Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Past Week and a Half of Yoga Challenge Photos!

This post has a week and a half worth of photos because I wasn't able to post them last week and the challenge has been on hold since Friday due to my back injury.

I miss doing daily poses horribly but there's only so much I can do right now and I need to make sure I focus on recovering my back!

Here are the poses in order of doing them:

Day Six August Yoga Challenge - Sky Archer/Reverse Triangle Pose

Day Seven August Yoga Challenge - Standing Split Pose

Day Eight August Yoga Challenge - Revolved Half Moon Pose using yoga blocks.

Day Nine August Yoga Challenge - Intense Side Stretch Pose 

Day Ten August Yoga Challenge - Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose

Day Eleven August Yoga Challenge - Side Lunge Pose

Day Twelve August Yoga Challenge - Revolved Low Lunge Pose

Day Thirteen August Yoga Challenge - Half Split Pose

Day Fourteen August Yoga Challenge - Thread the Needle Pose

Day Fifteen August Yoga Challenge - Extended Puppy Pose

Day Sixteen August Yoga Challenge - Side Plank Pose

Saturday, August 18, 2018

My NASM Personal Trainer Journey - The NASM Personal Fitness Workshop

Welcome back to my (almost) weekly blog posts on my journey to becoming a personal trainer and what comes after. Today I'm going to talk about the NASM Personal Fitness Workshop that I took last Sunday.


The first thing I'll say about the workshop was that it was incredible and I learned so much more than I expected too so if you have a chance, definitely take it! Mine was included as part of my entire NASM package so the cost of the workshop was rolled into the cost of the entire program.

This workshop will help you prepare for the certification exam if you take it before you're certified because it goes over everything we learned during the test preparation and it will also really help you cement your knowledge and give you 0.8 CEU's toward your required continuing education credits if you take it after you pass.

Personally, I was told by NASM to wait and take it after I pass in order to get the credits but it turned out that several of the participants were told to take it before they took the exam in order to help them prepare for the exam better so I guess it works either way. It would have definitely helped me prepare but I was glad to take it after because it allowed me to focus on everything I was learning instead of freaking out over how much I would have to know to pass.

First thing's first though; the workshop I took was in Chestnut Hill, MA so I got to spend a weekend staying with some great friends since they lived about 25 minutes away from there which simplified my life a lot! There are many other locations offered but in the 4-6 months of workshops there were only two in Mass and the next closest one was NYC so if you plan to attend one of these, definitely check ahead of time so you can get the one closest to you!

Let me just tell you guys, the gym at Chestnut Hill where the workshop was held was the most amazing gym I've ever stepped foot it. You could probably fit two of my gyms just into their upstairs workout area and they had an entire Pilates studio, numerous rooms for other activities (like the one we were training in), a whirlpool and sauna, huge locker rooms with towels for everyone and probably a lot more things I didn't get to see. It was incredible!

Anyway, back to the workshop. One of my biggest (dumb) fears about this workshop was that I would be the biggest person there and while I don't think I was (I was one of three and no one of us were huge or anything), there were definitely a lot of younger, super-in-shape women and one guy. I also wasn't the oldest one there which was cool. Everyone was really warm and accepting though and I didn't feel too badly out of place but there were twinges of it at the back of my mind because that's just how my brain works.

The instructor was also fine with me not being able to participate in some of the workouts due to my back so that was really good. And, speaking of the instructor, he was incredible! He bought to life everything I learned during my guided study and really had it make sense to us plus he was funny and just really at the top of his game! 

The workshop went on from about 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (registration was at 7:30) with an hour off for lunch and we definitely made great use of time and probably could have learned a lot more if there was more time but he covered everything important. I'm just going to summarize the actual workshop because I don't remember the whole thing step by step.

We started with introductions and ice breakers and then worked on Overhead Squat Assessment with the instructor explaining it to us using the projector as well as examples from people in the group. We were then broken up into pairs and did the overhead squat assessment on each other. I did learn that I have several compensations that I didn't realize I had including one that doesn't normally show up on the squat assessment paperwork. My feet turn out slightly, my knees definitely turn in and my left hip leans into my body (that's the uncommon one) so I have some serious work to do on those areas!

It really helped me to see how a professional performed this assessment instead of just reading about it and watching videos of it and also helped being able to ask him questions as we went along.

We then went over the NASM workout model and how to create workouts and programming based on what we learned during the assessments and based on how NASM recommends setting them up. The biggest thing I enjoyed out of that was learning self myofascial release or foam rolling. That was the thing I wanted to learn the most hands on because reading about it and watching videos is one thing but doing it is another so I was thrilled that we got to do that.

The instructor walked us though all the different forms of flexibility including foam rolling, static stretching and active and dynamic stretched and I have to tell you guys, during the standing calf stretch he had me turn my foot inward since my feet turned out during the assessment and just that one tiny, half inch twist of my foot changed the entire stretch for me! By the end of the stretching I was feeling like I'd just completed a whole workout so it was really great!

Outside of flexibility we also focused on warming-up, core and speed/agility and quickness in phases 1, 2 and 5 which were all be built around what we saw in the assessments. I was able to practice the phase 1 portions but had to sit out most of phase 2 and 5 (although I tried the first half of phase 2) because my back was just done by then. But I was able to practice "training" my partner in phase 2 which gave me some great ideas on how to keep someone motivated during the workout when they're tired and want to stop but it's not done yet.

I also came to understand that there's far more to warming-up then walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes. NASM recommends foam rolling the spots that need it, then things like planks and then some dynamic movements like using heavy ropes. The instructor said he never warms anyone up just by using the treadmill so it gave me some good ideas for future warms-ups!

The second half of the workshop was more focused resistance training concepts for all three phases and on group exercises and learning from those. Unfortunately I had to sit that workout out but being able to observe and see how he got the workouts going and encouraged the participants helped me a lot. 

We also went over a lot of smaller things: how to keep the workout from getting boring, how to modify movements for people with issues and progress and regress exercises depending on who your client is, how to make money as a trainer, how to program for clients depending on their age, ability, health and goals... things like that. 

By the end of the workshop I felt a lot more confident in my hands-on knowledge and in my ability to actually train someone and write programming and especially on how to do assessments and create a workout based on what those show me.

I'm probably missing a lot of details here but it was a week ago and my brain's been a little fuzzy the last day and half (see my previous blog post for details) but it was a fantastic workshop and I'm SO glad I went! I definitely want to attend more if possible because it really helped cement the book knowledge I had into actual hands-on knowledge. I know they offer a CES (the program I'm starting now) workshop as well but I haven't been able to find any locations near me for that one.

I do highly, highly recommend it though and at the end you end up with another nifty certificate (I think I'm going to need a certificate wall pretty soon lol) and a lot of knowledge.


Next week I'll probably write about choosing liability insurance and starting the CES program so please keep checking back!

Friday, August 17, 2018

It's Been a Long Day...


I'm just going to sum things up here because I'm tired and my brain is a little "off."

Last night my body started doing that weird jerking thing where you're mostly asleep but suddenly your whole body seizes up and jerks and then the whole thing starts again every few minutes. It usually happens either when I've messed up my meds or my sodium is tanking.

I got up to get some Advil because usually that makes it stop and by the time I was in the living room I knew I was going to fall because I lost all concept of balance and I was lightheaded but not dizzy? I don't know how to explain it but, once again, normally it happens when my sodium is crashing.

Anyway, by the time I realized I was falling I was already half way to the floor. I'm not exactly sure how I landed but the bridge of nose is bruised and red so I guess I hit something with it on my way down?

Then it took me another ten minutes at least to sort of crawl from where the Advil was to the couch where I had to lay down to keep from falling again, then to the bathroom where I had to lay on the floor to keep from falling again and then finally back to my bedroom where I just went back to bed.

Should I have gone to bed? No. I should have woken Charles up and gone to the ER but like I said, my brain is "off" right now and I obviously wasn't thinking clearly.

When I got up this morning my back was in horrible pain. I must have thrown it out again when I fell because it hurt horribly the same way it does when I throw it out. It hadn't hurt that badly in at least a year, if not more, but I thought I was okay outside of my back so I went to work. 

Once at work, I started feeling like I was going to fall again and the lightheadedness came back to I finally called my doctor who sent me to the ER which is where I spent most of my day and the most shocking thing was that it's NOT my sodium. That came out of left field for me because it's always my sodium being low when this happens!

Anyway, I ended up with 2 bags of fluids, a CT scan, having multiple vials of blood taken and now I wait for an MRI (probably on Monday) because I still couldn't walk a straight line well after the fluids, was still tipping to the left side and was a little slow with my language. They even talked about a possibility of a small stroke or something going on in my cerebellum but I'm really going to hope that's not it.

So now I'm home while I wait for the MRI but if any of those symptoms come back or if anything new happens or if my head hurts badly enough to need some Advil I have to go right back to the ER.

In the meantime I'm putting heat on my back and there's no more yoga pose challenges or anything else for now until it's at least a little better.

I'll keep you all updated as I learn more.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thursday Weigh-In - August 16th - Week Two Strict Keto


Well, this was not the number I expected to see this morning and, honestly, I'm disappointed because when I got on the scale on Monday it was a whole lot lower than today's number.

I mean, yeah, it's a loss and any loss of good but that's just not what I was expecting. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out why it skyrocketed back up and all I could come up with was that over the weekend that I was gone I didn't have any ChocZero bark at all and once I came home and added it back into my diet, the numbers jumped.

I'm going to not have any again at all this coming week and see what happens with the scale because I'm not sure what else to change.

Other than that everything else remains the same for now: strict keto, back to the gym asap, and counting, weighing and measuring my food.

And I definitely want to get back to 10,000 steps a day again. I just need to get up and do it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Workout Plans, Programming and Obsessions

So, let's talk workout plans. I've been going back and forth on workout plans for a while now planning, replanning, deciding, starting, changing my mind, restarting again and back to planning. Sometimes it feels like my brain is trapped on a constantly running hamster wheel and just won't stop long enough to let me take in a deep breath.

Luckily, yesterday evening I went to a "sip'n'stretch" at DGBodyworks which was mostly relaxing foam rolling and gentle yoga and it was amazing. Not only was my body relaxed but my mind actually stopped whirling and running and calmed down which allowed me to realize a few things.

I love programming workouts and I enjoy it a lot but it's one thing to program for real/hypothetical clients and another programming for myself. I have no problems working on it other others. I don't obsess and I get it done.

But when I program for myself I go off the rails. I become hyper-focused and so intent on getting every last detail perfect that I lose sight of the big picture and just kind of flounder. I don't know why there's a such a big difference but I decided yesterday, after my mind calmed, that I'm going to step back from programing for myself.

I'm going to restart the Lauren Gleisberg gym weight training workout one but this time I will be sure to modify a lot more (I'm looking at you incline bench pushup which threw my back out last time) and, when I have time, add extra moves like some pilates.

Once my brain was much calmer it occurred to me that I don't have to follow the workout to a T. Maybe I can't do a deadlift with my back right now. Does that mean I need to toss the whole workout out the window and look for something new? No! It means I modify or replace that move and do what I can do. It's that simple and there's no reason to make it any harder.

So that's my plan right. The workout is ready to go, I know what and how to modify the things that need it and I love her workouts so this should work out well as long as I'm careful and actually stick to this!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thursday Weigh-In - August 9th - Week One Strict Keto


Yes! Down 2.6 lbs this week, back in the 160's and feeling a ton better mentally and physically!

Today is Day 6 on track and the insane hunger is finally quieting down, the carb cravings are slowly getting better and my headache/migraine is pretty much gone! Now I have to lose 11.8 lbs to get back to my lowest June weight but I know I can do it, it'll just take a couple of months.

I did decide to try out the Isopure protein powder one last time with the digestive enzymes but by the end of day 2 I felt so awful that I stopped the whole experiment.

Warning... TMI ahead...Not only was the bloating awful but the acid reflux, about an hour after having the shake, was so bad I could actually feel it coming up my throat and into my mouth :O on top of that my headache reached migraine proportions and I just felt miserable. I didn't have one yesterday and by late yesterday afternoon the headache was almost gone, the bloating went away overnight and no acid reflux at all!

So, that's it for the Isopure, which is a shame because it's delicious and provides a ton of protein, but it seems like every time I try it my reaction to it gets worse and worse so I'm sticking to the Atkins shakes for when I need a protein shake and working on getting real foods in for protein when I can.

I'm still nursing my back and that's improving too but definitely still twinging. This Sunday I have a NASM workshop in Boston so I want it to be better by then because there's a 90 minute group workout at the end but I spoke with NASM just in case and they said if my back gives me issues I can sit it out and still take notes or something.

I'm also thinking about doing 10,000 steps a day again but that will probably kick in next week after I'm home from Boston as well as returning to the gym!

I think that's all I have for now but I'm thrilled to be back on track again!!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Past Week of Yoga Challenge Photos!

This has been a really great yoga week. I finished the July yoga challenge and started my own August challenge with almost all new poses. I can't wait to see what this coming week brings!

Here are the poses in order of doing them:

Day Thirty July Yoga Challenge - Your Choice - Plank Pose

Day Thirty-One July Yoga Challenge - Your Choice - Upward Plank Pose

Day One August Yoga Challenge - Sphinx Pose 

Day Two August Yoga Challenge - Bird-Dog/Mood Bird Pose  

Day Three August Yoga Challenge - Revolved Downward-Facing Dog Pose 

Day Four August Yoga Challenge - Garland Pose 

Day Five August Yoga Challenge - High Lunge Pose 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

My NASM Personal Trainer Journey - What's Next?

Welcome back to my weekly blog posts on my journey to becoming a personal trainer and what comes after. Today I'm going to talk about my plans for the next few months.


The first thing that I'm doing (and starting this week) is the NASM Corrective Exercise Specialty program in the continuing education specialization program. I've had this plan picked out since I first signed up for CPT program because this is exactly the kind if clients I want to work with; people with chronic pain, illness, issues with their body and muscles, plus it's what I deal with with my back (as evidenced by today's workout).

This program will go much further in depth about assessments, the human body and muscles and how to better identify muscle imbalances and design more effective programs for my clients. This is a self-guided 15 module program (so 15 weeks if I do a module a week the way I did with the CPT program) plus a couple fo weeks of studying for the final that can be taken online.

I'm really looking forward to this program! I've ordered the textbook (I got a PDF version but I wanted a hard cover because I study better that way) and I'll be starting the first module this week and will be blogging about it.

The other thing that I'm doing at the same time as the CES program is my gym internship/personal trainer development program as long as NASM can find a NASM-affiliated gym that is willing to work with me within 20 miles of my home address. I had to do a resume before they could start looking for a gym and I should have a placement (or know that I won't have one) by August 30th.

I'm hoping they can find a place because while I feel I have the book knowledge to start training I really need some hands on knowledge and education as well and this program is set up to go for 8 weeks, 10 hours a week and each week has its own assignments, discussion questions and so on. It's terrifying but interesting at the same time. If they can't find a gym near me they will refund that portion of my money but I'm really hoping they find something.

On top of those two things I'm also doing a NASM workshop this coming Sunday right outside of Boston so I get to see my Boston area friends (we're actually going to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday). I get a continuing education credit for this workshop and it sounds like it's going to go over everything I learned while studying for my CPT. I'll be blogging about that next week as well!

I think that covers things for now but I will keep doing weekly blog posts on this whole journey so please keep checking back!

Workout Plan Change


So I was all ready to do the Lauren Gleisberg workouts. I even made it to the gym today and was doing okay until my back started to hurt really badly during the abs workout and I had to cut it short (which is why I'm not doing a post on that workout).

I had some time to think about it and I already know that the deadlift is out for tomorrow so I think I'm going to stick with my Push/Pull/Legs/Abs A-G workouts. They're specifically built to accommodate my back issues and to strengthen both my core and my back and I've done them before without many issues. Plus, as I've said many, many times, I love my workouts.

Right now I'm working on making sure I have them organized the way I want (and how I learned from NASM) while still following basic progression ideas. Mostly, I seem to have an undulating periodization type workout where I go back and forth between various phases and stages throughout the week and I'm happy with that.

Also, most of the exercises has so many variations that I can do them numerous times and never exactly repeat them. For example, with the weighted flat chest press I have the option to use the floor, the bench, a stability ball, do it two handed, one handed or alternating hands, use dumbbells, a barbell or plates and so on. This will keep me from getting bored while still following a specific plan!

Tomorrow I'm planning on cardio and/or yoga depending on how my back feels and then I'm really hoping to do all my A days before my NASM workshop this coming weekend.

The most important thing right now is to work out while keeping my back safe!

August 4th New Start Weigh-In - Week Zero Strict Keto - Updated, Edited and Reposted!


EDIT: I am slightly changing the Day 1 plan but not for the reasons you might think... I did NOT cheat lol. 

But I have noticed that the scale has been up significantly since my last Day 1 on the 1st so that's the number that should have been my official restart weigh-in number. I always forget that the weight goes way up a day and two AFTER a major cheat day, not the very next day!

Also, I haven't been cheating at all but I also haven't been tracking and weighing/measuring everything like I should and I really wanted my new restart day one to be the same day for diet and exercise so today is the last, final, new Day one. 

Yes, I know constantly having a new Day One is annoying and repetitive but this is what works for me and eventually I hit one that I stick to so that's what I'm doing.

After many, many, many restarts over the last six weeks or so I have decided to really rededicate myself to keto and healthy eating again. This time I'm trying a slightly different approach where I've decided to do one full year of no cheat keto and today is Day One.

I've talked about trying to go for a year before but this time I'm really serious about it and ready to jump in with both feet.

I'm tired of unhealthy food and cheat days (although I very much enjoyed my favorite cheat foods on Tuesday in preparation for this coming year). I'm tired of being bloated and feeling cruddy, of the headaches and the fibro pain, of having no energy and of the scale slowly going higher and higher with each passing week and my clothes getting tighter.

It's time to suck things up, admit I fell all way off the wagon and get back on already! The fact that I'm up 14.4 lbs since my lowest weight so far is depressing but it is what it is and I did this to myself. I may not have many major cheats in the last two months but I obviously ate enough calories to more than make up for the lack of cheats plus pushing my carb amounts to as close to 50 total as possible also didn't help.

Like I said, a few days ago I ate some of my favorite carby foods and after I was SO ready to get on with this and while I did great with the no cheat foods I also continued on with lazy keto which is really bad for me and now I'm done with that as well.

The longest I've ever gone cheat-free so far has been 199 days and I am ready to beat that record and go longer even though that includes all the holidays in the next year. I think I can do it though. If I can survive the first week to ten days I know I'll be okay and I also know I need to watch for that 5-6 month stretch where I just get fed up (hahaha) with keto and dieting and just want to binge. That's usually when it hits so I need to be ready for the cravings!

I still plan to do rewards every 25 days of no cheating that goes by and my plan to not give in is that if I do give in and cheat I have to give up my internet access for 48 hours and for those
who know me that is never, ever, ever, EVER going to happen 😂😂 so I think that's the best barrier to cheating that I could have possibly come up with!

I know this won't be easy all the time and that I'll have good days and bad days but I want this. Keto is when I feel my healthiest and look my best and I'm willing to work for it!

I'll be trying a lot of new foods and recipes to keep from getting bored and I'll also be working on cutting back on the processed food but this will take some time so I'm taking this one week, one day and one hour at a time!

I know I can do this. I know I have it in me to control my cravings and my behaviors. There are no more excuses. This is happening and it's happening now.

Who's with me?