Thursday, April 30, 2009

Work Out Inspiration

First of all, who else misses the show WORKOUT on Bravo which was a shameless reality delight? I wish it would come back...

Anyway, getting down to business. Sorry I have been gone for so long. I hope you don't mind me telling a little story about my past couple years.

Over the past year and a half, I have been working to get healthier, fit, and lose weight. In that time, I lost 30 lbs (yay!) and I am so thankful that I have seen how important taking care of myself is. Would you believe it--diet and exercise works. Who knew?

It all started because I had really let myself get unhealthy. I was working at home in a new city and the phrase "I don't get out much" was a gross (literally) understatement. I really was eating whatever I wanted and never exercised except for occasional walks. Its easy to see looking back, but at the time I really didn't realize how big and unhappy I had gotten.

In the fall of 2007, my sister suggested a family Biggest Loser competition, the winner being the person to lose the greatest percentage of weight between Halloween and Christmas. I truly have sibling rivalry to thank for getting my life back on track--I mean, is there any more powerful force? My dad eventually joined the battle and the three of us weighed in Christmas morning. After 8 weeks of working out at least 5 times a week and changing almost everything about the way I ate, I actually WON!

A year later last fall, I agreed to run a 5K in February this year, the first running race I had ever attempted, which would require, um running on a fairly regular basis. I hadn't run AT ALL since high school rowing training. My workouts had been built around the Elliptical trainer, long intense walks, and uphill brisk walking on the treadmill. To actually run?! It really sounded impossible to me. But little by little I started doing it, and I ran my race in I can regularly run more than 3 miles on the treadmill, I can barely believe this.

I tell you all this because now I find myself sort of at a plateau and a bit of a rut. I know a 5K isn't a huge deal. I am really intimidated by signing up for a Half Marathon, but I really need to find a new inspiration or challenge to keep going. I know I will never be able to stop working out and focusing on being a healthier person. Its something I am going to have to struggle with for the rest of my life. I know I am not nor never will be "skinny" or "thin" or "jacked" or anything of that sort. I just want to be healthy for my future kids and family. Oh, and wear cute clothes of course.

So I look to you for some inspiration. Please chime in! What is your workout routine? What is your favorite form of exercise? Do you have a weight loss success story? Have you run running races or climbed mountains or swam the English Channel? Give me your input!

PS--One thing I am already doing dutifully for inspiration is watching the Biggest Loser. That show makes me cry every week. I just want to hug and squeeze that kid Mike.

February after 5K race.


  1. Can we get a "before" picture?

  2. I just love hearing weight loss and health success stories! Yours is great! I had a similar experience a few years ago during my senior year of college, although mine wasn't necessarily spurred by a desire to lose weight. All throughout middle, high school, AND college, I had terrible acne. I even went on Accutane (the most powerful acne drug out there) to no avail. I would cry myself to sleep some nights because I was so frustrated. I know it sounds vain, but I was really upset! I felt ugly. Well, I found this book called "The Acne Prescription" written by skin care guru Dr. Nicholas Perricone. It's more of a whole foods/supplements/exercise rather than drug approach to clear skin. Well, it worked! AND I lost 30 pounds and have never looked back. I was really just unhealthy, even though I was a big athlete in HS and college, and now I can't believe I would eat some of the things I did!!

    Anyway, sorry for the novel. I'm now somewhat of a health freak and love hearing and sharing stories :) Nowadays my favorite type of exercise is pilates. I have never had something work as fast and as efficient as pilates. When I was doing it everyday, I was at my leanest (not my thinnest, but my leanest...if that makes any sense). I hate running so can't get into that, but pilates is a lot of fun. You can really work up a sweat...and there are some great workout dvds out there!

  3. Good job! I know how hard it is to go from sloth to working out everyday and it's a huge accomplishment! Now, it sounds like you're doing a lot of cardio, but not much in the way of weight training. Building muscle will change your body like nothing else, so I highly recommend you give it a try. I recently did The New Rules of Lifting for Women and really enjoyed it. (There are other good programs, but that's the one I know!)

  4. What a great story! And what a beautiful background for running outside... I recently started running on the treadmill and get so excited every time I complete 3 miles with relative ease (that's as far as I run). It's such as great feeling, right?!

  5. I miss the show Workout too, but there is a new Jackie Werner show coming to Bravo called Jackie's Gym Takeover. I think it is airing in the fall.

  6. I would suggest biking!! I am a runner also, although I haven't run much further than 5 to 6 miles. Plus, running does do some damage to knees and feet, no matter how often sneakers are replaced! Last year my "goal" was to bike in the MS ride to raise money for such a worthy cause. I ended up riding 52.6 miles - mostly hills! This year's goal is 75 miles - and I cannot wait! The feeling of completion is such a rush, not to mention I'm doing this not for myself - but for others who battle with MS daily. MS has rides all over the United States - I would highly recommend getting involved. The event is well supported and a ton of fun. By the way, I did my 52 miles on a MOUNTAIN BIKE - I don't recommend that! Invest in a road bike, haha - I surely am for this year's ride!

  7. Congratulations!!! That's such an amazing accomplishment.
    I did something similar after college: I had gained about 40 lbs. since high school. So I went off the pill (damn hormones!) and signed up for a 1/2 Marathon, having never competed in a 5K or 10K. (I have always been really athletic--and stubborn--so I was pretty convinced I could do it. And I did!)

    Perhaps you'd consider training for a 10K. It's 6.2 miles, which seems like a lot at first, but you can do it! There are some great run-walk training programs, and that's how I trained for my first full marathon this past fall. (Oddly enough, I ran the entire thing, even though I did the run-walk training the whole time; I pace myself poorly when training on my own.)

    Another option is a mini-triathlon: 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3 mile run.

    Good luck, and keep it up! :D

  8. Good for you, Liz! I can certainly relate to your story. Right now I am trying to take off the few pounds that I gained during winter. It's not easy! I too ran my first 5K last fall and I'm working on getting my butt in gear to run another this summer.

    This may sound corny, but a little while ago I ordered the "Ultimate Tae-Bo Workout" DVD, and let me tell you, it is TOUGH! I've only done it a few times, but each time it seems to get a tiny bit easier. It's about 90 minutes long, and I've lasted for 55 so far. My goal is to make it through the entire workout. I highly recommend it!

    Nothing feels better than being healthy, that's for sure. Not only do you look great, but you feel great. It's priceless!

  9. Good for you!! This is a great story and I say congrats on the weight loss and for living a healthier lifestyle.

    I'm on the same path myself... I've actually signed up for a 10k in September benefiting Run for Congo Women. I love the cause, and that is what pretty much drives my workouts when I'm feeling lazy ;o) So that would be my suggestion... Is there a cause you'd like to do a run for?? Want to join me in Colorado in Sept?? ;o)

    Either way, keep up the good work!!

  10. Wow! What an inspiration! What a great feat - thank you so much for sharing! The Biggest Loser has also been one of my main inspirations.

    I am on the other end of the spectrum - used to be super active BK (before kids) and now, three kids later, they have beat me to a fluffy pulp. Ok, just kidding, they are wonderful and the joy of my life - but I've also got lots of extra lbs to show for it. (My son asked me why my arms are "fluffy"?) hahah. I am just kicking off the reinvention of myself - to an even better version of my former self! :) Thanks for the inspiration today!

    My only concern is when I do lose the weight, I will have to sell my whole J. Crew wardrobe! :)

  11. It's so cool that your family did this together. Congratulations on your success!

    I am a sporadic exerciser but I limit it to the gym (treadmill, elliptical) or at home (Billy Blanks, etc...)

    One thing I *am* consistent with is Qi Gong. That has literally changed my life. You've given me a post idea.

    Good to see you again!

  12. Congratulations on becoming a healthier!

    I find that group exercise classes at the gym are really motivating. I always push myself harder when I'm with a group than when I'm on the treadmill. I used to do videos at home, but I got really bored doing the same tape over and over again. I take Zumba (sort of like a latin dance aerobics), step classes and Vinyasa yoga (love it- I find it's really good for strength building!). I usually don't get bored with the classes, since it's a little different each time. Taking new classes and trying new forms of exercise can help you get out of a rut!

    Keep up the great work!

  13. You go girl! Running totally changed my life! I highly recommend Team in Training. They have awesome training programs, you do it all for blood cancer research, and it's a good way to meet people. Google it, if you're interested. In any event, congrats on you weight loss and your new lease on life! Keep moving forward!

  14. Congrats on the success. I too fell into a rut when I moved to a new city 3 years ago. But over the course of a year and a half I lost 60 lbs. I started off by running. But now I do all sorts of things. I LOVE Jillian Michaels workouts they are intense. She's also got my hooked on incline training. Who knew that you could walk slower but on an incline and still burn MEGA calories.

    When I start to feel a lag in work out energy, I think about all the reasons I'm doing it. Then I reorganize my iPod shuffle to give myself new kick butt tunes!

  15. Have you ever heard of CrossFit? I've been doing it now for almost 10 months and have never seen a bigger change in myself, both physically and mentally! You should check it out, there are a ton of great CF gyms in your area - San Francisco CrossFit, CrossFit Oakland, CrossFit Vallejo, CrossFit Santa Cruz. All with very welcoming people - I've personally interacted with a member from each either through a visit or at a CF certification class. Good people, I promise!

  16. MIchelle - I do CrossFit also - and it is amazing!! You will see more results doing Crossfit than any other work out. I actually cut about 2 minutes off my one mile run time after THREE WEEKS of CrossFit - that's how much it SUPRISINGLY improved my cardiovascular system. If you want to take it to the next level, I definitely agree with Michelle, try CrossFit! So addicting! They have a website too!

  17. That's a great story! Don't sell yourself short - if you put your mind to it, you can absolutely finish a 1/2 marathon. 2 years ago, I completed one and I remember the fear I felt when signing up for it. I debated back and forth for weeks on whether or not to do it. But the feeling I got crossing the finish line was totally worth it. I trained with a group that really kept me motivated and enthused about the race - and I met a ton of great people. It's definitely a huge challenge, but you can do it!

  18. Congratulations on your success! You are an inspiration. :)

    I too started a "get fit" program last fall and have lost about 15 lbs. I've been an on-and-off runner for years and have completed a few races, but this is the first time in a long time I've really stuck with it - and combined the exercise with diet! (I was equally amazed that it actually works. Who knew?)

    I've always been a slow runner, but I'm noticing significant improvements in my strength and endurance since I started weight training. All I do is a few circuits on the machines in my gym after each treadmill run. I was shocked at the difference it made after a few weeks. My legs no longer burned on my runs, and I felt like I could go much longer before getting tired. Doesn't help with speed, but I'm working on that. ;)

    There are lots of training programs out there for races of specific length (try When I last did a half-marathon (years ago), I used one and found it really helpful - it was good for my confidence to have a program that ramped up slowly, with a guarantee that if I followed it, I'd be able to complete the race. And I did - two of them, in fact!

    I just signed up for the Vasque Golden Leaf Half Marathon in Aspen, CO at the end of September. It's said to be one of the most beautiful races you can do. As the poster above suggested, come to Colorado! You'll be in good company. :)


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