Blog Description

Follow me on my journey for the next 6 weeks!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Finish Line

A little late, but better late than never I guess. After 6 long weeks that at times felt like it would go on forever, but in retrospect flew by, the Orange Theory fitness weight-loss competition is over. And I definitely ended it with a bang losing 9 lbs. in week 6. Which brings my total for the whole competition to 37 lbs!! It was fantastic having such a killer last week, it was my best one since week 1. While my 37 lbs. wasn't enough to win the competition, 2nd place feels pretty damn good too. Having had time to reflect on what I've done over the last 6 weeks it kind of amazes me what I accomplished, and I can't think of many, if any, things that I've done that I'm more proud of. It was an amazing 6 weeks. I put everything I had into doing this and I feel amazing about it. And while I worked hard, I wouldn't have done as well if it wasn't for the support of my awesome family and friends. I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement.

This has really been a life changing experience for me. I was on track to lose the weight I have, but it would have taken me so much longer. Doing this competition and seeing the results I got in such a short amount of time has changed me, for the better. Some days I feel like a totally new person, and in someways I am. It's not the end of the competition, but it's really like the beginning of a new life for me, and I'm excited to see where it goes.

A lot of people have asked me about what I'm going to do now, and about maintaining what I've done. I'm not really concerned about maintaining, I'm going to continue to work hard. I've still got goals to reach, getting under 200lbs for the first time in I don't know when will be one I will hit sooner rather than later, and I still want to get to 180lbs, which probably won't be too far off either. I've got to start figuring out what I want to strive for once I reach that goal, any suggestions?? After the competition ended I wanted to take like a week off. But I found myself way to antsy to be inactive! While I didn't get a ton of exercise in, I still felt like I needed to do something even if it was just a few jogs. It was a bizarre feeling running outside after having only run on a treadmill for 6 weeks. It was fun to, though, especially to see the progress I made. I cut nearly 3 minutes of my time of a 1.25 mile loop around my house.

I've been trying to decide what exactly my new exercise routine would be. I was excited about changing it up, mixing it up a little. But after I ran I realized it was only like 1/2 the time I had been doing at the gym on the treadmill. To get a similar workout in I would have to do so much more. I have kinda become addicted to the results. I know that probably can't get the same results outside of Orange Theory. And it will be part of my routine, probably 2x a week, it just happened so fast this time I want to keep losing so fast!! And that's why I decided to join up for another competition starting in June! I'm totally stoked for it again. So if you've enjoyed the blog, it will probably be continuing a little longer.

Anyways, I hope you've enjoyed keeping up with me these last 6 weeks, I know I really enjoyed writing here. I hope some of my words have been able to help and encourage some to get out and be active, and achieve fitness goals. Just commit, it's that easy. If I can do it, you can too...seriously!

Peace for now friends

Friday, April 29, 2011

Week 4 Results, and Goals/Accountability/Success/Motivation

Another week in the books my friends, and, once again, I've shed some weight. This week I lost 3 lbs, bringing my 4 week total to 24lbs! It's been hard work, and it feels great. Feels even better that I can see the finish line, only 2 short weeks away. My desire to win this competition is so great that I've been disappointed with my last couple results. And sometimes I have to look at it form a different angle than week to week. When I look at the grand scheme, I've lost 24 lbs in only 4 weeks, and that is incredible to me. Like I said tho, I just want to win so bad, but I can't lose sight of what I've done and will continue to do. That's why I decided to write the other part of this post, because I felt like I needed to take a little bit of my own advice :) I thought I'd write a little bit about a few topics that have really helped me in this whole process, even going back to when I started exercising. A lot of this stuff is a conglomeration of knowledge I've gathered from various sources, internet articles, books, self improvement tapes etc.


Goals are an interesting thing. Everyone has them, and everyone has different views on what they should be and how to look at them. Personally, I was never particularly goal oriented. I was, and still am in someways, a go with the flow kind of guy. I always felt like things end up how they are meant to. When asked about goals I always struggled with a real answer as to what mine were. Really the only goal I had was to be happy wherever I was and with whatever I was doing. And I honestly think that's a fine thing to think. Who else is going to tell me I'm wrong if that's what I think? But I've come to realize the importance of setting goals to getting you to that happiness. And not only setting goals, but setting specific goals. when I started this competition I set a goal, a very specific goal for a very specific reason. I wanted to lose 44 lbs, which would bring me to under 200 lbs for the first time in I don't know when. And as I the final weigh-in date approaches it is becoming a little less possible. Sometimes you have to readjust your goals, because sometimes you just impossible standards for yourself. It happens, you won't always reach goals, or at least in a time table that was specified. I know I'm working as hard as I can, so even tho I feel a little disappointed with my results some weeks, I know I will reach my goal sooner or later. An interesting point I've heard about goals is the importance of sharing them with people. If you share your goals with others in your life it helps you push to achieve them. That's one reason I wrote this blog! People ask me how it's going, how I'm doing. Knowing that people are going to ask me about it, and are rooting for me, it makes it easier to keep pushing hard, and to work harder. I don't want to have to tell anyone, oh I gave up, or I haven't been following my diet as closely as I should. In this specific instance, about my specific goal, it's something that people like to talk about, and ask me about. But, this can really be applied to pretty much any goal you might have, the support is just easier to give for my goal. Another point it that it's important to write down your goals. If you write them down, it makes them something concrete, not some discrete idea in your head. You bring them to life this way. Again, another reason I wrote this. I have this blog to write about my goal, and it's there for all to see. But even just writing them on a piece of paper or in a notebook helps cement them in reality, and by doing so makes you more likely to work at them if you can look at them everyday. I have a few goals written down in small notebook, and I am always thinking of new things to add to it. I'm new to this actually setting goals thing, but it can be fun to really think about it. One of those goals is my goal weight, and is this blog is about my weight loss I thought I'd share at least that one. The number. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this specific number and whether it's important or relevant or realistic. But I've set it as my goal, I want to weigh 180 lbs one day. And I don't see any reason why I won't get there. I will get there one day, and it will be a day in the not to distant future.

Accountability: I spoke a little implicitly about accountability in my shpeal about goals. Sharing your goals makes you accountable to others. And in this instance of talking about weight loss accountability can be very important. Working out isn't easy (If you want real results) no matter how many infomercials you see for easy no work workouts. Eating healthy isn't easy. Sure you can take pills of some kind, but nothing can come close to comparing to a life-style change in eating. One thing that makes both of these easier is being held accountable to someone or something. When Brandon and I started working out I realized the importance of having a workout buddy. Having someone that you're accountable for. I know there were many days where neither of us wanted to work out, but I know, at least on my end, I didn't want call off a workout because I didn't want to bale on Brandon. I think Brandon might tell you how I held him accountable as well. Especially because we worked out int he basement of his house. And I texted him almost everyday asking if he was still down for a workout, or I would just show up after work. But I wouldn't have been able to do what I did if I didn't have him to be accountable to as well. I've found ways to hold myself accountable to others for this process. For one, (again) this blog! Hopefully you're starting to realize how important this blog is to me, even if not one single person read it. I used to be a little embarrassed about telling people I was trying to lose weight, now I relish the opportunity. I'll tell anyone who asks what I've been doing, and what I've found that works. The more people you tell the more people you become accountable to. And accountability can help you reach many goals, or help you get to a place you've never been.

Success: Success is, in many ways, like goals. So many people have different views on what success means, or what it means to be successful. I had never really put a ton of thought into what exactly success is. And I really think it's important to define success for yourself. Whether it's a definition you decide on yourself, or something you read, or got from someone else, it doesn't matter, but have something defined as success for yourself. I've read a number of different definitions, and I knew I found the one I found to be the best (for me) as soon as I read it. John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, defines success thusly:

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

To me it simply means as long as you are truly giving your best effort you will always be successful. And really what else can you do but give your best effort? Nothing!! But you have to ask yourself sometimes, is this really my best effort? And I've found sometimes when I ask myself that I have to be honest with myself and say no. But you can always change things, you can always start giving it your best and start succeeding. I know I've mentioned that view briefly in another post, and I truly believe it. I really had to think about this the last couple weeks when I wasn't all that happy with my results, but I know I have been giving my best effort and there is literally nothing else to do about it. And to take in the whole picture and realize that my success so far is nothing to scoff at. In addition to this definition of success I think it's important to take on a different perspective of success itself. I've mentioned it before, and it might be expressed implicitly in Coach Wooden's definition, but to judge success you must look at the process, not the product. It all goes back to giving your best effort. If it was truly your best effort how could you consider anything a failure? It's not a perfect model, and it's not for everyone, but it works for me. I think it doesn't work for every single situation, but just about everything. It just depends how how you set your goals and how you think about success and goals. Like with this contest, if I don't take 1st place, on some level I will consider it a failure. It's something personal to me and this process. I know no matter what happens I will have accomplished something many people express a desire to do and never do, but I just want to win. I can't really explain it better than that. I think a lot of people consider things a personal failure even if you gave it your best, but you still have to remember that what you've done is important, and still my most measures successful.

Motivation: When people ask me about how I've accomplished what I have so far with my weight loss there are a lot of things I talk about. People want to know how I did it, so they can do the same. I love that, I love that I can give people advice to better themselves. And I think one of the hardest things to do getting started losing weight is finding motivation, and it's hard to express to people what my motivation is. Motivation isn't that difficult of a thing tho! Everyone has motivation to lose weight and live a healthier life: Living longer! It's a simple fact, that if you get your body in better shape, and eating healthy will help you live longer. Living longer gives you more time to enjoy your life, to be with your family and loved ones, and if that isn't motivation enough what is? But losing weight, looking better, feeling better, feeling more confident aren't such bad things to use as motivation either :) There are a few one liners I heard a number (ok like a million) of times while doing P90x, that when I put some thought into it, really help me stay motivated during workouts. Here are a couple of sayings Tony Horton, the guy who created and stars in the P90x dvds, uses.

Just keep pressing play: It's a simple phrase I've heard countless times. But once it really sank in it helped me find motivation. When you're tired, and you don't think, or want to continue you can press pause and stop the workout. But you HAVE to keep pressing play. It's easy enough to translate that to real life, not a DVD setting. Take a pause, a break from your work, but always get back to it, keep going and don't quit! Just keep pressing play!

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was your body: Another simple saying, but it has depth. People say Rome wasn't built in a day, and it has become almost over used to the point that it's lost its' meaning. Really it just means be patient, great things take time, but I think that has almost become lost over time. It has really helped me during my process of losing weight. Sometimes you want to lose more weight, or lose weight quicker. But you have to think about this phrase, it simply takes time, and you have to work hard to build your body. In my case, and probably many others, I spent almost 24 years building my body to what it was, it would be ridiculous to expect to change it quickly. It is just going to take time. I've accomplished a lot since November, but it has taken patience and hard work, and I have to tell my self some days, "Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was your body"

Sometime in the last couple weeks I was thinking about this post and the last couple phrases specifically. And another little phrase came to mind, and I thought about how it can be such a powerful phrase, but it has become such an icon, and an overused idiom that it has truly lost that power for most. It's something every single person, probably on the planet, would recognize. I was working out when I thought about this, I was wearing a Nike shirt, and I bet you can guess what that little phrase is: Just do it. Like I said it's soooooo over-used, but I've used as one of the most important tools to my success. When I think back on starting to exercise I was just committed to the idea. But what I was really doing was, Just Doing It. It doesn't have to be any more complicated than that at all, just do it. Go out and do it. Get started exercising, or anything really, just do it! People find reasons to avoid doing hard work, working out, anything, but there is nothing stopping anyone form just doing it. I simple little phrase that has the power to help change you. A lot of people asked me what or how or why I was doing what I was doing. And really the simple answer I just did it, and you can just do it to. Don't ever complicate it, just do it.

Well if you got through that good job! I know it was a lot of information, but hopefully you can pull out the best points and apply them to yourself, and help you be a little better. I also wanted to to reiterate, these weren't really my personal ideas, I've gotten all of this information form various sources and various conversations with people. A good portion of my developed view points has come from talking about these things with Brandon, and discussing this stuff. I know these aren't everyday topics for most, but it really does help to really think about these things and have a discussion with someone about them to help form your own spin on them. Anyways, hope you enjoyed!

Peace for now friends!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Week 3 Results

Well, they're a little delayed due to holidays and general busy-ness, but here's the week 3 results. I lost another 5 lbs, which brings my total to 21 lbs in 3 weeks! It feels incredible to see such amazing results in such a short time period, but I've been working like crazy so I expect great results :) I'm still hanging in 2nd place for the competition. It was slightly disappointing again, but there isn't much for me to do but keep working as hard as I can and hope for the best results. I'm only like 1.5% behind first place, and it is definitely a number I can overcome. I'm going to continue to push it in my workouts and eat as healthy as possible, but for the next 3 weeks I am going to try and be more precise with my serving sizes to maximize my results hopefully, so I got a food scale. Like I said, I feel a little disappointed that I'm not in first, but when I think about it, it seems silly to be upset about only losing 21 lbs. in 3 weeks. If I win or not I will have accomplished something amazing.

Holidays are usually a very difficult time to keep on track with your eating. With this last weekend being Easter I thought there would be ample opportunity to cheat my diet. But the fact that I was in the competition, and my family being super supportive of me and what I'm doing it wasn't all that difficult. It was helpful that my Mom made sure that there was going to food I could eat around, and not putting any candy in our Easter baskets (Yes me(24) and my brother (26) his wife (25) our cousin (23) all still get Easter baskets :)) I know other holidays won't be as easy though. I think if eating healthy is a priority in reaching your fitness goals, and you don't want to give yourself much room to cheat, holidays can be awful, but doable. To get through it, you just have to take control of certain elements yourself. If you're cooking it becomes easy to control everything that's going on the table, and you can ensure that you have plenty of healthy options. But if you're going to someone else's house bring a healthy side dish, and avoid the bad stuff. I feel like most holiday meals include turkey, and turkey breast is good lean protein for you. Anyways, just a little food for thought on holidays.

Peace for now friends!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Week 2 Weigh-In

So after my awesome week 1 results I was encouraged, excited, and motivated to keep getting great results. But even after losing 10.4 lbs in one week, it wasn't good enough for 1st place int he competition. The contest is based on percentage of overall weight lost, so it's balanced for people of all different weights. I'm not sure anyone else lost more weight than I did in the first week, and I think that's awesome, but still a bit disappointing that it wasn't the best. It made me even more focused on working hard and eating well to stay at the top and move into first.

I was aware that my second week wouldn't be as stellar, so I had to temper my expectations. It was difficult because I was working just as hard, but I know that's just how it goes, week 2 is always the toughest. I was a little nervous to weigh-in, although I was prepared for lesser results, I just wanted to keep up an awesome pace. So I was right, I didn't lose as much, but still I lost about 5 lbs this week! Still feels awesome even though it was a lot smaller than week 1.

I'm still working hard, and will continue to do so. I have so much encouragement from everyone around me, friends, family, the team at Orange Theory, it makes it easier to push as hard as I can. I want to lose 7-8lbs a week, so this works out to average almost exactly that, but I am going to have to improve my results next week. I know I can, but there isn't a whole lot I can do. I'm already working out insanely hard, and eating about as healthy as possible (I even gave up alcohol for these 6 weeks, which is tough!) So I just have to keep doing what I'm doing, and the results will come. Even if I don't hit my goal, i will still have achieved some awesome results. Which brings me to a little preview of my next post about goals/success/accountability/etc. I recently read something about success: To truly judge success you have to look at the process, not the result. If you're working hard and giving it your best effort that's all that really matters. Sometimes you will fail, you can't succeed at everything, but if you work hard you can turn the odds so that you will succeed more often than fail. So I know that I'm working my ass off (Almost literally!) and that's all that I can control.

Thanks for reading everyone, I'll post again on Sunday when I find out the weekly results to let you know I took the lead :)

Peace for now friends

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eat Like a Champ, Not a Chump

I've been debating the topic for my next post. I have 2 things I want to write about, and a few things things made me decide that today needed to be the day to write about food! Since the competition began I've locked my diet down. The only thing that hasn't been good about my diet was 3 Doritos I ate Saturday night (not 3 bags or anything, literally 3 chips). Today I heard a little bit about one of the other teams and their diets. Apparently a few people seemed to think that eating a bratwurst, or hamburger, or whatever, was healthy so long as they didn't eat a bun with it. I was a little shocked to hear that, but I guess people just have different perceptions of "healthy". So I thought maybe this would be a good time to share what some healthy eating tips and about my specific diet. As much as I hate to divulge my secrets to the competition now that my little blog here was passed along to everyone else in the competition (Ahem, thanks Brandon :)) I figured I don't mind sharing.

The other thing that just put it over the top for me to write about food today was watching "Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution". It was a really interesting show, and I would recommend checking it out. It really helped put the American diet in perspective, especially what kind of food (mostly absolute garbage) the kids in our public schools are receiving.

A healthy diet and exercise go hand in hand. I don't think many people who are just getting started with a work out regimen realize that eating healthy is just as important (if not even more) than the working out. Eating well feeds into the work out, it ensures your body has the proper nutrition to maximize your results. And eating well really allows the results to show. You could work out all you want, and with out the proper diet you simply won't get the definition and visible results most are looking for.

Since I started actively losing weight I've been following what is called the Eat Clean Diet. And it isn't really a diet, it simply aims to teach you how to make the right food choices, and show you how to apply them everyday. It isn't a diet, it's more of a life choice. I've followed it pretty closely, and as you've read the results have been good. Eating Clean is pretty simple. I'll cover the biggest take aways I got from reading "The Eat-Clean Diet":

-When choosing a protein for a meal, choose lean proteins such as white meat chicken, turkey breast, ground turkey, very lean ground beef, and pork tenderloin

-Eat the lean protein in combination with complex carbs. Carbs get a lot of bad press, but they are totally essential, and if you really start reading labels and nutrition facts you will realize that it would be nigh on impossible to totally avoid them. You just have to pick the right ones! Complex carbs are essentially and non-processed carbs. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are all sources of complex carbs. Things like white bread, white rice, any bread that isn't whole grain, and all kinds of highly processed foods are all simple carbs (bad ones) Eating lean protein in combination with complex carbs helps facilitate lean muscle growth, and lean muscle burns fat.

-Eat as organic as possible. Now I'm no hippie, and I never had any problem not eating organic, but there are a few reasons to change. Processed foods are generally filled with all of the bad kinds of things you don't want to eat. Plus, I feel better about my food knowing I know where all (or at least most) parts of my food have come from. Like I said earlier, this is more about making the right daily food choices, so if you can't always eat organic and natural (Who can?) it's ok. You can really follow all these guidelines to many different degrees. One thing I read in the book that has always stuck with me, and helped me want to stay on track with the diet is this: In the last 50-100 ( I forget the specific amount of time quoted) years, since the introduction of highly processed, and high sugar foods in America, civilized diseases (Things like autism and diabetes) have become considerably more wide-spread.

-Sugars are bad. This kind of goes along with the organic thing. Most people know that sugar is bad for you, but few take steps to limit them in their life. One thing that can be used as a sugar alternative that is all natural is agave nectar. It's a little bit like a combination of honey and maple syrup. It's great in greek yogurt, oatmeal, basically anywhere you might be tempted to put a little sugar in. One of my favorite uses of agave nectar is combining cut up green apples, agave nectar, and some cinnamon in a pan and cooking for 10 minutes or so. Its a delicious all natural snack/side that tastes just like apple pie filling. Now you do want to make sure and not over due sugar, natural or not, but in any case, unprocessed is always best.

-Nuts are good. The book covers about a million reason why nuts are a good thing to integrate into your diet. They are packed with protein and all kinds of nutrients, and are a great natural snack. Almonds have become a staple of my diet. Also, I've substituted almond milk for regular milk. It tastes about the same, and using as a substitute in recipes you'd never know the difference. It also is about equivalent calorie wise, but it's packed with more vitamins and minerals.

-Eat 4-5 smaller meals a day instead of the usual 3 square. This helps you lose weight because by eating smaller meals in greater interval helps keep your metabolism running and burning calories and fat all day. This is difficult to do, at least it is for me. Sometimes it's hard to find the time to be eating 4-5 times a day. I've been eating 4-5 small meals a day during the competition, but before this I had a hard time getting the meals in. I just ate 3 meals a day, and it still worked for me, but to optimize weight loss plenty of small meals a day is the way to go.

Now I've only covered vague details of eating clean, there is a plethora of information I'm sure I forgot, or didn't have the time/room to mention. I just wrote what stuck out in my head, and things I think about everyday. I would reccomend going out and getting a copy of any of the Eat Clean books. Or check out their website which has some information and lots of good recipes:

I'll finish here by giving you a sample of what my daily diet these days includes. I start every morning (About 8am) with a bowl of oatmeal (complex carbs) with protein powder, a little bit of agave nectar, and sometimes fruit. The protein powder is chocolate flavored so it's pretty delicious. Then at about 11am I have either a small chicken breast or a couple egg whites with onions and peppers. (I happen to be lucky enough to work at a Subway where I have easy access to all these items everyday). At 1:30 or so I have a chicken breast salad, and lately, instead of dressing, I've been using some salsa I made which is fantastic, and goes good on pretty much anything! I have a protein shake after my workout, which has usually been at 415. Then this week Ive been having grilled chicken breast with some beans, onions, peppers, and jalepenos, and a small salad for dinner. (I know I eat a lot of chicken, but it is cheap, easy to make, and you can prepare it so many different ways).

One last note about eating. I like Eating Clean because you don't have to worry about counting calories, carbs, points or anything. You simply have to equip yourself with the knowledge of how to eat properly. I know things like weight watchers, and other fad diets are appealing because they tell you exactly what to eat and when. I like the freedom to make my own choices, and make the smart choices. Eating healthy has been difficult for me, because I love to eat, and I love food. But since I've been exercising I have simply tried to take it out of the equation. I cook up a lot of one or 2 things for my self for the whole week. When you come home and don't have to worry about making anything you're less likely to go out and eat un-healthy. Eating Clean can be difficult because to truly go for it, it requires a lot of fresh foods, and cooking, so that's why I like cooking up multiple meals at once.

Well if you have stuck through all this I hope you picked up a couple of things that you can apply to you're own diet, and help you eat a little healthier.

Peace for now Friends

Saturday, April 9, 2011

One week in, first weigh in

So it's been one week since I started the competition. It's been an interesting week to say the least. It's been fun, exciting, exhausting, exhilarating, and a whole lot of other adjectives at the same time. Everyday I become more and more comfortable with the workout routines. They still kick my ass everyday, and I don't really see that changing. Pushing yourself harder every time is a big part of the workout, and that is the absolute best way to see results. You have to push yourself harder than your mind thinks you can. I think a lot of people have an idea of what they can do during a workout, and if they get there they stop. But to achieve awesome results you have to push it hard every time. Since last Friday I have worked out 8 times, and I find myself needing to push myself harder each class. At the end of the class when we look at our charts showing what amounts of time we spent in each heart rate zone, I have found my numbers dropping a little lower than I want. I thinks that is partly because the workouts have been working! They tell us that the more you workout the quicker your heart rate will drop back to a normal pace after getting it to a high level, and, today especially, I noticed my heart rate leveling out quicker. I also think that my body is simply fatigued. I worked out 7 days in a row, and it has just taken a toll on my body. I am taking tomorrow off to give myself a chance to rest up so I can get back to hitting it hard.

Now the most exciting part of finishing up my first week, the first weigh in. I felt that I had seriously worked hard, and I knew that I would have at least gotten close to what my weekly average weight loss (I'd like to average 7-8 lbs per week). So when I stepped on the scale I was pleasantly surprised, I had lost 10.4 lbs!!! It feels absolutely amazing to see the fruits of my labor, I knew I had done well, but I freakin killed it, I was so excited. My hard work has payed off so far. I know that my weekly losses won't be that big every time, but it is just soooo good to know that what I've been doing has been working. Commit, and dedicate yourself to something and it pays off. On one wall of the studio they have a few words painted in large letters, like, energy, power, results, etc.. During just about every class during the treadmill sections when we're pushing it hard and I don't think I can go much longer I look up and just stare at the word results written in huge letters. I try and let my mind go somewhere else, and know that I do this to get the best results. It felt good to know that it actually worked, I got amazing results this week. And it has only inspired me to work harder, fine tune my eating habits, and push it even more!

Peace for now Friends

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First Workout(s)

It's been almost 1 week since I started the weight-loss competition, and now I have a better idea what exactly we're doing and, more importantly, what the workouts at Orange Theory Fitness are like.

On Saturday we had a meeting of sorts, the owner of the studio, the trainers/coaches, and all of the participants. It was just to go over the basics of the competition and give a little introduction of who we would be working with. It's all pretty straight forward, all of us have commited to working out at least 4 days per week, submitting daily food logs, and weighing in on Fridays. The winner is determined not by over all pounds lost, but percentage of total body weight lost. There are 5 or 6 trainers who run classes at Orange Theory, and each one is "coaching" a team of 8 or 10 contestants. We submit our daily food logs every day to our coach, and they will be giving feed back on our eating habits as we go. They also make themselves available for any other general questions. But everyone who works there is super nice and would be willing to answer anyones questions.

Now onto the more intersting part of this post, the workouts. And let me tell you, they are WORK! At the same time though, they are fun, and it really feels good to get through them. Orange Theory isn't a regular gym, you can't just go in and run on the treadmill for a while, they have 1 hour trainer led classes throughout the day. There's a maximum of about 10 or so people in a class, so it's semi-personal training I guess. And if you're curious where the "Orange Theory" comes in, here's your answer. The theory is that keeping your heart rate between 85-100% of your maximum heart rate puts you in the optimal zone to burn fat and calories and also puts your body into over-drive which helps your body continue to burn calories for 12-24 hours after each workout. Every time you go into OTF you strap a heart rate monitor to your chest which tracks your heart over the course of the class, and at the end you can see a bar graph showing how long your heart rate was in 4 different ranges. The top 2, where the over-drive/after burn kicks in, are orange and red, so you want to spend most of your time in the orange/red zone, hence Orange Theory. Anyways, every work out you do at OTF you are going to be doing the same basic things in each one. You start every workout on the treadmill. And it's not just jogging on a treadmill. OTF does interval training, I can't really give you pro's and con's of interval training, I'm sure there's plenty of available info elsewhere, but I have heard that they use interval training on the Biggest Loser. You spend 25-30 minutes on the treadmill, starting at a walk, and building to a base speed, and then the trainers get mean. They all vary day to day, but they put you through a series of sprints. Usually 60-90 second intervals where you bump the speed up to as fast as you can go. Sometimes we do a 6-minute stretch starting at your base speed and every minute you add a a little bit to your speed. That is probaly my least favorite treadmill series. Like I said, you're hooked up to a heart-rate monitor, and they have a big TV hung high, and on it there is a little box with your name and the percentage of your max heart rate youa re currently at. They do this so you can keep an eye on where you are at and push it harder or pull it back a little to keep yourself on the optimum range. The trainers also keep an eye on it and give you a little nudge if you're not reaching the right zone. So after 30-minutes of heart pounding running, you're exhausted and out of breath, and you're only half done. After the treadmill you move on to wokring on a rowing machine. The trainers tell you to row X amount of meters, or see how far you can row in 60 seconds, things like that. Similar to the treadmill with the itnervals and the trainers pushing you. After that you move on to doing various free weight exercises. Each trainer has a different routine every day. Then you do some work with whats called TRX. They're these long straps that are attached to the wall, you can do all kinds of different exercises with these, but we kinda use them like a pull up bar. After the weights and TRX, you go BACK and do more rowing, then back and do the same circuit of free weights and TRX again. Finally, we do breif ab work out, or the trainer works out abs during the free weight section, then a few minutes of stretching.

It is absolutley exhausting, and I've been totally drenched in sweat (seriosuly it looks like I've been swimming), but damn it sure does feel good to know you pushed through it and finished strong. So far I have done 5 workouts, and they're all a little different and each trainer brings their own style to it. It's kind of fun, in a wierd, sick, working out is awsome, kind of way. Every class I become more and more comfortable with all the equipment, and it becomes a little easier to find the right zone. Afer my first 2 work outs I could hardly walk, my legs hurt soooo bad. I learned that extra stretching and a hot shower are a neccesity to keeping my muscles not sore.

I've also been trying to find the best times to get my workouts in. 4:15 or 5:30 are probably when I'll do most of my work. But today I went in for a 6:30 am workout, followed imediatley by work at 8, and I can pretty safley say that I probably won't do that again. It just makes for an exhausting day. It was kind of nice having only 4 of us in class, and it was also fun to work out with Eric and Jenny Lespron, but I'm just straight up beat right now.

I know this post was a little rambling, and lacked my usual eloquence and witty comments :) and probably not the most interesting, it's kind of hard to convey the informatio about OTF this way. My future posts will be a little less long winded, more focused, and, from the couple topics I'm thinking about covering, more interesting to anyone who is looking for motivation or hints. I weigh in on Friday, I'm excited to see how much weight I've lost. I will defnitley post after weigh in, and what I've been eating this week.

Peace for now friends!