Sunday, March 31, 2013

Monthly Weight Loss and Pictures

Hey, Loves!
Well, this month I weighed-in at 165.6 which means that I only lost 0.6 lbs this month. I took the suggestion of a lot of you, since I've started lifting weights so much, and measured after my weigh-in last month. Well, I lost 1.25 inches overall this month. So, even though the number on the scale wasn't so hot, I know that my body is still shaping up (just much slower than I'd like). I will say that mentally it is really hard to not see the number really going down on the scale but I know that I'm losing fat and building muscle, so that makes me happy. I still can't wait until I break out of the 160s; I've been stuck here for way too long!
I feel like I need to mention that the last two weigh-ins, I've been retaining water because it's been 'that time of the month.' As soon as it's over I drop at least a pound of water weight. I'm really not trying to make excuses but it's just the way it is.
I have been working out SO very hard this month and have definitely been confusing my muscles. I have been sore pretty much all month. Having Cheryl as a workout partner has been awesome! She is teaching me so much. If you haven't already, please read the last three blog posts that she wrote about what we've been doing.
Oh, besides the Zumba class that I take (which I love!), I also branched-out this month and took Spin. It was super-intense and I definitely plan to keep going. I will say that if you plan on taking spin for the first time, be prepared to have a sore behind for a couple of days. I've heard that if you go at least once a week that it will stop hurting after a few times. :)
Here are my pictures for the month:
Bonus pictures: Remember my infamous gorilla 'before' picture? Well, my mother-in-law was here visiting this month and we went to a different mini-golf course in Pigeon Forge and ran into his twin and I couldn't resist taking a picture! So, without further ado, here is my 'before' and my current (not 'after,' yet!) gorilla comparisons.
Again, please keep me in prayer this month for wisdom, guidance and patience to get over this plateau.
Thank you so much for always supporting me!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

What is CrossFit? - Guest Post #3

According to Wikipedia, CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement," with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains." Workouts are typically intense, demanding all-out physical exertion. They combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, flipping tires, weightlifting,   carrying heavy objects, and many bodyweight exercises; equipment used includes barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics rings, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls and boxes for box jumps. 
In 2011, I was working on trying to lose my pregnancy weight from my second child and found an awesome trainer, Tammye Wright.  She does small group personal training, CrossFit-style and circuit training in Maryville, TN.  I added muscle to my form, lost weight and decreased inches, while working out with Tammye.  I got into pretty good shape and she pushed me to do things I never thought possible.  I worked out with her consistently for over a year and tried to be a good student and take lots of notes.
Recently, while working out with Amy, I am trying to repeat my workouts that I learned in the past.  I am not in as good of shape in regard to strength and endurance as I was and I am trying to get it back!  These workouts are grueling!  We are doing circuits of one minute intervals, alternating strength and weightlifting moves with high intensity cardio.  We usually workout for a minimum of one hour.  Today we worked out and I took a couple of pictures of Amy.  Check these out:
Note: Those stairs go much higher than the picture shows (120 steps) and Amy did them up and down 4 times.

A lot of the activities we are doing are bodyweight exercises, meaning exercises that don't require equipment but only your own body weight.  Circuit training has lots of benefits.  Studies show that circuit training is the most time-efficient way to enhance cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance. They also show that circuit training helps women to achieve their goals and maintain them longer than other forms of exercise.  I know from my own personal experience that it works; Amy and I are doing all sorts of crazy exercises but having fun at the same time.
Examples of activities we have done are burpees, squats, box jumps, lunges, firewalkers, push-ups, shuffle jumps, one-legged deadlifts, medicine ball throws, kettle bell swings, mountain climbers, resistant band training, stairs, suicides and several free-weight lifts, too.  We are also doing sit-ups, supermans, planks, jacks and speed skaters.  I am literally only naming a few.  We are going to try and take more pictures in the future and share some exercises with you that you can do at home and give you a better understanding of what we are doing.
For now, we are sore and trying not to puke during the workouts.  It has been awesome to have a partner who is so committed.  Amy is really pushing herself and I am so proud.  I hope that in six months I'll be able to do another guest post about my own transformation, too!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Girls Can Lift Free Weights? - Guest Post #2

We have been doing full body training using a method called "training to failure."  We are working out body parts in sections:
1) Chest and triceps
2) Back and biceps
3) Legs and shoulders
Here are some of the exercises we have been doing:

1) Chest and triceps
-Flat bench press
-Incline bench press
-Decline bench press
-Triceps extension
-Triceps rope pull down
-Skull crushers

2) Back and biceps
-Upright rows
-Seated rows
-Lat pull down
-Preacher curls
-Dumbbell curls

3) Legs and shoulders
-Leg press
-Military press
-Shoulder press
-Lateral extensions

All of these exercises are done with 2-3 sets.  The first set is a warm-up set that feels comfortable and we can do 12 reps of them.  The next two sets are harder.  The goal is to get closer to 8 reps with the 8th rep being so hard to get up that you almost need help. This is why it is called training to failure because the last rep is so difficult that without help you'd fail.  Each set the weights increase to make it harder.  This type of training is used because it forces more intensity into your workouts.  It also causes your muscles to respond better in order increase muscle and make gains faster.

Having more muscle is important because this is pretty much the only way that you can really increase your metabolism.  We have all heard that the more muscle you have, the more fat your burn.  This is true.  The more muscle you have, the hotter your metabolism runs.  There are lots of reasons why women should do resistance training though.  Here are just a few.
So, I challenge you!  Get out of the women's area, get out of the geriatric area, get off of the machines and lift some free weights!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Training with Amy - Guest Post #1

My name is Cheryl and I am a Zumba instructor at National Fitness Center in Maryville.
I met Amy at a Zumba class and was happy to hear that she loved my class.
One day we were talking before class and she nonchalantly mentioned that she had lost over 130 pounds.  I never would have guessed this!  She told me how she had blogged about it and that sounded very familiar to me.
In 2010-2011 I also blogged about my weight loss journey, as I lost about 80 pounds working out diligently with a CrossFit-style trainer and calorie reduction.
Since our stories seemed similar (except that she was more successful), I had to start reading her blog.  The first post I read was about how she was discouraged because she hadn't lost weight one month.  I started to ask her about her exercise routine and if she had done much weight training.  I love doing CrossFit-style workouts and weight lifting and have been doing them on and off for over a decade.  I have also longed for a workout partner; someone who is serious and consistent.  Anyway, we decided to do some workouts together.  I would show her what I know and we would do this together.  I still have 50 pounds to lose myself.

This month we have been working out two days per week together.  One day we do free weights and one day we do "Cheryl's CrossFit."  We have never missed a week and keep each other motivated.
When I first told Amy we would be doing free weights and meet in the weight room, her reply was, "In the men's area?"  I laughed.  It is not the men's area; it is the weight-lifting section of the gym.  I was super proud of her when she left the geriatric air machines and started using a barbell and dumbbells.   Our workouts last about 75-90 minutes and are fairly intense, especially the CrossFit days.
The first day I thought that Amy might pass out or vomit.  I advised her to bring something like a Starburst candy to replenish her sugars so she doesn't get light-headed.  Working out with her has been awesome!  She is committed and rarely says "can't."  When she does, I reply with, "Can't lives on won't street."

I am hoping that by gaining muscle and increasing our metabolism we can both change our physique and get to our goals.  For a closer look at what our workouts look like, check out my upcoming posts, Girls can lift free weights? and What is CrossFit?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Seven-Year Wedding Anniversary

Hey, everyone!
I can't believe that as of today Brad and I have been married for seven years!
Oopsie looks like he's being tortured. Lol! He was really happy -- honest!
We actually celebrated yesterday. Brad bought me a sweet and funny card that was totally us and these beautiful (well, they're not beautiful yet. Haha!) long life tulips. They are supposed to have a long life; we shall see!
We went out to dinner at Brazeiros Brazilian Steakhouse; it was A-MA-ZING! :-D
Then we went bowling. Neither one of us did great but Brad whooped me ... as always.
For our anniversary, Brad got me this beautiful 14k white gold necklace with genuine stones. It means so much to me because it's our family's birthstones. Brad's birthstone is on the top, mine is in the middle and Oopsie's is at the bottom. I'm so glad all of our birthstones go so well together. :) I'm still waiting for it to arrive at Kay Jewelers. I took a screenshot of it online and cropped it so you all could see it.
Also, it wasn't an anniversary gift but we finally got our wedding rings resized! I'm waiting to pick those up from Kay, too. I've missed my rings so very much! I got it a little snug because I'm still losing weight but not so snug that if my fingers don't lose anymore that it will be uncomfortable. I went from a 9 to a 6. Brad went from a 9.25 to 8.5.
We had a great day and are so thankful to God for bringing us together and for blessing us with seven wonderful years of marriage and the best little fur-child any parent could ask for!

Much love,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Healthy Recipes

Hey, everyone!
Here are a few new healthy recipes that I tried out this month. :)
Thai Chicken-Broccoli Wraps - I'd add less peanut butter next time. It was too thick for me.
5 Bean Salad - I made this for a potluck (it makes a lot) and it was a big hit.
Basic Deviled Eggs - I made mine with Light Miracle whip. Add salt to taste because the 1/2 tsp of salt that the recipe calls for was way too salty for me.
Here's a super-simple and delicious recipe that I created and eat almost every night now as a healthy sweet treat:
1 or 2 low-fat Graham Crackers
2-4 tbsp Chocolate PB2 (If you're not familiar with PB2, click here. I buy mine at Kroger.) with water added to the consistency you want.
1 pack Truvia
Spread the Chocolate PB2 and Truvia mixture onto Graham Cracker sheet(s) and freeze for about 10-15 minutes.
Good eats,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Commercial & Billboard

Hey, guys!
Yesterday was the first commercial shoot for NFC and I think it went great! The other fitness models were beautiful, as expected, and super nice, too.
Jacob said that the commerical will be about 30 seconds long and he hopes to have it start running by the end of the month. It was really fun to watch and be a part of making a commerical. You have to shoot hours of video just for 30 seconds of usable footage. Anyways, I'll share it with you guys when I see it. :)
Jacob also told me that for my 'Nike-style' commercial that I'll be doing fitness stuff outside and then going to a studio to do a voiceover, which makes me feel much better because I'm much better at reading into a microphone than I am talking to a camera. Lol.
My new friend and workout partner, Cheryl, was in Knoxville the other day and snapped a picture on her cell of the digtal billboard I'm on. Here it is ...

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm Going To Be On TV

I have exciting news!
Jacob, the marketing director for National Fitness Center, emailed me today and gave me an update on my testimonal video that I shot a few months back. He said that the company who did it totally botched the video and that he couldn't even get 15 seconds of useable footage. So, he is going to reschedule me to do it again sometime soon.
He also invited me to be one of the fitness models (Me? Fitness Model? Haha! I'm honored but I'm sure I'll be the fattest one there.) in a commercial that is being shot at my local gym on Wednesday morning. So, that's pretty cool. Also, he wants to shoot a 'Nike-style' commercial with me and my story sometime in April and take some photos of me for some new ads. He's in the process of figuring out a script for me. We'll see how it goes. You know from my previous posts about the NFC shoot that I'm not good in front of a camera. LOL! :-P
I asked him about the billboard with me on it because I didn't see it in Knoxville the last few times I've gone. He accidently told me the wrong location. He said it was up on Lovell Road, which is a very high traffic road. The next time I'm over there I'm going to try to get a picture of it for you all.
Anyways, I just thought I'd fill you all in. ;-)
Your friend,

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Hey, peeps. :)
I'm really starting to get into making crafty things. I've always had the desire to be a crafty person but didn't really have the know-how or skill to make what I wanted to make.
Well, my friend, Vanae, is super crafty and we decided that we'd get together once a month and make something crafty together. We decided to make Mod Podge bird stuff this time because of Spring/Summer being right around the corner. Plus, we love birds in general. I think my stuff turned out pretty cute. I'm looking forward to making stuff more often.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it's almost Spring. Winter has flown by for me! The weather here has changed so quickly. It was snowing a few days ago and now the high today is 70. It's beautiful! Brad and I took Oopsie for a walk yesterday in the park; it would have been a crime not to. We always try to take him to the park or at least for a walk around the neighborhood when it's nice out. My heart just overflows with love for my little guy. :-D

Have a blessed day!