I've taken a personal day today, to recover from travel and regroup. And do laundry. Lots and lots of laundry! I'm happy to report that my knees did beautifully while on our trip, so I'm thinking it's time to really start to push myself regarding exercise. I want to see some real results!
I want to be able to keep up with more people when I'm hiking or walking. I have this thing...it's all about being a big woman but not to feel penalized over it. I want to be able to keep up with others, even really fit people. In fact, I want to surprise them with how strong I really am, to blow their assumptions about fat people out of the water. I want to have just as much endurance as the next person, or more. It's a subtile, below-the-surface sort of competition on my part. Unrealistic, I'm sure, but it's still there. So I'm setting some new goals for myself regarding my cardio fitness.
I don't know how to quantify that goal just yet. Here's my problem...I HATE CARDIO!!! I enjoy walking, nice leisurely strolls through town, even up hills. I love a nice hike, not too strenuous, through the redwoods in the Pacific Northwest. I like a recreational bike ride on a bike with a really comfortable seat. I like the idea of canoeing. I love dancing.
However, I don't like doing anything that makes my lungs burn, even a little. I won't run or jog. I won't ride a bike for 20 miles. I won't hike for more than an hour, especially wearing a backpack. I loathe aerobic classes of any sort. Being on the treadmill for more than 15 minutes at a time...that's pushing it!
I am going to have to get over myself in order to increase that cardio effect. I managed to do it with weight training. After two weeks of weight training at Green Mountain, I really developed a love for it, and I rarely miss my workouts. I love how I feel after a good workout. I like taking my time, making sure I have really great form, and happily perform three sets of 15 repetitions with the most weight I can use. I don't mind feeling any soreness afterwards, and after several months of weight training, experience very little muscle soreness any more. I like how strong I'm becoming. I like feeling my muscles. My shoulders are beginning to show a little definition, even through the fat, and when I flex my triceps and I feel around for them through my floppy kimono arms, they are rock hard and amazing!
I am about to really set up my workouts to improve strength in my lats and throughout my core, and I'm so excited about it! I wish I could feel the same about cardio, because I know that a good cardio routine will ramp up the fat burning machine in me. And when that excess fat layer is gone, the beautiful muscles will already be there!
I'm just about down to the weight I need to be in order to use the elliptical cross trainer at my gym. It's an older machine, rated for a maximum of 300 lbs. I haven't used it yet because my knees haven't been up to it, but I think I'm over that now. If I want to get on one fast, I think I may need to invest in one. That way, the gym workouts can be more about weight training in circuit with the treadmill (5 to 10 minutes at a time, a total of six times), and I can use the elliptical cross trainer at home, while watching TV, for an afternoon workout. I found one that will hold me now, rated for 375 lbs., and it's got some good reviews. I think I'm going to get rid of my old sofa and replace it with the elliptical cross trainer.
If I cut back my days at the gym to three days a week and do my full body circuit training workouts on those days, and then follow up with a half an hour on the elliptical at home in the afternoons, I'll be happy with that. On the other three days per week, I can perform core exercises and the elliptical at home.
Developing a core routine is also something I want to work on. I don't do dedicated core exercises. I'll toss in some Supermans, crunches and other similar moves during my circuit, just so I can get the core engaged. I was using a cardio dance DVD for a little, but don't have the space for it in my townhouse. That's one reason the sofa has to go! But I don't believe the DVD is enough for me. I want to really work on my back muscles, glutes and abs all around. My midsection is just one huge floppy mess! I'm really hoping that the core work will help combat that.
So, there's a rough idea of where I'm going for the remainder of the summer. Later this week I'll write out a specific routine and post it here and let you know how I do with it.