Ms. Marvel Project

Catching up

I’ve been slacking a little bit with blogging in the past week or two, and it’s time for that to stop! I’ve been working way too much, but luckily my fitness plans haven’t fallen by the wayside in all the chaos.

I’ve decided to get back into the 100 Pushup Challenge. I had to quit the first time around because I developed some pretty bad shoulder pain and it wasn’t going away. But now it’s been a considerable amount of time and my shoulder hasn’t given me any trouble for a while now so I think it’s safe to give it a go. I left off in the middle of week 3 and that’s exactly where I’m starting now. Yesterday I did the week 3 day 1 workout and it went well.

I haven’t been completely pushup-free in between then and now. I just wasn’t doing them consistently and certainly wasn’t pushing myself every time to do more and more like this plan will do. I’m really excited to see some arm muscles coming back!

In addition to that, I’ve started attempting to run again. Running has never ever ever come easily to me. In fact, it sort of just feels awful whenever I try to do it and like my body can’t handle it. I want to change that!

I’ve done 3 or so Couch to 5k workouts, 2 of which were completed successfully and the last one… well, it was kind of a disaster. Maybe my legs were too tired from the long cardio workout I had done the day before, or maybe it was just a bad day to try, but I only got through 3 one minute running segments and my shins felt like they were on fire, even when I was just walking slowly. I couldn’t continue. Definitely a disappointment.

But! I’m not letting that stop me. The failed workout occurred on Monday and now today on Friday, I’m hoping to head out in a few hours to the gym to try again. I’m ready for this!

Challenging myself like with the pushups and running is something that really motivates me to keep sticking to my workouts and goals. I like having a plan – something I can put in my calendar – and then watching myself progress. This is especially true when it comes to things that historically I’ve never been able to do. Definitely the case with pushups and running!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone in the U.S. and I hope the long weekend is put to good use!


Blog Hops Everyday and A Mommy's Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Life, Project | , , , , | 1 Comment

Getting educated

For the past several years, I’ve used blog reading to educate myself on topics of health and fitness, and the amount of knowledge I’ve gained doing so has been incredible. There are so many of these kinds of blogs that I read that I almost couldn’t even list them all here, even if I wanted to. In my blog travels, I have also seen a few books mentioned over and over again as must-reads for anyone interested in the subject. Yesterday, on somewhat of a whim, I decided to finally get off my butt and order a few.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, they arrived today! Thanks to the amazing bloggers out there I already feel like I have a good amount of knowledge on the subject, so I’m curious to see how many of my preconceived notions are going to be challenged.

These are the books I purchased:
Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness
The China Study
Eat to Live

I’m sure over the next few months as I work through these books, I’ll feel compelled to update here with tidbits I’ve learned and things that surprised me. I’m looking forward to it.

For me, the whole journey of fitness isn’t just about looking good or being “skinny”, it’s about being healthy and living the best life that I can possibly live. Coming from a family with so many health issues, I want to put myself in a position where I can try and combat my genes and avoid the same problems my parents and other relatives faced later in life.

This week’s workout update: I slowed down just a little after last week’s intense 5 workout sessions and have only logged 2 up to this point in the week. I’m hoping to get in at least 2 more before the weekend is over. I’m still working on the 100 pushup challenge, and I made it up to 50 (non-consecutive) pushups yesterday! I never in a million years thought I’d be capable of doing that.

Are there any health/fitness books out there that have inspired you?


young and restless

March 23, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , , | 2 Comments

Working on upper body strength

TGIF, right?? It’s been another long and hectic week over here. Last Saturday, D, my brother and I went to this show at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was great, especially for us video game nerds. It was fun to get out for the night and do something cultural, even though D was pretty sick that day (he caught my cold).

I was pretty much done with that cold, however and got back into my usual workout routine this week:

Monday, Wednesday and today I made sure to do my pushups and this morning I got up to 34 pushups – my most ever! I’m very happy to be seeing and feeling some muscle in my arms now since I was sorely lacking in that area before.

Monday, I also did a ton of cardio:
- A quick 20 minute Zumba wii session during lunch
- 60 minutes on the stationery bike after work

Tuesday, I did some more Zumba (what can I say, I’m hooked!) for 45 minutes during lunch.

Wednesday and Thursday were off days and today I will either do Zumba or bike during my lunch break yet again.

Over the weekend, my goals include getting to the gym with D both days to do elliptical/treadmill work and some weights. The great thing about participating in the pushup challenge is that I’m getting in some strength work three times per week, even if I don’t actually make it to the gym to do weights. Tomorrow when I go, the big question will be: have I improved any on the chest press machine?? My performance 2 weeks ago was pretty dismal so I’m hoping for improvement!

What’s your favorite way to work on upper body strength?


young and restless

Blog Hops Everyday and A Mommy's Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

Getting to Know You

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , | 3 Comments

The Pushup Challenge

What a long and crazy week! There was so much going on: appointments, taxes, dramatic highs and lows at D’s job, after work activities… I’m so happy the weekend is here (or will be in about 3 hours) that I almost don’t know what to do with myself.

In an effort to kick things up another notch in the fitness department, this week I decided to take on the One Hundred Pushup Challenge. I am a self-proclaimed weakling when it comes to pushups or anything relating to upper body strength, and this is one of the things that has always plagued me during my quest for fitness. At the gym with D last Saturday, I got especially frustrated when I couldn’t do more than one chest press on a certain machine. After that, I determined that this needed to change immediately. Enter the challenge.

I started on Monday and the plan calls for doing pushups 3x per week, which allows for plenty of rest days for your muscles to recover. And it starts you off at whatever level you’re currently at. I’m doing pushups on my knees and I surprised myself this week with how many I was able to do: 19 on Monday and 22 on Wednesday. Today is day 3 and I made it up to 29! The program is only 6 weeks, so I find it to be completely manageable and easy to fit into my schedule. Plus I’m already starting to see the beginnings of definition in my arms.

Aside from that, I’ve been a little off with my cardio this week so I’m trying to get back into that full force now. I did Zumba yesterday during lunch, burning almost 500 calories and with the weekend here, I’ll have many more chances to work out.

Have any of you ever tried the pushup challenge?


young and restless

March 9, 2012 Posted by | Project | , | 5 Comments

Long term vs. Short term

One of the greatest battles we face with ourselves when it comes to getting healthier and in shape is the never-ending inner debate over which we want more: short term happiness or long term happiness. Logically, when we’re looking at it from a distance, long term happiness seems to be the obvious choice. It will last longer, for one thing, and more than likely it will be more fulfilling. This is why we create goals like losing 10 pounds or exercising more often – because we believe that it will help us achieve this happiness in the long term. If we didn’t think these things would make our lives better, we wouldn’t be trying so hard to achieve them.

However, the trouble comes when our short term happiness becomes more important. It’s so easy to fall into this trap:

I’m having a bad day, and if eat this chocolate, it’ll make me feel better

Or

I would much rather watch this TV show while lounging on the couch than going to work out today because it will make the evening a little more enjoyable

In situations like these, we’re sacrificing our long term goal for a little bit of short term happiness.

This is a constant issue for me. I always start the day with good intentions, but then as life unfolds during that day, I start looking for ways to make myself happy right now, and often that means doing something that isn’t in tune with my health goals.

This past weekend was a great example of this inner conflict. I went into the weekend having already worked out 4 times during the week, but with the intention of working out at least one more time on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, we got takeout for dinner two nights in a row, didn’t go to the gym, and yesterday in particular, I ate pretty much non-stop all day long.

I need to learn to tell myself that working on my long term goals WILL contribute to my happiness, and can even add to the short term happiness from time to time. There are many times when I feel much happier and more energized after a workout. It’s the food issue where the battle really takes place for me.

What do you think about long term vs. short term happiness?

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , , | 1 Comment

10 Pound Challenge check-in and a Fit Experiment

This week marks the 1 month point of Newlyweds on a Budget’s 10 Pound Challenge, and it’s time for a check-in.

How am I doing so far?

Well, I’m still struggling with my eats a little bit and splurging more than I should. However, my workouts are improving every week, and I know I’m getting stronger. Because of the food though, I havent’ seen too much change on the scale.

Starting weight: 146.8
Today’s weight: 145.6

Difference: 1.2 pounds
Pounds to go: 8.8

Still a ways to go, but I still have 2 months AND this week, I’ve taken another step in the direction of eating better: I joined My Fitness Pal. I had tried it out in the past, but I had never used the social features and I think this time around, that’s what’s going to keep me motivated. Are any of you using it? If so, add me! My username is msmarvelproject. Or leave your username in the comments and I’ll find you. Let’s help each other get in shape!

I’ve been tracking for 2 days and because I’m forced to track everything I put in my mouth, I’m less likely to have lots of random small snacks throughout the day. Also, one of my favorite features is that at the end of every day when you complete your entry, the program tells you that if every day was like that day, how much you would weigh in 5 weeks. It keeps you motivated!

This will be an experiment for me, and I’m excited to see if it will make a positive change in the way I eat.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , , | 7 Comments

Challenging myself

After doing one of the toughest workouts I’ve done all year on Tuesday, I was pretty much out of commission for the next 2 days. My muscles were SORE like you wouldn’t believe – to the point where sitting down and standing back up again was almost impossible. Naturally, I took Wednesday off from working out to try to recover.

Thursday, I still wasn’t back to a good enough state to try to do anything involving weights to any degree, so instead, I went to the gym during lunch and did 50 minutes on the elliptical. It was kind of nice to just have a whole workout session focused on cardio for a day. I got to listen to music and just kind of zone out.

When I woke up this morning I was able to successfully sit/stand again without my thighs feeling like they were staging a rebellion, so I thought it would be a good day to try Tuesday’s workout again.

Well, once I got started, my legs decided to let me in on the fact that they were NOT READY to get back into the lunging and squatting required, so I stopped after the first 4 steps this time and decided to throw on Zumba instead. I did 45 minutes, and was totally dead by the end. I just finished right before sitting down to write this post, so I’m doing some stretching right now as I type.

It’s pretty clear that the advanced nature of these workouts is going to be something I need to take pretty slowly so my muscles can catch up to what I’m asking them to do. I’m pretty confident that if I stick to these weights-centric workouts that I’ll see some good results in the muscle department. My legs are already feeling a little bit more solid.


It’s here again: Friday blog hopping!

Getting to Know You

young and restless

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , | 2 Comments

Shaping up

For the past few weeks now, I’ve been eyeing the Fitnessista’s Winter Shape Up workouts and wanting to give them a try. However, I was a bit hesitant to jump right in because, while I’m pretty decent at cardio and I do some weights every now and then, I really don’t have much (if any) upper body/core strength to speak of. I attempted one of her shape up programs last summer and after one workout, I was SO sore, I couldn’t work out for almost a week and a half afterward. This is a sign of a really good and effective workout, but I got the feeling that I needed more of a fitness base before I should be doing such challenging moves.

So, this year when the shape up started out, I didn’t get into it right away. After all, I had just started really getting back into going to the gym 4x/week and working on my strength. Today, a month or so into my new routine, I finally felt ready and I went back to the first week of the program that she posted, printed it out at the office this morning, and then got ready to go home during lunch and bust out some moves.

I knew I was going to only do a portion of the workout to avoid the burnout from last time, so I only did steps 1 through 5 and used 5 pound weights (I knew 8 would be too much for me to start with) and then I closed with a 6 minute biking cooldown.

My reaction: The workout, even just the first 5 steps of it, was extremely challenging, but with my 5 pounders and stopping where I did, it was doable and I felt like I got in a quality workout – more of a quality workout I could ever hope to get at the gym on my own. I haven’t done a lunge in years so it was a bit hard to get into the motion again, and by the end of all the bicep curls, my arms felt like lead weights. The tabata intervals were also new to me and WOW — so much harder than I anticipated. I did them on the bike because that’s the only piece of cardio equipment I have at home. Walking down the stairs afterward, my legs felt like absolute jello.

To give you some frame of reference for where I’m starting, strength-wise: I can’t do a full push up or a full sit up without some form of modification to it. I want to be able to change this, and if I have to take some extra time and add on each exercise as I feel comfortable, that’s what I’ll do.

I will definitely do this workout again. Check it out if you’re looking for something that will challenge your whole body!

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Project | | 3 Comments

Starting the week off right

Let’s face it: Mondays are tough. It’s a universal fact (unless you have a work schedule that begins on a different day of the week). I find it very important to kick Mondays off to a good start every week. I don’t always succeed, but there are a few things that mentally help me get into the groove of the week.

The number 1 thing that I’ve been doing for the past several weeks is making sure that I wake up at 6:30am to get in a pre-work workout. I set up all my workout gear the night before and pop in the Zumba Wii game. When I wake up, I’m usually not too happy or energized, but once I get into the workout, things start looking up. The most important thing that comes out of this is that the very first thing I’m doing on Monday morning is crossing a workout off my list. No matter what else happens that day, I’ll have that victory behind me, and I won’t be scrambling to fit in a workout somewhere else into my schedule.

I’ll be honest though: I can’t do this every day of the week. Most weeks, Monday is the only day I can manage the early wakeup, though sometimes if I’m really on a roll, I can do one other day as well. I’d like to do more of these morning workouts, but my sleep schedule suffers a lot if I do it too frequently.

Also, I do enjoy using the gym at the office, and that’s not something I can easily do in the mornings.

This morning I followed the plan, got everything set up last night and did zumba for 45 minutes this morning. I burned over 400 calories, and then I made myself a protein shake.

I tend to backslide a little on the weekends, so Monday it always feels really good to get a clean slate and do things a little bit healthier.

How has your Monday started off?


I joined the Mingle Monday blog hop this week:
Mingle 240

The question of the day is for Mingle Monday is: What are your Superbowl plans?

My answer: I don’t have any! Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I’m not really a football fan and don’t tend to watch the superbowl or even really know who’s playing. I will probably be hanging out with D and playing video games instead!

January 30, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | | 2 Comments

Smoothie fever

For Christmas this year, I asked my parents for a blender. I didn’t get one of the extremely fancy, $300 ones, just a simple blender from Target. I had been inspired by seeing all my favorite bloggers mixing up smoothies for themselves everyday, and I wanted to give it a try. They looked super delicious, easy and convenient, not to mention healthy, and I wanted ot add them to my diet.

This has been one of the best kitchen additions imaginable, since it’s entered my apartment. I’ve been mixing up smoothies almost every morning for breakfast, or sometimes in the afternoon for an after work snack.

The first thing I did was to buy a whole bunch of different frozen fruits: mixed berries, dark cherries, mango and peaches. I mixed up one or two of these with a banana and some milk and it was awesome, but still was lacking something – I wasn’t full enough afterward. For a long time, I had seen bloggers such as Fitnessista using protein powder to bump up the nutrition and fullness potential of their smoothies, and I had never taken the plunge to buy any because it was pretty pricy. However, now that I’d begun my foray into smoothie making, I figured now was a good chance to at least give it a try – if it was too much of an expense or didn’t do enough for me, I wouldn’t buy it again. So I bought some Sun Warrior

And let me tell you, it was EXACTLY what those smoothies needed. Not only does it keep me full almost until lunch, but it helps me meet my goal to increase my protein intake.

So, breakfasts are certainly taken care of in terms of being nutritiuos and healthy. I either have one of these smoothies (with whatever combo of fruits I’m feeling that day – and you don’t even need ice since they’re frozen), or I cook up a couple of eggs.

I really worked out hard this weekend, and I’m starting to see some muscle tone as a result of my work. Saturday, D and I went off to the office gym as we usually do, but this time it was in a snowstorm. We got about 6 inches and it was still coming down for our walk over. The walk was, needless to say, unpleasant. But the workout wasn’t. Before we even headed out of the house, I did 50 minutes on my stationary bike. Then at the gym, I did arm and leg weights, plus abs, and then a 15 minute cooldown on the elliptical. I burned almost 800 calories, everything combined.

Sunday, I didn’t want to repeat the snowy excursion outdoors, so instead, we went to the “dungeon” of a gym in our apartment complex. I never get a really great workout there, but I did 15 minutes on the bike there, plus 15 on the treadmill. It was a short workout, but I was SUPER sore from the day before.

Things are coming along, and even though the scale continues its strike toward cooperating with me, I know I’m doing good things for my body.


Happy Tuesday! Here’s a blog hop for the day:

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , , , | 1 Comment

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