Sunday, December 04, 2011
November started off the bat with the challenge of injuring my rib in Muay Thai. I couldn't do any intense exercise for 2 and 1/2 weeks. Having said that, I am very glad it healed that quickly--I've heard horror stories of rib injuries causing problems for months. I got right back to work with Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, and weightlifting as soon as I felt up to it. This past week was a great workout week and I was able to end November on a high note.
Meanwhile, my saxophone playing has kind of taken a spot on the back burner. I have been deciding what to do about playing my saxophone, and at this time, I can't find a group to play with where I could dependably make it to rehearsals, let alone performances. I am also feeling financially stressed right now with setting up my home office and continuing to deal with credit card debt, so I think I need to stop taking lessons for a while. I still haven't settled on this decision yet. I really like my teacher Jeff and enjoy playing, but right now playing feels more like a stress than stress relief. Playing songs is stress-relieving, but I can't concentrate on trying to learn techniques. I have been in a funk with wanting to practice or play, and I hope it's just a temporary setback.
I will see how the next month goes and then decide whether to continue with lessons or not. Although lessons cost a lot (as does my gym membership), I make an effort to afford healthy activities. When I start working from home, I am hoping to pick up extra hours when people call in sick (which is almost daily). If I can pick up 4-8 extra hours each week, I should be able to get ahead with finances. I'm not doing horribly or anything and I'm not in financial trouble--yet--so I hope some extra work will help. One of my "luxuries" that is non-negotiable is my gym membership. I have to make sure I have the money for it--the gym is the root of my sanity.
The gym is also proving to be a great social outlet. There are several of us who are there for Jiu Jitsu almost every day and I've become pals with a couple of the guys. One of the guys has been particularly helpful with helping me learn Jiu Jitsu and has stayed after a couple of times to give me hints and practice techniques. He said he could tell that I was used to doing a striking martial art (Muay Thai) and that with Jiu Jitsu, sometimes less is more. He advised me to spend more time staying where I am and not trying to get out of the position I'm in. After all Jiu Jitsu is really about exploiting the opponent's weaknesses, so it makes sense to just kind of chill out and wait for them to create an opportunity. I've mostly been trying to muscle my way out of positions and move quickly.
His advice worked. Last Monday, for the first time, I pinned a guy in a position in which he could not defend himself, although it was not a submission. I got the guy in side control (I was on top). He tried to roll out of the position which gave me an opportunity to pin him. I had one of his arms pinned with my arms and the other with my left shoulder. My left shoulder also restrained his neck and head. If he tried to squirm away, I followed him, controlling his hips with my knees. He tried to muscle his way out of the grip I had on his upper body, and that didn't work either. Our instructor Nate watched this with some amusement.
Finally, the guy stopped moving and looked at Nate. "I can't do anything." Nate just smiled and said, "Sorry, can't help ya." The timer went off and I let go. "That was nice, wow," he said, shaking my hand. I was really happy about that--I think I might be able to get someone to tap out soon. I appreciate Jiu Jitsu more and more every day that I go.
The reason that I started going to this gym was to do Muay Thai training with Eric, someone I knew from my previous Muay Thai training. It is with some sadness that Eric will no longer be teaching the daytime Muay Thai classes. He will be teaching the evening classes, so I am going to make an effort to go to those when I can. Nate, my Jiu Jitsu coach, is also trained in Muay Thai and will be teaching the day classes from now on. While I do adore Nate and get a good workout in his Muay Thai classes, Eric is a superior Muay Thai instructor. Eric is still teaching the evening classes, so I need to make an effort to get to his classes whenever possible so I can continue to work on excellent technique. Even though Eric is the reason I started going to this gym, I am fortunate to enjoy all of the people there.
The other change at the gym is that my trainer Ty quit suddenly at the gym earlier this week. I had paid for training and got a hold of him to see what he wanted to do. Ty came to my house yesterday to do a workout. (Needless to say, my house is the cleanest it's been in quite a while.) The fact that we were outside of the gym did not stop Ty from giving me a workout that almost made me puke. I have a lot of stuff at home, but the only equipment we used was my barbell, a light set of dumbbells, and my step. He had me doing burpees, which I would have sworn up and down that I couldn't do. I had also thought that I couldn't do full push-ups or renegade rows, but I can do some of both of those, too. We practiced some Olympic lifting techniques, and then called it a day.
I decided to revamp the conditioning work I have been doing (or lack thereof) to increase strength and power. I am going to be doing an undulating strength training plan for an undefined period of time. Undulating periodization, or nonlinear periodization, simply means mixing up the strength training weight and rep pattern frequently, usually by each workout or each week. There are a lot of different ways to write an undulating plan. The goal is to tax the nervous system, energy systems, and muscle fibers in different ways. For the time being, I will be doing 1 lower body and 1 upper body hypertrophy (muscle growth) workout (heavy weights for 12 reps, 2 sets each exercise), 1 endurance circuit (light weights or body weight, 30 seconds-3 minutes per exercise), and 1 power workout (Olympic lifts) each week. I believe this will stimulate fat loss and power development simultaneously. Hmmm...undulating periodization would be a great topic for a Nerdrageous Blog!
I will make a great effort to make December injury-free so I can blast through my workouts. I believe I will reach my goals of getting out of the 250s and reaching 50 pound weight loss by the end of December. That will mean I have lost 50 pounds this past year, an average of a pound a week. Considering I have had a lot of ups and downs, that is a very big number. Goes to show that even when you can only do the bare minimum for a while, persistence pays off in the end.
I liked the way my instructor Nate put it. I have been fairly forthright with my instructors about my weight loss efforts. I was sparring with Nate last Wednesday and he suggested that I should consider competing. I was flattered that he thinks that highly of my abilities. "Yeah, maybe over the next year...and maybe after I lose another 50 pounds or so..."
"Oh, you're trying to cut weight?" he asked.
I like the term "cutting weight" to describe what I'm doing. Cutting weight is what athletes do, and I'm happy that my instructors consider me to be a real athlete. I aim to end 2011 with a major weight loss goal (50 pounds lost) and start 2012 ready to cut some serious weight.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I found out today that my trainer Ty quit very suddenly on Monday. I won't go into the details because it ended badly for Ty and he ended up being escorted out. To say the least, I am saddened. I was just getting to know Ty and appreciate some of the things he brought out in me. I was just getting into the Olympic lifting, which I think will propel my athleticism to knew heights. I texted him and he says he is trying to find a new gym--I will have to decide if that will work or not. I already have a lot to juggle.
Also, as of this week, my Muay Thai coach Eric is no longer teaching the daytime classes. He is still teaching the evening classes, so I need to get my butt down there on Tuesdays and train with him. Nate, my Jiu Jitsu trainer, will be teaching Muay Thai now. He does MMA and has also trained with my old coach, Kru Mike, so I know it will still be good. I am bummed not to train with Eric more often, though; he is an exceptional Muay Thai instructor. On the other hand, Nate gives me an excellent cardio workout because he really keeps me moving. I suppose that building my endurance will have its upsides.
I was just getting comfortable in my new routine at my gym and now it's getting switched up. Ultimately, I still need to get through those doors 4-5 days a week and continue to kick ass.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I hope all of my SparkFriends had a nice Thanksgiving! Mine was pretty laid-back, enjoyed spending time with family. Also had my Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Mmmmmm...
I haven't thanked everyone individually for the comments on my "Technical Difficulties" blog last week, but I will get to you. At first I was apprehensive of sharing that kind of personal information, but I'm glad I did. I appreciated people sharing their thoughts and experiences. I also realize that I deserve so much better than sitting around waiting for some jerk to contact me, wondering what's wrong with me. Well, there's not a damn thing wrong with me. I actually filtered e-mails from him to my trash, so I won't hear from him (unless he texts me, in which case I just won't respond). I know I'm a bit old-fashioned, but I think it is very cold to blow someone off after being intimate. I don't need someone to come crawling back to me after blowing me off and then having no luck elsewhere.
Actually, I feel a little burnt out on dating for the time-being and realize that it has been a bit of a distraction from focusing on my own personal goals. I have been tying up a lot of my time with dating, and it is getting me nowhere. So I'll return to focusing my efforts where I know I'll be satisfied: MMA. My rib is completely healed, and my knee is completely pain-free. Now I just need to do some hardcore focusing on conditioning and flexibility. I've never done a sport that really relies on flexibility, but I will do much better in Jiu Jitsu if I work on it. Also, I haven't done a lot of cardio outside of MMA training, so I am going to do more walking and jump rope workouts. I have been getting the itch to run again, but I think I will hold off on that for a bit until I'm in better shape and more accustomed to MMA training.
Yesterday morning my alarm went off in time to get to Jiu Jitsu. I rolled over and hit the snooze and dozed off. I repeated this process until it was too late to get up to go to Jiu Jitsu. I reset my alarm to get up in time to get to Muay Thai.
My alarm went off in time to get to Muay Thai. I rolled over and hit the snooze and dozed off. I repeated this process until it was too late to get up to go to Muay Thai. I reset my alarm to get up in time to get to my training session with Ty (which was not optional). I finally rolled out of bed, poured coffee down my throat, ate toast and soy milk, and headed to the gym.
I pulled up to the gym, opened the door, and 4 guys, including Nate, the owner and my Jiu Jitsu trainer, turned and looked at me.
"Where were you?" Nate asked sternly. The guys from my class were looking at me with the same look.
"What? Uhhh...well...I was umm," I stammered, then nearly whispered, "I was sleeping."
He stared at me and then slowly shook his head. "Well, don't let it happen again."
"Oh...uhh...no, I won't, I'll be here." I whisked away to get warmed up for my training session with Ty. And I had a big smile on my face.
Rather than feeling bad, I felt wonderful that my trainer cared enough to ask why I wasn't there for training. I have appreciated so much about my new gym, but I hadn't felt particularly like anyone was counting on me being there or that anyone would particularly notice if I didn't show up when I would normally be there. Now I realize that I am really part of a team and there are people who are going to call me out if I am not there. Now this journey isn't just about me, but about the community of my MMA team.
I have been doing personal training with Ty, and yesterday I started on Olympic lifts. He showed me some techniques and then had me try some. I was shocked to find that the barbell I was working with was 100 pounds. It felt light for all of the lifts except for the snatch. He wanted to see how much I could deadlift, so he had me try 160 pounds.
"Oh, wow...I don't think I can lift that much."
"Of course you can. Just walk up to the weight," he did a cocky walk over to the barbell. "Say, I'm gonna lift this sh*t. It'll be easy. This is nothin'," and then started lifting the barbell. "I think all of your limitations are in your mind."
"Okay, I'll give it a shot." I walked over to the barbell, decided that 160 pounds is nothin', and started lifting. I easily did several of them.
"Damn, you are REALLY strong," he said, a little wide-eyed. "This is definitely something you should be doing." I appreciate having my athletic abilities complimented and that I'm not just treated as that fat girl who is trying to lose weight. Ty has not ever mentioned my weight (other than discussing it the one time I brought it up) and he trains me like he would any other athlete. He expects the same level of effort and performance from me as he would from any other athlete. I was unsure about Ty at first, but I see how teases my underlying talents out of me by pushing me to my very limits. I need to have a little more of his "winner" attitude, too. Ty knows what he's good at and isn't afraid to say it. I shouldn't hesitate to acknowledge my talents, either.
Hmmm...I wonder if I could lift Ty over my head? Image from http://blog.chosenmodels.com
I plan on doing MMA training 4 days a week followed by practicing some Olympic lifts 3 days a week. I am surprisingly sore today from the Olympic lifts (good workout sore, not injury sore) even though I didn't do them for long. I've realized how truly taxing they are. I hope to develop better athletic performance as well as spurring some weight loss with the new activity. The additional cardio should help, too.
I thought my goal of getting out the 250s by the end of the year were quashed by my overeating (and, ahem, overdrinking) over the past couple of weeks. I was pleasantly surprised to see a loss of 2 pounds instead of a gain. I 100% expected a gain. Anyways, who am I to argue with the numbers? As much as I try not to focus on the number on the scale, I am always pleased to have a loss, nonetheless an unexpected one.
I like unexpected surprises, and this past week had a few of them. Perhaps being asked, "Where were you?" was the best one. You better believe my butt will be out of bed and at the gym tomorrow. I hope yours is, too.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Image from redredwineonasunday.blogspot.com
***POSSIBLE TMI...Yes, this blog mentions sex (no explicit details). Please stop reading if that would offend you.***
This week...I'm not even sure what the hell happened this week. It was a blur with some crazy situations. I ignored my food intake. I cried at work. I hardly worked out. My whole routine was just way off. I've generally felt apathetic, although I wouldn't say that I have been feeling negative overall. But this week was just...weird. Part of it is the chaos at work, another part was not going to the gym regularly...I've just generally been experiencing technical difficulties. I can't even think of a cohesive way to write a blog about this week, so please bear with me.
So, onto the sex part. I haven't really talked about my dating life (let alone anything about sex) on SparkPeople, partially because my love life is not that interesting for the most part, and then, of course, there is the PG-ness of SparkPeople. I do go on dates here and there, but most of them are not that great. I'll just say that I think that intimacy is an important part of this journey. This can include back massages from friends, hugs from family members, pats on the back, and...well...you know. I believe the best way to be comfortable with ourselves is to allow others to touch us. I am not talking just about sexual intimacy, but in general being comfortable with those who are close to us. However, I think that having a healthy sex life is vital, and this includes alone time and with others. I'll leave it at that.
I had a date on Tuesday with a guy I met online on a dating website. It was a blind date, and it was not a date where there was any intention of...well...you know. I am happy to say that I was not nervous at all. Maybe it's SparkPeople. Maybe it's being around the guys in Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Maybe it's my awesome friends and family. In any case, I don't get nervous about dates any more. I am who I am, and people can either accept that or not. I am not going to put on a show to make myself seem "better" than I am or act fake in any way. I don't put on any kind of front, which may be to my detriment when it comes to dating. Between the MMA, the brashness, the independence...needless to say, I seem to scare the crap out of a lot of guys. For some reason, these factors become end up being their focus, and never mind that I love other types of exercise, gardening, and saving puppies and kittens. I know dating sucks for everyone, especially when you're an introvert who is also crass and frank.
On Tuesday, I was feeling great after my saxophone lesson with Jeff because he complimented me several times (a rarity). I met the guy at a pub near my house. We had great conversation and were having a good time, but neither of us are really drinkers. I asked him if he wanted to come over so we could keep chatting (and that was genuinely what I had in mind). We talked for a couple of hours about everything--music (he's a bassist), cats, family, depression, religion, and then a bit about relationships. Well, we cuddled on the couch watching Conan O'Brien, and then...
There it was, the mention of sex.
Anyways, I had a lot of fun with him, and I thought we had a lot in common. He texted and e-mailed (that he initiated) several times since Tuesday, and asked if I wanted to get together Saturday (yesterday). We made plans for Saturday and he knew I was planning on cooking him dinner. Like a moron, I bought all sorts of special foods (i.e. expensive) to make him dinner. He said several times over the past couple of days that he hadn't been feeling well (although he seemed to feel just fine enough to go out to a concert every night). He bailed on me yesterday morning, saying he "wasn't feeling well" and didn't think he would be up to coming over. Well, I found out later that he placed an ad looking for sex. What do I do when I find this out?
I cried. Like a blubbering baby.
Did I cry because I love the jerk? Because I could foresee some big future with him? Because I felt I knew him well? No. It wasn't any of these. Actually, I'm the one who is usually a little detached from--ahem--physical love and generally don't get overly-emotional about these things. But I don't toy with people. I just don't understand WHY people play games. If he isn't interested, he should just tell me. I know that he owes me no explanation and that my frank approach is the exception and not the norm, but I still find it childish and frustrating.
He may have put on a fake front to fool me (and I bought it), but I won't compromise myself for anyone. EVER.
Image from cartoonstock.com
Anyways, I'm upset. I'm still upset as I write this, but writing makes me feel better (EDIT: I'm almost done writing this entry and I am actually not upset anymore). I let Overly-Emotional Hopeless Romantic Optimist Erin take over, but luckily Rational Healthy-Dose-of-Cynicism Realist Erin was right there to soften the blow. While I would not normally write about most dating or sex things on SparkPeople, both have been a great source of frustration for me. I vacillate between wanting to have a relationship, wanting a lover, or wanting to be left the hell alone; my mind and body can never seem to agree. I think I was just caught in a romantic mood this week, plus he put on a good show of pretending to be someone he's not, and I fell for it. I really don't want advice, I know that this was a situation that I ultimately chose. I am glad that finding a partner does not consume my life, but it seems that I would have to put forth a lot more effort to find someone who is genuine and who deserves me. I am not in any way bashing men (women play games, too), but rather, I need to evaluate the traits that attract me to a person and find out how to filter them better. I'll just throw in there, too, that I also have no regrets.
Overly-Emotional Hopeless Romantic Optimist Erin sez:
Image from kellyjotownsend.blogspot.com.
But Rational Healthy-Dose-of-Cynicism Realist Erin knows the guy is a jerk and sez:
Image from tvrage.com
Enough about love. Love, schmove. Overly-Emotional Hopeless Romantic Optimist Erin and Rational Healthy-Dose-of-Cynicism Realist Erin can work on coming to an agreement. I was almost glad to have the distraction this week from the B.S. at work. I should have everything together to get set up to work from home over the next 2-3 weeks. With winter ready to sink its teeth in, I will be very happy to not have to commute in the dead of Minnesota winter. Besides the commute, I will be physically removed from the toxic environment at my work. (This week it was literally toxic, we almost had a battery in a back-up power unit catch on fire and had to call the fire department, and several of us became ill...but that's another story...). Working from home is the next best thing to having a new job, though. I'll stick it out and see how this goes. I imagine I will be a lot less stressed without being in a noisy call center. There also won't be many opportunities for co-workers to stab me in the back since I won't be there. I hope it makes this job a lot better. There are a couple of co-workers that I will miss seeing, but for the most part, my friends have quit or been fired.
I only went to Muay thai once this week, and luckily it did not bother my ribs. My ribs seem to be completely healed now, and I am going to return to Jiu Jitsu on Monday. If my ribs seem bothered, I'll hold off for a bit longer, but I think it will be okay. So I will be back to doing Jiu Jitsu followed by Muay Thai Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Muay Thai sparring on Saturday. I have missed my classes terribly; I've been very restless without the intense workouts. Of course, I miss seeing the guys at my gym more often, too. They are a great support system.
I'm making some decisions about playing my saxophone. My teacher Jeff thinks I should join a community band. One thing I didn't think about when I started taking lessons was whether I would be able to join a group and make it to rehearsals and performances, given that I work evenings. I am checking out some options in the community.
Whether it be love, my job, playing my saxophone, doing martial arts, or being a friend or family member, I say:
Image from fahrizal-blog.blogspot.com
The technical difficulties are behind me. The emotional ones? Well, those will need some tweaking. This week I aim to return to my regularly scheduled normal routine--the gym, eating well, yoga, lots of saxophone playing, more time with friends. But I'll hold off on love being a part of my routine for the time being.
Image from igetthatalot.wordpress.com
Thanks for listening!
Image from cheezburger.com
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Yeah, I know, the title may be misleading, but this week was a great improvement compared to the previous couple of weeks. My attitude was on the fritz, I've been overeating, I haven't been able to do intense exercise and because of my ribs, it really hurt to scream. Maybe it was good that it hurt to scream--I had to find other ways to handle my frustrations. I tried watching funny videos to cheer myself up, but it hurt to laugh, too.
My saxophone teacher Jeff was poking fun at my gloomy attitude this week when I expressed frustration with my playing. "Well, walking is too hard, I guess I'll keep crawling. But hey, crawling is too hard, too." At least it got a giggle out of me. I think I am finally becoming more tolerant of the learning process of playing a musical instrument. Moreover, I think playing has revealed how self-conscious I really am, about everything, and with Jeff's help, I'm learning that being self-conscious is not necessary. I am learning to be more accepting of mistakes, and if I mess up, I can just take it from the top right away. I'm not sure if playing my sax has made me less self-conscious, or if I have become less self-conscious in general, thus more comfortable with my playing. Either way, I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin despite a stressful couple of weeks. As a matter of fact, the past couple of weeks of work stress and having an injury have truly revealed my perseverance. I have been far from perfect with my eating and wasn't able to do intense exercise, but I didn't disappear. I went through the motions the best I could if that was necessary. I had a "Screw it" attitude, but towards the people who are causing me stress, not towards myself. Yes, crawling is hard at first, as is walking, but it is worth it to keep on taking those steps, even when they are painful.
Although my rib injury was a bummer, my greatest irritation over the past couple of weeks has been my job. I have yet to hear back from the other company, but in the meantime, there is hope for my current job. For starters, I am going to tell my boss (not my immediate "supervisor") that I think that a final warning write-up is extreme for the "problems" that were brought to their attention, which included occasionally making fun of rude callers. If we are making fun of a jerk caller, it is usually banter between co-workers, so I am far from the only one who engages in doing that. It was written that making fun of callers is "rude to my co-workers." And then, of course, there was one of the newer staff members who tattled on me for warning her that she could get written up over petty crap. I also think that it would be extreme to fire an excellent staff member like myself over something so trivial. My "supervisor" also talked to at least 2 other staff members about me (the 2 who told me about it), asking if they had a problem with me. I think it is unconscionable that my "supervisor" went on a fishing exhibition to try to get people to trash me. Fortunately, my boss sees the value in having me as an employee and is going to allow me to work remotely from home. I am very excited for this opportunity. I believe that it will solve the problems that I have at this job because I won't be in the physical presence of the backstabbers. I need to put together enough cash to get a new computer, but I think I will be able to pull it off over the next few weeks. However, if I do hear back from the other company, I will still see what they have to offer. I think my current employer will see how much I really do when I'm there once I'm not there, such as advising other people on their cases. In any case, I can't wait for the day I can finish a workout, shower quickly, put on some pajamas, and pad over to my computer to work. I have been waiting for a while for this.
My ribs, which I injured a couple of weeks ago in Muay Thai, don't hurt very much any more. I have very mild discomfort with coughing or sneezing, but it seems much better. I did a strength training workout yesterday and that was fine. I know it was wise to take a couple of weeks off of intense exercise to let the injury heal, and I'm glad it seems to have resolved quickly. I am going to go to Muay Thai tomorrow for the first time in 2 weeks. I have felt like an absolute slug with not being able to go to MMA training over the past couple of weeks. I still have some bruises, so I know I haven't been away for very long, but I was very used to my routine. I will hold off on Jiu Jitsu, which is much more rough than Muay Thai, for a couple more weeks. I'm looking forward to getting back to my routine, plus I have missed my boys at the gym.
My eating has been--what's the word?--atrocious. Okay, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration. I had a big binge earlier in the week, but have otherwise been eating okay foods, just too much. I have been craving carbs in a terrible way, and I know that's just stress screaming out. I am going to make an honest effort this week to track accurately and actually follow that plan without going over my calories each day. I also batch cooked this week for the first time in a while and made a big pot of pinto bean, corn, and tofu chili. That has been a delicious dinner with a warm French roll. I have some other recipes pulled up and when I can shop later this week, I'm going to do some more batch cooking. I plan on making Tofu Fried Rice, Chickpeas and Dumplings, and Curried Lentils with Caramelized Onions. I am so much more likely to stay on track if I prepare really satisfying warm meals than I do if I come home and scrounge for whatever is handy.
I'm glad that it no longer hurts to scream, although now I don't feel the need. Fortunately, my positive attitude has been mostly restored, and it no longer hurts to laugh. This song by comedian Jon Lajoie pretty much sums up my attitude over the past couple of weeks--at least it has provided plenty of giggles over the past few weeks when I've needed it. ***WARNING: lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (LOTS) of F-bombs***:
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