To Leave the Nest


Your Body Knows What It Needs

I am 3 weeks into the LifeTime Fitness 90 Day challenge. I’ve lost 2% body fat and a couple of pounds. My clothes are fitting better. My man is remarking that my abs are showing again.

But I’m tired y’all.

It’s been quite a month with end of summer vacations, taking our son to college, getting the kids ready for school, etc.  Getting in what I’m supposed to be doing is tough but doable. Let me give you a run down since I last posted.

Active Metabolic Assessment

Have you ever seen the videos of professional athletes on a treadmill with a Darth Vader type mask on their faces. Yeah, that was me about 3 weeks ago. The active metabolic assessment evaluates your heart rate zones and your VO2 (volume of oxygen). The VO2 score is the maximum amount of oxygen my body is capable of using at any one time.

Anyone who is doing more cardio is aware of heart rate zones. But did you know that certain zones burn more fat calories and others burn more carbohydrates? Did you know that there are fat calories and carb calories? (This article explains it well but I’ll apologize right now for the pop up while you’re reading.) Here’s an example of a heart rate chart.

heart rate zone

Well, there are plenty of heart rate zone calculators on the internet but nothing will give you your personalized heart rate zones except for an active metabolic assessment. Still, an internet calculator, as well as your own awareness of what each zone should feel like, is a good place to start.

For instance, my zone 1 is 150 – 159 beats per minute. My zone 5 is 180 – 190. The above chart also gives you some idea of how long you should be in each zone for maximum benefits.

The good news is that my VO2 was right in line with someone half my age. Go T!

Workouts On the Calendar

After the metabolic assessment, my trainer set me up with an app called LT Connect. In the app, she sends me the cardio workouts I should be doing for that day. Every workout focuses on particular zones. She has me doing 80% in zones 1 & 2 and 20% in zones 3 – 5. We agreed to 4 days a week cardio and right now, she wants me running.

For instance, today was a zone 4 and zone 1 workout. After an 8 minute warmup, I was to do 1 minute in zone 4 and 3 in zone 1 and alternate for 45 minutes.

If any of you have been with me since my triathlon training days, you’ll recall that running isn’t my favorite. I can run a 5K – sure! Just let me walk some. I walk every single day with my dog. I would normally run maybe once or twice a week. Now I’m running 4 days a week – sometimes up to and over 4 miles at a time. My trainer allows me to ride my bike on one of the workouts but I’m finding I have to put in even more effort to reach my heart rate zones.

Every workout, I’m completely drenched. The entire length of my hair is soaked. I have to peel my clothes off to get in the shower and then I want to lay down after.


Recovery is just as important to the body as the exercise. I do love my yoga, ya know. I’ve been doing my best to stretch before and after exercise and attend more Yin Yoga classes. After all of that running, not to mention the crazy of my regular life, I require something to slow me down. Yin Yoga is quiet and still, often holding poses for 3 – 5 minutes at a time. It allows my body to relax and my mind to chill.

I have also been foam rolling more. Pain, y’all. PAIN. I know my body needs it. I know it will help with knots and discomfort and easing my muscles into the places they’re supposed to be. In the meanwhile, I’m gritting my teeth and cursing in my head as I roll, roll, curse, roll.

“Your body knows what it needs…”

The Yin Yoga teacher said the above statement in my last class. I definitely require my resting days, my yoga and yes, even the $*&# foam roller.

What’s Next?

LifeTime has nutrition coaches on staff so I set up a nutrition assessment last week. I already track my meals with MyFitnessPal and have my own history of food sensitivities and dieting. Let me be clear – I WILL NEVER DIET AGAIN. Been there, lost weight and gained twice as much back.

Nope, since I learned my lesson about 10 years ago, I’ve had fairly healthy eating habits. During the triathlon days, I could eat anything I wanted and had to, since my metabolism was crazy awesome. The problem is that I was still eating as much and as often but without the same level of exercise. I eat good nutrition… I was just eating too much of it. MyFitnessPal has always been a great resource for tracking what I’m putting in my body and helping with the awareness of how much.

Still, it’ll be nice to know if I’m doing what I should be doing and maybe even get more suggestions on behaviors around food. For instance, because I work for myself, I work until I’m starving and then I’m hangrily looking for something to eat. I also need to stop eating when I’m 80% full. Things like that make a huge difference.

I am also looking to incorporate more strength training. My oldest daughter and I enjoy hitting the weights at the gym while my youngest is with her swim team. The problem is that we’re all over the place. We never track what we do, how much we’re lifting, if we’re doing it right, etc. I’m hoping to get some guidance with that and she’s fortunate enough to learn right there with me.

I know the transition back to a conditioned body is going to be tough.  I’ve been here before. I know that I am pushing where I need to push and recovering where I need to recover. In the meanwhile, I have to listen to my body , be honest with my coach and fuel myself with the proper foods.

Maybe in my next update, I will be touting how much energy I have. Right now, I’m in transition. Listening and moving forward with some push and pull, gentle force and ease.

Categories:   chronicles, fitness, health, running