Trial and Error

Today I went back to working out for the “first” time since my half marathon (I bike commuted yesterday, but quite weakly). Last time, I tried to “loosen up” by running for 20 minutes the day after. That sucked, so this time I instead tried to do it 2 days later, which worked much better (I did take a leisurely 1 mile walk the day after). My workout today was so random. I just messed around on some weight machines in our apartment complex gym (mostly to see what they were like) then did 20 minutes at an easy pace on the treadmill. I never like this period right after a race where I don’t really have a workout plan – I have no idea what I want to do for my workout that day so it makes me procrastinate and then I never know what to eat (because I don’t know how many calories I will be burning/when I will be working out). I need to come up with a workout plan so that I am not in the weird limbo I am in this week – I am apparently a person that needs structure. Here are a few of the options I am entertaining:

  • Re-attempting NROLFW. I tried it before, but kind of half-assed it and decided I didn’t like it. With it being cold and rainy outside everyday, though, this might be a good option.
  • Biking: I know I can bike on the stationary bike trainers on campus regardless of weather. Also, Kris and I are planning to take some major rides (50+ miles) next summer so it would be nice to catch up to his ability level before that. I would need to find a somewhat structured plan, though, because I don’t really like stationary bikes and I’d probably slack off if I was just doing it whenever I felt like it. Maybe I can read the Game of Thrones books while I ride?
  • Running: I will definitely run during the winter so I don’t completely lose my base. I’m pretty hardcore about running in the winter actually – I went out and bought tons of gear last year and only stayed indoors if it was raining, blizzarding, or under 10 degrees (F). Though, speaking of cold weather gear, why do they not make more athletic tights for guys? I tried looking at cheap places where I usually find my stuff (i.e. Old Navy, JCP, Target) for Kris to wear on his bike and all I can find is sweatpants, which are a no-go for biking. I can check the Under Armour outlet when I’m back home in PA, but I’m a cheapskate, so I’d prefer somewhere else.

I also tried my new shoes out today (full disclosure, that is a referral link). They were…interesting. I could feel the arch support in them like I have never felt before. I seriously can feel the shoe pushing my foot back when my ankle tries to collapse in. Super weird feeling. This was interesting to me because the other shoes I have used in the past (Brooks Adrenaline; Mizuno Wave Inspire) seem like highly recommended shoes for over-pronators (people with flat feet) so I expected them to have the best support out there. I would say these shoes have about the cushioning and weight of the Brooks shoes – I had liked that the Mizuno’s had less, but they just aren’t going to be warm enough for winter (I needed to get rid of them anyway – they are completely worn through in several places and I can visibly see the degradation of the cushioning). At first the shoes felt really really weird because of the additional cushioning, but I got used to it during my run. I was also thinking that they made my right shin feel a little funny but then I realized it was just the way I was running on the weird treadmill we have in this gym, and correcting my gait on the treadmill helped (some other dude was on the good treadmill).

One final new thing I tried today. I am currently working on reducing meat in my diet (not going full vegetarian, just trying to not eat meat every single day) and today I managed an entire day without meat! Well, technically the day isn’t over, but I only plan on having some pumpkin ice cream with a pumpkin muffin, and those don’t have meat. I am fairly proud of this accomplishment, especially considering past me – one of the meals I ate was penne with marinara sauce (I put a ton of veggies in it) and I remember literally getting into fights with Kris because pasta “requires” meat or I won’t eat it (I used to be this way with pizza, too, and my favorite pizzas are now often 4 cheese or veggies). It’s an even more impressive feat if you know that as a child, I ate no vegetables except white mushrooms or baby carrots. MAYBE iceberg lettuce. Look forward to at least one meatless recipe for Food Friday 🙂


One final thing – and I have separated this because it has nothing to do with the rest of the post, but I don’t really want to see it as an afterthought – remember that there are several things about your body that fitness cannot change. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, here, but after seeing two posts on Reddit yesterday from super skinny ladies about hip dip (I feel ok with declaring them super skinny because their hips were as small as mine), I realize that not everyone knows this yet: THERE ARE NUMEROUS THINGS ABOUT YOUR BODY YOU JUST CAN NEVER CHANGE. These include:

  • Thigh gap (the idea that your thighs should at no point touch)
  • Hip dip (aka violin hips; the dip between where your hip bones are and where your femur points out)
  • Cellulite
  • I’m sure there are more things the internet will invent that I haven’t thought of yet. Fat ears, perhaps?

Technically, there are things you can do to slightly alter each of these.

You could reduce fat or muscle mass and see if that allows you to have a thigh gap. This probably won’t work unless your thighs are really muscular or you are very overweight, though – my thigh gap appears when I am a size 12. It depends almost entirely on your bone structure, and trying to lower your body fat enough to obtain it can be dangerous, mostly because for many people, their body fat will NEVER be low enough for it to appear, or it would have appeared already when they were at a healthy/slightly overweight weight.

Hip dip is sort of the opposite – you can only really see it if you are thin, because otherwise your hipbone and femur won’t be jutting out of your skin. So thin girls: if you want to rid yourself of hip dip, gain weight. I thought mine looked weird at first, but then I realized everyone had one, so I decided I was ok. Then I learned that there is some craze to try to lose weight and rid yourself of it, when that will only make it worse.

Cellulite is less of a modern internet problem – ladies have been worrying about this for decades. Remember, ladies: 90% of you have cellulite. It is just the way that women’s bodies (or bodies with low testosterone in general, if I remember correctly) store fat. Unless you have an extremely low body fat percentage (like, figure competition level – and even they don’t stay in that kind of shape for long), it’s probably going to show up. The “treatments” for it have limited effectiveness – sure, super cream X may work randomly for one person, but there is not really any evidence that any of them work (if you have a ton of money, I think that I heard that certain surgeries work – that’s it). It’s probably best to just remember that everyone has it. Go Kaleo has a great post where she shows a picture of Scarlett Johansson’s, and actually talks about all the sciencey stuff  behind all this with sources unlike me, because I’m lazy and just sending a reminder, not reinventing a wheel. I know that doesn’t make you feel better in your skin tight outfit, but hey, that is why Spanx exist*. They are cheaper than 80,000 creams and less effort than massaging your skin for hours. Note: I’m a super-weirdo and I’m fine with my cellulite showing in say, shorts, but I just HATE when it breaks up the line of a skin tight dress so I wear them sometimes. Remember: I wear size 2, and I have cellulite (and also loose skin, which is the primary reason for the Spanx). WE ALL HAVE IT.

*I know I should be like “completely embrace your body” instead of advocating shapewear, but I’m realistic, and trying to take baby steps here, ok?

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