Progress Pics

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My "Program"

Just in case anyone asks what I am doing to lose weight and to become fitter & stronger, I am writing it down here. For the most part, my "program" is a combination of body building basics and yoga combined with my own knowledge of what has worked for me in the past.

FOOD: As the body builders all preach, I eat 5 small meals a day. As I am carb-sensitive, I limit myself to two servings of starchy carbs a day and I make healthy choices by eating whole grains instead of processed foods. So when I eat starchy carbs, it is generally brown rice, Irish oatmeal, wheat germ, etc.

I go heavy on lean proteins such as chicken and fish, and I eat a lot of egg whites. I eat as many low glycemic vegetables as I want, within reason, but eat fruit sparingly as it contains a lot of natural sugar and I still have a lot of weight to lose.

Other than extra virgin olive oil used in moderation, there is no added fat in my diet. NONE. I completely eliminated any butters or spreads , including what most people think of as healthier choices, such as "Smart Balance," or fat-free cream cheese. When actively consuming products like that I tend to use more than I should, more often than I should - and then be in denial about it. So it is easier for me not to use them at all right now.

I follow the common sense things like not eating fried foods, drinking a lot of water, etc.


I start each day with some basic yoga stretches. I can't do complicated poses right now so I just do what I can. The great thing about yoga is that you can make great progress in increasing your flexibility irregardless of your weight.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, you will increase your flexibility at a much faster rate than you will lose weight - so the yoga will give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem while you are waiting for the diet and exercise to kick in.

Three days a week I go to the gym and I really kick my own ass there. My primary focus is the free weight area but I do use the nautilus equipment too. I tend not to use any of the cardio equipment there. For one thing, I don't do cardio on the same day that I weight train. Secondly, I am not fond of doing cardio indoors. I would rather take a brisk walk or do some aerobics out in my yard so that I get fresh air and get to enjoy the scenery.

On the alternate days, I do my cardio. It is hard for me to keep a good pace up for more than 20-25 minutes so I often do cardio twice a day. I may follow an aerobics video in the morning and then take a brisk walk after dinner. If I can only fit in one session, I don't beat myself up about it, so long as I am doing at least 20 minutes every other day.

In terms of the free weight area at the gym, a lot of what I do comes from the book, THE NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN, by Lou Schuler. Below are some of the exercises I do consistently:

Barbell squat
Dumbbell squats, heels raised on plates
Dead lift
Romanian Dead lift
reverse lunges
bent-over row
dumbbell shoulder press
30-degree push up
dumbbell incline bench press
dumbbell two-point row
Triceps extension
Bicep curls
hammer curls
skull crushers
reverse crunches
leg lifts

In the Nautilus area, I faithfully use the seated leg press and the seated row. Then, depending on my time and energy level, I may use more machines to do lateral pull-downs, leg curls, preacher curls, etc.

The motions needed to do the squats, lunges and lifts were completely foreign to me and I was afraid of either re-injuring my knee or of simply not being able to to do these moves. Sooooooooo, I began "practicing" the moves with an unweighted bar and very light dumbbells.

It took about two weeks to feel balanced and natural in these movements and positions, and then I started adding weight to the bar and using heavier dumbbells. Once you get going, it feels great!

I did not indicate weight with the exercises above as I will constantly be improving so the weights will change. I will post about that as I go along.

Thanks for your interest in what I'm doing.

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