Category Archives: Fittness & Nutrition

2011 – Summer of fitness

I launched a fitness initiative this summer, resulting in inches and pounds lost, but not without hard work and dedication. And so, to acknowledge and document that strife, I’m telling you, kind reader, about it in a blog post.

At the outset, my fitness goals were to:

  • Reduce percentage body fat
  • Lose 1.9lbs/week, totaling 20.2lbs (goal weight 150)
  • Lose 2” from my waist & hips
  • Improve general fitness/endurance/recovery

I tracked my nutrition as RolyPolyPanda on and hired a personal trainer at the UW-Green Bay Kress Events Center, Lexie Weber, for 11 weeks this summer, meeting every three weeks (2 weeks between sessions 4 and 5).

I’m still working on the weight loss goal, but I achieved what I hoped in all other areas including:

  • a decrease of 2.5  in percentage body fat
  • 10.5lbs of weightloss
  • BMI Decreased 1.8 (out of obesity range)
  • Lost inches: hips -4″, waist -1″, arm -1.3″
  • Improved flexibility, can now reach 5cm further
Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4 Session 5
5/25 6/13 7/6 7/27 8/11
% Body Fat 38.0% 37.9% 36.0% 36.8% 35.5%
Weight (lbs) 176 169.5 165.5
BMI: (in) 31.4 30.3 29.7 29.6 29.6
Hips: (in) 45 42 41 41 41
Waist: (in) 34.25 32.25 32 32 33.25
Arm: (in) 13.25 12.25 12 12 12
Flexibility: (cm) 28 28.5 31.5 32.75 33

I’d like to thank my friends, especially Bridget Bishop, for providing support and inspiration. The encouragement from friends meant so much to my success, lending motivation and strength when belief in myself and what I was hoping to achieve wavered. Thank you!

Workout 5

Workout developed by UW-Green Bay Kress Events Center personal trainer, Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Rae Weber.

Warm Up Exercises (45 sec. each)

  • Walking Lunges
  • Squat Jacks — jumping jack but lower into squat position, touch hands to knees
  • Plank Walks
  • Mountain Climbers — hands on floor and in plank position, run

Ab Exercises (45 sec. each)

  • Hip raises — lie on bench or on floor, legs straight and up in the air, lift hips off floor toward ceiling
  • V-ups — bring knee into chest and arms straight out in front of you, extend legs straight out in front and extend arms straight out to sides, repeat
  • Russian twist — can use dumbbell or medicine ball, knees bent, feet off floor makes it more difficult, touch ball or weight side to side
  • Side bend — holding dumbbell in one hand, bend to side and stand straight

Circuit Strength Training (12 reps each, repeat circuit 3x)

  • Chest press — lie on bench, pressing dumbbells straight up
  • Single arm bent over row — place one hand on bench, holding dumbbell in other, knees bent and flat back pull dumbbell straight up keeping elbow tight to side
  • Squats — hold dumbbells at sides or can rest on shoulders
  • Bicep curl/shoulder press — start with bicep curl and go into shoulder press
  • Decline pushups — feet on bench, hands on floor, do pushups
  • Walking squats with dumbbell — hold dumbbells at shoulders, can stay low whole time or squat each step
  • Single leg lunges — foot on bench, make sure knees stay behind toes
  • Incline pushup — hands on bench, try to get chest to bench as you do pushup
  • Dead lift — legs slightly bent, hold dumbbells at floor with back straight, keeping dumbbells close to legs stand up with weight, repeat
  • Tricep dips — hands on bench directly under shoulders, walk feet out and dip

Workout 4

Workout developed by UW-Green Bay Kress Events Center personal trainer, Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Rae Weber.

Warm Up Exercises (45 sec. each)

  • Walking lunges
  • Squat Jacks — like a jumping jack but come down into a squat
  • Push ups
  • Up and Downs — like a burpee but step back into plank instead of hopping
  • Side to side squat

Time exercises (1 min. each)

  • Jump rope
  • Squats on an inverted bosu ball (remember to keep knees behind toes)
  • Step Ups (keep foot on top up bench for full 30 sec, when stepping up, bring other knee up, contracting your core)
  • Push Ups on upside down bosu ball
  • Bridge (feet on exercise ball and hold hips high)
  • high knees on bench (don’t need to put a lot of weight on bench, just there to make sure you’re bringing your knees up high enough)

Abs exercises (1 min. each)

  • Roll out (with wheel- kneel on mat and roll out as far as you can)
  • Toe touches (lying on your back with your legs straight up in the air reach up for your toes)
  • Jack knife (feet on exercise ball while in plank position, pull knees into your chest)
  • Plank (forearms on the ground with your elbows under your shoulders, keep body straight like a board)

Circuit 1 – what you’ve been doing (strength)

Circuit 2 (dual cable FreeMotion) – each exercise 1 minute

  • Lat pull down- 10 lb , arm high (stand in squat position and pull down handle and twist, 30 sec each side)
  • Supinated chest press from down low- 3 lb each side, arms low (bring handles from your sides straight out in front of you with your palms facing up)
  • Squat on bosu ball with row- 7 lb each side, arms low (stand on bosu ball in squat and row the weight to your sides)
  • Step out shoulder press- 3 lb each side, arms low (step out and press the handles straight up, alternating feet each time)
  • Reversed wood chopper, arm low (hold handle from low position by your hip and bring up across your body)
  • Cable Push/pull- 10 lb each side, arms wide and shoulder height (stand facing straight out, turn upper body so that one arm is pulling while the other is pushing, switch sides after 30 seconds)
  • Bicyle- 20 lbs (30 sec each side)
  • Jumping squats- 1 minute
  • Hanging leg raise on bosu ball stand- 12 reps (legs straight if you can, otherwise can bend knees)

Workout 2

Workout developed by UW-Green Bay Kress Events Center personal trainer, Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Rae Weber.

Warm Up Exercises (45 sec. each)

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Walking lunges
  • Side to side squats
  • Plank walks (plank position, walking 4 steps to each side; keep your butt down, core tight)
  • Mountain climbers (plank position and run; keep your butt down)

Circuit 1 – Strength

  • Lat pull down
  • Chest press
  • Seated row
  • Shoulder press
  • Hamstring curl, glute blaster, abductor, adductor (do all exercises 10x on each leg)
  • Knee up leg extension
  • Squats
  • Wall squat with ball, bicep curl (squat with hands by sides, curl weight as you stand up out of squat)

Circuit 2 (one minute each)

  • Single arm lat pull down with twist (sit on seat, pull weight down and twist; 30 sec each side)
  • Standing chest press (one leg on floor; 30 sec each side)
  • Standing single arm, single leg row with twist (right foot up when rowing with right arm, twist as you pull weight to your side)
  • Standing shoulder press (come down in squatting position and press weight straight up)
  • Hamstring curl, glute blaster, abductor, adductor (do all exercises 10x on each leg)
  • Bicycle backwards
  • Jumping squats (do as many as you can; if you need to take a break, do regular squats)
  • Wall squat with ball, bicep curl

Timed Exercises (1 minute each)

  • Step ups (tall bench- reach up with opposite arm and bring knee as high up as you can, really feel it in your core)
  • Jump rope
  • Lunge with twist (using medicine ball- ball at shoulder height, arms straight; twist in direction your lunging i.e. right leg forward= twist to right side)
  • Bridge
  • Up and downs
  • Push ups

Abs (30 seconds each)

  • Crunches on ball
  • Jack knife (plank position with legs on ball, pull knees to chest)
  • Ball hand offs (lie on back and hand the ball off from your hands to your feet)
  • Russian twist (sit on floor and hold medicine ball; feet on the floor makes it easier, lifted off the floor is more difficult; touch ball side to side)

Workout 1

Workout developed by UW-Green Bay Kress Events Center personal trainer, Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Rae Weber.

Warm Up Exercises (45 sec. each)

  • Jog in Place (keep your core tight by pulling your belly button into your spine)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Walking Lunges (make sure to keep your knee behind your front toes)
  • Side to Side Squats (“sit back on a chair” keeping your knees behind your toes, get as low as you can and move side to side)
  • Push Ups

1st Circuit (do each exercise 12 times)

  • Lat Pull Down (sitting on bench, pull handles to your shoulders and squeeze your shoulder blades together) – 40 pounds
  • Chest Press (you can leave your back on the pad or you can sit forward to engage your core) – 20 pounds
  • Seated Row (sit on bench, pull handles to sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together) – 35 pounds
  • Shoulder Press – 15 pounds
  • Hamstring Curl – 20 pounds
  • Leg Extension (bring your knee up to hip-height and extend your leg straight) – 20 pounds
  • Squats (in machine) – 50 pounds
  • Wall Squats with bicep curl (place exercise ball at the low of your back, hold the handles at your sides and as you stand out of squat do a bicep curl) – 15 pounds

2nd Circuit (1 min. each or 30 sec. each side)

  • Lat Pull Down with twist (sit on bench, pull handle to your shoulders and twist to that side i.e. right arm, twist to right side) – 20 pounds
  • Chest Press Standing (stand behind bench on one foot, push weight straight out- 30 sec on each foot) – 10 pounds
  • Standing Row (stand on one foot, pull handle to side; right foot up when rowing with right arm) – 20 pounds
  • Shoulder Press Standing (stand behind bench and in squatting position, press weight straight up) – 10 pounds
  • Glute Blaster (bend over slightly, bring your knee to your chest and push leg straight back) – 15 pounds
  • Bicycle (bring knee up to hip height each time, “pedal” like on a bicycle) – 15 pounds
  • Squats (in machine) – 20 pounds
  • Wall Squats with bicep curl (place exercise ball at the low of your back, hold the handles at your sides and as you stand out of squat do a bicep curl) – 10 pounds

Other Exercises (do each exercise for 1 minute)

  • Step ups (on small bench; lead with right foot for 30 seconds and then the left)
  • Jump rope (keep your elbows tight to your sides, jump a few inches off the floor)
  • Squat with medicine ball (hold ball straight out at shoulder-height in front of you when down in squat and raise ball above head as you stand up)
  • Russian twist with ball (using medicine ball, sit on floor and touch the ball side to side– easier when feet are on the floor, more difficult if you lift them off the floor)
  • Up and downs (stand with arms straight up, bring hands to floor and step your feet back into a plank position, then step feet back to hands and stand up with arms straight up, repeat)
  • Push Ups (do them regular, on your knees, and you can take a break when you need to but push yourself!) :)

Abs (45 seconds each)

  • Crunches on ball (lie on ball and sit up)
  • Crunches with twist on ball (sit up reaching up to your left side with your right arm for 30 sec and switch sides for 30 seconds- do this exercise for a total of a minute)
  • Bridge (lay on your back keeping your feet flat on the floor and lift your hips off the floor) – work up to holding for 1 minute

Encouraging ‘Mindless Eating’

I have just finished reading the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think and I can’t recommend it enough. This book is not only for anyone who has ever struggled with their weight. It gives valuable insight into what external cues motivate people to eat/drink or not. This is perfect for the household shopper and cook who wants to get their family to eat a little healthier. It’s terrific for the host who wants their guests to be impressed with their visit. It’s even great for the closet psychologist who is secretly fascinated with what makes people tick.

Not only that, it’s life changing. I’m personally invested in this book. Allow me to tell you my story…

My story…

Eight weeks ago today I, along with some 30 other participants, embarked on a weight loss endeavor to be the biggest loser among us. Upon submitting my $10 participation fee and start weight of a portly 174.2lbs (39.1% Body Fat), I committed myself to a veritable Brewsters Millions of caloric deficit and expenditure. 16 pounds and 2 months later, I feel good…but I’m getting an eerie sensation of déjà vu.

Déjà wha-?!

Over a year and a half ago I had a successful weight loss experience, I started out at around 175lbs and with the support of my friends and family I got my weight down to 150lbs. And I felt good. Then I proceeded to gain each and every blasted pound back. All within a year.


How could I lose weight and then gain it all back so quickly? The reason is that in my calorie spending spree, I was depriving myself of the things I loved. Passing on the things I craved. Denying myself the relaxation I desired, instead pounding away at the gym. I was relying on willpower to achieve my goal. willpower is unnatural. It’s what people force themselves to do in extreme situations. willpower is NOT sustainable! Sure, you can do it for a while, but at some point, you will return to what is natural to you. And you’ll not only return to what’s natural, you’ll compensate for all the deprivation by binging and wallowing in a sedentary lifestyle. This is not good!

The solution…

Oh, thank goodness, there’s a solution. The solution is to create caloric deficit, without feeling deprived. This is where the Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think comes in. Through a series of studies, Brian and his colleagues found secrets to eating behaviors that their subjects were not even aware of. We all know that feeling of surprise when your fingers scrape the bottom of the popcorn tub. The knowledge that you’ve just mindlessly eaten 1,650 calories without even tasting it. This book tells you how to mindlessly eat better. I suspect this book will be the most worthwhile $10.08 I’ll spend this year. I strongly encourage you to consider reading it. You can buy it on Amazon. I’d lend it to you, but I’ve already given my copy to Liz.