Planks are now 1 minute and 10 seconds.

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Boo. Yah. Mofo!

So, the ab workouts and core exercises may be coming into their own, but the diet is seriously derailed. I am finding it very hard to cut calories and fat. I am hungry ALL THE TIME and my partner is not currently trying to do any serious weight loss, which makes planning difficult. On the plus side, we agreed to eat no snack or dessert that we did not make ourselves. On the minus side, we made chocolate fudge brownies. And since there are only two of us, there is still almost half a tray left. D’oh!

 

Nevertheless, I shall persevere. I went to the gym this morning for some rowing, some core work, and some pull up and dip practice. I am using the weight offset machine to offset 15 kilos of my weight for this, and since I weigh 56 kilos (I weighed myself at the gym this morning too) I am pulling up 41 kilos of me! Super! I was using 20 kilos offset, but graduated to 15 and hope to move down to 10 in a few weeks. The core work included some dragon flag practice and some serious planks that each lasted over one minute and ten seconds. Awwww, yeah. I hope to do some research on planks this week to see how else I can improve them, such as doing them on a power plate or on an unstable surface (medicine ball?).

Also at the gym, I wore my Vibram five fingers, which I call my gorilla feet. See photo below.
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And, since today is Tuesday, here is a photo of me belly!

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You can just about see the top 2 muscles in the classic six pack. The rest will be here soon, as soon as I sort out this diet business.

I can feel my abs!

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So, clearly my planks and dragon flag practice is paying off in terms of muscles growth. I can definitely feel little round knots and I am feeling that all the work is easier.

Which means that I need to step up the workouts to keep challenging myself, and that my priority is to lose a few more percent body fat. I shall have to do some internet research.

No picture this week, purely because I was damn busy and forgot. Suck it up. The thesis is advancing though, and I am working on finishing various craft projects so that they are off my to-do list and off my mind. I am also looking forward to having less clutter about from half finished projects.

So for now, it is looking good. Research lies ahead for how to make the most of the 3 and a half months left until the six pack challenge reckoning.

Best title yet

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I have been having a rough time of it lately, so I skipped some runs and cut the runs I did do a bit short.  I have also been trying to maintain a lower heart rate while running, but that is not easy for me, and it means I am constantly being beeped at by my polar or that I have to keep checking on my heart rate, all of which prevent me from getting to runner’s zen… which means my heart rate doesn’t get to fall in zen. Bah.

I have gone to the gym a couple of time though. I had been avoiding it because the place was lousy with January starters. You know the type, the New Year’s Resolutionaries. But most of them have cleared out by now, and they are especially absent first thing in the morning on a weekday. I had never been to the gym on a weekday morning, but I rather liked it and will probably try to make a habit of it. I think it can help me in this particular life goal or personal challenge or whatever you want to call it, but could help me in life in general. I feel quite good at the office today, better than I normally would at this time. Breakfast will be a tricky one though, because I can’t do some serious sporting on a full tummy. Must look into options.

At the gym I usually do either some treadmill running (with incline at least 1%) or some rowing machining, plus some core exercises like planks, superman situps, russian twists (now that the gym has medicine balls!) and proto-dragon flags. I am somewhere between the first two levels of dragon flag training, and hoping to progress rapidly now that I can use the padded bench at the gym more often.

 

I also do some weights, mostly weight offset pull ups and dips, but also chest presses. I need to look into what weight exercises are best for strengthening the back and shoulders and improving posture. Typing this damn thesis out is killing me.
I am liking my new pink and black, almost lacy sport shorts pink shorts more and more. I do need to take off the plastic toggles on the sides, because when I walk on the treadmill to warm up or cool down my arms brush against the hard plastic and that is going to bug. I also need to add pocket, but I think I have just the thing. An old set of Phillips sport headphones came in a little mesh drawstring bag, so I think I might just pin that to the inside. If it works well, I will sew it in. The pinkness of the shorts might also be making the gents in the weight area a bit uncomfortable, which is a bit funny.

So here are some belly pics, two in fact since I missed a week.
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Not doing too badly, I guess, but I think I have hit a plateau and need to kick it up if I am to push through. But I think I can do it. I just need to finish off a handful of things on my to-do list that are creeping around in the back of my mind and preventing me from really making the most of my time, both when I want to focus and when I want to relax.

Over a fifth of me is fat.

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Calipers have been used, and I have 21% body fat. Which is well inside the healthy or ideal category for a woman of my age. I may do the caliper test again later because it warns that the menstrual cycle can lead to misleading readings.

21%. Over one fifth. It means that I have almost 12 kilos of fat. Now, some of that will be intramuscular, some of that will be sub-cutaneous, and some of that will be visceral, and of course, my body would cease functioning properly if I had less than 13% or so.

Obviously, I don’t really need to lose fat for health reasons, although I suppose a reduction in visceral fat, the fat surrounding internal organs, would not be a bad thing. Even though 21% seems like a lot, at least compared to the body composition of men, I don’t really want to lower that just for the sake of lowering it. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if all the fat that covers my abs couldn’t just get relocated to my backside. I have always wanted a bedonkadonk.

So, in fact, this is going to be a very difficult challenge. I don’t have that much fat to lose. If I want six pack abs, I am going to have to do some serious working out to whittle down the fat I do have, particularly the tummy area, and to strengthen and build the muscles underneath so they show as much as possible.

So, my plan for now has three main steps.

  1. Get back into running. The last time I had well defined ab at all (only a 2 or 4 pack, unfortunately) was when I was training for distance running.
  2. Core muscles training. Big time. Long lasting planks, possibly on a wobble board or foam roller to make them trickier later on, dragon flags, windshield wipers, lots of other good stuff.
  3. Diet. I need to reduce the fat intake and the total calories as much as is reasonable. Xmas is going to be tricky.

Caliper and Dragon Flags.

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My office buddy, who is one of the inspirations for and co-conspirators of this particular challenge, brought in a pair of calipers today. I can’t use them right away, as I am wearing a dress for a Xmas lunch, but I will keep you posted on my body fat percentage as soon as I get some readings.

In addition, I have looked into some more extreme ab training exercises and will be trying to achieve a Dragon Flag!
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This looks awesome. I mean… AWESOME! How great is that? The control. The precision. The balance. The strength. That is the kind of strength I want, and I shall work up to this level of fantastic, slowly but surely. Oh yes, it will be mine.

So, next post will probably include my body fat reading, and a description of my first steps toward dragon-flagging. Don’t expect great things yet, but keep checking in.