Monday, April 21, 2008

So Far, Yet So Good

So with less than four weeks until the Tip to Tip takes off from North Cape, here's where things stand with my training:


Phew. I am exhausted. And sore. And it feels great!

Before I even committed to the Tip to Tip I was mentally preparing myself for some major change-ups in my exercise routine, and this challenge certainly provided an incentive to put those plans into action. While I spent the winter doing the same ole' cardio routine on the machines at the gym, I am now mixing it up big time in an effort to prepare all body parts for this cycling trip and, potentially, bikini season on PEI (which generally lasts two -three weeks!).

Here's what I am doing now for cardio:

BIKING - Yes, yes, kind of a no-brainer, but it's only been the past couple of weeks that I've finally been out riding around in the decently spring-like weather. A friend of mine, Rob Paterson, has very, very generously lent me an excellent, comfortable bike for training and the Tip to Tip. I've been getting used to it, especially my bum.

I've decided that if I'm going to cycle, I might as well pretend to be a cyclist, so took the bike in to a shop for a 'tune-up', and bought myself some great biking shorts with padded bum and crotch. Soooo fun to wear around the house, I highly recommend the investment, if not for the sheer amusement of built in padding!

Have been biking some days as a mode of transport, and other days in training or for leisure. On Saturday, finally got on the Confederation Trail for a longish bike ride. Jen and I did about 26 kilometres in about 1.5 hours. We were taking it pretty easy, given that the wind was blowing in THREE directions at once (only on PEI!), but more notably because there were spots on the trail that were still covered in SNOW! And I had to get off my bike and walk these stretches. Anyways, was not winded or tired after this long bike (actually went for 1/2 hour jog right after then more biking) so am a bit more confident that I may be able to pull off this whole 400 km thing. Because, you know, 26 km is a whole 5% of the trip :)

BOXING - Have started going to women-only boxing classes at Holland College.If you think a women's only class means it's going to be easy, think again. An hour of circuit work that is basically a full-body workout has lead me to discover muscles I didn't know I had. In addition to lots of bag work, we do skipping, ab workouts, majorly difficult leapfrog jumping and ring work where we get to do combinations with one of the instructors - loving it.!

JOGGING & MACHINES - Yes, I am still doing cardio machines quite a bit because the weather still isn't perfect and I can really push myself on the machines without as much impact on the body (i.e. elliptical is easier on the joints). Also randomly jogging when the weather suits. I have to recommend jogging or speed walking to anyone who is not keen on going to the gym or pushing their body beyond it's real comfort zone. It's great exercise, it's stress relieving, it's free and you can do it anywhere, anytime.

I've also revamped my strength training. I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to do strength training - this includes lifting weights, doing body resistance moves like pushups, and general toning moves like squats and lunges. if there's one thing women don't give enough attention to, it is strength training. They either think they'll get really big muscles or they care more about burning calories with cardio. Trust me, if you add strength training you will see enviable results within a few weeks...and increase your metabolism, thereby burning calories more quickly!

So my strength training:

PERSONAL TRAINER - yes, I have hired a personal trainer to help me revamp my strength training routine and I keep telling her to push me hard at our sessions. She's given me two great new routines - one for my upper body, one for my lower body/abs. I do strength training four times per week and I really love it. As an added bonus, you don't get nearly as sweaty and yucky as you do with cardio workouts. Sometimes I sneak my workout in at lunchtime.

EATING - OK, so clearly training and getting in shape is easier and more effective when you are feeding your body with good fuel. I've been focussing on eating well and portioning properly over the past few weeks. There have been a few times when unplanned events kind of threw me off my game, but overall I am doing very well! I am no longer a candy addict, but have to admit I have become a bit of a pineapple and spinach addict... Is this bad? Is this sad?

My personal trainer tells me I shouldn't eat too late at night, but I always like to have a little snack before I head to bed, normally pineapple, but she tells me this raises blood sugar and encourages the body to store fat while I am sleeping. Oh dear. I am going to try drinking green tea as a bedtime ritual instead. Apparently it helps increase metabolism as well.

I eat six times a day. This is not a bad thing, it's actually good because you maintain blood sugar levels by eating smaller meals more often.

I've been experimenting with more recipes lately. Made a yummy bean salad this weekend and a light chicken quesadilla recipe. Mmmmmm. If anyone wants some easy , healthy recipes I am always happy to share. I have an especially well-known one for salmon loaf ! Other sources of good, healthy recipes would be on the Internet at sites such as Weight Watchers, Chatelaine, Health Canada, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Diabetes Canada, etc.

And that is all she writes for now. An update on fundraising to follow soon!

1 comment:

Rob said...

Way to go Shannon!!!