I did it y’all!! You may recall that on May 6th, I blogged about the Chic and Fit 2014 challenge. Refresh your memory here. 🙂 In short, I wanted to become more physically active and find a way to de-stress a bit. Well, it worked! I managed to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity for 45 days straight and I managed to get through my grant submission with most of my sanity intact!!! 😀 My goal was to complete the challenge by the first day of Summer (i.e. June 21st), and I succeeded! Here are a few of the lessons I learned…along with some pictures from my Twitter and Instagram updates:
1. It is VERY feasible to be active for at least 30 minutes a day. For me, it was easier to do this around 10pm after the kids were in bed. It so happened, that I was working on submitting a grant during this challenge, so workouts in the morning and during the workday (e.g. lunch time) were just not ideal for me. But the 10pm workout was perfect! I was usually done by 11pm, so all in all, not too disruptive to my day! Here I am at 10pm one night, in a workout top and pajama shorts, ha! I was only 50% committed to this workout that night:
2. I didn’t ALWAYS run. I sometimes walked. Sometimes with my kids! This often happened on the weekends, and the kids loved it! We’d end up walking for about an hour around our VERY HILLY neighborhood. Happy kids + 30 min-a-day-workout complete = SUCCESS!!
Sometimes, the weather did not allow for a walk outdoors, so, I Bjorn-ed the baby and onto the treadmill we went for my 30 minute walk! Add a bit of an incline to the treadmill, and ta-da! Workout complete!
One day, we had an afternoon birthday party for my oldest son and his bff, which involved a hike at a local state park, so that took the place of my workout that day. Again, with baby in tow. 🙂
3. I didn’t lose weight. Well, not much at least. Sigh. As much as I would have loved to see the scale move, I only lost 3lbs this entire period. BUT!! I did lose inches!! Most importantly, I lost inches around my waist; 3.5″ inches to be exact!! The verdict: It is likely that I wasn’t consuming fewer calories than I was burning, but that I was converting some of that fat to muscle, which is ALL good in my book! Here I am pre-challenge, wearing loose-fitting clothing to hide my – at the time – growing waistline:
And here I am towards the end of my challenge, able to wear fitted clothing, and I actually have a waist!
So, what helped with the waistline slim-down you ask?? PLANKS!!
4. Incorporate resistance training. Often, to break up the monotony, I would lift light weights (say, 5lb weights), while walking on the treadmill on an incline, or add pushups, crunches, squats, lunges, and planks after a run. Let.me.tell.you. Planks are THE BEESNEEZ!!! Omgosh. Seriously. They are so hard! A 1-minute plank makes you seriously reconsider how long a minute REALLY is. And, I not only did regular planks, but also side planks. Those were possibly the toughest! Anyway, in combination with 50 crunches a day, my abs really, really began to transform! Here’s an example of a side plank, from one of my fitness inspirations, Lindsey from Saucy Glossie:
5. Diet. Sigh. This is another challenge all by itself!! It is honestly SO difficult to go from breastfeeding and being able to eat whatever I wanted without gaining any weight, to not breastfeeding and not being able to eat a slice a bread without the scale scowling at me day after day!! 😦 So, after about a month of not seeing any weight loss, I decided to seek some nutritional inspiration. I happen to follow the LaurenConrad.com blog and learned about the Bikini Bootcamp Challenge. Combined with tips and diet/exercise recommendations from my two favorite fitness muses, The Tone It Up girls, this plan gave me tips on what to eat, including the idea to cut out white carbs and processed sugars. I tried this for a minute (okay, about 3 weeks, with some cheat days), and then PMS got the best of me. I say this, after having inhaled a bowl of spaghetti, eaten two fruit gummy slices, and currently munching on trail mix (with marshmallows); and yes, this was ALL TODAY! WAAA!! In my defense, the challenge is over, and I can start again on Monday. Haha! Example of one of my low-carb meals:
6. You are not alone! It was SO encouraging and amazing to see how my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter community rallied and cheered me on…even joined in on the challenge!! Check out some of the ladies (not all are pictured) who joined in on the fun by tagging #chicandfit2014 on Instagram:
Last but not least, a huge shout out to my hubby – Mike – for watching the kiddies on days when I wanted to work out during the day, or early in the evenings before they had gone to bed! Thank you, hubby!!
Surprisingly, I also seem to have inspired some unlikely people as well! My little 5-year old included! Love my little guy… 🙂
7. It’s not easy being fit. Sigh, if only it WERE easy. There were days when all I wanted to do was go to bed and skip my workout, but I would make myself get on the treadmill and get my 30 minutes in. Eventually, it became part of my daily routine and I didn’t give it a second thought. That didn’t make it easier, but I would at least manage get some physical activity in my day. Even if it was to walk brisk enough to make me break a sweat. 🙂 Check me out on a day when I’d only had 4 hours of sleep and had only consumed a bagel and coffee all day (darn you grant submissions!), but still managed to get a 30 min run in:
All in all, the challenge really helped to re-introduce fitness into my every day routine. I still don’t love it per se, but I definitely found ways to mix up my workouts a bit, which definitely made it a lot more fun! Finally, I did and do feel less stressed (great for my sanity in academia), my clothes fit better (and let’s face it, that’s a HUGE reason all on its own), and I gained some new friends and workout partners (thank you social media)!!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I review the Tarjay version of the Lululemon ‘No-Limits’ workout tank I wore during some of my Chic and Fit 2014 workouts!
Until then..Stay Chic!!