Sunday, August 07, 2011
There have been some twinges of impatience this week with returning to kickboxing. I just feel so fat and out of shape being around the very fit fighters at my gym, as much as I try to convince myself that I belong there as much as they do. Even though I've lost nearly 40 pounds as of this week, I felt fat and gross. I almost wanted to cry one day after leaving the gym. Nobody was mean to me, nothing happened...it was just those thoughts creeping in: "I never should have gained the weight back." "Of course you're embarrassed, just look at you." "I want to be at my goal weight right NOW."
I know these thoughts are not true. I know they are unreasonable. But it kind of goes to show how joy may not be the only feeling as the scale goes down.
It's funny how we can see the number on the scale go down, yet be a bit oblivious to the changes in our bodies. It seems like one day clothing is super tight, and the next, it's practically falling off. I have been wearing the same workout pants since I started this journey almost 40 pounds ago. This week, during kickboxing, my pants actually started to fall off. Needless to say, trying to pull up your pants while wearing big bulky boxing gloves is neither graceful nor discrete. It got to the point where I just had to giggle at myself during class as I fought harder to keep my pants on than I was fighting with my opponent. I looked in the mirror at the gym, and saw how really baggy my pants are. So I bought a new pair of shorts (yes, shorts) this week. Hopefully then I'll just show off my mad kicking skills, and not my ass.
I can either choose to acknowledge and accept the changes in my body, or I can wait for my clothes to fall off before I realize what is happening. I know that, in the long run, it does not matter that I weigh 258 pounds right now. When I walked into my kickboxing gym again in February, I weighed over 290 pounds. For some reason, this week I had felt as though I hadn't gotten anywhere. All I have to do is put on those huge pants and remember that they were form-fitting a few months ago. I also have to remember that next summer, at this time, I will probably be near or at my goal weight. My routine will be no different than it is now, and I have to remember that I am just as valid an athlete now as I will be then.
On a more cheerful note, my week-long staycation starts tomorrow. There will be a lot of kickboxing and working out going on. I will do my best to keep my pants on...but I can't make any big promises.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Today was a day of fun, a day of good teachers, and a day of working out until I almost vomited. Funny, that's when I get the biggest grin on my face...
I had today off of work, and I had a great day. I started the day with a 15 minute Pilates session. What a great way to wake up! Then I practiced my saxophone for about an hour, then had my lesson. Since I'm starting to get to know my teacher better, I'm a little less uptight around him now. We joked around a lot today and my playing wasn't too gawd-awful. He seemed pleased with my playing today, and hopefully he could tell I had been practicing a lot this past week.
And then, I went to my first kickboxing class in well over a year. I was trying to remember the last time I was able to do kickboxing, and I believe it was in February of 2010. Needless to say, it's been a while. Since my main trainer is getting ready for his fight this upcoming Saturday, the instructor tonight was one of my other favorite teachers, Team U.S.A. Kickboxing coach Justin Whiley. I have always liked his teaching style--just the right amount of challenge while at the same time never overdoing it. He'll be running classes more often now, so I'll have the opportunity to learn from him and hopefully improve my kicking and punching.
Team U.S.A. Kickboxing coach Justin Whiley. Image from cellarkickboxing.com
I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous about going to the class. What if I look stupid? What if everyone thinks I'm fat? What if no one will be my partner? What if I've totally forgotten how to kick? It really was ridiculous. I steered myself towards the beginners since I was just coming back, but Justin tapped me on the shoulder, shook his head, and pointed me to the other end of the mat with the advanced people. I paired up with a guy, which was nice since some of the women at the gym are very clique-y. We had a great workout, and I kept up okay until we did sequential kicks, which my leg just wouldn't tolerate. That's okay; I was very happy to be able to get through the whole hour. The gym was like a sauna, though--so I don't think I did too bad for working out in the 90 degree heat! And nothing works really deeply into my abs like kickboxing--I could feel it the day after my kickboxing workout earlier this week, and I'm sure I will feel it tomorrow. Hopefully soon I will be able to SEE it...
Now I am beat--time for a date with a recliner, the T.V., kitties, and a big bowl of popcorn drizzled with olive oil. What a day!
Sunday, July 31, 2011
As of this week, I am officially less than 100 pounds from my goal weight. I was expecting backlash on the scale this week after dropping 6 pounds last week, but instead I lost 1/2 pound. I guess I dropped a bunch of water weight last week. Anyways, YAY, 36.6 pounds down, 99.4 pounds to GOAL! Having less than 100 pounds to go seems very doable, although since I've been taking it pretty slowly, I look back and go, "Wow, I've lost 36 pounds already?" Time flies...
July has probably been my best month yet since I started on SparkPeople--oh, and my official 1 year SparkVersary is August 21st, so I'm excited to celebrate that. But anyways, I've just felt such a shift in my mindset over the past month that really pleases me. I feel very balanced, especially with my eating. If I overeat, I don't freak out, which halts the overeating. If I'm less hungry on some days (and not being ravenous at every moment is still a little unsettling in some ways), then I don't eat as much. And yesterday, I ate what I wanted throughout the day, and then tracked at night. I ate within my calorie range and I was happy that my appetite did that naturally. The day even included eating at a pizza place, where I got a solo pizza and a big Greek salad. Since the calorie range that I have now will be close to my maintenance range, I'm glad to see that I can eat like a normal person without constantly arguing and fighting with myself.
I completed Mesocycle 1 of Cathe Freidrich's Shock Training System (STS), and now I have a week off before I start the next mesocyle. I lost nearly an inch off of each of my arms--the most in a month since starting this journey! I have also been able to do a lot more lower body stuff, including kettlebells. I am not ready to lift weights yet for my lower body (still going to let my knee heal), but Pilates and kettlebells have been shaping my legs nicely.
My favorite thing that happened this month was that I found I am able to kick and my knee and legs are strong enough to kickboxing again. I will be returning to kickboxing and Muay Thai (see yesterday's blog). Nothing (NOTHING!) whipped me into shape like kickboxing. This time around, I won't be training for Olympic-distance triathlons while also doing intense kickboxing training, so hopefully, my body will be happier with me.
My workout scheme for August will look like this:
kickboxing/Muay Thai 3-4 days/week
STS upper body workout 2 days/week
kettlebells 2 days/week
Pilates 3 days/week
biking 2-3 days/week
swimming 1-2 days/week
walking whenever possible
yoga most days
Whew! It's been a long road to get back to this point and this level of exercise/training, but I'm glad to be back!
Hope everyone has a great plan for August!
Saturday, July 30, 2011
My knee has gotten significantly better over the past few months, and resolving the swelling in my lower leg seems to have helped even further. I have been able to return to taking long walks and biking. I have been boxing. But I have been missing my true passion, and that is kickboxing. I feel strong doing kickboxing, not to mention feeling like a major bad-ass. Most of my kickboxing training has been Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), but I started doing a mix of Muay Thai and American-style kickboxing a few years ago. I've been a kickboxer for nearly 7 years.
I had taken a Tae Kwon Do course at the University of Minnesota in 2004, and I wanted to continue studying it. I found a class nearby and went at the time that I was told the class would be starting. There was another class going on at the time. There were guys grappling each other on the ground, and there were other guys doing spinning kicks and launching off the ground and practically flying at each other.
The coach came up to me and asked if he could help me. I told him I was here for a tae kwon do class. He shook his head and said that there were no tae kwon do classes at this facility. I picked up my stuff to leave. I pointed to the guys doing the kicking and flying through the air. "What are they doing?"
He explained that he was the coach for this team, and that they were a Mixed Martial Arts team. They were cage fighters, and they practiced a combination of Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, and touches of other martial arts. He went by Kru Mike ("Kru" translate to "teacher" in Thai). He gestured towards the group of guys who were kicking and punching, alternating between looking ultra-serious and going into fits of laughter, patting each other on the backs. "Would you like to try?"
I looked at the group of very muscular guys, and looked at my own flabby body. I had lost about 50 pounds on WeightWatchers at that point, but I was nowhere near having the physique of these fighters. Nonetheless, it looked fun. "Can I just watch?"
Kru Mike shook his head. "You won't learn anything. Just try." He took me by the arm over to the group of guys and introduced me. They all shook my hands, and the next thing I knew, I was being shown how to do a Muay Thai roundhouse kick.
Kru Mike ("Mike X"), my first Muay Thai coach. Image from minnesotatopteam.com
I started going to 90-minute practice sessions 4-5 days per week. I was hooked. It was quickly apparent that I was no good at ground grappling, but I was a very strong kicker. I had to really learn how to fight back, because the guys in the group, all of whom were much stronger than me, did not hold back because I was a woman. There were 2 other women in the group, but since I had strength that matched the men better, I was usually partnered with one of the guys.
Kru Mike taught me self-discipline and lit the fire for finally learning some self-respect. I have never forgotten the principles I learned from him, both about martial arts and about life in general. He talked about his childhood growing up as an orphan in a Muay Thai boarding school in Thailand, and then going on to being a street fighter. He moved to the U.S. about 30 years ago and has been teaching Muay Thai since. The principles I learned about martial arts from Kru Mike started to spread to other areas of my life. I became more aware of how others were treating me because of his teachings. I finally started to grow a spine. Unfortunately, we lost our gym space and the group dispersed, and I lost track of Kru Mike.
Muay Thai knee move. Image from muaythaiclassic.com.
The famous Muay Thai "flying knee." Image from sarahcait.blogspot.com.
About 3 years ago, I joined another kickboxing gym at the recommendation of a friend. I was attending kickboxing and Muay Thai training at least 3 days a week. And then, last year, my knee started acting up. I could barely walk, let alone kick or throw any knee moves. I dropped my membership altogether to allow my knee to heal, and started a frustrating journey of trying to get an answer as to what is wrong with my knee. I never got a real answer, but never mind, it's getting better; that's all that matters.
I started going back to the gym in February, doing American-style boxing only. It was good to return to a very challenging activity, given the severe restriction with my knee. But at my more recent kickboxing gym, I have missed the camaraderie that I used to have with working out with a fight team. I became downright frustrated with the way I've been treated by other members. However, I will be returning to kickboxing and working out with fight team members more often. I always enjoyed working out with them. The "beginners" at the gym tend to act more like grade-schoolers out at recess, while the fight team members are much more respectful and disciplined.
Although I am still going to avoid high-impact and jumping activities for now (e.g. running, jump rope, high-impact plyometrics, etc.), I have missed kickboxing terribly. Yesterday I biked to the gym to do a boxing workout, and I wondered, "Am I able to kick?" So I tried some light kicking on the bags. My knee felt great. I did a 30 minute workout. I decided if my knee felt okay during the workout--and the next day--that I would start going again. I am extremely pleased that my knee doesn't hurt at all today and my leg is not swollen. I am going to take it easy, but I am excited to start training again.
I'm also looking forward to spending more time with my coach, Chris, who is one of my favorite people. He is very charismatic and provides that "silent motivation" that makes me push myself harder than I thought I could. He is never in our faces yelling or anything, either; he's just the type of person that makes you want to do well, all the while making me consider if I am pushing myself as much as possible at any given moment. Since I don't feel self-conscious around him, I don't feel "stupid" or weak if I have to modify because of my knee.
And needless to say, no one can argue with the physique of a serious kickboxer. I dropped weight very quickly when I was training intensely a few years ago; this time I will need to make sure I'm eating enough so the weight doesn't crash off like when I did WeightWatchers. When I was living and breathing kickboxing, I didn't even want to eat crap; I focused on whole foods and clean eating, although I needed to be eating more than the WeightWatchers plan called for (I don't think they can account very easily for burning 5,000+ calories a week). This is going to be intense, but I'm ready again.
I've been very patient. I'm ready to stop chillin' and to start kickin' it again.
My trainer Chris (with the belt) after winning a match. Image from cellarkickboxing.com
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