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Every Day? Yeah, Every Day! September 10, 2009

280Today’s post is dedicated to MizFit. She has been inspiring me since Day One and today her guest-blog post felt almost psychic.  Her blog post (written by guest George) is about working out every day.

Not too long ago a friend Tweeted me (Twittered me?) and said “Dude you work out every day? You are hard core!” That made me laugh. I do not think of myself as a hard core person, especially in terms of workouts. But gradually over the past months I have come to expect that unless something (see MizFit’s post on what those somethings might be) comes up that makes it impossible, I will work out every day. It used to be that I would work out “when I felt like it.” Which could range from “never” to once or twice a month.  Then I began working out, by schedule and appointment, about 2 times a week, maybe 3x if I was feeling extra hard core (ha).  THEN I started aiming for 4-5x a week. But then I’d forget, “What is the day I don’t work out again?” and eventually it morphed into, if I am alive and breathing, not injured or ill, then I’m working out.

It helps a LOT that I do different things on different days. Some days I run. Some days I go to a Nia class. Some days I go to my trainer and do weights and stuff. Today I woke up in a hotel so I went to the fitness center (a really, really great one!) and did 40 minutes on the elliptical, a bunch of free weight and ball stuff, and some other stuff. When I read the MizFit post, it made me really happy. I was like YEAH! I feel good now, and ready to do all the other things in my day.

SO, in honor of and in gratitude for MizFit and all she says and does, I am doing a giveaway today! I have a wonderful size L women’s T-shirt designed (I think) by Miz herself. I ordered it because I always assume that if something says “womens” then it is automatically very tiny. But this shirt is actually pretty large, and too large for me. I would guess it is about a size 14-ish. Maybe 12. So I am going to be ordering another in a different size for myself, and I am giving this one away.

In order to be eligible to obtain this fantastic piece of apparel, just leave a comment here about your favorite/most used/most creative excuse to NOT exercise, AND what response you can come up with to turn that around so that you DO exercise.  Example:

Excuse: I don’t have enough time. (this is certainly not creative, but it is common)

Response: I have plenty of time. In fact, I am going to ______ while __________ or instead of ________.

OK? Ready set go!

 

Woo Woo Workout! & my Very Good Day August 12, 2009

One of my best buddies invited me to join her at a Nia class today. She and I only live 17 miles apart, but we are separated by a large body of water and a big bridge, which daunts us both from seeing each other more often. (she is also my What Not To Wear shopping and fashion expert!) I jumped at the chance to exercise with her! I was a little trepidatious because I’d watched some of the Nia videos, and it looked like some level of … er… coordination was involved. It was in the big gymnasium of her YMCA – about 30-4o people all spread out, and one very pregnant instructor with a microphone strapped to her head.  We were in bare feet, which felt really nice. I don’t usually exercise in bare feet.

The class started out with this very Cirque-du-Soleil-ish music (which I loved). Lots of swaying, head rolling, etc. Evolved into some kind of free-for-all ecstatic dance or mad hippie dance combo in which people glided (glid?) around the room, waving arms, rotating pelvises etc. Gyrations and undulations. I vacillated between wanting to laugh my head off, and getting really into it. It helped to close my eyes and groove. But there were also very specific choreographed moves involved as well. There would be a few minutes of scripted stuff, which I had to concentrate hard on, and then a few minutes of let it all hang, people! Bounce around in ecstasy!  The Nia people say that this activity is all about

“tapping into the mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of being, as… the physical. It aims to make movement more conscious, to release blocked energy, to enable participants to connect to a greater whole and learn to be guided by the pleasure principle: if it feels good, do it.”

It did feel good. On one level it was goofy as heck, but it still felt good. I especially liked what they call “Floorplay” (which I think MizFit would appreciate) as opposed to “floorwork.” We were encouraged to become embryos or protozoa or platypuses or whatever we wanted. It reminded me of my favorite scene in Harriet the Spy when her dance teacher casts her as an onion, and she rolls around on the floor really feeling it.

After the Nia class, I was definitely energized. Not dripping sweat, but with a nice sweaty layer. My friend wanted me to check out these high-tech stationery bikes that have an interactive video monitor attached. SO hilarious and high-tech and cool! I got on the bike and chose the Redwood Forest course, and found myself pedaling through these beautiful redwood forests! You have to steer so you don’t crash into a tree, and there are even hills that you really feel.  I think I rode about 5 miles at “level 12″ (whatever that is) and worked up a HUGE river of sweat. BIG FUN!

Then we had a very nice healthy lunch at the mall food court. I got gazpacho (cold soup was excellent because I was still superoverheated) and a hummus wrap. Then we strolled into the Gap. Remember that Gap commercial from the 70s? “Fall into the GAP.” I fell in, alright. I was not intending to either try OR buy anything but ended up having a mini-spree which I am now calling my birthday present from my dear husband.

I have been dying for a pair of “boyfriend jeans” (except, NO, I do not wear them with 5″ heels! LOL!) every since I saw them on J. Jill website (and Gap’s are cheaper! Way!). I am here to say – people, (no, WOMEN) if you want an ego boost the size of Montana, run right over to the Gap and try on some BOYFRIEND JEANS. They are cute, floppy, comfortable as all heck, and their sizes are INSANE.  Let me just say that I kept trying on smaller and smaller sizes until I was at size 4 (FOUR FOUR FOUR FOUR FOUR) and even they were kind of on the loose side. The saleslady suggested I try a TWO at which point I almost passed out from ecstasy and slid down to the floor to relive my Nia protoplasm dance. But alas, they had no size 2 BF jeans, so I took the 4s and hugged them to my (still-sweaty) bosom. HAPPY TIMES in Gap!

I also got, at the prodding of my fashionista friend, some wild colored clothing (ie: bright blue, dark plum, orangey red and mustard yellow-green.) As most people know, my favorite colors for clothing are: black and brown. Or orange and green but I only wear those clothes when I’m cheering for my kids’ rowing team. And it was all on some “Tuesday only” 40% off sale so I got a big bag o clothes for what normally would be like ONE Eileen Fisher sweater.

It was a good good good day!

 

A Great Half Year July 2, 2009

Today was SUCH a better day than yesterday. Whew! I don’t have a huge amount of time, but here’s a summary:

  • It’s July 1 and many people were ruminating on their New Year’s resolutions and what has happened in this first half of 2009. Well, I have to say it has been totally awesome from my perspective. It has way surpassed my expectations. In fact, on January 1, 2009 I was so overweight and bummed and hopeless about it, I did not make any resolutions because I felt there was no chance of making good on anything. Then on January 17th I got my pre-diabetes diagnosis and everything changed. I began this blog. I started seeking out a healthy community. And, as they say, the rest is history. My body and self have changed more in these six months than any other period in my life, other than pregnancy. (or perhaps the first six months) It has been a great period of transformation. I’m really happy with the first half of this year, and anticipate an excellent 2nd half as well. (I’ll be turning 50!)
  • I had two MD appointments today: with my endocrinologist and my cardiologist. Both were totally impressed and pleased with my progress in every area. My weight loss and exercise have made for some dramatic and good changes in my blood pressure, blood glucose, lipids and other important health numbers. The two of them did convince me that it is time to go on statins, and this time I felt OK about it and I agreed. I’m cool with it. I will pick up my Zocor tomorrow.
  • I did two workouts today and I felt great with both: first, I did level 2 of Jillian Michael’s 30Day Shred. I guess I’m not going to Shred in 30 days since I hardly do it every day. But it felt really good. It IS a lot harder than level 1, but I kept it up and even followed the Hard Girl for about 80% of it. I was sweating rivers when I was done, and felt great. She had some moves in there that I had never done before, like “plank-jacks” (horizontal jumping jacks while in plank position) and oblique twists. I was psyched about it. Then this evening I did the Cemetery Workout (yes in a cemetery – photos here) and one of my old workout buddies whom I haven’t seen in FOREVER showed up, and that was big fun.
  • I received an email from someone I had not heard from in 10 years, and it made me very happy.
  • I was happy that my “tired” state from yesterday really lasted only like 24 hours. I am as bouncy as ever today.
 

Little Tidbits of This and That June 18, 2009

Last night I had an absolutely delicious and beautiful lobster dinner. There’s a local restaurant featuring special lobster dinners for $20 on Tuesdays and I jumped at the chance, along with the other adults in my family. I ate all the accompanying buttery rice pilaf. There was a lot of butter on that table. Also had one bite of dessert. But no wine or other drinks this time. I think the butter was enough.

Today, I worked out twice. In the gym with my trainer in the morning (5 double lengths of monkey walk, 20 minutes of hard stairmaster, and some pull up thingies). Then an hour of outdoor class with a group (again with my trainer) in the evening. I ran more than half of it. Hills, hills, hills. It felt good.

I didn’t work out at all yesterday. So today had to happen. But I liked it a lot.

Tomorrow morning, more running with my 5k buddy.

Also: got more official stuff from The Company today. Turns out I am A-OK, officially, fine print, legal-wise, etc. And I got my official ID card. So it’s all proceeding as per the plan.

OH, and I did some more clothes shopping today. Remember my shopping spree back in April? Many of those clothes are too large now. Luckily, I still have tags on some and can return them. Other stuff is just big. I am constantly walking around, hiking up my pants. Today I woke up and it was ridiculously freezing out. I went to the one small department store in our neighborhood.  It has a lot of inexpensive polyester stuff with elastic waistbands, but occasionally some decent things hidden here and there. I felt desperate to get some WARM clothing because it is in the 50s here and all the new clothes I bought are summer wear. I ended up buying two pairs of pants: one in a size 6 (WHAT MEEEE???) and one size ten. They both fit me fine. Two different brands.  Funny that size 8 was too big in the one brand and too small in the other. Ha.  Then I bought a size L quilted vest that was ALMOST too small. Isn’t that weird? It is OK when I am upright, but when I am sitting I sort of have to suck it in like Scarlett OHara in her corset. Almost.

So, that was my day.

I finished it up by watching Top Chef Masters which I loved to bits. They had to create a dinner from LOST island ingredients (including Dharma Initiative canned food, ha!) so I was just giddy happy watching it. The Top Chef Masters is overall a LOT more fun to watch than regular TC (although I do miss Padma and Tom). The chefs are relaxed, they are collegial and respectful and they aren’t the least bit insecure or mean or bitchy. So I’m liking it a lot.

Good night now!

 

Got Sweat? May 22, 2009

It used to be (not so long ago, either!) that if I got a little pink in the face and had a thin film of sweat, I’d declare, “WOW that was a good workout!” But I wasn’t wild about big exertion. I only saw my trainer twice a week, and during the other days, I’d either walk (leisurely) or do nothing.  I was fairly sweatophobic.

Now, I feel like a workout session just isn’t cutting it unless I have visible rivers of sweat running down my face and body, and unless I can see a color change in my clothing. THAT is different!  And now, on my “days off” from my trainer I am either running with my penguin buddy (we call each other that because we used to run like penguins) or at the gym. If I take a walk, it’s “extra” and really for pleasure rather than considering it a workout.

Someone on Twitter recently mentioned that she didn’t want to intentionally sweat after sweating all day at work. I liked that phrase “intentional sweat.” I LOVE intentional sweat now!!!!! But I still really really hate “uninentional sweat” which comes from just standing around in hot, muggy weather. I grew up in NJ so I know about this. It’s MISERABLE.

ANyway, I read somewhere that once you start working out, you really have to keep upping the intensity level or your body just sort of stagnantes. As you get stronger, you just have to DO MORE. Back then, the idea absolutely terrified me (“I can barely do what I’m doing NOW, how can I do MORE? Aghh, get me off this train!”) but now it is exciting. It is making me believe that now that I’ve done a 5k, they will keep getting easier and faster, and that I WILL be able to get to a 10k or even a half marathon. RUNNING.

I had an incredible nonscale victory today. I’ve been going on and on about how I HATE spinning (stationary bike). It’s true, it’s the only exercise I’ve done that has made me want to puke. About 2 years ago, I worked up to a pretty high level but then we moved on to other things (trainer and me). I’ve never taken a group spinning class. I really don’t know how those things work, just how I do it with my trainer. Anyway, he had me doing these things that he calls “hops.” One hop basically = pedal 2x standing up, and on the 3rd pedal, sit down for a millisecond. Then up again.This is all done at very high resistance, so you have to push HARD to do one revolution. This is a lot harder than either perpetually standing or sitting, because it’s that up-down thing that is such an effort. I hated those freaking things. The first time I did them, I was heaving and gasping and really almost crying after I’d completed 25. I worked up to 4 sets of 25 for a total of 100.

I hadn’t done “hops” in YEARS when a few weeks ago he said, why don’t we try this. I immediately felt a sense of dread and anxiety. And it kicked my butt. I actually did cry then, because I felt like I’d come so far in my fitness, the running etc. and why could I not do these hops?? It nearly killed me to do 100, then a second 100, gasping out for mercy the last 30 or so.

So I was NOT HAPPY when I walked in and he said we were going to do the bike today. I thrashed around on the floor and whined and groaned (I can be quite dramatic when I feel like it). He was like, don’t worry, only 500. I was really upset. I dragged out the warmup for about 40 minutes. Then I got on the bike. He turned up the resistance. I started.

Um. It did not kick my butt. I kicked its butt. My trainer counts by going 1, 2, 3, 20, etc (going up) until the last ten, then he counts down when he reaches 90. 10, 9, 7…  His plan was for me to do five sets of 100, with ample breathing and whining in between each set. But when he got to 90, I wasn’t even breathing hard. He was like, WOW, okay, keep going. I got to 150. I got to 200. I was still feeling pretty damn good. Happy little sweat rivers were coming down my neck. I got to 300. Then I stopped.

My trainer had tears in his eyes. He said, I have goosebumps, you crazy woman. I was so happy. I was not at all winded, but my feet hurt, so I thought I was a good time to stop. I said, “I don’t think you had the resistance high enough.” He looked at me funny. He cranked it up several turns. He said “OK, now go.” I cranked out the last 200 feeling like, I don’t know what. Chariots of Fire.

It. Was. Freaking. Awesome.  And now I’ve been on an endorphin high all day.

I’m not afraid of anything anymore.

UPDATE ON 5/27/09: Did 700 straight without stopping. Heeeeeeeee!!!!!

 

Off the Couch March 27, 2009

Filed under: emotions,exercise,running — Susan @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

OK, so due to semi-popular demand (thanks MizFit!) I am going to write about my extremely nascent running experience, specifically with Couch-to-5k, which I began… yesterday!

Earlier in the week, I did an actual 5k (walk/run combo) around the wonderful Lake Merritt. I have not circled Lake Merritt in wayyyy too long, despite its proximity to my house, and I wonder why I stayed away so long. (umm, maybe because I was on the couch) Anyway, it is a great training ground because its perimeter (I just looked it up: on the walking path, NOT the sidewalk) is exactly 5k, which is perfect.

Lake Merritt is called “the jewel of Oakland” and for good reason. It’s beautiful. It has a totally awesome bird sanctuary. It is incredibly diverse in terms of race, age, gender and socioeconomics. You see EVERYone going around the path on Lake Merritt. It made me feel so happy to be there. There were couples, and girlfriends, and tottering little old people, and babies and dogs (even though they are really not allowed) and super fit young athletes, and lots of people huffing and puffing, and just EVERYone. I went around sundown and got to see the pretty “circle of lights” light up, along with the gorgeous historical streetlamps. So it was great to be there.  I took my iPod and it took me exactly 41 minutes to go around the lake, I’d say probably 40-50% running. Not bad.

So I thought I was in FINE shape to do this Couch to 5k training, and even contemplated (HA HA HA HA!) skipping ahead to week 2 or 3 because I was feeling so ridiculously overconfident. I posted a notice on Facebook and a bunch of friends said they wanted to do it with me! (now THAT is one of the absolute COOLEST and best things about FB!)

My friend M happens to do some work in the same office as me. We met up in the office yesterday and at first we were going to go to the Lake, but realized we both were squeezed timewise b/c we had to pick up our kids at a certain time. So instead we went to one of Oakland’s OTHER jewels, ie. Mountain View Cemetery. This is where my trainer often takes me and runs me up and down the steps and ramps. It’s a beautiful and intense outdoor gym!

The first 3 sessions of Couch-to-5k consists of this: warmup walk for 5 minutes, then 60 second run, 90 second walk, 60 second run, 90 second walk. Keep going for 20 minutes.

Now. I scoffed at this workout. I was like, that is too easy! HA HA HA HA. I did come to eat those words. I was nervous. We walked from the office to the cemetery, which was more than five minutes. When we got into the gates, M set her very cool sports watch (she is a very accomplished gadget geek, which is one of the things which makes her an excellent running partner!) so that it would beep at 60 seconds, 90, 60, etc.

She said, “Go!” We set off on our first sixty. Can I just say that these were some of the LONGEST sixty seconds EVER? (dwarfed only perhaps by sixty seconds of being in active labor) I was rather stunned when it was over and I was so happy to be walking. For some reason, the 90 seconds went by quicker than the 60 – how is that? :-)

I think we did 8 or 9 circuits of each, which was definitely more than 20 minutes, because we were late leaving and I was late picking up my kid and she TOTALLY let me have it. And I was beet red and sweaty. It had kicked my butt – the easy one! Ack!!

We do our 2nd set of this tomorrow, down at the Lake. My friend C is doing it “in tandem” on her treadmill. And I am meeting my other friend K on Sunday in San Francisco, since she was so eager to join in as well. I am happy to have all this company. But I am still chagrined that the first set of this workout was not as easy as I had imagined it would be.

Only one way to go from here, right? Onward!

 

Great Workout + Another Happy Clothes Moment March 6, 2009

Filed under: exercise,good things,health — Susan @ 5:54 pm
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I have a much biggest post I want to write today but not sure the schedule will allow. But I did just have a happy moment I have to share!

I had this really nice blouse last year, one of my favorites. It was dry-clean only but somehow it got tossed into the washer. AND the dryer. It shrunk down tiny tiny. There was no way I could squeeze into it. I wrote it off. I made a note to one day donate it somewhere or give to one of my small friends. :-)

WELL. Today after I got out of shower, I was standing there perusing my closet. I put on some black pants. Then I glimpsed my long-lost pretty blouse. I wondered… could it be possible?

IT FIT! IT FIT! IT FIT! I am wearing it now. I am doing the happy Snoopy dance.

In other brief news, I had the best workout this morning.  Normally I do two circuits of this rather grueling workout, with my trainer. I usually have to rush off after that (it takes an hour total) and besides, I’m pooped. And usually I work out with just him. (which is great) But today the gym was very busy and these two guys, whom I have worked out with in the past (more than a year ago) ended up showing up at the same time. We all worked out together. I was so pumped!! It just boosted my energy 100x more to have two other people to work out with. So I told my trainer I had some extra time, and I wanted to do 3 circuits. His eyes popped out and he got all happy and psyched and so the three of us did three.  I was really happy. I had done more than I thought I could do. I was about to leave, and this one guy got this gleam in his eye. He goes, “Four?” And I just knew I had it in me. I could feel my engine revving. “Yeah!”  So we did the fourth circuit and I was so adrenalized and happy and proud and full of energy. It was a long, intense, two hour workout. I felt so happy when I left.

Then I came home, showered, and put on my shrunken shirt!! Hee!!

Much better day than yesterday.

 

 
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