Tag Archives: friday fitness

It’s Friday again, so I’m going to write about working out

Monday: zumba/cardio kickboxing 60 minutes, power pump 60 minutes
Tuesday: 35 minutes elliptical 15 minutes crunches/leg lifts
Wednesday: 60 minutes yoga
Thursday: 60 minutes pilates plus
Friday: 30 minutes hardcore elliptical

I’m still reeling a bit from the fall last Friday. The nasty bruise on my leg is about two inches in diameter and still sticks up a good centimeter or two from the rest of my calf. My neck still hurts, both shoulders are feeling wrenched, and my butt was too sore yesterday to sit on the bike seat for my spin class, so I didn’t take it. That put me a little below goal for hours spent in the gym this week, and on top of that a last-minute meeting requiring mandatory attendence kept me from the class I was going to take today, so instead after the meeting was over at 2 PM I rushed into the gym, worked out like crazy for 30 minutes, and rushed back to work in order to eat lunch before Unfed MLE overtook me completely. Hey, 30 minutes is better than nothing, right?

The Wednesday yoga class (new class of the week!) was supposedly vinyasa, though we did some crazy binding poses and held them for a long time, so there was very little flow about the whole thing. I’m going to start taking vinyasa classes from the guy who I know does good yoga classes, and it’s really flow from one asana to the next.

Despite my paltry 5.5 hours in the gym this week, I suddenly seem to have discovered my abdominal muscles again when I look in the mirror. And there’s a line, as Dan pointed out to me. I’m starting to feel pretty good about how I look, both in clothes and out of them, and optimistic that I’ll be able to keep it up until March. My goal at this point is just to not gain any weight (and if I manage it, it will be the first winter in memory that I haven’t) and have the dress fit perfectly (or, if anything, be a little loose) come wedding time. The only exercise I’ll be getting for about four weeks will be walking (in Italy, in California) and running (if the weather’s not too bad when we’re in California), and I’m sure as hell not going to Italy and avoiding anything that looks yummy. Because what would be the point? Luckily, I’ll still have 10 weeks after we get back to continue Operation Look Good in Dress.

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Friday Fitness: Ouch!

All things considered, I did pretty well this week.

Monday: 50 minutes of cardio, 60 minute Power Pump class
Tuesday: 35 minutes cardio, 60 minute Yoga for Athletes (finally!)
Wednesday: took the day off
Thursday: 60 minutes hardcore Pilates class, 60 minutes awesome spin class

This morning, I was leaving for work and I tripped and fell on our back steps. I’m not sure why; they weren’t icy (though it did rain sometime early this morning and so they were a bit wet) but I was wearing my backpack and had my hand on the rail, so my arm ended up wrenched behind me and the backpack kind of crunched into my neck as I fell. My ass is bruised, and my neck/back seized up immediately. It felt like a reprise of the whiplash feeling from the car accident I was in last year. I went back inside, popped two aleve, and caught my breath (seriously, it was scary!) before I strapped on the backpack again and walked to work.

Now, I hurt. I probably don’t hurt as badly as I would had I not taken all the drugs, but my neck and shoulders and back are Not Happy. I’m really annoyed, because I wanted to take the cardio kickboxing/zumba class at 11:30 this morning. Somehow, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. Maybe instead I’ll go in and do yoga at 1:30. I’m just glad it isn’t worse, because I don’t want to have to stop going to the gym for any length of time. I feel like I’m in a good groove; my body feels good and it’s such a good stress reliever for me. There’s been some major family-related stress going on for me this week and it’s so nice to push myself to a sweat or turn into a pretzel and I don’t have to think about it for that little while. I’m starting to feel pretty strong and powerful, like my body is capable of great things. Also, I like that my jeans are loose.

New class this week was the Yoga for Athletes class. I must say, it was a little disappointing, maybe because I found the teacher to be a little weird, maybe because the poses she chose to have us do were more painful than they were productive (IMHO). I don’t think I’ll be taking that class again, at least not with that teacher.

Catching up

Because I took the last two days of blop to write the 100 things posts, I didn’t write my literary post for the week, nor did I write my fitness update. Here’s where things stand on those fronts.

I finally finished “The Gravedigger’s Daughter” by Joyce Carol Oates. I’d never read anything by Oates before, though I had heard of her. The book looked interesting in the library, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m a pretty fast reader so I didn’t think a 600-page book would be a big deal, but it took me more than a week to finish it because it was so darn heavy. It’s no light reading, not the sort of thing you take for a trip to the beach. But the story is gripping and thoroughly satisfying, despite the unusual prose style.

The story begins from the perspective of the title character, Rebecca Schwart, the daughter of an immigrant German Jewish family. Her life is told in snatches of time jumping back and forth between past and present. It is clear that her life has not been easy, nor have the lives of her family members. She finally escapes an abusive husband and changes her entire identity (and that of her young son). The second part of the book chronicles her life as her new self and her sense of self-preservation as she moves her son around from place to place. The character’s personality has changed along with her identity, name, and hair color. This second part is written very differently than the first. There is a part 3, but in order not to ruin any surprises I’m going to refrain from spoiling it. Though the book was a difficult read in terms of subject matter (abusive relationships, difficult childhood, what it meant to be Jewish in this country during/after WWII, disturbing imagery), I’m glad I made it through.

* * * * * *
Last week, I managed 2 hours Monday (cardio and Power Pump), a new class Tuesday (combination cardio latin dancing and cardio kickboxing), 40 minutes cardio Wednesday, the hardcore Pilates class Thursday (but no spin class, I needed the break) and full weight circuit with 20 minutes cardio on Friday. I loved the new class – they call it Zumba Kickbox or something and the first part of the class was some sort of fusion latin dancing, the second part cardio kickboxing. I’d never done kickboxing before (despite wanting to) because the teacher who has taught kickboxing at my gym up until this point has the most annoying voice I have ever heard. Hearing his voice when I walk by his classes makes me want to commit homicide. I’m glad they have this new teacher doing this new class, because I really liked it.

I was already sore from my 2 hours of working out on Monday and the new class totally kicked my ass, because on Wednesday I was as sore as the day after the first time I snowboarded. I hurt EVERYWHERE. So I took it relatively easy on myself Wednesday and Thursday and by Friday I felt OK. Saturday we did quite a bit of walking (walked from home to downtown and back twice); Sunday we walked to the zoo, around the zoo, and home from the zoo. The zoo is in City Park, about a 2.5 mile walk from our house, so if you add in all the walking we did while gawking at the animals, we probably walked 8 miles. I think I got enough exercise last week – I’m feeling pretty good. My intention is to continue at the gym every week day, and to do 2 hours at least 2 week days. I think 3 2-hour days might be pushing it a bit much. Plus, we’re going to continue to get some decent amount of exercise on at least one weekend day. I’ve got a dress to try on in late December and I’d like it to be pleasantly loose. That way I have a little bit of leeway for all the gelato I’m going to be scarfing down in Italy.

Friday Fitness: Technical difficulties

Monday, I waited all day for the UPS guy, and despite spending the morning doing up-and-around projects, I didn’t really exert myself.

Tuesday, I did a full weight circuit and then ten hard minutes on the elliptical at lunchtime. After work, I intended to take the “yoga for athletes”. Unfortunately, because of Thanksgiving all of the regular yoga instructors were gone, so every class had a substitute. The yoga for athletes class didn’t happen; instead, it was more of an ayengar or something, because the substitute teacher had a baby a few weeks ago and was really excited about doing stuff on her belly. So we held every pose for a long time and there was all kinds of deep stretching. Afterward, I was in some pain.

Wednesday, I went to the gym and did one of their suggested workouts for holiday season; I did ten minutes each on three different cardio machines at almost max capacity, then my normal crunches/leg lifts post cardio bit. We got sent home form wokr at 3 PM which was awesome, and after we got stuff together we drove up to Dan’s parents house.

Thursday (yesterday) was cooking all day long. All day. There was a little bit of sitting (during which time I worked on other projects) but mostly, cooking.

Today, there was a lot of sitting. I sat and knitted and stuff all day. I had no energy to go outside to do anything; plus, the high today was 28F.

Dan has assured me he will accompany me to the gym tomorrow when we get home. After all the food we ate yesterday and all the leftovers we ate today, I’m going to need it. My goal (until we get to California) is to work out six days a week, or go to the gym at least two hours three days a week (one hour the other days). There’s a dress I need to fit into and winter isn’t helping things. I will totally be atoning for these few days of gluttony and this day of sloth. Lucky for Dan, I’ve pretty much opted against wrath.

Friday fitness 3: I am woe out

Well, I didn’t meet my goal for this week: I didn’t take any new classes.

But!

Monday I did 55 minutes of cardio (elliptical, bike) and then took an hour long Power Pump class.
Tuesday I took an hour of vinyasa yoga.
Wednesday I did 35 elliptical and my normal cruch/leg lift routine.
Thursday I took a hardcore pilates class at 1 and a spinning class at 5:30 (all classes at my gym are an hour long).

Today, I need to rest my weary bones. I figure 6 hours of working out in 4 days is enough. I was pretty out of it last night after I got home from the spinning class. Also, my everything is a little bit sore. I like every one of the classes I took, which is good because maybe I will be able to get into a routine that mixes things up, so my body gets challenged, rather than doing the same things every day. I like that taking these classes, and seeing how I do in them, makes me feel good about myself and my abilities. I must be in pretty good shape if I can keep up with some of them, right? Despite the soreness, today I feel good, like my body really needed a week of ass-kicking to make up for all the traveling where I didn’t have a chance to work out. I feel good, my mood is good, it’s Friday and NaBloPoMo is more than halfway over. I think I’m doing OK, overall.

Friday Flip-up, I mean, Friday Fitness 2: Don’t be like me

This week, the only day I was able to get to my actual gym was Wednesday (because it was the only day I was in the office and in town). Monday I worked out at the resort where I stayed in Colorado Springs (approximately an hour’s workout), Tuesday I was too exhausted to do anything when I got home. So Wednesday morning I looked at the class schedule and saw a step class at 5:30, so I decided I’d do that.

I didn’t take a lunch on Wednesday, so I left work early and did a full weight circuit (meaning, 10 machines pre-programmed to my own workout), which takes an hour. Then I waited for the step class to start. I’ve never taken step (or anything like it) so wasn’t sure what to expect. After taking the class, my opinion is that a) I shouldn’t do a full weight circuit before taking a new class (this is the second time I’ve done it, the first time was before my first spin class) because by the end I am totally worn out, and b) step is kind of like 21st century aerobics with a prop.

The instructor was perky and cute and looked kind of 80s-ish. The music was remixes of Fergie and Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado. The combinations of footwork done on the step were not something easily done by someone completely unfamiliar with the class and the terminology. Luckily with my dance background I have some experience trying to follow unfamiliar movements and put them together with names in a short time period, but I can imagine the class would be really frustrating for someone who hadn’t had experience with that sort of thing before. It was frustrating for me as is. There were a few other brand new people in the class, and I think it was more difficult for them. I felt through most of the class like I should be wearing a neon-colored leotard and a sweat band, and like I should start calling the instructor Jane. I’m not a huge fan of aerobics or jazzercise and this pretty much felt like one of those things, only with a big thing to step on. I can’t deny that it was a good workout. I think I would have liked it better if I hadn’t forgotten my water bottle; the room was hot and I was parched afterward. Usually when I hamster on the cardio machines I’m sipping on water the whole time, so I’m not used to having my heart rate up for an hour with no water. If there’s ever a next time, there will be a water bottle and no weights beforehand.

Yesterday I had a training up north, so afterward I went to Dan’s parents house, greeted the dog, changed my clothes and went out for a run. My legs were already kind of sore from the weights/step workout (2 full hours) so I thought running might help me to get my exercise in and also help work the soreness out of my legs again. Part of my run was along a public use trail, paved in cement. It’s been a long time since I’ve run on sidewalk, and after the run my legs quivered painfully in the shower. The run did nothing to ease the soreness; but instead exacerbated it to the point where later in the evening I had to walk like an old-fashioned cowboy in order to get down the stairs to go to bed. Let this be a warning to you, kids: don’t do a full weight circuit and a step class for the first time, then run 3. 5 miles on sidewalk the next day, lest you want your legs to feel like they ought to fall off.

Today I took a rest day. My calves had a hard enough time dealing with the one-inch heels I wore to conduct today’s training.

Friday fitness 1: Back in the saddle

You know how people say that when you want to lose weight, you should eat better and exercise more? Well, what if you already do that?

My exercise habit became pretty much ingrained at the age of 3, when I started ballet classes. I was one of the few people for whom ballet came easily and naturally, and ended up being put en pointe (that means I got to wear toe shoes) at age 11, significantly younger than usual. I took ballet classes several times a week for my entire childhood, punctuated by about a year or so where I didn’t take ballet after I burnt out a bit. I started right back up again and was taking classes 4 days a week all through high school, usually 90 minutes at a time of great aerobic workout and a lot of stretching. At night, I’d do 100 crunches and 100 leg lifts before bed. Summers I spent on the town’s swim team, sprinting my way through freestyle and breast stroke races at swim meets and spending hours in the pool every day. After the Great Hip Debacle of 1996, I quit ballet in college and started looking for other ways to move my body. Walking around campus, while good exercise, just wasn’t enough for me. I swam and used the campus rec center a few days a week. I took a taekwondo class my senior year. Anything to keep my body moving, keep the blood flowing, get that exercise high that I’d had regularly for my entire life within memory.

I’d never liked running much before, but after I’d had a few years away from the ballet that had permanently changed my hip sockets, I decided to try again. I started running once in a while at a dirt track near campus, way up a hill. As with swimming, my style was definitely sprinting rather than long distances, but eventually I figured out how to run a whole mile, and then two, and then I was running almost every day after work at the Berkeley High School track. I even trained for a 5K and ran the Race For the Cure through Golden Gate Park in something like 22 minutes. I didn’t have much body fat anymore, but I wasn’t paying attention to that because the running seemed to keep me feeling good. I met Dan in 2001 while I was still running all the time, and I switched jobs in January of 2002 – I didn’t have time to do much running anymore because of my commute, but I did join a posh gym through work for pretty cheap and went almost every day. Then every day. Then sometimes twice a day. I was in the best shape of my life, taking Pilates and lifting weights and running on treadmills.

Throughout my life, whenever I’ve had a gap in physical exercise, I start to feel cranky and sluggish, and then I have bad mood swings, and then my clothes stop fitting. When I moved to Colorado in January of 2003, I didn’t have any means of regular outdoor exercise (it was too cold!) and I started going stir crazy so I invested in some Pilates videos and did them a few times a week. Then we started marathon training later that year, so I was running all the time (and also gaining weight, but that was from a prescription gone bad). After the marathon, I needed a break from running so eventually I joined the gym where I’ve been going ever since.

I took a few classes at first, tried their cardio salsa and a pilates class or two. The classes I was really interested in trying were taught by people I didn’t like, so I gave up on classes and spent a couple of years doing a regular weight circuit, increasing weight and reps as my routine got easier, and using the same treadmill, elliptical, and recumbent bike in various combinations. Even working out 4 or 5 days a week, I still did more maintain fitness than lose weight unless I really restricted calories. A couple of months ago, despite my regular routine, hiking nearly every weekend, and eating healthily and seasonally all summer, I started noticing tight clothes again.

This is a scary thing for me. I don’t like gaining weight. My body image is fragile as is, and I’ve got a wedding coming up where people will be looking at me in a fitted dress all day (and there will also be photos, lots of photos). I don’t know if I can severely restrict calories through another snowy Colorado winter, and I don’t know if I can handle working out two hours a day rather than one or one and a half. The time is about to change and I’m about to pretty much never see the sun; I’ve got to do something to stave off seasonal depression and also to ensure my dress still fits when I get to visit it in December.

So what could I do? I decided to take a new look at the class list offered by my gym, and noticed there were a lot of things that hadn’t been offered before. New people were teaching classes. I’d have to start scheduling my gym time during peak hours (when all the classes are), but it’s a small price to pay to help me break out of the fitness rut I’m in. So far, in the last month I’ve taken a few different yoga classes, something called Power Pump, and Qi Gong. A couple of weeks ago, I took my fisrt ever spinning class, and it made my butt sore for several days, but for the most part I was able to keep up with the class, and I even liked it. Yesterday I took my first Pilates class in three years, and you know something? Today I’m sore in spots, but I didn’t lose much flexibility and the soreness feels good. The one difficulty I’m having with Pilates and yoga is my shoulder that got messed up in the car accident I had last summer (it’s still not all the way better) so I just have to modify sometimes when there’s a lot of downward dog. But it was a great class, and I intend to go back in two weeks when I’ll be back in the office and not out of town during class.

My intention is to try a new class every week this month, and start regularly attending the ones I like. I like the Thursday afternoon spin instructor, and I like the Power Pump. I like this Pilates class I took yesterday. I bet there are more good classes to be taken, and in the meantime I’ll continue with the cardio and weights, with walking/hiking on the weekends that the weather is good. Dan and I are both committed to health and fitness this winter, so I need to get some waterproof boots so we can go snowshoeing when it starts to be really snowy. I’ve heard that’s good exercise, and I’m looking forward to it. Fridays this month I’ll write about my progress in clothes-fitting-better and write a review of the new class I took.
Next week is my last travel week, so the only day I’ll be able to take a new class is Wednesday. Here‘s the schedule (warning: pdf). Any suggestions? (and any classes offered before 8 AM, I won’t be attending. I like sleep too much.)