Sunday, July 18, 2010

After EMAO

EMAO is over, and it is time report my final results and to upload my "After" pictures. For comparison, I recommend going to my Before EMAO post so you can see my "Before" photos.

If you read my regular blog Pondering Happiness, Hope, and Wisdom, you might remember that I started EMAO as an experiment to see if I could blog about one subject for a specific length of time. I was inspired by author Julie Powell who blogged about cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. That blog led to a book deal, which led to a movie, which led to more book deals—you get the picture.

Of all of the difficulties that I encountered while attempting EMAO, blogging every day about my experience was by far the hardest thing to do. Seriously. I don't like sticking to one subject, and I had to force myself to narrow my focus. Sometimes, I ran out of ideas. Sometimes, my ideas were crappy. But most of the time, I was too tired from too much exercise to write about it. Funny, eh?

EMAO reminded me that muscle weighs more than fat. I didn't lose one pound exercising my ass off, but I lost four-percentage points of body fat and inches around my waist and thighs. (I still don't know why my right thigh remains bigger though.) I exercised 54 out of 90 days and burned approximately 14,200 calories.

Before EMAO, I had a list of pants that were too tight for me: my red Victoria's Secret corduroys, my pinstriped dress slacks, my navy slacks, and an old pair of blue jeans. I'm happy to report that even though I can still squeeze some fat off the sides of my waist, there is less than before and most of the pants on my list fit comfortably now. The blue jeans, however, have seen better days; I wonder now when I actually fit into them. Maybe I just shrunk them in the dryer. (I can dream.)

EMAO didn't change my size, my weight, or my thoughts about exercise. I still need motivation, diversity, and goals in order to work out every day.

For any future EMAOers out there:
  • I recommend a combination of exercise that includes strength training, cardio, and flexibility to maximize your results. 
  • I would avoid Taebo altogether since Billy Blanks doesn't seem to believe in cooling down after an intense aerobic workout. 
  • I love P90X, Yoga Booty Ballet, and Jackie Warner's Power Circuits for home exercise. 
  • If you live in the San Fernando Valley, Yoga Blend is an awesome yoga studio that offers a variety of instructors to guide you in your practice. 
  • If you like Latin music and dance, try Zumba; I didn't like it, but it is an energetic cardio workout.
  • You do need to make adjustments to your diet if you want to see some real results, but don't overdo it. I don't consume artificial sweeteners anymore at home (they make you crave sugar), but I sometimes put Splenda in my Starbucks coffee as a treat. 
Thank you for following my EMAO journey. My 20-year high school reunion was amazing! Check out what I wore and how I looked.

AWW – XoXo

P.S. Since I quit EMAO, I have lost 3.5 pounds—proof that muscle weighs more than fat!


    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Workout Report: Days 85 – 90

    WARNING: This week was sort of a joke. I don't know why I thought I would be able to exercise while I was packing for my trip, taking our pets to the vet, cleaning my house, traveling across the country, and attending reunion activities.

    Monday, June 21
    I did not work out today.

    Tuesday, June 22
    P90 X Cardio X
    • 45 minutes, 32 minutes in target zone
    • Average heart rate: 131bpm
    • 250 calories burned 
    Wednesday, June 23
    I spent most of today packing for my trip and cleaning the house for our pet/house sitter. Oh, I also saw my chiropractor, and our dog had an appointment with the vet.

    Thursday, June 24
    Today, I left Burbank at 2pm, and after many delays, I arrived at the historic Tutwiler Hotel in downtown Birmingham around 10:30pm. I just made it to the bar before it closed at 11. Thanks, Sarah!

    Friday, June 25
    I didn't plan to exercise today, but it was even more hectic than I expected. My husband arrived in Birmingham at 9am (love those red-eye flights), and he was very ill. I spent the day taking care of him; I don't even remember eating lunch.

    Saturday, June 26Day 90REUNION!
    I honestly thought I would do some yoga today before attending my reunion party. Instead, I was nursing a slight hangover after going to the Wine Loft, the Gable Square Saloon, the Rare Martini, and Formaggios the night before. I was also running on "near empty" with less than four hours of sleep.

    Week 13 Results: June 21 – June 26
    • 1 workout day
    • 250 calories burned
    AWW – XoXo

    P.S. I will post the final EMAO results sooncomplete with "After" pictures. (I don't see much of an improvement.)


      Tuesday, June 22, 2010

      112 Pounds—An Unrealistic Expectation

      When my husband Corey and my father realized that my target EMAO weight of 112 pounds was what I weighed at my wedding, they both balked. Dad said, "You were too skinny," and Corey commented, "Some people thought you were sick. Your back was scary." I remember a friend of mine told me that she had never seen my legs look that thin before, and the tone in her voice was of concern, not congratulations.

      Perhaps I should have been offended, but I liked how slim I was on my wedding day (9/9/06). The strange thing about the way I looked is that I never tried to lose weight. For some reason, the summer prior to my wedding, the pounds melted off. The year before I had suffered from food allergies so I limited my wheat intake, but I didn't exercise at all. Not once. Most people attributed my body to the stress of planning the wedding, but it wasn't that difficult and it certainly doesn't compare to the stress of planning a high school reunion. The most likely explanation is that my thyroid medication was too high during that time; therefore, I was able to lose weight without trying.

      As my EMAO experience draws to a close with my high school reunion this weekend, I wonder if my goal weight of 112 pounds was an unrealistic expectation. I haven't lost any weight since I began EMAO despite the variety of exercise, the amount of working out, and the dietary changes that I have incorporated into my life. I started at 118 pounds, and I imagine I will finish at or above that weight. I know six pounds doesn't seem like much, but at 5'2.5" tall, it makes a huge difference on my small frame.

      Acting Goofy
      Looking back at my wedding photos, I still don't think I was too skinny, and I wish it were that easy to be 112 pounds again. However, I know that I look good right now even if I don't like the number on the scale. I weigh today exactly what I weighed in high school, and I should be proud and satisfied with that achievement.

      AWW – XoXo


        Monday, June 21, 2010

        Workout Report: Days 78 – 84

        Monday, June 14
        Jackie Warner's Power Circuit (Routine A=Chest/Quads/Triceps/Core) Workout Results:
        • 58 minutes, 36.5 minutes in target zone
        • Average heart rate: 125bpm
        • 310 calories burned
        • I completed this workout two times, but I didn't do the 20-minute cardio.
        Tuesday, June 15
        I did not work out today because our cat went to the vet; he continues to have health problems since his surgery.

        Wednesday, June 16
        I did not work out today because after taking our cat to the vet yesterday, we ended up in the ER at 2am with our dog. Then we returned at 10am for our cat's appointment and again at 3pm for our dog's appointment (follow-up for the ER visit). That's four vet visits in 29 hours. I think I got maybe three hours of sleep altogether. :(

        Thursday, June 17
        Still recovering from the past two days with our pets. Very stressful and not enough rest.

        Friday, June 18
        Jackie Warner's Power Circuit (Routine B=Back/Hamstrings/Biceps/Core) Workout Results:
        • 63 minutes, 38.5 minutes in target zone
        • Average heart rate: 122bpm
        • 325 calories burned
        • I completed this workout two times, but I didn't do the 20-minute cardio.
        Saturday, June 19
        I did not work out today because my hamstrings were killing me.

        Sunday, June 20
        Jackie Warner's Power Circuit (Routine C=Glutes/Shoulders/Core) Workout Results:
        • 46 minutes, 34 minutes in target zone
        • Average heart rate: 131bpm
        • 270 calories burned 
        • Body parts that snapped, cracked or popped: elbows, knees, shoulders
        • I completed this workout two times, but I didn't do the 20-minute cardio.
        Week 12 Results: June 14 – June 20
        • 3 workout days (pathetic!)
        • 905 calories burned
        AWW – XoXo

        P.S. I'm glad my reunion is almost here because that means EMAO is over!


        Friday, June 18, 2010

        My five favorite beauty products

        Since there is more to attending a high school reunion than Exercising Your Ass Off, I thought I would share my current five favorite beauty products; all of which I will need to look beautiful on June 26.

          Sally Hansen Natural Beauty by Carmindy Luminizing Face PrimerSally Hansen Natural Beauty by Carmindy Luminizing Face Primer
          Although this face primer is overpriced online, it is worth the $9.99 you will pay for it at CVS. You can wear it alone or underneath foundation; either way, it brightens up your face. The velvety texture soothes dry skin, and it is easy to apply. My only complaint is that the pump becomes useless once the container is almost empty, but it is a small price to pay for a healthy, moisturized face.

          Moroccanoil, 3.4-Ounce BottleMoroccan Oil
          My stepmother introduced me to this hair care product, which straightens her naturally curly hair. I love it because my hair often has a straw-like appearance due to its dry nature. Moroccan Oil rescued my locks! I use a nickel-sized amount in my straight, long hair and work it from the roots to the tips. The tangles disappear, the split ends evaporate, and my hair ends up looking smooth and sleek just like Scarlett Johansson, an actress who uses this product. Moroccan Oil can reduce the appearance of scars, too. Oh, and did I mention it smells divine? Ask your local hairdresser where to find the miracle Moroccan Oil.

          Olay Total Effects Night Firming Cream for Face & Neck - 1.7 fl ozOil of Olay Total Effects Night Firming Cream
          According to its label, OO's Total Effects Night Firming Cream is supposed to balance color; hydrate, moisturize and exfoliate the skin; reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles, age spots, and pores; and prevent damage to the skin's surface. Desperate Housewives' actress Marcia Cross uses Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer SPF 15the daytime complement to the nighttime formula. I love how the Night Cream makes my skin feel like silk, and my husband thinks it smells good, too!

          Smashbox Emulsion Lip Exfoliant 0.75 ozSmashbox Emulsion Lip Exfoliant
          As the sun heats up in dry Southern California, my dry lips start to crack, peel, and bleed. No amount of moisturizing prevents this happening so I wanted to find a product that would at least eliminate the excess flaky skin hanging from my lips (how unattractive is that picture?). The Smashbox Emulsion Lip Exfoliant is easy to use, and it does the job. Afterward, my lips feel clean, soft, and more importantly, they look terrific. As an added bonus, this product smells like peppermint.

          CoverGirl Lashblast Mascara, Very Black 800, 0.44 - Ounce Packages (Pack of 3)CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Blasting Mascara
          Since I have short eyelashes, I am always looking for mascara that will make my eyes pop by appearing to extend the length of my eyelashes. LashBlast works wonders, and unlike most mascaras, it rarely smudges or flakes. In fact, it can be difficult to remove. If you watch television, you have probably seen Drew Barrymore's Lashblast commercial where her eyes look amazing even if she appears overly tan. I love LashBlast; you can sometimes buy it in bulk (three mascaras for $13) at Costco.

          Please feel free to share your favorite beauty products by posting comments to this blog entry! :-)

          AWW – XoXo


          Monday, June 14, 2010

          Workout Report: Days 71 – 77

          Monday, June 7
          P90X Chest and Back + JW 20-minute cardio Workout Results:
          • 67 minutes, 56 minutes in target zone
          • Average heart rate: 136bpm
          • 415 calories burned
          • Body parts that snapped, cracked or popped: elbows, knees, shoulders
          Tuesday, June 8
          I did not work out today.

          Wednesday, June 9
          P90X Shoulders and Arms Workout Results:
          • 49 minutes, 23 minutes in target zone
          • Average heart rate: 114bpm
          • 220 calories burned
          • Body parts that snapped, cracked or popped: shoulders
          Thursday, June 10
          Jackie Warner's 20-minute Cardio Workout Results:
          • 28 minutes, 22 minutes in target zone
          • Average heart rate: 134bpm
          • 165 calories burned
          • Body parts that snapped, cracked or popped: knees
          Friday, June 11
          Jackie Warner's 20-minute Cardio + Power Circuit (Routine A) Workout Results:
          • 55 minutes, 39 minutes in target zone
          • Average heart rate: 129bpm
          • 315 calories burned
          • I only completed the routine one time, but you are supposed to do it three times. Sigh.
          Saturday, June 12
          Jackie Warner's 20-minute Cardio Workout Results:
          • 23 minutes, 19.5 minutes in target zone
          • Average heart rate: 133bpm
          • 140 calories burned
          • Today I actually exercised outside along the Chandler Bikeway in Burbank; it is right next to our house.
          Sunday, June 13
          I purposely did not work out today; my muscles needed a break, and my awesome LA Lakers were playing!

          Week 11 Results: June 7 – June 13
          • 5 workout days
          • 1255 calories burned
          AWW – XoXo


            Sunday, June 13, 2010

            Hello Plateau

            Recently, I have discovered that I am burning fewer calories during my workouts. When I compared my recent results to last month, I realized that despite doing the same routine with maximum effort, my average heart rate is slightly lower, which results in fewer calories burned. Two weeks before my high school reunion, I am reaching a serious plateau in my EMAO experience.

            According to my research, most trainers agree that everyone is susceptible to hitting a plateau, a time when your body no longer responds to workouts in the same way because according to About Aerobics "your level of fitness has increased to the point that you need more challenges or difference exercises to increase the work of your muscles." There are many options to breaking through the plateau, but the best one in my opinion is to change my routine. Therefore, I began Jackie Warner's Power Circuit training this past Friday.

            Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit TrainingAfter doing 20 minutes of cardio, you are supposed to complete an entire circuit routine in 30 minutes. Jackie swears that your total workout will last only 50 minutes, but here is the catch: a routine, which consists of numerous circuits, must be completed three times. Right! It took me approximately 30 minutes to finish "Routine A" ONE time. Between stopping to review the exercises and pausing to deal with the pain, I was too exhausted to do the same thing two more times. However, I have a new goal: work up to doing "Routine A" three times straight through as instructed and move quickly from one exercise to the next without stopping in order to keep my heart rate up.

            I may have mastered P90X's strength training workouts (Yoga X still kicks my ass), but I have a long way to go before my body adapts to Jackie Warner's Power Circuits. With only two weeks left, I wonder how much of a difference it will make in my EMAO goals. Hmm ...

            AWW – XoXo


            The information in this blog is not intended as a substitute for professional health care. Please consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.