Sunday, December 27, 2009


So, it's only been a few days and I've already decided to change my workout schedule. I've decided to try and match it a little more closely to what my trainer had originally put in place.

M, W, F: 60 minutes treadmill (or walking hilly streets outside)
T, TH: My "I'm not allowed to jump" intervals

2 sets of 10 bicep curls (13.5 lbs)
Walk up and down the stairs 4 x (there are 15 steps in my stairs)
2 sets of 10 hammer curls (13.5 lbs)
Walk up and down the stairs 4 x (there are 15 steps in my stairs)
2 sets of 10 concentration curls (13.5 lbs)
Walk up and down the stairs 4 x (there are 15 steps in my stairs)
2 sets of 10 shoulder shrugs (13.5 lbs)
Walk up and down the stairs 4 x (there are 15 steps in my stairs)
2 sets of 20 triceps dips

I am not allowed to do any other strength building exercises (crunches, lunges, etc.) so I will start with these and add more as my physical therapist assigns them. And each week I will either add more repetitions or more weight.

By doing the treadmill program and the interval program, I won't get bored quickly, I will continue to increase my upper body strength, and I will continually challenge my muscles.

(I may however wear out the rug on the stairs.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Make It Harder (But do it slowly.)

Four weeks ago (one week after my back surgery) I was told that I was allowed, no, encouraged, to get up and walk around as much as possible. This would help me heal (among other lovely side effects of exercise). I had already been making myself walk around the house for ten minutes at a time, so once I had the formal go ahead from the nurse, I hatched a plan.

I had learned from my initial fitness quest (7 months ago) that I needed to add things slowly, and that I needed to mix things up to keep things interesting for me and my muscles.

So that week I walked inside/outside for 30 minutes 5 days a week and did some medically approved weight lifting for my arms three times a week.
Each week, I upped the walking by 10 minutes and either upped the weights by 2 lbs or upped the reps by 5.
So this week, I am up to 60 minutes of walking and 2 sets of 20 hammer curls (10 lbs.), 2 sets of 20 bicep curls (10 lbs.) and 2 sets of 20 triceps dips.

With my second post operation doctor's visit under my belt, and a number of restrictions lifted (hot tub! heating pad!) I'm ready to spend the next 6 weeks with a new plan.

Because I still cannot jump or run, I will use the incline function on the treadmill to increase the difficulty of my workout.

60 minutes on treadmill

0-12 minutes: Speed 3.2, Incline 4%
12-15: Speed 3.5, Incline 10%
15-18: Speed 1.0, Incline 2% (Walking sideways on treadmill and then backwards.)
18-30: Speed 3.2, Incline 4%
30-33: Speed 3.5, Incline 10%
33-36: Speed 1.0, Incline 2% (Walking sideways on treadmill and then backwards.)
36-48: Speed 3.2, Incline 4%
48-51: Speed 3.5, Incline 10%
51-54: Speed 1.0, Incline 2% (Walking sideways on treadmill and then backwards.)
54-60: Cool down

For weeks 2-3, I will increase the time that I do the heavy incline by 1 minute. Then after I am doing the heavy incline for 5 minutes at a time (Week 4), I will increase the current 4% incline to a 6% (after the initial 8 minutes of warming up).

I will also increase the weights I am lifting by 2 lbs every 2 weeks.
At the beginning of Week 5, I will assess how the program is going and make any changes as needed.

Sometimes this process seems very slow. But when I get frustrated, I just remind myself that the doctor "stripped muscle and drilled through my bone" and that slows me down to a reasonable pace.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Continue Your Journey

5 weeks ago today
5 weeks ago today I was about to go in to surgery
5 weeks ago today I was scared out of my mind and arguing with the anesthesiologist
5 weeks ago today I was outfitted in scratchy green socks and a cotton gown
5 weeks ago today I had my first surgery ever

Today I did 60 minutes on the treadmill
Today I walked on it backwards and sideways
Today I cranked the incline up to 10%
Today I walked out of the gym wanting more

Monday I meet the doctor for my second post operative appointment
Monday I will ask gross questions like,"Did you actually cut through my muscles to get to the disc or where you able to push them aside?"
Monday I will find out if any of my current restrictions are lifted

Monday I will make any necessary changes and continue on this journey.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Get Paid To Recycle

What now? Someone will pay me to recycle?


Ok, technically, the money has to go to a charity, like your local school, but still, this is MONUMENTAL!

(You can pick any charity, you just need to supply a name, contact info and a valid tax ID#.)

TerraCycle, originally an organic fertilizer company, but now a "multi-category, eco-friendly powerhouse" collects items like chip bags, drink pouches and lotion tubes, that would otherwise be headed for a landfill and makes them in to useful products like backpacks, pencils and clipboards.

Here’s how it works:

1. The team leader signs up online at
2. The team leader creates a collection team
3. Begin collecting! The team leader is immediately able to access posters and shipping materials through their TerraCycle profiles.
4. Once you have collected the minimum pieces of waste (it varies by program), download a FREE UPS shipping label and use it to send the waste to TerraCycle via UPS.
5. You can track your collections and donations online by signing in to your TerraCycle account.

(Above quote taken from

I highly suggest you get as many friends & family involved and pick an item that you are already buying on a regular basis. Buying things, just so you can recycle them makes no sense.

I'm thinking of joining the Aveeno Tube Brigade, the Kashi Package Brigade, and the Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Simply Your Skincare

When I went off hormonal birth control I started getting acne. I did not appreciate this. So, I bought various lotions and potions to try and make it go away. Nothing really worked. I have since gone back on hormonal birth control to help with painful ovulation (Who knew!?) and the majority of the acne is gone. However, as someone who has had clear skin for the majority of her life, and also has the tendency to obsess about something, I knew I wanted to do more.

But now, I'm actually doing less. My new "skin care routine" involves a whopping 4 products. I've pared down, as suggested by Ellen Marmur, MD in her book Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide To A Lifetime of Healthy Gorgeous Skin. Rather than just listing products she thinks you should buy, she tells you what ingredients to look for. So I went through what I already had.

So now--

When I get out of the shower, I apply Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer SPF 30 (which Marmur also happens to use) to my face and neck (daily moisturizer with SPF of 15+). At night, I wash my face with warm water and a washcloth and then apply Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion (regular moisturizer without SPF).
PLEASE NOTE: I normally wear zero-to minimal make-up, so there is not much to wash off my face.

If I do have a breakout, I apply Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment (acne spot treatment with Salicylic Acid). And once a week I use Mary Kay Timewise Microdermabrasion (at-home dermabrasion).

(I also have various sunscreens for when I will be out in the sun longer.)

The other benefit of simplifying your skin care is that you have less bottles and tubes banging around. It's quite peaceful to only see what you need.