“How to take your workout to the next level”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Friday, May 18th, 2012

 

woman stepping on scale

The scale hasn't been moving much lately...but I did lose a pound!

Morning: The scale budged. A smidge. I’ll take it but I don’t trust it. 203 is today’s weight. I’ve been getting on the scale every couple of days hoping to see some movement. After all, the rest of me moves a lot.

I’ve gotten some reader advice and support that I am grateful for! (more please!) Allison suggested short bursts of high intensity instead of more steady duration to shock the system that appears to have gotten quite used to sweating steadily for a solid hour. I sure like that advice because I am up to 60 minutes a day! So, today I have planned sprints on the treadmill.

My plan: My machine is a sluggish old work-horse that takes a bit of time to reach speed so I am not going to pay attention to distance. I am going to set the speed to something challenging like 9.0 mph—and do 30-second sprints with a 30-second rest and leave it running (I know, this is dangerous to do!) so I will (carefully) hop on and off.

I am going to do 20 minutes of this and then a sustained slow run for another 20. I will finish my cardio with 20 minutes on the elliptical. And instead of vacuuming or doing any laundry (we have plenty of clothes, really) I will squeeze in 20 minutes with weights. I just got a new kettlebell that needs to be broken in.

Afternoon:  Allison has the right idea! I set out to do an

woman running on a treadmill

Sprints! Now that's the secret to an INTENSE workout!

interval workout that was IMPOSSIBLE!  I LOATHE to admit I can’t do something, but at 9.0 mph I could barely keep up with the belt on the treadmill and actually feared for my life. Or at least my limbs. I was dangerously close to being zipped off the back of the treadmill and breaking a leg. Now that would really interfere with my running. And 20 straight minutes of sprints?  Clearly, I had no idea what I was signing myself up for. That was near undoable. So, within the first minute I had to reevaluate my running capabilities. I ended up doing 20-second sprints at 7.0 mph with 20-second rest.

The first 2 minutes, my heart rate didn’t really zoom up with the sprint. I would recover rapidly during the 20-second rest for the first 5 minutes. By minute 9, I wasn’t sure I could go on. I was quite literally 20 seconds at a time after minute 10. I made it to 18 minutes and just couldn’t find it within me to make it to 20.

Afterward, I felt spent. It was awesome. And today, sore legs to boot. Yeah Allison! Thanks for the advice.

Can’t wait for my next interval workout.  I will make it to 20 minutes!  Or maybe I will try 8.0 mph.

 

 

 

 

“How to overcome a frustrating weight-loss plateau”: Weight-Loss Diary

Written by: on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Consistency is key to successI don’t know if I believe this anymore, but I will act as if I do. My dietary transgressions are small—or at least they are to me. But they are apparently substantial enough that my scale does not move.

How is it possible???

I eat mostly right.

I exercise often.

Shouldn’t I see at least something?  But this week, my scale has not moved. Still 204. Last week I spent 200 minutes doing cardio. 200 minutes! How many calories is that? Must be thousands. Sunday, I did 80 minutes on the elliptical. That alone was 1,200 calories. Don’t you have to burn 3,600 calories to lose a pound?

How can this be? Well, rather than getting completely and utterly frustrated (and believe me, I am just about there), I decided to do a little research and here’s what I discovered:

1) Weight-loss plateaus happen to everyone who’s ever tried to lose weight. They are not just happening to me (as I thought). They occur because, as we lose weight, the metabolism slows down. That means that…get this…I’m burning FEWER calories than I did when I was heavier doing the EXACT SAME ACTIVITIES! The reason: the body is achieving a state of equilibrium. Great. *$#@! Insert a string of profanities here!

2) Once you reach a plateau, things have to be changed up—or no more progress will be made. This means, that despite all the hard effort I’m putting in, all the exercise, all the eating right…I still have to do more. To lose more weight, I need to cut my calories further and/or increase the amount of exercise I’m doing. If I still with what I’m doing now, I will stay the same weight…just as I have been doing.

3) You have to cut 200 more calories a day. This is what seems to be the typical recommendation to start; don’t go overboard with calorie cutting (and never say diet!), but it seems that I have to cut just a bit more.

4) Do even more exercise! I find this hard to believe—and find it harder to fathom how I’ll fit any more exercise into my day, but this is what all the experts say. Some recommend not doing any additional “formal” exercise, but just to add more walking, moving, etc every day to burn more calories.

I must admit, I do feel defeated sometimes, but just hearing that I’m not the only person who has experienced a plateau makes me feel a bit better. But it seems I just have more work to do.

Have you ever experienced a plateau? Can you please share with me what worked (or what is working for you)? I need all the advice and support possible to get me through this! Write to me at melissa@valerielatona.com.