Thursday, April 24, 2014


I have been quietly trying to pick up some healthier habits this past month, all in the hope that I might start losing the 30 pounds of baby weight that breastfeeding and babywearing has predictably failed to shift off my ass. I switched back to those low carb flatbread sandwich thingies and I've been taking barely-sweetened iced tea to work to drink at lunch. I've been trying to avoid mindless junk snacking at work and home, to varying degrees of success (Easter candy is a bad influence). I am also interested in going back to boot camp at the gym, but between not having the money to buy good shoes and being so out of shape that I really don't think I'd make it through a class, I figured I need to do some groundwork first. (Boring exercise-y bullshit ahead) I poked around online looking for a squats and abs challenge that I could do for a month and see if it helped at all. The choices for something that wasn't too intense but also wasn't too easy were pretty slim. I ended up combining a squats / pushups challenge, a crunches challenge, and a hand weights set list I made up myself with five-pound weights and stuff I remember doing in boot camp. These are what I started with:

In finding links for the arm exercises, I have learned that what I called back fly is actually a reverse fly. Here's what I'm doing: biceps curls, lateral raises, reverse fly, triceps raise / curl / extension.

I haven't stuck perfectly to the schedule - I've skipped nights for a bad headache / cramps, falling asleep accidentally before remembering to go up and do my exercises, having social plans, or not planning to take a shower and therefore hoping to avoid getting sweaty. Overall, though, I think I've skipped fewer than ten nights out of the month. And if I do miss, I don't go back to the lower numbered days that I skipped, I just do the assigned day's numbers. I also have skipped most of the assigned rest days to make up for missed days. I did end up modifying the squat / pushup challenge by accident - I didn't realize that I was supposed to switch to three sets instead of two during the third week. When I realized that a few nights ago, I believe I snorted out loud and said "fuck that!" to my phone. The squats are no big deal, but the pushups are killing me. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've hit my pushup wall as I was unable to finish my second set of 20 tonight. I'm going to say I'm just not built for pushups, but really it's probably more that I'm fat and out of shape with no core strength to speak of. I will do my best to soldier on with two sets of increasing pushups per night, but I suspect I might get stuck at 20 for a while. I also modified my made-up hand weights challenge. Instead of doing two sets of 25 in week three, I went to three sets of 15 and then three sets of 20 (which is where I am now).

I do think that I'm getting incrementally stronger. I'm pretty sure on April 1st I couldn't have done 125 crunches or 35 pushups or three sets of 20 lateral raises. I've been pondering what to do for May ever since I started April, and after considering it during my exercises each night, I think this is my plan:

1. Repeat the squats / pushups challenge from the beginning, but doing three sets each night instead of two. If I get stuck at a 20 pushup limit, I may try three sets of 15 until I can get through them without too much struggle.

2. 150 crunches each night, in three sets of 50.

3. For arms, I'm still debating. I don't know if I should do three sets of 20 for a few weeks or two sets of 25, or start at the beginning but go up to my eight-pound weights. I'll keep considering. Right now the only reps that are challenging are the lateral raises.

It's also becoming apparent that I really have to add some kind of cardio type activity if I hope to lose any weight. Perhaps the dreaded boring-ass rickety treadmill in the basement? MB installed the Netflix app on my phone and our iPad, and I'm working my way through some Ken Burns documentaries right now, so that might work. Or I could watch one of the shows that have been recommended to me like Orange is the New Black or Scandal. Suggestions welcome! I suppose I could also get out with the dog after the kids are in bed, at least until it gets hot. We'll have to see. There are enough barely-trafficked streets in our neighborhood that I could probably walk at least a mile without too much trouble. I could also do some of the cardio warm-up exercises I remember from my boot camp class, as long as my shin splints don't come back. Oh, aren't you just riveted by my wimpy little workout details?

Reading:  Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

Playing:  my driving mix. I'm pleased to report that Nico now likes "Fault Line" and "Ain't No Easy Way" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and calls them his songs.


  1. Anonymous11:54 AM

    DUDE. You are a badass. I did a push up challenge in Feb, just push ups! And PUSH UPS ARE HARD. I got to where I could do 50, but in mini sets of 10. I don't think I ever got to where I could do more than 15 in a row without wanting to DIE. And that's all I was doing! So, you are my hero.

  2. for Netflix, my favorite show is Coupling. So funny, well the first couple of seasons are anyway. Good luck!

  3. for Netflix my favorite show to watch is Coupling, the first few seasons are SO funny! good luck!