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30-Day Challenge

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My friend and Zumba mentor decided to have a 30-day weight loss challenge with our class participants, complete with incentives and such. It's free to participate (no fees to "join" the challenge), and Zumba is not required (although it is strongly encouraged, of course). The main goal is for all participants to motivate each other to stick with the plan and achieve goals each individual has set for himself/herself. We will each set personal weight loss/fitness goals, and if we don't meet them by the next weigh-in, each individual who doesn't meet his/her goal puts a dollar in the incentive jar. The details are:

*Planning meals to avoid running out for fast food because it's quick and easy
*Exercise at least 5 out of 7 days (again, not restricted to Zumba)
*Logging calorie intake (key phrase: "If you don't want to write it down, DON'T EAT IT!!")

As for me, I am setting a goal to lose the last 15 (obviously NOT all in the month of May...that would be unhealthy) pounds to reach my goal weight, plus work on lowering my body fat percentage. I've been maintaining my weight since June 2012 after losing ~25 pounds, and I was a lot leaner last summer. Since giving up my Personal Training sessions (it's soooo expensive!!!), I've lost some of the muscle tone I saw in my upper body, plus I've gradually picked up some extra weight on my thighs. Not cool, Marisa. Not cool at all. I've been getting more into running lately, and I feel GREAT after I run, so I'm thinking I'll keep it up. emoticon

Besides, the running will definitely be helpful for the next two 5Ks I'm signing up for! My team and I had so much fun in the Red Shoe Run that we decided to sign up for another 5K to benefit a local charity, plus the Run Back to the 80s in Madison in September! I'm so excited!

The 30-day challenge is coming at a good time, since I have to train for the upcoming local 5K. I am going to PUSH myself to stick to my goals! I need some real motivation to keep me on track, and that's what I miss about having a personal trainer. He was sort of like a drill sergeant..."do as many burpees as you can in one minute." Which reminds me...I should probably work those into at least ONE of my workouts every week. emoticon

The hardest part for me will be planning meals ahead of time, especially without the repetition that my husband and I are used to. We have tacos once a week, which is fine for both of us, but I'm determined to try some new recipes. After all, variety is the spice, is it not?

Overall, I know it will be tough, but I'm excited to have a plan. It's been a while since I had a true plan, and if I'm being held to it by my motivators, I will definitely accomplish my goals. I'll be checking in once a week to blog (starting May 1st, when the challenge starts) about my progress!

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DISPATCHER04 5/15/2013 1:43AM

    Challenges are such a fun way to stay on track! :)

But W.O.W. Y'all's races are pricey. Here, they are about $20--$25 on race day.

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CELTATHEART517 5/1/2013 5:36PM

    Yes, I agree that those races can get expensive, especially if you are doing MANY of them. The RSR was $35, which I didn't think was TOO bad, but I looked at the color run (the one in Chicago) and it's $45! And (as far as I've heard) they don't benefit a charity...they use the money basically to buy the color stuff! So, if I'm going to pay a fee to run in a race, I'm going to make sure it's for a charity. I've never really given money to charity, and I think this is a fun way to do it, especially with friends! :)

Yes, it looks as if our schedules will never jive, unless we go on a Sunday sometime. I work 7A-3:30P on weekdays, so even running at 6A is too late for me. I'd have to get up at 4, go for a run on the bike path by my house and be home in time to shower and get ready for work! No fun! Glad to hear you aren't out to set any pace records, although I was actually pretty excited yesterday. I finally found my breathing rhythm! My friend and I went for a jog on the Midway path, and she jogged the whole way. I slowed to a walk at times, so I wouldn't lose her (she's a slow jogger, but I'd rather she be careful than push herself TOO far and pass out). As a result, I didn't get a very good workout. In the last little stretch of the path, she told me to go ahead so I wouldn't have to walk. That's when I figured out how to control my breathing. Sounds silly, but I was excited about that! :)

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CECE0330 5/1/2013 9:45AM

    My schedule is so stupid, the only time I can run is SUPER early (before work, at 5:45 or 6) and Sundays. My husband works a different shift than me, so Mon-Fri I am basically a single parent, which is tough! That's why I only really commit to teaching one evening class a week (at the Y, where there is childcare)

But I would love to run together sometime. No worries on pace, I am not out to set the world on fire with running. emoticon

Overall I feel the price of races has gone WAY up: Amanda is doing one this Sunday in Belvidere. It's a Color Run knock-off, for childhood cancer I think, but the cost is $40!!! emoticon (That's a pair of zumba sweats! lol) So I'm not sure I'll do that one.

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CELTATHEART517 4/30/2013 5:42PM

    I would like to do some of those fun runs, but my schedule is so up in the air (since working some weekends is part of my job requirement). Sixty-five dollars IS a lot for that! But it looks like fun! I'm looking forward to the two we are planning to do this summer. And although I now it takes time, I wish I could run more than 3 miles! That Red Shoe Run was tough, and I didn't even consistently run 3 miles. I took some walking breaks, but I think the cold and the wind had a hand in that...it's hard to run with wind resistance! I have a running buddy, but we can only go on Tuesday evenings, since I go to Zumba Monday and Wednesday, and she's busy on Thursdays. Let me know if you ever want to go some afternoon/evening...I work during the day (and my weekdays off are sporadic), so I would have to know in advance. I'd like to try some of those other paths you've run. We just do Midway or the one by my house (which is super boring) right now. :) emoticon

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CECE0330 4/29/2013 12:33PM


What a great idea! Just to have that support from others is amazing. It's soooo much easier to stay accountable in a group environment.
Are you going to do the Zombie run in Byron this September? I really want to, though it's really expensive ($65 I think), but it would be so cool! I'm *trying* to get back to a good place with running. 4 miles at Rock Cut yesterday thoroughly kicked my butt. I'm so sore today. emoticon

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Wow! Fell off the wagon, but I'm climbing right back on!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

I love food. Granted, over the last few years, I've learned what I should and should not eat, based on how my body responds to certain foods. But that doesn't mean it's always easy to make the right choices. I won't even place blame on The Holidays. It's all my fault.

Right now I'm struggling with my workout plan. I haven't been to the gym in quite some time for strength training, and as a result, I've noticed some physical changes...less muscle tone in my arms and legs, for instance. I'm still doing Zumba three to four days a week, but without my strength training, my physical activity is really lacking. I allowed my gym membership to lapse since I wasn't going enough to justify paying for another contract. I decided to save some money )in the long run) by purchasing small equipment every so often, like hand weights and other items I can work with at home. I'm still trying to motivate my husband to do this with me as well. We've talked about starting to go for walks in the evenings when it gets a little warmer.

Aside from that, I decided to sign up for the Red Shoe Run for Donor Awareness. It's a cause I feel very strongly about supporting, as I recently signed up to be on the Bone Marrow Donor Registry. I'm participating in the 5K run as opposed to the 1-mile fitness walk, but I'm not overly concerned with my time for the race. Mostly, I'm excited to do it because it's the first time I will run 3.1 miles straight! I am confident I can keep a steady pace and run the entire 5K without walking at all. A friend (who is on my team) and I have been going out for practice runs a couple days a week, and when we take walking breaks, I feel as though I could really continue running. NOT to mention, I forgot how GREAT running makes me feel afterwards!

I plan to attempt a 3-mile straight run later this afternoon...I think I can do it! I'll give an update on that later!

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DISPATCHER04 4/10/2013 6:37AM

    You can do it! :) I love 5K's. They're a fun distance. :)

Wish you lived closer. I'd love to have someone to strength train with. I hate strength training, but I make myself do it.

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CELTATHEART517 4/3/2013 6:56PM

    Thanks, LIVING4HIM! I went on that run yesterday...and I did it! I walked probably about .25 miles to get to the bike path, then once I was on it, I started jogging and didn't stop until I reached the street I was going to turn around at. When I turned around, I walked for maybe about 30 seconds, then started jogging again. I had to take a very short break again, but it was still only about 30 seconds to a minute. I jogged the rest of the way to where I had started on the bike path, then cooled down walking home. So technically I didn't "jog" the entire 3 miles, but a majority of it. Another 0.6 will be a breeze on Race Day! :) I'm so happy I finally did it! All this time I've been saying "I hate running" and "I can't do it", but I did it!

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LIVING4HIM_INWI 4/2/2013 9:11PM

    I'm sure that you did very well on your run. I know that my own strength training suffered for a while because I didn't know where to put it in my busy schedule. Before I started teaching Zumba, I had dvds and weights at work and so did some co-workers and we met right after work and did the dvds together. Then I was so busy with teaching classes. But now, I get my strength and Zumba in together with Sentao. I wish I would have taken some before pics of my arms and legs. I never thought it would make that dramatic of a difference but it is a wonderful change! I know that you will find something that works well for you too!

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Haven't blogged in a while.

Friday, October 05, 2012

It's Friday night before a weekend off, and I'm bored. I could be doing chores, but no. I don't want to. At least I'm cooking sauce on the stove for lasagna. That's gotta count for something, right? emoticon I think my husband and I will order in and play a boardgame.

Last night was my VERY FIRST EVER Zumba class where I taught solo! Yay! My mentor had a last minute family obligation come up, so she sent me a text in the middle of the day asking if I could teach. Needless to say at that very instant, I started shaking in my boots! Yes, I have 2.66 (haha) years of experience participating and a just few short months of "helping" her lead class, but this was the first time I was in charge without her there for support as a "participant." I was so nervous my stomach was in knots.

To compound the matter, I was having trouble getting my Tempo Magic app to work on my iPod the previous night WHILE we were practicing at the studio after class. When I attempted to use the app, it bounced back to the apps menu screen every time. I thought to myself "I'll be a monkey's uncle (well, you know what I REALLY thought ;}) if this app doesn't work while I'm here!" I went home that night, and it worked fine. So yesterday I went to the studio early to practice a bit and make sure the app would work. I was relieved to find that it worked out okay, but the nerves were still there.

The first person through the door was a new participant, so I had the advantage of her not knowing what to expect from a Zumba class. emoticon As it turned out, she *really* enjoyed it (woohoo)! There were only a few regulars there, for a total of 7 people. I felt that was the perfect number, being that it was my first class. The other wonderful part is that the regulars are so encouraging! I know I've mentioned this before, but I am such an introvert, and so it's quite the challenge for me to step up and lead a class! They are always there to tell me I'm doing great, and not to be so concerned with screwing up (I make it really obvious when it happens, but that's something I'm sure will diminish the more I teach).

I encountered some technical problems...the sound going out in the middle of a couple songs, having a longer (ahem, about 50% longer) version of a song we do quite often which caused me to forget what comes next, and tempo issues (high intensity songs were too slow and the cool down started off too fast). All in all, not a bad first class! emoticon

Sunday is my next class, and although I'm nervous, I'm not *that* nervous now that I've taught a class on a moment's notice. I think she did it on purpose ;) Hahaha! But really, sometimes you need to just jump in, and that's the only way *I* will ever become comfortable with something new...THROW ME RIGHT IN! :D I liken it to when I first learned how to draw blood...I know, I know, one is poking people with needles and the other isn't, but the same concept applies. Hahaha!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DISPATCHER04 1/26/2013 1:26AM

    That same thing happened to me. My first time teaching Zumba, I got thrown in with an hour's notice! LOL. But all went pretty well.

I had never heard of that tempo magic. What an intriguing app! :) I really could have used that when I used to teach step!

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MRSLDAZE 10/7/2012 8:11AM

    Congratulations Celtaheart! I'm very impressed! This is spurring me to try to get a playlist together and get prepared because I could see this happening to me. I am not actively pursuing being an instructor (I got licensed in July) but do want to be there if needed for my mentor. Good luck on your class today and let us know how it goes!

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CELTATHEART517 10/6/2012 12:05AM

    Thanks, WI! I agree...I don't think I could have waited any longer, and my mentor was really rooting for me to start teaching! I've always been the type of person who has LOTS of apprehension and thinks the worst could happen, but she has so much confidence in me (more than I have in myself), and I'm so thankful to be working with her! :) Now I'm anxious to really dive in and learn some new choreography! I'm having so much fun already! Not that I didn't before. ;)

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LIVING4HIM_INWI 10/5/2012 11:26PM

    Yay! You did it!!! I agree with being thrown in and just do it. If we wait until we feel that we have it down really well, well by then we have missed out on so many opportunities. I wasn't feeling really prepared for my first Zumba Sentao class, but it went a lot better than I thought it would. The people loved it and had a great workout - and that was the whole purpose, right? Keep up the great work! You will be teaching your own classes before you know it!

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It's official!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Well I did it! I attended B1 Zumba training and it was a BLAST!

I'm so glad I finally signed up. I met a lovely group of fellow trainees, and I came out of the session feeling like I know so much more about Zumba! I mean, most everyone who's taken Zumba knows how it was started, but the part I found so beneficial and interesting was the breakdown of the steps and learning how to string them together. As I drove home from Madison I listened to the material we were given, and I found myself already thinking of steps I would use during particular phrases of certain songs.

I also learned that although I enjoy using ALL the steps, I have my favorites...Cumbia and Reggaeton. I'm already thinking of when I want to take B2, because I would LOVE to learn the Samba! I have tried it and I can't do it. That's where the practice comes in, right? emoticon I love the belly dance, Quebradita and Bollywood routines we have done in class, I just didn't know there was so much to know! emoticon

The only thing I will say is the dance studio hosting our training was too small for the group we had. It was a NICE studio, though! I'm thinking Madison is on the list of places to consider if/when my husband and I ever move. Just driving around in the city, I can see why it draws so many. It's bigger than Rockford, but not HUGE, like Chicago. And, IMO, it's more picturesque than Rockford. I need something nice to look at! Aaaaand back to Zumba training...

I packed MANY snacks because I'm always so worried I'll pass out from the exertion. I brought 2 servings of almonds, 2 bags of strawberries, a banana, a pear, an apple and a bistro lunch thing from Starbucks when I stopped for my morning coffee as I drove out of Rockford. I felt like I was eating ALL DAY! The sugar in the fruit barely kept me sustained until the next interval when we could relax and take notes. By the time I left training at 4:30, I was STARVING, which forced me to make a bad decision....I stopped at Culvers somewhere between Madison and Janesville. I was baaaaad. And it was so delicious, but now I know why I don't eat that stuff very often anymore...I was HURTING when I got home. emoticon

Our ZES, Debbie Wood, was AMAZING. I really love that Zumba stresses there is no "right" or "wrong" way to do the steps...rather, participants feel like they're having fun with it instead of worrying about having to keep up. It's great having 2 years of experience as a participant to understand that side of it...I get really annoyed if I can't follow someone's steps, and Debbie pointed out that if participants are having trouble, then SIMPLIFY the routine a bit. It's not as much of a calorie-burner if the whole class is trying to catch on the entire time.

That said, I LOVE all the steps and want to use them ALL! I'm going to be practicing constantly! I like to think of myself as only slightly coordinated...there are some steps I can seriously ROCK, and others, no matter how much I try, I will never get it. Even direction changes throw me off a bit now and then. Two years of participating in Zumba classes went out the window yesterday, because I felt like I had two left feet again!

The next step for me is getting my CPR certification. I think I'll look into my organization and see when they offer it. After that, group exercise certification. I have no idea how far I will go with this, but I want to have all my ducks in a row.

But for now...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIRKIE528 6/27/2012 8:56AM

    WHOO HOO---Congrats!! emoticon

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CECE0330 6/4/2012 11:17AM

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! And I had to laugh, because I have stopped at that Culvers (doesn't it claim to be the largest or some such thing?). My brother, sister, and friend all live in Madison and LOVE IT. I do as well, and spend a lot of time there, but man alive, housing is expensive!

Anywho, so glad to hear training went well! Yes, I left feeling like I knew NOTHING about zumba because the moves were new, the songs were new, and I felt like a first timer all over again. I'm super excited to do B2 with Tanya Beardsley at convention, that alone makes the trip worthwhile! emoticon

So excited to see where your journey takes you next!

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LIVING4HIM_INWI 6/3/2012 2:42PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Now practice, practice, practice, build up a playlist, and doors will be opening for you! Zumba World is an exciting place to be!

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Vacation, making positive changes and progress

Thursday, May 24, 2012

As the second week of my STAYcation is winding down, I feel pretty darn good. Last week I did some cleaning around the house every day, along with getting some of those things done we all hate...dentist and eye doctor appointments. I had something going every day last week and was running around constantly. I hit the Goodwill store in town on the hunt for jeans, and maybe anything else I might find that fits. At this point, NOTHING in my closet fits properly. Not. One. Single. Thing. The Goodwill experience didn't pan out so well...I didn't find any jeans in the size I need or style I like. However, I came home with two new pair of Danskin workout pants, a new workout shirt, a gray tank, and two pair of work appropriate pants for the rare occasions I need to wear something nicer than scrubs. I also found a behind-the-sofa table for $20! Go me! It needs a little TLC, but it will be a great addition to our home. I usually go to Goodwill looking to score a good piece of furniture I can fix up and make MINE, but I never get this lucky. I can't wait to sand and stain it! It's also missing a drawer, but Hubby's already been working on making one to match the one it came with.

On Friday, I went as my coworker's date to a company dinner, and the dress I wore (unfortunately, no pics) is the one I wore to my Bridal Shower last August...only it didn't fit the same. When I wore it then, it fit the top, but the bottom was sooooo tight, like I might've split a seam when I sat down. This past Friday, it was more than a little roomy! It fits very well on the bottom now, but the top is very large and blouse-y. Maybe I can get it altered. I love the dress and don't want to get rid of it.

This week has been a little more relaxed.

My birthday was on Monday, and I think this is the first year I didn't have anything recreational planned. The last two years my SIL (whose birthday was yesterday) and I treated ourselves to a manicure/pedicure for our birthdays. This year I laid low...and I loved it! Though part of that was due to lack of funds. Money's been tight lately, and I can't exactly justify spending it at a spa just because it's my birthday. My Hubby took me out for sushi dinner after Zumba, then we had ice cream at Baskin Robbins. He gave me the second book in the Hunger Games series. I'm a little behind in that I *just* finished the first book and saw the movie a few weeks ago.

I received a few gifts that I will DEFINITELY put to use: Brother and SIL gave me a $25 gift card to Starbucks (no, not for the sugar-laden drinks. I get the REAL cappuccinos), Sister gave me a $50 gift card to Victoria's Secret (after I secretly decided not to shop there anymore 'cause, well $$$) to buy bras that fit, and Mom and Dad gave me a cute necklace with a green flower made out of leather and a bracelet to match.

A long-time friend came for a visit on Tuesday, and we had a nice chat. It was also on Tuesday that I decided to....drumroll....DEACTIVATE MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT!!! I know, exciting, right? This is something I've been thinking long and hard about lately. On one hand, it's a great site for reconnecting and/or keeping in touch with friends and relatives who either live out of town or I just don't see on a regular basis, even IF we live in the same city. On the other hand, it's consumed ENTIRELY too much of my time for the last 3 years. I had a serious addiction. It never interfered with my workouts, of course. But where it *did* interfere was with my need to you know, CLEAN THE HOUSE. It was sad, really. So I disappeared. And guess what I did yesterday? I cleaned the kitchen, cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed/swiffered all the dust bunnies and steamed the floors, scooped the litter boxes, did 5 loads of laundry (which is really the only thing I keep up on, since I need to wear clothes in public, haha), and began to organize some things I plan to sell.

We have been wanting to have a garage sale for more than a year, but we have to paint the house, do yardwork (cue Elaine's "yada yada"), and I've been hearing it's a lot of work to have a garage sale (I'm not that lazy, it just seems to be such a daunting task, what with all the stuff we have). So...I found another means. The organization I work for has a "Hub" for the employees with a classifieds section, so I asked a friend at work how she lists items and voila! I sold my first item(s) within a week! It's like a garage sale on the computer! I don't have to mess with hauling or borrowing tables from someone to put my stuff out for a weekend, I can simply list a few things at a time every few days, and wait to get emails from other employees who are interested. And BELIEVE me, I have a LOT of stuff to get rid of. I'm starting with scrubs that don't fit anymore...sold them already! I plan to put the money from selling these items in savings, but we'll see what happens once I have that first $10 in my hands...

Hubby (bless his wonderful Geek Heart that I love so much) has a MILLION boardgames he's accumulated over the years and doesn't play, so he's been listing them (of his own volition, not because I asked him to) on a site he found for boardgamers like himself and he's been making a few bucks here and there selling them.

So little by little, we're both making some good changes. I'm also looking into ways we can cut some of our bills out, like purchasing a water softener instead of continuing to rent one, like I've been doing for the 5 years I've been in the house. Whose idea was that?! It's about time we eliminate that bill and purchase a water softener. Also, what other ways can we get internet service? We've been paying the local cable company $60/month strictly for basic cable and internet...no Comedy Central, no TLC, no additional channels WHATSOEVER. So why is it $60/month? Lame. I'm also looking into a cheaper cell phone plan...I don't need a Droid. I don't do jack s@@t with a Smartphone. I need buttons again.

OH! And the progress I was going to talk about? I'm down to 158! I'm officially less than 20 pounds away from my goal weight! emoticon I'm still trying to lose the stubborn belly fat, but I know why it's not coming off. I still fall victim to the bad foods...more than occasionally. Clean eating is such a struggle for me. This coming weekend, for instance, we're going to a beer tasting (yeah, we're total beer snobs) at a friend's house. Not only will there be beer and lots of it, there will be smoked Bacon Explosion...a delicious meat log comprised of bacon, bacon, sausage, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, bacon, bacon, and bacon. Hence the name Bacon Explosion. AAAND there will be plenty more bad food (including the chocolate chip cookies I'm making to bring) where that came from.

Bad food and struggling will power aside, my workouts are still super intense, and my PT is THE best motivator! He tells me I work harder than most of his clients...that feels good! I mean, I know it's difficult because I struggle through the workouts, and the sweat? Puh-lease, I sweat like it's going out of style (I might've said that in another blog). But when I'm done I'm EXHAUSTED, and it feels great to know I burned 600+ calories in 45 minutes! The only thing I've been slacking at on the workout front is beating my best mile time. I haven't run a mile (on the treadmill) in weeks, and I confessed to my PT Tuesday that I get nervous when I step onto the treadmill with the intention of increasing my pace. I think it's fear of failure. So I inevitably walk for 2 minutes or so, then jog for 2, then literally give up on jogging and walk the rest of the time after my workout. How defeatist is that?! Jeez. So today, I have PT at 5, and dag nabbit, I WILL run a mile in 9:40!


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