Weekly Activity Report 06/15/2014

Not much going on lately.  Aside from walking the dogs, last week we took the week off.  I think the heat and humidity just beat us down and neither one of us had the energy or desire to workout.  We are on our last workout in the ChaLean Extreme Push phase, so look for a review in the next week or so.  I’m just over halfway through the 30-day Abs Challenge.  Believe it or not, I’ve been keeping up with the exercises.  Normally I do them just before I hop into bed for the night, but at least I’m getting them done.

Weekly Activity Report ending 06/15/2014:

Emily 122,608 steps (daily average 17,515)

Nick 112,848 steps (daily average 16,121)

Third Time’s a Charm at the Pool

Attempt #1

Two Saturdays ago, our plan was to go on a 7 mile run, then swim at the neighborhood pool for a little while.  We left the house around 8:30am and ran 7 miles.  Once we were back home, we changed into our swimming suits and decided to walk to the pool, approximately 1 mile from the house.  It was my understanding the pool opened at 10am on Saturdays.  We arrived at the pool and were informed that, because it was still preseason, the pool did not open until noon on Saturdays.  So we walked the one mile back to the house.  All of this running and walking was making us hungry, we decided to go to Chipotle for lunch.  This would give us enough time to eat and get back to the pool before it got too late and too crowded.  After lunch, we drove back to the pool, handed the lifeguard our pool passes, and we were in.  I put my bag on a chair, and headed to the restroom.  When I got back to the chair to take off my swimsuit coverup, the lifeguard blew the whistle for everyone to get out of the pool due to lightening.  It began raining, so we called it a day and headed home.

Attempt #2

The next day, Sunday, Nick and I took the dogs for a walk and were going to swim at 1pm when the pool opened.  We put on our swimming suits, and again decided to walk the 1 mile to the pool.  There was a cloud overhead, but to our east, so I wasn’t too concerned about it because the forecast showed a storm system coming from the west.  We arrived at the pool and stood in line to go in.  And then it began to rain.  Nick and I decided not to wait for it to blow over, because now the big storm cloud was overhead.  We began walking back home in the rain.  About a 1/4 mile in, the skies opened up and the rain was pouring down.  We finally made it home and were soaked from head to toe.  Once in the house, we changed into dry clothes, and noticed the rain had stopped and the sun was out.  Because the pool wasn’t officially open, we wouldn’t be able to swim during the week, so we made plans to go to our friend’s pool the following Sunday.

Attempt #3

This past Sunday we drove to our friends, Felicia and Gary’s house to swim at their neighborhood pool.  We made it to the pool around 12:30pm and were the first ones there, so we had the pool all to ourselves, at least for a little while.  Because neither Nick or I have never swam competitively, Gary gave us a few pointers on our freestyle.  We were there approximately 20 minutes, and it began to rain.  Good grief, we can’t catch a break!  Luckily, it was just a little rain shower and obvious that it would blow over shortly.  We  stayed in the pool, patiently waiting for the rain to pass over and soon the sky was clear again.

Swimming is hard.  I didn’t realize how out of practice I was at swimming.  I learned to swim as a child, but never swam laps or anything of that sort before.  I thought it would be just like riding a bike, something you never forget how to do.   I was wrong.  There are so many things to concentrate on – your stroke, your kick, your head, your body positioning, your breathing, etc.  I was a little overwhelmed and glad Gary was there to help guide me.  Nick and I immediately realized that we will need much more practice in the pool than we originally anticipated.

ChaLEAN Extreme Burn Phase

As with all phases in the CheLEAN Extreme program, the Burn Phase is 4 weeks long, with 3 burn circuits per week (there are cardio and ab workouts, but my focus is only strength training).  Each burn circuit has 9 exercises with 10-12 per exercise and lasts about 30 minutes.  Each repetition is intended to be done slow and methodic. On the last three exercises of each circuit, Chalene does a breakdown set – this involves doing your 10-12 reps, waiting 10 seconds, then doing 3 very slow “extreme” reps.  The goal here is to break down the muscle fibers after you’ve used the muscles.  I owned 3 lb. and 5 lb. weights and purchased a set of 8 lb. weights before beginning the program.  I have never had much arm strength, so I knew I had to start out very low, and didn’t think I would need much heavier than that for the extent program.

Most of the exercises include more than one muscle group.  For example, you may do sumo squats and bicep curls simultaneously.  The workouts seem to go by really quickly and they are very upbeat.  I wish there was an option for cues only, like in the P90X program, because I get tired of hearing the same commentary each week.  Besides that, I am overall happy with the workouts.

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In my first week, I was using the 3lb. weights for the warmup and the 5 lb. and 8 lb. weights for the exercises.  By the second week, I began using Nick’s set of 12 lb. weights in a few of the exercises.  I was surprised at how fast I was able to build up to such a heavy weight.  At this rate, I knew I was going to need more weights by the next phase of the program.  By the fourth week I was using 8 lb. and 12 lb. weight for nearly all of the exercises.

Nick had purchased Universal Adjustable Weights when we began the program.  I debated purchasing a set for myself because I just didn’t feel like I would get much use out of them.  Although, a  quick calculation changed my mind completely.  Not including the weights I already owned, if I increased my weights to 35 lbs. or more buying additional weights in 5 pound increments, the weight set was more than justified.  Upon completion of the Burn Phase, I ordered the Universal Adjustable Weight set.  My intention is to use the new weights in the Push Phase.

With all of the weight increases, I noticed my arms are beginning to have some definition.  I measured myself prior to starting the program and after the Burn Phase I took the measurements again.  There was no substantial loss, although I did lose approximately ¼” in each arm.  I have also tracking my weight throughout the program.  I haven’t lost any weight, but my body fat percent has decreased a little.  I am not worried about the lack weight loss, because I remember when I started P90X I gained about 5 pounds.  I have no doubt that as I begin to tone and build muscle, my body will reshape.  I am looking forward to the Push Phase.

Run Clinic at Luke’s Locker

Thursday night I attended a free running clinic at Luke’s Locker in The Woodlands.  Thomas, the instructor, started off by introducing himself, then went around the room and everyone introduced themselves.  We then went outside and each person ran a short distance while the instructor videotaped us to evaluate our running style.

Once back inside, Thomas asked if anyone played sports in high school, and to my surprise only one person raised their hand.  Thomas compared high school sports to running as a sport – For example, if you play baseball you don’t just go out and play.  You practice pitching, catching, running, swinging the bat, etc.  It’s the same thing with running.  You shouldn’t just run; there are exercises, stretches, and training that you can do to improve your performance.

We began by taking off our shoes, but we didn’t sit down to do it.  We stood on our right leg while untying and removing our shoe from the left foot, then did the same on the other side.  Removing your shoes in this manner is helpful to practice your balance and strengthen your lower leg muscles.  Once our shoes were off, Thomas had us jog in place, noting that when doing this no one was heel striking.  He told us this was a good way to improve our form.  He then went through several muscle groups that are used when running, explained how they are used and demonstrated exercises to strengthen the muscles in each group.  We followed along to get practice doing exercises.  Thomas then talked about using stretches to warm up before a run.  He advised us to do dynamic stretches prior to running, and static stretches after the run is complete.

Finally, the instructor reviewed our running video with us individually.  In the video, you could see yourself head on, from the side, then from the backside as you ran.  He played the video in slow motion to evaluate our running style.  He focused on any areas of concern, pointed out things to watch and suggested small things to do that will improve our running.

Overall, the class was very informative and it exceeded my expectations.  I’m glad Luke’s Locker is active in the running community and offers such clinics to those new or inexperienced in the sport.  It was definitely worth my time.