Planning For Your Health & Chocolate Challenge Update

17 Jan

I used to think I was the kind of person who hated being stuck in a routine. Waking up to be at work at 9am everyday, and then not having any free time until 7pm. Now, without that big chunk of my life planned for me, I can see the benefits of both sides. It takes a lot to stay focused and productive when you’re purely on your own time, let me tell ya. But during this lifestyle shift, one thing that hasn’t changed for me is my workout schedule. I’m a morning person without a doubt. Working out has got to be the first thing I do to start my day, or else it’s most likely not going to happen. Blame it on my busy schedule, blame it on my biological clock, blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol, but I have a very hard time motivating mid or end of day. This one fact forces me to keep a set exercise schedule for myself (as in 7am or bust), and it gives me that bit of structure I need to focus the rest of my day.

Based on my experience, I will say if you know what works for you, plan your schedule around it. Put yourself and your health first, and get your ass in gear, because it’s totally worth it.

  • Are you better in the gym in the morning? Let your team at the office know you’ll be in 9:30 everyday and stay an extra half hour on the back-end.
  • Better at night? Sign up for a class after work at your gym to keep yourself motivated.
  • Or when you get home change IMMEDIATELY into your workout clothes and turn on that workout DVD so you don’t throw off your game by walking into the kitchen and suddenly find yourself scarfing cereal and then skipping your workout (the habit that totally kills all chances of me working out after a day at the office).

When I was in Costa Rica last week our meetings started with a 7am breakfast everyday. Holy. early. batman. This brought me back to my old schedule of going to bed at 9:30pm (they called me grandma Mel) and waking up at the buttcrack of dawn to get a workout in. I remember being on the phone with my boyfriend one night–a night I was completely exhausted from all day meetings–and saying, “Do I want to wake up at 5:30am and kick some ass? Or sleep an extra hour?”. I chose 5:30am, and I was glad for it. I hit the very small gym for a 12 minute routine, and felt great the rest of the day.

Here’s the routine I did at the gym–something I could’ve easily done in my hotel room, also.

6 minute jog on the treadmill to warm up, then an interval training routine. 50 seconds of each exercise listed below in a row, with 10 seconds rest in between each one (one circuit takes 6 minutes flat). I completed the 6 exercise circuit twice. On each 50 second interval, I pushed as hard as I possibly could. That’s how you can make 12 minutes so effective–you give it your all, and give your body something to push against and work up to. See the 12 minute workouts page for more info.

The circuit:

1. high knees (as fast and as high as possible–keep count so you push harder each time)

2. press ups (these are push-ups with your arms pinned by your sides, working your shoulders and triceps more heavily)

3. jump squats with a 15lb weight (works great without the weight, too)

4. V-ups (abs baby!)

5. high knees

6. jump lunges with a weight

Stronger Than Chocolate Challenge Update

OH MAN. We are currently at the beginning of week three of the Stronger Than Chocolate Challenge (a challenge where me and 9 readers attempt to not eat chocolate for as long as possible) and the competition is getting stiff! Remember on day five of the challenge when I told you I was finally over my cravings? Well, that was a false alarm (bummer). I’m not sure how I had such a strong hold over chocolate that day. The only thing I can think of is that I happened to be hungover, so maybe my appetite was just off in general. But the truth is I still think about chocolate everyday. Not chocolate in general, but one specific piece of chocolate that I know is in my cabinet which has been haunting me since the very beginning–a Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cup. I was driving home from personal training class this morning and I thought of it. The physical reaction I still get is insane. The back of my throat kind of lurches forward in a “give it to me right now” kinda way, and I get a little restless. Addiction? I think it’s very possible I truly have one.

None the less, I’m talking to you as the proud record holder (my personal record, that is) of 14 days chocolate-free. That’s two whole weeks that I’ve cried not eaten my most favorite food on the planet, and I’m not alone.

Here’s the standings of the Stronger Than Chocolate Challengers as we move into week three. There are three remaining challengers, four if you include me:

Stronger Than Chocolate Challenge

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I answer the most frequently asked question I’ve been getting, “Why are you doing this to yourself?”.

Have you ever tried to change a habit of yours? If so, how’d it go?
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9 Responses to “Planning For Your Health & Chocolate Challenge Update”

  1. Mike January 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    I stick to my marathon training plan pretty closely, so it’s easy for me to have things on “set it and forget it” mode. Then, as was the case today, if I have time during work, I’ll pop in to the gym in our building (very lucky, I know) for a quick workout at lunch.

    I could see the challenge, though, without the 9-5 structure. There’s always “later” when you are free to create your own schedule, so I’m impressed with your 7am workouts when you could just do it “later”.

    • melruns January 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

      Ah a set schedule for workouts is so great. I’ve never trained for a marathon, but I know that takes a lot of deliberate planning and determination to see it through. Pretty amazing to me!

  2. Melissa @TryingtoHeal January 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    haha, congrats on the 14 days! That’s so awesome! I had a few days of chocolate but now I’m back on the bandwagon and on day three of no chocolate again…and yes, why are we doing this to ourselves again? haha!

    And I’m with you on setting a schedule to get in workouts. when I have it written down, I’m more likely to do it because I don’t want to cross it off…or let down a friend that I’m going to meet. So much easier to exercise that way!

    • melruns January 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

      Good for you jumping back on the train! I’m sure your 2-3 days of chocolate were glorious :) . And thanks for the motivation the other morning–glad we both got our workouts on!

  3. Jen Selverian January 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    OMG, it’s over? I lost track of days… Hooray! Still going strong, though lack of chocolate has fried my brain. My chocolate stand-in for today was a 5-mile run. I hate myself.

    • melruns January 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      It aint over til the chocolate lady sings! Still goin til there’s only 1 man standing :)

  4. Gail Louise Annes May 16, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    As of today, Saturday, May 16, 2015…I have been 9 months without chocolate!


    My Catalyst started off as a promise to my son, he is going through a rough time in his life, and as a promise to him I have given up chocolate…in all forms. I can’t even bathe in it. I decided on Saturday, August 16th to begin my “promise journey”, but not a “piecrust promise” – which is easily made, easily broken.

    Tomorrow, Saturday, September 20th will be five weeks since I began my “promise journey”, and amazingly it hasn’t been as hard as I anticipated it would be. In fact, I’m feeling so much better physically & mentally – better than I have in a very long time. I have lost eight pounds since my journey began.

    My son let me know he appreciates the promise I made to him, but he said he didn’t want me to do it. He wants me to enjoy life, to enjoy the things I like. He said that I didn’t owe him anything, and that I shouldn’t be punished for his improprieties. That he would be happier if I ate chocolate. He knows how much I love chocolate.

    But in truth, chocolate is like a drug in my body. As bad as drugs are to a drug addict, or alcohol is to an alcoholic. Yes, chocolate is an addiction to me. Because when you do something compulsively – it is an addiction. So yes, My Catalyst prompted me to start my “promise journey”, it has set me on a path of improving my life and health. So as time goes on, I will be making other changes to improve the quality of my life.

    Old habits die hard, but this is one habit I’ve kicked to the curb. There is a very fine line between want and need, and I no longer want or need chocolate to make my days bearable.

    So I challenge you to find your Catalyst and begin your “promise journey”.

    Gail Louise Annes
    September 19, 2014

    • Gail Louise Annes May 16, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

      Also, as of Thursday, May 14, 2015 I’m down 74 pounds since May 2014.

  5. Janet Wilson September 9, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    I have just gone 1 full year without chocolate and have lost nearly 50 pounds. I don’t want it anymore, but do eat grain sweetened carob chips. They have a similar addictive power for me. I just make sure to only buy small bags in bulk and not every day. I was a lifelong chocolate addict, but am never going back. My blood sugar is more normal now, which is what my goal was. My doctor is pleased.

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