Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Truth? Though this didn't have the controls of a scientific experiment I think I really DID get more out of my cardio by paying attention to my body. I wear a monitor and it showed me that 50-100 more calories were burned yesterday than I expected.
Is it true? did really paying attention to how my thighs, my back, my abs and upper arms felt as I worked my 35 minutes on the elliptical really burn more calories than just flopping my way through? Or did I subconsciously spend more time exercising and moving than I realized.
Let's examine the day. I did get in a 1 mile walk with my funny little white dog. Here she is, checking things out in the bean field.
But that had been planned all along. It's a short walk, worth some 50 calories, but I'd like to add it to my daily routine.
At work I was at my desk only slightly less than usual. I had a program to prepare for and enough staff that I only worked the front desk for 30 minutes. No walk at lunch time since I had a WW meeting - where I was glad to find out that I'm still within my goal range - even after 2 weeks of rather profligate eating. and still below 150 - which was more than satisfying.
Hmm. I sat during the program in the afternoon - though there was a good bit of walking back and forth as I brought paraphernalia into the meeting room. Altogether, if I really want to push things I burned 50 calories more than I would have on a library day with no kiddie program in it. I guess. Pushing it a bit. Maybe.
Okay - then it was off to the gym - 35 minutes on the elliptical. Normally I'd expect to burn 150 +/- calories doing that while watching HGTV (my 5 o'clock TV poison). I use a programable elliptical that has the hand poles for working the upper body.
I decided to really pay attention to the body and what do you know - I found that to be impossibly boring to do for 35 minutes and MUCH harder too. It's true. I worked harder while I was paying attention. But I just didn't have the mental control to stay at it for 35 minutes. Within the first 5 minutes (maybe even instantly) I realized I had to take baby steps into this mindful body cardio, so I decided that I would concentrate for 2 minutes and then I could buzz off on the television for 8. I set the elliptical so that after 8 minutes it would tell you to start pedaling in the opposite direction. Those were the Pay Attention Minutes. So I did 3 sets of 2 minutes when I paid close attention - abs tucked? glutes taut? back straight? Thighs engaged? Arms pumping? Check.
Ordinarily - at this point I would have racked up about 150 calories burned and to make sure of it I did just a few strength exercises - 3 sets of 10 presses, 3 sets of tri exercises and 3 sets of the rowing lift ... or whatever it's called. 10 minutes in all? Honestly I'd be overestimating if I could claim 50 calories for that.
So at the very best I could claim 300 calories burned for yesterday. But when I plugged the monitor in it showed a 350 burn.
As I said - this was no scientifically controlled experiment but hey - I'll take a 350 calorie burn any day! In fact - I think I'll go take it today. I know my little dog wants me to take her out. I hear her scratching at the door.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Don't you just love it when a light bulb goes off inside your head? When an idea you never thought of before blossoms right in front of you? When something suddenly becomes clearer?
(of course you do, LOL)
So today while reading The Best of Spark People article 10 Smart Ways to Burn More Calories
Crank Up Your Cardio to Blast More Fat! the light clicked on at number 9.
"9. Focus. We talk a lot about the importance of the mind-body connection and fitness. Although cardio isn't as Zen-like as yoga, cardio can still benefit from a strong sense of awareness. The next time you do cardio, focus on the movements and breathing while squeezing those muscles. By engaging your mind, you can actually better engage your muscles, which allows you to complete the exercise more easily and still burn more calories!"
Wow. See - whenever I'm doing cardio I try to zone out of what's going on. When I'm on that elliptical or stationary bike ... or even when I'm swimming laps - I try to get away from what it feels like because it feels hard. I like to watch television if I'm not in the water, so I can forget about how tired my arms and/or legs are getting. It's a "grit your teeth and plow through it" sort of feeling. I can almost hear myself thinking "I know this is hard but la la la la I can't hear you telling me!"
But by doing this maybe I'm missing out on something. For sure I'm not savoring the experience of those hard working muscles. Maybe I'm not even getting the full benefit of my workout. I know this is true with weight lifting - when I just push with my arms it's hard hard work but when I engage my abs and glutes ... it's still hard but it's different. It's ... it's easier to do it well.
I think it's time to pay attention to my body while I'm doing cardio workouts. It's time to feel those legs and back muscles, to experience what they're actually doing. I'd like to get to know Who Is This Body a little better. After all, I might like her.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Here I am in my Zentangle T-Shirt
Himself asked me if it was finished - and didn't I want to put 'more stuff' on it. In fact, I don't, but the fun thing about this is that I can always add more if I wanted to. I'm much more likely to put in too much than not enough - in life as well as in art. So I stopped here and gave this shirt a little spin.
I used Sharpie Fabric Pens for most of it and some other dark permanent art pen along the back. It's supposed to be water fast ... but you can be sure, I'll wash it separately the first time.
The picture is from my Other Blog - which I have neglected shamefully this summer.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
I do love how sometimes the universe aligns things just perfectly - in big ways and in small ones. I'm back from a two day beach get-away that turned out to be particularly magical. I took a bit of a risk with this one since I was trying to achieve something for two people, me and a family member, who were coming from two very different emotional places. My life is pretty good, pretty stable and pretty secure. Hers is chaos. I love this person. Her birthday is in a few days. I wanted this to be a happy time for her while still being a happy time for me - and as I said - sometimes the universe just makes it all perfect.
The traffic was easy getting to the beach. The weather was hot but just beachy hot and there was always an ocean breeze and the water was gentle and refreshing. The crowds were packed like sardines and as polite as Sunday School teachers. In fact, it was the people we encountered that made this trip so fantastic. Everywhere we went on this little jaunt, we made the most amazing connections with people. The man at the hotel was able to get us into our room an hour early. He gave us fabulous advice on a restaurant which turned out to be the first restaurant I've ever eaten in at VaBeach that wasn't all carnival food and didn't also cost an arm and a leg. It also turns out that the city fathers and mothers of Virginia Beach have hired performers to entertain people on every corner in a 10 block line - every night throughout the summer from 7:30 to 11. No tips. Just pure pleasure. And entertainment of every sort from hammer dulcimers to HipHop dancers, magicians to folk rock singers, marching bands to jugglers of flaming torches. There was even a cabaret style Frank Sinatra singer crooning in the middle of one block. At either end were two large stages - one with a gritty rock band and the other with the most amazing magician/illusionist I've ever seen. Here's a link to some videos of his stunts.
The magic continued the next morning with a sunrise beach walk and a mid-morning departure. The traffic was easy to drive through - an important thing for this country driver who rarely encounters more than a dozen cars on her daily commute. The only slow down was right before the Norfolk tunnel ... which is a good thing, because then even the driver can mosey along looking at the wide water, the sailboats, air craft carriers and cargo ships as they move slowly up and down their watery highway. We got to Colonial Williamsburg right at lunchtime and were treated to an absolutely delicious luncheon of quasi historic dishes in Shields Tavern - one of the documented eateries close to the Capital Building. As our meal came to an end we heard music coming from upstairs and as we were leaving we stopped to talk to the musician - who, in the most charming Virginia fashion, turned out to be married to a woman who went to the same high school as my companion and was best friends with the daughter of a man who worked for my father. And though he grew up in Texas, he was a descendant of two families from my end of the county, including one long gone family whose original land patent was researched and platted by my surveyor husband in 1977. I mean - how Virginia is that?!?
So. Great. Great Vacation. Happy Bess.
But this is, after all, Spark People. It's about staying healthy - and obviously there was a lot of emotional and mental health going on here but what about the food thing. What about my weight goals. What about that? I ate all over the place on this trip: shrimp scampi, salt water taffy, ice cream, wine with dinner - and though I walked for miles and swam for hours, I didn't track anything.
So. so did I break my streak of healthy days?
Well that harmonic connection I mentioned at first - that thing about the universe aligning up to make things just right must still be going on because what did I discover on the Best of Spark People this morning?
I found these words quoted from this article:
"The second most common cause of a motivational slump is expecting yourself to be perfect. The idea that anyone can (or should) never overeat or never skip a workout is a form of false pride. Why would anyone think that she'll be the first human being in history to pull this off, or that if you don't, you must be a miserable failure? The emotional upset of failed perfectionism can make it virtually impossible to stay motivated.
If you're holding yourself to a standard of perfection, or verbally abusing yourself for those bad days, give yourself a break. "
Yeah. Yep Yep Yep. YES! I'd say I'm still on my streak of making healthy choices. And look where it got me -
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