I hope you enjoy my blog...if you do, please "follow" me! XOXOXO...BettyShmetty

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weight training without a gym...upper body workout

Before I show you what I am doing, I highly recommend that you read the Body for Life book.  It explains everything much more clearly than I can.  It is very motivational too.  I am re-reading it and it is really helping me fully buy in to the program once again.  I can't stress enough how important that part is.  You have to understand what to do and believe in your mind that you can do it and WANT to do it.  Otherwise, you are wasting your time. 

Here is the upper body workout I will be doing for the next month.  According to the Body for Life program, you alternate workouts like this:
Monday - upper body
Tuesday - cardio
Wednesday - lower body
Thursday - cardio
Friday - upper body
Saturday - cardio
Sunday - free day

As you can see, you work a body area about every 5 days.  This allows time for your muscles to recover from being sore and also to get stronger.  Nearly every time you work out on this program, you will notice that you get a little stronger each time if you do it by the book...again, read the book!

Probably the best time to exercise is in the morning, but yesterday, I didn't have time in the morning.  I did this last night while everyone ate dinner (I ate later).  I happen to have a complete set of dumbbells in my garage.  I bought them used many years ago and they have been gathering dust.  In fact, one of my missions for today is to clean up the equipment so I can get to it and use it easier.  If you don't have dumbbells, I am sure you can google other ways to do upper body exercises.  These are just what I will be doing.  Of course, if you have a gym membership, that's even better!! When you do these sets, you will rest for about 1 minute between each set.  For example, do your first set of 12 reps and then rest one minute, then do your next set of 10 reps and so on.

The wall push ups I did started out very much like this and then as I did more sets, I backed my feet further from the wall and then used the front of my car and then got on the ground for the final sets.  I did 5 sets total.  12 reps the first time, then made the exercise a little harder (simulating adding weight) by backing my feet further out and did 10 reps.  Then I did 8 reps and then 6.  My final set was back at the position I did the 8 reps at before and I did 12 this time.  I immediately followed that last set with this:

Using a 5 pound dumbbell, I did bench flies.  I did 12 reps.  It's important to do all of these exercises slowly and deliberately so you are not just throwing the weight around.  You don't get any benefit out of that.  When I was finished with this exercise (the one set) I was finished working my chest muscles.  Next came back.

I chose to do bent over dumbbell rows.  For my first set of 12 reps, I used a 5 lb. weight.  The set of 10 reps, I used 6.5 lb weights.  For the set of 8 reps, I used 8 pounds and the set of 6 I used 10 pounds.  I then picked the 8 pound dumbbells back up and did my set of 12 reps and then immediately went to the next exercise:

Bent over lateral raises.  For this one, I used the 5 lb. weights and was very strict about my form.  Getting your back muscles is tricky.  You really have to contract them when you do the exercise and it doesn't take much weight, especially at the beginning.  When I completed the single set of 12 reps of this one, I was done with my back.  Next came shoulders:

This exercise is called a military press.  I used very light weights for this one.  You will feel it!  Again, first set is 12 reps and I used 2 lb. weights.  Next set 10 reps, I used 5 lb.  Next set 8, I used 6.5 lbs.  Next set of 6, I used 8 lbs.  I then used the 6.5 lb weights to do my final set of 12 reps and then immediately followed that with:

Shrugs.  This is a very simple exercise that you can do.  I used my 8 lb. dumbbells and did 12 reps.  I was then finished with shoulders and moved on to biceps.

This photo shows a "hammer curl".  It's called a hammer curl because you hold the dumbbell like a hammer to do the exercise.  It's just one of many different ways you can hold the dumbbell when you are doing bicep curls.  The important thing to remember when doing any type of curl is to not let your arms relax at your sides between reps.  See the first picture of the guy?  See how his arms are still slightly raised up?  This keeps the muscle from relaxing between reps and makes the exercise more effective.  You will feel the difference when you do it right, your arms will get tired quicker and that's a good thing!  Do the sets the same as you did the other exercises.  First set 12 reps, then increase the weight slightly for each of the following sets while dropping the number of reps, 10, 8 and 6.  When you get to your final set of 12 reps, go back to the weight you used for the set of 8 reps.  Then immediately follow that with another set of 12 reps with your hands turned in another direction (for example, instead of the hammer curl, do the traditional curl with your fist pointing upwards) and this will be your final set for biceps.  Triceps are the final upper body exercise.

I like bench curls for triceps.  The illustration above shows how to do it.  If you don't understand the illustration, go to youtube and look it up.  It's very simple and you can do it using your couch or a chair or a weight bench.  Do the exercise in the same way you did the others, sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 and then 12 again.  As you go down in the number of reps, move your feet a little further away from the bench to get more resistance.  Follow this exercise with this one:

Tricep extensions.  use a light weight and be sure to hold your elbows in toward the side of your body, pointing straight up to the ceiling in order to get the tricep muscle.  Do one single set of 12 reps and you are done!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Today I had to take a psychological test in order to get hired for the police position I want.  I have taken several versions of this test over the years.  It is very long and grueling...about 4 straight hours of answering the same 200 or so questions worded 5 or 6 different ways for a total of about 1000 questions.

The test is designed to weed out those who won't fit into a law enforcement career.  It picks up whether you are lying, defensive, compulsive, obsessive, criminal, violent or a combination of all of the above.  The only way to take the test is to decide beforehand to answer every single question honestly.  Even the ones that ask whether you like poetry or Alice in Wonderland. 

I have always wondered what it might mean to the psychologist reviewing my answers that I do like poetry (especially if someone is writing it to me) or that I don't really care for Alice in Wonderland?  Does it mean I am too introspective or soft to be a cop?  Does not liking poetry fit the position better?  What about the fact that I sometimes prefer spending time by myself?  Does it mean I'm anti-social?  After all the tests I have taken, I still don't know the right answer, so I just answer truthfully...I AM afraid of spiders, but not snakes.  I DON"T enjoy gambling, but have done dangerous things just for the thrill of it from time to time.  I DID NOT have a good relationship with my mom, I DON"T think my father was the ideal man (because I never knew him.)

After the written portion of the test, there is an interview with the psychologist.  Today, he managed to gather all sorts of interesting tidbits about my childhood, my mother, my lack of a father, the fact that I have 3 other siblings I don't know and that I have been a witness to domestic violence in my home growing up.  He asked whether I thought I was really fit for the job.  I told him that my past experiences had made me more sensitive to the fact that people have problems and that the answers or solutions to them are not always black and white.  I told him that my past had allowed my creative problem-solving side to blossom and my empathy for the plight of those less fortunate to root deep within me.  I care about what happens to people (most of them anyway) and I do want to help them.  I just can't help being that way.  It's who I am.  His remark to me?  "So you were able to overcome your past and become better for it."  Well, yes.  I guess it's true.

An old photo of me as a School Police Officer

I'll find out in a few days whether or not I am of sound enough mind to do the job I have done for so many years...taking care of the public in the best way I know how...by keeping their kids safe in school.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The "D" word

I don't know about you, but one of the hardest things about starting a diet and fitness program is the eating part.  I want to eat right, but sometimes it's hard to figure out what to eat that is healthy and tastes good.  This morning, I was thinking about breakfast and was at a loss.  I had eggs and was considering cooking some egg whites, but wasn't really in the mood for that.

I found some old-fashioned oats in the pantry and decided to have some oatmeal.  I used 1 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of rice milk (I can't use any dairy) and 1/2 cup of water.  I nuked it for 1 minute in the microwave.  I don't like my oatmeal mushy.  You can cook it longer if you like it really hot or mushy.  After I heated the oats a little, I added a scoop of EAS whey protein (I can use whey even though I can't do dairy...go figure!)  Oh my gosh!  It tasted so good!  I think it's my new favorite thing to have for breakfast!  You should try it!

Seriously though, this program is really pretty simple.  You're supposed to eat 5 or 6 small meals consisting of a portion of carbs and a portion of protein at each meal.  A meal is around 200-300 calories.  A portion is about the size of the palm of your hand (not including your fingers) or about the size of your clenched fist.  A protein is any lean meat or egg whites or vegetable protein and a carb is any whole grain or fruit.  Simple, right?  How could anyone mess this up?

The best part?  You only have to be "good" for 6 days out of 7.  On the 7th day, you get to eat whatever you want.  Seriously.  Whatever you want.  No lie.  It makes it easy to be good the rest of the week when you know you can have whatever it is legally if you just wait.  The key is to be good the other 6 days and the weight will come off if you are also working out like you are supposed to.

I had a good day.  I did not cheat.  I ate only "authorized" foods and I feel great!  Tomorrow is coming and I am not dreading it at all.  I will be doing an upper body workout in the morning.  I don't belong to a gym, so I'll be using my dumbbells, a bench and my own bodyweight for resistance.  If you are interested in the actual workouts I will be doing, let me know and I'll tell you.  I don't want to bore you to death with a ton of details if you don't want them.

A little morning motivation to get up and get moving...

Got up this morning and went for a little walk/jog with Russell (my worthless mutt of a dog).  It was good having him along actually because he is a puller...kind of helps when you get tired :)

If you are familiar with the Body for Life workouts, you know that the cardio is done as interval training.  I did a modified version this morning since I am just starting out.  I walked and then jogged alternatively for about 20 minutes total.  Last time I finished my challenge, I could run 5 miles without stopping at all and I felt good afterwards.  In fact, I looked forward to my runs.  I want to get there again.

Day one and I'm off to a good start!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why yes, yes it does make your ass look fat, because you have a fat ass!

I feel fat today.  I felt fat yesterday.  I need to do something about how I feel.  I am going to do something about how I feel...now. 

A few years ago, I did a Body for Life challenge.  I actually finished it.  It was really hard work and it was awesome!  I lost 30 pounds and looked amazing!  See for yourself...

Yes, that was about 10 years ago, so I was 10 years younger there, but still, I am WAY plumper than I would like.  Here's a recent one of me in a bathing suit.  Brace yourself.

Poor Kurt.  I don't want him to have to look at me feeling this way any more.  If I felt fabulous, things would be different.  I want to feel fabulous and fit.  I don't want to be skinny.  I like being a curvy girl (as if I could help it!) but I don't like being so soft and mushy so I'm going to change that!

Having done the Body for Life program as outlined in the book so successfully before, I am going to do it again.  When you follow the program exactly as it is written, it works.  The results I got before happened in only 12 weeks.  Can you imagine?  30 pounds in 12 weeks?  I don't know if my current age will make a difference this time, but I am going to do it.  I am going to follow the program perfectly for the next 12 weeks and see what happens.  I am starting tonight.  Tomorrow seems like too long to wait to get started.

Since my blog doesn't have a specific identity, I am going to add "weight loss" as one of the many schizophrenic personalities you will see here.  I am going to hold myself accountable to you and post something of my progress every day.  Please let me know what you think.  I could use some encouragement.  I picked a hell of a time to start this since I will be going back to work full time soon, but what I don't need any more is excuses, so I am going to make it work anyway. 

See you on the other side of the scale!