Jenn's December Challenges – Accountability Thread

This topic contains 24 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Jennifer Mattern January 3, 2017 at 9:20 pm.

Viewing 10 posts - 11 through 20 (of 25 total)
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  • #34305

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    Another long day with half of it spent out, so a bit behind on the personal challenge (no work challenge because of the weekend). But I’ll get through it.

    The plan:

    Yoga
    Stairs
    Push-ups
    Squats
    Leg sets
    Arm sets
    Chest & Upper Back sets

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34306

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    This morning is the first time I’ve actually woken up a bit sore. But I’ll take that as a good thing. The new additions to the routine seem to be making a difference. I’m mostly feeling it in my arms from the push-up increase. And much to my surprise I’m already seeing a bit of increased definition there. That’s always motivating.

    The other place I’m feeling it is in both sides of my waist area. That’s from some adjustments to the ab workout, but more because I don’t think I’ve been stretching my sides quite as well as I should be. I’ve been wanting to focus my yoga routine a bit more on my core anyway, so I’m sure that’ll help too when I make new adjustments mid-week.

    Had a minor tweak to my left knee’s tendon while running stairs yesterday, but it feels OK for now. I may have screwed up adding stairs before strengthening my knees. I’d been easing into the squat challenge slowly to protect them (I’m the only person in my family without bad knees, so I try to be a bit more cautious with them than most). No plans to change anything until I see how they do with stairs & squats today. But that’s something else I’ll need to reconsider mid-week. I won’t ease off unless I actually injure my tendon or something, but I do need to work in more stretching and strength-building work to protect them. That’s the only thing I worry about injuring at all, so might as well give them a bit of extra attention.

    But for now, here’s Sunday’s plan.

    Yoga
    Cardio
    Stairs
    Push-ups
    Dips
    Plank Challenge
    Squats
    Arm sets
    Ab & Lower Back sets

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34308

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    For the business challenge, I’m keeping it a bit light today:

    Choosing a photo to use for my Gravatar and author photo on the new blog (only writing under my first name, but since I’m mentioning general background in the industry, it helps to show an actual person behind the site). I’ll likely just use an older photo so it doesn’t look too much like my current one on my main sites. – Picked one & set up up with Gravatar. Don’t love it, so I’ll probably do a fresh photo if I can. But it’ll do for now.

    Other than that, today I’m just going to work more either on the site copy or on edits to the free guide I’ll be giving away there.

    Yesterday was pretty rough with the personal challenge. It was the first day I really didn’t know if I’d push through.

    I’ve been feeling a bit achy all-around today after a restless sleep, and my arms are starting to hurt pretty badly right now. So I’m easing into today and will do my workouts this evening (been on an up-all-night/sleep in the morning schedule, so this afternoon is kind of early in my day as it is). I’m not looking forward to the stairs today, but the rest I think I can manage just fine.

    Tomorrow’s my easiest day of the week, so just one more day of pain before my arms get a break (and when I make changes on Wednesday, I’ll be juggling things better so muscle groups really do get a full rest day — still have normal arm sets tomorrow). On the plus side, my core’s been feeling great (abs & back), as much as my arms are hurting, the strength and toning is definitely a noticeable improvement, and I’m starting to see and feel changes in my legs that I’m very happy with. Not bad for only being on this routine for only around 3 weeks. So, it’s totally worth it. 🙂

    Today’s plan:

    Yoga
    Cardio
    Stairs
    Push-ups
    Dips
    Plank challenge
    Squats
    Leg sets
    Chest / Upper Back sets

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34311

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    I’m a bit late updating today, but thankfully it wasn’t a bad one. Tuesdays are as close to a rest day as I get workout-wise. And because my arms had been in serious need of a break, I gave them one. I did interval training on the bike for my cardio (yes, I know I didn’t have any scheduled, but I had some frustration to burn off), and I was up very late last night so I did the Tuesday arm workout before bed so they could recover. They’re feeling a bit better now. Guess I’ll see how that plays out tomorrow.

    But first, the business challenge.

    Today was also easy on this front. I just did more work on the free guide (which is revising an older one I’d already written more than working up a new one).

    For workouts:

    Yoga
    Plank Challenge
    Squats
    Arm sets
    Ab & Lower Back sets

    Tomorrow is the last day of my second week of the challenge (third week on the new workout schedule overall), so I’ll be making adjustments again then.

    I have to admit, I’ve been feeling it much more this week, having added stairs, planks, dips, and increasing other strength work reps. That’s not a bad thing. But it does mean I need to streamline better. For example, I haven’t really had a day off with my arms until I tweaked today’s schedule to do my normal arm set early. So I’ll re-work groupings so I get one day completely off for arms / chest / upper back work together, and another day off for legs / abs / lower back. I’ll probably also cut push-ups to 5 days per week, but increase reps to make up for it. Right now I’m at 75 per day, 6 days per week. So upping it to 100 per day, 5 days per week will give me an extra arm rest day, but still push the weekly total up by another 50 reps.

    Despite feeling things a bit more in some areas, I’ve been pretty impressed with my core strength — hadn’t lost nearly as much as I’d initially thought. So I’d like to increase the focus there and really work my abs harder starting next week. I also have a feeling I’m going to need more de-stressing from now until the end of the year, so I’ll be doing much longer yoga sessions (1-2 hours most days). That’ll be rough for the next few days schedule-wise, but it should be good during my vacation after that.

    So that’s the plan moving forward. I’ll likely work out the new weekly schedule tomorrow and share it here, then I’ll start on that Thursday.

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34313

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    12/14 Update

    Haven’t been on the site in a couple of days, so here’s the belated update for Wednesday. I got through the personal stuff (barely), but didn’t do anything on the business challenge (no big deal; that’s a challenge to finish by the end of the month, not a daily challenge like the other one).

    The only real changes are that, thankfully, that day off for my arms was all I needed. They’re back to feeling great again and ready for the new push. And much to my surprise my weight actually went up a few pounds (more on that in Thursday’s update though — not at all concerned about it.

    Yoga
    Cardio
    Stairs
    Push-ups
    Dips
    Plank Challenge
    Leg sets
    Ab & Lower Back sets
    Chest & Upper Back sets

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34314

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    Today was another do-nothing day on the business challenge front so far. But I’ll spend some time tonight going over the plan and checklist and scheduling things in for the rest of the dev work over my “vacation” time which starts tomorrow. Come hell or high water, the site’s launching on January 1st.

    For the personal challenge, today starts Week 3. Honestly, I’m surprised I stuck with it every day. I hate daily challenges because I believe in moderation and taking time away from things before I get bored with them (and I get bored very easily). But so far, so good.

    Being a new week means it’s time to mix things up again though. And there are some big changes.

    – Sets for most strength & toning workouts will stay at 4, though I’ll be mixing in some new exercises for anything I think is being under-worked right now (and a few things will have their number of days adjusted for a more consistent routine).
    – I’ll be doing longer yoga sessions (1+ hrs for at least four days per week with shorter sessions on the others).
    – I’m cutting push-ups back to 5 days per week, but increasing to 100 reps each of those days (+50 net gain for the week).
    – I’m increasing both dips and squats to 40 reps per set (from 20 and 25 reps respectively — knees adapted to the squats just fine, and the dips were just too easy, plus I want to focus more on my triceps this week anyway)
    – Muscle sets are being shuffled a bit so arms and legs in particular get full days off.
    – While it won’t affect how I document it here, I’m adding a few new exercises to the ab workouts because they’ve been too easy so far.
    – I’m cutting out one day of stair sprints, but will keep the other days to 20 flights for now. If my quads aren’t still burning at that by the end of this week I’ll increase it to either 25 or 30. But I want to take it a bit easier on them in particular b/c of the increased squats challenge, and also because they’ll be worked a good bit during the new routine below…
    – On that note, I’ll be adding a weighted barre workout routine to focus even more on my legs, ass, hips, and abs.
    – I’m cutting out the cardio. I know. That sounds silly. But hear me out…

    This week has seen some pretty great changes. I’m seeing more definition in my arms. My legs are starting to slim down again and tone up nicely (one of my favorite features, so about damn time). I’m seeing much more flexibility, especially in my legs (I used to be insanely flexible, and I want to get most of that back — goal is to be able to do a simple 1-minute standing split again in 3 months max. Being more flexible like that prevents muscles from bulking up as you build strength, but also prevents injuries — and with as accident-prone as I’ve been this year, especially when it comes to my legs, that would be smart).

    Those are the good things. The not-so-good thing is that my weight actually went up a few pounds. Now, the reason I’m not concerned is that measurements came down, certain areas (notably my legs) have visibly thinned, and I’m seeing much more muscle definition in areas of my arms. So I know I lost weight. I just gained it back in new muscle. That’s great. But… it also means things are still going much slower than they were when I first got healthy again. And the only difference between then and now is the cardio. I wasn’t doing it then. I am now. And when I initially started doing that months again, I gained weight again.

    I think I know why it is. When I do cardio, I tend to gravitate more towards carbs (I don’t actively pursue a low-carb, low-fat diet or anything; I just try to eat as many “real” foods and as few processed foods as I can). When I don’t do cardio, that’s when I have a much easier time sticking to a diet of mostly eggs, veggies, meat, fruit, cheese, greek yogurt, and nuts (not as boring as it sounds, I swear — I do indulge from time to time, especially if I’m in the mood to bake. And I really want to give myself one solid week where I can try to stay away from some of that stuff. Why? I feel better, and I know I’m going to need to feel better this week.

    Plus, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are coming, which means stuffing, cookies, and plenty of alcohol are in my near future. Not that this makes up for it, and of course I’ll be careful not to overdo it, but I also want to get a jump on things before January 1st as much as possible. Besides, sprinting stairs (while not a long workout) is certainly demanding on the cardio front. And I do still walk as long as it’s not icy several days per week without counting that towards workouts. So it’s not as if cutting cardio means I’ll be sitting on my ass all day. I think I’ll survive one week for the sake of an experiment.

    That’s about it. Here’s the new plan for this week (Monday was increased to be a bit of a crazy day, with Tuesdays & Fridays being almost rest days to help me recover):

    Mondays – Yoga, Stairs, Barre, Push-ups, Dips, Squats, Plank challenge, Arm sets, Chest / Upper Back sets, Leg sets, Ab & Lower Back Sets
    Tuesdays – Yoga, Barre, Plank Challenge
    Wednesdays – Yoga, Stairs, Push-ups, Dips, Squats, Plank Challenge, Leg sets, Ab & Lower Back sets, Arm sets, Chest & Upper Back sets
    Thursdays – Yoga, Stairs, Barre, Push-ups, Dips, Squats, Plank Challenge, Leg sets, Ab & Lower Back sets, Arm sets, Chest & Upper Back sets
    Fridays – Yoga, Barre, Plank Challenge
    Saturdays – Yoga, Stairs, Barre, Push-ups, Dips, Squats, Leg sets, Ab & Lower Back sets, Arm sets, Chest & Upper Back sets
    Sundays – Yoga, Push-ups, Plank Challenge, Arm sets, Ab & Lower Back sets

    That means today’s plan (which I’m getting a very late start on) is:

    Yoga
    Stairs
    Barre
    Push-ups
    Dips
    Squats
    Plank Challenge
    Leg sets
    Ab & Lower Back sets
    Arm sets
    Chest & Upper Back sets

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34317

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    No exciting updates for today. Just started my vacation, and knocked out the few activities before a call early this afternoon. Easy day, so no biggie. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough one — lots of workouts, and some work admin and other tasks to deal with. And I’ll probably be itching to play in the snow instead (though it sounds like it’ll be too icy to really enjoy anyway).

    Yoga
    Barre
    Plank Challenge

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34318

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    12/17 Update

    I didn’t sleep last night. I have a shit-ton to do this weekend. So this will suck.

    Business Stuff:

    Lots. That is all.

    Personal Stuff:

    Yoga
    Stairs
    Barre
    Push-ups
    Dips
    Squats
    Leg sets
    Ab & Lower Back sets
    Arm sets
    Chest & Upper Back sets

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34323

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    12/18 Update

    No business stuff today. Workout stuff wasn’t too bad. I’ll do the yoga session before bed (or in the middle of the night, as it’ll likely be an all-nighter again and I’ll need to unwind and clear my head anyway).

    Yoga
    Push-ups
    Plank Challenge
    Arm sets
    Ab & Lower Back sets

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

    #34325

    Jennifer Mattern
    Keymaster

    12/19 Update

    Monday’s schedule is kind of hellish for the personal challenge. Have some personal things to deal with first. Then that. Then I’ll work on more copy for the new site for the business challenge. Hoping to have the copy finished tomorrow so I can focus on blog posts and resources after that.

    Yoga
    Stairs
    Barre
    Push-ups
    Dips
    Squats
    Plank challenge
    Arm sets
    Chest / Upper Back sets
    Leg sets
    Ab & Lower Back Sets

    Jennifer Mattern - Professional Blogger, Freelance Business Writer, Author

    Owns AllFreelanceWriting.com | Also blogs at: NakedPR.com & BizAmmo.com

Viewing 10 posts - 11 through 20 (of 25 total)

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