Check out my other blog posts about my eight-week HITT program at Aspire Fitness:
The Best Exercise This Week
Since my Week Two blog post about HITT, in which my favourite exercise was doing lateral and front raises on the BOSU, my newest favourite exercise has been single-arm overhead triceps extensions while lying down. I like that burn in my triceps. We’ve also had more fun with planks on stability balls, bicep curls to shoulder presses on the BOSU, and bench presses.
The Toughest Exercise This Week
But it hasn’t all be sunshine and rainbows and love-of-the-fitness around here. A couple exercises I really struggled with. The one that I found the most challenging this past week was box hops. This exercise is when you have an 18-inch-high box in front of you, and you have to jump up onto it with both feet, then jump off again. You do this for 90 seconds straight.
Eighteen inches is really freakin’ high. Especially if you’re 5 feet tall with heels (which I am obviously not wearing when I’m doing box hops). Do the math – I’ve got to jump high to land on that box! It’s really tough, especially because you have to focus so as to properly land on it and not trip or miss the box. And when you’re doing this at 6am, it’s very easy to miss the box (no injuries yet, though!).
A couple other exercises that were especially challenging for me were three-point lunges and split squats with dumbbells. I’ve always thought that I had strong legs, and I love doing wall sits and a variety of squats, but I detest lunges and leg presses for some reason.
The HITT Diet Plan
I am still tracking my food intake and exercise every day on the Aspire Fitness online training program (you can check out what I’m eating and what I’m doing for exercise by going to my Health Writer Eats blog). In the HITT class, we were given a nutrition plan which emphasizes eating a high-protein, low-calorie diet. I’m supposed to eat 1,200 calories on non-workout days and 1,400 calories on workout days, although my trainer explained that the numbers are that low because people almost always go over.
Unfortunately I’m finding the nutrition aspect of it all really difficult to stick with. I’ve been having a tough time getting into the proper mindset, and it’s been all too easy to over-indulge or to override my own attempts to stick to a low-calorie way of eating.
The result of this is that I seem to have gained a pound or two. This whole weight-loss thing is not going nearly as well as I had hoped! I think part of the problem is that I was over-estimating how many calories I burn. It’s such a finicky thing to figure that out. Consuming even 1,600 calories in a day can leave me feeling hungry, but I know that if I want to see any changes I’m going to have to go at least a little bit lower (and not eat over 2,000 calories, which I have been doing too often).
Have any advice or words of comfort? I could use any support I can get!
Aspire Fitness Online Nutrition Program: Nutrient Intake
But the online nutrition program itself is really great. Something I really like about it is being able to see my calcium and sodium intake. My fibre intake is through the roof, as I knew it would be (somehow I easily manage to consume 40 grams of fibre a day. Without trying. One day I was up to 65. Should I be concerned about fibre overload?!), but I was shocked to see that I ought to be paying more attention to my sodium intake; it has been right around the upper limit on most days.
I think that part of the high sodium levels is because I was eating things like homemade soup but I just used whatever “canned soup” was already in the database for recording it, which had lots of added salt (mine has none – I even rinse my canned beans so as to get rid of excess sodium). But the other part of the high sodium level is that even when we eat nutritiously, we still probably consume more of it than we think. Something to keep in mind.
The biggest shock, however, was the protein. Without trying, I easily consume enough protein to make up 20% of my macronutrients (the macronutrients are carbs, fats, and proteins – I usually get about 20% protein, 65% carbs, and 15% fats). This is primarily from cheese, PB2 (powdered peanut butter), almonds, beans, and a small piece of meat or an egg or 1/2 scoop of protein powder. I had thought that my protein intake was lower than that. It’s good to know I’m getting enough protein. I could increase it a little bit more, but I don’t think I’d want to increase it much more than 30% of my total intake – it’s not necessary, and the idea of ketosis scares me If anything should be changed, I perhaps ought to increase to 20% fats and decrease to 60% carbs.
It’s great to see what I need to work on more, like calcium. I’ve started adding 1/3 scoop or 1/2 scoop of calcium magnesium powder to soups and teas and oatmeal in order to get a little bit more calcium in my diet. Osteoporosis freaks me out*, so I like to make sure I hit a good target for calcium.
Do you like knowing exactly how many nutrients you’re getting? Are there any nutrients in particular that you pay attention to and why? Do you have any idea what your ratio of macronutrients is (and is it something you would be interested in knowing)? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
*Yes there are some health concerns which kind of terrify me, though not as much as they did when I had mild orthorexia. Nowadays I’m just conscious of (rather than obsessed with) getting the right balance of nutrients so as to prevent health problems.