Monday, July 11, 2011

12-Week Sprint to the Finish: Week 7

12-Week Sprint 2

Welcome to Week 7 of the 12-Week Sprint to the Finish! I was encouraged last week to read how many of you are still hanging with me and doing well with your goals.

If you read my weigh-in last week, you know that I’m a pound farther away from my goal than I was. I peeked at the scale on Friday, though, and it looks like this week will be better.

Brian told me that a friend of his said that both Chinese and pizza places have really high levels of sodium, so it may have just been water retention since we’d eaten both the day before – yeah, in the same day. *sigh*

I’m hoping Brian’s friend is right.

I feel like I’ve done well on my nutrition goals this last week – tracking my food on My Fitness Pal and trying to stay at or under my calorie target. My physical goals have been good, too. I’ve stuck with my half-marathon training plan (aside from one run that was supposed to have speedwork in it – completely missed that one until it was too late).

I’m changing gears mid-stream a little bit this week, though. Well, not really changing gears, just going with a different source. I haven’t done very well the last couple of weeks keeping up with my strength-training. Several weeks ago, a blog reader recommended the book, The New Rules of Lifting of Lifting for Women. I put it on my Amazon wish list and finally had enough Swag Bucks to order in a couple of weeks ago.


photo by jerryonlife

I finished reading it about the middle and last week and I’ll be starting it today. It’s going to be a kind of “try it and see” kind of thing. The one type of cardio workout that the author is really not a fan of is – can you guess – endurance running. The argument he gives makes sense – that endurance running is training your body to be more efficient, not to rev up your calories and metabolism, like weight-training should do. It’s counter-productive, in his opinion.

Of course, he’s talking about high-mileage endurance running, as in training for a marathon. I’m only training for a half-marathon, so my mileage isn’t all that high.

I asked about it on the book’s forum and someone referred me to this rather disheartening article about the myth behind steady-state aerobics. This whole “can I balance weight-training with endurance running” dilemma has caused me to rethink my goals for running.

I started running as a means to burn calories and discovered that I really enjoy it. It’s the first type of cardio workout that I’ve ever really enjoyed. I enjoy the challenge of distance running and the sense of accomplishment the comes from complete further and further distances and from running in races.


photo courtesy of

However, my ultimate goal is weight-loss and having a fit and, hopefully someday, shapely body. I was telling my husband this weekend that after this half-marathon in November, I might decide that running 3-5 miles three or four days a week as a weight-management tool is enough for me, along with weight-training.

Or, I might decide that I really do want to run at least one full marathon – just to say I did it.

I don’t know. Right now, though, I’ve had a handful of people encourage me that it is possible to do weight-training and distance running, if I keep a good balance. They said that I might have to back off on the weight-training as the half-marathon gets closer, then I can amp up the weight-training after it’s over.

Makes sense to me. Personally, I don’t think the two have to be mutually exclusive, but that may just be wishful thinking on my part, since I’m not an expert.

So, all that to say, I’m going to start the New Rules of Lifting program today, complete with post-workout protein shakes. My plan is to lift 3 days a week and run 3, possibly 4, days a week. I’m a little nervous about giving up three days of cardio, but I do get the whole “muscle burns more calories than fat” thing – I understand the importance of strength training – so I’m willing to try it for a few weeks and see how my weight-loss goes.

Depending on how it goes, I may drop the weight-training to 2 days per week and add a light cardio workout back in to those days. I’ll keep you updated.

My goals for this week are:

Nutrition. Continue logging food at My Fitness Pal, paying careful attention to my calories on lifting days.

Physical. Do New Rules of Lifting program 3 days a week. Continue following my half-marathon training plan 3 or 4 days a week.

And, if you’re curious about my eating habits from last week:


Breakfast: Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter on Ezekiel bread toast.

Lunch: Grilled chicken and veggies with 1/2 cup fried rice (at the Chinese restaurant). McDonald’s sweet tea afterward.

Dinner: CiCi’s Pizza – bowl of soup, salad, two garlic bread sticks, two slices of pizza, one cinnamon roll. Sweet tea.


Breakfast: Dannon All-Natural vanilla yogurt w/blueberries and granola

Lunch: Fajita chicken w/Pico de Gallo, guacamole, sour cream, black beans, and Spanish rice. Sweet tea.

Dinner: Hawaiian pork chops w/roasted squash and mushroom, steamed green beans, and pineapple. Sweet tea.


Breakfast: Flax cereal w/blueberries and granola

Lunch: Chicken Caesar salad, sweet tea

Dinner: Chick-Fil-A Chargrilled sandwich w/honey-roasted BBQ sauce, side salad with 1/2 packet ranch dressing, 1/2 packet sunflower kernels, 1/2 packet tortilla strips, sweet tea


Breakfast: Flax cereal w/blueberries and granola

Lunch: Chicken Caesar salad w/sweet tea

Dinner: BBQ chicken, corn-on-the-cob, mashed potatoes, side salad, Coke

Snack: Heath cookies (Nope, these are NOT healthy, but I did leave the calories for them.)


Breakfast: Skipped it because I slept in

Lunch: Turkey burger w/guacamole, grilled peppers and onions, pita chips and hummus. Sweet tea

Dinner: Grilled chicken w/corn-on-the-cob, side salad, Gina’s macaroni salad, sweet tea.


Brunch: Scrambled eggs (one whole egg, 3 T. egg whites, splash of milk, sprinkle of cheddar), hash browns, sausage biscuit, 2 pancakes, sweet tea.

Dinner: Steak Stir-Fry (recipe from The New Rules of Lifting for Women) w/rice (white since I messed up the brown – it was a senior moment), sweet tea

Snack: fruit salad


Breakfast: Sausage biscuit, orange juice

Lunch: Ham and turkey on Ezekiel bread, sm. cup of fruit salad, sweet tea

Dinner: Broiled tilapia, red potatoes, spinach, sweet tea

So, what about you? How did you do on last week’s goals? What are your goals for this week?

This post contains links to, of which I am an affiliate.  If you click on said links, I may receive a commission on anything you purchase through Amazon for the next 30 days.  This probably won’t pay my house payment this month, but it may pay for some of our school books next year if I don’t waste it on brain candy for myself.  I only link to products that we use or have used in our home/school and have found useful or enjoyable.  Mostly I include them so that you can see exactly what books/products I’m talking about, if you’re curious.  I have included this little caveat to make the folks at the FTC happy.

Do or do not. There is no try.


  1. I was reading some of the sample pages from the Lifting for Women book on Amazon and it really intrigued me.  I've been using really low weights for one thing, and while they are definitely toning me up and doing something, I get the feeling from the little I read that my body could be doing so much more and that it would help my weight loss goals if I used more weight.  Last time I did strength training - last Thursday- I used my heavier weights only and it felt great!  I'm thinking of getting the book just so I can read more in depth.  Also, looked back at my Biggest Loser book that basically got me going at the beginning and re-read the exercise portion.  Now I'm interested to know more about the difference between steady-state cardio and interval cardio and how weight training fits in with that for weight loss.  I used the Biggest Loser book's suggested interval cardio program on my elliptical this morning and got a great workout.  And what they say is best is to do strength training first and then your cardio after for the best fat-burning.  Might try that mix on T and Th this week.  Tired just thinking about it though!  I think it's so amazing that you're training for a half marathon!  I think you should still go for that and work the weight training in a few days too.  I'm looking forward to hearing more about how the lifting program is working for you.  Oh, posting my weigh-in from last week in your weigh-in post...

  2. I'm glad you said that about doing interval training first. I had decided to
    use some form of cardio -- elliptical, treadmill, or bike -- for my warm-up
    before lifting. I had planned to just do 15-20 minutes, just to get warmed
    up, and had been thinking that I'd throw in some interval training. Now, I'm
    thinking maybe I should do that after instead. for thought. It
    sometimes amazes me how much more I know about exercise and healthy eating
    than I did when I started losing weight. I don't think I could have
    intelligently carried on this conversation a year ago. lol

  3. I know, I can't believe I'm holding conversations like this about fitness, etc. either (I'm really a couch potato at heart, but trying to get better about moving more and finding that it's fun to think about and work on!).  Okay, what Bob says (because we're on a first-name basis, you know;) ) is that if you do your circuit/strength training first your body "burns up stored carbohydrate first; afterward, when you switch to cardio, your body calls on stored fat since your carbohydrate reserve is depleted."  Makes sense...

  4. I decided to kind of split the difference today. I did 15 minutes on the
    bike with 2 or 3 high-speed intervals. Part of that was becaused I'd planned
    to re-read, while riding the bike, the section in The New Rules of Lifting
    on the workouts I was supposed to do today to make sure I knew what I was
    doing. Then, after my lifting workout, I did 15 more minutes on the bike
    with 3 or 4 speed intervals. I burned more calories with the intervals than
    I expected.

  5. Hi Kris!  I'm so glad you like the book.  I'd feel awful if I recommended it and you ended up hating it!  LOL!  When I first read the book and started the program, I started questioning my running goals as well.  I've always wanted to do a half marathon/marathon & maybe even get into triathlons ~ then I read this book and well....
    I started doing the program exactly as written and I found that I just wasn't happy with it because the workouts (in the beginning) are only about 45 minutes long and I *enjoy* exercising.  So, I'm now lifting along with light cardio (usually a Zumba class or swimming laps, etc...) afterwards 3x per week and stepping up the cardio 2x per week.  This way, I'm getting the heavy lifting in but still doing the things I really enjoy (and burning some extra calories to boot!)
    One thing I've learned is that there is a big difference between power (lots of strength for short bursts of time) and endurance (steady moderate strength for longer periods) and both can serve us well.  It's all about balance.  :)
    I'm looking forward to see how you like the program.  I'm heading to the gym right now!  Good Luck!

  6. I agree with you about the balance. Too many people think their programs are
    all-or-nothing when they don't necessarily have to be. I've seen this big,
    beefy guy out at the park running the last couple of times I've gone. I told
    my husband the next time we see the guy, Brian needs to strike up a
    conversation with him and find out how much he runs a week because it's
    obvious that he's running and weight training and he is certainly not a
    "dough ball."

    I wasn't going to, but I added cardio into my weight workout today, too. I
    just couldn't not burn those 300 calories. I'm just going to have to work
    the program with my tweaks and see how it goes.

  7. I am not a big fan of lifting weights either..never have been! Good for you for trying to focus on all aspects of fitness.
    I updated my post to include my food log: - Last week was much better for me, I hope to keep going now :)

  8. I actually love lifting weights -- it just tends to be the first thing to go
    when time becomes a factor. I feel like I've got to get my cardio in to lose
    weight. Hopefully, I'll be able to find a workable balance between the two.

    I'm glad you had a better week last week!

  9. Michelle OssmannJuly 11, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    I'm glad you posted this.  I have been grappling with the same thoughts.  I have never been a *runner*, even in my athletic days, my muscular physique seemed to hinder me in track.  When I do cardio, I keep singing to myself in my head, "burn, baby burn", because the rationale is that cardio burns fat.  The more recent train of thought, from what I've read, is that strength training is just as important because it establishes your metabolic rate.  Also, I was relieved to see some studies recently that show that interval training (specifically Peak 8 exercises) are more effective for cardio than the old "thirty, steady minutes of at a sustained target heart rate".  I have to say that I have tried Peak 8 for the past two weeks, and I see results. I don't want to admit defeat yet for the running, but my joints are definitely cheering me on to Peak 8 instead! FYI, my sources have been Dr. Jeffry Life (book: The Life Plan), Dr. Mercola at his website (for Peak 8 rationale), and of course, Jillian. Doing Peak 8, my calorie burn has been more than steady cardio, according to my BodyMedia band. The proof is that I am officially in a size 14, down from a tight 18W!   Go me!

  10. I haven't heard of Peak 8. I'll have to look into. Yes, Jillian is a big fan
    of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). I'm sticking with my endurance
    training, at least until after the half marathon, but one thing suggested in
    the book that I may try is doing 15-20 minutes of interval running -- 1
    minute sprints/2 minutes recovery -- then, stop for 5 minutes. After that 5
    minute rest, you can run as long as you want. I'm not sure what the big deal
    is about that five minutes and I'm not sure how that will play into my long
    run right now, since I want to be sure that I'm conditioning my body to be
    able to handle that distance -- then, add to that the heat factor of long
    runs outside during summer in the South. All that to say, I may not mess too
    much with my long run right now, but add HIIT training to my shorter runs.

  11. Wow, reading all these comments makes me feel SO behind lol! I did just ok on my goals this week-great on my nutritional goals, not-so-great on my physical activity goals. However, I had a 4.1 pounds lost for the week-so I'll take it!

    So here's a question for you all since you obviously have more experience than me. First, how do you find time to exercise? When do you do it, for how long each day? How long did it take you to get to that point? And what are some things you would recommend for someone like me who is just starting out? What types of things can I expect myself to be able to do-does that make sense?

    The Peak 8 thing sounds pretty interesting but I am betting it isn't something I would be able to do yet. My hubby is getting P90X when he gets down to 250 (he has about 40 pounds to go-which at the rate he's going will only be another couple of months, he lost 16 pounds in less than a month, I've lost 13, from a starting weight of 330 of that gives you any perspective of where I am coming from).

    The only thing I've really been doing is videos and walking outside. I was aware of the interval thing so when I do walk outside I try to alternate faster-paced walking with a more moderate pace but there's no rhyme or reason to it, just whatever I feel like. I push myself until I feel like I can't go at that pace anymore and then I take it down a notch.

    What do you all think? Should I be more intentional about what I am doing?

  12. I think you're doing great. You start where you are. When I first started, I
    was going about 30-45 minutes on the treadmill 5 days per week. It was
    awhile before I threw any type of strength-training into the mix. I work out
    every morning before the kids wake up, which isn't hard since I'm blessed
    with late sleepers. Of course, mine are old enough now that it doesn't
    really matter if I workout before or after they wake up. I just have to do
    it first thing in the morning or it tends to not get done.

    Once I'd made a little progress, I started working out twice a day -- once
    in the morning and again in the evening about 3 days per week. I just made
    time for it because it was so important to me. My husband and family were
    very supportive. Of course, again, my kids are older (16, 11, and 9), so
    that makes a difference.

    Again, personally, I think you're doing great. You'll probably want to add
    more when you start noticing your body getting stronger or your weight-loss
    slowing down. Until then, what you're doing is obviously working, so I
    wouldn't stress about. Just continue to educate yourself, workout, what what
    you're eating, and progress as you start feeling stronger and fitter.


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