Body Beast Lean Phase I (Build): Quick Review and Progress

It’s officially been three weeks since I started my journey with Body Beast.  One of my goals this year is to work on better reviewing and sharing the programs that I use.   My first program of the year is Body Beast (Lean) and I am LOVING it!

After a very gluttonous holiday, I need something to get me back on track.  Body Beast was the obvious option because I had been wanting to get back into weight training.

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The first few workouts were tough!  Mainly because I was not ready to accept that I had lost a lot of the strength I had gained from my days of using P90X and was a little scared when I felt so challenged.  Would I really be able to give this program my all?

Well, the glory of these programs and others like them is that you can modify some of the moves and you don’t need to go crazy with the amount of weights you are using (there were many times when I didn’t use weights at all).

This style of lifting is really focused on building those muscles.  It took me back to my days of rowing and the weight training that went along with it.  I used to love finding my 1 rep max to see how far I could push my body.  This program works on a similar premise and most of the sets build in weight as they go down in reps (15, 12, 8, 8).  The concept of drop sets, supersets, and progressive sets are a little new to me, but I can feel the results building under my skin.

If I had to pick the most challenging workout of the group it would have to be Build: Legs.  I’ve not done a leg day (aside from running hills) in ages.  My body was not happy with me in the days following and I felt rather disabled as I hobbled around and avoided bending over at all costs.

Overall, thus far I am very impressed with the program and am surprised with how challenging it is (even with low weights).  If you are thinking about trying this program I do warn that you will likely need a good variety of weights and will benefit from having a weight bench at your disposal.  I’ll also warn that during phase 1 you might go through a phase of feeling bigger.  I know that this is normal as you build muscle so I don’t mind the initial fluffy feeling. In fact, as every day goes by I am starting to feel leaner and much more toned.

I hope to put up a more thorough review of each workout soon so be sure to keep an eye out!


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On Being A “Larger” Runner & Preventing Injuries

I’m not a small person and I don’t carry the (stereo)typical “runner” physique.  I’m still working towards my weight loss goals and my body isn’t light and lanky.  I have heavy, solid legs and curves.  My mommy tummy still shakes and jiggles when I run and I pound the pavement hard.

nearing the finish of a 5K race

Running at this weight might not be ideal, but it still feels pretty damned good!  I’m pushing 185-188lbs these days and on a good day can push a 10:10 pace for a 5K.  My long runs are much slower, but I can go for miles and miles without needing to rest.  Really though, none of that matters–I am a slow runner, I am a larger runner, I am a mother runner, I am a runner.

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It doesn’t matter which adjective I use to describe it, it all boils down to the fact that I am a runner.  I am strong and powerful and I can accomplish more than my mind knows.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that running larger doesn’t come with its challenges.  Having a heavier build often means that you’re exerting more wear and tear on your body. Pounding the pavement hard can take its toll on the body if you do not take the proper precautions.  Many of us larger runners take on running as a means to lose weight.  Eager to go hard and hit big goals, many new runners are faced with the dread that is a running injury.

Believe me, I’ve faced my share of running related injuries and I know what my body can and can’t handle.  Surprisingly, most of said injuries occurred before I even became a runner.  In college when I participated on the woman’s rowing team I faced multiple overuse injuries to my knees.  I had IT band issues and patellar tendonitis.  There really wasn’t a time where pain wasn’t present.  I resigned to the fact that I had bad knees and thus couldn’t be a runner.

Fast-forward to today.  I haven’t faced any real injuries (aside from the time I didn’t change shoes soon enough) since my running ventures began in 2013.  In the first weeks of running I did make the mistake of using my 2-year-old running shoes and soon enough I began to feel pain in my shin.  This is when I learned the importance of a good shoe and how easing into training is the best course of action.  So, I’ve decided to use my own experiences and compile them with additional tips for preventing injury as a larger runner.

PREVENTING INJURY AS A LARGER RUNNER (aka Clydesdale/Athena runners)

*Please Note:  I am not a running expert nor a physician.  These tips are based on my own experiences and research.

  1. Ease into your training.  If it hurts when you do it, then don’t do it!  I know this seems counterintuitive because running can “hurt” in a good way without causing injury, but what I’m saying is that you need to ease your body into running so that you don’t get injured.  If you try to go too fast or too hard too soon, your body will pay the price.  I strongly advise that you take a couple of weeks to build and develop strength in your legs.  I usedP90X as my foundation builder and I think it’s what helped me feel like I could actually be a runner.Having a proper base is a great way to prevent overuse injuries.  This can also be achieved by using one of the beginner runner programs like Couch to 5K.  Programs like this ease your body into running and it’s important to follow the program as advised, it is not the time to be an overachiever (which can actually set you back instead of push you further).
  2. Buy proper footwear.  Because we are built heavier, it’s very important to make sure we make the effort to get a proper shoe and to make sure we change our shoes when they lose their support. A good rule of thumb for bigger runners is to find a shoe with a strong midsole support system.  For me this just so happens to be Asics Gel Kayanos.  Every shoe’s life expectancy varies depending on the runner’s stride, the shoe type, and the conditions the shoes are run in (i.e. concrete running vs. trail running).  For myself I usually find the 300 mile range to be my sweet spot.  It’s all about listening to your body though!  If you start to feel aches and pains that weren’t there a few weeks ago it might be time for a new pair.
  3. Choose your running surfaces wisely.  Not all running surfaces are created equal!  Concrete is by far the worse surface to run on, it doesn’t offer any form of shock absorption so your body is faced with the brunt of it.  When possible it’s best to opt for softer surfaces–this is why you often see runners on the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk next to them.  I’ve grown to love trail running for this particular reason. My stride is cushioned by the soft ground and the scenery and terrain change makes for a fun run.
  4. Listen to your body.  With any fitness routine it’s always important to listen to your body.  If you feel achy and it’s just sore muscles you won’t do too much damage by going out for a quick jog.  If you feel pinpoint pain that worsens upon running then you might want to cut back and let your body heal.  If you’re not sure what your body needs then you might want to consider seeing a doctor.  Persistent pain is a big red flag and ignoring it can lead to permanent injury that can derail your running completely.
  5. Go your own pace.  This goes hand in hand with easing into your training.  Group runs are fun, but running with others means that you might try to push yourself too hard.
  6. Fuel your body. With any new routine (even if weight loss is the goal) it’s important to fuel your body.   This is not the time to skimp on your diet.  Your body needs to be properly fueled and fed in order to prevent injury.  Malnourishment can lead to prolonged recovery and an increased risk of injury and illness.
  7. Dress the part.  Clothing attire might not be something that seems important, but for myself I think it helps!  Having the proper clothes can save you from jostling around with each stride and can help prevent chafing.
  8. Allow for rest and recovery.  If you’re just starting out running there is no reason to be running everyday.  Your body will need time to recover and repair those hard-working muscles.  Ignoring rest days can lead to fatigue and poor form which can cause long-term injuries.  As always it’s important to be mindful and listen to your body.

I know that a lot of these tips may seem like common sense, but as a once newbie runner I know that it’s not always so easy.  I didn’t know that running shoes weren’t one size fits all.  I didn’t know that running surfaces mattered and I didn’t know that a gradual build to running was best.  It’s still a learning experience for me, but I am eager to keep running and work on that speed.

Are you a larger runner?  What tips do you have to offer?  What have been your biggest obstacles?

 

Mad(lib) For Sweat Pink #NoExcuses 2015

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Are you doing the Sweat Pink #NoExcuses challenge?  We’ve been challenged today to share our take on this fun madlib.  What does yours look like?

  • Hey 2015, it’s me SarahGriffFit (nickname, spirit animal, real name, blog name)

  • This year I would like to run faster, gain muscle , and be confident.

  • It would also be super duper awesome if I also did_my best to take a vacation_ this year. It’s not a resolution, though, just a reminder to myself to try and have the best year yet because _I deserve it_.

  • The thing I am looking forward to most this year is racing more.

  • I’ll use the one thing that truly gets me out of bed in the morning which is my blaring alarm clock to help me get up, get moving (verb) and get after my #NoExcuses 2015.

  • Speaking of excuses (ahem), my very favorite excuse is my hectic schedule and I have used it to get out of doing meal prep and working out on more than a few (number) occasions.

  • I vow to move my body and be more healthy this year even if it means I have to wake up at the ass crack of dawn.

  • Even if my alarm clock gets eaten by the dog in the middle of the night, I’ll still drag my tired but out of bed

  • I will stop blaming our son [ex: kids, dog, husband] for eating the rest of the oreos when everyone knows it was really me.

  • My kid [job, hair, car, husband, kids] are not the reason I make excuses. I will show my kid [same as before] who’s boss this year and get my run [type of sweaty activity] on

  • I know that lifting weights [type of workout] is better than cake [noun]

  • I will reward myself by buying new clothes or workout gear

  • No Excuses 2015 has just begun and already I am imagining myself a winner. I can’t wait to rock a shirt (article of clothing) from Augusta Active. I can’t wait till my sweaty friends are jealous of how fresh, clean and glowing (adj) I am between workouts with help from ShowerPill body wipes. I can see myself rocking inversions [yoga pose / workout move] in new tie one on leggings [article of clothing from Actio926] from Actio926 and looking fit and fly while doing it. And of course, I’ll be taking my workouts to the next level and improving my core strength [noun] with my new ActivMotion Bar to help me train for my next  10k [distance] race with Sasquatch Racing.

  • Oh, and let’s not forget how amazing my running tights [article of clothing] will smell during my run [favorite type of workout] after washing with some WIN Detergent. And lastly, I’ll keep rocking my 2015 with clean eats and nutrition from Beaming with Health!

2014 A Year In Review

This past year has been a whirlwind!  Let’s take a moment to look back to my Fit Goals of 2014 and see what I’ve accomplished!

2014 Fit Goals

  1. Run the entire Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014
  2. Sign-up for and complete either the Wineglass or Empire State Marathon.
  3. Sign-up and complete a Tough Mudder or similar obstacle race.
  4. Sign-up and PR in at least one Half-Marathon.
  5. Complete at least one unassisted pull-up.
  6. Run faster/more frequently (aim to triple mileage).
  7. Complete 1 round of p90x3.
  8. Sign-up for and complete a few 5k races.
  9. Eat cleaner!  I struggle with this one and often fall off into old habits.
  10. Start biking during the warm months.
  11. Sign-up for the 100 mile Ride for Life
  12. Lose the weight/lose inches–ideal weight=150lbs, size 6/8
  13. Sleep more!
  14. Blog more about fitness! (not really a fit goal, but related–I’d like to make sure to keep you updated on my progress and struggles)

I didn’t get through them all, but I am very proud of the goals that I did accomplish!!

Completing my first marathon is by far my biggest accomplishment of the year!  It wasn’t easy and I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I did it and was brave enough to sign up for this year’s marathon (which unfortunately I had to back out of in December).  It was a great year of increased mileage, strength, and fun races to boot!

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WDW Marathon 1/12/14

It wasn’t a Tough Mudder, but I did manage to run in 2 obstacle 5ks! Both were a blast and I’m definitely eager to try my hand at something a bit more challenging in 2015.

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Tough Turtle-Ithaca,NY
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5K Foam Fest-Batavia, NY

I also did fairly well at picking up my pace and increasing my mileage throughout the year (thanks to my months of ill-fated marathon training).  Longer runs became easier and shorter runs were faster.  I was also happy to have completed more 5ks than the prior year, but missed out on many races due to our hectic wedding schedule.

My favorite race of the year might have to be the Trick or Trot 5k because it was the first race that my little nugget ran.  I’ve been counting down the days until this little dude could run with me and it was ridiculously cute to see him wearing his first race bib.
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All in all, it’s been a great year! I didn’t complete as many goals as planned, but I didn’t gain back any of the weight I lost in 2013 so I feel proud and accomplished.  I do have big goals for 2015 and hope to keep moving forward with this healthy life and am grateful for all I’ve gained in 2014.

What did your 2014 look like?  Do you have big goals for 2015?