Before & After | Bender Fitness Lean Muscle Building Challenge

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lean body back3This past weekend I completed the Bender Fitness 4 Week Lean Muscle Building Challenge. I really wasn’t expecting much in just 28 days. I mean, I am a realistic person. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the progress concerning my physique in just 4 weeks!lean body front3

The upper back portion of my body looks tighter, my lower back looks the same. My arms have slight definition and look broader. My legs are definitely leaner and stronger. Best of all, my stomach is shows just a little bit more definition and my “love handles” are a little less pronounced. Overall, I am quite happy with my four weeks of progress.lean body side3

This concludes the second phase of my 90 Day Lean Body Building Plan. The last portion concludes with the 21 Day Challenge. Alas I did not make my DietBet goal, but I’m ok with that. I lost two pounds and probably some inches (I did not track the inches “doh”) My overall goal this year is to obtain a leaner body, not lose lots of weight. I will do more comparison photos at the end of the challenge. On a totally separate note, I’m definitely tan! Gotta love Florida!

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New Home Gym Equipment

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I am slowly building a simple home gym based on equipment that Melissa Bender has listed on her website. Last month I added a ball, a kettle bell and a heavier set of free weights. This month I decided to purchase the Ultimate Body Press Dip Stand.

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I hate having to use a chair to perform dips. I’m always a little hesitant to put my weight on the front end of a chair when it has very little weight on the back. Plus this Dip Stand can be used for pull ups, rows, and more. I ordered from the website, but Amazon.com is about the same price. I picked up the box from the post office, and as soon as I arrived home I opened the package to peek at the contents.

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The first thing I noticed was that most of the work was already done for me. I spied only one page of directions, and upon reading I was beginning to think that I was headed for an IKEA disaster. The directions say to use color coding to put the equipment together, however the directions are in black and white!!!IMG_0834

However, upon closer inspection, I was able to see that the color coding was on the equipment itself and was very simple to assemble. Regardless, the little drawing on the instructions was definitely unhelpful as the parts themselves have no numbers. IMG_0838IMG_0836

I was able to assemble the Dip Stand in less than five minutes, and once complete, I couldn’t resist trying a dip or two (peek the lack of workout clothing). Can we say challenging!!! This equipment is going to be a great muscle builder for me!

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What do you have in your “home gym”?

Current Fitness Routine | Strength and Cardio

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As race season ended, I immediately began to think about spring training. I am running a marathon again in November, along with a few Half Marathons along the way. This means that I need to stay in training shape this Spring and Summer. Plus I want to get more strength training in to reach my goal of a leaner physique this year.

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Along those lines, about a month ago I began to wake up 45 minutes earlier each day to get in a short strength training workout from Melissa Bender of benderfitness.com. I love her workouts as they are short, intense and effective workouts that are meant to be accomplished at home. This means that my home gym  has expanded just a little (more on that in another post). I will finish one of her 30 day challenges this Sunday, take a week to focus solely on core and then I will hit another 30 day challenge to push into summer. These challenges keep me active 5 or 6 mornings a week, which means that I save my running for the evenings.

I am currently in the second week of the Hal Higdon Spring Training program (Intermediate level). I particularly like his schedule because it includes tempo runs, strength training, speed play and long runs. Basically everything I need to stay in shape until I begin Fall training. I am still racing over the summer, but nothing over 6 miles. The Florida heat and humidity is already serious!

 

I signed up for a DietBet challenge, and I plan to post pics of my before and after as well as nutrition along the way. As always, you can see photos of my training on my Instagram (Missmusic12) and through the hashtag #morfitme.

Keeping Track | My Fitness Journal

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I have decided to work harder to reach my 2015 goal of a leaner me. This means that I need to keep track of my weight lifting, and what is working and what isn’t working concerning all fitness. I researched several options including running journals, print outs, etc., and I decided to just go with the simplest route.

The Moleskine journal is just the right size for the gym. I can stick it in my desk drawer at home, in the glove compartment of my car, in my FitBelt, etc. Plus, the size discourages me from writing more than is really necessary. It has truly been great for the New Rules of Lifting for Women program, because I cannot always remember which workout I am on, or how much weight I lifted the previous week. Plus, its easier to keep track of my splits for speed workouts when they are written down. With this journal, its all written down for easy reference.

Tell me, how do you keep track of your fitness? Do you?

Fitness Update | Marathon & Strength Training

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Its time! Time for me to hit my Marathon Training hard. I have been doing the Jeff Galloway 52 weeks plan most of the year, but recently I found myself bored with it, so last week I began the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan for the Marathon. I am exactly 16 weeks out, meaning I changed over last week starting in week 2 of the program.

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I wasn’t feeling mentally prepared for my long runs on the Jeff Galloway program, which is totally subjective. The plan was effective as I was in good shape to switch to Hal Higdon’s program. I am enjoying his program, and will continue with it until the Marathon. I also wanted to incorporate some strength training, but I did not want to go to a gym or spend an hour on an at home fitness routine. Plus, all of the weight training programs I was running into on the internet did not take into account that I am running so much. In other words, I did not want to sacrifice my running for strength training.

After much searching, I ran across a strength training plan for runners on Runners Connect.com for $49. It just so happens that my $70/month gym membership contract just ended, so I went ahead and purchased the program. Its low budget, but who cares. It is set up specifically for runners! The program should help me stay injury free and give me the necessary strength to complete my first Marathon with less of a grimace on my face :-).

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I begin the Strength Training for Runners program today, so I will update in four weeks. In the meantime, I plan to purchase a Camelback because I am finding that I need more water for my long runs and the handheld water bottles I have are heavy and annoying. Have I given up Yoga? Nope, never! I still practice Yoga most mornings, I haven’t been to a class in awhile because they do not fit in my schedule, but I have been keeping up with my Tara Stiles DVDs, Kino Yoga on Youtube, and I recently discovered Yogabycandace.com.

I am staying active, eating healthy, and it shows (I’ll post a current pic of myself laster tonight)!

New Toy | Garmin Forerunner 220

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I made a promise to myself, that if I stayed consistent with my running for over a year, I would purchase a GPS running watch. I’ve been running for at least 4 years now, but I always used to slack off when it got cold because I just do not like cold weather, but not this year. I scheduled two races at the beginning, in the middle of winter, and at the end of winter to give me the necessary push to keep running.

Now that its Spring, I really need no motivation other than warm weather, so no problems here. I met that goal and surpassed it, so I went ahead and purchased a Violet and White Garmin Forerunner 220:

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I have taken it out a few times for short runs and intend to take it out for a 9 miler this Saturday morning. Its been freakin awesome!!!! I don’t have to use my phone, which can get quite heavy on the arm when doing long runs. I don’t have to sign in to my phone to check my mileage, I don’t have to wait for a little voice to tell me my stats, nope I can just look down at my beautiful watch and get everything on one screen. Was it expensive, yes, but was it worth the investment? Hells yea! My marathon training just got easier!

Fitness Update : May 2014

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So,  you know how I signed up for a gym and was going to spinning and les mills classes, yea…….I haven’t done that in MONTHS! I still pay for the membership because I am under contract, but I have decided that Gym Memberships just are not for me.

Have I quite exercising completely? HELL NO! If anything I am much more consistent now that I am not forcing myself to go to classes. I run 4-5 days a week depending on the length of my long run and practice at least 30 minutes of Yoga daily. Post run, I like to do Yoga for Strength and Flexibility, on non run days I focus on inversions, breathing and the meditative side of things. I purchased the Tara Stiles DVD set a couple of months ago, so I just pop in a DVD and do one of the many flow routines. Once my Gym membership runs out, I will rejoin my favorite Yoga studio in town and go to classes a couple of times a week.

How is this working out for me? Quite well! My exercise is now consistent, I have lost more weight, I look leaner and am just plain happier with life (my legs look freaking awesome!). I am even getting up Earlier to get my exercise in (which is major for someone that likes to stay up nights and wake up later than the 8-5 crowd).

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Like I have said along this journey before, I am finding what works and sticking with it!