“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” ~ Seneca
I'm beginning to near the end of the first phase of my fitness project, and things have continued to change for me in the couple of weeks since my latest posts. I'm three weeks in and I've still got about nine-and-a-half weeks left; it feels like a lifetime right now, but I'm sure it'll pass more quickly than I expect.
FITNESS REGIMEN I've stuck to the P90x program pretty closely, and I'm continuing to practice yoga on a daily basis. P90X is all about muscle confusion - mixing up the routine and muscle groups being worked regularly enough to keep the body responsive to change - and it appears to be working well for me so far. I'm challenged by so much still, but I have already made gains in my strength and endurance, and I really feel the sense of 'building something'. My yoga practice has oscillated between power classes (when I'm feeling strong and up for a challenge) and more yinny/restorative (when I'm feeling sore or tired and in need of relaxation). I've actually been doing even more yoga than I anticipated, which feels really rewarding at this point; one of my main goals for this project is to build up my strength to further deepen my asana practice, and I've already experienced some exciting changes in this area. Yesterday, I practiced a Dylan Werner masterclass with lots of challenging strength-based asanas and transitions, as well as a fair bit of deep low body flexibility work, and while the muscular tension I'm dealing with now presented some new flexibility challenges for me, I was able to do many things this time around that I wasn't even able to approach about 6 months ago. This is the real beauty and power of change: it sort of redirects our attention so that we might gain the insight of a new perspective. I'm starting to understand the complexities of my body more thoroughly; my intuition is more in tune and it feels like I'm deepening the connection to my gut instincts.
(...speaking of which...)
MY GUTS Okay, here's where I give you the TMI warning: I'm about to start talking about poop. (I feel like nobody ever does with this sort of thing, but THEY SHOULD.) But first, let's backtrack for a sec. About 18 months ago, I decided I wanted to wean myself off of the PPI meds I'd been taking for years to manage my symptoms of GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease). I did that successfully, over time, and with the support of a consistent yoga practice and a healthy (vegetarian) diet. That being said, my guts are still a little sensitive, so I do have to be careful to not eat too much at a time (makes me feel really nauseous), and to limit the inflammatory foods in my diet. This fitness project is fairly intense; I'm exercising about 11-14 hours weekly, and my biggest struggle so far has been keeping up with the diet. There are days when I don't feel hungry and I really don't want to eat, but I've still got to put something nutritious in there, so I do my best to power through. I've increased my protein intake significantly, and I think that's the main thing I'm struggling with in terms of digestion; my guts feel heavy almost all the time, sort of like I always have to poop... and actually, I kind of do; bowel movements (healthy/normal, thank goodness!) are happening at a much higher frequency these days, so that's been a super fun adjustment. In fact, I've lost quite a bit of sleep because of this, along with having to pee all the time due to my high water intake. Overall, it's basically just a lot more digestive maintenance; it takes a lot to keep the machine running smoothly!
DISCOMFORT (AND RELIEF) There is almost constant tension in my hips and shoulders now. It's nothing serious at this point, but I'm definitely being mindful of the potential for overuse injuries, so my main focus and intention with both yoga and strength training is to stay present and do what feels most supportive to my body. Teaching my private yoga clients has definitely become more physically challenging for me, so I'm feeling really good about my decision to significantly reduce that schedule a couple of months ago (otherwise, I don't know how I would have coped!) I don't take painkillers or anti-inflammatories, but I do treat pain/discomfort with CBD, arnica gel, foam rolling and epsom salt baths - only natural remedies for this girl.
SUPPLEMENTS I generally drink one Vega One shake, which is an all-in-one nutritional shake with plant-based protein, lots of vitamins and minerals, probiotics, fibre and all that veggie goodness, as well as one Vega Sport Protein shake post-workout, which has 10g more protein than a Vega One (30g total) and 6g BCAAs per serving.
DIET So, here's an embarrassing confession... I was really proud of my super extensive and elaborate diet journal at the outset of this project... it lasted only one week. I've been saying, "Oh it's fine; I'll get right back to it next week," but I just haven't. I think part of the reason for this is that I've developed a better understanding of the macronutrient profile of my diet, but, let's be honest: it's mostly due to laziness. Keeping a journal like this is honestly so. much. work. I've given up on it for Phase 1, but I truly do intend to get back to it next week, as I enter Phase 2 of the journey, with slightly less detail so that it's more sustainable in the long run. My caloric intake is higher than what's recommended in any of the Beachbody programs; I never intended to lose much weight, so I've been trying to add more daily calories from the beginning of this project in order to develop more muscle. I feel like this program would be a lot more challenging if I had to reduce my caloric intake in the typical/suggested way, and overall, I'm very happy with the diet side of things so far. (However, I totally failed in taking food photos! Again, I'm trying to do better with this so I can share that part of my journey more effectively.)
OVERVIEW I feel happy and optimistic right now, but also very tired. My digestive adjustments along with the insane Lethbridge wind has left me with little quality sleep this past week, and I'm starting to feel the effects. We know how important sleep is for general health and wellness, but it's even more important that we sleep well when we're putting the body through added physical stress. I feel like I could sleep for an entire day... and just maybe I will. I've lost about 4.5lbs, and am currently sitting at 107.5lbs. This is fine, but I'm hoping that I don't lose much more (if any) weight. (I haven't taken my measurements again, but I'll do the full physical update at the end of Phase 1.) I want to get more excited about food again and all of the work that goes along with maintaining a healthy, balance diet, so hopefully this will begin to improve as I continue on. I've also noticed an overall improvement in my mood; I feel generally happier and more content, as well as less affected by petty things that might normally irritate me. My skin is looking better lately, and my hair and nails have been growing super fast.
This is about all I can think of right now, but if you have any specific questions for me, please ask! I'm more than happy to share my experience with you.