Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Obese Girl's Journey to the Chocolate 5K: Week 1

I. Did. It.

It was not a beautiful thing, but it felt great. You'd a thought I ran a whole 5K as happy as I was, dancing on that treadmill and sending sweaty selfies to the besties.

That's right, I completed Day 1 of the C25K. 

I discovered some fun fitness secrets (Did I just say "fun" and "fitness" in the same sentence? Who am I?) this week that I can't wait to share with you. Let's just get to it!

1. The Secret to Day 1: Find Your Stride. When I took my celebratory treadmill-display-photo at the end of my workout, I noticed a negligible difference in the distance and calories burned as compared to my previous attempt and usual walking routines. This is because I played around with my pace, looking for something that allowed me to sustain the workout without dying, and ended up slowing down the walking portions.

I kept the warm-up and cool-down pace at 3 mph and the jogging pace at 5 mph. But, the difference that helped me find my stride and keep going was slowing the walking intervals to 2 mph for the first 15 seconds or so, while I took a drink of water and recovered my breath. Then, I bumped it to 2.5 for the remainder of the time. By the time I had to kick it back to 5, I felt pretty good. It was a nice change. After talking to the besties at dinner last night, I think I will even slow my jogging down to 4 or 4.5 for the next few workouts while I work on stamina.

2. The Secret to Breathing and Focus: Yoga. An hour of yoga prior to running improved my focus and breathing like no other. Because I was really aware of my body, I was able to breathe the right way (in nose, out mouth) and power through the tough spots. I probably won't be able to fit in an hour each time, but doing a little yoga before hitting the treadmill is now a top priority of my training routine.

3. The Secret to Stamina: Hide the Display. Those seconds just don't tick by fast enough, do they? And when I'm focusing on how slowly the clock is going in comparison to how quickly my heart is pounding out of my chest, I feel like I'm going nowhere fast. I'm counting down the seconds, wondering if I'll make it. I'm calculating how many more sets are left. How long til cool-down? It muddles up my brain. So I've started covering the display with my towel. That way, I can focus on the important things. Yes, like breathing and not falling.

4. The Secret to Motivation: Music. Thursday evening, I was being unmotivated on the couch, not even really wanting to make dinner. As I sat there mindlessly deleting junk emails from my phone, I saw that I hadn't opened the latest newsletter from Tone It Up. I'm super glad I didn't delete it! Along with the link to their arms and abs routine was a post about the playlist they had created on Spotify. Now, I have a Spotify account, but I'd never actually used it until now. It is awesome! Especially for working out! There's a whole workout section with playlists for running, both low and high tempo, yoga, basically anything you could want. And it's free! Seriously, even if you're a Pandora lover or Songza fan, like me, you have to check it out.

Honestly, I was more than happy to get up and get moving after that. And the arms and abs routine was pretty cool, too.

5. The Secret to Saving Money: YouTube. My mom used to get these exercise video catalogs that sold tons of VHS and DVD workouts and could easily set you back hundreds of dollars in building an at-home exercise library, but I can't even imagine buying a single workout DVD right now. Thanks to my $35 investment in the Google Chromecast and the Tone It Up girls, who post awesome free workouts on YouTube, I have the video library more than covered. If you haven't seen the commercials for Chromecast or talked to someone who has one, it's basically an Apple TV but cheaper. After a super easy setup, you can play YouTube videos (and media from a few other apps, like Netflix and Pandora) from your phone, tablet, or computer, right on your television. It's both iOS and Android compatible, so don't let the Google brand fool ya like it did the hubs (who was super uninterested in it until he realized he could use it, too). 

We don't have a wifi-enabled DVD player in the basement, so the Chromecast is perfect for me! I just used my phone to find the workout I wanted, tapped the Cast icon, and started sweating right along with Katrina and Karena. You can find information about Chromecast here and the Tone It Up videos here. And then you can thank me later. ;)

6. The Secret to Keeping it Up: Rewards. I'm a big fan of bribery. I'm bribing myself right now. I suggest you do it, too. If I get in three workouts before Friday, I'm going back to the sporting goods store to snag some more awesome gear. It's pay day week, and I know I have to plan our monthly budget, but I'm actually going to budget that in. The hubs wants a little shopping spree, too, and since he can run 6 miles and I can't, I'm gonna have to budget him in as well. But that's okay. Rewarding yourself is a great way to keep going.

7. The Secret to Giving Back: Charity Miles. In keeping with intentional living and generosity, I'm excited to tell you about Charity Miles. Estefania shared it with me and Rachel a couple of days ago. I haven't hit the treadmill since downloading the app this afternoon, but I really like it. Once you create a free account, you select the charity you want to contribute to and start walking or running. When you're finished, Charity Miles will donate .25 for every mile you completed! How cool! The way I understand it, you choose your charity each time, so you share the love or dedicate all your efforts toward the group nearest and dearest to you! I noticed that there were similar apps in the app store, so feel free to share your opinions of the others. And for more information, click here.

Chocolate 5K, here we come! 

How can you take small steps to improving your lifestyle? And, more importantly, how can you improve the lives of others at the same time?

Live on. 


  1. These are some really cool tips! I'm so upset that my treadmill broke. How do you find the time to workout? When do you workout? Is it after you put your little one to sleep or does your husband watch her? The hardest thing is finding time. When I finally get Jack to nap or in bed for the night that is when I clean and blog. I love the idea of Charity Miles.

    1. It's usually after dinner before I put her to bed. She plays in the basement while I do it and occasionally joins in. When I'm finished on the treadmill, I turn it on 1 mph and hold her hands while she walks for a minute or two. But I don't fit it in as often as I'd like to. Like tonight, I planned on it, but I am going to try again tomorrow.