Friday, November 30, 2012
The Sarah Connor Workout
Hi blog world - I know there hasn't been a whole lot going on in this corner of the internet. Although I've had a ton of ideas for posts, it's been really hard to get excited about writing when my fellow authors have not. I'm not usually one to follow the crowd but it's hard to be motivated when that kind of thing happens. I can see this blog kind of fading away. With that said - there was something that I started working on months ago and I wanted to at least get to it...
You blog readers will soon come to know that Becca, Will and myself are also part of a trilogy club. The idea started a few months ago after the "Trilogy Time" episode of How I Met Your Mother in which you learn that Barney, Ted, and Marshall have a pact to watch the Star Wars Trilogy every three years. As part of the tradition, they guess where they will be the next time they watch the trilogy three years later and then compare what actually happened to what they guessed. I thought this was a great idea and gauged interest on Facebook. Thus, Trilogy Time / Trilogy Club was born.
Since then we've watched and scheduled a few more trilogies, but we've been hypothetically planning some of the ones coming up. My group of trilogy friends are all people who love to dress up and plan theme parties and sometimes we get... out of hand. So - in preparation for the Terminator Trilogy, I want to go full on T2 Sarah Conner but that's going to take some work.
Have a realistically Sarah Connor-ish body (mostly just those arms) by the time Terminator Trilogy Time rolls around.
The Workout Plan:
Based on Linda's actual workout:
Four times a week: Mondays, Thursdays (work chest, shoulders, triceps)
Tuesdays, Fridays (work back, biceps)
4 sets of 8 to 12 reps per exercise (starting with 8 lb dumbbells and moving up)
Dumbbell bench press
Plus, my own workouts:
Walks, Jogs, Rollerblading, Kinect (you laugh but 30 minutes on Dance Central...), Hikes
Convert 10lbs of fat to 10lbs of muscle mass (note that I'm not trying to lose weight)
Get Sarah Connor (circa T2) arms
Open the door to my apartment in a fitted black tank top, cargo pants, steel toed boots, aviators and holding one of my Lara Croft airsoft guns, urging people in before the machines arrive (if you're not acting the part, you're only half dressed up)
Workout plan above - did I stick to it?
I was bad at doing the workouts as many times a week as I wanted, but I did them. It's hard to balance a workout with a full+ time career, a social life, video games, reading, etc. The best way this works is just to MAKE yourself do it. I'd get home, change, and work out. Luckily, I had weights and things at home so there wasn't an extra push to go somewhere. This helped because it cut down on the time needed and I could still watch recorded things while I worked out. Basically it replaced couch + tv time with workout + tv time. However, my dumbbells only went up to 20lbs so unless someone wants to get me these, I'm going to have to head to the gym now.
The exercises I listed above were great to get started since I hadn't lifted in years. However, I blew through them quickly. I ended up going online to find a variety of Back/Bicep and Chest/Tricep/Shoulder work out so I had more variety and was pushing myself harder. If you're not sore, you're not trying hard enough so I kept building on the work outs in order to get results.
It was really interesting to see how quickly I could really adapt to the workouts I was doing and that I had to keep adding reps, weights, and exercises. With the arms, I knew I just had to increase the number of pounds. However, my abs are where I really started having trouble. If I was getting an ab workout from randomabs or pinterest, I usually had to multiply the number of reps or sets (or both) by 3-4. This is the area that I really had to keep changing up my workouts and I've become really good at creating my own ab routines.
This was tough. I was trying to do a lot of different things here instead of sticking to one concrete eating plan so my weight ended up fluctuating and driving me crazy. In the end, the best thing for me was to stick with what has always just worked for me: portion control, picking healtier options, staying away from excess fat and carbs, and piling on the protein. Most of all - cooking at home has worked out really well. I'm really lucky that we get lunch at my work but these options aren't always the healthiest. It's not too hard to pick out the better options from the food we order but some days I was trying to make two meals out of it or I'd get food out for dinner. That was terrible for my goals and really showed on the scale and on my body. Eventually I just took it back to cooking dinner at home so I could be aware of what was going into my body and that helped so much. I find that personally, when I focus on making myself healthier food, I also tend to pick the healthier options at work. It's like I train myself to not crave things that will hurt my goals.
Having a goal was so important. In that past I went with "workout more" and that was too generic. Instead this one was "be Sarah Connor." I could think about how long I'd been working, see what the muscles looked like and realize I wasn't there. I'd think I was getting strong and then look at Linda Hamilton pictures and realize I wasn't even close. I think that's going to keep me going for a long time. Genetically, it might not even be possible for me to look just like that, but I know I haven't reached my limits so I need to keep pushing.
The biggest thing was balancing weight loss and muscle game. I had said that the aim wasn't to lose weight, but gain muscle. If done right, the muscle gain would offset the weight loss so I'd still lose size and be toned. At first, I was gaining weight because I wasn't eating healthy. This was so frustrating because I could feel my muscles growing and getting stronger but it just made me feel bigger instead of reaching my goal. However, I'm happy to say that I'm back at my starting weight but with a lot more muscle and that feels fantastic. I'm excited to keep up on this trajectory now that I've gotten the diet down. But really - the goal was Sarah Connor and I'll need to keep lifting a few more dumbbells.
- Don't put it off. I tried to do my workouts RIGHT when I got home. The only things I did first were change and set up my workout area. I didn't want to let myself get comfortable at all. This also means I'd work out before eating dinner. Helpful hint - if you do a tough ab workout, you don't really feel too hungry. This kept me from stuffing myself when I did get to dinner.
- Find partners. I love climbing because you need a partner. It's much easier to get yourself to a gym if someone is expecting you. I hate flakiness so planning to meet someone was a great way to ensure I would show up.
- Find an inspiration. I find it hard to push myself to work out if it's not "fun." Even though I don't mind ab and weight work outs, I know I won't be a good coach for myself. However, it was easy to look at the Linda Hamilton pictures and get pumped to work out. There are plenty of actors that have transformed their bodies for a role. Find your inspiration (it may not be Hollywood either, that's just pretty visible).
- Change it up. I found randomabs.com to get ideas for different ab workouts so I wasn't stuck doing boring crunches all day. This has two benefits: working a variety of muscles and keeping yourself interested. It was fun to see what workout would come up. When randomabs got too easy I'd try to find workouts wherever I could. Comcast has a ton of workout On Demand. I found a variety of ab plans on Pinterest and eventually I was familiar enough with the exercises that I could try to throw together my own creative sets. Plus, I was still climbing, hiking, going to gym classes, and I dusted off some old Tae Bo videos.
- It doesn't take much time but it does take some. My ab work outs were only about 10-15 min on the days I did them and the arms were about 20-40 min. Plan for an hour a day. Some days I added in some sort of cardio which was another hour and climbing takes around 2 hours. That means I was working out 1-2 hours on the days I did it. That's quite a bit of time but it wasn't that hard to fit it in if I made it a priority. Getting dumbbells for the apartment made it easy for me to do things while watching TV.
- Schedule time to work out. Some weeks I would be great about making myself do my workouts every evening or moving them to the morning if I had plans after work. This got to be pretty tough. I want to work on putting workouts as a higher priority than happy hours. I feel better when I work out. Let's have that fill up the calendar.
- Keep healthy snacks around. Snacking is natural and healthy. It's much better for your metabolism to eat little snacks throughout the day so keep healthy snacks around. This will keep you from resorting to junk food. My favorites are fresh fruit for something sweet, chips and fresh (or homemade) salsa or carrots and hummus for a savory snack.
I'm excited that I found a work out plan that I love. Mostly I'm excited that I have something set up. Having a plan that I really stuck to, is getting me excited for what's next. I really just focused on my abs and arms. Now I want to use the same goals for legs and cardio. I've recently purchased a Nike Fuel Band so that I have motivation to run and I've been signing up for some 5ks. I think I'm becoming a bit of a work out geek... and I'm so happy about it!
If you are interested in the things I've been doing, you can follow me on fitocracy and check my workouts.
I know the Holidays are tough for anyone to find time to work out (myself included) but this might be a great time to start planning your January fitness plan.