Everything is Hard Before It is Easy (Nutrition + Workout Log)

Cliches be damned, may as well seize some momentum going into the new year. Looking to set some mechanisms in place to defeat the excuses I’ve been using the past two years.

Some background info:

  • 35 years old, female
  • 5’8", presently 154 lbs with 25% body fat
  • Current RMR: 1584 cal
  • Active duty military, only add that here because it means I need to be able to perform on specific fitness tests in addition to my own goals. In particular, the 3 mi run is tough for me because I stopped running. Then I didn’t want to run because I was slow, and hence got slower- funny how that works!

Right now my goals admittedly aren’t very specific since I don’t have a consistent baseline to compare. In a nutshell I want to: get stronger, get faster, and look better naked.

Mentality-wise: I want to be able to enjoy going for a run again, and I want working out to become a habit once more, where it takes less conscious thought/effort to get to the gym and becomes more of an automatic thing where I’m lacing up my shoes at a certain time without even thinking about it.

I’ll probably develop more specific targets once I get a solid baseline, but for now I’m staying away from exact numbers.

To do so, I’ll be doing a modified Hard Body Training for Women (4 days per week vice 5/week) and a Garmin 5k running program (run 4x/week) with a 7:34/mi pace goal. Currently my ‘easy’ runs are around 9:30 pace.

Does anyone have any tips on format/frequency for logging here? I’ve started using FitNotes and Cronometer to track my strength workouts and nutrition, and of course the Garmin watch/app tracks my runs. Easy thing to do would be to screenshot and post here as a log every day, but wasn’t sure if that’s frowned upon due to too many images taking awhile to load, etc. Open to best practices from the community!


Before pictures are posted below:


I’m pretty new to logging here. I post videos, charts, and pics. Not sure what the informal social norms are. People are always requesting pictures from various posters so that’s why I go ahead and post them. I also use Cronometer. Screenshots sound like a good idea! Saves time! Remember the log is really for you. If you want pictures or screenshots… then post them! People will attend to what they want to and avoid what they don’t care about. If you want specific feedback then mention what you want them to look at.

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Good points on all - I think it’ll be much easier for me to post screenshots for nutrition and my running. Thanks for the advice!

2 Jan Log

Off work today and tomorrow for the NYE holiday, so not quite in a normal rhythm in terms of timing everything, but put the work in nonetheless. We ordered from a Turkish place for dinner, and holy cow I never realized how much fat content lamb breast has! Went slightly over nutritionally primarily due to that meal, but I’m happy to get close to my protein goal, as that’s something I have to be very deliberate about.

Strength: Timestamp 1200

  • BB Squat: 5 x 4 at 108 lbs
  • Superset:
    -Eccentric BB squats 5x4 at 90 lbs
  • DB jump squats 5x4 at 30 lbs
  • BB Hip Thrust: 4x8 at 65 lbs w 3 sec hold
  • Ab Ripper X (original version)

Cardio: Timestamp 2100



3 Jan Log

Last day of NYE break, and while felt like a nice long weekend, I’m relieved in a way because it’s so much harder to keep a routine. Got a last minute invite to a friend’s house for dinner and board games, which was great, but it did throw off my plan to do more meal prep for the week. I accounted for the delicious lasagna she made from an overall caloric standpoint and exercised decent self control regarding portions, but fell far shorter of my protein goals than intended.

Lower Body Pump Circuit x 3 rnds
Lying Leg Curls: 15 reps @ 40 lbs
Leg Extensions: 15 reps @ 50 lbs (felt these last 5 reps)
Lunges: 16 reps @ 20 lbs

Metabolic Conditioning: 3 rounds with 1 min rest between rounds.

Jumprope: 1 min
BW Squats: 30
Vertical Jump: 10

Today was goal pace repeats, 6x400m at 7:24-7:44 min/mi pace, with 200m rest jogging or walking. I walked between each to fully recover, but could possibly have jogged if I’d done a better job trying to keep my pace to the slower end of the spectrum. I’m not sure if I’m losing benefit walking vs jogging, versus being able to put out a faster effort each round since I have more rest. I feel like I’d start having a hard time hitting the target pace range if I didn’t walk in between.



4 Jan Log:

Overview: Today was a rest day. Legs felt slightly sore, but not terrible. I’ll be doing planks and pull up pyramids separate from my workouts at work when I can fit them in to prep for a fitness test around April.

Primarily a rest day, but did the following:
Pull-up and push-up pyramid, 2 push ups for every 1 pull up, rest x10 sec per rep.

So: 1 pull up, 2 push ups, rest 10 sec. 2 pull ups, 4 push ups, rest 20 sec. And so on.

Did a level pyramid, second set of 4 was a struggle. 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1.

Planks (6 min no break, just shifting to each new position): 2 min front, 1 min L side, 1 min R side, 1 min fron, 30 sec L side, 30 sec R side.


Cardio: None.


Your log title reminds me of this

In turn, I’m a big fan of your message.

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:laughing: :laughing: I like it. Thanks for the support!

5 Jan Log (completely extraneous side note - I’m starting to imagine Patrick Stewart narrating, "Star Date, 01.05.2023 . . when I type the log dates)

Overview: First attempt at the 0430 wake-up with the plan to do strength in the morning and cardio in the afternoon. I walk my dog for about 30-40 mins in the morning, so it’s not personally feasible for me to walk the dog, do strength, AND do cardio, because no heckin’ way I’m waking up that early. 0430 is a bit of a stretch already, but I’m hoping to manage it by getting strict about when I get to bed. I planned poorly, since today we had a packed day at work - I was stressing trying to figure out if I should run late at night, when I realized, “Wait a minute, there’s some flexibility built into my schedule for a reason - I don’t have a run scheduled tomorrow, I’ll just do it then.”

Still bracketing with my nutrition to figure out what works as far as balancing throughout the day. Hoping to make progress each day learning how to make those goals a reality from a logistical standpoint.

OH Press: 5x4 @ 60 lbs
Superset: Eccentric OH Press, 5x4 @ 45 lbs with KB swings, 5x4 @ 45 lbs.
Barbell Row: 4x8 @ 65 lbs
Ab Ripper X

Cardio: None.


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6 Jan Log

Overview: Today was interesting. I’ve lost 5 lbs in the past week, which is outside the realm of my usual ‘normal’ weight fluctuations; typically I may shift 2-3 lbs, not 5. Time will tell, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it to ensure I’m not under-fueling. Also felt like I was completely out of gas on my run today - entirely possible it’s because I’m working on getting to bed early enough to facilitate 0430 wake-ups or other factors, but I’ll keep note if I keep feeling that way.

Upper Body Pump Circuit: 3 rounds
Lateral DB Raise: 3x16 @ 15 lbs (7.5 lbs in each hand)
Lying Triceps Extension: 15, 13, 12 @ 30 lbs (used DBs for this and definitely felt like the stabilization made it more difficult)
Seated DB Shoulder Press: 15, 14, 13 @ 30 lbs (little surprised at the fatigue here)

Metabolic Conditioning: 3 rounds
Row 500m (times/rnd: 2:10, 2:08, 2:09)
Push-ups: 10 reps

Cardio: “Easy” run, between 9:04-10:04 pace. 5 min warm-up, 20 min run, 10 min optional, 5 min cool-down. Struggled on this one and definitely didn’t do the optional; HR was way higher average than on previous runs like this.

Nutrition: Made the choice to go out for ramen for dinner. I wanted to see if I could figure out how to factor it in nutritionally, since we’re in Japan and sooner or later I’m going to have to figure out how the heck to estimate macros for ramen of various types. I made it a point not to drink more than a few spoonfuls of the broth and didn’t order anything extra on top of it (and no gyoza sadly). Found an entry in Cronometer that looked like it might be close to the same type of ramen, estimated how many cups I had. I’m hoping I got close.


7 Jan Log

Overview: Today was a long run day, no strength. Tried to be very deliberate about keeping what should have been an easy pace, and felt a bit better than yesterday, but not like I had much kick to go faster. I wasn’t happy with my HR results - higher than I’d like for the pace I was keeping, indicating my body was working harder than intended for this workout. Still, I realize it’s early in my plan, so time will tell.

Strength: None.

Cardio: Long “easy” run. 10-min warm-up, 30 min between 9:04-10:04 pace, 10 min optional, 10-min cool-down. Didn’t do the optional, cut cool-down short.



I love this!! I it doesn’t fit your life - it won’t work long term. Find your groove and hit it!!

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When you first make a pretty big diet change, it’s normal to see a big swing like this. It should slow down and you may even have a week or two when your weight doesn’t change at all. That’s just your body recalibrating. Keep on trucking!!

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I appreciate it - I tend to be a perfectionist, but I’m focusing on the mentality of, “Was it better than yesterday? Was it overall a good choice? Ok, then good.” vs “I didn’t hit the exact numbers exactly, therefore I must have lost all benefit from the attempt.” In other words, trying not to let perfect be the enemy of good. Especially because I’m not a professional trying to train for a competition or something that would require things to be super exact. Not deliberately slacking, but recognizing that there exists a kind of ballpark of success (for my present goals at least) vs a single exact point.

That is so good to know! I’ve been talking my husband’s ear off about energy levels and wondering if I’m at the right ‘setting’ hah. I think I’ll still look at the scale, but try to use the mirror as more of a judge. And energy levels as you mentioned before.

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8 Jan Log

Overview: Today was a rest day. I focused on getting chores done around the house and making an actual effort towards meal prep - prepared two meals of 5 servings each and used the Instant Pot for the first time without blowing up the kitchen, so that’s a win. Still, if both my husband and I eat all the leftovers, this will only hold us over 2.5 days. Crazy to think I’d have to make double the quantity to see us through the whole week!

I think once I have several go-to recipes that are muscle memory it’ll be feasible, but for now I spent probably two hours messing with a spreadsheet and recipe importer to fiddle with macros and serving sizes. :nerd_face:

Strength: None.

Cardio: None.



9 Jan Log

Overview: Tweaked something slightly in the right side of my back during squats, but doesn’t appear to be anything some ibuprofen and greater focus on form can’t fix. Run felt slightly better today; still slower and more effort than feels completely normal, but better, so I’ll take it.

Today was also the first day that I felt hungry, really hungry, since starting my current eating plan, prior to both lunch and dinner.

Random, but also thinking of keeping the dog in the bedroom with my husband during morning workouts - he’s used to morning walks right away, so this whole “workout first” thing appears to be perplexing him. He keeps trying to bring me toys during the workout, which is adorable, but also distracting.

BB Squat: 5x5 @ 108 lbs
Superset: Eccentric BB squat 5x5 @ 90 lbs with DB jump squat 5x5 @ 40 lbs
BB Hip Thrust: 4x8 @ 70 lbs w/ 3 sec hold at top
Ab Ripper X

Later in the day: Pull-up/push-up pyramid, (two push-ups for every pull-up), 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1

Cardio: “Easy” short run, 5 min warm-up, 20 mins @ 9:04-10:04 pace, 10 min optional, 5 min cool-down. Did 5 mins of the optional, kept pace deliberately slow, walked the cool-down. HR is still higher than I’d like, but slight improvement in terms of how I felt.



You have a dog, you talk about the dog and yet, you don’t post pictures of the dog?!?

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Excellent point. I present to you Dr. Indiana Jones, aka Indy.

He is believes in the training methodology of urgently tossing a toy directly on your face and/or hovering mere inches from your face with a toy while you work abs. He says it increases concentration - and since he’s a doctor, who am I to argue?


That is a very cute, very distinguished puppers! I’m glad he understands the concept of working out, my dog has a similar understanding.

I was doing yoga, laying on my back trying to relax and my dog brought her chew toy over laid it directly next to my head and chonked it. Then, when I got into a standing position moved onto my mat to ensure that my dexterity was sufficiently high to avoid her. A real blessing

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He is very cute. My is 6 1/2 years old and just realized that db are not toys. He use to carry db around and drop them randomelly on your feet.

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