Category Archives: Project Scale Down

365 Days of Fitness – The Halfway Point!!

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Day183_2

Yup!! This morning’s Strong Curves workout marked day 183 and the halfway point of my 365 Days of Fitness!! This is when the going gets tough and the tough get going (to work)!! Time to make my breakthrough. For the last decade, I have started falling off after 6 months of exercising regularly and eating well.  And, this year, I am committed to breaking that pattern!! My new mantra is: “If you’re tired of starting over again, stop quitting.” I will also be reminding myself, “It’s a LOT easier to STAY in shape than it is to GET BACK INTO shape.” Because, at 41 years of age, it’s definitely getting even harder!! The ol’ joints just aren’t what they used to be!!!

On another note, I picked up a Polar FT4 heart rate monitor watch from Amazon about a month ago and am really liking it!! I purchased it after reading many positive reviews about it from my curlfriends on IG!! I’ll have to do a review soon. But, quickly, you wear a chest strap and then input your height, weight, and sex into the “watch” to get a more accurate reading for calories burned during your workout. And, you can monitor whether you are training inside or outside of your optimal heart rate zone.

Finally, here are a couple progress pics from the beginning of my challenge to now. The first one speaks for itself.

Day43v172

Next up is a collage of pics that show where I was in August 2011 and wanted to get back to when I started this is a 28 Day Challenge back in February. The middle picture was essentially my starting point when I weighed 148.5 pounds. And, the last pic is Day 172 seen above, where I am down about 23 pounds. I actually weigh more in the August 2013 pic than I do in the August 2011 pic, but think I look more muscular. So, I’m cool with that!!

Progression

This last pic is from a night out last Friday. I looked like a lumpy sausage stuffed badly in its casing when I purchased this dress last November after seeing Folake of Style Pantry rocking it here! So, it hung in the closet until last week, when I was looking for another dress and stumbled across it. Let’s just say, I was pretty dang pleased when I saw how it fits now (I know, it doesn’t look like it, but I was!!! LOL!! :)). #WINNING

Ellidresscollage(The dress is from Elli, but is no longer available. Sorry!!)

And, just because … this cracked me up when I saw it, because I hop out of bed around 5:30 am every weekday morning, give Wei a kiss, and then hit the basement for my workout (well, after a leisurely cup of coffee). So, I could relate. LOL!!

ecard_reasonIwakeup

For a daily dose of 365 Days of Fitness (plus hair, food, and random acts of nerdiness), follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook!!

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Have you been on a roller coaster ride with your health and fitness? What have you done or are you doing to “stop the madness?”

 

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Health & Fitness Journey Update

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StrongCurves_CollageMy home gym has grown a LOT in the last month!! But, that’s a post for another day!

Since I learned that a lot of you aren’t following Hairscapades on other social outlets, I don’t feel like I’m rehashing old news by posting stuff I shared on IG and FB!! So thanks to those who completed the poll!!! It was really helpful!! *mwah*

That being said, I wanted to give you all an update on my personal 365 Days of Fitness Challenge. Although I haven’t updated on here in a while (I update daily on IG, FB, and Twitter), I continue to work out every day, mostly 30 minutes to an hour (but 10-12 minutes when time, energy, and/or location require it). As of this morning, I completed Day 162 (i.e. 23 weeks + 1 day).

On July 1st, I started the 12 Week At-Home Bodyweight workout from “Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building A Better Butt and Body.”  This program provides 3  different weekly, full body/butt training workouts for the first 4 weeks, a second series of 3 workouts for weeks 5-8, and a third series of 3 workouts for weeks 9-12.  The book includes several programs, including ones that can be done in the gym, workouts for beginners and advanced lifters, and lower body only workouts. It suggests incorporating High Intensity Interval (HIIT) sessions for the 3 alternating days a week.

strongcurves

I just started week 5 of the At-Home program yesterday. I do Strong Curves on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (workouts take about 1 hour with warm-up and cool down). The other days of the week, I do what I feel like. I try to incorporate kettlebell, abs of steel, running, and yoga into each week though, if possible.

This is what a typical week looks like for me.

Monday:  Strong Curves Workout A

Tuesday:  Kettlebell training with 20 lb bell and Lauren Brooks DVD (20-30 min.)

Wednesday:  Strong Curves Workout B

Thursday:  Treadmill (HIIT w/six-seven 1 min. sprint/1.5 min. walk intervals, 300 Cal Run/Walk, moderate run, and/or progressive incline walk) (30-35 min)

Friday:  Strong Curves Workout C

Saturday:  Treadmill (S/A)

Sunday:  Hot Yoga (Vinyasa Flow) (75 min.)

As stated above though, if time, energy, or location don’t allow, I might only do 10-25 minutes on my non-Strong Curves days. This is usually Abs of Steel, my short kettlebell workout, or a stretching video (relaxing, flexibity, or power). I even recently did a 10 minute YouTube video workout using my phone when I was away from home for a family reunion (YouTube is an amazing resource for all kinds of workouts)!

via Moms Into Fitness

And then there’s the improvisation to make up for exercises for which I don’t have the equipment at home.

day136(Chin-ups under a table and step-ups on a chair)

Now, I know what you’re thinking … “WELL?!?!?! With all of that, are you seeing results?” Why yes, yes I am!! Although my diet isn’t immaculate (I probably would be at my goal weight of 120 pounds [I’m 5’1″] by now if it were), I’m very happy to report that I weighed in at 123. 5 pounds this past weekend! That’s down 25 pounds from what I weighed when I started my 28 Day Health & Fitness Challenge in February!!!

weigh-in (7-27-13)7/27/13

And, I fit my size 4 skinny jeans!! WOOT WOOT!!

Down25lbs

I know it probably doesn’t look like it, but the jeans on the left fit too! Just … very loosely! LOL!! In fact, I wore both pairs of jeans the same day. I wore the low-waist, stretchy, wide-leg jeans to work and changed to the high-waist, non-stretch, skinny jeans for dinner date night. It was a strategic maneuver to prevent myself from overeating!! I knew that I would feel it a lot more in those skinny jeans and would be discouraged from over-indulging due to the pain of the waistband cutting into my gut!! And it worked!! LOL!!

So yeah, I’m seeing progress, even in my most stubborn of areas ,my glutes and upper thighs! I’m not ready to share close-up and personal pictures yet (maybe I never will be?), but I am seeing improvements. And, at 41 years of age, I think that’s pretty darn good for 4 weeks!

And that’s where I’m at with my 365 Day Fitness Challenge. Oh!!!! And almost forgot! This Saturday, August 3rd, is my Warriors Dash!!! Oh. Em. Gee!! Wish me luck!!

Thanks for reading and for all of those on Instagram and Facebook who root me along, you ROCK!! Your words, likes, and ♥ encourage and motivate me every day!!!! And I hope that my posts do the same for you!!

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So, how do you guys feel about a “regular” Health & Fitness Spotlight ? I came up with the idea a few months ago and there was a lot of interest, but never executed. I feel like it would be encouraging to see the health & fitness journeys of other readers.

Whaddaya think??

(BTW: Already have my first spotlight lined up … *hint, hint*)

Blowout & Workout

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weusi jumping rope
by Weusi

You all know Shelli has been on the fitness GRIND!!! She has worked out 120 consecutive days as of Monday!

AND … I think that you all know … I LOVE me some SHELLI. I love her alot-alot-alot.

While she has been working out consistently, I have been sporadic in my exercise “routine.” But the reminder that she shared with me kicks in every now and then. I’m paraphrasing, but she told me … “this isn’t about vanity. This is about being able to live happy and healthy lives together … forever.” CAN YOU SAY, “MOTIVATION?”

So … now I’m sitting here thinking about just HOW MUCH I LOVE HER.

I love her so much
There really aren’t any words
that explain how much

#onthespothaiku

(That just came to me! I love it when I surprise myself like that!)

And then, I remembered that I asked Shelli to send me this …

A blowout class for S.O.’s …

via ABCNews.go.com

Do I love her enough to take this class for her? Yes, I do … BUT … WILL I? NOPE! Why?

The idea was that we LIVE a long, happy and healthy life together. NOT that she KILL me because I messed up her hair trying to blow it out! So … NAH MAN!!!

INSTEAD … in celebration of SHELLI’S 120 days straight of fitness I am asking that you join her. Exercise for 10 minutes. Even if this is the only day in your life that you do it. Go exercise! She’s done it for 120 days, we can do it 1 day!

I can’t think of anything greater to wish for someone. So, I wish that you all take a step to doing so, if you haven’t already.

So, I’m sending a JUMP ROPE to (1) special friend of HAIRSCAPADES that publicly posts a commitment to exercise at least 3 days a week on the HAIRSCAPADES FACEBOOK PAGE by Friday. We’ll announce the SPECIAL WINNER on SATURDAY.

AND NO … I know it’s not much, but it’s the sentiment … and the joy of winning something!

START POSTING!

SHiNE

28 Day Fitness Challenge Round Two: Days 43-49

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sweaty

Still going strong!! Can’t believe I’ve worked out for 50 consecutive days now!! One more week and it’ll be 2 months!! When I started this 7 weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it through the first 28 days. Now, on day 51, I feel like I can keep on going. Some days, all I get in is 10 minutes of Abs of Steel, but I feel like every minute counts. And, I could have easily been sleeping or sitting on the couch those 10 minutes, so it’s better than that.

In regard to weight loss, the scale actually went back up to 138 this week. I’m not overly concerned as it’s that time of the month … y’all know how it is. Also, although I ate very well during the day, I had a really irregular week as it related to dinner. Nothing I ate was bad in and of itself. But, I was eating randomly and too much … green smoothie, kale chips, pistachios and smoked oysters one night … green smoothie, kale chips, a sweet potato and pistachios the next … green smoothie, taylor ham and pistachios the following night … I told you … random. And, over the weekend wasn’t the best either … I didn’t eat too much in regard to quantity, but didn’t have the best options when I went out to lunch on Saturday (ended up w/a breaded chicken cutlet on a white roll … was hoping it was grilled … only ate half the bread, but still all that friend breading) and a birthday party on Sunday (2 slices of plain cheese pizza … it was after hot yoga and I was starving!). But, again, it wasn’t a lot in terms of quantity … just more calories than I would like and not much in the way of nutritional content.

Kale, banana, dates and vanilla extract green smoothie; first ever homemade kale chips (too salty, but did a second batch w/o salt and they were good)!

Kale, banana, dates and vanilla extract green smoothie; first ever homemade kale chips (too salty, but did a second batch w/o salt and they were good)!

Oh, and Sunday night, Wei and I went to our new favorite spot, The Loving Hut in Ledgewood, NJ. It’s an international chain (never would have guessed) specializing in vegan cuisine. Let me tell you, the food. is. DELICIOUS.

Clockwise: California Roll, Queen “Burger”; sweet potato fries and Pho. This pic was actually from our first visit, but we ordered the same things this past Sunday!

So yeah, I’ll probably wait until next Sunday or Monday to weigh in again and keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be down a real pound or two to 135-136. Of course, I need to get my dinners back on track this week …  ‘cuz Monday night was a repeat of the randomness.

Alright, here’s Days 43-49 in pictures!!

In regard to Day 46, you may have noticed that I posted my Day 1 and Day 2 results. Now, the thing is, treadmills that don’t allow you to enter you weight, height, sex and body fat percentage don’t accurately calculate calories burned for everyone. This is because treadmills that don’t allow personalization generally use the universal calibration for a 150 pound male (check out this article on LiveStrong.com: Do Treadmills Accurately Burn Calories? for more info). However, though I know the results for calories and carbs burned on my calculator are not accurate for me, the information is helpful as it provides a point of comparison from work-out to work-out.

C25K Week 7/Day 1 was yesterday morning!! This week is 25 minute runs for each workout! I’m so excited to be here as, when I started, didn’t know how’d I do it! But, every day, slow progression is the key to seeing results!!

Oh, and before I go!! I wanted to share a video on pre- and post work-out stretches to do to improve running speed and endurance!! It’s from Marshall’s!! You see, when I bought work-out clothes from them a couple of weeks ago, there were these “Get Fit” tags with QR codes to “unlock” YouTube videos! Well, I got the perfect video for me!!

I have found that doing the demonstrated stretches pre- and post work-out does make me feel more limber and the pre-run stretches definitely help warm me up. I can’t say that the stretches have improved my endurance or speed just yet. But, I’ve only been doing them for about a week now. So, I’ll give them more time for that. And, now that I think about it, I did do long run intervals at 5.5 when I was struggling at 5.2 a couple of weeks ago. So, maybe they are helping! If it can improve my speed to 5.3 for my 25 minute run at the end of this week, I’ll give these stretches some kudos ;)!

Lata Gatas!!

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Any runners out there? Do you have tips on stretches or techniques for a novice runner to use in order to improve running efficiency, form, gait, speed? Thanks in advance!!

28 Day Fitness Challenge Round Two: Days 36-43

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So, I’m a little late with this and I’m keeping it short. I’m down 11.5 pounds as of this past Saturday and started week 6 of C25K this morning. Still working out daily and eating well mostly … though, I did indulge a little on Easter Day. However, though I enjoyed some mac and cheese, a little ham, and candied yams, I also filled half my plate with salad, had white meat turkey, passed on the bread and stuffing and practiced portion control. I didn’t stuff myself at all and I didn’t have seconds. Ummm … and I did have a little bit of dessert too *sheepish grin*. BUT, it was the lightest thing there and it was only about 3-4 spoonfuls. I resisted the sweet potato pie (oh how I love thee), coconut cake, pound cake and ice cream! Oh, and I started out the day with a green smoothie … learning of the day: NutriBullet does NOT do well with frozen greens :(. So, I bought a big bag of fresh kale after work today. Should have taken a pic … it’s GINORMOUS!!

Okay, yeah … short. Here’s day 36-43 in pics!! Oh, and captions ;).

Day 43: C25K Week 6/Day 1 (5.5 mph run intervals). Abs are coming in ... still got a ways to go, but seeing real progress.

Day 43: C25K Week 6/Day 1 (5.5 mph run intervals). Abs are coming in … still got a ways to go, but seeing real progress.

I’ll be back in the next day or two with details of the hair above and to share a recap of the Wonder Curl launch party that I attended this weekend!! She debuted her two new products, a Cleansing Clay Mask and a Deep Conditioner that round-out her line of products!! Okay … if you just can’t wait, check out these recaps by A Hair Story and Radiant Brown Beauty, who both attended the event with me and are on top of it ;)!!

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Spring is in the air and summer can’t be too far away … right?  So, how you guys doing with your health and fitness goals? 

28 Day Fitness Challenge: Days 15-21

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c25K_workMy hair fell out of the bun. I can’t stand my hair
down when I’m exercising.

Still going strong!! I’m very happy to have week three of my 28 Day Fitness Challenge under my belt. I’m down 6 pounds now, which is an average of 2 pounds a week. This is great for me as I usually don’t see the scale move much my first month of exercising and getting my diet back on track. I’m not feeling tired like I was the last time I did this challenge and I think that has a lot to do with morning work-outs … and getting in bed by 11 pm (sleep is sooo important). So I don’t foresee any problems taking it all the way to the end this time! Yea!!

And, here are Days 15-21 in pictures!!

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On a diet note … despite encountering these for $0.99 at the register of Panera on Friday night …

Panera_RedVelvetCookies

Red Velvet COOKIES?!?! Are you kidding me?!?!

I walked out with this, as planned …

DELISH!!

Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. DELISH!!

A little trick I use to take the calorie count down on this salad is request the half-size salad portions of the nuts, cheese and dressing. By doing this, I shave 165 calories off of the salad, taking it from 550 to 385. All the flavor for 2/3 the calories!! WIN!! Oh, but I earned a free bakery treat the next time I go to Panera … so, I can’t make any promises that I won’t walk out with one of those cookies the next time …

And to wrap this up, on a hair note, I washed the mop and FINALLY did a two step henna/indigo this weekend!! I actually did a full head, full strength henna treatment, which I haven’t done in over a year. So happy to be done with that as my roots were looking CUH-RAZY!!

hennatime3

Sorry, no after pics yet. I set my hair in braids on Saturday night and released them late on Sunday to bun it. My wash day went down almost exactly the same as the last one, which I ran down here, except I did the henna/indigo treatment after shampooing/detangling and set my hair in braids instead of twists. Other than that, the steps and products were the same with one other exception that I think made a HUGE difference in my detangling session this weekend. It was a BREEZE and I was so ecstatic! I’ll be sharing what I did differently with you guys very soon in a post about detangling techniques. So, stay tuned for that ;)!!

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I’m starting C25K Week 3 this morning!! How did my 28 Day Fitness Challenge ladies doing or any of you who are working towards health & fitness goals?

28 Day Fitness Challenge: Days 1-7

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day2Day 1 and Day 2

Not much in ways of mileage, but I am trying to build my endurance back up and work out the kinks muscle tightness. Did 25 min of walking and 5 minutes of jogging on Monday. On Tuesday, I did 7.5 minutes of jogging (five 1.5 min. jog/1.5 min. walk intervals).

day3Day 3

12 minute Kettlebell Full Body Blast with Lauren Brooks. I went to south Jersey on Tuesday night for the funeral for a member of my church family (RIP NaNa). But, I took my kettlebell and DVD with me. Couldn’t be missing days already. But yeah, 12 minutes. That’s all. Kicked my butt. My legs were sore immediately and the rest of the week. 

day4Day 4

Did five 1.5 min jog/run intervals again. I  increased my speed in last jog interval. But, I didn’t pick up any distance or burn any more calories than Tuesday. I think this was because my warm up started off slower. My thighs were tight and SORE!!

day5Day 5

Did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 10 minute Abs of Steel. I passed out after work on Thursday night!!! Between a sore body from resuming working out and the long day Wednesday (funeral in south Jersey and the CurlyNikki meet-up in NYC), I was DONE!!

day6Day 6

Did my old 20 minute 300 Calorie Treadmill Routine. It wasn’t pretty. I had to reduce speed for last half as my heart was coming out of my chest. How far they have fallen!! Anywho, it’s still a great short workout!! Check it out via the prior link, if you’re interested in a quick workout for those days you don’t have a lot of time! Also, a lot of people complained in the comments of the Fitness mag post that their treadmill only said they burned 160 or so cals. The treadmill can’t calculate calorie burn from interval training. It also is not accurate as there are various factors (sex, weight, height, muscle mass, metabolic rate, etc.) that are needed to accurately determine the number of cals an individual will burn with any given exercise. So, the 300 isn’t necessarily accurate either. These things rely upon averages and are not exact. If you’re not “average,” then they are just estimates.

day7Day 7

75 minutes of hot yoga (Vinyasa Flow) with my fave instructor, Colleen, at Younique Yoga. I didn’t do too badly even though I’m out of shape and haven’t been in forever!! I was even able to do a headstand and did it again when I got home!! It’s not perfect, but it’s a start!!

It’s been a pretty good week for my diet as well. I ate a little WAY too much granola yesterday, but everything I’ve eaten has been healthy. I’ve planned my meals for the most part, have been eating fruit, veggies, low fat/zero fat Greek yogurt, walnuts and have been drinking lots of water. I reduced my coffee from three cups a day to one cup in the morning to jump start me for working out (well, except Friday, when I needed a second cup!). Oh, and I’ve been getting in bed by 11 pm and waking up at 5:30 am to exercise in the morning prior to work!

And now, it’s time to hit the shower and clean this body and wash this hair (pre-poo has been “marinating” since yesterday!).

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Okay, how did you ladies who “signed up” for the 28 Day Fitness Challenge do week one? 

As for week 2, LET’S GET IT!!