Thursday, February 04, 2010
Sorry, I have not been so good at keeping up with my Sparking lately. In my defense, I have been engrossed in the new SK novel "Under the Dome" and just finished it this morning. Now I can some up for air and hopefully catch up on all of my Spark Friends
I did not enjoy the snow as much as I expected I would (read: didn't make that hike I was planning on taking with the hubby and the dog, but that's another story). Poor road conditions meant I also could not make to the Y for any of my classes for several days.
The old me would have been grateful for a good excuse not to work out. The slightly newer (but not quite new) me would have hopped on the balance board for half hour for a WiiFit workout (no longer challenging) or maybe followed along with one of the 20 minute yoga programs recorded on DVR. The NEW me actually went on down to our unfinished and dimly lit basement, shoved aside enough of the ample clutter we are collecting down there to reveal a 10 ' x 10' square of bare concrete, put on my HRM and my headphones and ran through every Zumba/Hip hop move I could remember from class for over an hour - not one, not two, but THREE days in a row. Until I burned as many calories as I burn in my group class.
Through this experience, I reached a few conclusions:
Need to get busy on clearing out and at least partially finishing the basement so I can have a real workout area when I need one.
Quite a few country/kickhop songs are 100% interchangeable with rap/hiphop music for my usual routines.
I'd like to get instructor certified and teach 1 class a week at the Y.
There are a ton of women who LOVE the HipHop class and whose only complaint is that the music is a little too much. And there are a ton of women who wish HipHop was available more than once a week, but our instructor is not, so my idea is to create a KickHop class using the same moves but to different music. I'm not necessarily set on the music thing (would depend on the demand - which I think would be big given the area in which I live), but the teaching part I believe I will make my fitness goal for the year.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Sometime you just ARE the tortoise. In the fable, the tortoise always seemed to have a certain cunning, a sly strategy that brought him first to the finish line. It's easy to imagine the tortoise made a deliberate decision to slowly and steadily win the race. But the truth is, tortoises are just SLOW. Winning the race was fluke, a just desserts for a hare too cocky and over confident (really, who naps in the middle of a race?!)
Now before you get too up in arms, don't get me wrong...tortoises are AWESOME. So winning was a fluke, OK. Doesn't matter. Because while slow and steady may not always WIN the race, it will no doubt, each and every time, get you to the finish line.
But a little reality check, I am sure that tortoises are often frustrated by their speed, or lack thereof. I am not certain what tortoises do all day that would warrant doing faster, but I'm sure there are plenty of things (like racing a hare!). Don't try to tell me after all the taunting that Mr. Tortoise wouldn't have just LOVED to break out with some road runner antics and leave the hare in the dust.
But again, back to the facts, tortoises are SLOW. And on this journey, apparently I am the tortoise. Luckily all of you hares that are my friends in this race have been super supportive (I'd still love to break out with some road runner antics and leave you in dust, but that's nothing personal).
I do the work - exercise almost daily with a HRM so I know exactly how many calories I burn, log everything I eat, stay within my recommended caloric limits given my activity level and get plenty of fiber, protein, whole grains and healthy fats) and the pounds come off, sometimes two or three a week, sometimes nothing for weeks at a time. For the past several months, I have been losing 4 or 5 pounds a month. Can't call it a plateau because I am steadily losing, so I'll just accept the fact that I am just a tortoise.
So while it isn't a deliberate strategy, I will continue plodding away on this journey, slow and steady. And while I will probably won't make it there first (unless all of my hare friends get the urge for a nap sometime soon), I will without a doubt, cross the finish line this year.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
SO I finally took that group yoga class I resolved to take MONTHS ago. I have always been really nervous about practicing this exercise in front of anyone. When I first tried yoga on my WiiFit, when I bent down to touch my toes, I could only make it about a hand length below my knees, but as the pounds came off, my flexibility improved and I could almost touch the floor with my palms. The second time I tried a plank to downward dog, I strained the muscles in my chest wall bad enough it hurt to breathe and ended up going to Urgent Care, but as I made exercise a habit, my strength improved and so did my down dog.
Yoga became my secret hobby, helping tremendously to alleviate my lower back pain once the hubby and I took up biking. I would actually take "yoga breaks" on our rides to keep my back limber. Still I was embarrassed to be seen by anybody but the hubby actually DOING yoga. Because surely I was doing it wrong. I look nothing like the women on TV.
Then as winter arrived, fall bike rides were replaced by Zumba and HipHop classes where I felt no shyness at shaking my booty in a room full of thirty or forty women. As a matter of fact, by the time 2010 arrived, I had worked my way to the FRONT of the class. Still my resolution to take that yoga class (made back in October, I think) had gone unfulfilled.
Then my neighbor started going to the Y with me and decided she wanted to try yoga. So I promised I would go if she did. Tonight was the night we had planned for all week...and just when it was time to leave for class, she had to cancel. I could have blown it off again. I had a hectic day, left the house ten minutes late, ended up behind a semi driving 25 miles an hour through the middle of town ALL the way to the Y, arrived just as the door was shutting for class...and I still had to drop my coat off in my locker, fill my water bottle, take off my shoes...you get the picture. But I went! Finally!
I had nothing to worry about. Yes, it was challenging at times. There were a few sequences of down dog to plank to up dog to down dog during which I thought if we went on very much longer I would have to take a break. Luckily, about that time, we went on to something else. During the balance poses, I had to position myself next to a wall for occasional support...but so did half the class. There was only one pose I couldn't hold at all and even that one I was able to attempt twice. Despite the challenges (that actually make the class interesting enough to attend again), I looked like everyone else in the class:) Turns out, I can actually do yoga!
The downside, I only burned about 300 calories, less than half what I can burn in my other classes, but I think that's OK once a week for the sake of improving my flexibility and strength and stress level. So my new yoga goal-to master the table pose. Go me!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
The hubby and I watched Food, Inc. last night. After we finished it, we came to a decision that has been a long time coming. I was a vegetarian for nine years because I felt that the treatment of our food animals was unnecessarily cruel. While I started eating meat again shortly after meeting the hubby, he and I have become increasingly critical of the food that makes it into our kitchen.
When we started this journey, we started making an effort to support local farmers by getting our produce from the farmers market vs. the grocery store. We've been making an effort to limit our intake of harmful preservatives, pesticides and chemicals by switching to organic when its possible and/or practical. Last night we made a decision to start buying our meat from independent farms where we can SEE that the animals are treated with the respect that they deserve from birth to butcher, grass fed beef, free range poultry, not processed in an assembly line (in one of 17 mega slaughterhouses in the US where all of our meat typically comes).
We did not really know where to begin our search for healthful meat, only that we needed to make this change. One of the independent farms interviewed in the documentary is in Virginia; we even entertained the idea of making a regular five hour drive to that farm to stock up every month.
Fast forward to today which unfolded in such a way that I feel absolutely LED to follow this path. It has been bitter cold here for the past few days and I have been under the weather and as a consequence our four month old springer spaniel has been suffering from way too much pent up energy. Today tuned out to be a little warmer so we took her to the dog park for the very first time. The first hour we were there, we were alone. She was having a ball but we were about to wrap up and head home when a couple arrived with their lab.
While the dogs made friends, we struck up a conversation with their owners. After half hour or so, the conversation turned to food or health and the hubby mentioned having watched the documentary last night. He made the comment "It will make you decide to buy all of your meat from local farms and boycott what's sold in the supermarket alltogether"
The couple shared a look and declared "We already do!" They gave us farm recommendations for buying chicken, turkey, and even filets! This is NOT a common thing. What are the odds of meating this couple, today of all days? More to come soon...
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