Tied To The Treadmill No More

by HEAB on January 14, 2009

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Alarm…hit snooze…Alarm…OK, OK, I’m up.  Bathroom, running clothes, chug water, hit the pavement.  This was my morning routine for probably about 5 years.  If it was below 20 degrees or raining outside, the I would hit up the Y for a good treadmill run.  3 days a week, I would do strength training videos after running.  I did the same workout everyday, 5 days a week with no variation.  I ran the same routes and worked the same muscles over and over.

I used to envy those girls who spent 10 minutes on one machine, 10 minutes on another, maybe lifted some weights and then finished their workout on yet another machine.  Not me – I HAD to RUN everyday for at least 60 minutes.  If I did a 45 minute trail run with a friend, then I would do an additional 15 minutes on my own…I remember one bitterly cold day in particular.  After 45 minutes on the trails, I actually drove to the gym to fit in another 15 on the treadmill.  Sounds silly now, but a few years ago, a workout was not a workout unless I hit that 60 minute mark.  When I was training for my 50K, I would run for 4 or more hours on the trails.  Crazy!

I don’t know what changed things for me.  Maybe it was the career shift and a change in my routine?  I no longer work 8 – 5.  Sometimes, my workday day doesn’t even begin until 5 PM now, and I no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to fit in my daily exercise.  I still like to workout early in the day, but sometimes it’s 10 or 11 AM before I hit the gym.  Maybe it was the fact that I became a wife, a homeowner, and a mom to 2 puppies all in the same year?  I no longer had time for extended periods of exercise.  Maybe it was the fact that I kept seeing clients with the same running induced injuries over and over…or maybe it was when I started taking a yoga sculpt class at the Y last year that totally kicked my butt…Wow, maybe this whole yoga thing is a good way to strength train!  Maybe it was when I bruised my sacrum and had to cut out all cardio for 8 weeks?  Maybe it was when I read this?  Looking back, do you think someone was trying to tell me something? :)  Well, whatever the reason, something finally clicked.  30 – 60 minutes of exercise is plenty, and it’s much more fun to do a variety of activities.  My body feels so much stronger than it did during my high mileage days, and it’s easier for me to maintain my weight as I don’t require as many carbs now.

I no longer plan my workouts weeks in advance.  I usually look at the Y’s class schedule…maybe pick out a yoga class for the week.  I try to fit in 2-3 strength training sessions  and several days of cardio intervals.  I take one day of complete rest, usually Sundays.  My schedule for this week is as follows:

Monday: 10 minutes on the Stepmill at Level 10 followed by 2 minutes at Level 12 to warm up.

Legs (3 sets, 15 reps each): Leg press (140 pounds), walking lunges (30 lbs), calf raises (30 lbs), straight leg dead-lifts (30 lbs), Plie squats (25 lbs).

Abs: Held plank position for 2 minutes followed by 10 seconds hard bicycle crunches, 10 seconds easy for a total of 1 minute.

10 minutes on the treadmill.  4.0 mph at a 8% incline for 8 minutes.  5.0 mph at 8% incline for 2 minutes.

Tuesday: NEW YOGA CLASS 

I took the Power Latte class at a local yoga studio here in town: This early morning transformative flowing class is designed to cleanse the body of tension and leave you feeling energized and alive; all without that morning ‘cup of joe’.  This tough class started at 6 AM, and we got down to serious business right away with a series of Sun Salutations.  I definitely felt energized and alive…but I still had my morning cup of joe. 

Wednesday: Ugh, so sore from yesterday’s yoga…love that!  I decided on an easy cardio mix at the gym.

5 minute warm-up on the Arc Trainer.

20 minutes on the treadmill.   4.0 mph at a 9% incline.

20 minutes of intervals on the Arc Trainer.  1 minute fast at level 40 followed by 1 minute recovery at level 60.

5 minute cool down on the Stepmill at level 10.

Thursday: Yoga?  Upper body strength circuit?  Tabata Intervals on the stationary bike?  Love those!

Friday: Whatever I didn’t cover on Thursday.  Maybe a trail run or yoga DVD?

Saturday: Too far away to think about. 

Before, I would have every  minute of every workout mapped out, but now I just want to have fun and stay in shape.  Although I still struggle with overdoing the cardio at times, I really try keep my workouts under an hour.  What used to be a task on my to-do list is now a gift to enjoy, and I never dread going to the gym anymore.  I encourage all of you to examine your own exercise routines.  Do you look forward to your workouts?  Do you ever go to the gym with no plans?  Give it a try, you might enjoy yourself!

Dinner tonight inspired by Sammie.  Love Sammie’s bowls of oat bran!

Apple Cranberry Oat Bran

Apple Cranberry Oat Bran

I brewed 1/3 cup of Celestial Seasonings apple cranberry tea and mixed it 1/3 cup oat bran.  I let it thicken and then added 1 cup Greek yogurt and some cereal.  To top it all off I added a drizzle of Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter and some Barney Butter.  So creamy and delicious!

Not only did I have a strict workout schedule in the past, but I was the same with my meals.  Dinner was eaten at a certain time whether I was hungry or not, and it always had to include a protein and a vegetable.  Some type of healthy dessert followed, even if I felt full as it was part of my daily allowance. Well, now I’m breaking all the rules by honoring my hunger and listening to my body.  I had a big lunch right after my cardio session this morning, and I didn’t feel like a large dinner and dessert.  I just wanted one big bowl of messy goodness…so that is what I ate.  Heather finally rebels.  It’s been a long time coming y’all!

Check out the most exciting news I read all day over at Hangry Pants.  I’ll give you a hint…it involves my favorite almond butter!