Since I didn't write a blog post yesterday, I wanted to put up a second post today about some of the research I am doing into fitness and meal planning. This kind of ties in with my earlier post on how I need to find a way to get (and stay) motivated to sweat and eat healthier.

I found some interesting information on Nerd Fitness about strength-training for women:

When you strength train with very heavy weights for low numbers of repetitions, you build incredibly DENSE, tight muscle. It’s funny, but if you really want that toned look in your legs, stomach, and arms – picking up small weights and doing lots of repetitions isn’t doing anything – it’s really heavy weights with low repetition that will sculpt the body you’re after.

If you strength train while eating a normal amount of calories, you will lose the fat on top of your muscle, and leave behind the muscle you already have – giving you that toned look. Make the mistake of just eating less and running more, you’ll burn through both fat and any muscle you have as you lose weight.

Wow. It makes sense, but I just never considered strength-training beyond the weight machines. I know that I like the feeling of a body well-used after I train in the gym, and now I want to keep track of my reps and weights and see how much weight I can get up to!

Because my bottom line in getting healthy is this: as much as I want to be at a healthy weight, and wear cute clothes, and not be uncomfortable with my stomach, arms and hips, more than anything else I want to be STRONG. I want to be impressive in my own way, fit and competitive and not able to just hide from life beneath layers of comfort food and belly jelly.

On another topic... I have mixed feelings about caffeine. It is crazy crazy difficult for me to wake up in the morning. I have perfected my lackluster routine to the point that I can now get ready for work in about 7 minutes - dressing, hair and packing a lunch (albeit, an unhealthy and over processed one) included. I do like the taste of coffee with a lot of cream and Splenda, but I know having an addiction to caffeine is so not good for my body. I like Spark from Advocare, but it is very expensive. $52 for a 45-serving canister. I think I am going to have to include it in my monthly budget though, as I can't seem to get out of bed in the morning!

I'm also wondering how much my sleep schedule (or lack thereof) is affecting my ability to get it together before noon. I get between 5-9 hours of sleep, and it’s never regulated. On work days I wake up between 6-7am, and on weekends I'm up whenever I'm hungry, sometimes taking a nap of two later in the day if I can. I push myself to stay up and clean, organize, cook, read, or anything else and end up suffering the next day. Plus even when I am getting up early, I don't always get to bed at a good/the same time. The lack of a schedule or even the same amount of sleep every night has got to be related to my lack of energy!

Do you have a sleep schedule? What kind of routine do you get into before bed and waking up that enables you to stick to the schedule? And do you prefer strength-training, cardio, or a combination of both?

Also from Nerd Fitness: What you eat will be 80% of your success or failure when it comes to fitness and health. Staci tried the “eat way less food” method of weight loss, and it turned her into a weak twig that couldn’t lift 5 pound dumbbells. She educated herself, started focusing on eating the right food, and now no longer cares how many calories she eats. She has boundless energy, way more confidence.

 I need to keep this in mind. Focus on strength and loving my body as opposed to a number on the scale. Staci on Nerd Fitness weighs 140lbs and is 5'4", and she looks healthy and amazing. To think I thought I would want to be 120-135lbs at the end of my journey, and I'm 5'8"! I won't LOOK good at that point. Health aside, we all have some vanity fueling our health goals - and if you disagree, I'm guessing you're not being honest with yourself about the "why" behind your motivation.