Personal Training Update


I started personal training on May 11 and have had 15 sessions.  I do 2 sessions a week unless something changes it (once the Y was closed, once I was sick, and so on).  I do 30 minute sessions.  When possible, I do a third session on my own on the weekend.

Overall, I’ve been happy with the results.  Early on, the trainer and I did not see entirely eye to eye.  I wanted to do a whole body workout each time and do the same exercises each time unless there was a reason to change them.  He wanted to mix things up a bit more each week.  We worked it out, though, and things have been going smoothly for awhile now.

I have changed a few exercises, but most of the changes have been increasing weight.  There are some exercises where I’ve gone up a lot.  This is mostly exercises where I started out really weak, such as the chest press machine.  I’ve gone up a lot, but still have a long way to go.  Other exercises I haven’t changed that much, particularly the ones were I started out stronger than other areas (such as the leg press).

I started out doing 7 exercises (3 sets) and have worked  my way up to 10 as I got faster.  I am doing it as a circuit to maximize my time and I’ve been happy with that at this point.

Have I made progress?  Yes.  Overall, I am stronger.  I’ve increased the weights anywhere from a little to a lot.  Most are closer to “a lot” than otherwise.

On the other hand, I can’t really see a difference. I’ve lost about 3.6 pounds since I started which isn’t a huge amount.  But, I’m not doing this so much to help with my weight loss as to improve strength and work on body composition.   I am not yet seeing much difference, but I can tell that I am stronger.  I think the main reason for this is that I still have a lot of excess body fat and I started as such as a low level of muscle that it will be awhile before much will be visible. As long as I keep increasing the weights that I use, though, I know I am making progress.

I recently signed up for another 12 sessions.  One thing I did think about was whether to switch to hour long sessions (I would do one a week with  the trainer) or possible doing one upper body 30 minute session and one lower body 30 minute sessions with the trainer and then do two more by myself.  I talked to him about it, and he recommended keeping things as they are for awhile.  I’ll reevaluate at the end of this set of sessions.

Is the trainer worth it?  Yes.  Obviously, he helps me with selecting the exercises to do and makes sure that I do them correctly.  That is all valuable.  But, the greatest value to me is that knowing I have an appointment set with the trainer keeps me going to the session and working hard.  I wouldn’t YMfrivolously not go to a session.  I haven’t cancelled unless it was really necessary.  I’m not sure I would be as diligent if I was just relying on myself.


Mid-Week Update

Just a mid-week update since I haven’t posted since Saturday.  I have some topics I want to blog on, but I’m still working out exactly what I want to post.

So far, this week has been going well.  I am trying something a little different.  In the past I usually eat higher calories/points on Saturday and Sunday and then taper off during the week.  Often, Thursday and Friday are my lowest point days.  I do wonder if this pattern has something to do with why I so often have my lowest weight around mid-week and then my weight goes up and I go in Saturday for no loss or a gain.

This week I decided to try to eat in the same overall calorie range for the week, but to spread everything out more evenly.  That way I would eat a little less on the weekend, but would eat more throughout the week.  So far this has been going well.  We did go out to eat this weekend as we often do (Noodles and Company on Saturday and Chili’s on Sunday), but I was careful the rest of both days so my total calories was about like I typically eat on an average day.  I’ve continued that since then.  Wednesday ended up being my lowest calorie day.  I didn’t really set out to do it, but I got up later than usual and ate breakfast, but then had a light lunch before going to the Y.  I had a salad with chicken for dinner which was filling but not that many calories.  Snacks were dark chocolate and pistachios.  I actually was never really hungry during the day, but it ended up my lowest calorie day.

So, we’ll see if any of this makes a difference.

Fitness has been going well this week.  I am scheduled to do strength training with the personal trainer on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Saturday I was able to go into the Y and do a third session on my own.  I took Sunday off from exercise.  Monday I went to the Y to do the session and found that their AC was out while they were doing some work on it.  Since it is already over 90 degrees here at mid-day, and it was really hot in the Y I elected to reschedule my Monday session to Saturday.

I did come back home and actually did a strength training session at home.  I do have dumbbells and a weight bench so I was able to do some of the exercises I do at the Y or could do a reasonable substitute.  I don’t have a leg press at home, of course, and am limited as to what I can do due to my knee.  Substituting for that was more difficult, but I did do some step ups so got a little bit done.  I felt good that I did so something strength wise even if I wasn’t at the Y.  I also walked on the treadmill Monday and then did an hour on the treadmill Tuesday.

Wednesday, I went to the Y and had a good sessions.  I did little over 30 minutes on the elliptical and then did the strength training.  The trainer added in leg curls to my other exercises since last week I had finished in less than 30 minutes.  In the last couple of sessions, I’ve gone up in weight on a number of exercises which I always like.  One thing I like about strength training is that it is so motivating when I increase a weight.  It really does show me that I am getting stronger.


Why I Did Not Weigh In Saturday

I did not weigh in Saturday or attend the meeting.  There were several reasons in favor of my going (I could have gone and not weighed in actually):

1.  It is part of my routine.  It is a habit.  I go to my Weight Watchers meeting and weigh in on Saturday as part of my weight loss habits.  This is a habit that has helped me lose almost 58 pounds.   Successful habits shouldn’t be casually broken.  Since October, 2013 when I returned to regular meetings, I have never lightly skipped a meeting or weigh in.  Before that, if I had a bad week where I was off plan, I often wouldn’t go to a meeting.  I would want to wait until I lost whatever I had gained that week.  This was my downfall when I got to lifetime.  I gained 5 pounds and didn’t want to go back until I was at goal weight.  That was a huge, huge mistake.  By making going to meetings a routine, I guarded against not going just because I had a bad week.  I felt I needed to own those gains that I legitimately earned through my choices.

2.  Going to a meeting helps me keep weight loss in the forefront of my mind.  I am in a room with a bunch of other people all focused on weight loss and maintenance.  This helps me to keep myself centered on what is important to me.  I don’t get distracted with other things that would detract from weight loss.

3.  Having a weekly weigh in at Weight Watchers has been hugely important for me in shaping my behavior the entire rest of the week.  I hate to go to a meeting and have a gain at weigh in.  Sure, it happens.  And, the receptionist is always nice about it.  I’ve never had a bad reaction, ever.  But, I still hate it.  When I weigh in on Saturday morning, if my Weight Watchers week ended on Friday, I wouldn’t eat high calories on Friday (or Thursday for that matter).  I would be careful later in the week, because I would want a good result on the scale.  Years ago, I was an online only member of Weight Watchers and it wasn’t very successful.  The reason was because there wasn’t some third party weighing me in.   If it was Friday and I wanted to go out to dinner, I would do it thinking I would do my weigh in on Sunday.  I was constantly saying I would start over the next day (or week).  The weekly weigh in structures things for me so I always have the short term goal of simply having a loss each Saturday.

4.  I don’t like to post here and say that I didn’t weigh in unless I have a “good” excuse for it.  Obviously, what I think is a good excuse may not be what someone else would think is a good excuse.  But, there are times that the only reason I went to a meeting and weighed in was because I didn’t want to say here that I just didn’t want to go.

5.  I knew there was going to be a summer charm.  Those usually require attending something like 10 out of 12 meetings to get the charm.  I don’t ever do anything with the charms, but I like to get them.  I’m not sure if the charm was starting this week or not, but the possibility was a factor.

Despite those good reasons to go, I didn’t go.  And, I didn’t have an excuse like being sick or going out of town or having a schedule conflict.  But, there were factors that caused me to decide not to go and to really decide that I don’t necessarily have to go every week:

1.  I had a good week.  I ate less calories than the week before, averaging 1212 calories a day.  Fitbit said my daily calorie deficit was almost a 100 calories more than the week before.  Up until about Wednesday, I thought I would have a loss this Saturday.  But, Thursday morning my weight — for no clear reason — jumped up about 2 pounds.  I’m not really sure why.  Perhaps it was due to my weight training on Monday and Wednesday.  Maybe it was that Wednesday was a higher carb day than usual.  My weight did come down a bit on Friday and Saturday morning, but I was still a pound higher than last week.  Now, had this been due to my eating too much, or not moving enough, I would have surely gone to the meeting.  I don’t think I should skip meetings because of making bad weight loss decisions.  But, in this case, I hadn’t made bad decisions.  I had a good week in terms of eating and activity (360 minutes of exercise).  I think the jump up in weight is either water retention from the little higher carbs mid-week or from my body getting used to the strength training.

2.  The routine thing is important to me.  But, sometimes habits should change.  I have been thinking about my Weight Watchers meetings lately as I get closer to goal weight.  Once I am at  148 — a loss of only 1.6 pounds from last weigh in — I will be considered lifetime at goal.  At that point, I will quit paying for my monthly pass.  I will again be able to attend meetings free so long as I weigh in once a month and am not more than 2 pounds above my goal weight of 146.  Right now, I go every week for all the reasons above (plus the fact that I am paying for a monthly pass and want my money’s worth).  My husband goes with me to meetings even though he is lifetime at goal.  He only weighs in once a month.  The point is that once I am on a monthly weigh in schedule, I’m not sure that I really need to go to a weekly meeting. I like the meetings, and I will most likely go more often than monthly.  But, I don’t think I have to go weekly either.

3.  I’m not sure the weekly meeting really does that much now to help me keep weight loss and maintenance in the forefront of my mind.  This blog does that. In the old days, when I didn’t go to meetings, I would focus more on the here and now of eating and enjoying some yummy food.  I would push thoughts of weight out of mind.  But, I’m not likely to do that any more given that I post on this blog regularly and read tons of other blogs.  And, now my husband is also working to maintain a large weight loss.

4.  Yes, the weekly weigh in has been key to my success at losing weight.  I don’t like to have a third party weigh me in and see a gain.  It structures my week.  But, in reality, I’m moving from a weekly weigh in to a monthly weigh in once I lose another 1.6 pounds.  Theoretically, I guess I could weigh in every week, but I doubt I will do that.  While the weekly weigh in has helped me, it has its disadvantages.  I feel very constrained as to what I wear to a meeting. I always wear the same thing – a very lightweight tank top or T shirt and shorts.  During winter I would bring long pants and change after I weighed.  And, I was constrained from being able to ever eat heavier on Thursday and Friday.  Note, I’m not saying eating more food over the course of the week.  I don’t plan to change that.  It is just that now I front load my calories to the early part of the week and eat lighter the rest of the week.  It would be nice to be able to occasionally do the opposite.  So, once I only have to weigh in monthly, I will only weigh in monthly most of the time.  I do still plan to post an unofficial weigh in here and think that will suffice to keep me honest.  So, given that the weekly weigh in will be going away soon, I didn’t feel that bad not having it today.

5. I had a trial of not weighing in when I missed 3 meetings in a row in May.  I actually didn’t want to miss 3 in a row.  Various things caused the meetings to be missed.  And, I didn’t go off track.  I never lost focus on weight loss.  I counted my calories.  I recorded my points plus.  I exercised.  I did everything I would have done had I been going to meetings except I ate more on Friday in some instances.  I did have one bad weekend, but that was because of being out of town.  I got back on track as soon as I got back.

In short, I think I needed weekly meetings and weekly “official” weigh ins during a lot of the time I’ve been losing this 58 pounds.  But, I don’t think I need them to that extent any more.  I do expect to go to my meeting next weekend.  But, if I didn’t go I don’t think it would be critical.  I am still following the same eating plan.  I am still tracking my food.  Today, I went to the Y and did the elliptical and did a third strength training session on my own.  I came home and later walked on the treadmill some.  I am confident I will stay on plan for this week.  I will weigh myself every morning.  I will probably choose to go to the meeting next Saturday. But, I don’t think that right now I have to go and weigh in unless I have a week where I overeat and legitimately gain weight due to my food choices.  If that were to occur, then it would be very important for me to go to a weigh in, just to acknowledge and own the result of my choices.  But, other than that situation (which doesn’t happen very often), I don’t feel compelled to go to a meeting to weigh in (except that once I’m at goal I will weigh in monthly).

Sunday Morning Edit:

I posted the above just a little after midnight on Sunday morning, then I went to bed.  So, I got up a little while ago and as usual weighed myself.  I weighed 149.3 down over a pound from yesterday.  Had I gone to a Weight Watchers meeting this morning I would have shown a loss.  Go figure.

May Report & Personal Training Vent

Two things to talk about in this post:

May Report

On paper, by most of the numbers, May did not go as well as April. I walked an average of 360 steps less a day.  I burned about 60 calories a day less.  I ate 165 more calories a day, 1313 calories a day, the largest since I started this blog (November of last year was close at 1302).  Math will tell you that my calorie deficit per day was 228 calories a day less.  Also, my average exercise per day was 43 compared to 60 in April.  Of course, that is still good compared to the 8 per day in March.

Still, one number stands out.  I lost 2.2 pounds from my last weigh in during April until my last weigh in during May.  From end of March to the last April weigh in, I lost 1.6 pounds.  Math says that shouldn’t happen since I had less of an assumed calorie deficit (per my Fitbit) than in April. So, why did it happen?

Basically, I think it is what I thought was going on during April.  During April, I increased activity a lot.  I didn’t lose anything close to what I thought I should have lost.  My guess was that I was retaining water due to the sudden increase in activity.  During May, my body was more used to the greater activity.  I did back off a bit due to lots of life intruding moments, plus a little knee pain.  In May, I tried an experiment of eating more for a few days to see if that would help my body let go of the fluid and perhaps have some benefit on my metabolism.  I don’t know for sure if that was what turned the trick.  But, maybe it had some effect.  Regardless, I think part of the May result was actually seeing weight loss I had earned during April.

May was an unusual month.  I had lots of special events and travel which made eating more difficult.  I was very busy and had more things happen to cause some gaps in exercise.  I usually exercised for at least an hour on any day I exercised, but I missed more days than in April.  Now, though, all of those May events are over and June should be easier.  And, at the end of May, I finally got into the 140s for the first time in over 20 years.

Personal Training Vent

I went to my 5th personal training session today.  I was ….unhappy…. with some aspects of it. I posted on Wednesday before last about my telling the trainer that I wanted to exercise my whole body in each of my two weekly sessions, rather than splitting it between two sessions:

He had me doing some exercises of different body parts than on Monday, and I explained to him that I really want to do a whole body workout on the two days (same exercises).  I know splitting up workouts can be good, but I think that for me at this point a whole body workout is better.  So, he is going to switch to that next week.

Monday of last week, we had a good session with all body parts being exercised.  I had to cancel last Wednesday’s session due to going out to eat while my mom was visiting.  I had planned to go back later that afternoon/evening to do the session on my own.  As it turned out, I couldn’t since the Y was closed due to area flooding.

So, today, I expected to do a session that was the same as last Monday, except for maybe changing the amount of weight on some of the exercises.  Early on, he had me do a triceps machine exercise.  I had done it a couple of weeks ago, but last week he had me do triceps kickbacks with free weights.  I figured that maybe he had decided the machine was better for me.  Around about the third exercise that was different from last week, I asked him why I was doing different exercises.  He pointed out that each exercise was exercising the same body part as the different exercise we had done before.

I reminded him of what I told him when I first talked to him:

I also told him that I didn’t want to do something different every session (like my old trainer had me do).  I want to have sessions where I have a set plan that I do every time.  Of course, I want to increase what I do and it is fine to switch out exercises periodically.  But, I don’t want to do something new every time.

I had really stressed this when we first talked.  I told him how I had gone to a trainer at another Y before and how much I didn’t like it that each week he had me do something different.  I explained that I want to see my progress very clearly each week.  Basically, if I do the same exercise each time and I see the weights going up, then I know I am making progress.  When you change all the time, it obscures my view of progress.  Also, I want to do the same things each time so I will be solid on them when I come in and do a 3rd session each week on my own.

This is one reason I was so unhappy when he had me doing the split sessions.  I told him then I wanted to do the whole body, doing the same things, each session.  Therefore, I was really surprised when he had me doing different exercises today than last Monday.  His argument was that the exercises were exercising the same body part so they were the same exercise.  So, the triceps exercise on the machine was basically doing the same thing as the free weight tricep kickbacks.

I thought I had been crystal clear that I wanted to do the exact same exercises each sessions.  He expressed the view that, if I did, then why did I need a trainer?  He expressed also a desire to teach me lots of different exercises.  I explained to him that I wanted a trainer for 3 reasons:

1. I want someone watching what I am doing to make sure I always do each exercise properly. I know that I am not the best at form and I get sloppy, so I want someone to help me make sure I’m doing it right.  I don’t think I will need this twice a week forever.  I plan to eventually move down to once a week and then maybe even once a month, but right now I want to really learn how to do the routine properly.

2. I want someone to help me devise a program and to know when I do need to change something.  I don’t want to change a triceps exercise to do something else just because.  I want to have someone tell me to change a triceps exercise because the old one isn’t working well, or because a new exercise will give me something new.  I want a trainer to help me to know when to change an exercise for an actual reason.

3. I know that I work harder when I have a trainer there.  The trainer gently pushes me to do more than I would do on my own.  Sometimes, the trainer can give me a tiny bit of help so that I am able to do more than I could do on my own.  One thing I really like about this trainer is that he is very good at doing that.  There is no question in my mind that I’ve worked much harder with him there than if he wasn’t there.

I hope that our discussion will keep us on the same page.  I like this trainer and he really has helped me to do more than I would have done on my own.  I sometimes think that trainers think they have to justify their existence by doing new and different stuff all the time.  But, I figure if something isn’t broke don’t fix it.  If he devises a routine for me and it is working and I’m progressing with heavier weights, then don’t change it.  Once a month or so, I told him I was open to changing exercises if he felt something else would be better or would do something different.  So, we’ll see.


Productive Fitness and Food Saturday – NWI

Saturday ended up being a really productive day for fitness and food.  This was a No Weigh In Saturday as I mentioned before.  But, I did end up doing a lot of things.

Elliptical at the Y

We went to the Y for the first time since — hmmm, probably last August.  We joined the Y shortly before my husband had rotator cuff surgery.  After he had surgery, I think I made it there once and then got out of the habit during the fall.  I wanted to go back earlier this year, but until this week we were really busy this year with taking our daughter to a lot of things.  Finally, with her school out, we could get back to it.

I spent 20 minutes on the elliptical.  I forgot to bring in my headphones so I couldn’t listen to the TV and I forgot my water.  But, it was nice to use the elliptical.  I also was able to see very clearly how my fitness has increased over the last year, even with the time last fall when I wasn’t doing any exercise.

5-9-15 graph

As you can see, my heart rate didn’t get much over 112.  I usually like to be in the 112 to 128 range.  While I did get there at times, my average over the entire 20 minutes was not that high.

5-9-15 Info Digifit

I averaged only 106 BPM with a max of 117.  In fact, I only started consistently staying above 112 when I switched the incline and resistance from 1 to 2.  I had kept them at 2 because when I had used the elliptical last year, it had been difficult for me on level 1.

In fact, here is the graph from my first use of the elliptical, last June.

6-21 graph

My heart rate was above 128 almost the entire time.  In fact, I quit after about 10 minutes because my heart rate was getting higher than I wanted (it was lower the last couple of minutes because I went very slowly).

6-21 Info

Back then, I averaged 129 BPM with a max of 139.  Quite a bit difference from Saturday where I averaged only 106 BPM and went for the full 20 minutes and was at level 2 for a lot of it.  I guess I really have improved my fitness.   I know I am not where I want to be, but I can tell that upping my exercise time the last 5 weeks has made a big difference.

Personal Training

I had posted before that I was thinking about personal training.  So, I talked to a trainer while I was there and he seemed to suit me so I’ve scheduled 30 minutes sessions twice a week beginning on Monday.  When I posted a few months ago, I thought they had quit offering the 30 minute sessions (they weren’t on the online price list), but it turns out they do offer them.  I went ahead and bought 12 sessions as it is much cheaper to buy in bulk.

I told him that my main goals were to (1) increase strength and (2) improve body composition.  I also told him that I didn’t want to do something different every session (like my old trainer had me do).  I want to have sessions where I have a set plan that I do every time.  Of course, I want to increase what I do and it is fine to switch out exercises periodically.  But, I don’t want to do something new every time.

As I get closer to being at my Weight Watchers goal, I am thinking a lot about where I want to go from there.  I plan to post about that soon.  But, I do know that my body fat percentage is too high and I want to reduce it.  Also, we lose muscle as we get older and I can tell I don’t have as much strength as I used to and I want to improve that.  I also want to do strengthen my leg muscles to try to help my knee.

Reading about Food, etc.

We also went to the library and I checked out a lot of books mostly on food and fitness.  These were books that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy them on Kindle or if they were of the read once type (I don’t like to buy books that I will only read once).  I came home with them and spent a lot of the day and evening reading.

Eating Food

The 3 days of high calorie food are over.  I ended up eating 1914 calories on Wednesday, 1618 on Thursday, and 1490 on Friday.  Saturday I was back to normal.  For lunch, I made a frittata (so good!).  For dinner, I made a big salad with balsamic vinaigrette and a pouch of tuna.  Of course, I had typical snacks – pistachios and a little dark chocolate. I was glad to get back to my regular routine (ended up at 1159 calories).  Sunday will be higher calorie since we are having barbeque for Mother’s Day.  We will bring it in and then stream a couple of movies (which is what I like to do on Mother’s Day).


I did do two 20 minutes sessions on the treadmill.  I have been walking at about 2.8 mph with the incline set at 2 for about half the session, and then 1 or flat for the rest.  I decided I wanted to work on my pace, so I put it flat and set it for 3.4 mph.  For me that is really fast!  I alternated between that and 3.3 mph.  I was actually trying to see how fast I could walk a mile and see what my heart rate would be at the end.  I was recording the workout on my Fitbit Charge HR.  I was about .8 of a mile into it, when my Charge HR’s display suddenly went dead.  I had had that happen a few days ago.  To get it to start again, I had to take it and hook it up to my computer and restart it.  I was incredibly annoyed that I had to stop my workout to do it, particularly when I was trying to do something specific and wasn’t done yet.


In between reading and treadmill, I worked on some more decluttering.  I went through my jewelry and worked on the bathroom and then worked on my office some more.  I’m starting to get to the things that are difficult for me to decide on.  The kind of utilitarian items that I don’t ever actually use (or very rarely), but I can envision how they could come in handy or I might need them.  I find it hard to throw them away, but I really don’t use them.

I also have a box of various things that I’m not quite sure what they are or I’m not sure if they go with something I still have (bulbs for a booklight that I think I don’t have any more, but I’m not sure).  I’m going to see what turns up in the rest of the house and if I can’t find what stuff goes with then I’ll toss it.