My New Workout Routine: Muscle Challenges + A Bullet Journal Tracking System

Dear Friends,

Where working out is concerned I have two things to say:

  1. I have not been sticking to my schedule the last couple of months because…well, my time has been prioritized elsewhere. I’m in a new relationship and creating a good foundation for something that will last has become a very important new focus; and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  2. I’ve had some struggles with my hamstrings and a muscle in my hip/butt that have created the need for a change in my workouts.

To elaborate…I went from having most of my evenings completely to myself with plenty of time to get workouts in, to spending most of my evenings with Michael. I’m still getting in workouts, but not as frequently and routinely as I was before. I’ve been tracking my workouts in a bullet journal, color-coded for complete, partial, and missed. While I don’t have a ton of “missed” workouts, I also don’t have many “complete” workouts as of late. What I do have a lot of, are “partial” workouts.

I’ve moved my walking, for the most part, to mornings before work rather than evenings after work – something I will not be able to continue once summer is over and the kids are back in school, but once they’re back home I will be at home in the evenings again. I’m supposed to be walking three times per week, but I’m actually doing it more like once or twice per week. The other thing I’m getting done is yoga, but more like two or three times per week instead of four like I had planned.

What I’ve been struggling with the most is strength training. I’m built just like my dad, which means my legs are skinny and I have no butt! I started out the year with a new lower body routine using resistance bands so there was no impact on my knee, and I was genuinely excited about it. I know that I will never be a member of the fat-bottom girls club, but it would be nice to sit on a hard seat and not be numb within 10 minutes!

What I noticed right off the bat is that my hamstrings are extremely tight. I thought the yoga would help loosen them up over time, but now I’m more than half a year in and no matter how much yoga I’ve done over the last six-plus months, they are not loosening up at all. I feel like I have been working against myself by doing lower body strength training workouts in addition to the yoga. I’m trying to loosen the muscles in yoga, then I’m turning around and making them tight again with the resistance band workouts.

To add to this, I’ve been having trouble with a muscle in my butt/hip area, which is the biggest deciding factor in my workout change. I’m not even sure which muscle it is – I haven’t been able to figure it out, but it’s right at the back of the ball of my hip, kind of where my butt and leg meet, mainly on the left side. When I do pigeon pose it pulls so tight it almost takes my breath away.

I even got a cramp in that muscle while hiking a couple of weeks ago, when I had to walk bent forward briefly in a cave. It was like having a charley horse in my lower butt! I’ve also been having a lot of issues with tingling and numbness in my toes the last few weeks, which I assume is the sciatic nerve that runs right through the same area as the muscle I’m having trouble with. The tingling especially shows up when I’m sitting in my office chair at work all day, which is only a few months old but the padding is almost completely flat so there is zero support or cushion.

I think the resistance band lower body workout combined with the crappy office chair I sit in eight hours per day, five days per week, is probably where my problems lie. So I am making some changes. I still want to get in three walks per week, but I’m going to focus more on yoga and eliminate the strength training, at least for now. I still plan to work on my abs because that is my biggest problem area and my butt, hips and legs are not affected by that.

Part of the reason I’m okay with making this switch is that yoga really is a strength workout. If you’ve never done yoga and see it as fancy stretching, you would be surprised. The first time I did yoga a few years ago, I realized how wrong I was in thinking you had to be flexible to do it. What you really have to be is strong! Strength and balance matter much more than flexibility. So I don’t feel that I’ll be missing anything by ending the strength training part of my workout.

So here is what my old workout plan looked like:

  • Walk or elliptical three times per week
  • Yoga four times per week
  • Abs four times per week
  • Upper and Lower body each two times per week

And here is my new plan:

  • Walk or elliptical three times per week
  • Yoga five times per week
  • Abs three times per week
  • Random stretching any time I can to loosen those hip, butt and hamstring muscles

I’m also going to get an orthopedic cushion for my work chair, which I think is going to alleviate a lot of the troubles. So the biggest issue left to tackle is making time to get my workouts in so I have a lot more “completes” than I do “partials” in my journal! Right now my kids are with their dad for the summer, but Michael has had both of his kids most of the time, so I’ve been spending a lot more time at his house than he’s been spending at mine. So I figure about the only way I’m going to get all of my yoga in is to start doing it at his house rather than trying to squeeze it in while I’m at home.

So, I ordered a new yoga mat so I can have one at each place, and I will have no excuse for missing a single day of yoga. I also created a new workout calendar in my bullet journal. The one I did when I first started my journal back in march was a small monthly calendar that I color code with a marker on each day to show whether I got all, part, or none of my workout in. In this new calendar I’m doing a weekly grid where I can write down what my workout for each day is, with a section for notes to say whether I did it or not, and/or things I noticed struggling with or improving on. I also labeled it with a quote that stretches across the top of the four pages that says, “the only bad workout is one that didn’t happen.” I think I had just as much fun designing the layout as I do actually completing my yoga!

13

I just started using it this week, which seems perfect because it’s the start of a brand new year of my life. My birthday is tomorrow, so kicking off my 34th year with a brand new fitness routine isn’t a bad way to start! Once I’ve been doing it for a few weeks, and have my new cushion to help with the office chair, I will do an update to let you know how things are going. I have high hopes and crossed fingers that this will get me back where I want to be!

Love,
Loren

Author: Loren Miller

I'm a Midwestern woman living my best and healthiest life, fueled by passion and caffeine. I follow the Mediterranean diet, I'm a yoga newbie, and a hiker and general explorer of the outdoors. I adore fashion and dressing up, and finding amazing, quality designer pieces through thrift shopping. Most all of my outfits have at least one thrifted item--saving my wallet and the planet one designer top at a time <3

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