My first two weeks of training described in my previous post (http://plaid.wpengine.com/17-steps-to-a-healthier-postmenopause/postmenopause/) are now history. I am happy to say I started and am happier to say I’ve made it this far. Baby steps are gigantic leaps at this point and at my age. But I’m really excited to report I’ve lost five pounds (and six pounds of fat)!
Gotta be honest, it hasn’t been easy. The delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) I expected didn’t disappoint, and the craving I have for dousing the pain in wine—a LOT of wine–is pretty darn strong. Aleve and curcumin (yes, like the spice), instead, are keeping me functioning (although I’ll drink a bit of wine at social events).
Thankfully, it didn’t take long for my health improvement steps to show some real results, and that’s the message here. I was shocked to learn how just a few changes could put me on my path to my goal so quickly! If you’re like me, it really helps the motivation to see results right away (kinda like my obsessive-compulsive need to make lists and check tasks off).
My eyes are on the prize of seeing my son marry an amazing woman in mid-October, and I want to look fabulous for the occasion. I’m looking for a dress, but not very seriously until the weight really starts dropping off. I’m even thinking of wearing a dramatic hat since it’s an outdoor affair on a farm. But two dress sizes need to be shed first, and at least 25 total pounds if not 30. Dare I even think a celebration dress could be sleeveless? That part remains to be seen.
So, big props to “Team Jean” at Lifetime Fitness in Flower Mound, Texas. Jason Cole, who turns out to be the elder of identical twin torturers, I mean trainers, is the architect of my weight work twice a week and also serves as my appointed accountability partner for wine withdrawal. Mickey, whose last name just happens to be Hammer (you bet I’ll have fun with that), is my metabolic assessment specialist and virtual cardio coach. Yes, two trainers for the price of one!
My how things have changed in 12 years! It is MUCH more comprehensive and science-based.
My baseline assessment was far more scientific and comprehensive than the last time I had a personal trainer. Conducted on several machines, it was complete with a VO2 uptake test on the treadmill wearing a full mask. These tests indicate your five personal heart rate zones, from the barely sweating to the “one more step and I’ll die” maximum. The test information shows exactly what intensity of workouts I need to lose the excess fat on my fairly thin frame. And just 10 days in, they already re-assessed me on weight loss and body fat percentage, follow-up they never ever did the last time.
It may come as a surprise and a relief to know that you lose the most fat in your lower heart rate zones.
“Hammer Time,” as I’ve dubbed my cardio regimen (sorry, coach), comprises three days of detailed treadmill walking workouts sent to me from Mickey via a Lifetime phone app, after which I send my heart rate results back to Mickey via text for review. (My heart rate is measured by a small band with a sensor worn on my arm and it is connected via Bluetooth to my phone app.) The workouts are all tied to my specific heart rate zones, which are key to knowing what and how much movement I’ll need to burn fat.
On the weekend, I rest one day to recover, but may take the dogs on a two-mile walk. The other day I’m in the pool, doing the full-body movement workout I mentioned in the last post. It’s been great to get in the water outside now that we’ve had a break from the incredibly long stretch of rain.
Aside from the workouts themselves, I’ve been dealing with a few logistical challenges you may find amusing.
Packing my gym bag has been an exercise of itself in short-term memory retention. Did I pack underwear? The right shoes for that meeting afterward? My all-important heart rate monitor? Did I remember to charge all my devices?
The post-workout period is…interesting. Heading to the shower in full sweat, it’s hard to get the sports bra off. It is soaked and I can barely lift my ravaged arm muscles to tug it up and over my head. Asking for help is out of the question, but tempting. Washing and drying my hair also involves those same arm muscles, which are shaky at best. Getting dressed after the shower, regardless of water temperature, I’m still in full sweat it seems. Any ounce of humidity outside doesn’t help the inside of the dressing room.
And good hair? Fuggeddaboudit.
I notice some women are in full makeup in the weight room. I wear a little just to look awake, but it’s often melted by the end of the workout. Some also look great in the latest workout apparel, obviously having been working out for a long time and not just the past 10 days like me. At first I was self-conscious about exposing my “mature” un-ripped body parts, but that flew out the window in about three days. It gets too damn hot to cover up.
My given goal of drinking half my body weight (in ounces) of water is a challenge. Always has been. (Too bad that wasn’t the case with wine…or maybe I wouldn’t have to be undertaking this adventure today.) But that’s getting better, too.
As for the food end of the equation, my plan calls for 1,500 calories consumed in five 300-calorie meals over the course of the day. You can eat as many vegetables as you want, and low-glucose fruit like berries. Hmmm. Not sure I’ve been diligent on the number of meals or the exact total ceiling of calories, but with my husband’s help, I’ve done fairly well on eating better things. Lots of fish, vegetables and grains (quinoa, freekeh, bulgur, couscous and farro) instead of potatoes or rice, and different types of berries for dessert.
I’m experimenting with eating or not before my 9 a.m. weight work, but a hard-boiled egg does help on cardio days. Definitely eating protein 45 minutes after a workout makes a great deal of difference. I also know, having just had a physical, that my body is low on Vitamin B-12, a deficit that seems to make a huge difference on weight workout days. So again, a visit to your physician before starting on an exercise regimen helps give you the baseline numbers you need for optimal performance and recovery.
I’ll check in again in a couple of weeks for more progress updates.