Friday, 23 January 2009


I haven't been blogging lately, mainly because my blog keeps me accountable for the healthy decisions I make around food and exercise. Lately I haven't wanted to be accountable.

Today was the beginning of the new accountable me, so expect to hear from me a little more often. What's different about today? I started a new exercise regime with Alan, a new personal trainer.

There's a whole story here. Alan works with Billy, the guy who ran the bootcamp I did at work. During bootcamp, Billy quietly mentioned to me one day that he'd had great results with one of his clients who wanted to lose weight. They'd achieved their goal through doing weights, not through doing massive amounts of cardio.

I didn't do anything about it at the time, but the conversation has stayed in my mind for months. Finally I decided to do something about it. I figured that I was saving PT money while Krissi was away in Japan, so I could afford to get a few sessions over at Billy's gym. I went over to see him and Alan a couple of weeks ago. What they said really resonated with me and I decided to give it a go. I wanted to start straight away, as I was concerned that I wouldn't exercise while Krissi was away, but it's taken a few weeks to get going. Anyway, to cut a long story short, today was the first PT session with Alan.

I was right - I haven't done much exercise while Krissi has been away. I got to the gym a couple of times, but I haven't made it out for a run for the past two weeks and I haven't been to the gym for over a week. I've had all sorts of seemingly legitimate reasons - visitors, work trips to Melbourne, general busy-ness - but I've known that I needed a kick up the butt.

Alan asked me to write down what I was eating and how I was feeling. I managed it for a couple of days. I didn't like what I was seeing so I stopped. Today, I realised that I was supposed to be bringing him a week's worth of food diary. I plugged the last five days into Calorie King. Amazingly, my food habits weren't at all bad - definitely maintenance level eating. My exercise habits were non-existent. If I'd been exercising I would have been losing weight. Doh!

It was a good wake up call. I realised that by avoiding writing my blog and my food diary I was making it harder for me to achieve my health goals. This week I've been going to bed earlier too, and I've felt much better for it. I think I need to pay some attention to my mantra: "I'm a fit and active person who makes healthy lifestyle choices."

Today's been a good food day and I was at the gym for a PT session. All I have to do is keep making healthy choices, one day at a time.

The PT session was really interesting. I've been having all sorts of guilt feelings about doing weight sessions with someone else, particularly when I love working with Krissi so much. I have two reasons for going to somebody else though. The main one is the weight loss idea that Billy put in my head. Much as I love working with her, Krissi is this gorgeous slim woman who has never had a weight problem in her life. I just don't think that she would be able to relate to me on the weight issues, even though I know that she's able to work with me whether I'm fat or thin. The second one is my knee. Krissi knows that I'm paranoid about it, and it's bound to affect her when she's training with me. I realised that I was working harder on squats with Billy, simply because he didn't know about my knee. I figured that I'd see what sort of difference it made working with someone who wasn't so aware of my history. I don't know if it will make any difference, but it will be interesting to see if it does.

Today we started off with a warm up on the treadmill. Alan didn't have me going very fast. We started at 4km/h and then he moved me up to 5km/h. He went off for a few minutes so I cranked it up to 6 km/h. He was back sooner than I expected and led me off to the "heavy" weights room. There were a few interesting contraptions, including a tool that held the bar off the floor while the weights were added. I guess I'll be learning how to load the bar that way.

We started off with dead lifts. I've always struggled with the form on these, but Alan explained it really simply. After the intro, and checking that I could do them (do 1, do 3) I did three sets of 10, with 10 kgs on the 20 kg bar originally. He added some more weight for the last two sets but I forgot to ask how much.

After that, we moved on to squats with the bar. He unloaded it completely and grabbed a "box". It was a small square bench. When I squatted, I was sitting on the bench and then standing up again. He was taking my technique back to basics, but with an added level of difficulty. I was to squat back on the box as far as I could go. If I'd just been asked to squat down to the box I would have gone to the edge of it. Having to go back as far as possible meant that I was using my hips and glutes much more. I found myself "collapsing" onto the box. (TB told me when I got home that I "collapse" onto the couch too, so this is not a new thing.)

To keep control while lowering myself to the box I had to push my knees and feet out. I was imagining a sumo squat when he said this, but I had to keep them facing straight ahead while pushing them out sideways. I'd never have been able to do this without the mirror. I didn't get the squats completely right, but I did start to gain a lot of control while I was doing them.

We then headed off to the "not so heavy" weights room. This has the weights machines in it too. Lateral pulldowns were the way to go. I was able to do these really well, but Alan still managed to find me some form improvements. I told him that Krissi does that too. There's always something to work on. He assured me that it would still happen to me after I'd been lifting weights for ten years.

Chest presses were next, using dumbbells. When I do this on my own at the gym I stick to 8 kg, with 9 kg being the most I've lifted. Alan was cautious with the weights. I warmed up with 4 kg weights, which seemed ridiculously easy. It gave him a chance to check my form though. I moved on to 7.5 kg weights, then did another set with differently shaped 4 kg weights, then finished with 9.5 kg weights. He told me that he was finding it a different first session with a client, as my form was already good. I explained that I'd been going to the gym for four years, but that I'd really developed confidence with weights in the last twelve months with Krissi. I didn't actually have to tell him that I was loving the session, because I was smiling away.

Overhead presses with a bar came next. It's a long time since I did any overhead presses. In fact, I haven't done too many of these. I think he was glad to have something that he really needed to work on my technique. We finished up with walking lunges. Again, I learned something new. I think it was a smart move, trying out another trainer.

My short term goal is to work really hard for three weeks, on my diet and on my weights program, and see if I start to shift some weight. If it works well, and I decide to continue with Alan, my plan is to focus on the cardio work with Krissi, particularly as we're going to train for the Canberra half marathon, and do weights work with Alan. I have to work out just how much PT I can afford! I can manage two sessions a week, but I might be able to justify three sessions for a quarter to get my weight back under control. I'll just have to give something else up.

I have to get my butt out there and run too. I have a plan for that, but I'm not quite ready to be accountable with my running. Blush!

By the way, I've been reading all the usual blogs and a few new ones, but I've been keeping a low profile as part of my "ostrich-head-in-the-sand" approach to not blogging. I've been really impressed with all your achievements though. Well done.


kathrynoh said...

Mixing it up with a new trainer sounds like it might be the way to go. Nothing like a change to get things happening and to keep motivated.

Jaykay said...

Like you Kathy, I've realised that all the cardio I'm doing is not shifting any weight (I'm aiming for a 5kg loss) and I've started to read up on bodyweight exercises and more interval training.

Once Trailwalker is over I'm going to really get stuck into it, and just enjoy shorter runs.

I think you've made a good decision with a different personal trainer. Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday :D