Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Most Ultimate Work-out Plan (from Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine) for the Next 4 Weeks!

As I was rummaging through last year's Oxygen ( and Muscle and Fitness Hers ( magazine issues to try and piece together the BEST workout plan for me, I finally found it and it was all neatly pieced together for me so I am going to follow it with only a minor change. I added runs, spin class, a swim, and combined Thursday and Friday workouts as one so that I could do my long run.

Sunday: Tempo run- 3.5-4.5mi
Monday: Legs, calves/swim- 35-45 min
Tuesday: Chest, triceps, abs
Wednesday: Plyo, track sprints, spin class
Thursday: Back, biceps, shoulders
Friday: Long run- 4.5-6mi
Saturday: Rest

I am SUPER excited about this workout plan because I get to work on both building my muscles and increasing the quality of my runs. Also this way I don't feel as if I am going to be over taxing my body.

Wish me luck that next week is a success in the gym, on the road, and in the class room :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Something I am going to try and work on!

I am relatively consistent in my workouts, but what I am not consistent at is what I do when I workout. I love to switch up my specific exercises ranging from staples such as pushups, dead lifts, bicycles, planks, lunges, (assisted) pull-ups, and in addition I love to do plyometric exercises. Plyo exercises are squat jumps, lunge jumps, calf jumps, lateral bounds, skips for distance, or skips for height; those are just to name a few. My problem is not exercising but sticking with a routine. I have obviously found success in weight loss with my hodge-podge, fly-by-my-seat type of workouts, but what I really want to do is have a routine that I commit to for 4 weeks and then move on to do something new. I love to workout SO much (no sarcasm because I really do like to workout) that I want to do it all so I try to, and that has kind of worked for me but then again not so my much. The problem with my method or lack therefor is that it is difficult to measure increased strength in different muscle groups because the consistency is not there.

So this is my post to declare that I, Alexandria Lewis WIll commit to a workout routine for 4 workouts before changing it.

I will post that routine hopefully by Sunday night. I think that my previous plan had me doing a little too much leg/glute training with no time for full recovery so I am going to do only one day of weight training for legs/glute training and perhaps at the end of the week I will have a plyo and track workout. I just need to commit to my plan this next 4 weeks in order to truly see my muscle mass increase.

Happy workout planning to me and to you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thursday-Monday Workouts- January 19th-23rd

          A few postings ago I mentioned outlining the actual exercises I do when I workout so that is what this post will be dedicated to. Be aware of a few things if you wish to mimic my training plans:
(1) I am not a professional personal trainer, one day I would very much like to do that but I am not, so what is working for me may not work for you.
(2) Thursday through Monday workouts include only 2 runs and 2 lower body workout and 1 core workout. I will be posting this weeks workout-upper body, spinning, and core soon!
(3) I have been engaging in intense strength training circuits for the past 8+ months so weights that I have specified are what I personally have built up to and not something that you should begin with.
(4) I am pear shaped and after reading much literature of the subject I am currently using high repetitions and low-to-moderate weights for lower body.
(5) I am in the SLOW process of losing excess body fat and I am hoping that my two leg/glute workouts coupled with high intensity and steady state cardio will help me achieve that goal.

Without further adieu I bring you my workouts:

Thursday's leg, glute, and calve workout
40 minutes not including warmup and cooldown
Superset 1:  Standing calf raises 3X20-45lbs each hand
                   Bulgarian split squat 3X17-10lbs each hand
Straightset 1: PliƩ squat 3X20- 25lbs
Straightset 2: Single legged leg press 3X15-weight set at 25lbs
Superset 2: Single dead lift 1X20- 20lbs in one hand
                                            2X20- 20lbs in each hand
                  Calf raises on leg press(toes in) 3X25-145lbs
*warmup consisted of incline treadmill walking and lunging and plyometrics for 10 minutes
* cool down hatha yoga series for 7 minutes

Friday recovery/long run
1) 4 mile run (this is the third time post-partum I had run 4 miles. My goal is too increase this to 13.1 miles by year's end). My pace was a little faster than 12 minutes per mile as I ran this in 47 minutes and 24 seconds. I stretched for 7 minutes afterwards

Saturday Rest Day :-)

Sunday run- 5k tempo/sprints/jog/walk
 *I broke this down by 1/2 and 1/8 mile stints:
1st half mile: 5mph pace jog
2nd half mile: 6.5-7mph pace run
3rd half mile: 4mph pace walk
4th half mile: 1x200m sprints followed by 1x200m recovery walk repeated once more
5th half mile: 5mph pace jog
6th half mile: 6-6.5mph pace run
Final 0.1 miles light jog >5mph jog
*I briefly stretched after this run mostly calves, hip flexors, hamstrings

Monday legs, glute, and abs
40 minutes not including warmup and cooldown
Superset 1: Dead lift 4X5- 45+70
                  Planks 3X30 seconds
Superset 2: Exercise ball leg curls 3X15
                  Lateral Jump squats 3X20 *10 left then 10 right
Superset 3: Weighted hip lifts 3X18- 35lb plate on abdominals
                  Captain chair straight leg lift 3X15
superset 4: Kneeling on bench) single leg cable lifts 3X15- 20lbs
                 Bicycle 3X20
Straightset 1: Russian twist with weights 3X20
*warmup consisted of incline treadmill walking and lunging for 10 minutes
* cool down hatha yoga series for 7 minutes

This is me flexing my little bicep before my Monday swim. I am hoping and working towards that bicep to be nicely capped in a few months time. I want to have biceps that POP!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Live for the Weekends so I Can Plan My Meals

Especially now that the semester is in full swing, the weekends are my time to organize, meal plan and prep, do laundry, and RELAX. Haha on the relaxing part but I do spend a lot of quality time with Lee and Rocket so that is the most important use of my time.

The second most important use of my time is....

Meal Planning:

A thing on meal planning for me is that it is essential to my sanity during the week. On Saturday I shop for fresh fruit and veggies and any odds and ends needed for the week and on Sunday I spend about two hours cooking and chopping up vegetables for the next couple of days. Ever since I started during this 4 or 5 months ago I practically ensure myself a super healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I have come home late ever blue moon or so only to make myself a pb and jelly sandwich and a bowl of Kashi with soy milk for dinner- but those nights are the exception and not the rule!). Examples of meals that I have planned out-

Breakfast: green smoothies, big green salad with fresh fruit and 1oz of raw nuts, oatmeal with fruit or cheezy buckwheat groats with spinach or kale
Lunch: homemade vegetable and bean/lentil soups (any variety), raw vegetables and hummus in pita bread, bean and rice burrito with a big green salad, quinoa and edamame salad with raw vegetables
Snacks (post workout snack): chia seed protein pudding, hemp or pea/rice fruit smoothies, pb and jelly sandwich on ww
Dinner: vegan enchiladas, tofu and vegetable stir fries, beans and brown rice with kale and peppers

The combinations of food that I have created far exceed what I have listed above but the list serves to exemplify the types of food that I eat on a weekly based. The list further serves a purpose that with proper planning nutritious and delicious meals during a busy work week are completely possible!

Happy meal planning to you :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting into the swing of things.

Me after cycling :) Maybe next time I will flex for you!
          This is the second week of the spring semester and I have promised myself to dedicate the same amount of time to my workouts (including planning and executing) as I do my class work/home work.  That being said, I am taking a Spinning class every Wednesday. Today was my first day and I will say that I kicked butt at it and enjoy it immensely.  I am not a huge fan of treadmills, upright or recumbent bikes, and especially the elliptical machine so I was a little anxious about whether or not I would enjoy Spin class and the verdict is in- I do!! I love the high pace (and intensity), high energy and especially the group dynamic. Before the class I went to the university's gym and did a 10 minute core-focused warm-up and I definitely liked going into class with my energy already up so I will be repeating that for next week's class. 

 Workouts for the rest of the week!

Thursday: Upper body focus with heavy weights.  Using the 5X5 method; meaning I am going to do 5 sets of a exercise for 5 repetitions. for cardio I am going to go to the stadium bleachers and do sprints up and walks down for 25 minutes. 

Friday: Lower body focus with medium or light weights or bodyweight depending on exercise performed (I will post exactly what I did in a few days!) I will be doing the exercises for higher repetitions and shorter sets- i.e. 3X15-20.  No Cardio for the day but I will be doing an extended Hatha yoga stretching series afterwards.

Saturday and Sunday will be be active recovery days with light jog/brisk walking :)
Until next time :) stay active and eat yummy healthy food.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Run Today and Then Some

Today started out with good intentions: a gentle detox for my body and my mind.  The goal was to do a water, juice, and herbal tea fast today not for weight loss but to give my body a day off from using so much engery to digest food.  I read an article last night in one of the free mini-magazines that I get from my local health food store that discussed how much engery the body uses to digest cooked foods so last night I decided that I would give my body the rest it needed by drinking lots of fresh pressed juice with my Breville Juicer and lots of herbal tea and water.  Those good intentions lasted until 10am when I decided what I really wanted was homemade hot chocolate and toast with earth balance.  Staying vegan, I used non-dairy chocolate chips melted in soy milk but regardless my good intentions were waylaid completely for my desire for sugar and fat.  After finishing said hot chocolate and toast I felt pretty crappy and for the next 2 hours watched National Geographic's "Wild China" and reading my almost completed fiction novel of the month: Under Fishbone Clouds by Sam Meekings- which by the way is written like an extended and mythic poem.  When Rocket awoke from his nap ready to play and eventually eat. I still felt sluggish and foolish for giving in so easily to the lure of hot chocolate and toast, and it was pretty difficult to be my usual "run around the house and play with my son' kind of mom.  Regardless I did my best to muster up some sort of enthusiasm when I took him outside for some sunlight and fresh air.  The combination of the two had a rejuivenating effect on me because within 10 minutes or so I was stretching out my body and playing with Rocket with gusto.  After a while I felt ready to take Rocket for a little walk in the jogger.  Well that short walk turned into a nearly 4 miles jog/run/speed walk/recovery walk.  Happy to say that afterwards I feel pretty awesome and ready to get all the little things I had planned today completed sans fasting.  

Right after running. Rocket fell asleep on mile 2.

A little bit about my run:
     I ran the first 2.25 miles at about a 12 minute per mile pace. Slow and steady as I really had not run the last week as I focused more on strength training and besides it was rainy and cold.  After I had returned running back to my cul de sac I felt really limber and ready to run faster so I picked up the pace for the next 0.1 miles and alternated sprinting that and walking the next 0.1 miles two more times. After that I increased the sprint to 0.15 miles with same distance recovery speed walk two more times. Finally I finished up with a 0.2 mile sprint and a slow jog until I had completed 3.5 miles.  
As always after I am done I do a recovery cool-down walk and stretch out my lower body doind static stretches.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Theme of this blog: Becoming a Vegan Athlete

 I am a Political Science major, minoring in International Politics whose passioin is health and fitness.  This is something that I over a month long holiday break from classes realized. I spend many more hours each week creating my meals and planning/executing my workouts than I do reading my notes, or reading from my assigned text.  I will scan the latest international news articles, while I diligently read the articles on detoxing the body naturally and how to most effectively lose body fat without losing muscle mass.  I am sure that I mischoose my major but since I am a senior I have no inclination to change my major this late in the game.  I do know that I will graduate with a Pol Sci degree in December 2012 and I also know that I will have my personal training certification by the end of 2012.  The summer would be an ideal time to do that as the time needed to study the material for getting my personal training certification will be time consuming and I can not have that interferring with my major studies. 

I figured out that over the holiday break as well that I am not so much interested in poltics as I am interested in the idea of being interested in politics. I feel very strongly that the political is personal so I decided in the beginning of my junior year that I should major in Poli Sci. Was this a mistake, mayhap but I do know that I have a great understanding of our politcal system than the average person because of the classes I have taken so I am happy nevertheless on what I have learned so far. On the other hand I also am very aware that I know tenfold the amount of information on being a vegan athlete than I do about any of the Republican candiates for president or the current Iranian/Persian Gulf issue. 

SO all that is said so that I can say that the theme of my blog is my expereince with becoming a vegan athlete.  I am still in the very beginning stages of athletism and veganism- 12 days strong! .I have reached my end of 2011 weight loss goal of losing 90lbs.  Now that I am at my average high school weight of 147lbs I feel that I can (almost) earnstly begin creating the body I want with weight training and cardio.  The almost part comes in because I can only lose so much bodyfat  while I am breastfeeding -currently at 32% and would like to get to 17%.  I am increasing the duration of my workouts from 30-45 minutes 5 days a week to 45-60 minutes 6 days a week, but I also am increasing my caloric intake to match that. I feel that I am past the moderate training phase that got me to my end of 2011 goal weight so now I can engage in more intense training sessions.  There is a certain amount of vanity behind my reasons to exercise more and harder but there is also a purpose and that purpose is to become an athlete again.  I want to do triathlons, tri-fitness competitions, marathons, ect.  I loved being a high school athlete and want to become an athlete again so I will. 

My postings will becoming more regularly as I share training plans, meals plans, and the like on this blog.  I want to dive into the world of veganism and my experiences with it including how I am able to eat on the cheap; how I create my meal plans and the tools I use to do so.

I am exciting to finally have purpose for this blog and not just my random musings on any topic- although that will probably come up as well :)