickness” (the feel you get from Luxtreme and Nulux) than the Everlux. And Powervita felt hotter to me. I thought the Everlux felt really close to the softness of Nulu more than Powervita.

Allie September 16, 2017 - 5:20 pm

Oh I feel like the fabrics, and even the cut of the crops, are identical. It’s so crazy! Go test it out and let me know what you think!

Anon September 16, 2017 - 1:27 pm

Aww I really like this topic! I totally understand your struggles. My biggest problem is my diet. I’m trying to stay on low carb/high protein during the week( and it’s easy because I’m at work and far away from my refrigerator! Lol), but on the weekends( and sometimes after I get home after gym too) I “have my moments” . That’s what I call it when I throw myself on something yummy. Thank god I don’t crave any fast food , haven’t had it for many years as well as soda drinks. But almost any form of carb or something salty just calls my name:( And I know that diet is super important to be fit/healthy/look good. Its 80% diet and only 20% working out my trainer used to say . My friend has been doing boot camp class for 5 months now and is not seeing much visible result because her diet is screwed up( she’s afraid to eat and almost starves herself, but does not get any leaner). Just like you Christina I hate cardio, but I swear by HIT. I only do 15 min of HIT 3-4 times a week after heavy lifting and I feel that I can get away with occasional pastry or Brie cheese for breakfast on Saturday 🙂 I strive for consistency not perfection

Anonymous September 17, 2017 - 7:20 am

I agree that consistency is the key. If you’re content with where you are, an occasional treat hear and there is not a bad thing. It helps us keep on track for most of the time. If you don’t indulge, that’s when things get out of control.

Anon September 20, 2017 - 11:26 am

This is anon 1:27. I am a size 4 in lulu . 19% body fat, 126lbs, 5″4 and very muscular. And I’m 46 years old. Not bad for my age group . My husband believes I’m in 5% of my age group that are in this shape. I work out 6 days a week. Can I get leaner to like say 15% fat? Sure, but that will mean being more dialed on my diet. Like you said I am content with where I am and would rather have occasional treat and enjoy life.

Anonymous September 21, 2017 - 4:13 pm

This is anonymous 7:20. Uh, anon 1:27, I think you’re in the top 1%! Your husband is wrong. LOL! You must be teeny if you are 126 lbs and very muscular. I’m not as lean as you, I’ve been at 15% but it’s hard to keep that up. At my age (41), I just want to be in shape. I no longer feel the need to work out that hard and restrict my eating to stay at that level of body fat. I’m content with where I am. But it’s taken me many, many years to be “nice” to myself and not be so hard on myself. I wish I enjoyed the moments when I was younger and in the best shape of my life. Back then, all I saw was the imperfections and where I could be. Now, I think I’m doing really well and have a balanced life. This is the best thing about getting older. Being able to put things in perspective and appreciate what you have.

I just had a nice piece of brie cheese for a snack. Yummy!

Julie September 18, 2017 - 8:54 pm

Glad to hear you are back on track. Kudos to you & everyone else on here. As for me, September is the start of my travel vacation season through January, and the beginning of not so healthy eating. I am retired in my 60’s and my metabolism is not what it used to be. I don’t diet but also don’t have a big appetite. I do know I need to eat high fiber foods. On my vacations I walk & swim a lot. My husband (near 70) and I try to keep it moving while we are away. We are both very fast walkers. Both me and my husband’s gym routine consists of spinning, cardio kickboxing & free weights. Although I may feel extra fluff and lethargic, my weight stays about the same plus or minus a few pounds. And yes, most certainly, at my age it’s extra hard to get back into that gym routine!


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