My First Workout & Keeping a Food Journal - Dianne's Challenge Week 2

Trainer guiding client on weighted squats

Darwin Huanca |

My First Pre-Wedding Workout Session

This week I had my first workout session with Holly, and although I was excited, I was also quite nervous. I haven’t done strength training in a long time – about three years ago in a class, and I was DYING lifting 10-pound weights.  There was a woman in her 60’s next to me that was kickin’ my butt and I just remember thinking, “Man, I hope I’m that strong when I’m in my 60’s!”

Holly had a nice set-up in the park with a padded mat, a couple of dumbbells and some resistance bands. “Here we go”, I thought, looking at all this equipment I’d never used. After a short dynamic warm-up and some jogging, I was already winded and realized that this was going to be a loooooong 60 minutes.

The Outdoor Workout Routine

Round 1 - CORE: When the warm-up was done, we started with some hip bridges with a mini loop band to work on activating my butt muscles. Then I held a plank for 30 seconds. then repeated those two exercises 3 times.

Round 2 - FULL-BODY: Then we went over to a cement ledge to work on squats with a dumbbell shoulder press. The ledge made it easier for me to work on squat form, since it’s been a while since I’ve done them. This started out simple enough but by the tenth squat-to-press, I was beat! Then we moved back to the mat to do 10 push-ups (on my knees). The last exercise was done using a tree, where Holly set up the resistance band on a high branch and had me do a lunge with a back row. It seemed pretty basic, but it turns out there’s a lot of balance required, as well as coordination, which is not my strong suit. However, Holly ensured me this is good for strengthening my core as well. We completed that circuit three times in a row with one minute of rest between each round.

(Get the full workout with sets and reps below!)

Trainer guiding client for Resistance Band lunge with back row exercise in park

The feeling that came over me when I completed the workout was overwhelming. I felt accomplished, ecstatic and empowered! I was proud that I had survived and gave it my all.  It was like my body was saying “Thank you for making me move, FINALLY!”   But it was also feeling the pain.  For the next few days there were several “ouches and oohs” just moving around, but I also knew that it was a beautiful pain.  I completed an hour that benefits me, my body, my health, my mind and my soul. 

Nutrition and Tracking Calories

Holly and I also spent some time after our workout talking about food preparation and tracking my calories and grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to make sure I’m eating the right amount to lose weight, but also still have energy and build strength. (Read this nutrition blog to learn more about what foods she's advising me to eat and stay away from).

We went over how to use the MyFitnessPal app as a food diary.  I had heard about the app, but had never used it.  It has great features like being able to search and add foods easily, as well as the bar scanning option for packages, as well as a recipe entry option.  It also allows Holly to view my diary so she can see what I’m eating and make sure I’m not cheating. ProSource - Dianne's Challenge - My Fitness Pal App

Logging everything in this app has been a tedious process so far, but it’s necessary. It was hard to see what my real caloric intake is now and the adjustments that I’ll have to make to stay within my allotted daily calories. I quickly realized that my quick go-to lunch spots ate up a lot of my calories for the day, so I started to pack more of my breakfasts, lunches and snacks for work to help conserve my calories throughout the day.

Luckily, Holly is not putting me on some crazy starvation diet, so I shouldn’t be going hungry unless I’m overdoing it on empty calories like fast foot, soda, or chocolate. 

Changing How I Grocery Shop and Prepare Foods

Grocery shopping is a completely different experience when you’re trying to be mindful of what types of foods you decide to put in your body.  I spent way more time than usual deciding on what types of produce, carbohydrates sources, and meats to pick. Usually I just grab some frozen dinners or pasta or whatever is easy.

I spent most of my time in the outer edges of the grocery store, as directed by Holly, where the fresh fruit, veggies, and meats are, and not the center aisles, which was quite a challenging experience.  The hardest part was picking up my favorite packaged items in the center aisles, then regretfully putting boxes back once I went through the ingredients and realized how much unnatural ingredients were listed. 

Organic Produce Section at Grocery Store

Food preparation is time consuming and can be exhausting – since I’m still new to it, there’s a lot of brain power that is required.  I think the hardest part of the process is having to think about the day(s) ahead and anticipate what you might want to eat or snack on for that day. 

I am so used to making food decisions on the fly and eating what I want. But now I’m thinking, “Okay, tomorrow I’m going to have oatmeal for breakfast; I’ll have chicken with brown rice with some broccoli for lunch; I’ll snack on a rice cake with peanut butter and blueberries and also some yogurt for my second snack. But long gone are the days of flavored yogurt, so how am I going to make this plain yogurt yummy?”  

I prepped for the work week and it took ages!  I think next week I’m going to prep for three days at a time so I don’t get bored of the same foods.

Amazingly, even with some failures this week, I’ve lost two pounds! Though it’s not much, it’s a great motivator to keep me going.  There’s no feeling like seeing that number on the scale go down.  It takes work, but all that work will be worth it at the end! 



Weight: 162

Body fat: 31.7%



Part 1: Core Superset 

3 Sets of the following, back to back

  1. Elbow Plank Hold – 30 seconds (Great for strengthening and activating your core, and helps prepare your body for core-dependent exercises like squats.)
  2. Banded Hip Bridges – 20 reps (Helps activate glute muscles, which are weak in most women. Weak glutes can cause knee & back pain. This exercise helps teach the butt muscles to "fire" so you will also perform exercises like squats properly.)

Part 2: Full-Body Circuit:

3-4 sets of the following; No rest between exercises; 45 seconds rest after each circuit

  1. Squat-to-Shoulder Press – 15 reps (A compound exercise that will get your heart rate up and build lower and upper body strength at the same time.)
  2. Push-Ups – 10 reps (One of the best upper body exercises, especially for women who often have weak chest and arms. It's an easy way to workout your arms, back, and chest without equipment.)
  3. Reverse Lunge with High Back Row – 12 reps each leg (Another compound exercise which gets the heart rate up, targets the back, legs and glutes, and requires core stabilization and coordination.)


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